by Callum Tooey
It's early November and my boss has just said I needed to book and take my leave before the end of the year, no need to tell me twice, I took a week in the middle of November and a few sporadic days here and there.
My younger brother found himself with nothing to do so I invited him to come and stay with me and avoid frustrations by working on my car, to my amazement this emotional manipulation worked and he was happy to come!
I told him about how work on Nutmeg had stalled due to the previous fuel issue and he asked to take a look, I figured why not and demonstrated the fact she would start on full choke only and die immediately when you tried to drive. Annoyingly he guessed this was to do with the choke not turning off correctly so after some cleaning with carb cleaner and lubricating the choke cable we had her started, running, and most importantly, driving again. Words cannot express how annoyed I was.
Still, with a car now able to be driven in and out of the garage we pulled her out into the daylight so I could show the extent of the work that was still required. My forever-optimistic brother declared that we WOULD have her on the road before my wedding in the new year (May 2019) and he was going to help me to fix her up before then.
We decided to work on mainly cosmetic items to begin with, under the bonnet was rusty and a previous owner had ripped out the headlining and rusted the roof for a 'rat look'. If this was going to be a wedding car it had to at least look presentable.
Our first task was treating the surface rust under the bonnet, I'd already ripped out most of the horrible 'shaggy carpet' insulation that was stuck to the underside just waiting for a spark to turn Nutmeg into a rolling shell but there was still bits left to do, and I wanted a good finish, so after covering the engine bay with a sheet we worked on cleaning off any remnants which took most of the day, but we got to work coating the bonnet underside with Aquasteel, this was a bigger job than it looked as there are various nooks and crannies that rust had seeped into and we wanted to make it as clean as possible.
We worked until it got too dark before retiring and letting the treatment cure.
The next morning we masked up and sprayed it black making sure to spray the bonnet hook for good measure.
Weather took a turn so we couldn't get much done for a couple of days, so during the next bout of much-needed dry weather we pulled her back out of the garage with the intention of sorting out the rather poorly operating brakes which do work but the pedal is pretty much to the floor. We took off a front wheel and checked the drums, and promptly scratched our heads.
Now my experience of drum brakes were that there was a dust cover which you remove, turn a cog with two screwdrivers and this brings the shoes closer to the drum but that wasn't the case with Nutmeg, after checking the manual we discovered we needed a tool for the adjuster screw which unfortunately, I didn't have in my tool kits. We put the wheel back on and I ordered new brake shoes and the tool to adjust them and we backed her into the garage as the weather looked to be turning.
We decided to use this time instead to make a start on the inner roof, using the rest of the Aquasteel (Don't worry, I've purchased more of it off eBay!) With enough for one coat we used it until the brushes went dry and then retired to let it cure.
We inspected it a few days later and decided it needed another coat but overall were quite happy with the result.
During this time the mesh I had ordered arrived which I was using to make a custom grill, having had no luck attempting to source a complete OEM unit. I'd ordered two boxes but quickly determined I would only require one, the mesh is black aluminium and a good thickness to be lightweight but strong and pliable.
We tested it in the gap left by the missing grill and it fitted almost perfectly, it even matched up to several holes in the body that could be used to affix it to the car.
By this point it was nearing the end of the week and I needed to take my brother back home so I left Nutmeg until a few weeks later when I had a couple more days off work. I used the time to finish off rust treating the roof, sprayed the inner roof black and attached the grill to the car.
I noticed my rear view mirror was looking rather shabby and I knew I had some silver paint I had mistakenly bought instead of black, with poor weather I made the decision to do this in the garage and used Nutmeg's bonnet as a work surface, covering her with a thick sheet to protect her...
I decided to spray the mirror with Zinc Galvanised paint as a primer before giving it a silver overcoat. This appeared to work a treat and by the following morning I had a shiny new-looking rear view mirror, I even gave the screws the same treatment so that they didn't ruin the aesthetics. I refitted the mirror without issue and admired it through the windscreen, with the sun now sparking off the stainless windscreen wipers I removed the sheet and DISASTER!
The silver paint had pooled on the sheet and seeped through onto the white paintwork underneath, square in the middle of my bonnet was a stubborn fist-sized patch of silver paint.. I pulled at my hair in desperation and anxiously picked at it but it was not coming off..
I was at a loss at what to do so I grabbed my cleaning products and got to work, a cleaner and a microfibre towel took off some remnants but the main patch remained there as stubbornly shining in the late afternoon sunshine, taunting me.
It was at this moment that my missus arrived back from their day out with the kids, she came to greet me and gave me her helpful insight "There's silver paint on there, can't you get it off?" grinding my teeth but refusing to admit defeat I told one of my kids to bring me a kitchen sponge and went to raid the metal racks at the corner of my garage. The previous homeowner had helpfully left tins of all sorts of chemicals and cleaners for general household jobs. I needed something abrasive but not strong enough to ruin my paint... and then I saw my saviour.. SUGAR SOAP.
I tested a small area and with no ill effects to the paintwork or finish I doused it and started rubbing in circles with the microfibre, small flecks of silver came off, I continued until one of my kids returned with the sponge so I tested the scourer side and this made short work of the remaining silver paint.
I wiped the sweat from my brow... Crisis averted!
To be continued...
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