While I've been working away restoring and preparing all the parts and components for my BN1, the body/metal & paint has been farmed out to Jetstream Auto & Custom, here in Sidney BC.
Owner Jason Stoch has been plugging away over the past 2 yrs with the metal work and bringing the chassis and body back to her original specs.
While my car was quite good as far as rust and corrosion goes, it did have a lot of dents and abuse in the outer body panels.
Jason has spent many hours working them out as best he can with heat and a hammer and dolly. Inevitably the final step to making them perfect is some filler.
As I'm now at a point of waiting for the finished painted chassis to return so I can start reassembly, I asked if there was anything I could do to help out at Jetstream..
With 4 other Healeys & a handful of other classics underway there presently, Jason was very receptive to my offer of help out!
So, last week we arranged for me to come in and work a day doing some of the filling and sanding of my various body panels.
Jason taught me how to mix and apply the filler, and then how to sand it correctly with some of their specialty sanding tools designed for smoothing out all the curved panels. - It turned out to be a great learning experience, and I feel like it came quite naturally!
Here's how the aluminum front shroud and bonnet evolved from bare aluminum - primer - dent work - to filler and sanding.
The final layer of filler is actually just paper thin, and I should also point out that my car had clear evidence of some filler found on the front shroud from the factory!
In the end Jason had to remove the inner steel bonnet frame from the aluminum skin so he could properly smooth out the skin...
The front steel fenders were another story - the left one was almost perfect, while the right one had lots of rust holes in the bottom corner and loads of deep dents and abuse that needed to be worked out.
Here's the evolution of the front fenders repairs:
The doors were both quite good, a bit of rust found in the lower skins that was repaired and otherwise just some smoothing and a few cracks to weld:
The inner and outer sills were replaced on both sides, as well as the lower sections of the rear fenders and door posts. Jetstream did a beautiful job of these repairs as you can see:
Here's the front and rear sections of the inner sill repairs:
The front and rear wheel arches were all in good shape. My car has the early 3 piece front wheel arches, that were 2 piece on later cars:
In the boot we replaced both of the rear frame members that extend to the rear shroud edge and carry the bumper brackets.
The aluminum rear shroud and boot lid both had lots of dents and distortion to work out - but otherwise had no corrosion.
Jason carefully removed the inner frame of the boot lid and bonnet so he could properly smooth the dents in the aluminum skins.
He used a clever system of threaded rods with appropriate sized washers and nuts and some heat to correctly re-align the tail light pods:
A few more days at Jetstream to sand and prepare the body and we're on track to prime and paint the chassis!
In other news I'd been trying to source some correct original Champion NA-8 spark plugs for my BN1.
Luckily I have finally found a set through my good friend Curt Arndt. - However I also found some interesting questions along the way!
Originally I found and purchased a NOS set of N-8 plugs that were advertised as correct for Healey and XK jags on E-bay.
When they arrived, they were not the black phosphate finish that I was expecting to see - instead they were plated shiny. Not only that, but I also realized Healeys should have NA-8 - not N-8.
So what's the difference between N-8 and NA-8 plugs?? near as I can tell, it's temperature retention.
However both N-8 and NA-8 plugs have the same modern cross reference of N5C!
Furthermore I found out through some other concours committee members that there were black finished N-8 plugs available, and there were also visible differences between various NA-8 plugs depending on if they were made in UK, Canada, or USA!
Here's some pics of the various differences and similarities between N-8 and NA-8 plugs:
On the left in red boxes are the newer N-8's I purchased online with shiny plated bases,
on the right are a vintage set of NA-8's with blackened bases:
Now here is a vintage N-8 compared to a vintage NA-8: they look and measure identically other than the number code:
Here is a really old NA-8 from England compared to one from the USA:
- and on the right is a pic of original unrestored BN1 b#1267 that was found with a seemingly original set of N-8's in it (so clearly N-8's will also work just fine in a BN1)
To go with the spark plugs, I've finally been able to source some of the correct type of shiny black spark plug wire, and even the correct molded rubber spark plug boots with the numbers molded in them!
I rebuilt the distributor with new points, rotor, condenser and ground wires...
That's about all I have to update on the restoration for now. I've ordered a bunch of new parts for rebuilding my oil filter, and my shocks are currently being rebuilt by Apple Hydraulics in NY.
Next week I'll put in another day at Jetstream and hopefully get the body panels sanded ready for primer. After that we can take them all off and go about priming and painting the inner chassis.
I'll leave you with a few pics of my finished dashboard - I see it everyday as I enter my shop and I eagerly look forward to the day I can install it in the car!
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.