Restoration project: D750 Ford Restoration Part 4

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Lyndsay Whittle tackles part 4 of the D750 Ford restoration project

In the last few weeks we’ve been underway with this current restoration, it had been full steam ahead with getting the engine and the surrounding area cleaned and painted, and it was looking like the job was going to be completed in double-quick time.

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Once the windscreen had been removed by the boys at Bespoke Auto Glass (I didn’t want to trust the task to my own clumsy hands), it should’ve only taken a few weeks to make some minor repairs to the guttering above the doors on both sides, to sand the dash panel, repair the instrument cluster, paint the surrounding area, and get the windscreen back in place. That was the intention anyway.

The windscreen removal served a dual purpose in not only allowing access to repaint the entire dash panel but also to make it easy to be able to remove the instruments without the need to twist oneself inside-out during the process.

It’s ironic that the dash panel wouldn’t have needed a repaint at all had it not have been for the fact that sometime in the truck’s previous life, someone had coated it with a horrible matte black finish, which only served to make the truck look scruffy rather than making it look better.

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It looks like it’s all going backwards

Well anyway, as we all know, even the best-laid plans often go awry, which is exactly what happened in November.

The intention was that I’d be concentrating around 80% of my restoration efforts on the Ford, at the same time as being aware that there was still some unfinished business in the form of getting the previous restoration, the FGK Morris over the line, by completing the certification process.

By applying the 80/20 rule to the work schedule, I reckoned that I couldn’t lose. I guess it’s fair to say that the 80/20 rule is exactly what’s being applied, only it’s in reverse order, as the Morris is currently requiring every waking moment. Let me explain.

Without going over too much old ground with the progress as covered in last month’s instalment, the Morris had been seen by a certifying engineer who said he wanted to see a previous chassis weld redone under his supervision.

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A piece of shed art in the meantime

The job needed to be done by a certified welder, so I found an engineer in South Auckland where the body was removed in order to facilitate the required welding, the repair was carried out, and the certifier was invited back for an inspection.

While the welding passed muster, it was decreed by the certifier that the middle cross member, which was riveted in place now, had to come out and have four new mounting plates made before refitting.

It was kind-of like unravelling a ball of string; it just kept coming and coming. As soon as one requirement was ticked off the list, there was just one more thing that needed attention.

So, in order to save me some money and to save the engineering firm some time taking its staff off other more-urgent work, I was summoned to carry out the removal and refitting of the components.

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Wiring exposed

While that’s all well and good—after all, everybody likes to save money—it means that I have had to make numerous trips across town over the past two weeks, with each journey taking at least three hours per day out of my available on-the-tools time.

I know this all sounds like a convenient excuse for a lack of dedication on my part, but I have to say that I’ve been left scratching my head as to how I was going to get the D Series Ford show back on track before the looming Christmas break.

Now, Christmas is theoretically just another period on the calendar, but the reality of the matter is that people actually do start to mentally wind down several weeks before the event, making things just that little bit harder to get jobs completed.

However, I couldn’t allow myself the pleasure of using the Yuletide season as an excuse for not getting things done, as there were plenty of jobs in the cleaning, sanding and priming departments that kept me busy.

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A dash tidy-up before refitting I reckon

Now that I’ve hopefully managed to explain-away my slow progress with the Ford job, I can nonetheless say that we are still making progress, albeit a little bit slow. While the instruments were all in working order, the speedometer, temperature, and fuel gauge cluster looked a little scruffy, particularly due to the fact that the chromed bezel had lost most of its chromium.

Robinson Instruments gave that a nice tidy-up, and it’s now ready to be fitted back into the panel once I’ve decided how we’ll go about giving that a freshen-up that’ll be worthy of accepting the rest of the instruments.

Unfortunately, the truck is now at the stage that every restoration reaches whereby the associated photos make it look like it’s all going backwards, so here’s hoping things will look better next month.

Many balls in the air

Having managed to confuse myself with where I’m at with my restoration projects, I thought it might be helpful to the readers if I provided the following synopsis of where things are currently at.

D750 Ford

Engine and engine bay cleaned and painted; windscreen out and ready to go back in with new rubber; guttering both sides repaired and primed; cab stripped except for rear windows; instruments repaired, ready for refitting; very little rust found in cab due to rustproofing performed when new Grille removed, ready for refurbishment.

FGK Morris

The chassis has finally passed its LT400 certification and we can now replace the body before revisiting the testing station.

While this is a huge leap in the right direction, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether that’ll be the end of the saga or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Coming up...

Getting back on track in 2020

Tip of the month

Learn to be patient

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