November, 1975 Ken Lees told me there was a 1947 16 Sport Saloon for sale by David Price, an ex ROC member. I had to have it: I had recently seen Barry Lees’ car. David had intended to restore his car but had taken up other interests. It was under cover and the engine and gearbox were out. Peter Smith drove his 90 with a trailer in tow and we brought the car and all the spares back to Frenchs Forest. David had wrecked a 6 light and there were a lot of spares including an engine and gearbox.
Royce Page 1
Freewheeling 1 October 1983
Royce & Gwen Cole’s 1947 Rover 16 Sport Saloon
I removed the dashboard and wiring complete by bringing the harness through the access holes in the top of the bulkhead and into the car. Then all wires on the rear of the dash and connections to the voltage regulator were numbered. I made a list of all the switches and instruments and the numbers of the wires that were connected to them. This worked out very well when rewiring the car. I made the necessary repairs to the wiring harness (Rover wire) and sent the harness off to be rebraided in cotton, as original.
I spent 3 years odd cleaning parts and learning about P2’s talking to club members about the car, but not much restoring was done until we decided to leave Frenchs Forest and build a house in Toukley, so that I could get on with the important work and stop working for a living.
June 1979 Les Roberts helped me move the lot to Toukley in a hired van. I hoisted the chassis to the roof of my new three car garage and parked the body in the centre of the garage, with the 90 under the chassis and the 2000TC the other side. This got everything inside out of the weather. All the seats, steering, diff, axles, etc, were stored in a 10 x 10 garden shed. Each day the two mobile Rovers were moved out and, after a lot of work with scraper and paint stripper, the bare metal of the bodywork emerged.
The body is fairly light with everything out and is quite easily rolled on its sides and roof, with suitable padding on the floor to avoid damage. The rear section each side of the boot was the worst rusted area. I made the rounded sections from 22g steel plate, beating into suitable wooden blocks to get the shape right. The rusted and holed parts were then cut away and the new pieces trimmed to fit edge to edge before they were welded into place.
The gussets between door posts and side rails were remade and welded in together with patches in rear wheel arches and rear guards. The front guards needed lots of beating into shape and a few splits in edges had to be patched and welded. I was quite pleased to find that the metal shrinking process as described in some body repair books really works and got rid of quite a few bumps which had resulted from previous dings having been over hammered causing expanded metal.
Freewheeling 2 October 1983
The sides of the body around the rear wheel arches had quite a few holes about the size of a pencil with strong metal between. I used a 90 degree punch, ground from a piece of ¾” steel, to dish these below the surface and then filled them with weld metal using a 1/8” rod with No.8 tip. After filing back level, the sides were as good as new. Note that you must put cold water on the red hot weld to keep the metal shrunk; it is easy to get a bump at each weld. (click on image on your left)
The body was coated inside all over and inside all posts, channels, etc, with fish oil compound, Pioneer or Rustoil which is slower drying with a special pipe nozzle which I made for the spray gun; a piece of copper pipe, 5/16”, about 15” long which can be bent to fit around corners. With the rolling over of the body the result was that everywhere was rust-proofed, and these compounds crept into all seams etc. The whole of the under side of the body was stripped to metal, rust treated, primed and sprayed black.
I then fitted four 2x2x6 inch wood blocks under the body sides at corners and fitted four shepherd casters. These allowed the body to be rolled out of the way while the chassis was lowered to the floor and moved to the centre in place of the body. Most of the chassis paint was in good shape so only bare spots were cleaned to metal, treated with Dockidene, etch primed and under-coated in 3D. The rest was cleaned with Shellite and scuffed with Scotch Brite pads and the whole sprayed with two or three coats of black Wattyl nitro-cellulose lacquer.
Front and rear springs were taken apart and each leaf polished on a 60 grit flap wheel, smoothing out the ridges where one leaf works against the other, and removing all rust. Each leaf was painted separately and assembled with molybdenum disulphide grease between leaves but not in the centre where the springs are clamped to the axles. Front springs are marked “L” and “R”. New bronze bushes were fitted to all spring eyes, press fit, lightly coated in Locktite 277. Rear top shackles were also rebushed and all bushes reamed to fit new pins.
The end movement of springs on pins, and top of front and rear shackles, is adjusted by stainless steel washers to zero. The car is nice and firm on the road with no rattles from the springs. Shock absorbers were good and only needed filling with the correct oil, Shockol, which Noel Lumsden found for me. The links did need modification. The bottom rubbers were OK but due to the large movement in the rubber at the shocker arm, I decided to make up a double bush arrangement which allows renewal of rubbers if necessary, much the same as in the top front 2000 or lower rear P4
The chassis was levelled on stands while the front axle, caster wedges and rear axle casing were fitted. 55 ton bolts were torqued to 35lbs with Rover nuts. New locking plates were made for the bolt heads. These also hold the front bump rubbers. I had to remake the brake equalizer; the rear was made as original but the front needed modification to minimize wear and improve lubrication. New lever plates, front and rear, were made from 1”x3/4” medium carbon steel and the spindles from silver steel as were all shackle pins except some I obtained from the late Vic Lewin.
New king pins and bushes were next, also from Vic, and you DO have to bolt up the brake backing plate and steering arms before reaming the bushes (10” long reamer), as the stub axle distorts when the bolts are tightened. New brake linings were bonded by B.B. Brakes and I changed the wedges from the rear wheels with the front, thus putting the unused section to the rollers. The brake rods forks and clevis pins were almost as new so the brake installation was complete
The numbers which were taped to the ends of the wire with clear tape came through the covering process without damage. This cost $45. The current carrying capacity of Rover wire is much greater than for modern wire so it is better to keep the original wire if possible and use wire from Rover wrecks for repair.
Next, the body came off the chassis. I noted and labelled the shims at attachment points. The diff, front axle, springs, steering gear and brake rods were all stowed away with doors, seats and other bits, under the house.
The welding consists of small spots about one inch apart, using a 1/16” mild steel rod, and then fusing together between spots using a No.6 tip. With care and avoiding too much concentration of heat, in any one area, I got a good reproduction of the original. I used a piece of towel and a bucket of water to cool the job as the work proceeded.