Robert Richmond-Jones 1957 TS
As promised herewith some lines re my restoration of my 57 TS, an interesting vehicle, somewhat rare having round white dials and trunion lower wishbones. Nick Driscoll believes that this spec was only produced from Jan 57 for 6 months. My car is in effect a barn find having covered 55000 miles from new. It was registered to a garage new then sold to the owner from whom I purchased it when it had covered 2000 miles. I have been given some photographs of the car in the late 50’s and early 60’s “on holiday” in Switzerland.
Some early pictures of XRT620 in 1958 with its original owner. Note the big diamond.
You will note that the front grill is of a later period, the previous owner cannot remember why but seems to think that he had a minor “incident” after the factory closed and that what’s on the car was all that was available at the time – by chance a few years ago I was able to acquire a big diamond grill which had been re-chromed and thus the vehicle can be returned to its correct spec.
It is not often that you find a vehicle which has lain unused for the best part of 44 years in such sound and rust free condition, the only problem area being a hole of approximately 4 to 6 inches square in the floor immediately behind the left hand bulk head – otherwise the vehicle is as it left the factory.
You will note from the photographs that the interior is green – seemly unusual for the model.
The clock was missing and I am extremely grateful to George Sinclair for finding me a replacement that not only works but keeps perfect time (in this model they were an eight day wind up unit).
As you can imagine after such a long period of inactivity and although for the most part well stored over the years, temperature changes are bound to have an effect on the moving parts.
Ollie and I (having invested large sums in “Plus Gas”) were able to free off the brake adjusters in the matter of an hour, likewise the hand brake cable and other moving parts freed up after a good soaking.
The first thing that was decided upon was to remove the engine (which was seized) and John Wallis very kindly offered to rebuild it subject to the supply of requisite parts. It was found to be in generally good order, the head was skimmed to ensure a correct fit, some piston rings were replaced and as a precaution new big ends and main bearing shells were fitted (kindly supplied by George). Ollie by chance acquired a head gasket set on the internet.
Father and Son Robert and Oliver
Having removed the engine with the assistance of my friend Bob Dicker who for those older club members will perhaps recall restored my Combi in the early 90’s, we set about removing all paint etc. from the engine bay reducing it to bear metal and you will see from the photographs that it has an undercoat of red oxide (two coats) and two coats of stone chip – the results from the spray can have not produced the “stipple” effect as expected and I will apply a third coat using a spray gun and compressor.
The decision has been taken not to strip the vehicle down to a bear shell with a view to a ground up restoration because I believe that it is in good enough shape to be re-commissioned mechanically and electrically having already a cache of spares as the result of the demise of Ollie’s spare car, the ex Howard Jacks TS Saloon “SUH”.
Other jobs have included stripping, cleaning and checking the starter motor, dynamo and windscreen motor – all of which appear to be in full working order.
The engine is now back here and “looks great” and I will, after painting, attach the ancillaries, check the clutch and thereafter reunite it with the car.
I will then move onto the brakes having checked and repaired and resealed the wheel cylinders and acquired some new flexi hoses. The only brake pipe that needs to be remanufactured is that from the master cylinder centrally to the rear of the car.
The engine compartment is now finished and I will shortly start to install the ancillaries prior to refitting the engine. The welding has been done by my friend Steve Dart who is in fact Land Rover trained but is in fact a very good welder (and is mobile!).
Compressor tested in 1945
March 2010 Engine in
Now the connecting up starts.
My car now has had it’s “nose job” and is waxoyled underneath and also the internal box sections.
I have also used some chrome effect spray paint to re-silver the reflectors in the rear lamps. I have also had manufactured the front to rear brake line and the fuel line. The fuel tank has been taken out and cleaned inside and once painted and waxoyled (outside) can be refitted to the car.
Whilst on holiday with Wendy and her Mum in Exmouth I visited Tony Stokoe at Lympstone and was delighted by a ride in his lovely Combi which despite his concerns about the apparent vibration at 60 mph made all the right Borgward noises and I believe that he was reassured in the knowledge that they all do it and that being in a combi is like riding in a shoe box and therefore somewhat noisier than the Saloon. I did suggest that he turned the rubber support at the front of the diff through 90 degrees which would have the effect of raising the front of it and thus lining up the prop shaft which may well reduce the vibration.
I have in fact stripped the front
suspension down and since taking the photos I have managed to obtain new trunnions
(and to my great joy) brand new bottom wishbones, which have now been undercoated
and sprayed. I am also acquiring from Snap On a bladed socket with which to
be able to tighten the countersunk screws when fitting the trunnions. In addition
I have acquired from George new anti roll bar rubbers and new front shock
absorbers. The stearing box needed nothing more than lubricating and it seems
that the other parts are OK.
already sorted the rear end which included having to turn one of the bumper brackets through 180 degrees because it had been welded on the wrong way round! The petrol tank has been removed cleaned, painted and refitted and I have added rubber buffers between the body and the three contact points at the top of the tank. Hand in hand with the fuel tank is a new fuel line to the fuel pump.I am experimenting with rear shock absorbers having discovered that Ford Granada (1985 model) can be made to fit. Watch this space.
Front lower wishbone
New trunions fitted.
Robert now has his engine running the first time in 50 years!
First run in 50 years.
Video of the event.
Robert has fitted a fuel primer so save tha battery and starter motor
Rather than re-paint it I have lacquered the roof bonnet and boot lid so the body is “as found”.
Given that the tracking is set at 0 degrees toe in/toe out I was able to jam the offside wheels against the kerb and use two planks of wood joined together and supported by axle stands on the near side. All I had to do then was to adjust the steering so that the front tyre on the near side touched the wood across its diameter.
At long last the Presidential Barn Find is now ready for the road and I attach some pictures taken today.
It has taken me nearly 7 years to re-commission the car but it has all been worth it .
The next job is to run it in and after some bedding down I hope to be able to come to the AGM in it.
There are a lot of people to thank for their assistance but in particular John Wallis for doing the engine and being on the end of a phone to help with advice as to the electrics, George Sinclair for the supply of parts, various other club members who have given me support and last but not least my long suffering wife Wendy (whose jobs included typing this and various other emails, scanning pictures, sitting in the car pressing pedals and waggling the steering wheel and keeping me lubricated with countless cups of tea!).
Robert and (his long suffering) Wendy.