DOING STUFF

WHILE MERE MORTALS SLEEP, MORLEY SOLDIERS ON Ė WHILE THATíS NOT STRICTLY TRUE, HE HAS BEEN DOING A BIT

WORDS & PHOTOS DAVE MORLEY

THIS MONTH

THE CARS

í76 BMW 633

Owned since 2014 Miles 134,251

í90 MK2 GOLF GTI

Owned since 2015 Kms 151,645

í66 SHELBY GT350

Owned since 1996 Miles 55,085 O d i

í79 KINGSWOOD

Owned since 1982 Kms 361,491 O d i

í80 HOLDEN VC SL

Owned since 2016 Kms unknown O d i

í90 MAZDA MX-5

Owned since 2016 Kms 240,329

í76 VW BEETLE

Owned since 2006 Kms 7,252 O d i

í79 RS2000

Owned since 2012 Kms 139,083 THE LITTLE JOBS keep piling up on Project Hillclimber, but Iím doing the smart thing; knocking them over one at a time as time permits. Iíd hesitate to call the last month or so a flurry of activity, but I am still making headway.

That started with disabling the locking steering column. A lot of people throw away the ignition barrel in favour of a couple of switches for the electric fuel pump and ignition and a big red starter button. Looks cool, but Iíve a feeling itís a bit of a J.

Arthur Rank. I want to stick with the standard ignition key. Thatís assuming I can still reach it when belted in by a four-point harness, and I havenít a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y tried that yet so, who knows, I may be joining the big-redbutton brigade anyway.

Point is, no matter what I do, I have to disable the steering column lock (for obvious reasons). In the case of an old Commodore, the column locks via a big old metal pin that lives in the column and fires into a notch in the back of the steering boss. Simple but effective. So was my method of removing it: Brute strength. Eventually, I bent the pin and snapped it, taking half out from the front, the rest from behind.

Sorted.

Then thereís the matter of a tail-shaft loop. The two-piece tailshaft on a VC Commo is a bit of a known weak point on these cars, but theyíll usually wobble and vibrate for a long time before they actually fall apart. Thereís a factory cross-member that acts as a loop to catch the front half of the tailshaft should it find itself flailing away under the car, but the front of the rear half needed something fabricated to catch it.

I already had a hole in the floor that forms one of the four mounting points for the new battery location and it turned out to be in the perfect position to double as an anchor point

for one side of my tailshaft loop. So it then became a simple matter of cutting a strip of steel to length, bolting it to the floor on one side and then drilling a hole on the opposite side of the tunnel and slipping a bolt through the floor there with a big washer on the inside.

Almost seemed too easy.

I also figured it was time to reassemble the rear bumper and tail-lights that I pulled apart to remove the tow-bar and paint the panel between the lights black.

Itís a look Iíve always liked on these cars, but donít look too closely at the quality of the actual paint job. They call me Clancy. ĎClancy of the Oversprayí. Somehow, I managed to find all the relevant nuts, bolts and washers and replaced the lights and the bumper.

Heck, I even managed to snap the stainless trims back into place and only broke one plastic clip.

Result.

I keep thinking Iím getting closer until I look at the list I made and discover that Iím only about a quarter of the way through it. Part of the problem is that every time I look at that damn list I wind up adding a couple of things to it that I hadnít thought of yet. On the plus side, thereís nothing on the list that I donít have at least some idea of how to tackle, so maybe there is hope. Just gotta keep the faith.

ďHECK, I EVEN MANAGED TO SNAP THE STAINLESS STEEL TRIMS BACK INTO PLACE AND ONLY BROKE ONE PLASTIC CLIPĒ