Alvis TA14 Mulliners Saloon Restoration

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JPB
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#51 Post by JPB » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:46 pm

Such "skilful"( :lol: ) use of Cataloy never fails to astound me. Imagine how much longer it must take to do that compared to making proper repairs in the first place! At least the car is in good hands now though. :thumbs:
J
"Home is where you park it", so the saying goes. That may yet come true.. :oops:

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Luxobarge
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Location: Horne, Surreyshire

Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#52 Post by Luxobarge » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:31 pm

That's lovely, I don't think you're at all mad, I'd have bought that in a heartbeat.

Looking forward to the next set of photos very much.
Some people are like Slinkies - they serve no useful purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them downstairs.

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UKJeeper
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#53 Post by UKJeeper » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:37 am

Stunning work. Most impressed.. :thumbs:

OldBuzzard
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#54 Post by OldBuzzard » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Hi there,
Just stumbled upon this and I am so pleased to see what you are doing to my old car!

I was the university student who's father bought this for me in, I think 1966, for all of £10. It was a rescue job even then as the poor old car had a cracked engine block so I bought a rolling chassis for £5 and transferred the engine across. I think I ran it for about 4 years before it went to the guy who kept it for about 40 years. It was pale grey when I got it but I then painted it blue using coach enamel, so the repaint to chocolate and cream was after my time. At that date the interior was quite sound but I did apply some Plastic Padding at the base of the door pillars I recall. The boot floor was holed even then, but I don't remember the inner wings and wheel arches being as bad at that time. You are doing a great job on the body. I am deeply impressed.

Have you had the cylinder head off yet? I know that the gasket blew between cylinders 3 and 4 while I had it (I believe that blowing the gasket at that point is one of the few weaknesses of the TA14 engine) and being an impecunious student simply keeping an old car on the road I used two blown gaskets to make one good one (the gasket on a TA14 is totally symmetrical). It would be amazing if that bodge had lasted so long!

I will see if I can find one or two photos I had of the car in the 60's and also write some more about it's history in those days.

pryantcc
Posts: 289
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#55 Post by pryantcc » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:45 am

OldBuzzard wrote:Hi there,
Just stumbled upon this and I am so pleased to see what you are doing to my old car!

I was the university student who's father bought this for me in, I think 1966, for all of £10. It was a rescue job even then as the poor old car had a cracked engine block so I bought a rolling chassis for £5 and transferred the engine across. I think I ran it for about 4 years before it went to the guy who kept it for about 40 years. It was pale grey when I got it but I then painted it blue using coach enamel, so the repaint to chocolate and cream was after my time. At that date the interior was quite sound but I did apply some Plastic Padding at the base of the door pillars I recall. The boot floor was holed even then, but I don't remember the inner wings and wheel arches being as bad at that time. You are doing a great job on the body. I am deeply impressed.
How great to find it again!! :)

Mash
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#56 Post by Mash » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:41 pm

I've got to admit i'm completely amazed to have read that! It's great to hear a bit more about it, I have researched onto the history as much as possible and haven't learnt anything new for a while :) £10! If only I had paid that... Do you remember how much it was sold on for? i'm assuming from that, that the guy I bought it from made a nice profit for his 40 years of storage :lol:

Yes I did find the plastic padding still partially in there, it still looked reasonable which is what fooled me so well into thinking it wasn't so badly deteriorated, never mind though, I have enjoyed the challenge so far :P

I actually have the picture of (presumably you) working on the alvis with the engine hoisted up outside in what looks like a garden and there is a woman sitting on a deckchair if I remember rightly in the corner. The rolling chassis is in the background. I pieced together some of the jigsaw about the engine after I bought it thanks to the previous owner. I had wondered why it was changed! Do you remember the mileage on the block that it has now when you fitted it? I have no good indication of mileage now other than it was apparently only driven a few thousand miles since you sold it! Do you remember how many miles the car had done at the time of the engine change too? Just out of interest! Shame the block cracked, i guess it went to the scrappy? Any information would be of interest :D

I have had the cylinder head off, the damage between 3 and 4 is very much still there! Without the funds to have it rebored (as it's still all original by the looks of it) I used JB weld to build up the very small bit that is damaged and put a new head gasket on... I haven't fired it up yet as I've taken the wiring out and don't have a clue how to get it wired to run without the wiring loom unfortunately so can't test it. (if anyone knows how I would appreciate any tips/help!). It didn't run very well at all though when I bought it and would stall after 30 seconds of rough running.

Mash
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 9:59 pm

Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#57 Post by Mash » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:42 pm

I've been mulling over what you mentioned about the two halves of the head gasket, I read it wrong at first and thought you meant two laid one over the top of eachother but then the penny dropped..! The car did indeed still have your two part gasket when I took the head off, I spoke with a club member about it on the one time i managed to get along to an event and he was fairly adamant that Payen never made a two part gasket for the TA14! It's since been replaced but is lying around somewhere in the garage (no longer awaiting identification!) it hadn't visibily blown other than maybe at one of the studs.

OldBuzzard
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#58 Post by OldBuzzard » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:19 pm

Hi Mash,
I have just been hunting for some notes I made about a decade ago, or more, but of course not found them. A couple of photos have turned up so I will scan them and post them here in due course. Both are side views showing before and after I hand painted the car.

What can I remember of its history?
I was told that the owner before me was in the RAF and stationed at Halton. When the engine block cracked due to frost it was going to be scrapped but an Alvis enthusiast found it room in his barn in Little Kingshill to avoid this. He also had a 1929 Silver Eagle fabric bodied tourer in fine order and a Crested Eagle limo which was very dusty but I think also pretty sound. I wanted a first car and heard about the TA14. I cannot recall the mileage on it at that time but I imagine quite high though with the oils of those days high would be around 80 to 100 thousand miles. I suspect that if you knocked off 10,000 from its current reading you would be pretty close unless it has been right round the clock!
The chassis for the spare engine came from somewhere in south-west London. I can't remember exactly where after all this time but I still vividly remember being towed back to Little Kingshill behind my father's Humber Sceptre through a rain storm sitting on a seat loosely fixed to the Alvis chassis'. The chassis was all that remained of a "woody" estate and the picture you have is I guess of me changing the engine over with I would suppose the wife of said Alvis enthusiast in the deck chair. I looked inside the gearboxes and used the one that looked least worn, I simply cannot remember if it was the original or the one from the chassis, though if I was forced to bet I would think the original but can't promise that. My memory of driving the car is that the gearbox was very good. The engine that I took out went to another TA14 owner for spares. The back axle used more oil than the engine as it needed a new differential oil seal and I expect it still does. I fitted early halogen spotlights to improve the lighting - they cost more than the car! Those I kept when the car went.

I took the car to Cambridge during the long vacation term in the summer of 1969 and it was used for student picnics, going to the pub and so on. I remember driving back at night with a load of students on board, including one of them standing up out of the sun roof and singing to the world as we drove along. Another time I took a group of us up to London for a Prom concert at the Albert Hall and as the concert ended I realised I didn't have the keys. When we returned to the car it was the only one parked in the street and the keys were still in the ignition. I doubt if the car would have still been there today.

In the early 70's I went up to Keele in Staffordshire and the car was left in my parents garden and as it was suffering I asked my parents to find a new owner for it. They contacted the aforementioned Alvis enthusiast who arranged for it to go to the guy from whom you acquired it. I am not sure I got any money at all for it but as my father had provided the £10 to buy it perhaps he was paid that. It wouldn't have been any more than that I am sure but as I say I was not there at the time. The new owner had it repainted as you know but as you have discovered that made it look shiny but underneath it must have slowly festered away rather over the next decades. But at least it was given a garage to stay in and without that it would have dissolved away completely by now.

I am quite amazed that the trick I did with the head gasket lasted so long. I obviously didn't describe it very well; the good end of one gasket for cylinders 1 and 2 and the good end of the other gasket for cylinders 3 and 4. It will be interesting to see if your idea of JB weld lasts as long! When you do have the cash the proper solution will be flanged cylinder liners of the standard bore size as oversized bores are a bad idea in these engines.

Just to encourage you: I bought another TA14 about 10 years ago (for rather more than £10) which also needed lots of welding around the edges of the wings, the sills and so on but then got sidetracked into doing a Mini for one daughter and a Morris Minor Travellor for the other. Then we moved house but, finally, the TA14 went back on the road this month! It is absolutely not concourse but is solid now and I intend to repaint it in the summer and use it whenever possible.

Hope the above is of interest and good luck.

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JPB
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Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#59 Post by JPB » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:36 pm

This is wonderful stuff, the sort of history that money just doesn't buy and makes the car all the more interesting.
My apologies for being rude about the use of alternative repair methods by the way. Sometimes I only open my gob to change feet and besides, had the car not been filled back then, who can say for sure that it would still be around now, in the hands of a talented enthusiast?

This amazing story demonstrates that sometimes, the odd "bodge" can work in favour of a car's survival and that's my lesson learnt for today.
:)
J
"Home is where you park it", so the saying goes. That may yet come true.. :oops:

Mash
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 9:59 pm

Re: Alvis TA14 Mulliners Restoration

#60 Post by Mash » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:45 pm

If you do find your notes, it would be interesting to know more. What you've said paints an interesting picture though and has already sparked a little more interest in it for me :) I look forward to seeing the photos. Hints of the blue are still visible, I expect this time I will strip the paintwork back to bare metal as although it would be good to keep the 'history' of the car it also means any rust lying underneath will be missed and likely come through at some point.

I still have the green log book with presumably yourself and the owner before you listed, i'm wondering now if I may be able to find some details of his time with the car as presumably RAF Halton may have some information on him.

I think the car had around 3650 miles on the clock when I bought it although I have no idea if this is 103,650 or just a random number having been reset at some point, I guess i'll never know for sure! As for the gearbox, I believe you're right about it being the original as it has 1948 on the casing as apposed to the engine which has '46. The back axle has been leaking the whole time i've had it and I wouldn't be surprised if it's near empty. Do you remember thinking there was a large amount of play in the diff when you owned it? It seems to clunk a lot when turning the shaft back and forth (as does my '71 sprite which I think may have the same problem!). I'm guessing it is wear due to the oil leaking too much and just general wear? I've been buying up one of each oil seal whenever they become available and think I have all the ones for the diff now apart from the main one for the prop shaft (which I think is the bad one!) so hopefully will give it a full rebuild some day.

It's funny to hear the story of the person singing from the sunroof, i've joked occasionally with people that it would be good fun to hang out of while driving along as there's still no need for seatbelts... not sure if there is a law about sitting in your seat though.

Having heard the background behind the plastic padding I must admit, it probably did save it in the long term!

I had read somewhere that JB Weld was suitable for some engine related repairs so I just built up the landing by about 1mm between the two bores and sanded it level. Hopefully with it under compression with the new gasket on top it will hold it in place enough to stop it being blasted away. We will see!

Did the car ever have a bit of a bump at the rear do you know? The boot never fit right and from the picture I have of it in its original grey (probably sitting in your parents garden) it looks the same then. The chassis measured up straight enough though.

Glad to hear you got another TA14, it can't have been a bad car if you bought another. Would be great to see some pictures of that if you've put any up anywhere? I too have been sidetracked, shouldn't have bought a Sprite but I was itching to get into a classic and they are quite affordable, unfortunately it has needed a fair bit of mechanical attention which has delayed the Alvis.

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