Like March, April was a busy old month. For those of you following this saga you will know that both my brother (Geoff) and my dad have been complete stars helping me along. Well this month it was the ladies turn as both my mum and girlfriend Sue both did they part to. After dropping off a roll of roof lining and the old tatty lining with my mum, she called me a few days later to say, “Your roof lining is done” and so I charged round to pick it up. My mum had made a fantastic job and made it will panels in, just like the original. So, I set to work fitting that and it looks superb, it really brightens up the whole interior. You may notice in the photo that it suddenly ends. This is because in the Supervan, the roof lining only covers the front seats. As you can see all of the door seals have also been added.
I also bought some hardboard to make new interior door panels. First of all I was going to use the PVC type cloth off the original rotten trims but it didn’t clean up at all well. I’ve heard some one say that painting the back of hardboard looks like material and so I tried this. I was quite pleased with the results until Sue said, “That would look much better covered”. Today she phoned me and said. “Hey you big hunk of burning love, you big stud you” ... well OK, I lied, she said “Elvis, I’ve found some great leatherette for your door trims” ... so, the door trims will be coming off and will get trim in leatherette. The wooden strip you can notice in the photo is to replace the chrome strip that was originally there.
Talking of Sue, she was watching Geoff and I putting on the 3-wheelers.com logo. She sighed and fearing we were a bundle of left thumbs and clumsy fingers took over the job. The logos are vinyl transfers supplied by Sign & Print Graphix and as Sue worked away applying the transfers, Geoff and I just watched talking about men things. Once applied the transfers looked fantastic and Sue said, “I’m not sure if the van looks more like your model - or if the model looks more like your van”. I’m not sure what that means but it sounds good.
Lots of other jobs have also been done, Geoff and I have tinkered with the brakes again and bled them once more following the Reliant instructions, ie pump one long pump and three quick ones. What a difference that makes, my pedal is quite hard now and the car stops on a sixpence. (albeit a very big sixpence). The wheels have also been graced with chrome trims. The outer wheel has a Regal 21E trim whilst the centre chrome hub cap is off an old MG Sprite. I bought four brand new ones for the same price of an old pair of Regal ones. The horn has also been wired up, the original had rotted away and using a spare one off my dad’s old car was no good as it only had one terminal. To work on the Regal it needs two so I had to get a new one. Whilst pushing the horn cable up through the centre of the steering column I noticed that oil was coming out. In addition to this my steering has a loud click when I turn the wheel to the left. It looks like the steering box may be duff and apparently they are not the sort of thing you take apart. I therefore need to get another one as I’m not sure if the current one would pass an MOT or not? There is no play in the steering, just a single loud click which is most strange.
The jet wash (windscreen wash) system is now also all installed, I have kept the original system rather than change for an electric one. Along with this I also got some new 1/2 inch tubing and have replaced the heater pipes from the heater to the engine. The bonnet lid is now fixed back on and test driving the Regal up and down the drive way I managed to clock up my first mile on the speedometer. The engine runs like a dream and at first seemed a bit unruly but with a few tweaks it feels like I control the car now rather than it acting like it wants to do it’s own thing.
My brother was delighted to be offered a job at the Black Country Museum in Dudley (UK) as a Victorian Postman. As a result his work commitments mean that this is the last time he will see the car before the restoration is complete now. So we took a photo of us both with the car, it’s very lucky for me that he has been free on all the occasions he was as I dread to think what state the car would be in otherwise!
Go to Part 2