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New to Rover and forum

Postby kevh » Mon May 27, 2019 3:42 pm

Hi all, I have just bought my first ever Rover, a 1935 12, it's a little daunting as the very last thing I would claim to be is a mechanic! Me and the wife went to a car show a few weeks back and both thought it would be nice to own something a little different and here we are now with a garage full of 1935.
The car underwent a major restoration 1996, I have received many photographs of the work being carried out and bills for over £7,000, leaving mainly the interior to sort out which is a mess.
Although it has only done 200 miles following this work I would like to get things checked out as it is now 23 years ago. Is there anything in particular I should be wary of?
I live in Wakefield, is there anywhere near me who I could turn to for any help and advice?
kevh
 
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Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby TonyG » Tue May 28, 2019 9:33 am

Hi Kevin,

Welcome to Rover ownership! I don’t live in the Wakefield area so I cannot recommend a garage near you. A quick internet search comes up with a specialist in Horbury village that looks after classics so I guess it’s a matter of ringing around and testing the water for somewhere who understands pre War cars.

You say you are no mechanic. Does that mean you have no mechanical ability or that your experience with cars is limited? These old cars are not complicated and the joy of having one is understanding it and doing some or all of the maintenance if possible. First thing is to get a workshop manual and parts book via the club site and read it cover to cover looking at your car as you go so you feel more familiar with it and, even if you get work done at a garage, you will be able to have meaningful discussions with them to establish if they understand your type of car and any work that needs doing.

If your car has done just 200 miles since a mechanical rebuild it should be in decent shape and, I assume, runs and drives ok? Regular oil changes are important as the filtering is minimal, but this is easy and access to the sump plug and gauze filter is possible without jacking the car. You need to use classic oils; Castrol do a range with XL30 for the engine and EP 90 for gearbox and rear axle. Avoid modern synthetic oils. All very simple to do with access to gearbox and axle fill points from inside the car.

Although you don’t need one, an MOT test by a garage who understands old cars will be £50 well spent. Find somewhere that will let you look around while it’s up on the ramps.

Brakes are rod operated so no hydraulic rubbers to perish. Hopefully, the rod linkages and Clevis pins will have been replaced when the car was restored and just need a bit of grease from time to time. Similarly, the front axle king pins and steering joints will either need greasing if converted to grease nipples or they will be lubricated via the Luvax autolube system. If the latter, you need to check it’s working and getting oil to the various points around the car.

Brake adjustment is by manual adjusters on back plates and will be necessary if you have excessive travel on pedal or brakes don’t pull up straight. Otherwise, leave alone. handbrake adjusts from underneath the car below lever, although this is rare once set up since the rods don’t stretch!

Steering won’t be like a modern car but shouldn’t have much play in it or wander about the road, although bumps can unsettle the car more than a modern car.

In short, you have a great classic car there and it will be a lot of fun to own and drive. Maintaining it is within the remit of a competent person and/or simple for an old school garage. Getting to grips with the crash gearbox is the biggest challenge but very satisfying once mastered. If you don’t know how to operate one, post the forum again for advice.

I hope that helps a bit and I look forward to updates on your progress.

Tony.
Tony Gilbert

P1 12 Tourer
P2 12 6 Light Saloon
Discovery 3
Discovery Sport
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Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby kevh » Tue May 28, 2019 12:59 pm

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your reply, brilliant idea about the MOT.

I have already ordered the manual and parts book so I will be able to absorb that, I can turn my hand to most things but I have limited experience working on cars.

The biggest issue I face with the car at the moment is when I look at something which needs sorting out I have no reference as to how it "should" be, if I could find this information I am pretty sure I can get most things done. I have been to two classic car shows recently to try and see one in the finished condition to give me some clues, only to be dissappointed as the vast majority of cars on show were from the 70's & 80's.

The majority of work which needs doing is the interior - seats, dash, upholstery - which obviously needs to be done correctly.

The two front seat bases have rotted/been eaten by woodworm and are completely shot, I am not sure if the seats are even the originals as the seem too wide, again if I could see the correct ones I would be able to confirm this.

Where is the best place to obtain spare parts?

Kevin
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Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby TonyG » Tue May 28, 2019 2:41 pm

Kevin,

It’s a real shame that you are so far away from me as I’m always happy to show may cars to fellow enthusiasts. I’m sure that there will be a local RSR meeting near you where another member will have a car similar to yours. There is a list of regional reps in the members book that I expect you will receive in due course.

Re spares; for mechanical parts Viking Engineering or Meteor Spares are the first port of call. Mike Evans and Mike Couldry, respectively, are the ultimate experts on Rovers like yours and mine. They are members of the RSR and advertise in the magazine and on this site. Viking is near Leeds so not too far for you. However, both supply mail order.

Interior trim and body panels is a greater challenge. Aside from trawling ebay for parts or someone breaking a Rover, you will need to make your own or find someone to do it for you.

You don’t say what model you have, so I’m assuming a Saloon? I have a P1 (34-37) Tourer and a P2 (37-47) 6 Light Saloon, both 12s so mechanically identical to yours. Your interior will be similar in many ways to both of mine in various ways and I expect you face similar challenges in restoration.

It is important to be realistic about the value of your car, your own limitations and how much you want to pay for specialist services when you embark on your restoration. You could pay up to £10k just to get your interior done or you could make a decent job of it yourself for a few hundred. Most of us fall somewhere between the two. I feel the key thing is to get the car on the road and usable, rather than striving for originality. Others would rather spend years finding the exact part. It’s a matter of choice and budget.

To that ends I got a trimmer to cover my seats and door panels, but made all the woodwork myself and didn’t insist on total originality. Instead, I’ve always tried to maintain the spirit of the original car and most people don’t notice anyway. The leatherwork will always be costly but I found someone to do all the seats in my P2 and door panels for about £1500. If you are handy with a sewing machine you could do your own much cheaper and use pvc rather than leather.

My P2 seats had decent structure and springs, making it easier for trimmer to replace old and cracked leather. My P1 was so riddled with woodworm and the leather and springs so rotten and rusty that it was a complete remake. From what you said I think yours may be similar to that? The backs of my P1 front seats were so splayed with age that they wouldn’t fit side by side in the car, even if the woodworm had agreed! As a result I had to make new ones, which is quite a job since the originals are steam curved plywood and beyond my capability. These were tilt forward seats so nothing similar could be bought. You may be lucky but if not I can share how I made mine with you. The trimmer made foam insides to replace the horse hair and rusty springs.

The first rule is don’t throw anything away. No matter how rotten or rusty it is the only clue or pattern you have. I had to stick my crumbling ply dash together with gaffer tape to copy it but easier than guessing the dimensions.

I made carpets for my Tourer from a bedroom carpet we had replaced. Sounds awful but looks great and cost very little. The carpet was a short pile all wool Wilton in a beige colour. I cut all the pieces and had the edges bound by a local rug company for about £120. I will do the same with my Saloon when I get that far.

I hope that helps. Don’t be put off by the sight of pristine cars at shows. The RSR members are not a snobbish bunch and would be happy to see your car at a show even if the seats are from a Ford van! There are lots of rolling restorations out there; the key thing is it’s a classic on the road.

Tony.
Tony Gilbert

P1 12 Tourer
P2 12 6 Light Saloon
Discovery 3
Discovery Sport
TonyG
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:38 pm

Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby kevh » Tue May 28, 2019 8:55 pm

The backs of my P1 front seats were so splayed with age that they wouldn’t fit side by side in the car


There's a light bulb moment :idea: , the seats look "right" for the car but they are too wide, that will be why.

I have just spent the last hour or so sat in the back of the car (I have taken the front seats out) studying and absorbing the work which needs to be done, breaking it down area by area, and I don't think there is much I will not be able to tackle, re-making of the seats possibly excepted.

Thanks for the information Tony, I have only been a member for a day but I already feel more comfortable about the project.
kevh
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 3:19 pm

Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby TonyG » Wed May 29, 2019 8:37 am

Kevin,

Glad to be of help. I rebuilt every part of my Tourer from pieces boxed up over 30 years earlier. One of the most challenging tasks was the front seats. The bases were easily cut from thick plywood but the backs had me stumped for a while once it became clear that I had neither the skill nor the facilities to steam bend ply wood. I couldn’t find a specialist interested in tooling up for two seats or anything secondhand. I even tried steaming thin sheets around a shaped former that I could then laminate together, to no avail.

In the end I welded some 1”x0.25” steel bar, appropriately curved, to form the bottom and middle of the seat back- a bit like half a basket. Then I lined the inside with a thin piece of ply, riveting it to the new steel frame to ensure it stayed curved. That left me with a seat back with steel bars on the outside. I then took strips of soft wood, shaped the sides and glued them around the seat, like making a barrel. Then I glued another sheet of thin ply around the outside of that so that the steel was covered within, effectively, a curved blockboard seat back. I then cut the seat to the exact shape and top curve required. Lots of clamps needed to hold together while glue dries but these can be bought cheaply from Toolstation. Incidentally, Toolstation are an invaluable source for glues, sealants, screws, nuts bolts, washers etc at a sensible price.

Your seats don’t need to tilt like mine so should be a little easier to make as the base can be used to help hold the curved shape. You could even make by curving sheet steel and fixing at the bottom to keep in shape but you would need to bring the sides forward at the base, like a sports bucket seat, to give it the strength. Another option would be to create a curved former and create in fibre glass, like making a small boat hull. This could have wood and or steel set in it.

If your existing seat backs are not rotten or woodworm infested, you could simply re-shape the sides as they near the top so they fit in the car. Once trimmed, I doubt anyone would notice.

Good luck.

Tony.
Tony Gilbert

P1 12 Tourer
P2 12 6 Light Saloon
Discovery 3
Discovery Sport
TonyG
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:38 pm

Re: New to Rover and forum

Postby lakesrally » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:59 pm

You could try getting hold of Mike Evans. He used to live in Wakefield and now lives just outside Leeds. He has a large amount of new and second-hand spares and great knowledge of these cars. He appears on the forum as p2roverman and his email address is p2roverman@uwclub.net
Stewart Devlin
1925 16/50 5-seat Tourer
1933 14 Pilot Saloon
1949 P3 75 Saloon
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