I’m becoming impatient awaiting the batteries & software

“Two weeks” I was told (when the electrics and batteries would arrive!!)

Here we are 1 month later??? and still no delivery date…….. 

I have been busy though. The seats are back, the fake radiator is being printed, the running boards are ordered and the cars own solar panel is ready to install.

The whole EV (Electric Vehicle) industry has moved very fast.  We now have Volvo, VW, Hyundai [Kona!! a beautiful car] and even Dyson investing billions.

Ready for the charging regime, I’m currently researching charging stations…….. and that is another story!!

Just like my XK8, scrapping is not on………..

When I owned my absolute favourite car – a convertible XK8 Jag’ which I enjoyed to its full – I had a VERY scary moment when the MOT came up – the drivers electric seat unit failed the M.O.T for the WHOLE car. Luckily (that’s my name…..) I found just one on EBAY and we were once again roadworthy!!!!! But at 15,000 miles, immaculate and only just roadworthy. Time to get shut.

This time, it’s the newly acquired Austin 10. Seemingly – and not unexpected after 46 years of storage – the starter was frozen, short circuiting and despite chasing modern repairers to no avail would have rendered the whole car SCRAP!!!  My temperament is always positive, so serious investigation on keeping 1930’s Austins on the road forever reaps rewards, there are a few specialists and certainly one or two genuine spare parts hoarders in regular business. 

I have had worries about TYRES, engine essentials, and the weird small special gizmos that make the Austin really special. My fav’ garage repair man – Steve, calls and says “the rear brake cables are snapped, how on earth do we fix those?” “Leave it with me” I suggest…… ringing around – easy peasy, I even find a man who says he can MAKE anything that would not normally be a readily stocked part – AND he could keep Austin 7’s, 8’s, 10 right up to the ’20 on the road.  So my sincere hearty thanks to all those who make spares their business and our saviour.

Now….. the task ahead is making the ‘Ten’ drivable, dry and reliable………….

Perhaps a blow-over of modern paint will stem the deterioration of the original factory colour which is pitted by thousands of holes harbouring rust

 

Sometimes you just have to take a gamble……….

In all my experiences of owning cars (from 1953 to present day), I have taken very few risks and only a few mild gambles – but never have I risked thousands of pounds buying an old car within 5 minutes on EBAY without seeing it.

Owning a 1933 Austin 7 RP – which you may read, I am converting to full battery power, I was searching EBAY for minor parts and spares. EBAY is relatively new to me, but on the bottom of any item you may see there – are prompts concerning the subject matter or similar products to what you started searching for.  So why on earth did an AUCTION of an Austin 10 – with only a few minutes left!!!! – come my way????

£3200 for a 1933 Austin 10, LOOKING like it did – with the last bid  5 days prior – was very cheap but interesting. I had paid twice as much for the 7, so if I could add this to my own stable, I would be very happy……… knowing how the ‘maximum bid’ you are prepared to offer works – and with literally a few minutes to spare – I placed my first MAXIMUM in – with a 2nd unposed (to see of the last bid was to be ‘topped’)……sure enough “You have been outbid” – so with three seconds to spare I posted my final maximum………YAHOO!!!!! I won the auction – but that’s where the weird stuff started……PayPal simply didn’t work (5 times!!!!!) NOW what was I to do? With not paying for it, you can’t contact the vendor except through EBAY……. I left a dew messages……

Sometimes you just have to take a punt, be brave and follow it through – despite perhaps ‘Buyer Remorse’ setting off the alarm bells.  OK, the car was in Southport. Having a very good friend living just 5 mins away from the vendor, I agreed by indirect messaging to pay CASH for it whilst seeing it for the first time [Sometimes you just have to take a punt], but at least I had a friend and a witness to any hiccups.

Uh oh……. the vendor texted “Yep come along, no prob’s” – except the time agreed and visited – he wasn’t there….but his Dad was…..[Oh no!!!!].  1 hour driving to Southport, collecting my fiend, we hunt for the address……… Cars, Vans, more cars, a Camper Van, A sports Car, more cars……..and tucked at the back of a dark garage – MY AUSTIN.

‘Dad’ didn’t know anything about the history or have ANY details at all. The vendor was miles away…. but looking over it, it seemed very very solid, genuine and complete. Thankfully the vendor would deliver it for me, so I shelled out the cash……. A very very weird experience to say the least…. A 1973 tax disc, the older green folded log-book, after 47 years in a dry garage the Austin was a true ‘find’ (and it would have been a lot more had it been running AND at a classic car auction). 

I will NEVER buy any car ever again on EBAY – well not without seeing it.

What happened to the Tesla 3 order?

You may well bloody ask. That was way back in 2016, I put my £1000 deposit down and actually heard NOTHING for a few months – a bizarre situation.

Even though I knew nothing about the 3, I had a test drive when the S was being shown in Trafford. So when the 3 was announced it seemed like a good idea. My friend Paul had also placed his order a few days earlier and so it was only after I had heard a strong suggestion from Max Keiser that “Tesla we’re bankrupt”  that I asked Tesla Stockport “where is my order confirmation? And what the hell is going on?”

Asking those questions seemed a logical. I hadn’t heard ANYTHING for months!! But out of the blue I received a picture of ‘my Tesla 3’ – from Tesla in the ‘States? The picture was illustrating a BLUE car? I’d not even been asked what colour I desired? All very weird, so I called in to the showrooms (which coincidentally was previously MY Jaguar dealer – Guy Salmon’s site).

Quite frankly, the staff at Tesla, Stockport were HORRIBLE. They didn’t know I was a sign-up customer with a 3 on order. OK, I was scruffy, but that’s not the point, they were eager until I started asking questions…….in the end I decided they were just treating me like shit on their shoe.

Having such fabulous service and customer care from Jaguar – the Tesla staff did nothing to satisfy my concerns about – choices on spec’, a delivery date, the security of my £1000 deposit……. so in the end I simply wrote to the US and demanded my money back………. and still a Paul hasn’t been given a ‘3’ delivery date AND the UK price has risen dramatically. 

I considered my options….. I’d had 13 or 14 Austin Sevens in my 50 years of motoring, ripping out the old mechanics and converting to electric seemed less expensive and offered the best of all worlds – a classic vintage style AND modern battery power…….. the RP is a perfect donor.

Oooooooo beautiful new leather seats

Sincere thanks to Tony Archer – Car Trimmer Extraordinaire, who I came across by accident. 

A real Yorkshire lad, real gent and expert. This is his website http://tonyarcher.co.uk/services/car-seats/  Click here

I hadn’t seen the quality, I only had the recommendation from a friend. When it came around to pick them up, I was just so impressed, because really, I had just left it to him – well he is the expert.

The colour of the top quality leather is a spot-on match with the paint job. The method of recovering the Austin frames matches the original style. But instead of the blow-up bladder, Tony has fitted modern foam. B-E-A-U-T-F-U-L

In addition to the refurbished seats, I now have matching leather door pockets, ready to install in new plywood panels.

Not my expertise, but I have the old patterns and new modern fabric [leatherette…….]

 

 

Just how light is an A7 body & chassis?

Just as a passing thought… I know how much all the USELESS drive train was (engine, gearbox et al) which really gave me the extra weigh margin available for batteries (ie 2 post-war adults and two children in the rear seat at its lightest), but how light is a shell body and basic chassis?.  

Turns out  350kilos…. 

I only had two digital scales, each with a capacity of 150 kilos, so in my simple brain, weighing the front axle complete with new wheels and tyres THEN weighing the back axle and adding together must equal the NET weight. Turns out there is strange imbalance NSF= 69 kilos,  OSF= 77.7, RSN= 101.6 and OSR= 101.2 – which makes a total of 350.5 kilos (772.72 lbs). The front has an extra capacity of 57.6 kilos to balance the car on all 4’s…… oh dear!

Considering all the drive batteries are over the rear axle with a reserve pack in the replica petrol tank, NOT having rear seating is likely to be interesting, especially when I have considered a 230A/hr lead-acid leisure battery where the engine was. This may we’ll be a real balance.

Within 14 days all the new electrics will be available to test the concepts……

 

 

 

 

 

The original 3 potential ‘EV’ suppliers, all came up with their own schemes for motor power and batteries. I seriously considered ‘Tesla’ 444 cell packs (x2) to make 50volt and a potential longer range. However, the batteries are very expensive, the Tesla Battery Management System [BMS] is very sophisticated and has a more complex charging station fitted at home.

I’m subscribed to an Australian blog reporting on the Mitsubishi Outlander. Over the weeks it has been detailing the progress and reporting is very positive…. As one of my offers included the ‘Outlander’ cells, I’ve now changed my plan, but with only 42 proposed cells, the range would be limited, so I’ve decided on an extra 14 cells – which coincidentally will fit perfectly in a replica of the 5 gallon petrol tank. 

So now we have 56 ‘Outlander’ cells, a BMS, a ‘BlueTooth’ data module with a tried and test iSO App’ and a 1.8kw charger based at home. 

The positioning of the main drive pack (where the rear seat would normally sit) is right over the rear axle. The reserve 14 cell pack in the copy petrol tank is suspended from the chassis. This leaves the front engine bay, the scuttle and the radiator area empty.  I am also planning a 230A/hr ‘deep cycle’ lead acid 12 volt accessory power system, which will be partially supported by 200watt solar panels in the polycarbonate roof space.

It would be nice to be able to balance the weight pretty much like the original spec’………..we’ll see. 

And so to the electrics…………………..

Now we come to choosing the replacement motor, electrics and batteries……….

I have offered these photo’s because I’m looking for advise WHERE to house the batteries, the battery controller, and work out the best way to work with the drive motor connected directly to the torque tube……

I quite fancy copying the old petrol tank to house combined cells which will make up the 50 volt driving voltage.   The tank did hold 5 Imperial Gallons and as British manufacturing goes  – weighs 6.5 kilos itself.

I could have a copy made (adjusting the size a little) in aluminium, saving weight and not using petrol at all has saved 16.7 kilos.

NOT using the backseat saves the weight of two passengers and also makes a space for perhaps a couple of  Li-ion flat-packs.

Why all this talk of ‘weight’?           I think – as soon as you mention “batteries” everyone thinks of lead-acid bricks one can hardly pick up.  I’m trying to save weight  in exchange for more lighter more compact, modern batteries – more batteries means longer range – that’s all…. 100 miles would be good. 150 better…..

There has been no renovation of the inside at all – just a steam clean, so when the battery choice has been made, I will then see what to do with strengthening the rotten floor pan

Frank’ comes home…… (why Frank’?)***

I have truly been more than fortunate to have a neighbour who has a shot-blasting shop and also fits tyres.  He volunteered to clean all the 5 spoked wheels, powder coat them in shinny black and also fit the new Avon tyres and new tubes.  How lucky is that…….. 

Whilst waiting for the wheels, I jacked up Frank*** onto stands and covered against the rain.

You may recall the tale about offering a 1929 3 speed gearbox to an unknown man with a beautiful vintage A7 I saw in Sainsbury’s. 

The cost to him was a bottle of Merlot – however I never saw him again until recently.  He was however carrying a bottle of Merlot and wished to see Frank***……. so that was totally unexpected.

I have joined the Hare & Hounds Vintage and Classic Car Club, they meet at the Disley Conservative club on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, and  I was telling the tale about the man above who turned out to be known by some of the members – and that’s how I came to know about 3 more RP’s very near to me.

How can anyone get excited over wheels 

The wheels are so bloody shinny and now that they have been shod with new Avons they look fabulous. 

A break in the clouds allow Frank*** to be re-installed in his garage to await the next additions…. THE BATTERIES

Why Frank*** Oh come on – you know the story of Frankenstein [made from parts!! (well almost….)]

In addition to joining the H&H V & C C C, I was invited to contribute to the ‘Friends of the Austin 7 Club’ forum…… and so, the drums started beating…..

I had stated at the outset (here), the Traditionalists, purists and true followers of the Austin 7 – once they find out about ‘electrification’ – I would get some stick.  Sure enough, the guy who facilitated the sale/purchase seemed to take it upon himself to castigate the conversion……his own idea was to simply drive the car in the state I bought it!!!!!! Jeez!!! I don’t think so. Despite his description, the actually state of the bodywork and engine – the car was a real wreck……..and so the tribe are beating the drums.