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Classics Monthly - - Driver's Diary -

I t’s al­ways very an­noy­ing to scrape or bang your head, es­pe­cially when try­ing to fin­ish a job in a rush. With the re­cent need to spend more time un­der Lily’s bon­net, ow­ing to break­downs and main­te­nance, I’d done this one time too many. The sharp-edged cor­ner of the bon­net is just the wrong height and gives a nasty thwack in the mid­dle of the fore­head.

Des­per­ate for a so­lu­tion, which wasn’t a piece of stick or some string, I went on­line to see what my op­tions were. As luck would have it the Dorset Mor­ris Mi­nor Own­ers’ Club Branch spares depart­ment (http://dorset­m­moc.co.uk/word­press/new-spares/) had come up with a so­lu­tion, in the shape of an off-the-shelf ex­tend­able bon­net stay. It’s like the stan­dard one but has a re­tract­ing pin that al­lows the bon­net to be raised much higher, well out of harm’s way which makes ac­cess­ing the al­ready vast en­gine bay even eas­ier. As it is ba­si­cally the same as a stan­dard one it uses the ex­ist­ing mount­ing points and was re­ally only a five-minute job to fit. I have put one on Lily and will fit get one for the Low­light at some stage. At the mo­ment it

is jacked up so I can work un­der­neath and the bon­net would hit the roof of the garage if I opened it any more.

Now the en­gine is in the Low­light, hope­fully for the fore­see­able fu­ture, I have fin­ished off the hy­draulic clutch, with new seals in the mas­ter cylin­der, a new slave cylin­der and a home-made con­nect­ing pipe. I bled the sys­tem to re­move any air and was re­lieved (sur­prised, even) to find that the mot­ley col­lec­tion of bits ac­tu­ally works! I’d been wor­ried that the pedal pres­sure would be far too high, as a Mi­nor pedal is shorter than the Ma­rina/ Ital set up.

How­ever I won’t need to be wear­ing lead shoes when driv­ing it, as it feels about the same as a nor­mal Mi­nor. It’s taken hours to get this all sorted out and I made three dif­fer­ent sup­port­ing brack­ets be­fore I got it right, but with this in place I have been able to fit the brake mas­ter cylin­der and start mak­ing all the hy­draulic pipes. I have fit­ted the servo (more home-made sup­ports) and will soon have a com­plete sys­tem. It will be good to have a few more things fin­ished off. I’m half-way through so many jobs, it’s like a jig­saw with lost parts. Cur­rently lots of these jobs are held up wait­ing for the cor­rect shade of brown paint for the steer­ing col­umn assem­bly but that’s an­other story.

I have also had a long think about the wipers; Mi­nors up to 1956 had a rather weedy mo­tor hid­den away be­hind the dash­board which is a night­mare to re­move when it goes wrong, (which they of­ten do), flimsy wiper boxes and very prim­i­tive blades. I do want to be able to use this car in all weath­ers, so with a bit (well quite a lot) of fid­dling about I man­aged to fit a com­plete, much more ro­bust, sys­tem off a later Mor­ris 1000.

I used new wheel boxes and rack as these are still an awk­ward greasy job to re­place once the car is all as­sem­bled. You would need to be a real ex­pert to spot the dif­fer­ence from out­side the car. The orig­i­nal mo­tor etc can go in the Amer­i­can Tourer; I hope not to be driv­ing that in the rain!

I was re­lieved (sur­prised, even) to find that the mot­ley col­lec­tion of bits ac­tu­ally works!

The Mi­nor’s bon­net shown opened to its stan­dard max­i­mum height...

... and ex­tended. The dif­fer­ence in ac­cess is al­ready very no­tice­able.

The fin­ished hy­draulic clutch sys­tem. The pedal pres­sure is only about the same as an orig­i­nal Mor­ris – suc­cess!

The non-orig­i­nal but much more ef­fi­cient Mor­ris 1000 wiper mo­tor fit­ted into place.

Dorset Mor­ris Mi­nor Own­ers two-stage bon­net stay as ar­rived, clearly show­ing the ex­tra length. It fits into the orig­i­nal mount­ing points and so is only a 5 minute job to fit.

Bleed­ing up the hy­draulic clutch sys­tem.

Servo fit­ted into place. Next job is to fin­ish the brak­ing sys­tem.

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