And here’s one I didn’t make earlier!
With most of my recent garage time being consumed by the Land Rover, it was inevitable that the rest of my fleet was getting a little neglected. I‘ve really been trying to make solid progress on the crusty 4x4, so every spare minute has been spent on it, leaving very little time to enjoy the NSU, Landcrab or Mazda. With the evenings drawing in and the leaves starting to change colour, I really wanted to report that I’d make a difference to at least one of them before the winter closes in properly.
The NSU has been ‘finished’ in my eyes for a few years now. When restoring it, I worked through all the jobs as thoroughly as the limited parts supply for these cars would allow, so it’s a smart-ish classic that’s very together mechanically. There were a few bits I wished I could find for the NSU but they never come up, one of which was a glove box lid. This wasn’t the end of the world, as it’s still a useable little cubby but as a quick project I decided to see if a replacement could be made from materials lying around the unit.
These consisted of a sheet of aluminium (removed from the Land Rover where it had been doing a second rate job as half a toolbox – but more about that in a future instalment), some black vinyl, an interior door handle (from a Mini, I think), contact adhesive and a selection of nuts and bolts.
Getting flashbacks to my childhood and Blue Peter’s craft projects, first job was to estimate the size of the original lid, adding a surplus to allow for the curves in the dash plus 5mm around the edges for a return. Trimming down with snips until it looked close, the corners were then formed by using a socket clamped against the aluminium in a bench vice and gently forming the curves with a body hammer. When all four corners had been shaped, the edges were folded back in the vice and then hammered flat. This not only gave a nice
rounded edge, it also added a lot of rigidity.
Holding the plate against the dashboard, I then estimated where curves would need to be added to match the profile of the dash. These were formed one at a time between two lengths of steel angle clamped in the vice to allow for the changing dimensions as it went from a flat to curved panel. This really was a case of measure twice and then best guessing to see how much material would disappear in forming the shapes, particularly near the bottom where a double bend was required.
The trickiest part proved to be trying guess where the holes for the hinges would go and this resulted in a couple of false starts plus a few unwanted drillings but this wasn’t too important. As long as the finished door operated smoothly, the vinyl covering would hide any mistakes I made. The final touch was to fit the handle, found in one of the many spares boxes that we’ve all got tucked away. It looks like a Mini handle, but wasn’t too sure from which era. Regardless of its heritage, the handle suits the interior of the NSU perfectly and looks like it was always there, as does the finished glove box lid. Blue Peter stalwarts Val, Pete and John would no doubt approve, even though there wasn‘t a wire coat hanger or a roll of sticky backed plastic in sight.
Next month it will be back to work on the Land Rover. This job has been a lot more involved than I hoped, so any chance of getting out and enjoying the last warm autumn days have proved to be a pipe dream. You never know though,the Landy might get to prove itself when the white stuff starts falling.
There were a few bits I wished I could find for the NSU but they never come up, one of which was a glove box lid
It’s still looking good, but there are still a few little jobs I‘d like to do on the NSU.
The glove box lid has been missing since I’ve owned the Prinz and I’ve yet to see a second hand one being offered for sale.
A socket was clamped against the sheet in a vice and the material was then hammered around it with a body hammer to produce the corner radius. Cut from a pre-loved sheet of aluminium, the basic shape of the glove box lid was arrived at through a process of measuring, trimming and then re-measuring. The finished job. The Mini interior handle looks like it was meant to be there and with my home made lid finally in place the NSU’s dash now looks factory fresh. Adding the shape to the lid involved a process of careful measuring and best guessing. This was because there was no way to tell how adding the curves would affect the height of the final piece.