Part 3, of the Unipower GT blog from Cornwall.
The body and the gearchange mech…
First the body, on which it was decided that B Pillars, roof and sills had to go because of serious alignment issues. Once the new sills, roof panel and B pillars had been fabricated and joined together, the angle grinder came out and for a short time I had an unbelievably rare Unipower targa…. Then came the slow and painstaking job of knitting all of these new parts together on the car accurately. This done and it was time to admire the workmanship! Our GRP superhero had done the most amazing job. The roof was where it was supposed to be, so were the B pillars and so were the sills.
While all this was going on, I was also refurbishing the gear linkage, which you may recall from Blog 2 was in dire need of a total rebuild. I had decided to use tubing for the connecting rods (something the factory used on very late cars) rather than rod. I used correct diameter and length T45 tube with ½ nuts, both ¼”UNF (LH thread at one end and RH at the other) brazed on and new male LH and RH spherical bearings at each end. All very strong, light and not likely to bend! Perfect job! The fulcrum was completely worn out, along with the pivot bolt, bronze bushing and sleeve. Must have been impossible to find any gears with that much play!
I took these component parts along to my friendly toolmaker, who agreed to ream the fulcrum, then machine to match, a stepped 2 part bronze sleeve and an inner steel sleeve that all go through the fulcrum and to fit over the long vertical, exactly .250” dia through-bolt. The factory cars had a long stud here with nyloc nuts on each end, which I will fit later. Also, to prevent any wear on the rod ends and finish the job properly, I used ¼” UNF bolts with exactly the right plain shank length, so no threaded parts could wear the inner part of the spherical bearings. Simple but often overlooked. So, no play anywhere here, will go towards a nice clean sharp gearchange.
When my dad took delivery of his second new Unipower GT , the amber and white car, now resident in Japan, (love to see a recent pic…) he specified it in KD format so he could assemble it the way he wanted. The factory supplied him with two of their assembly stands, so he could put the car together without having to rely on piles of old tyres, pallets or oil drums!! Properly, in other words. You can see these stands in pic below of the cars being assembled in the factory. Gerry Hulford, who still has these stands very kindly measured them and gave me their precise dimensions. Armed with measurements I was able have two new ones fabricated, so my car could rest on them when it came back from the GRP maestro. Perfect!
copyright #1 Gerry Hulford
Something to sit on......Tune in next time for chassis work!!!