Simon Goldsworthy, editor of MG Enthusiast magazine tells us about his current barn find project.
I hadn't really been looking for a project on quite this scale, but I had been on the lookout for a Standard Flying Eight Tourer for a couple of years, and had already been gazumped on one and out-bid on another. So when I was offered this project by a friend, I decided to give it a go. The car itself is a 1946 Eight Tourer (Standard dropped the 'Flying' name after the war), and it had been dismantled a decade ago by the previous owner, who sadly passed away before getting much further.
As they always are, the car was a mixture of good and bad. It had been sitting without any paint for a decade and so was covered with surface rust, but on the plus side the basic structure was remarkably sound. The serious rot seemed confined to the sills and the B-post bottoms, plus a bit along the outer edges of the inner wheelarches. On the other hand, the wings, doors, bonnet and radiator shroud – whilst also covered in surface rust – were remarkably good, and the engine and gearbox were complete and very clean in another part of the garage.
One of the reasons that persuaded me to take the project on was that my eldest son wanted to help restore a car to learn how they work. He has never shown any interest before, but the fact that he was about to turn 17 and start learning to drive must have played a part in this transformation. I am not naive enough to believe that his enthusiasm will last the length of a project like this, but the chance to pass on a bit of practical knowledge made me take the plunge.
I brought all of the dismantled Standard parts back to Lincolnshire and arranged to have the rolling chassis, body tub and engine/gearbox transported here professionally. Trying to decide what belonged to the Standard and what belonged to something else in the vendor's garage was far from easy, but Paul (the previous owner's son) and I gradually worked our way through the various piles and made our best guesses. And there were some real treasures among the rusty and rotten relics that only reinforced my belief that I had done the right thing. For example, a lot of the brightwork had already been rechromed, there were four new and unused tyres, the steering wheel had been professionally recoated, and there were two sets of wings to choose from. The seats and hood were also there, probably beyond saving but very useful to have as patterns.
Since getting everything home to my own garage, initial progress has been quite rapid, thanks to the enlistment of some professional help to take it back to bare metal. I braced the body, and having roped in all my kids (Ben, 17, Max, 15, and Megan, 12) to assist, we lifted it off the chassis. This was then sent away for grit blasting, the body and panels following shortly afterwards. So now we have started building the suspension back up, and are about to send it off to my brother for some new ash framing. The work is being detailed in Triumph World magazine, which is an added incentive to keep up progress. Initially I had planned on taking two years, but right now I am hopeful of having it back on the road in one.
Are you working on a car/motorcycle or restoration? Leave a comment!