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1934 Pre-series Ten Four

Little of the early history of this car car is known although the records for Oxford, where it was first registered, are still available in Oxford. In the sixties the log book shows a succession of owners in Oxford who were probably students so it seems likely that it has spent most of its life in or around Oxford.

This should have been a straightforward rolling restoration when I purchased it in 1998. It had been restored and was on the road in 1993 and since then a great deal of work had been put into getting it running. The picture shows it arriving on a trailer from which it was driven into the garage(click on picture for larger version). It was fortunate that it was driveable as at least two of the brakes had seized. The picture shows that it was complete with the remaining trim stored inside.

 

This picture was taken four years after it had been partially dismantled for restoration. The owner had used it for a few runs in the summer of 1993 before starting work on it. Like me, he was impressed with the originality of the car. All of the original trim was present apart from the carpets although the headlining had suffered from a leaking sunroof which meant that it had to be replaced. The car was painted in its original colours of black and green with green leather upholstery.

The initial idea to rub down the top coat of brushed cellulose seemed to be a good idea at the time as the original paint on the nearside was found to be in very good condition as the picture on the left shows. After several months rubbing down with wet and dry the nearside looked good enough to touch up rather than completely respray. Given the originality of the rest of the car this seemed a reasonable goal. Unfortunately two problems arose which prompted a rethink. The first was that when the primer and brushed paint was removed from the offside there was very little of the original paint left apart from the primer as the picture on the right shows.

Since the car had only been repainted once in its life and the body had never been off the chassis I decided to leave it as undisturbed as possible and to repaint it without removing the body. This meant that all repairs and painting the chassis took a lot longer as access was restricted. Fortunately most of the wooden frame for the body was in good condition but the portion that wasn't caused the second problem.

At some time there had been an accident which had dented the panel to the left of the rear window in the picture. This had damaged the wooden frame and left the panel with severe ripples. The wood was easy to replace as the car came with some parts from a similar car (does anyone want four doors in good condition?) but more of the frame had to be dismantled to beat out the dents. The problem came from the use of an oil based black paint which was used for the whole of the top of the body. The whole body had been stripped down to the "original" paint ready for spraying and wiped over with cellulose thinners for its final clean. This lifted the black paint which meant that it had to be stripped down to bare metal. This is a much quicker process than rubbing down but it meant that I had wasted a lot of effort in the early years!

After two and a half years it was in primer, more or less where it was when I bought it. The green spots on the primer are the guide coat that I used to find areas that needed leveling. Unfortunately after the final coats had been put on some areas sank so I am not too sure of its value. It did allow me to find the worst areas and the runs.

After that it was relatively easy with the top coats taking a couple of weeks. The wings took a bit longer but this picture shows it emerging into the open for the first time in three years. This picture doesn't look that different from the one at the top of the page but as keeping the originality was the main objective is good despite the effort. The wiring, especially the headlamps, had not been fitted but it was essentially complete. The wet patches were a result of a hasty wash for the photo session. The headlamps were fitted with dual filament bulbs which changed little in dip mode so a couple of solenoids were bought and fitted to give a mechanical dip. These took several days to get working reliably as they take a large current initially (10 amps) but this switches to a holding current of around an amp. If the contacts are not adjusted correctly or the earth is not perfect the system goes into oscillation. The wiring to the headlamps had to be repaired as the offside front wheel had chafed through the wires which run very close to the tyres.

The original headlining looked as though it was the usual beige colour but examination of the reverse side in areas hidden from sun and rain showed that it was green to match the rest of the interior. Green headlining is quite difficult to find but a previous owner had managed to track down a material that was very close to the original. The picture shows the last piece being put in place. It also shows the original seats, arm rests and door casings which were all reused.

This picture shows the dashboard with the dip switch and advance and retard lever in the centre of the steering wheel. The 1934 Ten still has the central accelerator which wasn't changed to the normal position until 1935. The trafficator switch can be seen at the top of the dash on the right. The wiring has been modified so that both the original trafficators and modern flashers are used. The hole on the left side of the instrument panel is for the clock which is the same size as the petrol gauge. Although I have fitted an electric replacement does anyone have an original clockwork one?

After three years work "Dutchess" back on the road and, much to the delight of my wife, is much more comfortable than the Minor and even the Eight. The longer wheelbase and soft springs give a ride which is close to a modern car although the handling suffers as a result. The high centre of gravity means that sudden changes of direction make it feel unstable so I will have to get used to a more gentle form of driving.