Apr 152012

Hutsons have fabricated wheeled trolleys so bodyshells can be easily moved between the body repair, paint preparation and spray booth areas. They’re designed so the shell is at a reasonable height to work on without the need to stoop.

Once completed, the bodyshells are then delivered bolted to the trolley which posed the first problem for the rebuild. How to get the painted shell off the Hutson’s trolley and onto my waiting axle trolleys.

I had initially planned to do the body work myself and had started to make a rotisserie during the dismantling stage. Its base was a rather substantial affair, built out of lengths of 150mm mild steel channel. The car was delivered to Hutsons on the frame, but as I wouldn’t have further use for it, I left it with Hutsons to dispose of or use as they wished.

They’d put it to good use. When the bodyshell was delivered, they had modified their lorry’s tailgate so the long lengths could be bolted on to act as ramps. Their trolley could then be rolled down the ramps in the channels to safely deliver completed shells.

Unfortunately there wasn’t enough manpower around when the car was delivered to lift the bodyshell onto the axle trolleys. It had to remain on the Hutson trolley while I pondered what to do.

Even with the axle trolleys at their full extension, the bodyshell still needed to be lowered by approx. 40cm. None of the local hire shops had anything suitable to raise and support both ends to allow the trolley to be removed and then lower the bodyshell.

I then looked at erecting four columns of building blocks to support timber cross beams. This would also need two other columns to provide a raised base for the trolley jacks. The number of building blocks needed was mounting rapidly, making it a rather expensive solution for a one off job. I was stumped.

The timely delivery of some timber for a workshop provided just enough wood that could be temporarily half-inched to make supporting platforms either side of the car. Also I wasn’t comfortable attempting to lower the bodyshell on my own and drafted in some much needed help.

An initial recce was duly arranged to plan the lowering however it was soon decided to go for it and the oversized Jenga operation began. The bodyshell had to be raised and lowered a number of times – raise, roll the trolley forward until it hit the platform supporting the jack, lower, reposition the jacking platform. Finally the trolley’s exit route was clear and it could be pulled free.

It this point the bodyshell was in its most precarious position, supported only by three jacks. Not good for the nerves!! The final lowering was relatively simple. The front and rear ends were raised and lowered in turn with a layer of timber removed each time.

With the sun low on the horizon, the bodyshell was at last resting on the axle trolleys. Phew!

 Posted by at 10:04 pm

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