1962 Bentley S2
Ypsilanti, Michigan

Part V - Paint and Interior Trim


photo credit: Dave Cunningham

June 4-5, 2011

After spending the winter in storage, the Bentley is up and running and now has a few more thousand miles on the odometer.

The leather for the front seat bottom and driver's arm rest has arrived. Bruce at LMR Automotive is going to fit the new leather and also re-dye the door trim panels and the other seat cushions to "bring everything together. "

I spent Saturday afternoon removing the door handles, window swiftches and door panels.

photo credit: Dave Cunningham

At the same time, 203 Custom Car Works is ready to do some body work on the lower half of the car. The blue-grey paint has seen better days and various spot repairs over the years all have slightly different hues.

Dave Cunningham and I spent a full day on Sunday removing all of the trim pieces in the blue-grey areas.

(Thanks Donna Cunningham for postponing your Greenfield Village trip so that your man could give me some much needed help.)

photo credit: Dave Cunningham

The rear bumper mounting hardware was particularly recalcitrant. Discharged Dave's Bosch cordless impact gun completely trying to get the four retaining bolts removed.

We did prevail...

photo credit: Dave Cunningham

...and delivered the car to Paul (l) and Scott as promised.

In other news, the last piece of the cooling system puzzle fell into place. Engine temps have continued to run hot on occasion, regardless of speed, load or ambient temperature. I borrowed a spare wax-pellet style thermostat from Gary Rock. This type thermostat superceded the early "long" type used on this car. Now the engine temps are normal all of the time. That is, until the improved coolant flow weakened a seam near the top of the radiator and now it's leaking. Good timing I suppose, I needed to remove the grll anyway.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

June 7, 2010

Scott got down to business on the right rear fender and it's a bit of a mess. Introcar makes a rust repair panel that welds in under the swage line that looks like it will fit the bill.

We'll hold off on our order until he digs into the other four corners. If it's any consolation, this is the quarter panel that will probably be the worst.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

June 8, 2010

Scott spent the day working his way around the car taking inventory of other rust repair panels that I will need to order.

Looks like the inner arch on the right rear quarter panel is also toast.

The right front quater panel is in good shape.

There's minor corrosion damage to the right hand sill but repairs won't be too extensive.

Left front has a previous (and well-executed) spot repair where the fender suppport comes in contact with the sheet metal - a common trouble area.
Left rear quarter panel outer will also receive a rust repair panel.
But, in an effort to cheer me up, Scott took a look at the left rear arch inner and...
...it's okay.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

June 10, 2011

The rust repair panels have been ordered and will take a little less than two weeks to be made up and flown in from the UK.


photo credit: Garry Campbell

June 13, 2011

We had a little setback at Sherbourne Mews.

About 5 tons of tree fell on the house Monday afternoon.

By Tuesday morning the we had a whole crew onsite removing the tree and covering the damage to keep the elements out.

photo credit: Garry Campbell
Damage is extensive and extends from the third floor attic on down to...

photo credit: Garry Campbell
...the second floor bedroom.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

June 20, 2011

Bear in mind my desire is not to eliminate the patina but address the body rot and get a good homogenous coat of paint on the bottom half of the car. The light blue lower color had been sprayed in at least four different hues over the years as minor repairs became necessary.

We're going with a single stage paint to match the gloss of the existing navy blue upper color and not necessarily going all the way down to bare metal.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

Primer has been applied to all but the rear quarter panels. The rust repair panels from Introcar will hopefully arrive by early next week.

I have also ordered all of the needed seals for around the grill, headlights, tailights, overiders, running lights, front apron, gas door seal and rear bumper filler strip from Replacement Parts Inc. in Villa Rica, Georgia.

In other news: Bruce at LMR Automotive has returned from his fishing trip and plans to finish the interior trim (mostly the front seat bottom cushion) concurrently with the body work and paint.

June 24, 2011

The rust repair panels arrived today at 203 Custom Car Works: left rear quarter (top), outer half of the right rear inner (center) and right rear quarter (bottom).

And none too soon, cutting out the old and welding in the new panels is next on the agenda.

I also dropped off the seals from Replacement Parts Inc. which arrived yesterday.

The bumper brackets have proven to be a bit of a problem to remove from the bumpers for repainting. I will most likely have to cut some of the fasteners away.

July 7, 2011

I couldn't say anything at the time, but this (real) Ford GT-40 was at the paint shop recently.

I am told it is the #4 Holman Moody car driven by Mark Donohue among others. I believe it made appearances at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring in 1966. (Watch this space - I am sure the corrections will fly in.)
Scott made good progress today cutting away the damaged portion of the left rear quarter panel.

The inner panels are no walk in the roses, either. Ouch.

You really need to get a car or two painted at 203 Custom Car Works. When I arrived at lunchtime to see what was up, Paul had just left for a run to Taco Bell. Scott called Paul on the phone and said "Hey - bring Jon some shit too."

I am not saying everyone who walks in the door can expect such royal treatment, but they're awfully good to me.

Meanwhile, I finished disassembling the bumpers which was no small task - more than half of the nuts had to be cut off. This stud broke free allowing it to rotate while remaining captured by the bracket. Mike volunteered to tack weld it back in place.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 9, 2010

Scott's got the new left quarter sheet metal fitted in but not welded as of yet.

You can also see where Scott's opened up a hole in the leading edge of the inner arch in order to patch it.

photo credit: David Hollister

July 10, 2011

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, one of my favorite car shows, is held on the grounds of the Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. It is almost always blazing hot, 94F this year, but well worth the 300 mile round trip.

I would have liked to bring the Bentley but the Silver Shadow did well in a pinch.

photo credit: Doug Wolford

Peter Heydon brought his 1949 Bentley Mark VI Drophead Coupe by Worblaufen (B88LFV).

Rolls-Royce and Bentley were the featured marque this year and I do believe Peter won first prize.

photo credit: Doug Wolford

The hidden gem of the show was this 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow that Greg Albers drove up from Zionsville, Indiana. Bill Davis originally bought this car from Albers Rolls-Royce (now Bentley Zionsville). When he traded it in with 17,000 miles on it for the Corniche that he still has to this day, Hermann Albers kept the Shadow and gave it to his wife.

Today it has 19,000 miles and is absolutely breathtaking in its originality.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 11, 2011

You're getting to see the seamy underbelly of body work: how beautiful do you have to make a panel that noone can see and whose replacement is unavailable?

Don't answer that!

(It does look better than it did, though.)

Scott has patched that hole in the inner panel as well.

photo credit: Scott Mueller
New outer sheetmetal glued and welded in place.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 12, 2011

More progress...

photo credit: Scott Mueller
The 203 Custom Car Works website now has the complete series of photos available for the work they did on this 1966 Ford GT-40. Click here to go directly to the photos or here to check out a wide variety of past projects.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 13, 2011

The leading edge of the right rear wheel arch is much worse than on the other side. Scott will be gainfully employed fabricating new end pieces.


photo credit: Scott Mueller
Fortunately the corrosion damage is confined, more or less to what is shown in this photo, it does not extend forward into the far reaches of the sill.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 14, 2011

Cleaned up sill with new end cap.

photo credit: Scott Mueller
New right rear inner wheel arch, outer section installed.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

New right rear outer wheel arch front half.

Bruce and I are going to start work on the interior this Sunday, by the time the car is painted we may very well have the interior ready to go back in the car.

July 17, 2011

Got together with Bruce from LMR Automotive today. I volunteered to clean and degrease all of the leather we removed from the Bentley that does not need to be replaced.

The plan is to redye the faded old leather so that it will match the replacement hide from Bill Hirsch.

The right rear door panel has a bit of water damage which weakened the plywood substrate and caused the Connolly leather binding to separate from the Wilton carpet.

Bruce partially disassembled this panel so that the damaged area could be shored up with a bit of Tite Bond glue.

Here's Bruce cutting out a new piece for the left front arm rest.

Bruce got just about everything we need ready to go for the front seat bottom and left front arm rest including lots of stock for the piping.

We will reconvene next Sunday.

I also managed to clean up and repaint all of the bumper brackets today but failed to take any photos.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 18, 2011

It's been around 95F during the day here in the Detroit Metropolitan area for a few days now but today the humidity went off the hook.

Somehow Scott found the energy to keep plugging away on the body work.

Bear in mind none of the fresh sheet metal in the following three photos are welded in yet.

This particular piece is on the leading edge of the right rear arch and covers the the nice piece of fabrication Scott did on July 14th. (See above.)

photo credit: Scott Mueller
This is the trailing edge of the same arch but without the outer sheet metal in place.

photo credit: Scott Mueller
Here's a wider shot of the same area with the panels painted.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 19, 2011

As of this evening, Scott's got all of the underlying sheetmetal glued and welded up with the outer panels in place and ready for similar treatment tomorrow.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 20, 2011

The rear quarter bodywork is complete and ready to be primed. The other half of 203 Custom Car Works, Paul Bearman wasn't quick enough to avoid being photographed.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 21, 2011

Scott sent me these two photos this morning. They're done for the week, no doubt due to heat. It was 102 degrees in Ypsilanti this afternoon.

photo credit: Scott Mueller
Scott thinks they'll have her painted and back to me for reassembly by the end of next week.

July 24, 2011

Bruce broke out the leather skiver today to thin the strips that we'll wrap around cord and make into piping.

Since it's a relatively unskilled task, Bruce showed me how to use contact cement to fold the leather tightly around the cord. The cement really only holds the leather together until it is sewn into the seat.
After running through what seemed like sixty or seventy feet of piping, I decided to touch up the bumper brackets that I cleaned up and painted last weekend.
After measuring up the the old seat and marking everything on the new piece, Bruce proceeds to hammer out the folds in the pleats.

Meanwhile, I installed new rubber where the overriders meet the bumpers. Not quite as easy as it looks - use a touch of cyanoacrylate adhesive every inch or two to keep the rubber from walking off the edge.

Even though each of these overriders looks similar they are not the same left to right or front to back: four different part numbers.

If you screw this up the overriders won't be parallel to the centerline of the car.

With that in mind, I got the back bumper reassembled, but I am missing a few fasteners for the front, I bought 5/16 rather than 3/8 set screws for the overrider centers and fog lamp brackets.

photo credit: Scott Mueller

July 26, 2011

The boys at 203 Custom Car Works continue to make progress: the S2 is fully primed. Not sure if they're done block sanding the rear quarters quite yet but we're close: paint is imminent any day now.

August 2, 2011

Only one photo so far this week, but the one we've been waiting for: she's painted.

The whole car still needs to be buffed out but Paul and Scott think they'll have her back in my hands on Friday.

Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to get the bumpers and trim back on and the radiator out so that it can be repaired.

photo credit: David Hollister

August 3, 2011

Haven't said much about the house because minimal progress has been made thus far. Today was different. Finally the roofers arrived in force and began work on the roof itself. Got about a third of the way done today.

Aug. 6, 2011

I collected my very shiny Bentley from 203 Custom Car Works yesterday and returned her to the garage.

First order of business is to remove the radiator for repair. It began leaking about a week before she went in to the body shop. Naturally, this is a good time to do it because the radiator shell is already removed.

The air conditioning condenser is easy enough to remove.
The stays come next. (The rods radiating from the bottom center.) Once these are removed the radator can be removed out the front. The fenders which are now fairly loose can be gently coerced so that the radiator mounting ears can clear the radiator brackets on each side.

Now would be an excellent time to replace the water pump, but it seems to behaving just fine, so I will let that one alone. I may regret my decision at some point...

[Aug. 8 Update - changed my mind and ordered a new pump from Post 55 Parts.]

Stuart was milling about the garage and when he saw me heading out with the radiator he offered his help. We did find a number of leaks around the periphery where the header tank is soldered to the core. We were not completely successful resoldering these with the equipment we had on hand. Also, the filler cap seal is leaking and the pressure relief valve opens at around 3 psi rather than the desired 7 psi. I plan to drop the radiator off at A & B Radiator very early on Monday. Hopefully they turn it around by week's end. I will also order a new seal and read up on how to recondition the valve.

August 7, 2011

I spent a few hours today cleaning fifty years of oil and debris from the front crossmember.

The rear of the car is presenting a few issues. The rubber stone guard between the fairing (arrow) and bumper should span the gap. Unfortunately it is riveted upside-down and I'll have to take the bumper back off to get that fixed.

I got the tailights in, one of the very few items on the car mounted with #10 UNF machine screws rather than 2BA. The running lights and turn signals work, but actuating the brakes blows the fuse. Hmmph. I'll figure that out later.

Aug. 10, 2011

Richard Vaughan came by tonight to help select a dye color that matches the new hide. This is a scrap from the new hide with our various attempts painted on.

The object here is to paint something on that disappears once it dries. The one between the arrows, suitably thinned is the final result.

This will be used to dial in the rest of the the interior leather to match the pieces that will be completely redone.

These are some of the various colors we used to arrive at the final color.

Aug. 12, 2011

Bruce Philips from LMR Automotive got to work right away spraying the right rear door panel.

When he went out to pick up some donuts, I installed the new thermostat so that I can return the one I borrowed from Gary Rock.

I also managed to sort out the short in the brake lights (my fault) and install the front running lights with new bulbs, the headlamp bezels and replacement backup lamp bulbs.

This is the front passenger door panel prior to refresh.
The driver's door was much worse. This is the "after" photo.

About a year ago, my good friend Jason inadvertantly broke the pull strap on the rear center arm rest. He was beside himself and I told him not to worry about it. After all the car is almost fifty years old, stuff happens.

So Jason, as you can see, this was not a big deal in the overall scheme of things.

And on a detail note: the top of the armrest is retained by a screw and slot arrangement and once it is slipped in place at the front, it is nailed down in the rear.

Richard Vaughan stopped by today to check on our progress and as he puts in designer terms "save us from ourselves."

As you can see by the various pieces and parts, I managed to remove just about all of the leather trim from the car today.

Aug. 13, 2011

One cap screw on the front seat frame was seized and required an overnight soak in penetrating oil and about 50 lb-ft of torque to get it out of there.

The remaining leather items will be tinted in situ.
Back to the broken strap, Bruce made an entirely new one in no time including skiving and sewing.
The picnic tables come out after removing six wood screws each.
You can still use all manner of high VOC stuff in Michigan so Bruce is wearing a respirator.
The front seat back requires some crack filling. We'll spray this one tomorrow.
One of the assist straps was also damaged last year, so Bruce set about fixing this as well.
Bruce sewed in new slightly wider leather edging that will cover the damaged area of the carpet and eliminate the otherwise impossible task of matching a new piece of carpet.

See? You can't distinguish the new leather from old nor will you be able to see that it has been repaired.

Tomorrow, things should slowly start coming back together.

Aug. 14, 2011

Today I got all of the door panels in including the 21 electrical connections (and 21 little screws) required to connect the electric window lift switches.

All the windows passed their electrical check the first time.

Also put the carpet back in. Bruce finished up the front and rear seat pieces (except for the front seat bottom) and also made a new parcel shelf cover. Tomorrow all of this can go back in the car as well.

I installed the sill trim pieces. This side looks fine but there's a bit of a fore and aft alignment problem on the other side.

May have to drill new mounting holes.

Aug. 15, 2011

The side sections are held in with three dog point 1/4-28 screws each and the large center section has eight. Access is from the boot. Much to my surprise and delight, the screws all immediately lined up with the captive nuts in the upholstery. Done and done.

I also got the old water pump out. Cleaned up the mounting surface with a gasket scraper and mill file after I took this photo. Got the new pump in and re-installed the A/C compressor and generator which had to be removed along with their mounting brackets to gain access to the pump.

That could have been alot worse. Probably took an hour but I wasn't working very hard.

Got the front seat minus the bottom cushion reinstalled along with the picnic tables which were removed prior to spraying the leather.

Also installed the repaired and resprayed assist straps (upper right).

With all of this out of the way, Bruce continued work on the pleated section of the front bottom cushion.

It's not as easy as it looks.

Larry from A & B Radiator called me this afternoon. They plan to recore the S2's radiator and will have it ready for me to pick up Saturday.

August 24, 2011

I got the radiator back today and promptly installed it along with the fan, water pump pulley and fan shroud.

All of the fender stays are in place and ready for the air conditioning condenser.

August 25, 2011

Bruce has finished the completely recovered driver's arm rest. The front seat bottom is 95% done and should be ready for install tomorrow or Friday.

Aug. 25, 2011

Bruce and Mike from LMR Automotive had the lower seat cushion installed when I arrived late this afternoon. It looks fantastic.

Here's the air conditioning condenser now in place...

...along with the grill shell, bonnet, air cleaner assembly and the baffle that attaches the bottom of the grill shell to the body.

Tomorrow evening I should be able to install the front bumper, fairings and fog lamps.

Aug. 27, 2011

Roy came over to the garage last night and helped me lift the front bumper into place without mangling the fairings.

We got everthing together and even had time to have dinner and a drink or two at the Sidetrack.

The car made the trip from Ypsi to Detroit and then on to Northville this morning with no coolant leaks and dramatically lower coolant temperatures.

It was great to have the car done for the RROC Motor Region Annual Picnic and Judging Event. For the first time this year I thought it might be nice to target the Best Picnic Arrangement Trophy. I have minimal talent in this area, so my neighbors Steven and Thom went to work.

Harold and Tony also had a first time entry that kicked some major backside but...

...we won! And also took home a second place in class for the Bentley.

There's a couple tidying up items to do such as reconnecting the fog lamps, fine tuning the trim strip on right side, buffing out the bonnet, installing the fuel door gasket and reversing the stone guard on the rear bumper.

I'll also document a planned overhaul of the rear shock absorbers in the coming months - they leak.

Aug. 28, 2011

Many of you have been asking about the status of the house. Work is ongoing but the structure, electrical work and roofing are complete.

I delivered the car back to her storage location in Ypsilanti and had enough time today to torque the bumper bracket bolts and reconnect the fog lamps with integral turn signal function.

November 13, 2011

Although the heat is strong enough to drive you out of the car, nothing but cold air will come through the defroster vents.

Consulting the diagram in the service manual and observing the behavior of the actuators, the heater tap actuator and upper flap actuators were working correctly but the lower flap actuator was not. Since this is the flap that admits fresh air into the heater core to feed the defroster vents, this had to be the culprit.

The flap actuators are mounted to the right front fender apron.

In reality, the view is much more cluttered.

Once the entire assembly with both actuators was removed, it was obvious that the lower flap itself had seized.

The flaps are located within the fender. Access is much easier once the wheel is removed.

Apparently this has happened before. A previous repair person cut an access hole near the flaps and then neatly reassembled it with friction tape.

The upper flap is visible inside and to the left. The lower flap is immediately below it. The two rubber buttons to the left of the window protect the shaft ends from contamination.

Liberal application of PB Blaster to the lower flap shaft at the two points it comes in contact with housing freed it up.

After testing it on the bench, it was clear the Lucas Model 2GM actuator itself was also inoperative.

The motor inside the unit (l) is inoperative and appears to be burned out. In addition, the brass gear in the phenolic housing was very difficult to turn.

I will carefully put the unit back together and exchange it (along with several hundred dolllars) for a reconditioned one.

In the mean time, the lower flap is jury-rigged open allowing heated air into the defroster.


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