Restoration of My 1948 Prefect
Chapter III -- Back Together Again
Finally, ten years later in late 2008, after retirement and trying for some time to get a shop built for adequate work space, I decided it was time to get back on this long neglected project. But first, I'll digress just a bit for some further background. A couple of years ago, local laws changed to allow no more than two non-running cars on my property. That required me to get at least two in running order. Running order meant replacing the non-use tags with driveable ones which required insurance. After research, I selected Hagerty Collector Car Insurance. They accepted the Prefect as unmodified, knowing the alterations I have made to it, primarily the hydraulic brakes and the later model (although still 36 bhp) engine. With the same liability as our regular drivers and an agreed value of $5,000 currently, as a work-in-progress, the annual premium is about $60. That's pretty hard to beat. As the restoration progresses, I will increase the value, of course. Ultimately, I expect it to be about $15-18,000.
Also, before continuing, there is one other new development. You may remember that question, way back on the first page, regarding the extended boot. I received a copy of an article from the newsletter of the Ford Sidevalve Owners Club in England, arguably the most influential and knowledgeable body as far as the "Upright Fords" are concerned. Here is the article. The photos did not copy particularly well but it is readable and identifiable. They too are quite perplexed but their best estimation is that it might have been a prototype for the Australian version which did have the extention. All Australian Prefects had a steel top rather than the fabric insert like mine. Mine also is numbered as E93A and it has an appropriate Briggs body number. These clearly establish it as an English build. Looks like we may have a prototype here. In any event, nobody so far has ever seen one exactly like it.
Before winter really set in, I switched sides in the garage with the Volkswagen, moving the Prefect to the more accessible side for working during the winter. Picking a few warmer days in December, I was able to strip the interior, treat everything and get it painted in the final color. This was preliminary to finishing the wiring project. I think I now have everything needed to do so. These are the before and after shots.
Meanwhile, over that several year lull in activity, I did manage to collect a few more items needed for the restoration. I got a decent grille (shown here) and sill panel (running board) rubbers from New Zealand and most of the other body rubber from Anglia Obsolete. I got a pair of refurbished trafficators from Small Ford Spares in England and a Lucas 14W, 2 speed wiper motor from eBay. I also got another good complete steering box and column from eBay that I will use to reconstruct a more trustworthy column.
Finally, in the last few months, I designed and built a 12-6 volt reducer to operate the petrol gauge and the trafficators. Also, the Lucas wiper motor required a special switch to make the park function work. This is a twist switch of off-low-high format. My switch is a toggle of low-off-high format and I did not want to change it. I like those switches. So, I also designed and built a relay control box that provides the missing function. The last electrical job was to design a new relay control box for the turn signal functions, using modern miniature components, to replace the old one I did many years ago. The Prefect's side lights are single filament and the tail lights only provide for two each. Therefore parking lights as well as brake lights required a control box to also function as flashing turn signals. Lastly, the trafficators required separate relays as they are 6 volt instead of 12 and should not flash.
After a few more hours researching on the internet and redrawing the intended wiring diagram over and over, I think I have finally arrived at something I can live with that is also as close as can practically be done to the British standard. So far, I have finished the left front section and the right front/main section. I discovered how the overhead wires were originally routed up the left A pillar and over the doors which was not at all obvious and required a contortionist to do the job. It is not at all certain at this time that I can route mine that way. The original probably used four wires and my design requires nine. In the worst case, I may have to reroute some of them over the right side. That will likely cause me to be short on some colors.
Meanwhile, as of February 16, 2009, I have finished wiring everything from the facia forward. That day, I successfully tested everything done. It all passed and no smoke was lost in the process. Now, on to finding a way to get those wires up the A post.
Well, here it is early March and I have finally found the solution to getting my wires up the A post and to the back. They will all fit but I probably will have to remove the facia to gain access. Meanwhile, I removed the steering wheel and completely refurbished it. The steps and progress photos are here and this is the final result. I do love that look.
I have also finished modifications to the rebuilt trafficators to make them fit the Prefect properly. Those rebuilt ones were quite similar but not exact matches. They are from Tex and my originals were Lucas. Also, I suspect they came from a later Popular as their mounting system was a simple screw through the B pillar from outside. The originals had a much more sophisticated system from the inside that was invisible once installed. They also had rain deflectors that were not present on the replacements. They get installed tomorrow in their modified form.
I also have a pair of Harley-Davidson rear turn signal lights that will look right as tail lights on the Prefect. I recently found a miniature bulb with the same specs as the ubiquitous 1157 and will start tomorrow removing the existing single-filament bulbs and sockets and replacing them with these doubles. Finally, I will do away with those truck lights that have been there for so many years.