AN5/4165 Granny's car

Open wide, Granny!

Mrs Humphrey was born in 1900. In early 1959, her son decided to buy her a new car, and AN5/4165 was first registered. It was registered in his name, but for his mother to use, on 13 February that year. In 1965, as a birthday present, her son took the car to work and returned it that same day, repainted red over the original Primrose. In 1985, when she turned 85 years of age, Mrs Humphrey failed her driving license test due to poor eyesight. I bought the Bugeye from her in February 1986, after it had been driven just 13,500 miles since new. Granny's car doesn't get driven often, and it's been about 8 years since it's last outing. It has now covered 14,165 miles. It still wears the original Dunlop Cross Ply tyres from 1959.

This is a very early Bugeye, built (according to the British Motor Vehicle Heritage Certificate) on 29 August 1958. It has the 9-stud windscreen, no reinforcing of the chassis in the boot area, small gusset at the rear of the door openings, single skin front panels near the shock absorber towers, and no air ducting behind the grille opening on the bonnet. For more details and photos of the variations between the early and late Bugeye shells, go to Body Shell Variations.

Update 20 May 2008

Back in December last year, we decided to pull Granny's car out from storage and give it a 50th birthday present. I had always hated the fact that it had been painted red over the original Primrose, and wanted to return it to its original colour. I wasn't prepared to paint over the top of the red, so all the paint had to be rubbed off. We started by removing every piece of brightwork on the body shell, plus all interior trim.

The seats are in amazing condition. Notice they were originally painted brown?
Granny's seat base   Granny's seat bases
The original rubber transmission cover received a great deal of care, as the rubber is getting hard and fragile.
Lift mat to fill
And look what we found under the mat - the original factory specifications sheet listing the body number, body colour and trim colour.
Granny's body number and colour sheet
Then onto the hard work with the random sander.
Granny's left hard guard   Granny's rear deck stripped   Granny's right hand side stripped
It was interesting to see the original paint process - black primer, then red primer, then colour.
Black primer, then red primer, then colour.

The bonnet came off so that we could paint both sides. We weren't trying to restore the car, as it would have lost all the patina that comes with age. We were just planning on putting it back to it's original colour. Since the engine bay hadn't been repainted red, we didn't strip it, just scrubbed it with a plastic scourer dipped in thinners to remove the red overspray and fifty years of accumulated grime. The engine also came out so that we could fix a slipping clutch.
Granny's empty engine bay   Granny's engine bay scrubbed   Granny's ID plates
Time for some primer:
Primed doors   Primed bonnet   Granny's rear primed
and then to apply the paint - Light Primrose as original.
Inside her bonnet   Granny's painted rear end   Granny's painted front
While Granny's car was in the paint shop, we needed to rebuild the generator and tacho reduction box. The rear generator bush had worn, and that in turn had worn the bronze bush in the reduction box. This is a very early reduction box, with the two aluminium halves held together by a steel band. With a great deal of care, they can be dismantled and repaired. We cleaned the innards, machined up a new bush in the lathe, re-assembled the reduction box, packed it with Moly grease and varefully peened over the edge of the steel band to hold it all together.
Generator in bits...   Granny's rebuilt generator
Granny's tacho in pieces   Rebuild tacho reduction box
A few weeks later, gleaming in her new coat of paint, Granny's car came home. While she had been away, we had scrubbed, and where necessary painted, all the bumpers and brackets, light fittings and surrounds, windscreen pillars and frame etc. It was now just a matter of bolting it all back together and getting it registered.
Granny's full frontal   Granny's left hand 3/4 frontal   Granny's left hand 3/4 rear
Ganny's left hand interior   Granny's right hand interior   Granny's new windscreen
Granny's car had found an admirer while she was getting her new paint, and Wayne agreed to buy her and to keep her in original condition. We did however allow him to fit some nice mags and good tyres, as the car was still running the original fifty year old Dunlop cross plys. They have been put aside for Concours use, and the new tyres for much safer road use!

Doesn't she look lovely?
Granny's full frontal   Granny side on with mags