Post by rlubikey on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:47pm Hi Ian - it was recorded on my phone and plays OK on my Linux PC. It's an MP4 so should work in any movie playing software such as Realplayer, etc. I'm no expert in embedding these things in web pages, so it's just a file stored on my web site.
Post by rlubikey on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:21am More Atlas progress. The electrics are all working - headlamps, horn, indicators, brake lights, wipers, etc. and the van is shod with new rubber. That's all the light engineering done, so as planned, I took the van to Picton Sportscars for the heavy engineering - he had done a grand job on my Spitfire. Just for a giggle, we took it for an MOT so that we would have a list of issues to work on and ... it failed (no surprise) on:-
Petrol tank filler seal missing, breather device missing, tank fixings missing ... ... well, I hadn't got around to buying a fuel tank so I'm currently using a jerry-can behind the drivers seat
Chassis corrosion near a body fixing ... yes, I was expecting that one - it's not extensive & easily welded.
Insufficient support clips for brake pipes ... well, none at all really! Previous owner had done a great job replacing the pipes though - the brakes themselves were perfect!
Some body fixing bolts missing ... good examiner - awake & spotted these were AWOL.
Some other trivial bits & pieces too. But armed with a list, we agreed a price for getting my Atlas on the road with an MOT
Meanwhile, I started looking for a suitable fuel tank and FleaBay came up trumps with this Robin Hood 2B 11.5 Gallon Fuel Tank
The dimensions are just about spot on. One or two things aren't right - the fuel outlet would have to move, but it's a brand new tank for a kit car and it's much cheaper to modify than to fabricate from scratch.
So, I bought one and it's different to the picture - better in fact! (I realise now that I haven't taken a good picture of the tank on its own.) The outlet isn't as per Ebay, but from the swirl pot (also not shown on Ebay) at the bottom and, as luck would have it, at the rear as fitted in the van. (It's probably a transverse tank in the kit car)
And when we put it under the skirt and lift it into position ...
Inside, the tank filler tube comes through the hole in the floor like it was designed for the job and mates with the filler tube. (Thanks Pete!)
David Picton was gob-smacked that I had sourced a NOS filler tube! That's the benefit of Standard Motor Club membership!
I was rather nervous about the steering. There was a little bit of play just to the right of centre, but David said this wasn't too bad and seemingly can be adjusted out. Also, there are 8 dust boot seals on the various steering joints - some in none too good condition. This will be an MOT fail after April, I am told. Referring to the parts catalogue, I find there are three different parts used. After much checking online I find that one is *only* available from Rimmer's, one is *only* available from Canley's and the last one? I was about to give up when I realised it was also used on Vanguards and SMC spares came to the rescue!
That's all for now,
PS: The suspension bump rubbers were an MOT advise. If anyone can help with the rears, as per Vanguard 3 Bump Stops thread I would be most grateful
Post by Phil Hetherington on Jan 25, 2012 at 1:29pm Good progress Richard, glad to see you are getting on with it. It's going to be a smart van when it's done (plus sliding door panel vans are by far my favourite Atlas variant - and I'm not sure I've ever seen one yet!)
I don't think the steering in an Atlas is ever going to be particularly nice though. Vans of that era just weren't, apparently.
Jan 25, 2012 at 1:29pm Phil Hetherington said: ... (sliding door panel vans are by far my favourite Atlas variant - and I'm not sure I've ever seen one yet!)
You will Phil, you will!
I don't think the steering in an Atlas is ever going to be particularly nice though. Vans of that era just weren't, apparently.
Yes, this is certainly the reputation they have. There's an interesting thread over at the TR Register Forum with reminiscences of driving them. If you wanted to make a van - or any vehicle - handle you would get the wheels as far in to the corners as you could with the widest possible track. I'm stuck with the quirky Atlas setup, but I still think I can make improvements while keeping the spirit of the animal. Anti-roll bars were only just coming in (they were an *option* on the TR4!) and all the early drawings (in manuals, etc.) show it lower with the hub caps partly covered. Loaded up? Or did Standard raise the ride height at the last minute?
Anyway, No actual work has been done since we offered up the new fuel tank back in January (Tip - don't take your commercial van to be restored at a place with "Sportscar" in their name!) But I've been buying more bits (see Bump Rubbers thread and some bits to mend the door lock plus re-created the apparently unique Atlas mirrors. Also sourced the final steering gaiters I forgot to get before (thanks for the tip, Tony P.).
So, no real visible progress I'm afraid, but here are some pictures - 'cause everyone likes pictures!
Post by rlubikey on Oct 22, 2012 at 10:32pm Atlas progress was almost non-existent over the summer, but a few things did happen.
Petrol tank now fitted
The rear bump rubbers are fitted. They are from a Big Healey and intended for a slightly larger axle but the metal shoe is thin enough to flex into the U-bolts thus
I've also "made" a new pair of mirrors from a bike faring kit which had the right shape arm and the clamps. 5" mirror from a Stateside car. Just have to make the mounting plates (cut out diamond shapes and add PEM self-clinch studs)
Now to real progress - we looked at the MOT fails and advise about missing mounting bolts and nearby corrosion around the front floorpan both sides. Some welding was going to be needed to correct this and closer inspection revealed rather more filler in the vicinity than originally suspected.
The MOT chappie had advised that, as it was all rather well concealed, he could turn a blind eye. But I'd prefer not have wafer thin metal, peppered with holes and bodges down there, with filler "make-up" hiding it all. With forward control vans, your legs are rather close to the vehicle in front!
So, chop out the rotten stuff. Door sill, chassis, floor ...
... make the new bits up on the sheet folder, weld them in place and protect with primer.
We also tried hanging the drivers door to check alignment on that side
Couple of other things, got a 5th Stag wheel - the spare - which has gone for blasting and powder coating like the others. And the driver's door lock had been forced in the past - even though the key came with the van - and the mechanism broken. I stripped and reassembled, repairing the damaged mechanism - sorry, no pictures.
As I know nothing about the Atlas and had never seen one till I looked at pictures of them on this website, I have followed your restoration with some interest because of association with Commer vans and mini buses.
The Atlas has more than a passing resemblance to the Commer. Even though the Commer Van with it various badges went on for years, I know that they are thin on the ground, so I can only imagine that your type of van must be rare, if not almost extinct.
As a lad of 16, I went to work in a main dealer body shop in Walsall (West Midlands). The company sold and maintained Chrysler vehicles - which actually meant we looked after all of the small Commer commercials along with the Chrysler, Hillman, Humber and Singer cars and in the area. We also had a fleet of Commer Mini Buses and vans that were used for hire.
The front and rear panels of our vans got a hell of a battering because the wheel base (like yours) being narrower than the body. Many of the drivers waited till the wheels hit the path to parallel park as they did not know how to park the things, which meant that drivers bashed into every lamp post and telegraph pole and street furniture in the district, for the same reasons the sides of the vans got a bit of a bending too.
My job every Monday was to sort out the damage to the vans before I did anything else - there were a lot of broken door mirrors and a lot of filler used. We had little time to do proper repairs. It was clean it up, tap it out, fill it spray it.
The thing was that the Commer was a robust truck but had the same nooks and crannies as your van so I guess that rust took its toll on all of them too. Sadly both vans suffered the same fate, as they were either not as good or well thought of as the Transit - as the name Transit has become a metaphor and description as well as a name.
Out of interest - where did your van come from, how do you plan to paint it - and how do you plan to use it when the restoration is done?
Post by rlubikey on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:44pm Hi guys. Yes, several people have said "oh, a Commer ..." and it's understandable. What with the headlamps close together and the wheels tops covered by bodywork. Of course the Atlas is much more attractive ... <COUGH>
Interesting to hear your reminiscences of fettling Commer bodywork, Bloodhound. People weren't such sympathetic drivers in those days as we sometimes think. The Atlas is a very lightly built van. It weighs less than a ton - about the same as a Herald!! The chassis is "D" section almost everywhere, compared with the Ford Thames which is "C" - much less stiff.
My Atlas came off Ebay from a seller in Herefordshire. When it's finished it will be painted in two-tone - probably black coffee / milky coffee - and sign-written with my wife's antique furniture restoration business. It will be used for transporting customer's pieces when her Kei People Carrier isn't big enough - which isn't very often! Also at local shows etc. for advertising and just driving and enjoying.
Post by rlubikey on Jan 10, 2013 at 2:01pm Restoration continues. Door steps, chassis and body mounts now done both sides. No pictures I'm afraid. But mean time I thought you might like to see our planned colour scheme, courtesy of Photoshop (pronounced "The GIMP"). It's GWR Chocolate & Cream, done in Standard-Triumph colours. Either Sienna or Russet Brown and Old English White or Jasmine Yellow. I've got samples of these paints and will trot along to Didcot to check against the real thing. Here's the mock up of our Atlas in "Dung and Custard" livery.
The sliding doors aren't on at present so the door came out slightly darker. And before anyone says, yes I know, Chocolate & Cream was for passenger coaches, not goods.
Post by Phil Hetherington on Jan 10, 2013 at 3:33pm It's a pity about the web address, probably essential for your business but it's a far from 'traditional' feature! And I suppose if I'm really grumbling, can't you get one of those old 3-digit phone numbers? ;-)
Chocolate & Cream not to my taste but I never have been much of a GWR affectionado so there it is. Anyway as a locomotive it should be brunswick green, surely? Maybe with a black snout (in lieu of smokebox).
Post by rlubikey on Feb 4, 2013 at 10:51am Went to see the Atlas on Saturday. Body panel fabrication and welding finished. Quick spray of etch primer.
Doesn't seem much different to last time, except the number plate and bumper are back on.
And ... wait a minute ... what's that in the window?
A tax disc!
Ladies & gentlemen, break out the champaign; we have an MOT'ed, insured and taxed Atlas back on the road. Well, sort of!
Actually, it turned out to be a flying visit, so I drove the Atlas out of the workshop, stuck the the tax disc in the window, took some photos, had a chat about further work and drove it back in again. Time was limited and there were doors and loads of other stuff in the back so I didn't take it for a drive.
We have about a week's more work - little bits of welding like filling the roof-rack holes, rolling the rear arches and fit a 3.7 differential. Then drive home and think about paint. Professional job or DIY? You can get a good finish with coach paint - if you've got the technique. And the patience!
Post by rlubikey on Feb 9, 2013 at 8:16pm Yes, doors not needed for an MOT - amazing!
Speaking of doors, went along today and put the doors on. The rails needed positioning in the new door steps and holes drilling. I removed the "pelmet" which covers the runner along the top, giving better access to the track. Extensive corrosion, covered by fibre-glass or something on nearside runner.
Then on with the doors. Passenger's fits quite well - some adjustment will be needed to get the gaps right but otherwise OK. Driver's doesn't fit so well and won't shut. The previous owner had had the doors restored and I think that they were done off the vehicle without checking profiles & shut lines. The bottom of both doors doesn't follow the body and could well account for the off-side being too tall at the front. Some judicious application of brute force may solve this. Back door went on too. Hinge needs adjustment and the shut line here isn't great either.
I've also had a 3.7:1 crownwheel & pinion put in the diff. If my maths is correct, this puts first gear where second was. (I was able to pull away quite happily in 2nd) Should give better cruising than the stock 6.66:1 and we aren't going to load it up so won't need the "hill start" facility! Rear axle looks nice with a lick of paint.
Finally, I gave it a drive round the block. There's a funny pull out onto the A10 where I normally have to wait a minute or two in my "modern" for a gap in the traffic. Not this time! The third car slows down and flashes me out Little does he know how slow an Atlas is, but a cheery wave and I'm off along the dual carriageway. The steering wanders a bit at speed, but great fun driving with the door slid open, wearing a down jacket & thick gloves ;D ... and no seat belt
Post by rlubikey on Mar 8, 2013 at 7:55pm So, just a few final things to do before driving the Atlas home. Fettle the doors so they at least open and shut - a bit of lubrication and that's sorted. Cut a sheet of acrylic to fill the driver's window that was missing. Weld the roof rack holes - all six of them and also, remove the ventilator cap and weld a plate where the (missing) vent valve used to be.
The ventilator cap is almost 2" so removing it is a useful height reduction. I can always put it back on for shows!
Then it's time to drive home. I've done a few test runs and I can get up to 50mph if I pedal hard! Off down the road and everything feels good. Then it's on to the M25. Well, I got 8 miles before she boiled over. I should have checked the cooling system shouldn't I! Well, at least I broke down in the free recovery section of the roadworks and my Nearest & Dearest was following in the chase vehicle ;D
Free recovery means taking you to a compound at the end of the roadworks. Thank you Alan taking great care loading and unloading the Atlas - turns out he's a fan of old vans and we chatted for ages!
So, back to Picton Sportscars and out with the radiator and send it off to be re-cored. Look at the mess made by steaming rusty water sprayed all over the place.
End of the week and the rad's back with a high-density core so it should easily cope with 35-bhp. Note the blanking plugs top & bottom for electric fan switches.
In fact, the same radiator with slightly different fixings was used in the Vitesse and GT6, so it should be good for 100-bhp.
Hmmmm! That gives me an idea. Here's a 1500 engine - same physical size but 71-bhp and, more importantly, 80-ftlbs of torque. I like torque!
Might come in hand raising the top speed and acceleration. The pistons and rods? They're TR5 and 1300 - do an offset grind on the crank to increase the stroke and you get a 1650cc engine. This is very neat as the Atlas Major was 1670cc.
Will I have to move this to Sub-Standards if I fit the 1500?