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1951 LD10 KKV 222

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Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

I've been attempting to get myself up to speed on Lanchesters, and their peculiarities, because I've just acquired a Barker bodied 1951 Lanchester LD10 which has been mentioned a couple of times in the past on this very forum.

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Lanchesters have been on my radar while my partner and I have been looking for a pre-war (or similar) project. Something conventional enough to not be too difficult to drive compared to what we're used to, but interesting enough to have the joy of learning how something less usual works. Our experience is centred more on cars from the 1970s to the 1990s, and I've had some brief forays into things from the 1960s. We also really wanted something that was original, careworn, and unrestored. We didn't want something that was conventionally beautiful, so this car was absolutely perfect.

It looks to have had one owner from 1951 to 2008, and then a second owner from 2008 until now. This means the car has escaped being modernised or modified and is surprisingly original for its age and apparent condition. We were surprised at just how solid and complete it is and bar some localised rust repairs required on the outer sills, and a small patch on one rear inner arch, the car is remarkably solid. It was difficult to assess the wooden frame of the body since we weren't really in a position to be dismantling it at the viewing, but what we could see of it looked to be in good order.

All of the lights and guages appear to work and, with some fresh fuel, it started and idled quite willingly which again was quite a surprise and not at all what we were expecting. I'm so used to projects fighting every step of the way it was quite refreshing to meet a car so eager to get to work, and slightly disarming. Of course, there are some things we couldn't check, going for a test drive wasn't really an option, and much of the car's condition mechanically is taken on faith as a pure gamble. Since we are prepared to have to overhaul absolutely everything anyway, even if things are worn out or needing repair, this is something we're prepared to do.

Our goal is preservation rather than restoration. The first job will be a thorough clean so we can inspect and become familiar with the car and any of its problems. After that, we can start addressing issues and overhaul anything that needs it mechanically, and structurally. We plan to refresh the interior where needed, but try and keep as much of the original fittings and materials as possible. For the exterior, the plan is to leave as much of that exactly as you see it, with a coat of protection of some sort, we're more keen on oily rag than concourse especially when there's more important tasks to attend to than shiny paint.

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I'll be sure to keep you all updated on progress and no doubt ask plenty of inane questions along the way as we learn just what we've let ourselves in for. It's sure to be entertaining at the very least.

Sydsmith
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Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Sydsmith »

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on buying a fine car, looks very much a worthwhile project and I share your enthusiasm to retain the character of the car. What a find, hope you and your partner have many hours working on it and then enjoying the fruits of your labour.

I love those first few month ownership exploring the nooks and crannies of the car, finding the odds and sods that were lost many years ago in odd places.

One thing you can be sure of is you have joined the friendly forum and will find loads of stuff on your car if you use the search facility and read the old contributions. Don't be shy about asking questions, there is a wealth of experience available here and don't forget to join the DLOC the magazine alone is worth the subscription. Syd

Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

Thank you for the welcome, Syd. It's really good to know there is support for these cars and that the forum is active, that's going to really help working through the problems we're undoubtedly going to face.

We have been given the delivery date and it's due to land on Saturday. Looking forward to having a proper rummage through it all to see what we've really got, especially after spending today reorganising the garage so that we have a lovely clean space to put it away in. Once we know what's actually missing, we can start figuring out what parts we need to try and find, thankfully it doesn't look like anyone has started taking it apart for restoration so there's a good chance all the bits are still going to be there.

triddell
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:08 pm

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by triddell »

Yes welcome. I have a Barker LD10 in reasonably good condition. I'm not that experienced but have found it quite nice to work on and have done tasks like a new head gasket, engine mount, starter contacts, reconditioned carb etc all with help from the website, and some youtube clips done by an owner in Wales who seems to solve any problems at all with hers.
I'm not so happy with the brakes - I went through them, I thought properly, but I still find the pedal pressure too great for arthritic feet. I'm going to try fitting softer linings when I get around to it.
Good luck
Tom

Sydsmith
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Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Sydsmith »

You say due to land on Saturday, does that mean you are not in the UK or just a figure of speech?
When I got my 15 a previous owner was clearly a heavy smoker, the car stank and all the ash trays were full of very old buts. Down the back of the rear seat, I found an almost perfect empty Woodbine 10 pack, not of any great value but was received with a big smile by a friend who collects old smoking stuff. Together with two old half pennies and threpenny bit. Syd

Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

Turn of phrase, rather than having it shipped in/to somewhere exotic. I'm hoping we found some hidden treasure in the car, it's the mundane little things like the Woodbines (my late grandfather's favourite) packet you found in yours, that are always an interesting little snippet of the car's past.

grahamemmett
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Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by grahamemmett »

Shameless plug to join the DLOC and gain access to our hoard of manuals and parts lists plus an introduction to our LD10 Registrar who has encyclopaedic knowledge if these little cars. And as already said the best monthly magazine.
https://www.dloc.org.uk/
Graham Emmett
Northwich, Cheshire
Joint DB18 Registrar (with Marcel Renshaw)
DB18 1949 LCV522 (Yes that one with the P100s)
https://www.db18.org

Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

I suspect signing up properly will happen soon, once I have a better idea of what's missing, and what isn't, and what I need to do next with this car.

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Not long before noon, the Lanchester arrived. There was good news and bad. The good news is that there were two people doing the unloading and the drive was empty so that went smoothly, the foot brakes worked well enough to unload the car safely and the handbrake works well enough to keep it from rolling off the drive. The bad is that one front tyre was completely flat which made pushing it a chore, and the battery that was in it when we viewed the car now wasn't, so it couldn't be driven. Had I known it needed a battery I would have bought one in advance, so that's a job for tomorrow.

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After giving the car a much needed wash to remove the barn dust and cat prints, followed by a much needed rest to rehydrate, I got back out to inspect what exactly we had. In the boot are two spare tyres and a bare spare steel. The two boot floors, both the wooden one and the steel one, are in remarkably good shape. The split cover for the fuel filler neck is present but not screwed down, I suspect the screws I found in the glovebox are for that. The rear light lenses are different on each side of the car, but there's a matching one for the light on the right in the glovebox, I might fit it, I might not.
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In the engine room up front, it seems to be intact. The fuel line running to the carburettor is currently disconnected with a bit of copper pipe taking its place that served as the feed line for the remote fuel tank we ran on viewing day. We will correct this, it's not difficult. To the right of the image you can see the sediment bowl and the Irn Bru looking fuel in it, the sediment bowl is plastic, surprisingly, I'd expected it to be glass. There is coolant of some sort in it, though it does smell like something halfway between household emulsion and thinners, so goodness knows what's actually in there.
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Let's have an overview of the outside then. It actually rolled off the trailer fine, slowed a bit by the flat front tyre. The brakes did work and the car is holding quite happily on the handbrake, which was a pleasant surprise.
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There's a lot of dents and scrapes and paint damage all over and that's okay. What rust there is on the car is very minor, not at all what I'm used to. The worst of the paint defects is on the aluminium roof and boot lid because a lot of the paint is just flaking off. Obviously it's not a problem because it's aluminium so we're just going to leave that be. You'll notice it's wearing hubcaps now too, these were in the car and are a nice snug fit, they've been painted at some point, though not badly, you can still read the Lanchester script on them. The chrome on the bumpers is shot and there's a good amount of pitting on the handles and boot hinges, again not an issue for what this car is.

Let's move inside. There's what looks to be part of the exhaust sat on the back seat. The battery lives under the passenger side of the back seat, it's gone because of course it is, so I'll have to get a new one of those once I figure out what type it needs, I'm not sure if this car is on 6 or 12 volt. The back seat is actually in much better condition than I remembered and probably just needs a clean and feed and nothing else.
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Up front, the worst of the damage is to the passenger seat where a cat has been using it to sharpen claws. Both seat bases are a little flat feeling, as if the springs or stuffing are tired, but are otherwise incredibly comfortable.
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Both front door cards are not as bad as I feared when I first viewed them, now I can see that it's not so much water damage as rotted out stitching that's the problem, with the driver's door being much worse. Careful unpicking should allow me to completely save these with the original materials.
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Am I still happy? Absolutely! The smell inside this car is that perfect old car smell, especially with it being so warm outside today. What's left of the paint does take a shine and I've a plan to spruce that up without compromising how the car actually looks. Thanks to having the garage, keeping this car looking like it does now without it deteriorating should be eminently possible.

Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

After washing the car it was a good time to see where any water might be getting in. Looks like some is getting in past the boot seal, happily going no further than the rubber mat on the boot shelf.
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Some is getting in past the front passenger door seal too. There's signs this door has blown back on itself at some point so that could be what this is about. For how much water I threw on the car, this is far less ingress than I was anticipating so that bodes particularly well.
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Rust next then. Now that I've had chance to really get into the nooks and crannies and find out what's what, there's very little to report. The worst bits are where the sill meets the rear arch and this will have to be repaired. I will probably give this to someone else to do, this area is pretty close to the timber frame and I don't trust myself with a welder that near 70 year old wood. Also, if it turns out there is some damage to the wood here, it would be sensible to get a specialist to deal with both metal and wood at the same time. Not a problem for now, the car seems pretty solid and it's not going to be venturing out an inclement weather any time soon.
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I knew there ought to be a coachbuilder's plate somewhere and eventually found it on one of the door door steps, covered in paint. I'm torn between shining this up and leaving it as it is, I like these details, and yet it being painted over badly years ago is kind of what this car is about, so I feel like I should leave it be.
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The tyres that came on the car are all dead. The front driver's tyre goes flat, and the two spares chucked in the boot are also dead. What's more, none of the tyres are the same brand. We've got Dunlop Gold Seal, Atlas Grip-safe, Avon H.M. Tourist, and a single Firestone Town & Country. I wouldn't be surprised if all of these tyres are older than me, none of them should ever be allowed to touch the road again. I can also now confirm they're 16" by 5.25, thankfully a very common size so there's decent choice on tyres, for what this car is at least.
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Attention then turned to the interior. The car has, unsurprisingly, been smoked in. and all the butts and ash left in the ash trays. There's a little ashtray in the dash that swivels around, and one in each rear seat side arm rest, those are the things that look like a bakelite cigar lighter. Most of the dirt inside is from cats padding about with muddy paws, it was surprisingly clean. I've dealt with dirtier cars that aren't even half the age of this one. The battery lives under the car under the back seat, you lift the seat squab out which isn't held in with anything other than its own weight, then you can either lift out the big panel whole, or remove the smaller panel - I suspect there's supposed to be a little leather tab on this - and use the hole as a handle to lift out the big panel. I assume the smaller hatch is to make it easier to keep a refillable battery in good health. Sadly no exciting treasure under here, just a lot of dust and a bit of straw.
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After vacuuming all the dust and debris out of the car, it was time to get cleaning surfaces. I used baby wipes for this, if they're mild enough for baby skin, they're mild enough for 70 year old leather. They also smell nice and clean very effectively. Later I will put suitable treatment on the various surfaces in the car, including some leather feed to keep the leather the best it can be. First shot is the rear seat base, cleaned on the right, dirty on the left. This car also has the largest arm rest I've ever encountered in any car before. It is very much a car to enjoy riding in the back seat of.
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The headlining is in remarkably good condition, even the trims that run along the sides are in great shape. They're a little dull from age, perhaps, but a vacuum with a soft brush attachment got rid of all the dust and cobwebs and really, I see no need to change any of this or redo it. Quite remarkable. Even the dome light is still intact and in great shape.
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The varnish on the door cappings and dashboard do need to be redone to protect the wood, and will get done. Slightly more difficult to sort out is going to be the scumble on the instrument cluster, sadly most of it has flaked off. The switches are in great shape too, these need the letters repainting, a quick and easy job. It is nice that the various pulls are labelled so you know what they do. The mileage is something I'm not sure of on this car. It's no cream puff so it seems unlikely to be a genuine 29K, equally I'm not sure I can believe it's been around the clock, for all it's dents and issues. I'll likely never know, the car has no history with it.
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We did find the knob under the dash that operates the fresh air vent in front of the windscreen. The foam seal around it has gone quite disgustingly sticky so that will have to be replaced. There was a very small amount of treasure to be had inside the car. Some of the seals on the car look to be in exceptional condition, not at all what I was expecting, and when we found this receipt (unfortunately too faded to read what for), perhaps it's a hint that some of the seals had been replaced before the car was laid up.
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There's also a handful of spares. Amongst this is what looks like a bit of exhaust pipe that goes over the rear axle, some sort of coolant pipe, a metalastic mount for something, a pedal rubber, a spare rear light lens, a mystery gasket, a couple of original style 'acorn' spark plugs (it currently has modern ones that don't really fit properly), a pair of boot hinges and trims, and some floor board fixing bolts and washers. The tobacco tin is a little bonus and will carry on living in the driver's side glove cubby.
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The only bit of history we could find was in the passenger door pocket, a little Lion Brand cash book, the sort my late Mum would buy when I was little. Inside, there's just the one entry that hints at it being for the Lanchester, the rest of the book is empty. The odometer in the car reads 29025 and the single entry for Lanchester reads 26743. Given the only date in the book is '81 and the car's last tax expired in '84, it's reasonable to assume it did around 2,000 miles in the last three years of its life on the road. As for that VW, it was last taxed in '83 and was a 1600 of some sort in white from 1969.
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With the interior all wiped down, and no real need for the usual deep clean, it was looking and smelling significantly better inside.
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Vulgalour
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:04 pm
Location: Kent

Re: 1951 LD10 KKV 222

Post by Vulgalour »

There was another discovery made which is that the car only has one door lock, and it's on the passenger door. When we viewed the car it wasn't really clear why this would be until the car had been cleaned and we could get a better look at things. There's signs that the passenger door has been sprained at the hinges and, given it's a suicide door, we wonder if it flew open at some point and scared the occupant who then insisted on having a lock fitted to keep the door shut. Given the lack of anything to keep you in the car if the front doors open, I can't say I blame them. It's part of the car's history, so it's staying.
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After the wash, the next thing to do was give the glass a clean. It is always astonishing how much better a car looks just for having the glass cleaned. I haven't polished the glass, just regular cleaner for now, they're going to get dirty again when I polish the frames to get rid of what oxidisation I can. The big, plain windows on this car lend it a more modern air than the rest of it feels it has, and the crank speed on them is wonderful, they're a delight to use.
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Then, because I couldn't help myself, I got the T-Cut out to see if the old paint would come up with a bit of a shine. The paint on this car is very thin in places, so thin it's missing in others, so this isn't a job that can be done with a machine polisher, you have to do it by hand. It's going to take a fair bit of time but this paint will come up and, once polished up with the T-Cut a coat of wax will help keep it that way without need of oily rags. It shouldn't go flat again for some time since it will be living in the garage. I only managed to do the C pillar and half of the rear door on the passenger side, and I'll do a little bit at a time like this until the whole car is done. I'm leaving the dents, the blemishes, the thin paint, the overpaint, and even the filler if it's in a spot that it does no harm. The polishing is just to bring everything up a bit. It should end up looking like a nicely weathered old leather seat when it's done, comfortable in its old age.
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All that done, it was time for a photo with the Princess (now my modern daily driver since I sold the Citroen BX) and then push it back into the garage. I'm either a genius, or an idiot, because the Lanchester only just fits in the space available in the garage. The drive is slightly inclined and we found it SO hard to push! As soon as it got onto the flat of the garage floor, it rolled with no bother at all. It is a tight fit in the garage, but it does fit! Tomorrow, we'll get a battery and see if we can drive it a few feet under its own power.
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