Looking a few months ahead, there will be little to report on the auto projects as we concentrate on the other heading shown on this web site! With luck and continued hard work, the Drewgard Roadster and Coupe projects will move ahead at the end of this year. By then the target to upgrade into dedicated commercial premises and recruit additional help will hopefully be achieved, so that in 2019 we shall see dramatic progress on all fronts. Please do continue to drop in to our auto website here from time to time,as many of you have been doing up till now...See you again soon!
Late March 2018
I have now upgraded the centre body frame to incorporate some improvements mentioned in September, plus a few other tweaks...The roll over hoops have been moved inboard slightly to line up with the new position of the drivers seat and the steering wheel. This was because the steering column U/J was at the limit of its travel in the original position I had it, but it is eased now and very smooth as it is a but nearer in line with the rack spline position. I have raked the 'B' posts further forward at their base; this gives far better triangular bracing to the roll over bar at the same time as making the door a little less heavy due to being a bit smaller.
I have now replaced the 'A' posts with thicker walled tubing, as I had noticed a little bit of flexing there when the doors were in use and I am much closer to begin making the new body panels; it will be the floors and foot well first.
Late September 2017
I have now built up all the suspension, complete with Drewgard ball joint conversions on both the swivel hubs and steering pivot levers. I am using the excellently designed fabricated chassis from Ken Hanna that I have had for some time. It came with a galvanised sheet steel floor that bolts on to the main frame. I have transferred it to the underside where, using countersunk head bolts and carefully drilled wider holes, I hope I have secured it so that it cannot move at all, stiffening the chassis as far as possible and blanking in the underside against the weather. On the top I have bonded on a sheet of aluminium for the actual cabin floor.
An interesting feature that I have decided to try out is a re-arrangement of the 2CV springs. I am now using front springs and rear pull rods at both ends within the spring cylinder. The extra length on the protruding rods allows lower ride height without the need for longer eyes on the front, but the back still needs them...I am hoping that the new spring combination, though not up rated as such, along with the stiffening effect of the anti-roll bar, will give a slightly stiffer ride without overdoing it.
I am now working on revising details of the body support frame, with stronger A posts to take improved door hinges, before progressing to the panel making.
Late August 2017
The last couple of months have seen the transfer of my ball joint 2CV arms work to Chris Day at Bridport, Dorset who has taken on the responsibility of supplying the product for the next three years, maybe more.
His mobile number is 07902 186602, should you wish to discuss a standard or lowered ride height conversion to your Citroen ' A' Series derived front suspension.
Meanwhile I have been analysing all the parts of the body pattern or buck, that I need to produce in order to create the revised design of the Drewgard Roadster. I have found the work compelling and the results are very satisfactory. I really hope that there will be no hold-ups and next spring will see the car in its production form, in time for an appearance at the National Kit Car Show, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
Mid June 2017
Well I have realized that this could develop into a fairly long, strung out, build blog...this was never my intention really! This site's first year will be up in mid July, when after further prevarication, I have now decided to renew the website subscription. It will all become much more viable when my MK 2 Roadster has been done and the Coupe nears completion.
May I thank all my visitors past and present for your visits during the past year, of which there have been quite a satisfactory number... I look forward to sharing with you the results of my efforts, when I have successfully achieved the completed Roadster as I now envisage it in its final developed appearance.
So I look forward to having plenty to report as the cars begin to find their life on the road, delivering experiences just as good as my expectations!
Mid May 2017
Last week I cut off the fibreglass prototype Roadster body centre section outer skin into manageable parts, revealing the main structural body frame. I had found it quite tricky to get the back plates to the door strikers when I fist assembled the car, but I can now re-position one component on the frame that will make this much easier and look forward to start cladding it once again as I start making new body panels for the demonstrator. Later on an aluminium body and chassis will be made as well, when I have ironed out any minor design issues I wish to adjust. Meanwhile I have started to build up a new chassis using one of the excellent Ken Hanna SLC chassis that I have actually had in stock for some time; this will be very good indeed to have on the demonstrator.
Late April 2017
Having picked up all the parts I left for blast cleaning a few weeks ago, the XJS suspension cross members have now been undercoated and given a black coach finish, and the shock absorbers appear all to have life in them; I have cleaned and sprayed them gold. Coil springs will be next; these were all powder coated black, but it was coming off in many places, so what is the point of doing them like that again? I have decided to undercoat and coach finish them in the same paint as the cross members. After all, I expect the car will have an easier time of it in the future, and the paint will be durable enough.
I have just purchased a Ford Puma 'for spares /repair' that I shall adapt to create the centre part of the Coupe body. Earlier I had made a fibre glass mould and body from another Puma that I had adapted. As shown in the picture on the Coupe page, I had used a pigmented gel coat for the panel work but I decided that it did not look good enough and I should have done it in grey sanding gel coat, then sprayed the car instead. So now I shall modify this new Puma in exactly the way I did the other one, but instead of it being a pattern for a fiberglass mould, it will now be the centre part of the actual body...With various modifications to create a new personality for it!
I am also making up-rated production fixtures for standard, lowered and widened 2CV front suspension ball joint conversions, working on lengthened drive shaft sets and anti-roll bar kits, so there is much going on, as the Drewgard Roadster begins to get rebuilt as a demonstrator.
Apart from progressing the Drewgard roadster 2CV front engine car, I am actively assembling a 2CV mid engine version that has been in gestation for some while. It uses the same body panels as the front engine car and the demonstrator and I hope I will be able to give it an aluminium body. Parts for this car have been designed and the vehicle is being worked on at the same time as the front engine version.
Well it’s good to be getting under way at last! When I tried out the Roadster for the first time it was quite extraordinary to experience the change from traditional 2CV to this completely open sports car and yet it retains its original base chassis and mechanical components, that have been adapted to give the ride envisaged. The bigger bore free flow sidewinder exhaust system creates a different motoring environment, satisfying but not intrusive, though there’s no doubt the fast road cam, uprated engine compression and Dyane final drive have also contributed to the transformation as well. The wider wheel base is a joy.
The car feels completely sporting and thoroughbred, but it is comfortable to be in and the ride with its uprated springs and front and rear anti roll bars makes it just about right. In other words, not hard, definitely, but with attitude, and this makes the car feel competitive!
The other thing is that it certainly turns heads; presumably because though classic in appearance the design includes cues from many makes, indeed, it’s almost impossible not to do this anyway. It looks like quite a big engine job... though the skinny wheels are a give away that some will notice, generally the whole car assumes the presence of a quite substantial motor.
It’s a lightweight as of course it has to be; we have made it as light as is practical using thin steel sheet. The weight is expected to come in at about 500kg, but we haven't been to the weigh bridge yet! The roll over and steering column hoops that are an integral part of the body support frame, are both triangulated to the floor sills and there are also frames in the doors that link the A and B post areas to create side impact protection. Performance is lively and top speeds are assisted by a reasonable drag factor. It is surprisingly calm in the cockpit with far less wind than feared, quite a relief, that!
For a little while, this prototype roadster has remained complete but now it has been dismantled in order that the body tooling may be made for production. The instrument housing has been made to be removeable from the fascia as a separate piece that may be fitted, to make the car either left or right hand drive.
A windscreen, soft top and side screen are planned options; but for now, the car can be built and run in open form, with a tonneau cover fitted to keep the interior weather proof.