Vehicle Restorations

1961 - Vanguard Six

Vanguard 6 Wagon - Part 1 - Robert Bensley

In the June issue of The Triumphant Standard, Editor Sue McMillan mentioned I had started a new restoration. The context is I recently retired after 48 years of banking and wanted something to keep me active and ward off Margaret’s wrath from me hanging around the house too much.

My first intention was to restore a Vanguard 6 panel van from Flynn’s wrecking yard mentioned in my Tasmania article in the same Magazine. However the upper panels of the van were heavily damaged and due to the rarity of Phase 3 vans I could not source any donor panels. I reluctantly concluded fixing the damaged panels was beyond me. Paying someone else to do it was both economically not viable and defeated the purpose that restoration was to give me something to do.

I decided instead to acquire a Vanguard 6 wagon from Alan and Sue McMillan’s ‘collection’ at The Forest. Readers may have noticed Bruce Beresford has added a new photo section on the Club’s website under the Gallery tab titled ‘Gone but Not Forgotten’. Picture gbnf050 shows part of the McMillan’s yard and my wagon can be seen in the second row immediately behind the black Renown. It is my hope and plan that this wagon is not in fact ‘gone’ and will one day return to the road.

Interestingly most of the history of the wagon is known. It is an early build six (body 078EC) bought new in Sydney in 1961 with rego number CJM-341 and used in a parcel delivery business. A couple from Lane Cove bought it in 1971 for $200 and used it until late 1975. They appear to have let the registration lapse in April 1976 and the wagon languished in a small shed at the couple’s Lane Cove property until acquired by the McMillans in 2003. Various parts were removed during the years at Goulburn to assist in the restoration of other cars.

Time and rust has not been kind to the wagon. A diary kept by the Lane Cove couple shows rust had set in by the 1970’s and lists repairs made in 1974. Unfortunately these consisted of brazing sills on top of the existing rusted sills. In doing this the drain holes were covered over and there was no sign of any rust preventive being used inside the sill cavity. The inevitable result of this ‘repair’ was the inner and outer sills rusted out again.

First task in my restoration is repairing the rust by cutting out the affected sections and hand making replacements. The sills were the worst area but there is also rust in some parts of the floors, plenum chamber and lower tailgate aperture. Pictures accompanying this article show a home-made jig for hand forming an outer lower sill and when welded in place.

I expect restoration may take a couple of years to complete but I have no deadline to meet so it will take as long as it takes.

('Click' image for larger view...)

  • 1961 Vanguard Six
    1961 Vanguard 6 Wagon - Part 1
  • 1961 Vanguard Six
    1961 Vanguard 6 Wagon - Part 1
  • 1961 Vanguard Six
    1961 Vanguard 6 Wagon - Part 1
  • 1961 Vanguard Six
    1961 Vanguard 6 Wagon - Part 1