Vehicle Restorations

1954 - Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon

1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2 - Alan McMillan

We last reported on the diesel restoration in the January issue when it was “driven” at the Forest Picnic in November. During December it was finalised for painting and after Christmas the process was started. The body at this time was without doors, boot, bonnet or any other detachable pieces The interior of the car, the engine bay and any other bits which were not to be painted were now masked. First we sprayed two coats of primer surfacer on everything and then sanded it with 250 grade sandpaper. Next we sprayed spray putty on all surfaces which had any minor imperfections such as scratches etc. This was then sanded and two more coats of primer surfacer applied and sanded.

This car was to be painted and trimmed as an English Vanguard so the decision was to make it two tone with the roof cream and the lower body a deep red as these colours were used in England. So the next thing was to paint the roof with four coats of cream. This done, the roof was masked and the interior of all the doors and door cavities, boot interior and cavity, bonnet interior and edges of guards where the bonnet sits and under the sills were given four coats of the deep red.

The doors were then fitted to the car, a job which is both time consuming and frustrating as they need to fit well. After some wrestling, filing and hammering they all finally opened and shut without scraping anything. Now for the last paint applications! Four coats of the deep red was sprayed on all remaining surfaces. The acrylic paint dries within a few minutes but hardens over time. After 24 hours the shiny new paint was sanded with 1200 grade sandpaper and warm soapy water to take off any rough spots or orange peel look. Then it was rubbed with a machining compound and buffed to a shine with an orbital buffer. The bonnet and boot were then fitted.

Alan is very fond of the next stage of the project. He can put back all the lovely trim pieces he has cleaned and polished while Sue was sanding. Light fittings, grille, bumpers etc. now go on quickly. Fitting the glass and lock mechanisms into the doors was next. New tyres on freshly painted rims finished most of the exterior.

Back to the sewing room to make the wind-lacing and headlining. 1cm thick solid rubber tubing was bought from Clark Rubber and covered with a lightly stretchy, minky material that looks pretty much like the velvet used originally, sourced from Spotlight. Then came the hardest job of all in the restoration, the headlining. It is a week long job to make the headlining and another to install with a lot of pulling, heat gun applications to remove wrinkles and frustration when it just won’t fit exactly right, no wonder trimmers charge such a lot.

Once that was done the back window and front windscreen were installed (sounds easy) and then the dash followed by the carpet. The carpet is bought by the metre and then cut and trimmed with binding sewn on all the loose edges. The B pillar and footwell covers and back ledge were then installed followed by the seats. All these pieces had been sewn and covered during winter. Finally the door casings with the interior window winders and handles and arm rests were fitted.

The car, now with all its pieces either renewed, polished or replaced and returned to the right places was ready for a polish and its debut photo shoot which was on May 1, 2018. It will be registered soon and should be seen at a nearby event before too long.

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

  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2
  • 1954 Vanguard Series II Diesel Saloon
    1954 1954 Diesel Vanguard Part 2