After several weeks of doing nothing about the seats mainly because I had no idea myself what I was going to do about the seats I was finally in a place where I thought bugger the seats, I'll get to that later! I decided instead to turn my attention to another part that was causing me some sleep loss, the windscreen. Of all the parts that I bought for this thing, the windscreen frame must've been the roughest. I had planned to fit a DuVall style windscreen, which unlike the standard '32 Ford roadster screen is a two piece affair arranged in a 'V' shape, and so I ordered one. The screen came from Essex, just over 100 miles from my folks house where I lived at the time, and took about six to eight weeks from placing, and paying for it to arrive so I could fit it. Except that for the money it cost it was as rough as nuts, would need plenty of fettling before it would look good enough to use on my HotRod, and added to that, there was no real way to fix it to the bodywork either.
Initially I had wanted to polish the frame to a mirror finish, but it was just too rough for that. M.R. thought that the only real way around this was to paint it! I was quite upset about this at first, but I was talked round by M.R. who said that we could paint the wheels to match, and as there was no other chrome, or polished metalwork on the car it should look pretty good! I wasn't thrilled, but I could see where he was coming from. So first of all I went over the whole frame with a grinding disc to sort of rough it into shape, it was badly cast, and had plenty of pits, and rough areas. I then went over it with a sanding disc when I felt that the worst bits were ground down. Once this was looking a bit better I hand sanded it with 120 grit sandpaper. This, much like sanding the bodywork took me forever. M.R. then took it from me, filled it, sanded it, filled it, sanded it, filled it, and, well, you know the rest! After several days we were ready to try and work out how to fit it to the body.
Holding it in place we knew it had been massaged enough, and for a sows ear it was really starting to resemble a beautiful silk purse! The trouble was, there was no way of attaching this silk purse to the cowl of my HotRod. This thing had cost me nearly a quarter of the price that I'd paid for the HoRod kit in the first place, I really expected it to not only fit easily, but also come with a way of attaching it in the first place. I expected it to fit straight out of the box!
In the end, M.R. decided that the way forward would be to drill, and tap the frame for 10mm threaded bar. Then we cut some lengths, and after wiping a load of gripfil on the threads we screwed them in. This was then left to set, and we drilled the cowl ready to accept the threaded rod. Under the cowl we placed some large square washers which we curved to match the underside of the cowl. We used these for two reasons, firstly, the holes that the threaded rod would come through on the cowl were elongated, and secondly, it was in order to spread the load of the windscreen. We also decided that we would put some thick industrial draft excluder under the windscreen frame in order to take up any imperfections between the cowl and the windscreen frame.
After many trial fits, I made some templates for the windscreen glass. I decided that I would make them from Perspex so that I could keep them for future reference incase I ever needed to get replacement glass cut. With that done M.R. took the windscreen frame to work where he could fettle it a little bit further, and then paint it. I took my templates to the local glass cutter, and got them to cut me a couple of pieces of laminated glass ready to bond in as soon as M.R. brought the frame back.
With the frame back and the glass picked up I set about bonding the glass into the frame with silicone. Of course, the bit that the glass would press up against wasn't flat, and so I thought I'd put a good thick bead of silicone in the frame, and gently squeeze the glass in there. It seemed to go OK, and I left it for the night to go off.
The next day I arrived to find that perhaps I'd squeezed it too hard! I removed the glass, and headed off to the glass cutters to get another piece cut. This went on for several weeks! I'd get the glass, put it in, only to find by the next day the glass was cracked! It really started to bug me, but every bit I put in, I applied less and less pressure until, on about the fifth piece of glass it was fine! We started to bolt the frame to the cowl, and no sooner than we were tightening up the nuts on the threaded rod that was holding the frame to the cowl, when I heard a small crack!
I'll be honest, this didn't please me, but atleast this was the other piece of glass this time! We unbolted the windscreen frame, and once again I removed the glass! This was starting to cost me a fortune at the glass factory!
With yet another new piece of glass cut, and installed, we once again installed the screen. Only this time we were really really careful!
Success!! it was in, and after a couple of days it was still looking good and showing no signs of cracking! We had nailed it!
Once again I was pretty chuffed with how it was all going, and I was riding on a bit of a high! But thats when it all turned to pooh again! Y'see, there was this little lad who always played in the block where my garage was. He would run around, in and out of the garages, and several times I spoke to his parents about how he shouldn't be playing in the garage block, and how he shouldn't be running in and out of my garage. But if the truth be known his folks never seemed all that interested. Anyway, he was kicking a football around in the garage block, and with one good kick of the ball it entered my garage, hit the handlebars of my motorbike, bounced off them and went straight into that wood rim steering wheel hung from the rafters above my HotRod!! Those steering wheels had hung there for years, but now they were free fallin!
Yep, straight through my flamin windscreen! Honestly, I don't know enough swear works to fully convey how I felt about this! Needless to say I gathered this young lad up by the scruff of his neck, and presented him to his parents. Their response after I had a good old moan to them about how their son had broken my new windscreen, and how he shouldn't have been playing there in the first place was that atleast he was out of their hair!! I was flippin livid!! To this day I still can't get my head around just how little they cared, not only about my windscreen, but about their own son. Even after explaining to them that it was quite dangerous for a child to be playing in a garage block were people are working on cars and motorbikes. They just didn't get it, as long as he was out of their sight, then they were happy! They really didn't give a monkeys!
Anyway, with the windscreen off yet again, and yet another piece of glass ordered I had a couple of days wait before it arrived.
In that time I tried to make the surface that the glass would be bonded to as flat as possible. When it arrived I very very carefully bonded it in, and then M.R. and myself very carefully fitted the windscreen frame to the cowl of the HotRod for the last time. I was glad to have this done, and found the whole windscreen fitting experience to be more trying than any other part of building this thing. Even the seats were just a walk in the park in comparisson! After fitting the windscreen I was actually at a point where I was looking forward to having another go at the seats. Although, the enthusiasm for that little task didn't last long!