Build Your Own Car – The Gentry Arrives

Build your own car Part 3

As you may be able to see from the photos in the previous entry, the house I lived in had an attached garage which like many attached garages in the UK was SMALL!! There was no way I could build a car in the confined space that was available, but luck was on my side. The electronics company I worked for had as it’s manufacturing base what used to be an old garage. It was a very old building on two floors, the top floor being the production and office area and the basement comprised of several units, not all of which were being used. The wonderful managing director said that I could have one of the units to build my car in. I chose the one with the inspection pit.

Now with somewhere to build the car, I placed my order with RMB for the kit. If you would like to see the history of the Gentry, While waiting for the kit to arrive, I took the opportunity to strip the Vitesse engine down to check it out. The bores were slightly worn so I decided to have it re-bored and get new pistons. I also had the crankshaft polished and fitted new bearing shells and oil seals. I now had a re-built, freshly painted engine to fit in the car. I also decided to buy a second-hand rear axle from a Triumph GT6 and the ratio was better. This was drained, cleaned up and painted as was the gearbox. I also stripped down the suspension which was cleaned and painted. Among the Triumph bits and pieces I had collected over the years was a set of wire wheels. These were sandblasted, painted and lacquered. Two of the hub adaptors were worn, but I managed to find new replacements at a reasonable price. The spinners were re-chromed. New tyres were fitted to the wheels. A friend of mine who is an ace mechanic, fabricated new brake pipes for me from cupro-nickel. I didn’t want them to rust. The front brake callipers were stripped down, cleaned and fitted with new seals as were the rear cylinders. New pads and shoes were fitted. Everything was assembled on to the chassis, so I now had a rolling chassis which could be wheeled around.

try Chassis

A tip for anyone who needs lifting gear for getting engines in and out of cars. I went to a ships chandler and bought some heavy nylon cord, normally used for rigging sailing boats and some blocks and pulleys. This allowed me to lift the engine into the chassis without too much effort.

After a few weeks, the kit arrived and four of us lifted it off the lorry that had delivered it. The brilliant thing about this kit was it didn’t need a great deal of assembly. The body was in one piece with the doors fitted. It was painted in grey primer and would just need very light rubbing down before it was painted. The only thing that wasn’t fitted was the windscreen.

The Gentry Bodyshell

All I had to do now was to fit the body on to the chassis. This involved cutting off the side rails and shortening the outriggers. Once this was done, four of us lifted the body onto the chassis. The body had angle iron down each side where it met the chassis. Holes were drilled through the chassis so that the body could be bolted on. At each mounting point there were rubber pads between the body and the chassis.

It the kit instructions was a list of suggested parts required to complete the car, so if was off to the breakers yards to seek them out. Mini door handles, Triumph Spitfire petrol tank and filler cap, Triumph Spitfire header tank, Morris Marina radiator,Morris Minor bumpers and over riders (these were re-manufactured pattern ones), Hillman Imp wiper motor, Morris Minor rear lamps, MG Magnette grill. plus many other bits and pieces. One interesting thing was the headlights. The instructions said use Morris minor chrome bezels. They didn’t fit the body as they were slightly large, so at great expense I bought Lotus Elan bezels and fitted them to Ford 105E Anglia sealed beam units.

Just found a photo of one of those funny little Bond three wheelers. I believe this one had a 250cc engine and you had to kick start it through the bonnet!!

Bond 3 wheeler

To be continued ………..

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