So having decided I was going to take the plunge I began my search, I quickly learned that the military vehicle fraternity are a very cloak and dagger type, locations of potential vehicles or parts are kept very secretive, even if that person does not need the vehicle or the bits, the info is seldom shared. I made a generic email giving my reasons for the project and sent it to every single military museum I could find in the UK, Europe , US, and Canada ! The process took me a year of research. I was finally guided to a chap who lives in Fergus Ontario, who told me he had the "remains of a carrier", having previously been disappointed with massive prices for a metal scrap box, i was somewhat reserved ! I asked for some pictures and the chap sent these.
I took a deep breath in and asked the price, I was hugely suprised at the quote which was ten times less than I expected. The seller was aware of my story and had bought the carrier as scrap to cut up, it had no material value to him, which was good news for me. The deal was done and three to four months later I had a carrier !
When I got the carrier home I began the long process of breaking it down, the upper armour had been cut just above the rivet line with a gas axe. At the time I was unsure of how to remove the rivets, because they had been heated and hammered into shape whilst cooling, they were very hard, and would not drill ! I elected to slice off both heads with a slitting disc and a grinder, then using a wide blade chisel or crow bar split the armour from the frame rail. The process was slow and fraught with danger ! The amount of stored energy from the rivets was amazing, each one let go with a massive BANG, it also took quite a load to brake them free, and I ended up knocked out cold when my pal was working on one side of the carrier prising some armour off with a crow bar, dispite me telling him to keep tight hold he managed to let slip and ultimately the crow bar flew over towards me just as I looked up from in the carrier hull......I got it right in the face !
I have since learned that the best method is to slit the head, heat until cherry then use a rivet gun and moyle ? Point chisel to drift them out..... Far far easier !
That pretty much left me with a clear view of what needed replaced. I was told I should rip out the entire centre bulkhead (behind driver) and start new, however I elected to cut the original fabric out from behind the driver, use that material to graft in the missing lower sections, then add a new top half.
(Messy worker as you can see)
I then grafted in the missing segments to the lower part of the bulkhead, then welded the new to the old which got me to this stage
The remains of the original fabric from the bulkhead was used to make a graft on the glacis plate (front sloped sheet that covers the drivers legs
You can see I am not a welder ! This was the first time I had used a mig, and I was self taught, my father taught me how to oxy weld which I am OK at.... Note the two welded plugs which were previously holes to mount the drivers seat backrest. By bluebird standards this was probably sacrilege but I had to plan within my means, and I justified my actions as being any material chopped out was re introduced to the carrier.... All be it in a different location
Pressed on and dressed off my shocking welds, I flashed over with red oxide to see if I had hidden it well enough which I was quite happy with..... Paint was still wet here... I later filled the notch at the top edge.
Well my fingers are tired now so that will do until tomorrow