Ford Prefect v8 Hot Rod - Mounting the bonnet

Published on 13 March 2023 at 18:20
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Ford prefect hot rod front  view
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ford prefect v8 hot rod side window

When I bought the car it came with a fibre glass flip front from a popular - it's a very different shape to the Prefect front end, it's extremely narrow at the front. It had brackets on it to allow the bonnet to attach to the frame and to tip forward, sadly the geometry was all wrong and the bonnet would not have been able to tilt up without the bottom edge of it catching on the radiator. I therefore had to find a way of making it tilt while avoiding hitting anything in either the open or closed positions. I also needed to make sure that whatever I did it would be very strong and that the loads were distributed so I don't crack the bonnet or it's paint finish.


I came up with a pretty simple solution that used a length of 1 inch square steel tube and a couple of steel plates that weld on to the ends of the tube and have holes through which two 10mm bolts form the pivots. Holes I had previously drilled in the radiator lower mount brackets gave me the fixed point for the pivots. Now when the bonnet is lifted it moves away from the radiator and my clearance issues evaporate. I trimmed the front edge so that the square bar fitted snugly, when everything was exactly where I wanted it I slapped on copious globs of fibre glass repair paste  and left it to dry for a few hours without touching it. I then removed the whole shooting match and put on loads more to make sure it was good and solid, it will all get cleaned up once it is properly dry.

The bonnet itself is going to need a heck of a lot of work, somebody has cut large sections of it away some time in the past and it's lost a lot of it's structural integrity and it doesn't fit round the bulkhead properly. I discussed this with my mate Nathan, who popped round while I was pondering tthe situation. What I intend doing is to get a load of 5mm round steel bar and making a framework up to support the thing where I need it, I can glass the formed rods to the bonne and then build up the areas that have been cut away. It's going to be a lot of work but it should work out ok. I have some stainless mesh that I want to use for the front grille, I will use the same for the two grilles in the sides of the bonnet, the Rover V8 lump will need plenty of cooling.

While I was at it I got round to a couple of other jobs I have been wanting to do for ages - paint the rear axle and open the rear window back up - somebody had welded a sheet of steel over it. Turns out they had slapped about 1/4 of an inch of filler on it too so that was fun.

I also got the radiator filler in the post so found a bit of 35mm id hose to temporarily fit that to the radiator. Quite how I m going to join up the rest of the cooling system I know not. I suspect that at the next autojumble I will just get loads of various 35mm pipes and see what I need.

I am staying in out of the wind today, another section of workshop roof has blown off - it's about the 4th time this has happened now. The buildings are nearly 110 years old and ideally need fully re roofing but the cost is astronomical. I still have some spare pantiles so it will just be repaired for now. Not until the wind is under it's current 60 MPH though - living right next to the north sea has it's disadvantages.


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