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Thornycroft Nippy


Work continues as a 'fill-in' job as usual. The most noticeable step forward is the completion of the ironwork for the headboard on the body, and the completion of painting of all the woodwork of the body frame. We have just had a delivery of Keruing planks to form the deck of the body, and they have been cut to length (plus a bit) and laid out in position on the body frame prior to screwing down. We have used this type of planking before and over time it has a tendency to shrink width-ways, so at this stage we have screwed down the centre plank only and the remaining planks are placed in loosely either side and clamped together with sash clamps so that they will dry out and shrink but not warp all over the place.


Keruing is a hardwood that is fibrous and strong and is the usual material for lorry decks. It comes pre-machined with half lapped edges that link together to distribute the load from one plank to another. Because this is a standard material it was not as costly as we had expected, the whole deck costing a little over £400, including nearly £80 to the Chancellor. I hope he does something worthwhile with our hard-earned money.


The cab has also come in for some attention, with the cross bracing and sliding 'window' fitted to the back of the cab, and door handles fitted. The exact original type of door handle is still available, remarkably, and as our originals were badly pitted we decided to replace them. However, in these modern times it may be necessary to lock the vehicle (it clearly wasn't in 1946 - no ignition key was needed either!) so we made the decision to fit alternative lockable versions of the door handles. Although they are not exactly correct they are otherwise the same shape and size.


We have also managed to obtain one correct 8" headlamp. It was made by Lucas so we live in hope of finding a second one, although this was a size rarely used. About the same time we picked up a pair of matching side lights so we are well on the way with the lamps. A suitable rear lamp is available as a brand new replica. There were no indicators or other modern novelties fitted.


Work is also progressing with a view to replacing the cab windscreens. The frame for the passenger side windscreen went missing with the demise of the Motors building and making a satisfactory replica has set us thinking. I am contemplating making some special rolls to form the necessary ridge in the front face of the frame. This should be interesting! We will experiment with different ideas to produce the best results. Our first thought is to fit an angle frame inside to support the glass which would then be held in place with the outer frame and sealed with a sealant. If this is not successful we can still use the formed frame as a basis for a fabricated surround similar to the quarter-lights made earlier.


The latest job is rebuilding the roof. The frame allows for a removable hatch which gives access through the roof for lifting straps to be attached to the engine. The engine can then be unbolted and lowered into a pit for removal if serious repairs are needed. Examination of the photos of the lorry in the scrap yard show that this maintenance hatch was never fitted but the roof was boarded right across and fitted with a small ventilator hatch at the back only. Although the hatch could prove useful, we have decided to rebuild the roof in its original form, and Steve has begun this work.


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