Straightening the doors on a 12/50 Alvis - 1

A bent Alvis

If I'm ever lucky enough to reach the age of 85 then I suppose I wouldn't complain too much if I were just an inch or so out of true but the Alvis doors were beginning to annoy me.

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The bottom edge of the driver's door stuck out by an inch and whilst the aluminium door skin was not very permanently attached it still meant that from the inside, daylight could be seen.

The passenger's side was every bit as bad and the lady navigator wouldn't go anywhere without a travel rug (or two).

Things came to a head one day when I closed the door rather firmly (OK, I slammed it because the hinges were worn) and rust fell onto the running board.

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As you’ll see from later photos the aluminium door skin is attached to the door by crimping the skin round a mild steel strip which is screwed to the door frame.

Over the years the steel strip had rusted completely through thus allowing the door skin to act as a vertical “spoiler”. So, not only were the door frames warped but the door skins were barely attached to the door frames.
I had taken the Alvis to a coachbuilder last year but such was the sharp intake of breath that I thought I'd end up inside a whale.

Co-incidentally a friend of mine, who has a lovely collection of prewar oily rags and was also employed by Brighton's Royal Pavilion as a conservation expert, was seeking early retirement and it seemed only natural to ease him into retirement gently!
After the door hinges had been drilled out and new pins put in, off came the doors which were whisked away in Ray's only modern conveyance - an oily rag Morris Traveller with over 400k on the clock.

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These photos of the driver’s door(left) taken in the back of the Traveller clearly shows the problem. 
That old adage "it's not what you know, but who you know" is only partially right because although I take great pride in being an apprentice bodger, Ray's skills seemed founded on a lifetime of proper experience.

So here is a rough idea of the process Ray went through to conserve the original woodwork and yet “de-warp” the door frames. 

Background photograph of a trio of 12/50s en route to the Chanteloup hill-climb in France
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