The restoration of AEC Reliance CDK172L

Project Dairy September 2012

SEPTEMBER          Now from this point forward we will not be posting any further photo's of CDK's restoration until she is finally finished.

As another autumn looms the impetus to complete the paintwork on CDK before it gets too cold is increasing. Progress this summer has been regretfully slow as on the days available to work the weather conditions have dictated when painting can actually occur – it has either been too humid or too warm (ironically!). For the best results the paint manufacturer suggested an optimum temperature window of 15-18 deg with low humidity so, after all the hard work we have put in so far it would be foolish to rush and get a sub-standard finish. Nevertheless many hours have been spent on the painting and what a laborious task it has been! As we don’t have the facilities, environment or equipment for spraying the only option has been to hand paint the gloss topcoats.

Other than painting models and the odd wall at home I’ve never attempted painting anything let alone something of this size so the whole exercise has been one big learning curve. I was always taught the art of decoration was in the preparation so having satisfied myself that the undercoat was as flat and blemish free as possible it was time to open up the first tin of cream gloss and get cracking. Logically the best place to start would be the roof as no one can see your mistakes up there (unless you view it from the top deck of a bus!). I was surprised at just how good the first coat of cream went on, the quality of the HMG paint is fantastic and the look on Steve’s face when he saw CDK with her Yelloway colour on was priceless. Steadily more of CDK turned cream as the work sessions passed on through the summer – after each coat careful flatting back was carried out to remove any foreign bodies (mainly fluff, wind blown dust and several suicidal insects!). Each coat has produced an improved finish and by the time of this diary entry both body sides have received 3 coats of cream, the roof 2 and the rear end has had 1 coat – the front has yet to receive a gloss coat as it still requires some minor filling and undercoat.

As I said, it has taken longer than I first anticipated, the most time consuming task being the flatting back (by hand) between coats but I believe this extra effort has been worth it as we are both really pleased with the finished product. Having recently seen 2 freshly painted service buses (1 brand new, the other from a professional automotive refinishing business) I have to say that the finish I have achieved as an amateur is much better – and they were sprayed! But despite this self congratulatory back-patting I’m still a touch disappointed that CDK is not fully painted so that this winter we can concentrate on re-fitting windows, trim lights etc. There is still a fair way to go before CDK is ready for unveiling – hopefully we will have a couple of favourable days during October to enable a 3rd coat of cream on the roof which will then allow me to mask out for the application of the marigold orange around the windows and skirt. The front and rear may have to wait until the spring before they are completed.

While I have been painting and sanding Steve and Dad have made a start on the seats. Having removed the old seat covers it soon became apparent that the foam mouldings are long past their best before date and have required some careful attention to consolidate what was, in a number of instances, a crumbly mess. The seat cushions and headrests have been ‘bagged’ in flame retardant cotton to contain the foam but a solution is currently being formulated to address the seat backs. Replacements are not an option as the foam is factory moulded. At the end of the day this is a restored vehicle and not one which is going to be in service every day so as long as the shape of the seats is correct and they give some support to the posteriors fortunate enough to come into contact with them then that will be fine.

Winter projects will see the preparation of all trims and fittings, finding a solution for the creation of the ‘Yelloway’ lettering on the name glasses, sourcing of window rubbers and the trim inserts and provided funding is available, getting the seats re-trimmed.

With the finish line now in view just a few quality sessions of painting will allow so many other tasks to be completed. Steve is chomping at the bit to start putting the trinkets on (me too!) so fingers crossed I get the remaining paint on in the next few weeks.

An indication of things to come!

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