05 June 2023
James Freer, a Railway fitter and field engineer from Leicestershire, shows us around his project...
How long have you owned it? I’ve had it about two years, but it’s been in the family for over 20. It belonged to my great uncle, and it fell slowly into disrepair before his death. I bought it from his estate, gathered up all the bits that were scattered all over the farm and set about rebuilding it.
Old chassis was just too far gone. As was the wiring harness
What’s the story so far? The chassis and bulkhead were both bent and twisted, so they needed sorting. I built up a jig to repair the bulkhead, but the chassis was too far gone so I got Richards Chassis to make a new one, which I have painted black to look original.
All the parts I had to unearth from around the farm have been cleaned up and reconditioned where possible, or replaced with new where needed. We’ve tried to do it all ourselves within the family and using businesses local to us, apart from the new wiring loom which was done by Adam Jones of The Wiring Harness Company. He did a great job.
New galvanised chassis
What has the biggest challenge been? The chassis. I really wanted to keep the original one as these Safir-built 6x6s are so rare, but in the end it was decided that repairing it would be too risky. Richards supplied the new galvanised one, and now that it’s painted black it looks right, and the peace of mind knowing it’s arrow-straight and not going to rust was worth it.
Did the engine need much work? Surprisingly not. Although it had been stood a while the 3.5 V8 had been stored well and it’s so low-mileage and wear-free all it needed was a good service.
What jobs are next on the list? It’s almost there now, the bulk is done. It’s been a lot of work. I’ve still got to sort the exhaust out, rebuild the carburettors and just finish off the fiddly little jobs that get put off until the end. You know how it is!
A fine sight: Reconditioned bulkhead, ready to fit
What are your plans for it? I’ll get it finished and enjoy it for a while, then probably sell it on to fund other projects. I’ve got an 80in Series I waiting in line, so that will be next.
Who is helping with the project? Mostly family members and, as I say, we’ve tried to keep as much work as possible within the local area.
How can readers follow what you’re doing next? Give me a follow on Instagram: @jamesfreer89.
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