Various work to a 1952 80 inch Land Rover is slowly making progress as the owner tackles much of the restoration to the vehicle and specialist items pass through the workshop.
One of the most interesting jobs is the restoration of the bulkhead: Although most of the Series One Land Rovers were fitted with a bulkhead made from pressed steel, a small number left the factory with an item commonly referred to by enthusiasts as the “aluminium bulkhead”. This was in fact a fabricated bulkhead featuring a massively strong steel frame which was then “skinned” with riveted and spot welded aluminium panels. Pictured here is the frame of the aluminium bulkhead which belongs to this vehicle. It is bolted to the main part of a jig which is being manufactured to facilitate its repair.
The frame itself, although made of some very sizable pieces of steel, has rusted quite badly in places and because it is a comparative rarity it really needs to be restored to look completely “factory original”. The jig will keep all the various mounting points in perfect alignment as metal is cut away and replaced with new sections.
This is turning out to be one of those jobs where making the tools will take at least as long as the repair itself, and the jig is already starting to feature some substantial bracketry of its own.
It is however, well worth the effort: Not only can we be sure that the restored item will fit the vehicle properly when it is finished, the tooling will be left over for the repair or manufacture of any future aluminium bulkhead frames.
It seems as though this type of bulkhead only found its way onto vehicles for the home market which were manufactured in 1952 and 1953. The reason for this has been often attributed either to the tooling for the usual item having broken or else an attempt to save steel during a shortage. I’m not sure that it makes an awful lot of difference to the way the Land Rover behaves but it’s certainly a nice rarity to have.