I could see my hand built bulkhead being the biggest challenge yet. I wanted something that looked original rather than something boxy made from flat steel.
The bulkhead actually needs a fair bit of strength. The bonnet, is quite long, so the leverage on the bulkhead will be significant. It will be mounted on BMW E46 3 series hinges, which are gas ram assisted. These will be mounted on supports that will also provide attachment for the detachable bonnet sides.
I didn’t want a super heavy body and I needed to practice my sheet metal skills, so I drew up some quick CAD sketches. This part is too wide for my bead roller so I had to make it in two halves and weld it back together at the end.
As I mocked up my bulkhead, it began to dawn, that the wiring loom I spent ages getting right needs dissecting and re-doing. For now, the wiring loom and engine management will be removed. I know the engine runs, so it will go into storage until the metalwork is finished. Once I’ve done the interior I’ll tweak it so less of it is visible.
The flat steel used for this panel had zero strength, but with just a little bead rolling and a return edge, the panel became more robust.
Hand Built Bulkhead Front Panel
With the lower bulkhead facia complete, the internals can also be measured for braces. First though, I needed to make the main hand built bulkhead front panel. This was made in two pieces. It was too wide to make in one piece as I needed to run it though the bead roller. With the raised panels complete it was curved like a banana so I had stretch those panels in the stretcher. I could then pass it though the wheel to get most of the ripples out.
This hand built bulkhead is inset from the sides of the car. The bonnet sides butt right up to the edges of the door. The curved windscreen is wider than lower bulkhead.
Similar to the car below.
The top of the bulkhead as it meets the curved MG Midget screen is going to be the hardest part.
The bottom edge of the screen is a double curvature. It’s not just 2.75″ higher in the middle, it’s also 2″ further forward. I have a knackered OEM MG screen that I’m using for fabrication work. The road going one is heated and has EC43R/DOT markings.
The BMW hinges are adjustable and lift the bonnet forward and up in a curve. This lift would not be enough for the bonnet to have a straight rear edge, so that will be curved to match the screen.
I’ll add some shape to the panel between the bulkhead and the windscreen, as although the bead rolling add character, it still looks a little too flat for me.
Next job, windscreen pillars.