The Fibreglassing Workshop with John Dickens is on the 20th Feb which is only next week! How quickly things come around....

Details for the workshop can be found on Retro Rides in THIS THREAD. There are only three places left though, so don't be too long in putting your name down.

Anyone coming along, PLEASE try and bring some wood/logs for the wood burner. Warmth is essential on these long playdays and any contribution of wood will help keep everyone from freezing.

See you all there this weekend.

2 February 2010

From far away!

We've had people from all over England coming to the Playdays....and even Mark has flown over from Ireland twice to join in the fun.

January 30th saw our furthest travelled visitor: Thomas (AKA The Doctor) who travelled all the way from the Netherlands in his Toyota Chaser to take part in the Playday. A 1,200km round trip!

He's quite a camera shy kinda guy but I did manage to get a few snaps of him at the unit.

In the background here, cleaning the 2 post lift (he's not afraid of getting stuck in!)

 Here he is checking up on me cleaning some pistons. Quality control is a good attribute of his

Laughing at Mark & Ryan 'pimping' in the Hustler

...and overseeing the installation of the chain on the 2 post lift

It was great to have you over Thomas, thank you for coming such a long way to join in...and please come back whenever you can - I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that you are always welcome at Area 52. :D

1 February 2010

We have heat!!!

After a number of very chilly sub-zero Playdays, Alan turned up to the last one with a custom made woodburner.

Made out of an old 47 litre gas bottle, the burner has a really neatly hinged door with a handle fashioned from Alan's old, broken Land Rover steering box. Complete with baffle made out of the centre of a steel wheel, damper made out of more of the steering box and a base from the remnants of the old wheel (used for the baffle)

Seen in a previous post were Ian, Steve and Dave cutting a large hole in the wall - this was for the chimney flue to exit.

After getting the burner alight outside to burn off the exterior paint, it was carried in (still alight and red hot!) where Alan quickly set about welding up the flue...with smoke & heat pouring off the burner. That's hardcore! Ryan lent a helping hand.

Welding on the flue

 Nearly there

Enjoying the novelty of warmth - the wood burner seemed to be the source of much congregating all night
A bit later some shelves were added to keep cups of tea nice & warm. You can also see the A52 detailing that Alan added as he was making it

Huge thanks must go to Alan for the construction of this awesome bit of kit. Also to Ryan for supplying the flue...and everyone else for helping to get it fitted and supplying wood to keep us warm.

If you would like Alan to make you a wood burner, he can make them to order and can be contacted through Retro Rides here: Grunty's PM

31 January 2010

Area 52's youngest visitor

So far at Area 52 we have had Lucie (Chris's little girl), Molly (Tim's little girl) and Edward (Phil's little boy) but during Playday 6 we were very lucky to be introduced to William - Si's little boy who was born less than a week earlier!

It's going to take a lot to beat that and I am pretty certain that William's visit will not be a one off? If Si has anything to do with it, the first words out of William's mouth will be "pass me the 10mm ratchet"

Without further ado, here is the little fella enjoying the cosiness of the snug

We're all looking forward to having you back again soon young man.

30 January 2010

Playday 6: Sorry for the delay!

Well Playday 6 was a bit of a last minute affair that turned out to be an awesome weekend!

Lots done on the unit which has all gone to make it a much more usable space. Many thanks go to those who came along and mucked in. A great effort from everyone.

Mark & Sean fit the waste pipe for the sink in the snug. At last we can use the sink properly!

Ben cuts the feet of the 2 post lift to allow them to swing back properly

Adrian & Phil run the 3-phase electrics to the lift....awesome work chaps!

Ian, Steve and Dave work on drilling big holes in the wall

Morgs, Phil & Mark modify the doors to fit properly

All the time, Tim is outside keeping the troops fed from the Car-B-Q with burgurs and sausages
After all the work is done everyone kicks back for more of a social - chatting & drinking (essential A52 ingredients!)

As the evening wore on, lots of this kind of thing started happening

More to come in the next installements...including: Heat, Youngest, Furthest, Lifted, Food etc....

29 January 2010

Then & Now

How times have changed!

Here is quick snapshot of how the unit looked within a week of signing the lease:

10 months later, it's a different story. SO much has changed and a lot of it is not obvious from this picture:

We now have full length, full height racking across the back wall,a two post lift (yet to be wired up), a large sand blasting cabinet, parts washer, full length workbench (20+ ft), large compressor, the addition of BBQ and hot running water.

The unit is almost there and the next playday (PlayDay 6) will hopefully see the last few jobs finished to get the unit properly up & running. Fingers crossed.

Thanks must go to all the people that have come along and helped over the past months...and to those who have contributed things to the unit. Without you, this place would still be a plain shell with a few cars in it.

28 January 2010

More space for Area 52

With the attendance at playdays growing with each successive one and more kit/equipment arriving all the time, space at Area 52 is getting increasingly tight.

Luckily we have a temporary solution with thanks to one of the other guys who rents a space in the unit.

Pete (a stonemason/sculptor) rents the space at the opposite side to my space. He uses it to produce stone sculptures - here he is making some large stone benches for a civic space up in Liverpool:

For the past few months he hasn't used the space and recently he announced that he will be working over in Prague for the next six months. I asked if it would be OK to use his space temporarily while he was away. He was fine with this as long as we cleared his stuff neatly into a corner and tried to pay something towards his rent.
Morgs, Ryan and Jimmy came along to lend a hand moving all his tools, clearing all his stone rubble into a corner and sweeping up all the mounds of stone dust that had built up

This shot was taken half way through after clearing all the tools and equipment into a corner - I should have taken a 'before' was a real mess!

Thirsty work shifting so much stone, rubble and dust....not to mention how dusty the air got with all the sweeping!

It took the four of us a good few hours to clear the space and get it cleaner (less dusty) but at last, we had some extra space

It didn't take long to start filling the space though! The recent aquisition of two Hustlers plus Morgs' MR2 meant we had half filled the space before the evening was through!

It did, however, leave a good amount of space down at the other end ready for the playday on the 30th where we would hopefully get the 2 post lift finally up & running.

The biggest problem to come is when I have to give the space back to Pete - I had better not get too used to having it.

27 January 2010

Hot last!!

Finally, the unit has hot water. HOORAH!!

It may seem such a stupid thing to make such a song & dance over, but anyone who has ever tried to wash dirty, oily hands in the Area 52 'washroom' during the winter months will no doubt remember the ice cold water which makes the simple job of cleaning such a torturous ordeal!

As we all know, hot water helps shift oil better, but it also makes it such a more pleasant experience after a long day playing on cars.

The new water heating half way through fitting:

Fitted and wired up

WORKING! Such a small step, such a massive benefit!

This also coincides with getting the sink in the 'snug' fitted & plumbed in with a water heater and proper drainage (thanks to Mark & Sean for running the waste pipe) so we now also have somewhere to wash all the tea cups etc...

Even more hot water!

These two modifications to the unit make spending any time down there so much more comfortable. Clean tea cups, clean hands.....BLISS!