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Projects 1960 Humber Hawk

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by matt-miles, May 24, 2016.

  1. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Well, its been a while since I added an introduction, so I thought I'd better start a 'Project Thread' if for no other reason than to track my own progress with this thing...

    As I've mentioned in my intro - never should have bought this car, it would be considered too far gone by most as a) there aren't many parts for these over here and b) its been bodged up a lot in the past, so any restoration/kustomisation work would involve undoing someone elses 'handywork' beforehand. Still, there aren't many on the road on these shores, so it must be worth doing... Right??

    Anyway, here she is. a 1960 Humber Hawk, Series 1a to be exact. With a 2.3 litre 4-banger under the hood, 4 speed manual column change, monocoque construction (so every bit of rust on the body counts... And no lifting the body off the frame for access!) Had it for 5 years now, working on it as and when I've had the time. But now my son's getting a little older and more interested in playing with cars (he's nearly 2 now), I really want something the family can go cruising in...
    The plan is (still) to go mild kustom, with a subtle lowering job, shaved handles and badges, and some Watson-style scallops. That's after the considerable rust-repair, which I'm most of the way through, I'm happy to report.

    (Below is a photoshop of 'the plan'... Hasn't changed much in the 5 years I've owned it, so I guess that's what we're sticking with!)
    Right, enough of the words... On with some more pics! I'll do my best to add the pics in chronological order and bring everything up to date as best I can...
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  2. steinauge
    Joined: Feb 28, 2014
    Posts: 1,507

    from 1960

    Now thats different! Lot of styling cues there from a number of different American cars.I think it looks great!
  3. Blase
    Joined: Aug 31, 2009
    Posts: 80


    That's a cool little car!
  4. xpletiv
    Joined: Jul 9, 2008
    Posts: 938

    from chiburbs

    Likin' thata LOT!

    Now....where are those pics!?:p

  5. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Right then, I've been through the archives, and here's where it started...

    I could see it had issues, a little patch here and there, rear screen seal to replace... Nothing major... Little bits to fix while we used it...

    Little did I know what was underneath that underseal and polish... IMG_2883.JPG Polished up pretty well...
    IMG_2885.JPG Couple of patches here and there...
    IMG_2887.JPG Didn't get many cars here in the UK with bench seats
    IMG_2889.JPG The cause of a lot of my misery!
    IMG_2890.JPG IMG_2902.JPG IMG_2925.JPG IMG_2937.JPG IMG_2942.JPG The Missus was happy with it... So I was more or less sold at that point! (gotta have her on side...)
  6. Never saw one of those.
  7. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    So, it failed its yearly MOT (Ministry of Transport Test) on a load of structural rust issues and bad repair work underneath... Tester said we should ask for our money back, but I had already envisioned myself cruising down the road in the sunshine, Missus by my side on that bench seat - not a care in the world!

    So I had to bite the bullet and put to work all those things I'd read about in all those Hot Rod magazines I've been reading since I was little...

    Once in her new home for the foreseeable (we'd moved house shortly after buying the Humber) I decided to dig around the boot floor...

    2012-01-29 16.42.29.jpg
    Now, whilst I consider myself pretty good with my hands, I've never attempted anything like this before - so I'm learning all the way! I don't have access to large machinery, so most jobs are tackled with power and hand tools.
    2012-02-26 19.32.54.jpg 2012-02-26 19.37.21.jpg 2012-02-26 19.42.10.jpg 2012-02-26 19.42.42.jpg 2012-03-14 21.24.12.jpg 2012-03-14 21.25.10.jpg 2012-03-20 21.34.42.jpg 2012-04-14 19.54.55.jpg 2012-04-14 19.55.12.jpg 2012-04-14 20.34.10.jpg 2012-04-14 20.35.33.jpg 2012-05-06 15.31.36.jpg 2012-05-06 15.31.54.jpg 2012-05-06 15.47.11.jpg 2012-05-06 15.47.19.jpg
    Peeps, Gambler 1962, Dago 88 and 17 others like this.
  8. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,799


    Pretty nice work right there. Carry on.
  9. I'm not familiar with this car but it sure looks cool/ HRP
    vetteguy402 and volvobrynk like this.
  10. Finnrodder
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,970

    from Finland

    I've seen Humbers from 30's to 50's,but i didnt know that they still made cars in 60's.Thats a neat little car!
  11. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    I might have put these in the wrong order... But pretty soon after getting settled in the new place, I started poking around the rear screen rubber, or what was left of it.

    The rear screen pulled out without any resistance at all... God knows how I managed to drive it the 100-odd miles home without it falling out.

    Once the seal was removed, I was faced with this lovely lot 2012-02-12 13.19.40.jpg
    After I'd swallowed back down the sick, I got to work removing the flakes...
    2012-02-26 14.54.33.jpg

    2012-02-26 14.53.51.jpg
    I guess water just sat there under the rubber everytime it rained. Even the top rail was all chewed up!
    2012-02-26 14.54.05.jpg
    I didn't have shrinker-stretchers, but I did purchase a copy of David Gardiner's excellent DVD ( He teaches a method of shrinking and stretching using something similar to a stonemason's hammer and heat... So I practiced a little , and got to work... Thinking as long as I kept the overall shape right, I should be able to fit the screen back in place once I'm finished... Pretty pleased with the results
    Doing little bits at a time, meant I could maintain the curve I needed, and as most of this new metal would be covered by the new rubber (I got the last one off the re-production line I think!) I didn't have to be too precious about making it all out of one large piece.
    The 'interior side' of the lip welded in place (more or less)
    Then, the 'exterior side' plug welded and finished off.
    IMAG1013.jpg IMAG0963.jpg
    Hopefully that should still fit the screen with the new rubber in place... Considering this was one of the first jobs I'd tackled on the car - you'd think I'd have the screen and rubber in place by now... Well, I wanted to get most of the tricky stuff out of the way so I could concentrate on bodywork later on...
  12. Fedcospeed
    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 2,011


    Man on a mission!!! I like the different stuff,keep the updates coming please.
    vetteguy402 likes this.
  13. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 17,338


    But it looked so nice on the outside?! Good job fixing it so far.
    vetteguy402 likes this.
    Joined: Jan 30, 2014
    Posts: 397


    Just yesterday I was at a restaurant in Austin, TX., They had old tin advertising signs all over the walls. Saw a Humber Hawk sign, even looked just like your car. By the way, great job on the rust repairs.
    nunattax and czuch like this.
  15. Yeah, you have done quite well with those repairs.Good job.
    nunattax likes this.
  16. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 9,011


    Well done. You should be proud. The C pillar reminds me of 54-56 olds and Buick 2 door sedans.
    49ratfink likes this.
  17. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,355

    from Quincy, IL

    Very impressive workmanship! Even more impressive is your determination to attack that rusty mess.......that is inspirational.

    Last edited: May 24, 2016
    vetteguy402 and Peanut 1959 like this.
  18. Making do with what you have, nice job. I'm going to follow this one.
    vetteguy402 likes this.
  19. That's coming along just fine! Those Hawks kinda remind me of 55/56 Chevs.
    I have seen the occasional "tricked up" Humber Super Snipe and Vogue here, they were popular in the 50's and 60's.
    Most Government department officials got Super Snipes.
  20. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    from central NY

    When I was in my last two years high school and 1st year of college, I had an eclectic string of cars. Starting with a DKW 3 = 6 coupe, a Simca Aronde, and a 61 Hillman Minx. I imagine the Minx and the Hawk were competitors or was the Minx a bit down market? I believe the Minx was a 1500 or 1725 or so. Loved the 4 speed column shift and the 20 + second 0 to 60 time. Good luck with your project.
    Fabulous50's and volvobrynk like this.
  21. Never heard of a Humber Hawk. Reminds me of the American Rambler. Looks like you are going to get it in good shape the way you are going.
  22. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    from vail az

    That's pretty impressive work.
    I felt like a wizard and all I did was a lower door cover for an old pick up.
    volvobrynk and Moondog13 like this.
  23. Hell man, you're doing great on the rust repair! Your determination is admirable!

    When I was a teenager, there was an old guy down the road who had a couple of Humbers on his ranch. I had never heard of a Humber before and I remember searching for info in the school library. Don't remember what years or models they were but my friends and I thought they were cool. Black with the wood trim on the dash and interior. I could be wrong but I seem to recall they were 6 cylinders?
  24. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Thanks for the kind words guys! Really helps keep the 'Mojo' going!

    Like I've said, I've never tackled anything this big before, and I often wonder if I'm going about things the right way. My attitude is something along the lines of - as long as I'm replacing whats there with something a little better, it must be going in the right direction... Anything I'm unhappy with, I can always do over later... These things are never really finished right?

    Its also worth mentioning that as a Graphic Designer, I spend a lot of time at the computer, pushing pixels around - so getting out in the garage, twatting metal around is real therapy for me!

    I'm working my way through some more old pics, so I should be able to bring the project up to date... I'll be looking for some advice on bodywork soon!

    Thanks again!

    Last edited: May 25, 2016
    Jet96 likes this.
  25. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Right, where'd I get to with this...
    Feeling pretty pleased with myself after successfully using some of the techniques I saw in David Gardiner's DVD, I thought I'd get hold of a stump, hollow it out a little, and tackle some more complex curves...
    2012-05-01 20.17.15.jpg
    2012-05-01 20.17.28.jpg
    2012-05-01 20.17.39.jpg
    Well, I'm certainly no Tommasini - but its better than what I started with...
    So, I ground off the crap, underseal and riveted aluminium patches, and got to work... Kinda making it up as I went along, knowing most of this is covered by the bumper, and worst-case-scenario - I could just start over.
    I'd have loved to do this in less pieces, but I couldn't work out how with my limited skills/tools. I've got plenty of grinding discs anyway ;-)
    IMAG1022.jpg IMAG1024.jpg
    Again, not perfect by any stretch - but good enough, and certainly better than what was there to start with.
    At this point I thought I'd have the car back on the road quickly - so I started playing with filler, trying to get everything smooth.

    I'm definitely going to have to replace the centre-section of the rear valance (which sits between these 'bulbous' corners. I was thinking something along the lines of a Jag XJ6 Sill panel (assuming I can get hold of one cheap enough).
    A little more high-build primer, and a little more filler gives acceptable results for now...
    IMAG1026.jpg Looking back at these pics - My skills and attention to detail have moved on - I'm going to have to address the bottom edge of this rear panel at some point...
    Next up... With my new found confidence with bashing metal about - I decided to tackle some of the more structural areas under the floor of the car...
  26. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Looking at these pics, you'd think I never even looked under the car before handing over the money... (sorry for the crap pics - my vision must have been at least this blurry when inspecting it at the previous owners!)
    The yellow marks are where the MOT inspector found it to be 'unsatisfactory' as far as repairs go... I'll give him that.
    So, thinking I'd replace only what needed replacing - I set to work making up a sort of 'top-hat' section to replace the longitudinal frame rail that kind-of forms the front subframe.

    My understanding is that with this car being an early monocoque design, it had very simple front and rear, fixed subframes that were more or less like a full front-to-back frame, but with the centre missing, and the sills taking over the load in the middle.
    (Here's a pic from the Workshop Manual to better describe what I mean)

    Anyway, here's what I did...
    IMAG1070.jpg I made this piece up in cardboard first, then transferred to 1.2mm cold rolled steel.
    IMAG1071.jpg IMAG1073.jpg
    I then added a couple of braces, with nuts welded to them, so that once positioned under the floor, I could bolt them through, and pull this new section up to the floor - then plug weld it in place.
    Skipping ahead a little (a lot!) here's the driver's side subframe 'leg' more or less in place. I struggled to get the metal clean enough where I had to join it to the existing rail - so I ground it all out and started fresh after this pic was taken... Live and learn right!
    Now I had a good, clean, straight starting point from which to build outward towards the sill. At this point I was simply going to replace the crossmembers that join the inner sill panels to this subframe 'leg' but a bit more digging, and I found this...
    Kinda reminds me of those pictures of the Titanic after all these years of being at the bottom of the ocean... I think that's where this might have been parked in a former life!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  27. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Tell me about it! I think I was blinded by all that polish... Looking back at the pics now, I can see all sorts of waves in the panelwork and dodgy door gaps - but at the time, I'd already talked myself into buying it!

    Thanks for the kind words by the way!
    Squablow likes this.
  28. matt-miles
    Joined: Aug 31, 2012
    Posts: 102


    Thanks man - I appreciate it!
    They sold them over there, not sure how many, or if they were that successful, but there's a good few 'left hooker' Hawks and SuperSnipes (the deluxe version with a 6 cylinder and more bells and whistles) in the US and Canada. Australia too.
  29. ...........but ours had the steering wheel on the correct side!
    There is a museum here that has a Humber bicycle- apparently that's how they started out.
    Your repair skills are as good as any I have seen, so keep it up and keep posting progress.
    Whoever did those previous "repairs" reminds me of when I started out at 15 years old, with no welder, no money, but lots of rivets and filler!
  30. Very nice work. Good job. If I may make a suggestion for the benefit of your lovely family get some better stands if you are working under the one in the picture ,or block the car up better PLEASE.

    WalkerMD, nunattax, harpo1313 and 5 others like this.

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