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Humber Pullman - discovery and commencement of work

Humber Pullman - as found in 1996  

Back in 1996, this is how I discovered the Humber Pullman



And this was taken approximately three months later, when the deal was finally done, and a garage acquired to keep it in


I then proceeded to strip all of the rotten woodwork out, and dispose of all unwanted parts and panels


The first part of the build to be completed was the fitting of the Jaguar front suspension to the Humber Pullman chassis

This was followed by the fitting of the 5.3 Litre V12



Humber Pullman - serious work on the body


Having moved house in 1997, work slowed for a couple of years, but then the decision was taken to strip it all apart and have it sandblasted

You may note that by this time I had made the decision not to keep the original roof. This was partly due due to aesthetic plans, but also due to the fact that the whole timber frame was completely rotten.

The plan at this stage was to fit a removable "Carson" style top

This is what I had left when I went to collect it from the blasters



Fitting all the parts back into a standard garage was rather tight


So to help matters, I removed the rest of the roof from the rear section


Humber Pullman - off to a friend's for some major surgery

Humber Pullman - on trailer

I then agreed with my good friend Trevor Gardiner, that he would work do much of the work on the project


The Humber Pullman chassis was soon repaired where necessary, suitably strengthened, and extra cross-members added for the new suspension


Which was now set in place for the first time



New mounts were fabricated for the Alternator (to miss the chassis), and the Transmission (to make it removable)


The Humber Pullman front bodywork was then trial-fitted for the first time since I bought the car almost seven years before.

This showed that having removed the inner wings for clearance of the V12, a framework was needed to support the wings and front-end


This was then created from 25mm box section, with mounting points for the wings


Humber Pullman - with Jaguar V12  

Mounting points or the shock absorbers and radiator were also added


As you can see, even with the it leaned backwards, the radiator only just fits


Next, a new bulkhead was formed and ribbed for looks and strength


An exhaust system was started, after modifying the down-pipes to clear the chassis rails

You can also see that at this point the front doors were trial-fitted


This lead to the recreation of the running boards, this time from 3mm steel


Followed by new door posts and the commencement of the floor, once again ribbed for strength


Once the floor at the front was finished, we could trial-fit the seats (part of a complete Jaguar Interior purchased for the project)

You may also note that the Brake master-cylinder has by now been installed


Of course, I couldn't miss the chance of dreaming............

But the real reason was to plan the height of the new roof


Which as you can see from this picture is considerably lower than before


The rest of the Humber Pullman bodywork was then mocked-up into position to get the first feel for how the car would look when finished

It may not be every-ones taste, but to me it is a thing of beauty!


Wheel Trims purchased at a Swap meet look superb

Anyone know what they are from ?


It was then discovered that the original Humber Pullman bonnet hinges were not stable enough, so ones from a Daimler Conquest were purchased and the bonnet and bulkhead modified to suit



Next, the air vents in the bulkhead were welded up, the bottom reshaped, and the wings lengthened and re-arched to clear the new wheels

I then spotted this little baby on ebay

With the later model HE V12, and a fully functioning transmission, it was purchased as a second donor car


Within a day-and-a-half, it looked like this!

The rear lights from a 68 Chevy Impala were then fitted with orange centres as indicators



A bootlid from a Rover 400 was obtained


To be fitted as demonstrated by my friend and Corvette owner Ian Thompson


It should look something like this when it's all put together!


Humber Pullman front wings

The next job for me was the Humber Pullmanfront wings

These needed general repairs and the mounting of the lights.

This is a mock-up for alignment, they will eventually be sunk into the wings and moulded in

keep watching....


Meanwhile, Trevor was fitting the tank,


and finishing the floor

note again, how low the windscreen height now is


The next job was to remove the tops of the front doors, lower the hinge point, and replace the rotten wood frame with steel



He then built a frame to accept the steering column from an Oldsmobile (Column change),

and then fitted the dash panel, which I had prepared with the holes cut for the gauges


The next challenge was to connect the Oldsmobile column to the Jaguar Rack, avoiding the exhaust system


Remember the wings ?

They now have a ring around the headlight openings which will be blended to the shape of the wings,

and a round hole for the indicators replaces the rectangular protrusion for the earlier sidelights



Now that the front doors are re-hung, the next job is to hang the rears from a single hinge above the wheel arch

This is a mock-up to figure out the alignment

As the original body was timber-framed and hand-built, nothing quite lines up

Decisions have to be made now and the body massaged into position so that the whole rear end can be fixed and welded


Having become an obsessive ebay hunter for Humber items, I found this badge

They were given away with American Cereals in the 50's

I thought it would make an unusual Steering wheel centre....

However, I got addicted and have now acquired 5 from all over the states so that they will also be centres for the road wheels


Another ebay find was a Jag XJ40 interior in Grey Leather.

I thought this would go well with the planned exterior colours so another bid was successful

Firstly, the positioning of the rear seat was planned in conjunction with the rear wheels


Then this frame was constructed to locate it


The fronts were originally electric, but this didn't allow enough headroom with the planned new roofline

so the electrics were removed and manual sliding rails were modified to fit


Next, the rear wheel-wells were created to fit the new wheels and the old wings


Here you can see how it all fits together

The new number plate surround is in place and the old rear panels have been cut out

 to make way for new steel to hold the rear lamps


which have now been fitted !


The door posts have also now been completed and the framework for the seats and door-hinge support completed


All of the seats are now fully fitted, seatbelts are almost done


The tops of the doors have also now been capped where the frames were cut off.

Finding someone to weld 50-year-old aluminium wasn't easy

The first quote I had was 100 per door and a 3-month wait

The next guy said 50 per door, and they were done within a week, thanks Mike!


I've been busy welding up the lacework that used to be called a Humber Pullman bonnet


And then modifying the grill inserts in the inner wings


Talking of wings, they have now been filled to give the new profile, and the headlight mounting studs cut off and re-welded

Next time I'll measure more carefully first time


This is the IRS from the XJS prior to dismantling and cleaning


Humber Pullman comes home again

In June 2004 Trevor brought the Humber Pullman back to mine for the final stages

I have rented another garage to keep the rest of body in while I work on the running gear

First job was to fit the newer engine from the XJS


The dash was trial fitted with the gauges to ensure enough clearance for the Air Conditioning system to fit behind


The radiator was swapped for the one from the XJS to gain enough space under the body for the Condenser and Drier for the Air Con

The twin fans have also been mounted here


My daughter Kerry has been busy helping and this Radiator header tank was a rusty mess before she got to work on it


The exhausts have now been fully mounted on both sides


And finished off with these beautiful "Kantails"  which are replicas of those fitted to 1920's Bentleys

although not obvious in this picture, they exit just in front of the rear wheels


Also behind the dash, the wiper system has been modified from Mini components to fit



This shows the front view of the Humber Pullman with the modified wings, side vents and Grille

I think the side vents need to be a bit more curvy.....


This side shot shows just how long the Humber Pullman is is...

If you look below the rear doors, you can see the Kantail exhaust tips.


Humber Pullman on drive

Next jobs are making a surround for the bootlid (The old wooden one is gone!)

After that, the fuel filler door needs to be fitted above the bootlid,

Then to build the frame to support the roof, which will stay in place when the fabric is removed.



The Surround took almost two weekends to get all the curvature out of 1/2" box section,

 and then the hinge took two attempts, as it would not hinge downwards due to the double curvature.

It now hinges on much-modified Allegro boot hinges



I then constructed the frames above the doors which I was extremely happy with as I had to follow the shape of the car in all directions,

but the hoops for the roof looked far too flat and chunky, more like an off-roader than a Humber Pullman Limousine


Humber Pullman with roof hoops


I therefore went back to the drawing board, and ended up with electrical conduit.

Trevor helped with borrowing a roller to get some curves into the pipe, and this combined with a plumbing bender

for the tighter curves gave the lines we were looking for.


At the front we form the peek from conduit, and then panelled the gap


You can now start to see the final shape


Humber Pullman - off to Burnham's

A momentus day for the Humber Pullman.......

After much debate with my wife, we agreed to get her finished by someone else.

The first company that came to mind was Burnham Autos, having seen their work around for years, and having never heard anything bad about them!

I approached Paul Burnham at Billing, and after a few more conversations he agreed to take on the task - sight unseen!


On the truck heading for Burnham Autos - 15th August 2005

Shame the guys let it roll onto the truck and dent the rear!


Burnham Autos Logo


Upon arrival a feeling of shock set in at the sheer size of her, and the work involved in achieving such an unusual rod.


Humber Pullman - Keith starts work

Within a couple of days work commenced, with any remaining rust being cut out with body alignment and panel gaps being top priority


Although I'd fitted the wiper system, Sascha realised the arc was far too small, so a search for another motor commenced

By sheer luck, the XJS motor I had in the shed gave the perfect solution


By mid September the chassis had been painted and re-assembled

The engine was refitted

A decision was made to fit LPG to the Humber Pullman in order to keep the running costs with sanity,

 so a kit was ordered from Gordon Finlay, a very helpful guy

Just another small complication to the build.....

Unfortunately it means throwing away the air filter housing I spent three weekends making


The suspension was by now also painted and fitted with new springs, shocks and brakes


The most exciting point so far in nine years of owning the Humber Pullman came when the bulkhead was painted and fitted

This is just five weeks after arriving at Burnham's

the colour is Citroen Icelandic Grey, and Steve done a fantastic job


Humber Pullman - original windscreen surround

Whilst searching for some body parts, Paul obtained an original windscreen surround

You can see here how much lower the roof will now be


To get a feel for how the dash will look, I mocked it up in paint rather than the wood veneer it will eventually be

I know the flames are badly drawn, that's the point of trying a mock-up!

The faces of the gauges have been re-designed by a colleague at work - thanks Dave

You can also see that by this point the column is in and the pedals have been fitted

Its even got sound-deadening felt


I couldn't resist the urge to see how my new steering wheel would look

Note the column has been painted to match the body colour


The body is now back together

and Keith has done an amazing job of the hood for the Humber Pullman!

It will have a rear window, donated by a great guy called Roger I met in Australia, just as soon as the surround is painted.


The front wings have now been prepared for paint (after Paul had tidied up some of my "repairs"

You can also see here the new grille design being trial fitted, very unlike the original Humber Pullman.

This one is in fact a wooden mock-up made to test the idea,

The real one has been slightly "tweaked" in design and will be laser-cut from stainless steel very soon


If you look closely at the A pillar, you'll see the final colour and how it works with hood.

The rear bow of the hood needs a little work to make it taughter.

You can also see the rear wings are under preparation.


The nearest I could get to a full-car shot, even in Paul's workshop

The guys in the club were not convinced by my paper wheel rims, but the order has now been placed and they're on their way from the US of A.


After some pushing from the guys, I've decide to enter the car for the Xtreme Wheels show at the Ally Pally in February 2006.

This mean some serious effort to get it finished, but the forms have been sent off, so if it's accepted all stops will be pulled out to get it there!



The wheels have now arrived from the US and look beautiful

The rears are 15x7 with a 4" backspace and needed a 1" adaptor to fit the arches correctly (a 3" backspace was not available!)

The fronts 15x6 with 3 5/8" Backspacing - They needed some machining from behind to fit the Jag hubs

Now that they're fitted, the front tyres look a little too large, so will probably be replaced by some a little smaller (but not much)



After asking a lot of favours, we now have the grill laser-cut from 4mm stainless steel

After final trimming of both the grill and the body, it will be dismantled and polished by myself before final fitting



A lot of work has also gone into the rear lights.

On the left are the bulb-holders and reflectors built by myself, housing LED's

On the right, the lenses have been modified to fit the correct curvature of the body.

Currently under consideration is a chrome trim to match the number-plate surround.



Steve the painter has also been busy prepping all of the wings and the four doors.

Sacha has created the glass mountings in the doors, and has even managed to make the fronts open without frames.

If you look closely you'll see a small cut-out in the frame at the rear of the front window for clearance as it rotates down into the door.

Eventually, the whole car will sit about 2" lower than the picture on the right.



I've been busy working on the wood veneer for the dash, and this is a trial fit

Note the new gauge faces too.


Mean while, Keith has been working on these fantastic door panels.

They feature the Humber Snipe Logo, with the wing becoming the arm rest

The panel at the top will be veneer to match the dash.


After paint, she has now returned to Burnham's for final assembly

Having missed Extreme Wheels, (which with hindsight I'm glad about),

she is now destined to appear in public for the first time at Neil's Spring Nationals

Drayton Manor Theme Park, 13th/14th May.


Well, for those that have had the patience to follow my little tale, here are the shots taken at Drayton manor on its first outing:



And, just to give a clue as to its scale in comparison with most other cars......


And topless at the NSRA SuperNats Cruise


Winter 2006

Plans for the winter include tidying under the bonnet


This is how it looked as it started and ended the summer

Exactly as it was pulled from the XJS, cleaned and a few parts painted whilst at Burnham's


First job was to move most of the ancillary parts into the centre

Also you can see the mock-up of the new air filters


This is how far I've got as at Christmas

Everything is still be fully cleaned

The Engine Cover and panel below the air filters will be painted body-colour

The manifolds will be cleaned to a Scotchbrite finish and the ribs polished

all visible hoses will be covered in stainless steel braiding

The new air filter inlets also include the mixers ready for the LPG Kit soon to be fitted

Heels & Wheels