The distractions with the other vehicles had also been eating up cash and it was looking as though the project might stall. However, after a short break and some discussions the decision was made to push on and get it finished.
Paul would repair the bodywork himself at home, in an effort to economise, plus he wasn’t getting involved in the hands on side of the project, which was what he had really wanted to do from day one. So all the front panels and the cab were shipped off to his house where he really jumped in at the deep end and got stuck in cutting out the rust and welding and fabricating parts. Meanwhile we carried on with the mechanics. Les rebuilt the engine and replaced parts as necessary in the gearbox and transfer case. The completed units were then fitted into the rolling chassis; both prop shafts were rebuilt and duly fitted. The reconditioned radiator was installed and the day came to fire up the engine. It was started for the first time with the cameras rolling. It spun over and burst into life! After adjusting the timing it settled into a smooth idle and sounded great. We carried on doing what we could whilst we waited for Paul to finish the cab. Eventually he showed up with this eye burning Duck Egg Blue cab on the back of the other 45, ready to fit. First impressions were “ That is a very loud colour”! I wasn’t sure that I liked it much. I was expecting a Bugatti blue, which I was looking forward to seeing. Anyway we gave it a once over and I have to give Paul credit for his first attempts at repairing rusty bodywork. He had cut out the rust and fabricated new panels to replace the rusty parts, which often involved some quite awkward shapes and contours. He did an excellent job. We carefully mounted the cab on the chassis and proceeded to start bolting the remaining parts onto it. Within a week we had a driving chassis cab. With the cab in place, we could now work out how we were going to mount the Land Rover 110 Hi-Cap rear body on. We had decided to go this route after scrapping the incredibly heavy and very rotten original body. We had measured up a Hi-Cap earlier and it looked like a very acceptable alternative. Paul had sourced a very tidy body and had it painted in the same blue paint. We made up a simple sub frame that allowed the body to mount onto the Toyota chassis, using the original mount positions on both items. Having fitted the body, Roger Craythorne of Land Rovers fame, happened to be in yard one day and looked at the 45 with interest. Apparently he had been tasked to come up with a pick up body for the 109 series III in South America in the late 70’s. He had looked at the 45 to get some ideas and went on to come up with the Hi-Capacity body. He was amused to see that we had done the exact opposite.