Restoring a Vintage Valanced Mudguard – Part One

Ariel Valanced Mudguard - as found

Ariel Valanced Mudguard – as found

Many years ago I traded some Ariel parts I didn’t need for some Ariel parts that I did need for my Ariel VB sidecar project. This project has been progressing intermittently since 1989. One of the parts I received was a valanced front mudguard (“fender” for our colonial cousins) which looked quite shiny and black, but clearly had some bondo on it. A view of the underside showed it had been patched roughly in some places and was worryingly bumpy in many parts – I thought maybe the metal was rusted away a lot.

My original thought was to leave it as it was, as I am no stickler for originality, I just needed something to keep the mud off the bike, but the thing was also misshapen and would not actually go between the fork legs.

Enter my new mig welder. This seemed an ideal project to try using the gas capabilities which should be able to weld thin sheet metal.

I started of by stripping the paint and bondo off with a heat gun and paint scraper. Ariel mudguards run a ridge up the center and this ridge was completely buried in bondo. I even found part of the original center bracket buried under the bondo – it was that deep. They had even run a layer of it over the side valances, thought they are almost undamaged. In total there was 2lbs 5oz of filler and paint, up to 5/16″ thick.

Vintage Mudguard Drowned in Bondo

Vintage Mudguard Drowned in Bondo

Under all this muck, there was good news and bad news. On the bright side, there was essentially no rusty metal, except under the middle bracket remnant which had been welded down at the ends. On the down side, there was evidence that previous corrosion at the rear had been crudely repaired, and the front and center had been in a crash. The bumpiness I observed underneath was the result of the whole thing being un-crumpled and beaten very roughly back into shape, presumably by bondo-dude.

So I ordered the cheapest auto-body repair kit available on eBay, and visited my local welding store to get a gas bottle for the welder. You get what you pay for. The hammers and dollies are truly crappy, and the service at the welding store is excellent.

To be continued…..

1 comment to Restoring a Vintage Valanced Mudguard – Part One

  • Alan Petersen

    Hi Alister
    Great to see a an ARIEL outfit being done I have a 1948 600SV rigid with a Murphy chair attached Has been a very reliable outfit

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