Nelson S350 - construction

This car is constructed mainly from parts from a Rover 3.5 SD1 and a Jaguar XJ6.

Chassis from rearThe chassis is a strong backbone type constructed from tubular and square section steel. There are extra side rails for floor support and side impact protection. There is also a subframe for rear protection that also carries the fuel tank.

The size and gauge of steel is probably considered by some to be over-engineered, but it doesn't hurt to have something sturdy around you in such an exposed car.

The suspension, running gear and steering is all taken from a Jaguar XJ6.

The rear axle unit is used complete with it's carrier subframe from the Jag. This is bolted onto the rear of the chassis and also has the rear subframe bolted to its rear. Due to the reduced weight, only one of the two coil-over-shock suspension units are used each side. The ones left over are used at the front. The forward tie bars are taken from the Rover. My Nelson has a 3.31:1 Powrlok limited slip differential and Spax adjustable shocks.

Chassis from frontThe front double wishbones and uprights are bolted directly to mounting points on the chassis (the Jag crossmember is not used). The shim castor and camber adjustment method is retained. One of the shock-over-coil suspension units form the rear is mounted between the chassis and a mounting plate on the lower wishbone, each side. The front mudguard frames are mounted on the hub carrier uprights and turn with the wheels.

The brakes are taken in their entirety from the Jag, with new pipework. The pull-ratchet style Jag handbrake has been used with a modified belcrank.

The Jaguar steering rack is modified to disable the power steering. The XJ6 steering column is bolted onto the chassis and they are connected by an extended linkage to reach to the somewhat distant front wheels. A new leather bound black steering wheel is fitted, that cannot be too big to restrict getting in and out of the driving position.

New wheels were chosen with a spoke effect to reflect the cars modern intrepretation of an old 50's style.

Engine and gearboxThe engine and gearbox are taken directly from a Rover V8. As the car has been designed around this lump, mounting is relatively easy; the only minor modification required is removal of the fan and a smaller fan belt to avoid fouling the steering gear. The Rover propshaft is modified at its rear end to connect to the Jag differential. New air filters are required as the standard SU carb fit neatly into the bulge in the bonnet. The radiator is also used and is mounted at 90 degrees to its normal orientation and slopes back to allow it to fit in the low bodywork.

Although great performance is available from the standard engine, I have rebuilt my engine as a 3.9 litre with a Piper 270 slightly warmer camshaft. It has a ridiculous 2.5" bore exhaust system with a single small cherry bomb style muffler. Curiously, none of my neighbours have complained (yet).

All the engine orientated electrics (ignition system, fuel pump, sensors etc.) are taken from the Rover. The instrument gauges are remounted on a new panel behind the dashboard. New instrument/warning lights are used. An electric radiator fan is used and the windscreen wiper motor is taken from a mini. The wiring harness is of my own construction.

New headlights, tail lights and indicators were sourced to be in keeping with the cars style.



Body from frontBody from rearThe bodywork is made from glassfibre in three units. There is the inner tub that holds the occupants, the outer shell that also forms the rear mudguards and the bonnet. The front mudguards are steel tube and glassfibre.

The flat windscreen is beautifully made by Brasscraft. There are also some very useful wind wings at the sides to deflect the worst of the wind and its noise away from you (if you want!).

The seats look like upholstered pads 1" thick mounted on the floor. They are actually recessed into the floor and are much thicker and suprisingly comfortable. The top half of the seats back squab folds forward to give access to a stowage area. Seatbelts are taken from the Rover. The dashboard is polished walnut veneer.

There are no doors and no roof. Some owners have fitted a soft convertable roof, but with this up, the access is rather difficult. There is a toneua cover for when it is parked, but cannot be used when driving.