Not the most exciting of titles, I grant you but in the holiday period I had a day to tinker in the garage and thought I would finish off the panel that supports the number plate and the lights.
The issue is of course that the number plate needs to be mounted on the rear spare wheels in such a way that it is removable but is solid enough to not swing about under the throws of ‘spirited’ driving. The answer is to utilise the spare wheel mount in such a way that a substancial rod can be used to clamp the panel onto the outermost wheel. You may recall that I fitted this rod and the machined chrome cover many months ago because I have had the design in mind for a long time now.
Step one – the design:
The actual number plate is made from cast alluminium and is fairly strong by itself so all I really needed was an aluminium panel strong enough to mount the lights onto and to be used as a hanger from the ‘rod’ on the spare wheel carrier. The plate was to have a lot of curves that flowed around the lights and around the wheel hub and would have an extension that just fitted into the inside of the wheel hub to provide a level of rigidity to the fixing handle.
Step 2 – drawing it all onto the panel:
I am running low on 3mm aluminium sheet but had just enough to make one panel. A silly error would mean the purchase of more metal so right-first-time was the order of the day. To start with, I loosely laid out the D Lamps and the number plate to get a feel for spacing. The lamps need to be close to the number plate but the LED lighting negates the need for regular access to the bulbs so they can be fitted tight up against the number plate.
This gave me the shape to cutout with an electric jigsaw
Step 3 – cutting it all out…
Which then had all the edges filed down to a semi round shape and all the holes drilled for the lamps, number plate and the securing bolts for the extension into the spare wheel hub. The panel was then sanded down smooth so that it can age naturally.
Below you can see the extension as it is inserted into the wheel and the second picture is the whole thing clamped into place. The extension is not load bearing in any way, realistically it merely supports the long steel rod that goes through the centre of both spare wheels and is screwed into the welded on spare wheel mount.
I may well fit a rubber spacer onto the back of the panel so that it absorbs some of the damage from clamping it onto the wheel. Below is the final fitment with everything bolted into place. All that is left now is the wiring and the car would then be legal to go on the road. The wiring will be fed into some flexible stainless steel tube with sufficient length to allow the removal of the light panel when access to the spare wheels are needed