16 May 2012 at 18:21 #49106

    If you want to spend a day having fun with your car, may I recommend trying to open a bonnet, when the bonnet release does not work. This is actually a common problem on all the DB cars, and just pulling the bonnet release on the dash-board and nothing happening is a good sign of a few problems behind the dash board.

    Christian on his restoration postings has shown in the car with dash-board removed, which shows the bonnet lever / hinge assembly. I have also shown a few pictures of lower part of assembly

    Once both passenger and drivers side access panels are removed – straight-forward, but expect a jumble of different screws, things become easier.

    Next remove the radio, 4 screws hold it in place and the bonnet release mechanism becomes a little easier to access.

    The mechanism is simple. At the bottom is the rod coming through from the dash-board, which is attached to the bottom of the hinge pin, with a slip washer and nut, and then tensioned with a spring.

    The hinge pin was rusted solid, no possibility to free it. So managed to remove the rod and spring mechanism attached to base of hinge pin. This should have bneen held on with a nut and slip washer, nut was loose, but this small piece of plate which should turn with the hinge pin was rusted solid to it. Took a good while to release off the hinge pin, in one piece thankfully.

    Then spent the next few hours spraying WD40 onto the two bolts which held the 3 inch long hinge to the back of the heater box.

    At 5.00, I finally gently pulled the hinge plate towards me, and what a sweet sound it is when a bonnet opens after ca. 40 years.

    Looks like this has been a problem before, since the chrome handled bonnet release does not look original. I can’t understand why they didn’t make the hinge pin a a slightly looser fit, probably was until water seeped in and rusted it solid.

    Will look to see next, how I can detach rod (which goes through bulkhead into engine bay) from the top of hinge pin, remove the hinge and then either knock out pin or drill it out. I suspect that the top rod, is also held onto the hinge pin with a nut and washer. That will be fund to remove, if at all possible, with dash-board all in place.

    Attached files

    16 May 2012 at 18:23 #49107

    Another picture of this assembly, best possible given the difficulty accessing it!

    The picture also shows the heater/air vent hosing in excellent condition, which was another suprise, had expected this to have perished after nearly 50 years ?

    Attached files

    18 May 2012 at 12:24 #49132

    The bonnet release assembly, which sits under and behind the dash-board is shown below.

    Procedure given here:

    1. To remove the hinge section, there are two bolts (with washers) holding it in place to the heater box. You will need to remove radio held in place by four screws and then you have good access.

    2. Next remove the square section of dash-board which holds the clock and electric window switches in place. (two screws and a small ferrule with ball bearing which can be twisted out and removed with pliers), then very carefull twisting to take off.

    3. This allows good access to the top bracket on the hinge pin. There is a nut to be undone, from the rod coming through from the engine (see picture). This rod, has an L-shaped end. Before releasing the piano hinge and pin, from this rod; tie an elastic band around the L-shaped end, and attach this to a pencil or similar, to stop it disappearing into the engine.

    4. At base of the hinge pin, there is another nut and bolt to undo with several washers. This allows removal of the hinge complete. The later chrome domed nut to pull bar which comes through dash was removed, and the lower pull bar assembly also withdrawn. The spring was left in situ attached to back of heater box.

    5. If your bonnet release is rusted solid, you will need to knock off one of the brackets riveted to the end of the pin. Doesn’t matter which one. Then leave to soak in rust releasing fluid for 24 hours. Take out periodically and wire-brush.

    After all this treatment the pin was still siezed solid. So I used a punch and hammer to gradullay knock the pin out. Remember to remove burr from end of pin where it was riveted to the bracket!

    The arched piano hinge is beautifully made, as was the pin, nicely machined. However, the reasons this was rusted in solid, were three fold, firstly steel-steel, and secondly the tolerances were way too tight a fit of pin to hinge tubes and finally the piano hinge itself can flex, if both bolts are not done up tight. The lower one was loose which contributed to the seizure, since the pin could not move freely.

    Now that I have this release mechanism in pieces, I will turn the shaft down to allow me to insert two thin brass bushes into the hinge steel tubes.

    Secondly, I will file 2 mm off both top and bottom hinges tubes, to allow a little more freedom in this setting mechanism.

    Then I will spray the metal work back to original silver-gray color; re-rivet bottom part of linkage to end of steel pin and put back in car.

    By the way, I know the chrome knob on the end of the bonnet pull is not original. Have managed to find one at the ever helpful ASD.

    Attached files

    18 May 2012 at 19:42 #49140

    Very comprehensive and useful, I look forwards to your modification…so I can copy it! :p

    19 June 2012 at 20:24 #49367

    Bonnet release access, if your bonnet release assembly is jammed or rusted.

    I thought I should include this tip now, before I move onto more interesting parts of the car.

    To remove the small square section of dash-board which holds the clock and electric window switches in place.

    Firstly, remove the dash-board glove box wooden cover, this is held in place by five screws to piano hinge at bottom and two screws for side sliding hinge assembly.

    Next remove the two screws to left hand side edge of square section of dash-board and a small ferrule with ball bearing which can be twisted out and removed with pliers), then very carefully twisting to take off. These are accessible only when glove box wooden cover is removed.


    The top of the bonnet release mechanism can now be pulled towards you and the bonnet should release. [An old picture when this was first accessed is shown].

    Attached files

    20 June 2012 at 14:45 #49370

    Hi Simon, very helpful. On one hand it is wonderful how tightly made the bonnet release mechanism is…on the other, when moisture gets in these mechanisms seize like nothing else!

    How will you fit brass bushes and where will you get them from? Have you used Eastwood paints yet? They are excellent in giving an original highly resistant finish which also drys in literally minutes…I would recommend Carb Renew 2 for most thingls like this – buy a can, you won’t be sorry!

    Eastwood Carb Renew 2

    20 June 2012 at 15:04 #49371

    Christian hi

    I have already turned up two small small brass bushes on my lathe, and turned down the steel shaft in the same two places.

    Also, reduced the length of the piano hinge at each end by 1.5 mm, so the fit overall is also slightly looser.

    It was beautiflly made, but all the tolerances as you correctly say were much too close. A drop of moisture is all it needs and given our climate in the UK ..

    I was planning to spray the hinge and tabs with automotive silver-gray paint, prior to reassembly.

    Is the Eastwood paint so much better, if so, I will buy some of that as well ?

    20 June 2012 at 15:50 #49372

    Sounds like the end result will be beautiful – shame it won’t be seen! Yes I would recommend the paint – it really is very good and the colour of the carb renew is very close to the original. I think it’s an epoxy mix so it’s ultra hard, thin coat, quick drying and chemical resistant. Bit sad but I love a good quaility bit of paint!

    20 June 2012 at 18:32 #49373

    Hi Simon,

    It is really great all these descriptions and tips you keep adding to the forum. Can’t wait to lay my hands on my own restoration project : .
    Are you already looking around for an enthousiastic publisher for the first edition of your Great Rapide Restoration Guide?

    Keep up the good work!


    21 June 2012 at 09:37 #49377

    Tjeerd hi,

    Thank you for your kind comments, but I would suggest that you also look at Christian’s many, many excellent contributions on the Rapide.

    The forum is only as good as the contributions being made, so I would encourage you to buy a Lagonda and restore it, and post on this excellent site.

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