Restoring/replicating AUTO-R and BEES BSF bolts

Most of the original bolts from my 1954 XK120 are in good shape and reusable for the restoration but there were a few dozen whose heads are corroded to the point they’re not presentable. This is a couple of the worst after cleaning up with glass beads in the blasting cabinet:


The threads are in good shape, so how to restore them so they’re presentable and suitable for use in less visible areas? Answer, cast the patterns in epoxy.

This is a collection of some of the better bolts fixed in the bottom half of a mold box


The top half is a quarter inch deep and fits inside the bottom after being filled with a silicone molding compound, this particular kit purchased at Michael’s but any hobby shop will carry it


closeup of the resulting mold - sets in 3 minutes and takes another 20 minutes to full cure - this is really tough, flexible stuff. It sticks to nothing and nothing sticks to it. No mold release agent required.

Back to the very rough examples. I ground off the remnants of the old pattern then grit blasted them to provide some tooth, along with about 30 other restoration candidates


These are given a thin smear of epoxy and pressed into the mold. The silicone grips them tightly


The pair fresh out of the mold


and after a shot of semigloss black


I’ll use flat black epoxy primer to replicate black oxide, keeping the best, unrestored originals for higher visibility, body colour presentations such as found securing hinges.

There are some apparent limitations. I don’t suppose these restored bolts will take much wrenching before the epoxy gets damaged, tough as the stuff is. You also can’t cad plate them, but there aren’t many cad plated bolts used on the 120 anyway.

One can also, of course, replicate the bolt head pattern on new UNF bolts. Not so much repros as counterfeits, though.

Maybe a commercial application © here but easy enough to do yourself.

The mold box took an hour to build, the mold itself another half hour, each batch of bolts, using JB Quick, another half hour or so. Faster than scouring flea markets and eBay listings.


This is brilliant! Bees bolts are difficult to source, and I have several that need the same treatment.

With the tech I have, I can think of a way of doing that in the right dull silver CAD finish, without the need to do painting.

kind regards

Let me know whatcha need: I have TONS of Rovers with both BEES and GKN fasteners.

Jeez you might be a BEES bolt millionaire and not even know it. Have you seen the prices on Ebait lately?

No… but I will now!

Aren’t the original Bees bolts red oxide?

I bought a number of them NOS in their small brown paper bags with part number penciled on, (one per bag) a number of years ago and might be able to find them to show.


I’ll send you a list! I need a bunch for my ‘Ctype’

Many were red oxide, more were black oxide, few were plated.

These things are like gold. Capitalize on your wrench time to extract them, Wigs. Don’t give them away.

Apparently, I have a gold mine, sitting in weeds…!

There are different BEES thread pitches. Newer cars used UNF pitch, and these feature a different bolt head pattern. Not as sought after as are the older BSF and BSW threaded BEES bolts. All AUTO-R bolts, far as I’m aware, are British thread a d these were used heavily in the case of my XK, more common than the BEES type.

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Ah, these are all modern UNF/UNC bolts and nuts.

Back in the scrap bin!

Mine are all modern UNF/UNC stuff… probably not suited to your C Type.

:cry: … O well

Not gold then, more like silver :wink:

…more like * junk*.


Just hold onto them for another 20-30 years and when the world has seen sense and moved to Metric, then they will be worth gold :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Firstly I would suggest looking for someone dismantling a Mk VII or [rMk V] Mk VIi owner are not that concerned about BEe markings and certainly not prepared to pay more fr them. So one should be able to buy bolts from them much cheaper.

The other cheats way might be to machine the faces flat, and have someone [ an engraver] etch the required lettering into the head. I know it’s different but you will find it hard to pick visually. Iwas looking at an alloy model of a DC3 about 18"wingspan . Beautiful and all the rivetdetail on wings , fuselage… How did they do that I thought. But feeling the surface I realised what appeared t be rivet heads were actuallu concave dimples
Or get an engraver to make a stamp with "Bees’on it full size. and cut out pieces of tinplate into right size hexes and stamp them and solder on . Rather in the way the body tags are stamped. The female half of the die is just a flat block of lead with the stamp pressed in You just need a press to align the halves, We make body tags that way.

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Red bolts and nuts were ANF thread, the predecessor of UNF, usually with SAE hex heads though often with British hex sizes, and found on the chassis of Mark V, Mark VII and XK120, and engine of XK120 and Mark VII.


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The BEES Knees of collectible bolts.