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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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17 May 2021

My Struggle...

... with technology continues. I was persuaded to buy a new phone - my then current model was held together with Sellotape and the touch screen was beginning to respond rather curiously. Could I get the new phone to work in the way I wanted it to? No. I happened to have another phone in reserve - in the likelihood of my losing one overboard - but which needed only a new battery to function as advertised. This was dealt with and, going along in the car the other day, I heard a 'ping' and glanced down to see the message "You will not receive notifications while driving". That's good then.

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There was another late comer to the auction, and which needed to be got going. I've never really got close up to a Sunbeam Alpine and I was quite impressed. Obviously a little more luxurious than the standard fare of Midgets and so forth, this example seemed to go rather well.

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A stylish dashboard and a hardtop (a hood wasn't part of the equipment on this model and the detachable hardtop was an after-market extra). Perspex rear and side windows I assume were to keep the price down. I think I would replace them with glass if it were mine and possible.

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Whilst playing with the Sunbeam, we got a look at this gorgeous racing MG.

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This is raced regularly (and is not in the auction). Mr Long started it up and gave us all a fine lung-full of castor oil - nectar!

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A very business-like engine, supercharged and sounding just like it should.

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I started on the firewall of the Special and learnt several things during its development. The first: nothing is easy. To start the flange marked out around the edge of the panel, I used the motorised bead-roller with the tipping dies that Chumley made up. They're not the perfect design, but a respectable 45° was achieved. The second thing I learnt was that with such a large panel, you need support in order to keep on line. Fortunately, Learned Counsel popped his head round the door at just the right moment.

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I took note of the fact that the flange I'd allowed for was far too generous and losing the extra material had to be overcome by making incisions going around the corners and even one on the shape of the sides; something I didn't expect.

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I learnt also that I should have screwed the panel to the former because I later discovered that it had moved, and one side of the top radius was deeper than the other.

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After a lot of hammering, the firewall was roughed out and the darts closed. I need to cut the flange down to about 12mm (the thickness of the former) and dress everything up to make it tidy before making up and letting in the footwells. I'll cut the firewall so that the bottom panel of each footwell is formed by folding out the uncut edge of a square. No doubt it will put up a fight.

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