Here Comes The Sun(beam).
Need I tell you; The Great Collector has just been unable to help himself. Soon, we're going to have to put him under close house arrest.
An early 20's Sunbeam Tourer has been added to his stable and coincidentally, it's the one that I did some nickel-plating on - the wheel nuts, sidelights, and whatnot.
It's not running quite as we'd like it, so after the Christmas break, some fettling will be in order. It's a very pretty car though I prefer the saloon of this model (also local) which I photographed at a New Year's bash a couple of years ago.
Now the clutch has been put to bed, I started to fiddle about with the dashboard and the scuttle structure. The shape of the dash is right, but the instruments will be more centralised now that some of the tubing has been removed. It would have been handy if the Riley ancillary gauges had been round, but they're rectangular and not in keeping.
One of the irritations of the 6/80 and MS engines is that the oil filler and dipstick are on opposite sides of the engine. With a bonnet hinged down the middle you're constantly dancing around the engine when checking and adding oil. I've removed the distributor tower from the camshaft cover and that took with it the oil filler neck.
My plan is to incorporate a filler cap on the cam cover breather, and which opens in the right sense, so avoiding the dodging back and forth.
One last nagging-thought-in-the-small-hours was that the clutch master cylinder would interfere with the steering column's universal joint. Happily, that's not the case and there's plenty of room to get either of the cylinders' caps off.
In the centre of the firewall, I plan to put the heater matrix.
A cut-out in the firewall will accommodate the fan on the inside of the cockpit. Hot air will be distributed to feet and windscreens in the normal way. A simple summer/winter valve - rather like the ones fitted to early Mini's - will be incorporated into the pipework and operated from the interior.
Another step forward was the realisation that I didn't need the remote filter system which I'd lavished hours (and not a few pounds) on. The original filters were one-piece lengthy affairs which wouldn't do as the Riley's nearside torsion bar is in the way. The replacement filter assembly consists two short filters with a joining piece and each part can be separately installed within the available space.
Further wizardry from Mr Laken has established that Audi A8 exhaust valves can be engineered to replace damaged 6/80 and MS originals. Though advertised as having 7mm stems, they turn out to be 6.95mm and so the original stems must be added to the new Audi heads. This is done by drilling the new head and machining and pressing in the old stem. Clever stuff.
And talking of clever engineering, I was shown this Fusee movement on a fob watch made by Cuthbert Lee in the late 17th Century. I haven't been to the Science Museum in London for many years, but when I visit, my first port of call is always the Horology department. I have a fob watch Fusee movement, almost as old and equally intriguing. It's humbling to remind myself that it's all handmade and, most probably by candlelight.