The week began with Counsel and I going to a fellow enthusiast's garage where an Alvis Firefly was proving irksome.
This example was a coil ignition model - which always makes things simpler - but was refusing to start. A young lad who knew a thing or two about engines had been defeated by the Firefly's reluctance in this regard. In conversation, we learnt that the car had been started only once in the last two years, thus pointing the finger at long out-of-date fuel for starters - so to speak.
The 'fuel' in the float bowl had the potency and taste of water - the product of storing a car with a fuel tank mostly empty. Water, being heavier than petrol, sinks to the bottom of the tank and is the first thing to be sucked into the system after a prolonged period idle. Once decent petrol was pulled through, the engine started and it was just a question of altering the timing which had been fiddled with in the previous attempts to get things going, and all was well.
The 45° bends arrived, and I was able to cobble together the beginnings of an exhaust that missed the water pipe. As luck would have it, the downpipe would also miss the torsion bar and the chassis member before turning through 90° and making its way to the back of the car.
A suitable opening in the engine bay floor panel to accommodate the downpipe was a bit of a fiddle to cut and swage but will pay dividends for when vital nuts and so forth are dropped, as they'll all end up in the same place in the dirt.
Next up was the oil filler neck. Having lost its original position when the cam cover was altered, it seemed sensible to place the new pipe on the same side as the dipstick. And, as I had an unconnected aluminium welding job for George to do, it was a good plan to get all this done at once.
Cardboard engineering sorted out the cut line - making sure the cap was screwed down and facing the right way before drawing around the shape - and I'll hold the body in the machine vice with the aid of a couple of 'V' blocks to gently mill out the contour. I'm always nervous of this sort of operation because all too often things jump out of the vice and are damaged beyond repair.
Learned Counsel came up with a good wheeze to crimp this old handbrake cable (oil and grease soaked over time) into the new fitting. Turn up a bronze sleeve; split a suitably sized nut in half and then crush the lot in the vice. The threads of the two halves of the nut will transfer their impression to the sleeve and ensure a good grip on the cable.
And talking of pipes, perhaps I've been a bit hasty on the Special's exhaust configuration? This looks nice.