A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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02 January 2013

An Idle Moment...

... following the roll-out gave me a chance to have a play with Photoshop.

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I say 'an idle moment', it took 2 hours and by the time I was finished I was so cold I had to go downstairs and sit on the wood burner. A bracing drive in the Hillman to the local New Year's Day VSCC meet in glorious sunshine but with an almost sub-zero 15kt westerly didn't help but, anyway, as a rough draft it looks sporty enough if a bit ordinary at the moment. I'll have to add some subtle and understated tweek that'll give it that je ne sais quoi.

And later, while I continued to huddle round the wood burner, I got out my father's bound volumes of The Vintage and Thoroughbred Car.  Flicking through, I remembered that he'd written an article about our family car - a 1929 Austin Heavy 12 called Emily. After a happy hour of browsing I came across the page from the April 1955 edition:

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This was the car that in September 1956, collected me and my mother from 'Old Tree' nursing home down in Cornwall and took us to my grandparent's house in Tregadillet. My grandmother kept the village school until sometime in the mid-60's and when father was on an unaccompanied posting, the family always decamped to Cornwall. I understand that a couple of years later, my grandfather decided to farm and we all ended up at Oak Tree Farm near Martlesham in Suffolk. Father had by then given Emily to his father-in-law who, one day, slid her across the dairy yard and demolished half the dairy and most of the car. Emily was last employed as a tow-truck at a local garage.

But that's enough reflection. There's a New Year ahead and it's time to get organised. My lodger of 14 years has left and gone to live in the Highlands of Scotland so I've spent the last few days - apart from the car fun bits - sorting out, throwing out and rearranging everything. There's a strong cathartic element to this sort of operation and its coincidence with the New Year makes it all the more liberating.

I promised myself that I'd produce a new schedule of works to stick to and now that the chassis is on wheels and looking like a car, this task is made all the more easy. First things are brakes and steering, then pedals, seats, dashboard and firewall. The fuel line and fuel tank will follow - I'm still wondering whether to mount a modern fuel pump at the back near the tank or restore the Autovac. I don't know if there are any differences in an Autovac for a 4 or 6 cylinder engine; the one I have is the original from the 4, but I imagine that the potential fuel flow produced by the unit must be far in excess of what's required. I'll have to check up on that one. Maybe I could have both systems with the pump arranged so as to be independent of the Autovac?

And, flushed with the progress of the Jowett Jackrabbit, I see that Learned Counsel has taken himself off to Spain for a few days R & R. Well, I've put the hood on in the time it's taken him to get to the airport.

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If he wants to be in with a shout, there'll be no idle moments for him when he gets back.

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