A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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03 February 2014

Moving Along, Swiftly.

A brief visit to The Great Collector involved a bit of pushing and shoving as the 6hp Rover was moved from the workshop and the Swift took its place. My parents always enjoyed a private joke at the expense of a Swift they owned for a brief spell in the late 40's and which focused on their example being anything but swift. This simple pun - hardly stand-up material - prompted much hilarity; maybe things were less complicated in The Olden Days.

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I'm not entirely sure what the schedule of works is on the Swift but I know that firstly, it hasn't run for some years and secondly, that the rather alarming pin-striping on the mudguards has got to go.

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The engine looks to be in reasonable used, though not abused, condition - everything seems to be there and in the right places - and the compressions (it's a 2 cylinder) are what you'd expect for an engine that's been standing. The first job - draining the oil for inspection - will give a good indication of the state of the internals.

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I've remade the upper part of the rear bulkhead on the Hillman and the profiles blend in properly with the rear cockpit brace. I also continued to work on the door. The latch mechanism was let in to the rear upright and to do this I took the door frame apart - I hadn't glued the assembly specifically for this purpose. On reassembly it was clear that I had at some point become confused as the latch was now facing inwards - wonders never cease. Luckily I'd drilled only for the securing screws and not the hole for the handle.

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It all looks a bit rough at the moment - that's because it is - but once everything's blended in nicely and skinned, it'll be fine. I've got one door hinge but the chances of finding another to match are slim so I'll have to get 2 new ones.

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The bonnet support frame has been roughed out, I have to trim it down to accommodate the bonnet tape and the bonnet itself so the panels remain flush with the scuttle when closed. I'm still wondering where to put the electrics - perhaps a box let in to the firewall would be a neat solution. The door could be hinged at the bottom and double up as a tool tray maybe.

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Stripping the Le Mans Jowett engine has revealed a couple of unexpected details. The first is the hydraulic tappets, all of which are unseized and in very good condition.

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The second is what appears to be an automatic camshaft end-float control (arrowed) - a spring-loaded pin which bears up against a hard point on the inside of the timing case. Also, although it's not particularly obvious in this picture, but it looks like the later and larger type of oil pump is fitted.

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All the bores are in excellent condition with no ridges, indicating that this engine has either been reconditioned or it's not done a lot of work, or both.

So, I'd better get back in the workshop as things - including the clock - seem to be moving along rather too swiftly.

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