A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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07 October 2014

Getting Going Again.

First things first - make a decent loaf of bread.

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Home-made bread seasoned with walnuts or apricots, olives or sun-dried tomatoes is difficult to keep away from and, if you make a sandwich with feta cheese, lettuce, Marmite and gherkins, you'll go back for another inside a minute. In a bid to tidy up and get organised, I've decided to make up a new welding bench from an old print table that's given sterling service in the past but which over time has become a repository for stuff I'm never going to use - a Henry Meadows gearbox for instance...

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The table will need to be cut down and re-welded into a more manageable size,

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a metal top added and then taken up to the workshop where it will replace an old and rather frail wooden bench that is currently home to a chum's pre-war Morris Minor gearbox - come in for a rebuild.

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The box had been rather neglected in the past judging by the contents of the diesel tank I left it in to soak before we went off to Angouleme and now I've set about it, it's become something of an exploded diagram. I'm sure I'll remember where everything goes. Anyway, more importantly, once the new table is set up in the other workshop, that'll give me a bit of extra space around the chassis of the new project.

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It consists mostly of Riley bits and pieces and, as I understand it, has never been assembled. A pre-selector gearbox is among the bigger items (it's ridiculously heavy for a 9hp engine) but a few months ago I managed to get a 'silent third' box which will give us half a chance off the grid and not consume half the power of the engine. I'm not really up on Riley's but I have two good friends that specialise in the marque so I'm in good hands.

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The body's rather interesting - it's a period piece - and I'm told that it was fashionable to dress up single-seater's as Maserati's - hence the red nose. I believe a picture exists of this particular body on a car but I'll have to do some digging to find it.

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But, as I've been telling myself for the last 4 years, the next job on the list is the Austin's front wings. When I originally finished the car it had a pair of front mudguards identical to the rear ones but I got the heights wrong - they're still not right on the back but if you ease off a bit in the corners, the tyres don't rub on the guard brackets. I realised I'd got the heights all wrong when, down a single track lane and in a public-spirited way, I drove up onto the verge to let an oncoming motorist past. Well, more fool me because when they'd gone, I found that I was stuck fast with both nearside wheels jammed up against their respective guards. Fortunately, not 10 minutes later, a couple of the farm hands happened by and, being burly sorts, lifted the car back onto the road.

That got me going again.

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