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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 May 2012

Time Out IV

Sadly, we have only a few days left in this splendid Basque landscape but, as it’s such a treat, it must come to an end. I did ponder on the name of the house (Etxexuria) and it’s meaning – ‘white house’ you’ll recall – and wondered what distinguished Etxexuria from every other house in the Pays Basque, every one of which is also white.

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I forgot to mention; it’s 3 years since we were last here and walking into the local supermarket, Intermarché, when we first arrived, we were greeted like long lost friends. There was hugging and kissing and they even remembered our names. The prospect of shopping again in England could not be more bleak in comparison.

But I’m looking forward to getting back to the Le Grand Projet. The first thing I’ll do is collect the rest of the laser-cut plates that make up the rear gearbox mount and finish that assembly. Then I need to revisit the removal of the centre brace from the radiator mount and finally, the mounting of the steering box. Once these additions to the chassis are complete, I can get it all down to the shot-blaster’s and have the powder-coating done. I can’t wait to see the whole shebang on its feet. I’ve been thinking about British Racing Green for the chassis and wheels. I don’t think I want it all black, that would be a bit dull on a big chassis and besides, BRG always looks faster standing still. I suspect the Jowett camp is going for BRG in a bid to grasp the psychological advantage but my scheme should render them discombobulated at a stroke.

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Nuts and bolts are a bit tricky as they can look over-bright but I generally wipe them over with a coating of ‘bear grease’ which gives them a browny tinge (the shackle nut is the only one coated in the above photo). Bear grease? It’s a US military anti-corrosion treatment which I’ve found to be extremely good. Every nut and bolt on my Austin was treated and through 2 winters of salty roads, none of them have turned a hair. It comes off with a petrol dampened rag but you must remember to re-coat following re-assembly.

I’ve made further enquiries regarding the vintage car movement in this part of the world and have continued to draw a blank. A brochure of the Monaco Grand Prix was produced by a chap in a promising looking shed but as to an atelier hidden away doing wonderful things with bits of Ballot, a Basque shrug (not unlike the Gallic shrug) said it all. I can’t think of a reason why this state of affairs should exist but it does. I certainly wouldn’t want to be going up and down these roads – good as they are now – in a small Rosengart; it would take all day to get anywhere but my prejudice is the product of comparison and if I’d been here perhaps 50 years ago, I might not have known any different.

I spotted an interesting delivery today; it's often rather deserted here in the evenings......

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