A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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02 December 2014

It May Appear....

... that I've been doing nothing on the racing car but nightly, my sleep is bracketed by visions of industry. It's in those moments, minutes; sometimes hours of semi-consciousness, that I go over the method for a particular job. For instance, over the last few nights I've removed the brackets from the rear axle casings and polished the circumference to fit the spring clamps. I've done this at least half-a-dozen times and with each repetition I've perhaps seen something I didn't expect and had to rewind and start again. I've looked also at the front axle fixings - the 'U' bolts and so on - though I really need to glance at a parts book before tackling the king pin and stub axle re-assembly. The knock-on wheels look good and I love the big silver brake drums, the brass brake cable pulleys .... zzzzzzz

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It looked pretty grim out but that wasn't going to stop us going for a breakfast run. The Avon, Austin, Hillman and Ford Specials all met up in Attleborough on Sunday morning, ready for a quick sprint north through Dereham and on via Guist, to Holt. I managed to get 10 yards out of Sainsbury's car park before my engine died on a pedestrian crossing. It does this fading out every now and again and I haven't worked out quite why. There's quite a lot of sucking of teeth about the SU being bang on top of the exhaust pipe - fuel evaporation and so forth - and I used to go along with that but I'm not entirely convinced. It's definitely a fuel problem but I'm not sure about the evaporation side of things. On the other hand, there's no insulating between the head and the carb and the heads are famously hot on these engines.... that might be it?

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I had the day before been to fill up the Hillman and, since the Monaco Dash, have continued to use the better quality unleaded fuel; the one with the lesser ethanol content. It was another miserable day so I wore my furry hat. I haven't worn this in a car before and when I got back home, I had to give the hat a haircut - the fur (which was a bit straggly) kept getting in my eyes. That's nothing to do with the engine fading but it's interesting to note that, whilst I know the engine is reluctant to start when it's hot, it didn't fade and die once during the time we were in France - it happens only in England and not all the time. It could be a simple matter of where I buy the fuel.

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A request for some nickel plating was a good excuse to get the plant up and running again. I thought that perhaps the chemicals might be a bit old and stale but they recovered well enough to first copper and then nickel plate The Great Collector's Crossley mascot.

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I still haven't decided on the design for the bonnet mascot of the Hillman. Perhaps that's what should be occupying my mind in my hypnagogic and hypnopompic states?

Has anyone ever counted sheep?

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