A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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29 June 2015


.... and new toys all round!

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Well, for some people at least. The Great Collector has acquired a very rare beast; a marque that I'd not heard of before now though I'd heard of the Dorman engine that sits under the bonnet. The Vulcan, built in Southport - this one in 1920, is quite a big car and sports a 2.6L engine; more anon.

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And continuing with rare treats, Learned Counsel decided to make a few further enquiries concerning his 'barn-find' and we went to have a closer look and meet the owner a few days ago. I'd struggled to come up with any reference to the type of body this particular Austin 10 was wearing; on Google images there were cabriolets aplenty but not with this shaped boot. The only one that came close was one that incorporated a dickey seat which this car definitely never had.

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The owner cleared up the mystery for us. It was a Gordon & Co cabriolet - or drop-head coupe - and was built in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, 8 miles up the road from Austin in Longbridge. Again, this was a new name to me but a quick search revealed that Gordon & Co were quite prolific and for a good long time, so I should have known about them.

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Only 2 cars on the Austin 10 chassis with this style of Gordon body are known to survive so Learned Counsel took the plunge and a deal was struck. The car comes with a box of interesting paperwork and lots of pictures (so it was very quiet in the car on the way home) and a pleasing amount of spare bits and pieces to accompany the very complete car.

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I'm still searching for a pair of Riley Merlin half-shafts and really need to get the engine position determined on the racing car. I was revving up to go and do that the other day when Learned Counsel popped in for a cup of tea and presented me with the grilles for the Jowett Jumble Sale and said, 'just plate those for me would you...' then promptly disappeared to Spain for a week. The Rolls is back together again and we all held our breath while Counsel did the honours. It sprang into life and settled down to a quiet rumble. Rumble!!?? No oil pressure! I took advice from clever chaps and it turned out that sometimes it can take up to a heart-stopping minute before the gauge tells you what you want to know. So, after priming all the oil pipes, we had another go and a stomach-knotting 40 seconds later we all congratulated ourselves on a job well done. Then the rattle that we'd first sought to correct, returned.

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It was the fan shaft bush rattling on its shaft - a couple of turns on the knurled nut to loosen the belt and it disappeared. I consoled myself with the fact that the idler gear bearings were on the way out so it wasn't a waste of time taking the front to bits.

And I've heard that lying in a barn in that village whose name I can never remember, are three Austin Sevens; a Ruby, a Pearl and an Opal. More trebles all round then!

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