A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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18 January 2018

Simple But Tricky....

I was searching the web for anything on the Cushman Husky engine - bits for sale and so forth - when I came across an ad for the Cushman Package-Kar. I noticed the unique rear springing arrangement and realised that that's what we've got - a Package-Kar chassis with a drop tank body. Special Builders - turn your back for a second and a perfectly respectable ice-cream tricycle becomes a noisy, bullet-shaped speedster. Tut, tut!

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The Great Collector's 1905 Darracq cone clutch had never been quite right. The lining had broken down over the years and going up hills was latterly more often accomplished backwards.

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Four bolts and a few split pins saw the gearbox moved out of the way and the male cone withdrawn from the clutch shaft.

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An attempt to replace the leather resulted in the clutch becoming inoperable - the leather was 1mm too thick and prevented disengagement. An easy fix was to move the gearbox back a squeak, but drilling holes in the chassis would be a last desperate measure rather than the first option, and besides, it had worked before. So the cone was taken away to a specialist for relining. I read somewhere that Kevlar is sometimes used on early motor-car cone clutches; fit and forget apparently. The Darracq is having a fibre and copper wire woven lining which in its raw state will probably grab like mad. WD-40 is applied to get it to work smoothly, but how much WD-40 wasn't mentioned. Fortunately, the clutch is very accessible with the floorboards removed, so with the engine running and a fit volunteer, all should be well.

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Going was never a problem for Leon's A7 - except when the engine blew up - but stopping has always been under par. With a mix of hydraulics at the front and an extra slave cylinder operating the cross shaft for the cables to the rear, good braking pressure has never been fully achieved. The mismatched volumes of the Minor wheel cylinders and the cross shaft slave is a contributory factor. As the weather continues rubbish, a new cross shaft with different sized levers attached is being fitted and should remedy the situation.

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Very Learned Counsel has a new toy - a handsome Hotchkiss AM2. A good-sized engine, 2.4 OHV, and equally good-sized brakes.

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The body was the work of a coach builder called Pouille, in Valenciennes. The premises are still in existence and occupied still by a coach builder, though not of the same name. 'Nitrolac' refers to a paint finish available at the time. The prominence of 'Nitrolac' on M. Pouille's plaque might suggest an agency?

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And, some progress on the disc brake experiments. Chumley reported that it was a bit tricky setting up the hub carrier on the mill as all the arms were uneven but the stub axle had a 60mm diameter machined flat on the inside of the casting, so at least there was a datum of sorts to get going with. I've only to clean up the rough bits where the tool couldn't get at the inside edge of the weld, bolt the caliper mounting block to the new surface, get the disc in the right place and jolly off to Birmingham to have the real ones made.



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