A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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03 January 2019


Having sweated blood trying to get the lines right on the Alvis profile, Mr Cox (about whom more anon) pointed out that my design had more than a passing resemblance to the Lancia Astura.

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How did I manage that? I'd never seen this car before but, as I think I've remarked previously, a teardrop coupé of the period is difficult to make unique - I had even thought of painting it the same sort of green! There are several things I intend to do differently; the headlamps I anticipate being integral with the wings, the bright work will be nickel, fewer louvres on the bonnet and the TA21 wheels are smaller. Still, I'm in good company if I can pull it off!

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It's become something of a tradition that between Christmas and New Year, I meet up with an old chum from my art school days. The Isabella restaurant in Hastings is our preferred lunch spot.

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This year, as the weather was half decent, I had a quick wander around the harbour and, looking up, noticed the 'East Hill Lift' - a funicular railway that I didn't know existed, despite going to the same spot for the last 4 years (and parking the car facing the cliff!)

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On my return to Suffolk, the next beano was in Norwich where the other Wright Brother's family lives. Just a few doors down, this Cord L-29 was parked. A notice in the window said that it had starred in the film 'The Great Gatsby'; it certainly looked the part, but there was something odd about the front axle that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I later learnt that it was front-wheel drive.

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After feeding the Special Builder's Breakfast Club with Norfolk sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms, I staggered off to get the Hillman out for the New Year's Day meeting at Hawkedon. My car of the month was this Lagonda LG 45. Very handsome from the front, though in common with Rapide tourer coachwork generally, not so successful from the back.

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Unbeknown to me, Santa had brought The Great Collector an early Christmas present in the shape of this very nice two-tone MK 6 Bentley. He emerged from the car looking suitably sheepish, but that didn't last long. I gather there's a slight snag with gear engagement on one of his Humbers and I'm drafted in with Counsel next week to show it the spanners.

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I've, at last, got the English Wheel frame on wheels so that I can manoeuvre it around the workshop with ease. There was the usual palaver with the guessing stick - you'll notice an extra bit welded on to the front foot. I think I've burnt off most of the calories gained over the festive period, turning the frame this way and that to weld all the joints. I've dropped off at Chumley's, the brackets for the top wheel and he's going to turn up an axle with a handy circlip groove so that I can put a rubber band on the wheel when necessary.

As regards payment, I've gone and eaten all the sausages. Doh!

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