A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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13 September 2012

Another Fine Mess....

Well, it's not that bad but thank goodness there's a few spares to draw on otherwise I'd be in a right muddle.

An opportunity arose to have the tyres fitted and the wheels balanced at the tyre supplier's and, having got them all home, well, the first thing to do was to see how they looked on the car.

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Corr, smashin'.

I know I've got the chassis to sort out but just seeing the front wheels on is a huge inspiration and confirmation that the look of the thing is right - so far. Then, to stop the wheels flopping about I offered up the track rod (which was a bit banana shaped as clever-dick had jacked the car up on it in the Olden Days). It was a bit short one end. Then it dawned on me - I've used the later front axle which is a couple of inches wider than the earlier one and the original early axle (which was even more banana shaped than the track rod) had gone to the place where they make baked bean tins. Luckily, leaning up against the wall was a later track rod of the correct length.

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Interestingly, Hillman had also changed the way the track rod was secured to the arms on the hubs and made the ball joint sockets manually adjustable instead of the old spring-n-cup trick. Everything is seized solid (I wish people wouldn't store their vintage spares in the pond) but the application of heat and the knockmeter will sort that out in a jiffy.

Then my thoughts turned to the back axle; need I explain? No. The rest of the day was spent measuring, fetching, struggling (a back axle seems to weigh about as much as the rest of the car) and cursing - the axle Counsel and I retrieved had a broken half-shaft. No matter, I'd noticed a quiver of half-shafts in the corner of the spares shed. The main thing was that it matched the front axle and fitted the chassis. Fortunately, when Hillman had increased the track of the 14, they had added a bit to either end of the axle casing and left the spring mounting plates in the same place - there's seems to have been no lateral alteration to the chassis itself.

To make progress (the axle malarkey was a bit dispiriting) I went to the motor spares shop to get some engine paint. Then I went to another and they didn't have what I wanted either. There's a huge market for all sorts of fandango-bolt-on nonsense but very little in the way of supplies for Chaps-in-Sheds. Anyway, as is often the case, I found what I wanted - decent paint that you can brush on -  in the agricultural store. I had to buy enough to paint a couple of combines, but it was worth it.

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.... the other side:

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...and one from the front:

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If it sounds fast (which it does) then it's got to look fast. It's the sort of colour I might expect to find under the bonnet of a pre-war racing machine from Italy; it just induces that sort of frisson. Lovely.

And the paint? No fuss - very little mess. Makes a change....

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