Saturday, 26 September 2009

I'll have a Bloody Mary

Back in 1929, two school boys looking for something interesting to do in the "long vac" decided to build a car. Not a push cart or soap box...a real car!
They were the Bolster brothers, Richard and John. With a rescued V-Twin motorbike engine, some ash, metal bits and a hand-drill, they put together what was to become one of the most famous hillclimb and sprint specials of all time.
John, it was, who fostered the project after his brother went on to other things and eventually the definitive Bloody Mary was developed into a fearsome beast which often held Fastest Time awards and in fact held a course record from 1948-1953 for unsupercharged cars in the vintage class. I've always had a fascination for specials and for the ultra specialised competition of hillclimbing, ever since my uncle took me to a meeting at Wiscombe Park in Devon years ago.
So I resolved to build a model of Bloody Mary in 1/32nd scale... A working model which, according to my self-imposed modelmaking rules for hillclimbers, should have the motors where the engines were on the real car.
When I say engines, in the plural, I mean just that, for young John soon found another J.A.P. V-twin and installed it next to the first in an extended frame. Connected by chains to each other and thence to a motorcycle gearbox, these two firebrands of engines then were connected to a solid back axle by chain also.
No diff was used, a la Frazer-Nash. Brakes were a vestigial pair on the front axle of Austin Seven vintage. Rear hubs and wheels were from a Frazer Nash, so there were 36 spoke wheels on the front and 48 on the rear!

I started my model by making a drawing using all the pictures I could find and the above old Profile Publication, but quite a few features remain a bit foggy.

Once the drawing was more or less done I made a frame from brass tube in a square section and soldered it up as a simple rectangle.; Eventually it should have a member right down the middle too, but fitting motors may mean that has to be modified.

Then I made a front axle from 3/32" stainless rod. For bearings, the car used a double yoke system which took springs above and radius rods below, so I turned a couple of bobbin shapes in the Peatol/Taig lathe and filed them so that the lugs were of a diamond shape above and below the bearing.

Springs were fashioned from brass and given a slightly irregular look, because they were bound with twine in the fashion of the times.

Keen to start bashing aluminium, which I love to do, I also made the right hand body side from thin proprietary sheet from the modelmaker's friend, K&S Metal Centre. This is a particularly good aluminium for shaping. Cut with scissors, knife and files. This is progress, so far


  1. BTW my email address if you are interested in Bloody Mary close up info/photos is

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  3. Thanks, I try to make the blog light(ish!), but interesting.