Thursday, 30 December 2010

You write a better one, then!

Some time last year I heard this on Guy Garvey's excellent Sunday night show on BBC 6Music. He played it all year and some of this year and I bought the album (and heaven knows, I'm tight!).

I reckon it's the best song written in maybe thirty years, excepting only some of Elbow's stuff.
How this chap could be nominated for an Ivor Novello award and be robbed of it, is an indictment of the general state of British music and the tone-deaf idiocy of those who set themselves up as judges of these things.
I can listen to this time and time again. And there are VERY few songs I could honestly say that about.

Right now in Britain it's also rather apt. Our snow left yesterday and today our water pipes thawed too.

The Leisure Society 'The Last Of The Melting Snow'

Monday, 27 December 2010

Isaac Guillory: Blues Is Just A Bad Dream/ Swinging Little Guitar Man

The Hi-Fi will wait, but.....

Sure sign that I'm without much to do. I'm learning how to share stuff via these cyber instruments.

My love of music is no secret, but I have been so delighted to find everybody I love to listen to on you-tube AND...a way of sending the pleasure to everyone who drops into the blog.

This is the remarkable Isaac Guillory, a guitarist of spiritual enormity. I saw him twice, live and I still can't forget those performances.
Where most walk on stage and tune up tediously, he would walk up already playing his first number. I never heard him play a dead or a bum note. His Martin Jazz guitar just sang. Precision, inventiveness, staggering technique and a clear, distinctive voice set him apart and still does despite his tragically early death a few years ago.
I have a friend who also plays and sings. He met Isaac several times and said he more or less gave up guitar after hearing him play.

If the sheer quality and craftsmanship here doesn't make you cry, you're dead!
Please enjoy.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Everything's relative

I've been thinking about and looking at Hi-Fi lately. Little else to do in this freezing weather.

Now I always had an interest in developments in record playing systems, since attending Radio Shows and Audio Shows in London with my Dad when I was a nipper. I well remember being treated like royalty when entering the hushed surroundings of the Quad room. Quad still exist and in fact still repair their earliest equipment if you send it to them.! You wouldn't get that service from Technics or Sony!

Being a bit of a tub thumper, I am only interested in British Hi-Fi, especially as it's still something we actually DO and do better than anyone else, too.
When, in 1982, I decided that it was time to get myself a decent system, I went off to Rayleigh Hi-Fi and settled on a beautiful Rega Planar 3 turntable and RB250 arm, an A&R Cambridge A60 amp and a set of very punchy, stylish Mission 700 speakers. It cost me £503, cash, speaker leads thrown in, I still have the bill.

I built a very substantial brick and blockboard structure at one end of my living room to stop extraneous vibration and set up what was to be the most astonishing experience in music pleasure. And I do like my music.
Alas, a couple of years later I got hard up and sold the outfit, lock, stock and barrel to a friend of a friend for £495. You wouldn't get that kind of resale value from Japcrap either!

So, in my random thoughts and researches into what is now around I wondered what £503 would be equal to these days. Astonishingly, it seems that is equivalent to £1320! What, I wondered, would that buy me of today's "good buys"?
What a surprise! I could buy a Rega P3-24 turntable and RB310 arm, a suitable cartridge, a Rega Brio 3 amp and Rega RS1 speakers. The modern equivalent of what I bought back in 1982 when Rega only made turntables.
But, interestingly, I would also have enough left of my modern day £1320 to buy what is now apparently considered essential, a Phono stage, some gizmo that punches the tiny signal from the stylus to the amp. A Rega Fono would do the trick and I would still have change from my £1320! In fact, I'd have £50 change, Hmm, upgrade the cartridge, maybe?
Needless to say everything is very much improved on the standards of 1982, so I'd be getting much better quality, plus a fourth bit of very high tech for even more performance, for effectively LESS than I spent back in 1982!

Of course, living, as I do, in a mobile home, there isn't the slightest chance of my ever having this set-up since if one dog walks across the floor the whole thing shakes, so a half-gram tracking weight on a top-end Hi-fi wouldn't stand a chance, but it is an interesting comparison. And proves that not everything today is necessarily expensive, it just sounds it.

If I wanted to buy my original stuff back, say through ebay or a top dealer, I find that I could buy the deck for around £150, the amp for maybe £50 and the Missions for around £50 also. So £250 to get the same as I had in 1982 for £503. Not bad and an absolute testimony to British Hi-Fi's quality and durability.

My cousin has just started working for Rega. I shall become a nuisance!

Meanwhile, I have an ancient Connoisseur Craftsman III deck that my Dad put in a heavy cabinet years ago. It's equivalent cost today would be £340. About the same as a P3-24.
In its day it was very well thought of. I wonder if it still works. It's in the garage somewhere.
Sorry Dad!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

FPF changes hands

Anyone who has trawled around the blog might have clicked on the panel on the left about FPF Models. I started this with an internet friend, Steve Francis, about 18 months ago to supply slot racers with accurate scale model body shells which they could motorise and use at their clubs, open meetings, etc.
Well, we built up about 12 models in the range, but neither of us has the time or, frankly, the inclination to market them properly by going .com and all that stuff.

So, I have decided to sell off the masters to recoup some of my time investment in those 12 patterns.
The bulk of them will go to a company starting next year called Slotcarman, who will keep the website and just market it more thoroughly, using Steve to keep on the moulding side. I will be still making new masters and superdetailing the existing ones.
The Sprite and Midget masters are going to Penelope Pitlane's Steve Ward and the Lotus Elite, my best, I believe, is going to Graham at GP Miniatures, who will do his usual thorough job of kitting that model.

This is a thoroughly satisfactory result for all concerned and, I hope, for all the customers, potential and existing.

The new owner will be looking into making Ready-To-Run versions as this seems to be a popular side to fine quality models, which FPF certainly are, as are PP and GP Miniatures.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Back to my roots

Despite recent dalliances with such as slot racing and large scale model railways, I find my interests consolidating back with where I started..scenery and model boats.

I suppose it all began with the twin draws of a train set when I was about 5 or 6 and an Uncle with a boat on the Essex coast when I was 7.
I soon learned that hand made model scenery for my train set was much better than Airfix kits, which had parts that didn't fit and that a model boat on Paglesham's oyster beds was a wonderful way to spend a weekend by the estuary. We also used to take the Uncle's boat out regularly and go fishing with with the Keeble brothers on their beautiful yacht-like trawler, Vanguard, (header picture)
The call of the mud and the fresh air with the sounds of an estuary life have been a massive pull on me ever since.
In this cold Winter weather, of which we have plenty to come, I'm sure, I can make small model boats on the dining table and avoid the cold of the workshop.
My plan is to make a series of 1/4"-1ft scale models of British inshore craft, like fishing boats and workboats, putting some of them into a scenic set-piece, which satisfies my other interest of scenic modelmaking.

We won in the end!

Having witnessed the way the RSPCA closes ranks even in the face of an official complaint, we just went to another source and got ourselves a lovely little lad of 14 months from Ooop North.
Since he's never answered to his given name, we called him Alfie anyway and here he is.

He's very well behaved, but our other male, a Basset/Bedlington cross is still a bit peeved by the newcomer and a few set-tos have resulted, but they should sort themselves out.

He loves his bed and his food and seems to have settled in very well.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

And another little Hitler

Today, after "she slept on it", a faceless woman who runs an RSPCA rescue centre in Eubrink, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, called Penny Skate, refused to let us have a Shar-Pei puppy, "because we live in a mobile home".

This stuck up female, who has no idea of how we live, absolutely refused a home visit for no reason.
We are approved by the Shar-Pei Club of Great Britain as re-homers. We currently have a Shar-Pei, a dog reckoned to have a usual life span of 8 years, in her 12th year. We have had her and two other dogs in our house, then on our canal boat, then in a 10ft caravan at a boat yard and currently in a very large, comfortable static mobile home. The dogs are spoiled, cosseted and immensely happy. Our Lurcher, rescued from death a day or two later if we hadn't have had him, was a stray on the streets, but we brought him round to be a lovely family dog who we had and loved for over 16 years.

This ghastly woman has assumed that we were unemployed because I don't go out to work, she assumed that we rent our home, we don't, we paid outright for it and without a home visit, which she refused, how can she possibly know what circumstances we live in. We, in fact, have over an acre of fully fenced and gated land with a large house also on the property which the dogs have complete run of.

They each have their own beds and favourite places. Archie's is the bottom of OUR bed!

We have not had the courtesy of a return call following a reasonable message informing her that the RSPCA, her bosses, have no objection to "mobile homes" and wouldn't dream of judging anyone until a home check is done.
I have sent an official complaint to the RSPCA who have responded that they have forwarded it to the Eastern Region office, so they must agree with our points.

Because we know someone on the inside, we also know some things about this person that she would clearly rather we didn't!
I will not be judged by some faceless functionary who thinks she can play God with animals' and peoples' lives.
She refused to allow an owner his dog back because he hadn't found the dog inside the arbitrary 8 days before they attempt re-homing. As a disabled man he couldn't afford all the rigmarole. Yet this appalling woman told staff not to mention if certain dogs that are difficult or even nasty, if someone wants them.

None of the normal actions done on dogs have yet been done on Alfie. Why not, I wonder? Has Devil Woman got a friend lined up for a fashionable Shar-Pei, because unfortunately they ARE fashionable, but we just love them. We love all dogs anyway. Our daughter's Westie already prefers our place to the house!

I ask you, do these dogs look hard done by?? More anon.

Monday, 13 September 2010


Perhaps not re-equipping, but re-grouping.

After replacing our old home with a new one, I had the opportunity to set up my workshop in the old home.
With setting up the new one, most of the inevitable "stuff" that needs moving around went into the old workshop until I couldn't actually get in the door!
Now, I have access again and am clearing the new place, too. I knew I'd find things long in storage, but what a great thing it is to root through one's old stuff.
I found photos I thought I'd lost, drawings done years ago and presumed thrown away and bits and pieces that will once again make life easier.

But why does it take SO long? I seem to be satisfied with opening and investigating one box a day. A friend has suggested it's all part of growing older and I dare say he's right, but I will not go easily into that dark night. I think it is a lot to do with mental plans for how it might look when finished and the assumption, almost certainly false, that things will go swimmingly once finished, without having the slightest idea how to ensure that happens. Consequently, one ambles along not knowing quite what to do next, until the light has suddenly gone and another day comes to a close.

Then I read that my 30 year old son, feeling unwell, has looked up his "symptoms" on the net and found that he is suffering from something called "old". At 30!!
I told him to wait for the next 28 years and resolved to get this new workshop sorted out with renewed vigour.

Amongst the many fascinating things I rediscovered whilst re-equipping/grouping was this old instant photo of the very first job I ever did as a modelmaker in the car design industry.
It is a model, full sized, of the engine cover for the then new, New Beetle. I didn't take the photo as I would have been sacked for doing so and rightly, but an engineer took it and left it laying around, so I kept it. It was made first in clay, then a quick glass fibre mould made over the clay and a moulding made in the mould. Usual processes.
Then it's fettled and filled till it looks smooth and fits the space allowed (not always the case despite CAD drawings!)
Finally it is sprayed from a distance with satin black paint to have that grainy look of much moulded plastic and the name cut out of aluminium sheet and polished. A stock VW badge was added and presto! It took two days to do, I got an instant reputation for working well on my own and being quick. Job done. The fascinating thing was that when I'd had a weekend home and went back on the Tuesday morning, the cover had been laser scanned and working CAD drawings produced and pinned to the wall behind my bench!

Without setting up the new workshop, I'd have completely forgotten about this photo and almost forgotten the job.
I went on to do any number of fascinating jobs for VW, Toyota, Renault, Audi, SMART, Ford, Volvo, MG and Prodrive over the next few years until I was told that computers had replaced model makers and I was too old to re-train at 47.

Skills lost to the world are rarely replaced.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

More attacks on our freedoms

My son has recently decided to get his "project" going. He has a Triumph GT6 Mk1 chassis and all the original running gear, registration and log book.
He just wanted a body of a 50s style to put on it.

It was when we ended up with a superb GRP Austin Healey 3000 body at a great price that we realised we're not allowed any more to build a car without the permission and controls of the "powers that be"
We, in the car game call them the nazis. Pettyfogging busy bodies and nosey Parkers whose only grip on real life is to spoil it for the rest of us in the spurious name of "safety".

I have built cars, my father built his own cars as did my uncle (see earlier blogs entries) and my son spent nine years restoring classic sports and racing cars to the highest level. Cars worth millions of pounds.
So are we to be told we need the permission of some faceless job'sworth on a fat salary before we can touch the rough and ready, poorly designed and executed Triumph chassis with our magic?

Alas, we have no choice. If we touch the chassis with a saw, grinder or welding torch we lose the registration and have to be regarded as a new car and pay them £540 for a short examination, which, if we fail on the slightest item , we have to pay again for a retest.

So by way of the huge middle finger to all these nazis, we are leaving the precious chassis alone and modifying the body which they don't care about. We are moving the front wheel arch back 8 1/2" so it fits the Triumph chassis. As an ex modelmaker for the car design circus, that is not a big deal for me. But for those who do not have my experience it could prove a stumbling block too far.

So all we need to wonder about, having, as my Dad would have said, "shot them up the arse",
is what do we call it? A Trealey or a Healumph?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Blogger doesn't work any more!

It's a pity, but this lovely blog template is no use to me since the facility to move photos to where you want them has disappeared. Without being able to contact blogspot direct to ask what's happening, I can no longer use this blog, after so much work.
If anyone knows the answer or how Blogspot can be contacted, I'd love to know.

Monday, 14 June 2010

End of an era...for us

This weekend we appear to have sold our boat, which was also our home for some time.
After a week of timewasters it looks like we've finally found this fine old boat a sympathetic new owner with the energy to finish the restoration we started.
For us this is the best news. We were concerned that she should find a good home and we priced her accordingly. Ok, we won't be getting back a fraction of what we spent on her, but I always say, "Everybody's got to live something" and, of course, everything costs just to live.

We had some great times on her and at the yard where most of the work was done. We met the sort of fascinating "real" people we would never have met otherwise. We saw places and did things we would never have done otherwise, so how do you value those things?

It will seem strange to not see her when we get up in the morning and retire to bed. She's been a major part of our lives since 2003. We saved her from almost certain destruction by British Waterways (hereafter correctly described as "the Enemy").
Because monies were owed to them for licensing they were prepared to take her away and put the dredger's shovel through her the week after we bought her. A fact of which we were unaware until some time after we bought her.
That a Public body should commit such an act of vandalism is an obscenity. And one which only the people who enjoy our extensive canal system would be aware of.

And so, by cruising her after a bit of a tidy up and spending all our money and time restoring her we have at least saved this most historic of vessels for the future generations who will see her and see a properly restored example of a type of canal boat so sadly neglected today.
We and a previous owner have compiled a long and detailed history of her from launch day to the present which is there for those future generations to call upon.

We were never more than custodians of her. At least we saved her from corporate vandalism and her new owner is acutely aware of that. Indeed he has saved a few old artifacts himself in his time.

And so to pastures new, whatever they may be.
We look forward to some time on her again when she is newly afloat again in her proper element.

The pictures should be placeable, but no longer are for some reason.
Apologies on Google Blogger's behalf.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"Hear the Lark and harken to the dog Fox..."

Forgive the reference to Pink Floyd there, but we have taken posession of our little car and it must be said, it hasn't all been easy going.
It buzzed along well enough on our way home from the garage where we bought it, near Snetterton. It allowed us to stop for fish and chips too.
Then it developed a bit of a raspberry nearer home and the exhaust had clearly started to blow.
So, over to my son's driveway and he crawled below for me and attached a premade repair patch in Gungum, sardine can and Jubilee clips.

All was well on the way home. The next day the Reliant 3 wheeler forum had organised a day at the Nene Valley railway and since that ain't so far from us we thought we 'd give the car a shakedown by attending.
Well, all went well over there, but half way back there was a terrible knocking noise and we freewheeled to a stop near Peterborough.
I thought it was something terminal in the clutch area. After being towed home on the end of a strap by the son-in-law the little car was picked up a week later by the sellers on a trailer and carted back from whence it had so lately come.
A week later it was ready. It WAS the clutch. The whole middle spring section of a brand new clutch had simply ripped out.

I went over to pick it up and drove it home again. Again the exhaust started to blow. Again a bigger, better repair with two sardine cans. It should be said that sardines cans are used instead of the traditional bean, because sardine cans don't have that annoying corrugation which is not helpful when bending a can round a very small pipe.
Alas, the car then refused to start or even fire and so the sellers came over again a week later and went through electrics, replacing coil and checking the fuel system, blowing through the whole pipe and replacing the old in-line filter at the tank end.
It seemed to work at last and they got it going nicely again, but said it needed a new ignition switch which they would send. Oh they'd also replaced the indicator switch because all the way home from the clutch debacle I had people waving and flashing me. I thought they were being friendly to the funny little car, but no, my indicators were on, but not flashing.

In the meantime of all this I had resolved to repair the rear nearside corner which some clown had started to cut about following a bump.
To cut a long story short, that was done by conventional means for GRP work and sprayed the colour we have decided upon for it, a nice pale green like Hillman Imps used to be.

Capping it off, I drove four miles the other day to get some aluminium (of which more anon) and on the way back it died again and we had to be towed home again. This time it seems to have been a failure of the previous repair to the fuel filter.
At present, it is running rather well, but the raspberry is back and I feel that something more permanent than a sardine can or two is needed!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Ah!...harken to the Jackboot...

Have you ever belonged to a forum?
Or a Yahoo special interest group?

Have you ever felt the need to have a go at sections of society that get your goat or make a perfectly valid comment on the world wherein you are showing your completeness as an individual?

Oh dear me. I said it, didn't I? Individual. Oh Lordy, the "I" word. The word that differentiates us from the crowd, that makes us independently who we are.
The one word you must never get close to on a Forum...Or they'll come for you. The sad little men whose miserable lives are given some semblance of importance by their having been "elevated" to the internet peerage of MODERATOR. Oh the glory!...oh the respect at the Parish Council Coffee Mornings! Oh!, the admiration of those poor also-rans who aspire, but have never managed to, lick enough derriere or cowtow and forlock-tug to the "right" people in such a way as to be asked to spend the rest of their hobby time lording it over people with a point of view and a sense of humour.

For mentioning how, if you told a kid in the street to pick his litter up these days, you'd probably get a kick in the nuts, I have been strongly censured on a forum called RMWeb, the biggest model railway forum. My posts were doctored by a man whose avatar is a fantasy reptile!!
I imagine, when he retires at night, that he checks for any under his bed.
So, I am not to say what everybody else on any forum that I've been on would say with complete impunity, what every journalist, letter writer, vox pop member of the public is saying about modern life on our streets. But say it in an overly precious and self important model railway forum and you are held as "likely to be inflammatory". What, tell me, is inflammatory about the truth, about something which is on the lips of everyone, in homes, pubs, clubs, offices, on the streets...everywhere!

Perhaps I should make a small model scene of a street full of council houses in which an old lady is being knocked off her pavement scooter and and a still active old chap has come out of his house to find the local yobs have up-ended his Reliant Robin for the third time. Would Lizard Man stop my model being shown on his forum?
Yet I know of exactly those cases having happened recently in just such circumstances. Truth, you see?

Ziegheil, little Lizard Man. it all starts like this.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Let the Fox see the chicken

Having been carless for a while due to having lived afloat for a while, my wife and I decided that perhaps we could risk a little money on getting mobile again. Just a bit of independence from having to borrow our daughter's car.
It was necessary to have a car which was at the lowest tax point or even tax exempt, but equally important to have one with low insurance (i.e. Classic Car insurance) and to be very economical.

Our original plans to use an Austin 7 came to nought when the Ruby project fell through and another could not be found, so a bit of lateral thinking came up with..... the Reliant.
Now I'm fine with the idea of 3 wheels, but Chris couldn't get used to it, so a four wheeler it had to be and when I asked around the Reliant firmament, a Fox was offered.

A rugged, simple, 848cc, 12" wheeled, pick up with a lift off van body. All in fibreglass with a galvanised steel chassis.

We went to see it, Chris loved it and now we await the little gem having its MOT test and some tidy-up.
Our plans for it are to paint it in a nice rich mid-blue called Sapphire and to detail it in very pale blue and aluminium, me being a keen basher of that metal. It sits in beige at present and, like golf, I hope I am never so feeble as to like biege.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The best kind of R & R...

After a bit of an attempted mauling on the slot racing forum from a dissatisfied customer, I felt like some relaxation away from the pressures of a super active forum full of egos.
My favourite way to do that has always been silence, solitude, perhaps Radio 4 and model scenery.
In various measures.

This had got me back to my first passion in modelmaking, model landscape and architecture. I was born, it seems, with a love of vernacular architecture and although I have often drawn it and painted it, even drawn it officially for Councils to pore over in committee meetings, it is only models of buildings which ever really satisfies.

The tiny yard office at Grindley Brook Locks, Welsh canal

I made my first building when I was about 10. It was a little scratch-built flint dashed forge. I used poppy seeds as un-knapped flints. I was given some ancient copper foil rolled into a good scale corrugated which I used for the roof. Because I had no layout as such, I put it on a grassy base and kept it as that. A scenic set-piece. I have built many such set-pieces over the years, rarely having space for a layout.

I also have a love of estuaries, having spent many childhood weekends on the Essex coastal waterways. One day, when missing the clean air and the sounds of the saltings I made this little set-piece to get it out of my system. Just about 9 inches square, I put it on whatever I had under the bench in the way of a base board, yet it turned into one of my best pieces.

I can find inspiration anywhere, as in that tiny office above, so perfect in its proportion and fitness for purpose.

This is an old village cinema, now, alas, a hairdresser's emporium!

Imagine the queues of young lovers all desperate to get to the back rows in the days when it would have definately been known as the local "flea-pit", before the ugly cement dashed finish ruined the old bricks.

Here is the little country garage in the same village as the "Cinema Salon". Now used only for repairs to cars as the government has allowed the foreign unelected parliament to force stringent and unnecessary rules on small British businesses which cost so much to administer that they are forced to close in full or in part.

I have known this place for over thirty years. You could, at one time, choose from a whole line of Austin Healeys, Pipers, tuned up Imps and Mini-Coopers, to name but a few. The proprietor himself used to race. Now he is waiting for the economy to upturn again so he can redevelop the site because rules and unstoppable vandalism have made the business untenable. Just as well that I made a model of the office years ago then, eh? Another occasion when I needed the peace of architecture. Frozen music.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Comments on the blog

Not being very computer savvy, I have no idea how to answer people when they kindly leave a comment on the blog.
I would appreciate any viewer of the blog clueing me up on the methods.

Meanwhile, Jim, thankyou for your kind comments on the models and the Albatross in particular.
I had Hull No. 135., a Mk 1. I bought it from a chap in Yorkshire. It had a Consul Corsair 1500cc pushrod, pre-crossflow Ford engine. I wanted to put a side valve 10 back in or even a Coventry Climax, but the cost of rebuilding even a humble Ford 10 seems outrageous these days, so whilst it was cheap to buy one (my wife paid £90 for it), rebuilding it to a high level was to have cost much more than I paid for the boat! So the 120E engine got a clean up and put back in. New steering pullies and cables and a respray and off it went to a new owner when I got kicked out of the CMBA for telling a home truth or two about the museums in this country. No club, no water to go fast on, no point in the boat.
If you send me a comment with just your e-mail address, I can note it, but refuse the comment for publication then talk to privately about the models.

BXE 599, where are you!...

My Uncle recently scanned in and sent me some marvellous old Box Brownie shots of his Special as it grew, back in the late 50s/early 60s.
BXE 599 started life as an Austin Seven Ruby. Stripped of her bodywork she would have looked like this.
My Uncle was only 16 when he started this project and in fact, only 21 when he sold it, having used it for getting to work and for a long journey to Bristol. Here he is in our Bristol aunt's driveway.My Dad had built specials earlier and was obviously a good help-at-hand for my Uncle, since we lived over the road from where the car was being built.
Here he gives invaluable advice on steering geometry!
Behind them in that photo, all sorts of magic happened. My Granddad made his own paints and stains in the shed in the background for his work as a grainer and marbler and off to the right was where my Nan made her own wines and repaired all the family's bikes and resoled our shoes! Beyond both was a large garden in which grew most of the ingredients of the wine making. Remarkably my Nan never touched a drop of any of the hundreds of wines she ever made. I recall her parsnip to have been my favourite. Her rosehip was delicious, but gave me nightmares!

Unique as far as I know among specials, BXE had a hardtop. A removable accessory for the winter months which my Uncle made.
The eagle-eyed Special Builders among you will recognize some nice touches of the times amongst the goodies on this car.
A finned Aluminium cylinder head, but I'm not sure of which make. A four branch exhaust manifold and a nice twin SU side-draught inlet set up.
There's also an independent front suspension set up, possibly by Super Accessories or Bowndenex. My Uncle made many of his own parts including the header tank for the then quite rare crossflow radiator.
The very professional looking double hump scuttle always sets a special apart, I think, and BXE was no exception. It always makes for an attractive dashboard shape.

The lovely old spring-spoke steering wheel sets off a nice cockpit and never better than the Brooklands Bluemell's.
I'm delighted to learn that a spare one of these which hung in my Grandad's garage for years after BXE was sold is now in my Uncle's basement and he's promised it for my Cambridge Special.
That's a very special thing for me as I used to look longingly at that old wheel every time I was in my Grandad's workshop!

If anyone knows of the whereabouts or fate of this lovely special, please let me know.

Friday, 5 February 2010

And some more....

Since posting the last piece on Specials I've decided to put my money where my mouth is effectively and I have started an Austin Seven Specials Register under the auspices of the Austin Seven Clubs Association.
So far we have 39 fully written up sets of details about peoples' cars. We have home builts, Cambridges and Ulster replicas in about that order of popularity. We have some very old, even ex-Brooklands cars, too, which I never expected.
If anyone reading this blog has an A7 Special or knows someone who does, please let me know.