Saturday, 28 September 2013

"The time has come", the Walrus said.

"To speak of mice and men".  Well, me and my Special, anyway.
As blog readers will remember, I am a Special fan and have been gathering bits for my own for some time, starting with a Cambridge Special Sports body.  Some time later I got an allegedly "late Ruby" chassis which turned out to be just about that.  All the rest was not late Ruby, but some earlier crap lashed on to it just to flog it.  However, I got a small refund and I've sold off some stuff I didn't need to the tune of £90, which is the right direction.

However, away from the increasingly snotty Austin 7 mob, I have received endless help and encouragement from the most excellent Imp Club and have joined them.  Through their very good offices, even before I was a member, I have been offered my dream engine, a real Coventry Climax one, a 745cc FWM of about 40 bhp, more than enough for an A7 frame.  More to the point this generous chap is giving me the engine free!
Now, I'd already bought a Sunbeam 928cc engine, thinking it was as close to a Coventry Climax engine as I'd ever get, being designed by them with Rootes help.  I also got a Sunbeam gearbox, but that will prove too long unless the tailshaft can be shortened and the tailshaft housing with it.  I have been told the "trials guys do it", but information is non-existent so far.   I do have a spare Reliant 850 gearbox which may have to be pressed into use.  Whatever happens the FWM WILL go in.

So, today, to see what I actually had, I laid it all out on the grass and here's what I have, sans the A7 frame, which is at the son's house.
Son-in-law holding it all upright as the wind here never stops!

This enabled me to see that the steel bulkhead and floor that came with the Bowdenex front suspension and that lovely shortened grille, were both narrower than the body I already had.  This can only be because they came from a gent who had a short wheelbase version.  Obviously on a tapered frame like the A7 one, a shorter wheelbase results in a narrower everything, by about 2" in this instance.  No matter, tonight I drilled out the ghastly pop rivets that held on the aluminium sheets to the bulkhead and can easily cut the steel parts in two and then weld in a strip, or even nut and bolt a box section honestly, to prevent any distortion appearing.  Widening the steel floor can be done by adding an inch of "sacrificial" wood either side twixt body and floor.  
Because my concern is that the Cambridge body should look as unmolested as possible I will concentrate on that element and then make the rest fit IT, not the other way round.

Side view:-
It looks like the FWM should fit OK. I was a little concerned about its height, being an OHC engine, but it looks like we'll be fine there. I believe it's a little smaller than the Sunbeam engine shown here.

Like Toad, I was at speed here, hence my mad hair, "Poop, poop!"


  1. Hi,

    I found your blog via whilst trying to find some info on Mibike models.

    I recently purchsed a few cast models to put away for my husband for Christmas and amongst them was a bronze Mibike "T E Lawrence on Boanerges". The base says "commemorative model 30 July 1989".

    I'd be really interested in whatever information you can supply me about this piece - for instance what is is commemorating?

    I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the other models that arrived, but this one is absolutely beautiful! To me it is worth what I paid for all of them.

    Thanks in advance
    Jo (New Zealand)

  2. Hi Jo,
    Boanerges was not one of my Mibike models, but was done by Richard Hutchins at a company called either S.A.M.S. or R&J Models in Withernsea, near Hull. I'm not sure why your model has Mibike on the base, unless the guy who bought all my Mibike masters later also bought Boanerges. I would think that the commemoration would be Lawrence's birth. He died riding Boanerges on his way to his house in Tremadoc, Wales.
    I completely lost touch with the chap who bought Mibike from me. He lived in Southampton. Sorry to be of no further help. I also can't recall any of the models being done in bronze, unless it's a finish put on the white metal model.