Friday, 27 March 2015

Back on the right lines, I think...

I have been somewhat sidelined recently by thoughts of cyclecars and whether one could make one. This led to my finding out about the Pembleton, a Citroen 2CV based three wheeler, which seemed to fit the bill.

I joined the forum and learned things from very friendly folks and then went to see one under construction on Tuesday.
The chap was a very capable builder of these things, having built 2 Trikings and this, his second Pembleton.
Looking at what you get for your basic £1000 I can't say I was too impressed by the chassis scantlings or design. The welding was poor, too.  But worst of all was that the donor cars are now fetching far too much to economically build one.  Then you need hundreds more for the wire wheels, stainless exhausts, etc., etc...Shame, but building and selling my existing Burlington Arrow to finance the three wheeler was not looking sensible.  So we'll stick with the Arrow.  More chance my wife and I will fit the Arrow, too!
This car is the one I used to drive when I ran the Burlington Motor Spares company in the mid 80s.
I once drove it from Southam, Warwickshire to Suffolk to meet a young lady at a friend's house.  It was only later that I realised it had never been registered, taxed or insured!  But with a gallon of EP90 gearbox oil in the engine(!!) it took me all that way. I was even given a cheery wave by policemen on the way.  Leather helmet and goggles and a white scarf.  This car had a bog standard Herald engine and was still quite quick, so my current one with a big bore Spitfire engine should be plenty fast enough for today's roads.

Monday, 9 March 2015

If in doubt, give it a bash, anyway...

A while back, last year, to try out my then nice new English Wheel and new "stump", I made a new front mudguard for the Cambridge Special.  This shows it before the tail flick was done.
Now I reckon it'll be sufficiently strong if I just mount it securely, but general thinking has it that we should roll the edges, either in a false wired edge or a real one.  A real one is a fiddly job, but not that difficult.  However, my son insisted that the aluminium would need annealing, just like when he worked for a classic racing car restorer.  Now, I have always shied away from annealing aluminium.  The softening point is over 500 degrees, the melting point around 600, so you'll always be dancing on ball bearings.  That and the fact that I've actually done quite a lot of small time metal bashing in ally without any problem.  I bashed it into shape over wooden forms to make a gutter system on my Fox van,  I made sub fibreglass shapes to support the GRP repairs on the same vehicle.  More recently I made the A-pillar shut face panels for my son's Triumph Renown....all without resort to the annealer's flame.
So, I thought, what's so difficult about rolling 6mm of it over a bit of wire?  Well, erm, nothing, it turns out.  Look.....

I will, when I can find a bar of Simple Soap, try this annealing lark.  It seems to help, but I don't see it getting done noticeably better than this.  This took me maybe 20 minutes, after I'd chopped this little chunk off.
I mean, considering that I just had a sudden whim to try something I'd never done before and got on with it, with possibly less than suitable tools and, with little time, less than complete care.  I didn't have any steel wire, but I did have some 2mm ally Tig wire, so I used that.  Seems more sensible to put ally in ally. I never liked the idea of steel in ally anyway.  Recipe for terminal rot.  
Another ten minutes with a thumb full of 240 emery and there we are.  I don't see any cracks, but maybe, doing a whole mudguard, I might have changed my mind and decided that easy beats falsely lazy:-)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Spring is sprung....

I do love it when I go outside and sniff the air like a gun dog and decide that Spring is sprung.
The daffodils are poking their little yellow snouts through the Well Creek banks where the Snowdrops are already bravely waving, the sun is warm, but for the North Westerly and the dogs are running around like headless chickens for no obvious reason at all.

Over the shed, the roof is warming a little, enough to get in there for a tidy up.  That, I've done today and yesterday and made a lot of new space.  So much so, that I fixed the bandsaw with a wee bit of molybdenum grease on the shaft.  Cut some blocks of wood and glued'n'screwed them to the jig in which I will make the new scuttle hoop for the Cambridge Special.  Whether I have enough 1/16th" ply to cut into strips, remains to be seen, but it's easily available, if not.  The original hoop was steam bent ash, but it's been eaten by insects and the corners have "relaxed" somewhat.  Fortunately I have the repaired and largely unmolested aluminium double bubble scuttle as a guide, so drew round that. Blocks rounded off, glued'n'screwed in the corners and on the slight top curve, ready for the strips. Tomorrow in even better promised weather, we'll go hunting for some more quick clamps at the Sunday Market.  You can't have too many when laminating.  To be honest, I can't even see what this component does, that a sheet of ply couldn't, but I have all the original frame for this body and the Cambridge IS an original period correct body, so I need to replicate the frame exactly.  I have all the original iron fixings and frame strengtheners too, so my path is clear.
I also have a steel bulkhead and floor, but they come from a short wheelbase version, which, since it fits a tapered chassis frame is by definition, slightly narrower, but has so many nice bits, that I will simply cut and widen it, to fit inside the scuttle hoop I've been concerned with today.  I rarely waste anything!

Here's my Cambridge body parts:-
You can see where the bulkhead is narrow and the hoop thing is that bit, just below the double scuttle.

Here are the steel parts, cleaned up a treat and sprayed black over self-etch primer.

And here's a friend's Cambridge frame and interior skin. The interior on his is only 3mm ply, but glued and pinned to the frame it is remarkably strong.
Guess where the above "X" frames go....
Note the dreaded hoop at the scuttle position. 

You see what the Spring can do?  It gets a chap all fired up to build his car.