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Build in the Bog

Starting with this lot I hope to build a 750cc Moto Guzzi powered Super Sport.

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My 'D' reg Nova loaded for the trip home
with 'D' reg 2CV parts and chassis #189
Boxes of bits
I'm not sure I recognise all the bits
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Small block 750cc Moto Guzzi engine One of my four gearboxes
I'm open to offers!


The first non-Morgan trike I came across sometime in 2005 was the Triking but it seemed very expensive and an 'assemble the bits from a box' project but the sort of car I fancied. I found the website of the JZR Pilots which pressed the right buttons except people said the cockpit is very small and I'm over 6'. On the same site was a critique, by Keith Bull, of various Morgan style trikes including the Pembleton. I found this site and was hooked. I convinced my other half that I needed a project for my imminent retirement and this was it.

I fancied powering it with a narrow angle V twin 'cos I thought the 2CV lump didn't quite look the part, Morgans used narrow angle JAP or Matchless engines. I wanted an air-cooled engine if possible because of the complexity of a squeezing in a radiator and the hot feet problem of the JZR. I contemplated using an older type Harley Davidson engine for the agricultural look of the 1920s and 30s JAP and Matchless engines but they go for really silly money on eBay. Another possibility, but rejected, was one of the Yamaha Virago VX series of V twins but with peak revs @7,000rpm for the 750cc causing gearing difficulties and the word on the street suggesting unreliablity.

I since discovered that the Virago engines run backwards - wow! a Pembleton with four reverse gears and one forward gear - reminds me of the joke about Italian tanks .....

Another problem with using an inline V twin such as the Harley or Virago VX engine is the lack of a car-like clutch housing and integral gearbox making it more of a challenge to mate one to a 2CV gearbox. The re-orientation of these engines would also create headaches/migraines when mounting it into a Pembleton. A shaft drive motorcycle, like the R series BMW, have the right sort of drive train. Possible transverse V twins were the 90° V twins made by Moto Guzzi or the Honda CX500 or CX650 engines. The Honda CX is a high revving engine and water-cooled - not at all what I had in mind. I got a Moto Guzzi workshop manual for the small block motorcycles from a friend and Bingo I had found the V twin engine to use.


Because of the power limitation of the 2CV gearbox I planned to use one of the small block Guzzi engines. In the spring of 2006 I spotted a 750cc small block engine more or less complete for sale in Ireland, where I live, and bought it before thinking about how I was going to connect it to a 2CV engine. A lot of the M6 bolts at the front of the engine had seized and broken off so I've spend some time drilling 'em out and helicoiling the damaged threads. I replaced all the M6 bolts with stainless steel ones.

I sourced a 2CV gearbox via an ad on the CSC website - got another one for free - and put on my thinking cap. I sketched out a design of the parts required and soon afterwards found Claus Gartner's design (see Links page) which is almost the same design as mine which was pleasing. Before I retired I used the resources available at work to measure up the gearbox and engine and make the adaptor parts during the summer of 2006. See Technical pages for some pictures.

I also started looking for a 2CV in Ireland as a donor but 2CVs are as rare as hens teeth - the climate means they have all rusted away long ago. I saw an advert on our website in early 2007 for an un-started Pembleton Super Sport project; chassis and modified parts, two engines and gearboxes, lots of new spares, specialist 2CV tools and all the donor parts, cleaned as a bonus, it seemed almost too good to be true and I bought it.

I spend part of the year in Leeds and the summer in Ireland where most of my tools live. This means I can't do much building work for part of the year. I'm going to build in Ireland and trailer the completed car over to UK for MSVA and registration because there is no simple provision for home built vehicle registration in Ireland. Getting the bits over to Ireland wasn't that difficult except for the wheels and tyres which came over later. The unwanted engines were sold and I still have two gearboxes in Leeds.

Starting the build summer 2007 - a rolling chassis (almost)

After a lot of work clearing space in a shed to build the car I welded up some stands to support the car about 70cm off the ground. I de-rusted the suspension components using the electrolysis method described in the Technical pages and then painted them. I avoided Hammerite, as it is very brittle, and I used a conventional primer/undercoat/top coat paint system.

I fitted new king pins and rebuilt the rear suspension arm and fitted new brake shoes and hydraulic cylinder. I had to relocate the fuel tank lugs as the tank didn't fit, weld on a mounting for the Facet type fuel pump and weld on seat belt reel mounts part way up the 25mmx25mm square tube. The fuel tank is fitted. I now have an almost rolling chassis, I just need to fit the rear arm assembly - oh and buy some shock absorbers.

One problem was all of my own making; I damaged the fine king pin plug threads in the swivels when inserting the new king pins. I machined two new top plugs with 'O' ring seals to replace the top welch plugs and threaded them M6. I modified the lower plug to take an 'O' ring and accept the head of a hex headed long M6 bolt. The bolt passes up through the king pin and screws into the top plug pulling the two together. This set-up seals the king pins.

The wheels were blasted and powder coated brilliant white and the recommended Camac tyres fitted. To my surprise I got them with no difficulty at all from a local Leeds tyre depot, I asked for the tyres at 4PM and they were there the next morning before 9AM.

Plans for summer 2008

I'm in Leeds for the winter so everything is on hold at the moment except for scanning eBay and elsewhere for useful bits and pieces. I bought a second hand four spoke steering wheel - the one Phil sells. I've got a beige leather rear seat set from a Beemer convertible which are going into the Pembleton after surgery.

The next step is to fit the brake and fuel lines before putting in the floor panels. The wiring loom feeding the rear will be run internally. I plan to install the gearbox and engine and then do as much wiring and engine plumbing before fitting the side panels. Everyone says access is so much easier without the side panels. I can't see why I can't get the engine running at this stage.

I'm thinking about an underslung gear change to give a cleaner looking dash. I got a three lever top cover plate with one of the gearboxes, the levers directly work on the selector rods in the box. The guy who sold me the gearboxes had intended building a drag racing 2CV (don't laugh!), he had welded up the diff and intended to use hydraulics to automatically shift gears. I could use the cover as the basis of a floor mounted gear shift but it could make sliding across the bench seat more difficult - decisions, decisions ....

The ignition system was missing from the engine so I bought a Boyer Brandson electronic system, designed for a British parallel twin and has the same advance curve needed for the Moto Guzzi, and two 6 volt coils. The system uses two pick-up coils 180° apart which don't suit a 90° V twin so I got the maker to supply the pick up coils and magnets loose. I made a PCB to mount the pick up coils and turned up a rotor for the magnet. It's a wasted spark system and I hope the 'wrong' spark doesn't cause problems as it fires half way through the induction stroke on the other cylinder. This is as yet untried so crossing fingers ....

I'll write a progress report and try to remember to photograph things as I go along during this summer's build campaign.

David Tocher #189 LWB Super Sport

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