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What am I doing here - Part 2

Scratchings from the body-shop


Lea Thermallet

When I first took an interest in Pembletons, it was because I had always fancied a three-wheeler Morgan. When Pembleton M.C. was in its infancy I heard of them and when I called Phil I was sent to meet Ian Crackleport Hainsworth while he was building old No. 2. I had to have one and started planning. By the time I could achieve my dream the Brooklands was available and the BMW/2CV combination was more attractive than the 'Hopper.

So, having almost finished the Silver Surfer and waiting for the dread SVA, I had a phone call from a friend offering a BSA trike. In my hazy thoughts I assumed he meant a sidecar outfit but no, a three wheeler car. I had only ever seen one of these, thirty years ago in Harrogate at a vintage rally and, while speaking with the owner I unwittingly let slip the old canard "I didn't know BSA made cars". A brief lecture later and I was running for cover!

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By chance I had met a Triking owner a couple of years back and he had shown me his latest project, a BSA trike which he had had re-furbished in the mechanical department by a Mike Scott-Coomber, who it turned out, was the technical leading light of the owners club. ( Unfortunately he died suddenly in late October of this year)

I made a couple of calls and established it was the same machine so without seeing it again, I agreed to buy it after another viewing. There was no choice. It was originally registered in Starbeck, 7 miles away, and had only been run by the first owner, last in 1964.

It arrived on a trailer and was wheeled into the shed, next to the Pembleton. The body had had all the paint stripped and part primed, the underside was all in surprisingly good condition . I looked through the goodies that came with it finding a John Bull puncture repair kit, complete and unused! All the interior was there and while the seat was shot, the rest is good enough to leave alone. The side-screens and roof were also there , the fabric in shreds with the celluloid so yellow and cracked it's impossible to see through.

Throw over a dust sheet and get on with the Pembleton; fast forward to October and as business has slackened off a bit, I think I'll do something with the Beeza. A new battery was bought for the 2CV with a view to dual use, fresh petrol added, a crude spade-type key made for the Lucas switch, check for spark, petrol on, ignition on, press start and it fired up first time. As the engine hadn't run for at least 2 years I was suitably impressed by Mike S-C's work. A quick spin round the yard to see if it works, all gears engage and drive and the brakes almost work terrifyingly. Inspired by this initial success I start to think, there's not that much to do to this to make it a goer so I adjust the brakes through frightening and settle on scary. In the bill from Scott-Coomber is an item, new brake shoes so I hope to get the brakes to the point of being fair if not good, as they bed in.

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There is a local enamel and paint factory so I went to see what they could offer in coach enamel. No colour chart and I had no number so I took a dark maroon which was somewhere near Ribble or Leith Motor Traction livery and a black made for British Rail. The black was so thick it was almost jelly. I don't like painting much to begin with but I felt sure I could put a coat each of etch primer and grey undercoat on without too much trouble. This doesn't take into account that the workshop is anything but dust-free and after rubbing down the undercoat I slap on a coat of maroon on the upper panels. The only two surviving mosquitoes in Yorkshire hatch out in the gutter of the shed, fly into the workshop and I watched them settle on the new paint on the scuttle. I tweak off the still twitching bodies with tweezers leaving the legs to remind me, don't do painting! Brushstrokes with dust guaranteed.

Having put the bonnet panels, and boot lid in place I wished I had chosen grey rather than black for the lower panels. The maroon against the undercoat looked very sophisticated and almost continental. However, as I am trying to stick to the original set-up I'll learn to live with the black. My whole approach has been one of, "it's not going to be a concours d'elegance job so I'll do what I must as sensitively as I can and damn the rivet-counters".

It is now at the "waiting for the auto-sparks" stage. This, I hope, will happen before Christmas but I now have no excuse not to fill in the V5/55 for it and get the registration procedure started.

We Pembletoneers don't know how lucky we are. I hoped to find a forum similar to ours at the BSA Frontwheel Drive club site, and while there is one, it is so infrequently used that it is almost pointless and it takes days to get any reply. I have resorted to mailing club officers and pestering them individually. Here we have a fantastic site which is an overflowing well of information, opinion and advice. Not only that but a volunteer editor/forum administrator to make it all easy for us.

With luck I may have it on the road in time for the next issue of ePAG, I'll keep you posted.

Keep Pembling

Lea Thermallet

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