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From the case book of Albert Crackleport

The Tick Tick Mystery

There have been many strange motoring tales told over the years my dear Watson, but none stranger than the tale I propose to recount to you through this article.....A mystery that remains to this day......only one man holds the key and he abodes half way around the world.........Maybe, just maybe we can use the internet and P.A.G.s global network of readers to make contact and help write the final chapter.

Does he hold the key? Only he knows......or maybe he doesn't!

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I, Albert Crackleport unwittingly became involved in this strange affair late 2007 when Phil Gregory of the Pembleton Motor Co rang and enquired as to the purchasability of a Moto Guzzi engine that was sat under the bench in my workshop.

It is true ! Even your old Uncle Albert sometimes has too many projects on the go and this was one of them?..Complete madness to think that I'd ever get around to using it, and to let it go to a friend in need seemed the sensible solution.

Over Christmas 2007 the engine and ancillaries were transported to Pembleton, and it didn't take long for Phil to work out how to mate the huge 'V' Twin to a 2CV gearbox, fabricate engine mounts and contact me with news that Old No1 had been transformed!

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Regular readers of PAG will remember I tested the beast over Easter 2008. It did require some carburettor work, a misfire midrange seemed to be cured after discovering someone had drilled the main jet

(now there's a mystery that continually puzzles me....why does ever second hand engine seemed to have suffered under the hand of the phantom jet driller? Anyway back to the story...)

Phil still wasn't happy though........ insistent that he could hear a faint metallic ticking sound on low rev over-run and at idle....

I couldn't agree or disagree.... (35 years in the print industry has taken its toll on your Uncle Albert's hearing leaving mild tinitus, so I'm afraid I could offer no further diagnosis..)

"It must be wear on the flat slide" was the final prognosis from our Pembleton mentor, allowing it to rattle in the carb body. So that was it, end of investigation and hey ho what the hell, the motor pulled like a train anyway so job done.....or was it...

Spring turned to summer.....Summer turned to Autumn.....Autumn turned to winter......Old No1 was out and about in all weathers, thrashing through the country lanes, running errands for Pembleton parts.....but our man down at Pembleton still wasn't satisfied. Oh no, every time the motor ran all Phil could hear was the tinkle, tinkle somewhere in the depths of the Italian 'V'....

The faint noise at first was an irritation, then it became a disturbance, then torturous......

It was keeping our man awake at night with worry. What was it? Timing chain?.... nah. Sloppy slide?.....could be, Small end?.... hum...

Mind over matter, man over machine, this could not continue.

So one dark and stormy night in Bayton as the wind howled and the rain lashed against the windows, the tick would be hunted for the very last time, an end to this misery was sought and it involved surgery.....serious surgery....starting with removal of the head.

Both heads in fact were quickly despatched and our hero pausing for a moment to admire the bores before lifting the pushrods ......(nothing quite like running a finger down a slightly oily bore is there?)

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It was then out of the corner of his eye Phil spotted the culprit..... Oh the joy ! nestled down one of the pushrod tubes was 'The Tick'. Easing out the little critter wasn't difficult and the fight was over. Despite having rattled around for 1000 miles the tick was none the worse for its adventure....

Christmas 2008 - In the Pembleton workshop Phil shows me the little fellow that had caused him endless sleepless nights

"What is it Alb?" . . . . "It looks like a clock pendulum to me!"

How bizarre, half the mystery solved but not easily accepted Why was it there? Who put it there?

It's at this point that we need to communicate with a certain guy in far off New Zealand. Last seen thrashing through the outback in an old Morgan.... Pembleton Enthusiast and builder of 'The Hornet'.

Can you hear us David Gardiner.....(owner pre Crackleport of the afore mentioned engine...) Do you hold the key? Have you any more idea of what's going on than us?

Get in touch via the forum and let us know more of the 'Mighty V' history...

Until then

Carry on Pembling.

Albert Crackleport.


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