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A limper's progress

The hiccup stage is now upon me, again. I can't do this because I need to do that first so there is no excuse for not getting at least something done! Things always take longer than you expect.

It's not so much Newton's first law of motion but more like "every action has an almost infinite number of reactions and consequences stretching over the horizon"

I split the bonnet down the centre and formed the wired edge. Using two sections of the S/S hinge tube silver-soldered to button-head stainless Allen screws for fore and aft fixed points on the hoops. The bonnet halves can be opened from either side and if necessary, the forward screw has a wing-nut to allow for speedy removal of the complete bonnet.

Using Silver Surfer's nose as a guide I made a card template for the new nose cone. This is quite a tricky operation as my scrap-bin can testify and it is essential to start with the correct shape of blank as this determines the final form. The edge was shrunk and then several hours on the English wheel eventually produced something useable. The wheel is a fascinating piece of equipment. It is very simple and effective, the only service it offers is to stretch the metal and learning how and where to exploit this is a long-term project. I have managed to make a nose but when I compare it to the one my colleague Bruno made all I can see are the mistakes!

For the edging to all the panels I made 6 2.4M lengths of tubing from flat strip, formed to a gutter section and then puled through a series of decreasing diameter holes until a tube results. It's easy to write that in a few words but it represents about 3 days work. Annealed, then with the seam opened slightly and test fitted to its edges this was glued on with sikaflex and held with stirrup pieces.

The next job is to make mudguards and I realise I've forgotten how I did the last ones, two years ago. I still have the formers and a vague recollection of the process but the first pair are not to my liking so I have to do it all again.

When Andy Newman was here at a weekend workshop a couple of years ago he found a local supplier of hydraulic fittings and came back with 3 metres of 15mm thick wall tubing to make mudguard stays. I dug out the address and went to collect some myself.

Fitting turning mudguards is a tricky operation but I think it is worthwhile. A slightly more sporting look is achieved and it is possible to have the mount closer together on the guard which helps reduce vibration and consequent fractures of both stays and guards.

The ones on the Brooklands have given very little trouble except where operator malfunction was involved.

I drilled the steering arm holes into the trunnion with an M8 fine tapping size, one at a time while the other hole was kept in alignment using its original 7mm bolt. With a taper and second M8 fine tap the holes are then tapped through the arms, to ensure alignment again and then the arms removed and drilled with a clearance drill. Dave and Nicki Parr were visiting for the NYM fun run and I took advantage of his pipe-bending skills to form the off-sets for the mudguard brackets. With these welded to plates drilled to match the steering arm holes the mudguards are now in place mounted on 6mm thick rubber belting strips to absorb as much vibration as possible. The indicators were then mounted on the tops with a swaged channel in a plate below to protect the wiring from the road dirt.

Martin, my auto-sparks pal has come up trumps with the wiring loom which I am now in the process of installing.

As I haven't yet had the courage to cut the instrument holes in the dash, I now have no choice as the area behind the dash also needs treatment which cannot be realised until the instruments and lights are in place.

Did I mention that things always take longer than expected? The July issue of "The Automobile" has just dropped through the letter-box so another distraction has appeared.

I seem to recall saying that I hope to go to Angouleme in the limper this September. Was I being serious? There is the Highland Fling looming and other entertainments are also lined up. Everything seems to take longer than it should and together with the time lost in looking for the item I had in my hand 20 seconds ago and repeating myself I'm not sure I stand a chance!

Crack on!

Duncan Grimmond


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