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Bamm Bamm build


Martin Cartwright

There are now 2,578 emails in my Pembleton folder since the first one from Mike Meakin in July 2014 saying:-

' Building a Pembleton can be a life-changing decision – complete one and it won't be the same again!'

With that promise/challenge/threat, how could we resist? 21 months later we have passed the MSVA and I have been prevailed upon to document the process which brought Bamm-Bamm into the world.

The rolling chassis and a box of bits leaving Andy Evan's house

Well, conception took place on 21 August 2014 in the back yard of Andy Evan's house in Herefordshire, when with Mike's assistance we took delivery of a rolling chassis and a big box of bits – none of which bore any resemblance to any part of any car I had driven in nearly 40 years of company car motoring ….. although Mike assured us that we had most of what we needed for the build. We bought a first rate engine and gearbox from Duncan and had it bouncing around the garage floor in no time.

I would like to be able say that a great deal of thought and online research was carried out and the manual read from cover to cover three times before the first spanner was lifted. But where is the fun in that! The project proceeded at a gallop with Mike keeping his exasperation under control, and his ever patient emails keeping us on the rails.

Our requirements were as follows:-

  1. A 'touring' car with a larger than standard fuel tank.
  2. A Bugatti style boat tail but also a spare wheel.
  3. Skinny spoked wheels.
  4. A more comfortable seat than the standard.
  5. The 2cv engine but with a more symmetrical appearance.
  6. Moving mudguards.
  7. Dashboard and glove box.
  8. A mobile home.

Our design requirements together with the discovery that our rolling chassis was 100mm longer than the standard, meant that none of the body panels were standard, so armed with a large roll of brown paper, 8' x 4' sheets of Foamex (the white plastic sheeting sign makers use – which accurately mimics the shape of aluminium when curved) and sheet aluminium, Deb set to work on the painstaking task of making accurate templates and marking out the aluminium.

fuel tank drawing
fuel tank

Fuel tank:- Meanwhile, I set to work on the fuel tank. The bespoke rear end necessitated a bespoke tank and after discussing the touring capabilities with Mike, we settled on the following 40 litre tank which was beautifully made by SM Engineering [].

boat tail drawing

Bugatti boat tail:- As our frame was 8 years old there were a number of modifications we needed, so with Mike's help I put together a welding schedule which included chopping off the back and sleeving the side tubes to bend them round to a point. I also incorporated a lower hoop to provide a lower fixing point for the tail.

boat tail 1
boat tail 2
boat tail 3

Having determined the rear end point, the next decision was how to shape the tail. We didn't have trailer transport at this stage so I had to conceive a way of having the tail fabricated in such a way that we could simply slot it on at home. The answer was to build two roughly triangular horizontal 'plates' out of 20mm MDF and then build the shape we wanted by fixing vertical crescents on them about 100mm apart tapering towards the tail. This took a great deal of time, but the end result was the exactly the shape we wanted and the fabricator could place the two halves of aluminium over the formers to make sure they were true and symmetrical and met the frame's hoops at the front and the point of the tail at the back. Clive, our fabricator did a fantastic job and when the upper and lower shells arrive they fitted like a glove.

spare wheel 1
spare wheel 2

The spare wheel:- With an extra 100mm of cockpit length we decided that we would like the extra space in the boot rather than in the cockpit, so this necessitated the welding of another hoop forward of the main structural hoop to support the back of the seat and the extended rear top. The spare wheel (when required for longer trips) would slip in behind the seat.

spare wheel 1
spare wheel 1
spare wheel 1

The seat belt anchorage would remain on the original rear structural hoop by way of a stainless 'goal post' high enough to clear the seat back hoop. This was bolted through the hoop and as the goal post 'legs' were rather tall and prone to excessive leverage, a 6mm stainless plate was bolted through the frame's rectangular plate and through each of the goal post legs.

seats 1
seats 2
seats 3

Seat:- We found an old Jaguar X Class leather rear bench seat for sale for £50 and Deb felt she could convert this to the shape we needed. We stripped out all the metalwork and working only with the foam and leather she fashioned a beautiful (and beautifully comfortable) squab and back. Using the (modified) Jag's hinges, we hinged the back from the mudguard support studding which by chance was exactly the right height.

seats back fixing

Seat Back fixings:-

Skinny wheels:- I rang Phil to ask if he had ever considered making some for the Brooklands which would fit the Citroen's three wheel studs. Phil said that he had thought about it, but as he was unsure of the demand and he would need a minimum order to cover the considerable setting up costs, he hadn't bothered. However, ever helpful, he agreed to give it a go and we are delighted with the results which are slightly heavier than the 2V wheels but considerably lighter than the MGA spoked alternative.

Citroen grille

Engine:- Pre-purchase it was always the plan to have a Guzzi engine because we had heard Alan Walker's and liked the 'V' shape symmetry and the 'roar'. The plan was to pass the test with the 2CV and then replace it with the Guzzi as others had done. However, on taking possession of Duncan's spare 2CV, and starting it on the floor of the garage, we fell in love with the little beast and decided at that moment to stick with it, but to have it re-conditioned by Earnie Larton (Larton Engine Developments 07740 395056), and to work out a way to mount the alternator centrally below the fan belt. I have described this on the forum but attach a photo here showing a later development – the homemade Citroen grill allowing air to the alternator.

seats 1

Moving mudguards:- After a disastrous attempt to strengthen Phil's standard mudguard supports we decided to go with Tonny Weisser's Lomax stainless steel design. This proved extremely time consuming as Tonny had never done mudguards to suit Phil's skinny wheels before and I ended up doing scaled drawings for him. However, all worked out in the end and now Tonny has the templates for future Pembletoneers.

front mudguards 1
front mudguards 2

We decided to go for Phil's standard mudguards and as Tony's supports are designed for a lighter and shorter mudguard we added additional front and rear support bars, the front ones being supported by an exhaust clamp bolted just above the grease nipple and the rear ones welded to Tonny's support assembly but with the 'U' clamp stiffened by stainless sleeving.

dash 1
dash 2

Dashboard and glove box:-Liking the idea of a lockable compartment but also a handy shelf, the depth of the compartment lent itself to a shelf in the front with the lockable compartment at the rear.

mobile home 1
mobile home 2
mobile home 3

Mobile home:- With only a very small single garage as a workshop, the build was carried out with the assistance of a £50 party marquee in the garden – which disintegrated within 3 months- and the annexing of a lot of house space. We always knew we would want to tour with the car but didn't fancy long distance motoring to get to the touring areas. The answer to our long term garaging problem and our touring demands was a covered trailer. Exhaustive scouring of EBay with several false alarms resulted in a £1,200 converted BT Openreach 'box' mounted on a caravan chassis. With our new found aluminium riveting skills we extended the 'nose' by about a metre and with a bump in the back for the extended alternator the job was done.

finished car side view
finished car front view
finished car rear view

But why Bamm-Bamm? Some say that it's the noise the engine makes. Some say it is because it looks pre-historic and eats vegetarians. All I know is that Mike was right. Life will never be the same again and we've' had a 'Yaba daba doo' time! Thanks to everyone.


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