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Building #292


Peter Weeds

My Dad was a chauffeur in the inter-war years, invalided and not encouraging any mechanical attempts on my part. My retirement gave me the chance to experiment.

I bought the frame from Phil in 2009 with money from my previous project, an Austin Seven RP saloon. I had decided on a trike because in the late 1940s I was impressed meeting one on a bike ride. The Pembleton seemed to me the least expensive way of getting there! Visiting Siggy's to see his machine and following his blog confirmed me in this view. So I answered an advert for a Dolly non-runner and secured it plus odd bits (and, as it turned out, missing the odd one or two as well) to for £170 delivered.

Then it was just a case of putting the two together.

I decided that I wanted to keep as much of the 2CV engine together as possible. This meant the exhaust system and the solex carburettor with the original connections. The engine came out easily with the help of a borrowed crane and for a while sat on a low wheeled tray from which I was able to slide it into place in the frame. I suppose I should have stripped it down and cleaned it, but I didn't.

With the suspension and wheels attached I was then able to move it around to fit brakes, steering and pedals before getting the bodywork started. That's the bit I enjoyed most!

I wasn't very careful with the planning of cutting out the shapes from the sheet aluminium and realised too late that I would have to buy another sheet, so as a penance I decided to make the pointy mudguards from the plans instead of buying ready made ones.

As things progressed, slowly, I'm afraid, I was encouraged by the forum and the people who have contributed injections of advice, patient explanation, enthusiasm and actual hardware. The forum is a must and I wish I had cottoned on to that fact earlier.

Seven years of fun, friendships and frustration later, and MSVA loomed. The first fail, with an A4 sheet of closely printed reasons came with the inspector's enthusiastic assurance that I could easily work my way through them, nothing too damning, and nothing I anticipated! I must admit that the stories of exciting battles of wit with the testers related in the forum had filled me with terror, but one or two contributors pointed out that the testers really wanted us to pass!

That turned out to be true. A month later I drove the result up to Newcastle (first ever time out of 2nd on a real road) and it was passed!

Registered as a new vehicle from 1st September 2016 - half a year before my 80th birthday, I became a car manufacturer. Hopefully my Dad would be proud of me - my children and grandchidren are! (And as it is said, it's always a work in progress!)

Since then, I've altered the shape of the front, the original engine guard having got out of my control, had several ideas about the rear lighting and put baffles on the ends of the exhausts to direct the flow downwards, as the friend who followed me up at Newcastle ended up with a car covered in rust splatters, the result, I think, of using the basic iron pipes rather than the stainless steel ones - that's me - cheapskate!

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