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What now?


Dave Ferris

As an amateur car tinkerer I have always wanted to a; restore a classic, or b; build a car of my own. I tried, unsuccessfully, in the early 90s to restore a Triumph Spitfire. This did not end well as someone gave me a job with long hours and I did not have the time or funds to complete the job. It was passed on to someone who used it as a base for a special that his son was going to build.

Fast forward to 2012 and life was more settled and I had the time and funds to try again. I started looking at kit cars and browsing the internet one day, "Silverfish" appeared. Further investigation revealed what we all now know, that this was something you could put your own mark on, not a clone like the other kits on offer, and it was also reasonably priced. When I collected the basics from Phil Gregory he asked me why I had chosen his design over anything else and I replied that it was something you would have to get involved with, it was not a chassis that you bolted ready made panels to, it was something you had to put more thought into, as well as hundreds of rivets (my hands will never be the same). It also involved the black art of metal bending, something I had never done before.

#342 front view
#342 front view

So, after four and a half years of evening and weekends in the garage, and a nervous MSVA, Criquet finally hit the road in May 2017. This would have been earlier had I not moved house in 2016. The forum has been a mine of information and a big thank you to all who have posted ideas, images (a picture paints a thousand words) and their vast knowledge on the various sections. The original motor was no good and I bought a replacement from Rob Martin with 17K miles on the clock. This I uprated with high compression pistons and pots, twin Dellorto's and 123 ignition system. The wiring loom although not very tidy or pretty (I have never made a loom before) does the job.

The first few runs highlighted problems with the oil breather set up which was on the bulkhead. Although I had refurbished the old breather the oil was spraying out of the vapour pipe everywhere (including the brake callipers). This was too complicated, so I purchased a new filler/breather which connected directly to where the old one came off. Since then I have not had any problems with oil leaks. I also had a problem with the charging system which I have finally tracked down to a fault in the alternator (purchased new in 2014). Even though it was not charging I could still run the car until the voltage ran down to approx 8 volts, when it would not turn the starter motor. A second hand one from Fleabay cured the problem. I have fitted a Gauge Wizard to the fuel gauge but it still remains on full all the time – a little more fettling (and a spare can of fuel) needed I think!

#342 cockpit
#342 rear view

She now runs perfectly, although a bit skittish on rough roads, also being a limper if you miss a pothole with the two front wheels it will probably get you with the back one. All in all I am really happy with what I have achieved. If you are thinking of building a Pembleton – go for it!

So, what next? I have sourced a small block Moto Guzzi 750 from a breakers in Holland. I will fit new piston rings and I have ordered a full gasket set from Germany but, what they did not inform me of was that they order them from Italy and as Italy closes down in August I will have to wait until September for them to be sent – bugger! I have also ordered a full electronic ignition system from Muzzi Moto for £390. Not cheap this conversion!!!! Meanwhile I asked a local small engineering firm to cost the production of the adapter plates – ballpark figure was £450 + materials. I did not go ahead with this and found a friends father in law who was able and willing to machine the plates (total cost approx £100 for materials and whatever the cost of the whisky will be).

The other work planned includes, removing the PVC edging from the body work and replacing it with some of Duncan's stock of alloy edging, I hope to build a couple of bucket seats to replace the Pembleton seat and uprate the suspension, as the 2CV shocks/springs, even with the spring assister’s are a little bit too soft. So that’s me in the garage for the winter season. That’s the good thing about a hobby – it's never finished.

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