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Pembleton build


Philip Hardcastle

I'll admit to putting things off. The gate still sticks, the car is due an oil change and our doors are still in primer a year after starting them. I hope this goes some way to explain my lack of speed in writing an article for ePAG!

I'll start from the last instalment. After attending the (fantastically organised) NYM event and having to come home on a trailer, I decided that it was time for a change.

  1. I wanted Guzzi power, and
  2. I wanted something which I could tour with comfortably.

The sensible(ish) option would be to follow Tom's example and fit the Guzzi motor whilst adapting the car to make a comfortable cockpit. I even sat Chloe – suffering, and quite tall, wife – in the driver's seat while I made measurements for a roof and screen. The problem was that I just couldn't bring myself to starting cutting up a car I'd spent a great deal of time building (and painting!). The decision was made to sell and, using the funds, build my idea of the 'ultimate' Pembleton.

A good friend of mine deals in cars and stands by the theory that 'The first offer is usually the best'. Something not too dissimilar to my advice to people selling their houses, having worked in that game between school and university. True to form my first offer was indeed a good one. In this instance it came from 'Box Fast Classics' in Knaresborough, near Harrogate. A little haggling ensued and we settled on a price which I was happy with and reflected the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about any come back. The chap I dealt with was excellent and a day after agreeing a price, the money was in my bank and a low loader was waiting to collect her/him/it. I could recommend them as a happy customer. I had expected to be more upset to be honest, but I think knowing that a new build was to come made it much easier…


A few months previous I had seen an article in 'MOG' magazine. It was a Morgan 3 Wheeler utility (van) concept, drawn by Jon Wells – who I believe is head of design at Morgan. Suffice to say I loved the design and somehow the idea was formed to make my own, Pembleton version, of his design with a few of my own ideas thrown in for good luck.

With the money from the sale burning a hole in my pocket (and keen to spend some to stop it going on a new bathroom!), I set about looking for a donor engine and car. Kevin Ashton of this forum had previously offered me a Guzzi, and a quick call confirmed it was still available. Not only this, but he had the remains of a 2CV which would work as a donor. A deal was struck and Kevin had agreed to deliver it to Yorkshire – lucky really he lives hundreds of miles away in the South West!

donor car
donor bike

Next is was a chassis. I had planned to order from Phil, but as luck would have it I was contacted by Ade Colemar in Scotland. As mentioned in his EPAG article, he had built his own frame, using a Phil 'original' as a template. This meant the original was now available to be sold. Perfect timing indeed. Dealing with Ade was just like dealing with all the other Pembleton folk I have met so far; fantastic. Ade even offered to modify my gear lever and accelerator to Phil's spec. The only regret I have was not being able to collect the chassis myself. I had planned a trip up but it just so happened my dad was heading to the borders close to Ade's house to collect a lawn mower. Having the trailer attached and being so close it was a no brainer and he did the honours for me whilst I was away at a wedding in Ireland. One day I will get up.

During this time I stripped the bike and sold for parts. I'd definitely recommend other builders doing the same as good money can be recouped from even a tatty bike.

So now I had the basis for a Pembleton built from the far reaches of the country - Running gear from the South Coast and a Chassis from Scotland. I just needed something from the middle, so another plan was hatched…

One downside of my cheap donor was that I was in a bit of a state. I knew this and had planned to clean everything up and then fit new bearings etc. Not really my favourite job and the reason why I got fed up with old cars – cleaning rust and dealing with bolts which hadn't been worked on for decades does not do it for me. After searching eBay I found a complete front end; steering box, arms and hubs, which had been refurbished to use as a kit but when not used. A lot of haggling down the line and I was leaving work early to get to Oxford on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Martyn from 2CV Recycling was great to deal with and I bought some arms whilst there. Sadly there was no time for coffee – a 3½ hour return trip was waiting for me.

So finally that brings us up-to-date. I'm just swapping the hubs onto Phil's modified arms (I think the donor arms and hubs are using an oversize kingpin which I hadn't planned for). The aim is to have a rolling chassis by October Half Term. I'd like a floor/petrol tank/brake and petrol plumbing by Christmas but I'm sure that won't happen. I have a gate to fix.

Next. Fitting arms. Selling parts. Plans for the build.


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