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Pembleton Ecosse Build Update Two


Adrian Colmar

Back in September 2017, I recounted how I got tempted into building my own chassis. In all, with the pondering, navel gazing and actual fabrication, creation of the chassis took nine months.

Many of you will understand this: once something gets into your head, it is hard to rest until it is sorted. Probably the biggest example of this was when I finished the chassis. I then took a critical look at it and decided the car was too long! As I had kept the 2CV fuel tank, it was the same length as the standard Pembleton, however, as my car waistline is a little higher, the overall effect was of a bigger car than I intended. So I ditched the plastic fuel tank, shortened the wheelbase and increased the slope at the back for the spare wheel mounting. This reduced the wheelbase and overall length by 8cm over the standard. I also raised the height of the mounting points for the front and rear suspension tubes to drop the body closer to the road without compromising the rake of the front suspension arms and therefore the castor angle. Finally, I fitted a two stage/double bump stop for the rear arm, to guarantee the minimum clearance and hopefully avoid grounding.

visitor support

As you can see, I was thoroughly enjoying the welding and found it difficult to draw a line under that aspect in order to get back to the more routine aspects of the build. Although it is slightly frustrating to reflect that, if I knew what I was doing from the outset, the cutting and welding to build a chassis would take no more than ten days.

The next step in the build was refurbishment, painting and assembly which took around six months. The de-rusting of the running gear, fettling and painting was probably the most tedious bit. The assembly of all the suspension, engine and gearbox onto the chassis was much more enjoyable. After installation of the brake pipes and connecting the fuel line to the beautiful, fabricated alloy tank, I had a driveable rolling chassis. So in April 2018, I added a pair of BSA Goldstar silencers, created a temporary wiring loom, connected a battery and fired up the Guzzi engine. It started easily and ran very sweetly which was a huge relief as I had decided to leave any major engine overall to a future date.

Driving Out of the Garage

Driving Out of the Garage

Vertical pedal box

Vertical Pedal Box

Tweeks implemented during the assembly stage included; using the 2CV half spring cans to mount and control the springs; replacing the knife edges with rose joints in rubber boots; and lengthening the suspension fulcrum arms to give more shock absorber travel/stiffer effective spring rate. I also found that by cutting a triangle out of the pedal box near the pivot point and re-welding, I could make the pedals more vertical to suit sitting on the floor while at the same time gaining a very useful 3cm of legroom.

Cardboard aided design

Card Aided Design

Armed with the advice from Duncan's workshop the previous December, I started with the panelling. The four large sheets of aluminium where unwieldy to handle and store so I cracked on with stage one of the CAD process (Card Aided Design). This allowed me to do a first cut on the big sheets, creating each of the main panels for later trimming. Next came CAD stage two (Cleco Aided Design). I had never come across these handy little fellas before and found them very helpful.

It was at this point, with the detailed fitting of the various panels to the chassis that the chickens came home to roost. My side triangulation plus bracing for the roll-over hoops gave me what I wanted in terms of a passenger cell, but created havoc with the inner panels, especially the boot floor. I can now see how the minimalism of the standard chassis makes the panelwork so much simpler! However being stubborn, I pressed on with the fiddly panelling while redesigning a better chassis in my head, even though there will never be a 'next time'! I now have the main floor in plus all the back end of the car panelled

Rear panelling

Rear panelling and Main Floor

Unfortunately, from the Pembleton perspective, the summer has passed with me obliged to do other things. However, the autumn and winter lies ahead with the plan being that my car is on the road for next season.

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