Friday, 30 November 2007

Questi giorni quando.....

.....vieni il belle sole - Couple of things to note here: that is without doubt the best high speed trailer I've ever had - mind you on the way back from Sterling this day, third lane 90 on the M6 earned me some bonus points ! On arriving to pick the Miura up we were met by the sound of a smoke alarm going off in the house - no answer at the door and a peek through the letter box revealed the cause. The car vendor was face down in a puddle of special brew on the door mat and there was a smouldering 6 inch hole in the carpet producing a very un-pleasant cloud of smoke where his fag had fallen from his burnt fingers. Quick soak from the garden hose through the letter box woke him up and put out the fire. I have vague memories of taking him and his girlfriend (who looked remarkably like Mini the Minx) for a curry after loading up, they travelled in the back of the pick-up with a bag full of Special Brew. On days like these - eh.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Burnt Sienna

It all happened VERY quickly after this moment! No3 in the CX archive (Red 22 Saloon). Coming back from collecting a new Tigre engine for the Jungman in Albacette, I found a handful of 12g shells amongst the debris in the foot well, thinking this might cause a scrape at the next border post it was deemed wise to dispose of them. Not wanting to waste the cordite and pass up the oppotunity of a 100mph whoosh ............. The car actually filled with smoke in a split second and the deluxe velour roof lining caught fire like gasoline vapour, taking most of my hair with it. Needless to say the Spanish motorway police were very cool about the whole incident. Fantastic skid marks (not just mine) which the police wouldn't let me photograph - sorry.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Max torque.............

........from zero revs. Just in case you weren't sure - getting your hands on a flat torque curve is a good thing. Being a novice I was sadly denied the opportunity of hauling some rolling stock to fully appreciate the joy of steam power on this occasion - but frankly, load or not, winding this thing up was a hoot. When you get anywhere near a chance to have a go, fight your way over the push-chairs and get to the front of the queue regardless.

La Belle France

A little more revealing for those with a strong enough constitution. Twin cam side-valve, twin plugs, twin ignition. Outboard of the cam drives, and gear driven also, are the twin output shafts, one driving the coolant pump and the other driving the beautiful Scintilla magneto. There is a secondary coil ignition system running a second set of plugs, switchable to either or both. Unit head/barrels cast in pairs are the order of the day here. The strength of the LaFrance engine design is in simple solid engineering, as a result these run for ever. (84 yrs so far). A few guest appearences here: nice pair of Tilley lamps and a cute little British Anzani outboard hiding in the shadows, and of course the Matchless G3 nosing in.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

On Safari

A tow hitch has proved useful more than once. Leaving The Dolphin Hotel in Gt Yarmouth early one morning I moved off without waitng for the suspension to rise and took 40 foot of railings with me, having snuggly parked the ball hitch in the fence the night before. The incident depicted here was the result of poor hand-brake adjustment, a domino effect resulted in the Fiesta being written off (see the misaligned door), the Astra van behind that badly hurt and the Balisha beacon behind that taking a lie down - three down and hardly a scratch ! This particular CX (number 4 of 5) was a diesel (filler cap patina), very sluggish but a tough old bruiser and certainly did some damage over the years.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Up In Smoke

I may well have been watching a bit of Cheach & Chong when exploding car noises caused me to stick my head out of the window and see my beloved Ami Super going up. Of the 1/2 dozen Amis in the archive, at least 2 were Supers. Fantastic 1015cc of stealth rocket. I reckon to have posted some of my best A-B times in this great little car. Inboard discs were impossible to keep cool and after a hectic few miles could actually boil the fluid and render themselves all but useless. Brake fire was the suspected cause of this disaster. Ooh - is that a bit of Volvo C202 action going on in the background - great truck - swimmer too.


Steady as she goes. So comfortable was the old CX that minor off road excursions generally went un-noticed. Unfortunately this resulted in a write off (bent chasis,as demonstrated by the cracked windscreen). This is only a part of the CX archive, most of them ended up poorly but carry a good tale.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Low Life

Very poor image quality again I'm afraid (this may become a theme).
Ah now then - the old Vought F4U (Corsair). The thing I love about this plane is squirreled away in the design brief - MORE POWER -. Earliest models where producing in excess of 100 horses for each of the 18 cylinders. To get anywhere near max use of the power (later well over 2000 horse power) a massive 13ft+ prop was required. Flying at this sort of altitude becomes a whole new discipline with these statistics in mind ! Piloted here by Pierre Dargue (sadly no longer with us). I managed to snap this shot as I fumbled to get the instamatic out of my pocket. Most of the camera shake is caused by the noise, I'm sure. PS I've just done some basic trig on the full print and calculate the prop tip to be around 22 feet off the ground in the original picture. The second (top) pic is simply included for those who don't think size matters or don't know what 13ft+ looks like.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Chain Drive

Ah - the old American LaFrance '23 pump truck. Shown here in '90 odd, freshly arrived from Mr Halbert E Fillinger III, this litle number is ex Chicago FD and about to be shortened a little, rid of it's twin wheel rear hubs and hit the road for general touring duties. The 9 litre straight 4 side-valve is not the most efficient motor I've ever run but with the flywheel reduced by 28 lbs and the crank balanced it goes some. Braking at the rear only with massive drums is somewhat hairy thanks to the external-band emergency brake preventing the poor cast drums from getting rid of any heat - smell good though.
Is that a bit of early '70s R4 showing itself behind the MF35 ? Wot next ?

Sat Nav 2

At the risk of being repetitive I felt this warrented inclusion in these pages. I appreciate the image quality is poor but my memory is pretty sharp. As you can see this is Portugal, again mid '80s. The sat nav system here is fitted to the bonnet of a rental Renault 5. This modified version includes significant up-grades including the provision of bread rations to sustain adventurers. I notice the positon indicator has a more manicured and altogether more feminine appearence. Not sure about the fags but they could be Fortuna

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sat Nav

This is the satelite navigation system installed on the bonnet of my '76 Dyane 6. No doubt you've recognised the Ronis car keys as favoured by M. Citroen. This picture was actually taken in July 1984 at some point in an expedition that required much taking of wine and food - this may become a common thread. It is worth pointing out that I have run in the region of 25 Citroens over the years and no doubt some will feature in these pages over the coming months.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A start

I have fired up this picture by way of a start. I happen to be engrossed in a long drawn out rebuild of a Series 2A and the process bears a not inconsiderable resemblance to my blog publishing. As you can see this is what is known in the trade as a "fresh air" workshop (garden). Out of shot is a very decrepit chain hoist tied to the loader bucket on the front of my 434 International.

The title of this blog would suggest a leaning toward transport or engineering as a background but I am sure this will prove not to be the case. The theme was actually inspired by some 16mm footage I saw years ago of blackthorn scrubland being re-claimed to agriculture in the '50s employing horses, traction engines and crawler tractors all working alongside each other - what a fantastic representation of the first half of the twentieth century.

My favourite observation of the last few days would be the scene I came across in my local on Saturday - I did not have a camera with me or you would be able to share the very vivid image I carry in my head - ( now blogging, I will of course be sporting a camera at all times). The image is of a pub table littered with the usual accoutrements of a lunch time social, a pair of pewter pint pots, one a little new for my taste but the other proudly displaying perhaps a century's patina and a few dents, mid-game card hands face down, cribbage score board looking pretty even, (un-used Swan Vestas of course) and an open packet of B&H. The latter giving us the clue as to the where-abouts of the two card card players - outside having a fag ! Poor sods.