Cool Runnings

It’s been some time since my last post, the problem being that I have retired or I’m between jobs one or the other and it seems that my time management is still in its infancy.


Original – New Core No.1 – New Core No.2

Nearly three years ago, I purchased a 1925 Lancia Lambda, from the first test drive it has run hot especially at speed, the radiator was an original one although probably not the original one, it wept from various places and showed evidence of many ad hoc repairs.  So after a trip or two to a recommended radiator man I had a shiny new radiator ….. the car still ran hot.  To cut a long story short after bringing the water pump back to standard spec, removing the head and applying a few pipes to relieve stream from pockets thitherto

Pic with thermal camera with first new core fitted

Thermal camera picture with first new core fitted

Taken with Nexus 6, Android 7.0

New Core No.1, looks good but alas no

unknown.  The car still ran hot.  I had eliminated everything or so I thought.  As is so often the case the actual fault was found by accident.  While lamenting my plight over the phone to a fellow Lambda owner with both of us staring into our respective radiator cap openings it became apparent that my new core was very low on tubes, a very poor design in fact so poor it was no better than the original knackered one.  So today with the help of Jim the local radiator bloke who soldered in a tropical core I have reinstalled the radiator this one has staggered tubes and more fins ( 10 tubes per inch instead of 4 and 11 fins per inch where there was only 7).  It appears that my temperature gauge is now broken as it no longer moves, a much better problem to have.


Bob’s new and my old bits


Brackets ready for welding

The Bebe Peugeot has been languishing in a corner of the shed with a small list of to-dos standing in the way of the great open road.  For instance, the front mudguards mounts were completely wrong and very flimsy, the car was also missing the small “Modesty” panel that covers her back end and the clutch needed relining.  Luckily Bob had parts I could use as templates and as I was relining the clutch I could trade all the clutch parts he needs to duplicate for the parts I need to duplicate so for the last week I have been bending, grinding and welding while Bob has been turning good pieces of steel and bass into Bebe clutch parts and lots of swarf.

The Sizaire et Naudin is at last complete again after the front end was completely rebuilt, I’m just going over it so it’s ready for sale, having crossed Australia from west to east and from south to north it’s time for someone else to try another continent to cross or maybe Australia diagonally?


There is a sparkplug in that grass somewhere

Back in 2003 I bought a rough Traction Avant to participate in a 2CV Raid to central Australia this involved fitting a ID19 engine and 4 speed gearbox and apart from some roadside welding with some car batteries, the car went well on the Raid and subsequently went to Perth with no problems, however all good things usually come to an end and the poor old thing suffered the ignominy of returning home on a flatbed truck twice in the last few months.  First when a spark plug blew out of the head hit the bonnet and disappeared never to be found and second when the 3 of the 4 bolts holding the inner driveshaft flange on fell off again never to be found.  Nothing that good maintenance by yours truly would have prevented.

Posted in Bebe Peugeot, Citroen 11BL, Sizaire Naudin, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Joy of the Weld

pano_20160903_091745Our abbreviated Grand Tour of Europe is now complete so the Lambda is patiently waiting at Cars UK for an available berth back to Australia, she will not be required to work her passage having hauled us over Swiss alpine passes, through scorching southern French valleys and at least 1000 crap gear changes by yours truly.  Repetition of a roundabout every 5 Km has improved my down changes although the Lambda gearbox is a testament to the Lancia engineers who must have had me in mind when they designed it.

colour-sectionMeanwhile I have been filling my time getting the Bebe running with it’s new carburetor and after drilling the idle jet to .050 mm  it now runs and idles, it also smokes a lot but how do you tell a 103 year old to give up?  The next thing is to stop  the clutch dragging as it’s nearly impossible to get into gear while stationary not helped by the gear linkage having lovely little leaf springs between the lever and the gearbox preventing the ham fisted from jamming it into gear when it’s not ready.

img_20161017_183138Which brings me to the Austin 7.  I suppose the lesson here is never buy a car sight unseen although making sensible and measured decisions has never come easily when it comes to cars.  That said this Austin is a real stinker giving me the opportunity to be conversant with every aspect of the car, quite an opportunity.  As you can see I am down to the chassis, the new MIG welder at last has seen some duty stitching a plate to “box” the top hat section with a mild swiss cheese effect via the hole saw… more holes to come.  Remember Colin Chapman started with one of these although his hole to metal ratio was somewhat different.

Just in from David R. something I should aspire to?


Posted in Austin 7 Special, Bebe Peugeot, Lancia Lambda | 5 Comments

Austin Seven

The Lambda has just left for the European Grand Tour, previously the Bug emigrated to the US, the Lotus although still in the shed is destined for South Australia and I am now motorcycles-less. I have been left with a hole or three in the shed and time on my hands so if not to do the devil’s work a new project was needed. (although some would say an Austin Seven is the Devil’s work)
It seems that everyone I know has had an Austin Seven at one time or another although it must be said that usually it was when they were young, broke or both. However, when I started to drive in the early seventies a dearth of cheap under-powered motoring was no longer the Austin 7 but truly terrible cars that were not just under-powered but over weight as well.
So after winning a gruelling Ebay auction where apparently all sense of proportion and reason left me a 1935 Austin 7 Special has duly arrived at the Altona North Toll depot after its long trip from Darwin. Although none the worse for wear it certainly would not have made it under its own steam. A week or two later a long list has been compiled and I’m just starting to realise that the initial cost of the car may be the cheapest part.
The basics are good however it seems that the basics were built by one person who thought things through and the rest was thrown together by someone else.  So it needs to be un-thrown together and that is where I am now.   In a masochistic way the rectification is  proving to be quite satisfying.



Posted in Austin 7 Special | 2 Comments