Our 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.
Meanwhile 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.
Which 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?
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.
I have had the SU from the Lambda with Ian Ruffley for the last week as it was running so rich that even hot spark plugs (NGK B4ES) were carbon fouling. Ian found the following.
I have a reasonably recent SU it should not have a vent in the dashpot cap as it already has an internal vent so the dashpot circuit had a permanent leak.
The main jet was oval as it had not been centred.
The thottle butterfly had been replaced at some time but it didn’t fit the hole.
Ian rectified all the above. Next I fitted the inlet manifold and took a photo as I couldn’t get my boofhead around the back of the engine and found a bit of a step between the head and the manifold. The Lambda has a reproduction aluminium head and it appears that things like studs and ports are not quite where they should be. It was suggested by Andrew C. that a half round file may do the job so I duly stuffed a rag into the inlet port and filed away, after a few trial fits all was good.
Carburettor was refitted and after Glenn pointed it out to me, spark plugs were also fitted (NGK B6ES). Choke on, hit the starter and immediately settled to a good idle.
At some point while we were cleaning up Glenn asked me if I had taken the rag out of the inlet port, he didn’t ask me this because he has a great memory it was just that about 2 metres behind the car were a couple of fragments that looked familiar…..