Time Out.

The reason I was so keen to get all the engine mounts done by the end of last week was that this week and for the next 2 weeks, I am again taking up my duties as a humble plongeur in the Pays Basque.

In my haste, I didn’t properly think through the radiator mount and I’ve ended up having to take out the centre support strut which happens to lie directly in the path of the starting handle. I don’t anticipate using the starting handle but for re-timing and so forth, it’s a handy facility. The centre strut is very awkward to get at and in fact, I haven’t quite finished the job – I need a 12” diameter cutting disc or some such to cut all the way through and a 6” disc was the only one to hand at the time. Putting that aside, I’ve welded up the wings on the rear gearbox clamp and as soon as I’m home, I’ll collect the plates from the laser people and get those welded on as well.

Whilst I’m away, I’ll be dreaming up a design for the dashboard and thinking out all the various controls. Obviously I won’t need the advance and retard lever to perform its stated duty; it’ll probably become the choke. The throttle lever will be employed as advertised and the instruments will be the usual array that gives cause for continual concern and occasional alarm.

I may introduce 2 more unusual controls, an exhaust director lever and a hot air lever for the carburettor. (I’m often plagued with carb icing on the Austin although that’s more as a consequence of my intake design than atmospheric conditions). The exhaust director will allow the driver to choose whether the exhaust goes through the silencer (for the discreet entrance) or straight through for the impressive departure á la Bugatti. The carb air control will give me the edge over the Jowett when the dew point and air temperature come together in the foothills of the Alps (I’ll be keeping that information to myself of course). So, there’ll be lots to do and see in the cockpit.

Which reminds me; I haven’t given a lot of thought to the position of the gearlever. On the right would be the favourite for the period of the car – as it was originally – but I find this arrangement both awkward and potentially intrusive; in getting in from the driver’s side, if the handbrake doesn’t, the gear lever will go up your trouser leg.

Perhaps I’ll omit the door on the driver’s side and thus preclude the trouser event altogether.


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