…at least, that’s what I thought he said. We continued our conversation and I thought no more about it.

I’m gradually nailing stuff on; the gearbox mount and handbrake are complete  – apart from the plating on the brake lever details.

The red tape marks the forward position of the front seat.

Then I hit a bit of a snag on the steering. Firstly, in order to make use of the Hillman drag link, I had to turn down the taper on the ball so that it fitted into the Ford ‘B’ drop arm. I take back everything murderous that I was thinking about my little Portass lathe; it came through like a good ‘un and once I was through the age-hardened outer layer of the taper, it cut away merrily, if slowly.

So, that was that bit done. Then there was quite a lot of work cleaning up both the outside and internal tapered splines to coax the arm onto the sector shaft. You’ll remember that the Hillman box was bolted to the block so the drop arm ball faced outwards. The Ford box is being mounted on the chassis rail and the drop arm ball faces inwards – which is how I want it. But, offering up the whole shebang, I realise that the drag link sockets are not so conveniently arranged . I’ll have to cut the link in half, turn one end 180 degrees and put it back together again to make it work. I say I’m going to cut the link because having examined the socket ends, I don’t think I’d get one of those off very easily; they seem to be shrunk on.

Then, as if that were not enough, I revisited the Hillman drop arms:

The top one came from the car, the middle one is a spare 1929 one and the bottom one is the Ford. I comfort myself with the thought that the original one is the same length as the new Ford one but, why did Hillman change to the longer version? Steering too heavy? Probably. The Hillman box is worm and gear whilst the Ford box is worm and sector – I haven’t a clue what the pro’s and con’s of the two set-ups are. I think it’ll be one of those suck-it-and-see jobs. It’s not difficult to change if I find I can turn the wheel at speeds only in excess of 20mph…..

The material for the brake shaft bearings came in the post but with the bigger lathe out of commission until I’ve sorted this chattering out, I’m a bit stuck ( if I try to chuck 32mm brass round bar on the Portass, it’ll fall over). I’ll slip down the road and borrow Chumley’s lathe while he’s got his face in the trough.

And then, as I was dreaming about the brake lever with all the nice newly plated nickel bits, I realised what the man was talking about – concours!

Conkers….  stupid boy.


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