But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
I was up early on Christmas morning and wondering whether I was going to make it to the roll-out. Having got the back axle together again – this time the right way up and the right way round – the blinkin’ halfshaft was shorter but still 3/4″ too long! I went back to what information I had to hand and discovered that the halfshaft I’d selected to replace the sawn-off one, was in fact the one for the other side and the quiver of halfshafts that I thought were all from much earlier axles and thus too short, were in fact the right ones. So now I had a choice and unbeknown to me at the time, a spare halfshaft for each side. Splendid. Those will go in the bag with the knife-fork-spoon-razor-comb and toothbrush, ready for the Monaco Dash.
These repeat performances might have become rather irksome but, in all this I had the right tool for the job. In my father’s tool box was a ‘C’ spanner, what’s more, a Rolls-Royce ‘C’ spanner. This spanner had been with him throughout the war from Redhill to the Sudan. I’m jolly pleased to be its current custodian because there’s nothing worse than chewing up the ears of a locking ring with a hammer and screwdriver.
With the axle complete bar the hubs and drums (easier to fit with the axle on the car) I enlisted the help of my landlord who happened to be passing and between us we lugged the axle onto a wheelbarrow and I trundled off to the assembly shop…..
….where, with the aid of Learned Counsel to take the weight and a scissor jack to spread the springs, the axle leapt into the chassis. That reminds me; the whole problem with the rear axle and its assembling started when I assumed – despite looking at the tourer – that the axle hung beneath the springs. It doesn’t. In making this assumption, even the brake shafts and their respective levers end up on the wrong side and pointing in the wrong direction.
The hubs and drums went together without too many tears and then the wheels went on. I didn’t add the brake shoes as I didn’t want to struggle half the night and most of Boxing Day getting them all teed up. The return springs had seen better days so that little job can wait.
By the evening of the 27th, after making a couple of adjustments to the instrument panel bulkhead and jury-rigging the steering column, the Hillman was ready for the roll-out. As was Learned Counsel’s Jowett Jetpack. I thought there was a lot of activity and buzzing about but I hadn’t really taken a great deal of notice being quite busy with the Special. In fact, we’d elected to hold a joint roll-out ceremony as the two cars had come from the same garden a year ago. But I had my doubts. The Jetpack is a much more complex affair and has three times the bits to remember where they came from. All the complicated stuff has gone back in the right places…
but he seems to have forgotten something…
As it turned out, the weather for the 28th was forecast to be pretty diabolical so the Grand Ceremony was postponed until the 29th – a year and a day; much more poetic somehow. The rain held off until 3-ish and a few chums gathered to witness the roll-out and tuck into biscuits and coffee. The Hillman rolled a bit further than the Jowett but nevertheless, both cars were seen to roll so, mission accomplished and honour preserved.
And finally, the roll-out crew..
To everyone who has visited and continues to visit this blog, thank you for your support and all the very best for 2013.