Tra La II

Learned Counsel and I are not the only ones who’ve been busy; The Great Collector’s been beavering away in the small hours to make ready for its first outing, his 1905 Darracq.

Appropriately enough, the Darracq arrived on the anniversary of D-Day, 2011. Its previous owner had had it for some years; he’d built the body and mocked up some plywood mudguards, but other ancients in his collection were clamouring for attention and so it passed to The Great Collector. There were a few bits missing and a few bits to be made; a lot of work on the engine and gearbox, upholstery, paint etc and the task was started in earnest the following day.

1905 Darracq

And the 5th of January saw the Darracq on the road a day under 20 months later. Started first swing as well…  splendid effort; Champers and applause all round.

First Outing

You’ll recall the announcement of my New Year’s Schedule of Works? Well, it didn’t take long and the first thing that’s gone out the window was the plan. So that was a lot of nonsense. I’ve actually started on the radiator; cleaning up the old shell, soldering on new bonnet supports and next I’ll drill the flange for mounting the new aluminium core.

Radiator shell flanges

And before that I cleaned up the carburettor which was plastered in yuk…

Carb before

Come up nice look…

Carb after

The same treatment was accorded the fuel pump – I found that I had a suitable SU although I haven’t put the battery across it yet – looks alright though. The other thing which distracted me from the schedule was the instrument panel. I’ve been sketching layouts in my note-book but there’s nothing like having the thing in front of you to play with. I’ll get out my engine-turning machine and knock up a decorated aluminium sheet one evening very soon. Having a panel to look at and a steering wheel to turn is always a great inspiration – the car starts to come alive.

Instrument panel bulkhead

I was flicking through the pics from the roll-out the other day and one was particularly interesting. I started out with the idea of building an aero-engined special but, as you know, that was beyond my reach financially. Looking at this picture, I’m happy that at least that plan is in essence still very much on track despite not having an aero-engine and, whatever happens with the Monaco body, if I want to re-body the car for racing, the basics are there to create a potentially pretty lairy beast.

Front offside

Talking of steering – well, I wasn’t but I am now – I’ve not been completely unfaithful to the Schedule of Works; I’ve pilot-drilled the chassis rail reinforcing plate which will stiffen the rail where I’m having to drill a big hole for the sector shaft as it exits the steering box. I’ve also got to introduce a wedge of some description to correct the angle of the box so that the column is parallel to the centreline of the car. I’ll slip along to Chumley with a half-dozen of Norfolk’s finest for that one – I’m due for a couple of days in Norfolk so I can get some sand-blasting done – the brake cylinder brackets and the carb levers – and visit the charming lady butcher.

Excellent; that’s a plan, definitely. Tra La!

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