After two and half years of relatively intensive work on the Hillman culminating in our adventure to Angouleme, it was a bit difficult to get back into the swing of things. Firstly, the car had to be attended to because it had become increasingly difficult to start as time wore on and also, a curious clicking had developed between Rouen and Calais. While we had oil pressure and the water temperature was steady, we pressed on and once we were back on English roads, the surfaces being so bad, it was impossible to hear anything over the road noise in any case.
This was the clicking noise we heard. All the exhaust gaskets were completely shot but fortunately I had another set and, after fitting them, a trip to the VSCC races at Snetterton confirmed that all was well again. The starting problem (I really didn’t think I was going to make it to the Channel Tunnel train after switching off in the queue) was cured immediately by fitting a second starter motor – a spare I’m lucky to have because they’re peculiar to that engine and consequently very rare. The faulty motor has gone down to the shop to be sorted out.
A constant niggle in the back of my mind was whether the back axle was going to stand the pace – especially as I’d assembled it from a variety of bits and pieces of unknown origin. I’ve got a complete rear axle which looks untouched from new and although it’s not a pretty sight, I think the internals will be ok; at least they’ll have been matched together at the factory. Some lateral movement by the pinion in the pinion carrier has developed in the 1800 or so miles we’ve done and I might also have to consider balancing the propshaft. My original thought was that it was too short to be of any consequence but if that’s the cause of the play, it’ll be worth attending to. I’ll also pay careful attention to the pinion carrier’s assembly this time round because I recall that it was a bit of a puzzle trying to get it back together with all the right fits and clearances.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Learned Counsel and The Navigator had been busy. The Jowett Jalopy’s seat is nearly complete and looks as good as new; just the armrest to finish off and install (the tricky bit) and some tidying up round the edges.
The bodywork has progressed to the point of fitting all the bits back together again and the cellulose paintwork really sets the car off; to see a period car finished in 2-pack is a bit like listening to a digital rehash of The Spiders From Mars – it just don’t cut the mustard.
You’ll have to imagine that the Jowett is BRG – I’ve always hated using a flash but sometimes there’s no way round it.
And finally, before I start the new project, I’d like to thank all the people who had a hand in ‘The Monaco Dash’. These things are never done in isolation and everyone who contributed to the success of the adventure has my heartfelt thanks – not least The Ambassador’s Daughter who in the final stages, rolled her sleeves up and got stuck in, making sure that we’d get to the start line on time.