The Extra Hour…

… last Sunday wasn’t wasted lying about in bed. Breakfast was scheduled for 9.00am, 46 miles away in Southwold. There’s a charming cafe on the harbour which opens at 8.00am (that would be pushing it). Stupidly, I didn’t take any pictures and only when we left did I think to get a couple of snaps of our fellow early risers.

Southwold Harbour

Leon’s A7 Special was followed by Awkward’s Avon Special and behind him a TVR. In front of us was a very fast Model T.

Southwold 2

Which reminds me that I must do something about the Special Builders Union badge that I should have mounted on the Hillman by now. When you’re invited to become a member of the SBU, it’s simply not the thing to take at all casually.


Rather like bread making. It’s impossible for me to determine whether or not my next loaf is going to be a success so, when a near perfect loaf emerges from the machine, I’m inclined to record the event. I think the rather random sizes and shapes of the loaves are influenced by the weather – specifically the moisture levels of the various flours I use and, if I was a bit more particular about the conditions of their storage, the results might be more consistent.

Austin controls

The Austin’s clutch pedal had shifted round its shaft over time and engaging gears was beginning to get tricky. The next time the engine comes out would be a good time to modify the current clamping arrangement to include a more positive locating device – a pin for instance. The clamping nut has to be done up extremely tightly and it’s one of those situations where stripping a thread is a possibility. That would mean engine out – a job I don’t need just now.

Austin floor

Considering the car is now about 7 1/2 years old and rain, snow, ice and all the rest has never stopped me using it, the underneath is in pretty good shape. Powder coating, several coats of a good quality yacht varnish plus Bear Grease on the nuts and bolts has paid off.

Austin model bonnet

I’m still toying with the idea of painting ‘Austin’ on the bonnet; it looks good on the model.

Throttle linkage

One of the things that came to light whilst the Hillman was on the rolling road was that the throttle linkage was allowing the butterfly to open only half way. I modified one of the levers which gave some improvement but, the heart of the problem is the dog-legged link from the pedal to the first lever. There’s too much lost motion. I may have to go to a cable at this point because the clutch pedal, when depressed, precludes the extension of the throttle lever shaft to give a straight drop to the accelerator pedal. Rather than fiddle about with it and as the weather was quite extraordinary for the 1st of November,

1st November 2014

the local VSCC meeting beckoned so, with the prospect of an excellent beef and horseradish sandwich for lunch, The Ambassador’s Daughter and I set off. The car I would have most liked to have taken home with me this month was a difficult choice; this splendidly original Rolls Royce or,

Rolls Royce

this Derby Bentley…

Derby Bentley

… neither of which I could have afforded to run. We moved on to The Great Collector’s tea party where the Hillman was parked next to one of the cars which provided inspiration for the project – a Vauxhall – and which I’d never seen with its hood up.


All in all, a grand couple of days out but a distinct lack of progress on the racing car. A couple of extra hours in the day would be handy.


2 comments on “The Extra Hour…

  1. Ritchie says:

    How many members does your Union have? Would you like another one?

  2. I’ll try and find the details – I was invited to join a while back.

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