Hats Off.

I know there’s a bit of a way to go and it’s not unusual to have a couple of inches of snow at Easter but, for the first time this year I was able to go out this morning in the Hillman without a hat and in the late afternoon, as it hadn’t had a run for a couple of months, I took the Austin to the shops because, rather at the last-minute, I’d invited the owners of the Riley racing car to come and discuss the progress over supper; there was nothing in the house and only 2 hours to go.

radius arm bush assembly

Assembling and welding up new parts is one of the great joys of this life – especially if it goes according to your expectations. I TIG-brazed the bush holders and welded the lugs at the other end using stainless steel filler rods – my preference for welding mild steel.

Jury rigged arm

I won’t weld the lugs to the casing until I’m satisfied that the frame and axles are square, so the arms are jury-rigged for the time being. The half-shafts are apparently somewhere in the depths of the owner’s store and when I collect the engine block we’ll have a root around for them.

Spring mounting

This isn’t a terribly clear picture but if you can imagine the underside of the quarter-eliptic, on the head of the leaf retaining bolt there’s a button which fits into one of these holes in the spring holder. Someone in the past had bored the hole in the wrong place, plugged it up but hadn’t re-made the hole. That was a bit of a task as it had to be accurate and a snug fit. I didn’t have an exact size drill or hole-cutter so I went one size up and sleeved the hole to fit the button. The steel sleeve will be welded to the casting when the chassis’s on wheels and I’m able take it up to the workshop. I’ve welded on carpet before but it’s a bit dopey.

Front spring plate

During my jolly to the local VSCC meet, I noticed a mid-30’s Riley Special and had a quick look at the front spring retaining bolts. They’re ‘U’ bolts but with squared corners. I’m not sure I like that idea on a racing car – it’s probably perfectly alright and might be better if everything’s a snug fit but I’d rather have four bolts and a plate.

Nickel plating

And when I got home I saw that, over the winter and despite the car being in use, the handbrake mechanism had gone rusty. I’d originally meant to nickel plate the bright bits but hadn’t got round to it for lack of time. I think I need to get some fresh solution as it didn’t really work very well and for some reason or other which I’ve yet to work out, I couldn’t for the life of me get the metal clean enough for the copper plating to take; it just kept falling off in sheets. I’ll have to go back to the books, which reminds me – the very clever chap who I met in Cape Cod just before Christmas, sent me ‘Electroplating For Engineering Technicians’.

Well, if the hat fits….




2 comments on “Hats Off.

  1. Matthew says:

    Hello Nigel
    I too made plates to replace the U-bolts on my 12/4, you are not alone in doing this. In-case you are interested the the front axle number starting with 69*** indicates it is Riley Nine.

  2. Hello Matthew,
    I had expected a bit of flak for the plates but it’s nice to know I’m not the first! The axle number is 69017.

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