Developments.

I don’t know what inspired me to at last extractum digitum but the sun was out and I found myself with a bit of cardboard in my hand.

Austin wings

I’ve yet to decide on the mixing of styles but I can attend to the rear guards if the combination isn’t so easy on the eye. I had a bit of 1mm aluminium and whizzed out a couple of shapes with a bit extra round the sides to accommodate the wiring of the edges. There’s always plenty of fencing wire in odd corners round the farm so I had everything I needed bar the wheeling machine.

Austin wings

Very Learned Counsel had kindly offered me the use of his wheel but I’d discovered another whose owner was equally generous and not far from both the laser cutting people and (importantly) the Norfolk butcher.

First attempt

I’d never used an English Wheel before and was looking forward to the fun. ‘The work’s done on the back stroke – you’ll get the hang of it’, was the extent of my instruction and, like the advice I was given before I went for helicopter lessons – ‘don’t look in the cockpit, just keep your eyes on the furthest horizon’, this seemed to do the trick.

Austin wings

Of course, wise words don’t preclude you from getting in a muddle but the man who never made a mistake, never made nothin’. In my enthusiasm I over-worked one of the panels but managed to sort of pull it back and called it a day before I got myself in a real jam.

Jury rig

I quite like the look because it gives the front of the car a bit of width – something it had always lacked. Still, I’ve yet to get the fitting right and then wire the edges which will throw the whole lot out of kilter again if I don’t pay attention.

Austin wings

In a bid to pick up a few more handy hints and tips I’ve ordered an American publication, ‘Learning the English Wheel’. In it are pictures of the author’s work on the replica Hughes H-1 racer and he seems to have made a decent fist of that so I’m in good hands.

Coventry Climax

Leon’s Coventry Climax installation is nearing completion as he fabricates the manifolds in stainless steel. That should give the exhaust note a pleasing ring.

Brands Hatch

A day’s racing at Brands Hatch with Learned Counsel provided plenty of entertainment and was a reminder that if I don’t hurry up and go for my racing driving test, I’m going to miss out on the Le Mans Classic in 2018. Luckily, Snetterton is practically on my doorstep and there’s an organisation there which is affiliated to the Motor Sports Association (MSA) and who can conduct the test.

It’ll be back to bread and scrape for the foreseeable; not an entirely welcome development.

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11 comments on “Developments.

  1. what’s this ‘wire the edges’ bit Nigel ?

    • Hello Robert,
      I’ve got to roll some fencing wire into the edges of the wings to give them rigidity. Just folding over the edge isn’t really good enough. I did the same for the cockpit on the Hillman.

      • oh i see , so you fold a right angle flange ,lay the wire in the v ,and fold over the rest of the way to make a fatter section than just a folded edge ?

      • That’s exactly it. I’m told that you should scribe a guide line two and a half times the thickness of the wire you’re using to get the right fold. I might do an experiment first at two and a quarter as it’s a bit difficult to get rid of surplus once you’ve bent it round the wire. It might help to anneal the edge as well.

      • thank you Nigel ,very very interesting . i am getting to the body work stage now too.

  2. Thanks Martin – the pictures are quite flattering!

  3. Simon Jansen says:

    I just got that book also (and an English Wheel) but have yet to have a go with either! Need to get all sorted out again in a new house and garage so I am still setting everything up.

  4. Simon Jansen says:

    I have 50% more house space but slightly less garage space but with careful organisation I can fit everything in. So the garage houses the MZG, which I park outside when working on other things, the Austin special I need to finish and the Riley Brooklands I need to start. I have the engine for that on a stand now ready to be stripped and checked. It’s sorting out everything else that’s taking time. Shelving and where to put things. And now being in a town prone to earthquakes I need to make sure everything is secured to the walls! Should update my blog sometime soon.

    Will look for that book. Having another reference won’t hurt.

  5. Simon Jansen says:

    That is MGB sorry!

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