… just something to keep the old synapses snapping away. I thought I’d investigate the possibility of converting the Hillman’s front drum brakes to discs – that should help. The brakes as they stand, with a bit of hydraulic assistance to the old pushrod system, are quite good – almost as good as my first car’s brakes (a 1962 Mini) but it would be nice to have a bit of extra stopping power for the inevitable emergency.
I popped along to The Great Collector’s spares department and hauled out a front hub, drum and backplate to test out a few ideas on the bench. Measuring up took an age – as you can imagine – but at last I got some idea of how much room I had to play with; not much. The disc part of the brake I’m not really concerned about because I can always fabricate that to suit the position of the caliper. It was the mounting of the caliper and getting one as slim as possible that would stop a vehicle that, fully loaded, weighed in at 1100kg and could be discreetly tucked away and covered up with a racy, ribbed aluminium faux brake drum (I would put them on all four wheels in the interests of balance – both aesthetically and to preserve the corner weights as much as possible).
I know my sketch isn’t terribly clear and I certainly wouldn’t scale from the drawing, but this is where I got to at close of play. I’ve drawn the caliper mounted horizontally on top of the disc – it would be on one of the sides – but that’s so I can see what’s meant to be going on. The radial mount caliper I’ve selected is one of the Wilwood range; their website has a convenient set of dimensional drawings to study, but I think I’ll run this by Learned Counsel before I get too far down the road – he’s bound to set me straight.
Talking of whom; he slipped off with Counsel early one morning and bought this Healey 100/6. I haven’t seen it in the flesh as yet, though by all accounts, it’s a jolly nice one.
That explained why he roped me in the other day to get his Austin 10 going; he must be making room for his new toy.
Many years ago I got the urge to do have a go at carving. I managed to get hold of a very nice piece of lime and set to work. I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and the result has been sitting on a bookcase looking at me for the last 20 years. I glanced at it the other day and was reminded that my PPL hadn’t got long to go before it would be at the point of no return and I’d have to take all the exams if I ever wanted to go flying again. The thought was also prompted by a visit from an old flying chum who was putting his Pitts Special back together.
The local flying club’s only over the hedge from me, so I popped in on the way back from town; just to get the lay of the land you’ll understand, purely research of course….