…. came from the glass blowers’ mural I found in Sweden the other week.

A quick sketch in my notebook saw the beginnings of a badge for ‘The Special Builder’s Breakfast Club’. I’d always wanted to do something to either paint or stick on the Hillman so, with a few hours to spare (my Mercedes was back in the garage with continuing electrical problems so I couldn’t go anywhere) I pressed ahead with the design.

Et voila!

I’m going to print a couple on clear acetate first to see how they look.

I finished the barrel hoist for my local pub – it just squeezed in with millimetres to spare – and it’s proved very successful. The green bit goes forward and backwards on rails and the hoist traverses left and right. I’ve just got to put the lower stills on runners so they can go in and out individually and I’m done.

I’m quite pleased with my barrel clamps – lifting the barrel locks the hooks under the rims and they’re impossible to remove until the barrel is put down again. In an effort to get as much done as possible before I go magnetising again, I’ve faced up and tackled all the little jobs on the Hillman that have been niggling away at me.

A new handbrake cable – the last one was too short and the lever was always too low to grab. I got in a complete muddle splicing the rope around the thimble; I couldn’t think how to do it – having done it for years on aircraft and so forth, this was a bit alarming. Anyway, I managed it in the end but it wasn’t pretty.

A new battery in the clock….

I reshaped the left-hand bonnet panel so it fitted better – not perfectly but quite acceptable…

… bolted down the fronts of the wooden bits under the bonnet to stop them lifting and rattling all the time….

… neatened up the transition from the bonnet hinge line to the top of the cockpit – I originally got the levels wrong and it didn’t dawn on me until the other day that this would be a good fix….

… and got rid of the step between the bonnet hinge and windscreen frame levels by adding a bit of aluminium bead I had floating about. I’ve also adjusted the steering box, taken a couple of millimetres off the flanges of the rear brake drums to stop them scraping on the backplates going round corners (it’s a ‘bitsa’ axle and there’s always been a slight problem with endfloat) and finally, touched up some rusty bits and given all the aluminium good polish.

Perhaps my next trip abroad will inspire me to design something for the radiator cap.


More Things To Do.

Yet another project, albeit a small one but even so, not without its complications. Four or five years ago, our village pub was closed and sold to a developer whose ideas didn’t really sit comfortably with the locals; a stale-mate ensued. Eventually the pub was sold to a local resident, restored and re-opened last year. One evening I was asked if I could give the landlord a hand lifting a barrel onto the stillage in the rather cramped cellar. It was an awkward job and really, some kind of hoist would have made the task much easier and, more importantly, independent of volunteers from the bar; a drink is the customary reward for these exertions. I said I would design and build something to fit in the space available but, more anon.

I haven’t started on the handbrake ratchet release system yet as I’ve been called away to Sweden. There’s 60km of cable to magnetise and so everything else has been put on hold. In the past we magneteers have driven to Karlskrona but this time the kit was sent on ahead and we took a flight to Kastrup, Copenhagen and hired a rather swish BMW to take us the rest of the way.

Very nice but, surprisingly, less refined than my 13 year-old Mercedes – no cruise control for instance, something a car of this calibre might certainly have – especially the automatic version. Of course, there’s every possibility that I just haven’t found it yet.


We’re working with the Maersk Connector; a giant of a ship complete with helicopter platform and, I’m informed, a flat bottom which, with its thrusters retracted, enables it to run up onto the beach to complete part of the cable connecting process. The downside of the flat bottom is the ship rolls about like a good’un in heavy seas..

She was a day late arriving so I had a bit of time to explore and drove up the east coast to see what Sweden had to offer. There were some charming little villages with harbours though I suspect most of the houses were holiday homes; they had that recently-abandoned-flip-flop air about them.

Before I left for Sweden, Learned Counsel and I aligned and welded the two parts of Project ‘Z’ to the frame of one of my workshop benches. Learned Counsel’s partner in this scheme, The Racing Driver, saw to it that the Kawasaki engine was removed to make way for a Honda 600 CBR, all the suspension components and the MX-5 diff came off and the work of rebuilding the cockpit section could begin.

Apparently, by the time I get back, the welding will be complete and then it’s up to me to get on with the body design as quickly as possible. Not knowing anything about fibre-glassing, I went with The Racing Driver to a place not too far away where all sorts of fibre-glassing activities were taking place – from car bodies to panels for (static) DH Mosquito’s. It was only about 10 miles away, next to a shop that built racing cars and I hadn’t a clue that either of them existed! Chap was very helpful and gave me a few pointers on building the buck.

On my return I shall first complete the stillage hoist; I know – shooting myself in the foot – but these things must be done.