Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year, New Fun!

It's been all change over the last few months, family and work, nothing acrimonious tho!
 Being self employed, home changes can effect work and vice versa. For a while it was really difficult to keep up in both areas.
But now we are all sorted although work has backed up considerably so lots of head down to catch up!
During all of this time I guess the underlying stress levels increase and although I try not to allow it to show, my wife spotted my inner tension! She insisted I should really set some time toward my own projects and we agreed that would be a good idea, but how and when? Later she slipped a note through the workshop door and dashed off. It asked a few simple questions
When is the first race? What do I need? Goggles, kidney belt etc and where to apply for licence? (how lucky am I to have a wife with that outlook).
She was talking about the fact that for the last 30 years I had always felt that I had just adjourned Motocross and had fully expected to go back! The reason that I had stopped was still with me, that is some quite bad right knee damage and as I get older, some quite bad psychological fear of tight right hand corners Or anything that might punt the knee!
But, what if I were to do pre 65 motocross? The tracks are certainly more friendly, a 250 would not be too aggressive and surely a small club level would be laid back fun!
Now we have a plan.
Next step was to find a club and there on my doorstep was the famously friendly Dorset Classic Scramble Club
Now for the bike, I mentioned that I have very little time and cannot really afford to go out and buy something ready to race. There in my workshop is my own C15 T BSA project. That will do just fine to go and have some fun without too great an investment.
As you will have seen I am already building another C15 into an "Otter" trials special for a customer. During the sourcing of parts for this, I was introduced to Terry Weedy of Avery Products near Southampton.
Terry is the person to go and see if it's british scrambles and trials you are interested in.
 So my own C15 engine is back on the bench for some closer scrutiny. The plan is to fit a C15 MX Cam (they are a little more difficult to find now), The inlet valve on the C15T is already slightly bigger than the stock bike. I have found a new 10:1 CR piston. The ports in my head are already dressed and I have new bronze guides, slightly modified to suit.. I don't want to go too large on carb and ports because I think an engine with bottom to mid power would suit me (to point and squirt through those scary right handers).
The downside of my engine is the early version timing side bushed  main bearing, known to be a weak spot. The cost of modification by Alpha bearings is too high for my current budget but maybe I can ease the situation by having a special "White Metal" version. Because I work with this type of bearing most of the time (, I have a great deal of respect for the material robustness even when used in extreme 30's and 50s racecars and aircraft engines. Any way it's worth a go. Lubrication will be Castrol R of course.
The frame is the second generation T which I understand was designed for scrambles originally. Certainly it will be fine to start on.
Wheels on my T are the same as the American export model, they have large brake drums and are really heavy. I have a rear Bultaco or similar wheel which is much lighter and should go in without too much trouble. The front may be a Cub or Bantam type laced to an old 21" alloy rim that I have. It always pays to hoard!

Here's some pictures for inspiration.Not C15 scrambles but you get the idea. As I seem to be getting to know these little 250s, the little flat tracker may be something for the future.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

1932 Bucciali TAV 12

I cannot claim to have worked on this car but it was in the workshop of a company I once worked for.
It is the most imposing, burlesque fantasy car I have ever seen. Powered by a Voison V12 sleeve valve, it seemed to suffer from the typical heavy oil smoke problem, typical of sleeve valves.

I hope don't mind my use of this image that captures the style perfectly.

Monday, 5 December 2011

B O N N E F I C A T I O N: Co-Built Film

B O N N E F I C A T I O N: Co-Built Film: Dael who contributes to Bonnefication has made a very nicely put-together film about the Co-Built guys who are currently working on his T...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sorry for limited recent posts.

I've been a bit busy with home and work stuff at the moment, sorry for for the limited posts and the lack of effort recently, don't stop looking in I will be writing again soon.
Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Older Workshop Photos

Aston Martin 15/98

As this car will be returning to my workshop for the last engine details and finishing, I thought I would show a few more photos of the engine build. This car has been dismantled for over 55 years and exposed to the weather for a lot of this time.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Friday, 14 October 2011

P51 Mustang, "Big Beautiful Doll"

One of my favourite aircraft and favourite paint designs. This was taken in Shoreham 2 years ago. Sadly I think she ended her days this summer in Duxford after a mid air collision. Luckily the pilot survived from a very low bailout.

*: flat

*: flat

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

George Brown, Nero And Super Nero

Imagine, having had a successful lifetime of motorcycles and motorcycle racing, top results in  the TT and major meetings, miles of factory test riding and development of some of the fastest production motorcycles. Then, in middle age to wrestle with time and distance, becoming a (motorcycle) household name in sprinting and record breaking. And right at the pinnacle of record breaking success to be told "55! you are too old to obtain world records".
That was the story for George Brown, lucky for all who believed in him, he didn't take "no" for an answer.

George and his brother Cliff, were two gifted and intuitive engineers who, through the 50's 60's and early 70's,  single mindedly built very fine world beating Vincent specials. .

Cliff wrote a book of their exciting and creative time together, George Brown: Sprint Superstar, published by Haynes ISBN 0 85429 295 0.
So often I read this through, Cliff's words were a definite prompt toward building my own sprint bike and to hopefully return to it when times become a little quieter!

There is a picture on the back cover of the book that must perfectly illustrate a single minded team and their search for just one more world record. George is sitting on Nero (with sidecar) on a huge open runway, perspective and vanishing points reach out and pull you into the water ridden, dawn breaking scene of waiting, alone...

I took the following photographs of Nero and Super Nero at North Weald during a classic sprint in the late 80's. Pure and purposeful racing machine.

Monday, 3 October 2011

BMW Cafe Racer Approval

A recent visit from my older brother brought a smile of approval of the Cafe Racer.

 Mike, along with my other older brother were both from the day of cafe racers. One AJS mounted and the other Norton mounted.The goggles on my helmet belonged to the eldest brother. Mike has also just reminded me of the Ace of Clubs/ Shamrock design used on their helmets.Watch this space!

Triumph 595 Handlebar Modification

This modification has been for a friend who was expecting to do a lot of touring through France. He had heard that if you swap the bars from side to side and with some small alteration you can raise their position by several inches.
We had to reposition the pinch bolt location groove in each bar and drill and tap an M6 location for the brake reservoir.
The mod worked very well, with plenty of clearance around the fairing and fuel tank.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New Project, BSA C15 Trials Special.

This is a really nice project.
The owner of this '61 C15 would like a conversion to transform it in to a gleaming, jewel like trials bike.

Bit of a shame to pull her apart though.

What Hides Beneath?

This morning I stopped to walk my dog near to my old home area on the edge of the cotswolds. The September weather at it's best giving a warm wind and perfect clear air.

The quiet stream meandering it's way through serene English countryside in a timeless scene.......... And then I look back over my shoulder, there, unexpectedly but poignantly, among the carefully manicured paddocks, is a suggestion of some of the turmoil that this postcard backdrop may hide.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Brighton, Ace Cafe Run

Some nice bikes at Brighton today, couldn't go on my cafe racer because I had to combine the trip with collecting some work parts. Really nice afternoon and met up with an old friend out of the blue.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Online Bike Magazine "Sump"

I may have been a bit backward here, but I have just discovered this online magazine...Sump