It was good to receive some restoration news from a couple of SE members to help fill these notes. Please keep the news coming!
Dan Lehmann has been in touch to say that despite his work being very busy during the pandemic he has still found time to get on with the final stages of the restoration of his 1915 Ford T tourer. This is a Trafford built RHD car that was originally delivered to Glasgow in early 1915. It had been off the road for over 60 years and was in a dismantled state when acquired by Dan. His first job was to loosely assemble the car to check that everything was present before starting the restoration. The chassis is now restored and the body is well on its way to be finished. Luckily Dan had dropped the body at the paint shop just before the lockdown began. Dan is pleased to have been able to source genuine English parts to replace damaged or missing items. Dan has also been working on his 1916 Ford T ambulance and fettling his De Dion Bouton which I hope to be able to give you an update on next time.
Last time I reported that Ivan Odds had purchased the 1900 Clement from Tam Large. Clearly Ivan likes very small cars as the Clement joins his c.1900 Bruneau that he purchased last November at the Bonhams Brighton Run sale. Bruneau operated from premises at 12 Victor Hugo Street, Tours, in France. Here he built motorcycles, tricycles and quadrilettes, it being believed that only three of the latter were constructed. Up until 1902 Bruneau used De Dion Bouton engines and the quadrilette has an engine of 2.75hp. Ivan’s car is believed to be the only survivor of this model. The car remained with the original owner’s family until the early 1960’s. The next owner kept the car until 2015 when it was sold at auction in France. The next owner brought it to the UK and did some work, including changing the non-original looking tiller steering for a nice wood-rimmed steering wheel. When Ivan bought the car last November he became the car’s 4th owner in its 119 year history.
Shortly after buying the Hurtu Ivan, together with an engineer friend of his, was able to get the engine running but they decided that it needed some work so they removed it from the car. The friend took it away to his workshop and stripped it for inspection. All sorts of problems were discovered and it was clear that the engine has suffered a major mechanical failure at some point. A replacement aluminium piston had been poorly fitted and other problems hadn’t been touched so a comprehensive engine rebuild was required. One half of the cast aluminium crankcase was severely damaged and has now been extensively welded. New parts include driveshaft, crank pin, piston, inlet and exhaust valves, valve guide, and camshaft. At the same time the non-original chain driven magneto was removed and the correct De Dion contact breaker assembly was purchased from Aussie Parkinson. A problem was also found with the rear axle and repairs have been made to the crownwheel. At this point the engineer got distracted by a rather exciting looking vintage racing special so the engine and axle were hastily assembled and returned to Ivan Mike Sewell has offered to continue with the project to get the Bruneau running reliably and hopefully ready to take part in the Brighton Run this November. Mike has promised to update me with progress which I will report in the next Gazette.
Previously I mentioned that the South East Section have commissioned a new website which I had hoped would be in operation earlier this year. There have been some delays, mainly due to the lockdown, but it is now almost ready to go live and should be finished by the time you are reading this Gazette. The new site has a modern look to it and is compatible with all devices, be they computers, tablets or smart phones. Cressida de Little has done a massive amount of work assisting the web designer to build the site and we owe Cressida a huge thanks for this. The web designer obviously knows all about building websites but not about veteran cars so needed Cressida’s help. When our events are able to start again you will be able to download and print the entry and booking forms from the website. We intend to keep the site regularly updated with news, photographs and event reports so please visit it often. The web address is www.vccsoutheast.co.uk.
Finding companies to do one-off engineering jobs isn’t always easy so I would like to pass on a recommendation for one such company from two Sussex based veteran car owners. One was the manufacture of a new efficient braking system to replace a very crude and inefficient system. The other job involved extensive repairs to an Oldsmobile engine. Both owners were very pleased with the work and highly recommend the company. B&G Engineering are based on the side of the A24 at West Grinstead in West Sussex. They are happy to take on all types of work from simple small machining jobs to complex repairs. They can be contacted on 01403 864471 or visit their website www.bgmachining.co.uk.
David Ralph (Section Scribe)