Chummy back on the road.

October 4th, 2015

This weekend I finished fitting the new (although it was months ago we got them!) tyres on the Chummy. That didn’t work out to be too hard. No tyre irons needed, just walking them on a  big, rubber mallet to help them along. Hardest thing was getting the inner tubes in place. I ended up trying a string to the valve and feeding that through the rim hole so I could pull it though. That worked well.

I then had to touch up the paint on the rims, not from damaging them getting the tyres on, but because of all the places I had missed when I painted them before! If you think painting spoked wheels is a going to be tricky you’d be right! Since I had the paint spraying gear out I cleaned up and touched up the inside of the wheel wells.

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I finally got them back on the car today. I was supposed to go on a club run but I had other things on in the morning and couldn’t get there in time. I wouldn’t have been able to take the Chummy anyway as it’s been off it’s wheels so long the warrant expired! With the wheels on I drove it outside for the first time in months and gave it a bath.


I then went for a quick (naughty) drive around the block to make sure everything was still fine. I’d like to say the new tyres have transformed the handling and roadholding but those are two words that don’t really apply to a Chummy! Nothing fell off, no noticeable vibrations or wobbles, no spokes broke (I think, better check!) so we’ll call that good. One day I really must take the thing on the motorway and see what it’s top speed is. Can’t be too many cars around where you can say and do that and still be under the legal speed limit (100kph here). Not sure this one will reach that although there is a big down hill a few miles up the road from me, perhaps if the wind is just right….

I still need to rebuild the spare wheel but I don’t need that for the WOF so I will go do that tomorrow and be all legal again.

People probably wonder why these things take me so long. It’s because I have too many other hobbies so I chop and change what I do. I also do things like this:



Chummy wheel painting.

September 28th, 2015

Let’s see, it’s been a while and a few things have happened. Mainly I got made redundant again, along with 2/3rds of my colleagues. we consider ourselves the lucky ones! It’s amazing how little clue these small start up companies have. After going live the company had barely any sales so some investors (not being totally stupid) pulled out. I suspect the company not having a real sales team might have had something to do with it. Oh, and no planning. Apparently the CEO doesn’t believe in project planning! So, job hunting again.

In the mean time I have done various things. A few weeks ago Joss, Ian and I went over to visit Colin who builds vintage Alfa Romeo Monza 8Cs. It’s a small outfit but it’s extremely impressive what they achieve there and  a lot of hard work and research has obviously gone into doing things properly. They build new chassis, new front axles, bodies, steering wheels, fuel tanks, manifolds and all manner of other things. All done using the correct materials (you can’t just build a chassis from mild steel – they had to source the correct steel called Optim 700 MC apparently) and all properly tested and certified so as to be fully road legal here (convincing the authorities your cast axle is safe can not have been easy) but Colin did it.

He very kindly showed us around and let me ask all kinds of silly questions. Was very inspiring! I took a few photos there. There are a couple of cars being build (one with a blown 6 cylinder Alfa engine) and lots of interesting bits about.

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That same trip was also a bit of an excuse to surprise Joss. For some time he has been waiting to take ownership of a new car, an Austin 12/4, bought from Richard in the car club. Without him knowing Ian arranged the hand over to take place at his place after our visit to Colin. Quite a few other club members were on hand to watch!

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Joss drove it home with me following in my MG to pick up an bits that fell off. Nothing did! Joss has been busy (with Ian’s help on the engine) readying it for a road trip he is doing with his family this week.  One of the little jobs was swapping over the ammeter for a silver faced one to match the rest of the instruments. I unsoldered the back of the gauge and gave it a light clean (mainly just the glass) for him and that is now in the car.


Since Joss is busy on that we haven’t started on the bonnet/boot lid yet. Instead I made the most of the first good spring weekend to paint my Chummy wheels finally. I trued them as well as I could on the car. The dial gauge is just used as a pointer, there is no way I could get them accurate enough to need a gauge like that to measure the runout! They aren’t perfect but they are much better than before. The Chummy is hardly a performance vehicle so they should be fine I think.


I then painted them outside with my usual Killrust black paint. You don’t want too much paint on them. You still need to be able to adjust spokes if needed and also if you put too thick a coat on you can find the wheels won’t go over the hubs! I had that issue with the ones I had blasted then painted by the blasters. I won’t do that again. Better to have them blasted then get them to spray them with a protective coating and paint them yourself. The Killrust paint is good since it doesn’t need a primer on nice, clean but keyed steel so you don’t have as many layers.

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Since it was easy to do I painted the brake drums too. The wheels are now inside and hopefully next weekend I can finally get the new tyres on them. I still need to rebuild the spare wheel. I made a wooden jig to do that but I think on my first attempt I didn’t make sure the hub was fully flat down so the whole thing came out wonky. I need to loosen it all again and readjust it. I don’t need a spare for the car to be usable of course.

I also went to see Brian the engineer the other day. He wasn’t able to fit the bar in the base of the crankcase that the studs fit to. There just isn’t enough room there to get the studs to thread fully into the bar. Where they hit it is right on the edge of the reinforcing block. Instead he has had large lugs welded into the case and threaded those. Hopefully this will work fine. It is certainly going to be stronger than just attaching them to the top of the crankcase which is the original issue we are trying to solve. Hopefully I can collect that soon and start building an engine!

Engine building.

August 30th, 2015

Well, not quite yet but I am preparing. I sorted out all the bits and pieces and made a list of what I need doing  so I can start. I am hoping I can go see the engineer this week some time.

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I also bought some tungsten burrs so I can tackle the rest of my block.


Other than that not much has happened. I spoke to Joss and we’ll be making bonnets/boot lids next weekend. I am still busy doing so many other things. Splitting and stacking wood, working on the Turing Bombe, trying to catch up on reading (I think I now have 5 Automobile magazines I haven’t looked at as well as a couple of Beardy Wheels (it’s actually ‘Beaded Wheels’ but I’ve always called it Beardy Wheels because before I even got into vintage cars I always got the impression the people who are into them all have beards) and a VAR club magazine to read. As well as this I have a new (old) book of Edwin Smith photos to look at, a book about the Apollo moon missions and another one specifically about the Apollo guidance computer which is fabulously technical! As someone who has made his own computer that stuff fascinates me. I promise I won’t start building one though. It’s been done already!

Despite all this Joss thought I needed more and gave me three Hornby model railway magazines! I think it’s a not too subtle hint I need to finish my railway table next.

Do you ever get the impression you have too many hobbies?

Bonnet and boot.

August 23rd, 2015

Right, back onto the car again. My Bombe lived up to it’s name. I accidentally blew it up! That’s what happens when you accidentally  plug a 12 volt SLA into a 5 volt powered computer. So until new parts arrive that project is on hold.

And anyway, with the car, I have no excuses now. Ian is rushing ahead with his and even then he had time to finish sorting out my block for me by cutting seats for my bigger inlet values. He has also cleaned up one inlet tract so I have an example to copy to be able to do the other one myself.

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So this weekend I made bucks for the shape of the bonnet and boot lid which we will be making very soon. Not much to explain here, some bits of plywood cut to the shape the bonnet pieces need to be to fit the car.

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The boot lid was a little trickier as I needed to match the shape of the tail and there is no easy way to trace around it. I used my flexible drawing curve thing and bent that to the shape of the body around the boot opening and transferred the shape to some plywood.

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For the curve along the car I taped a bendy stick to the body, held up on suitably sized blocks, to make the right curve. This was traced onto another piece of plywood that forms the main cross support of the buck.

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I am hoping that is close enough to shape the aluminium to. We have to do the shaping in Joss’ garage and of course the car isn’t there!

Next time I do an order from RS I will get some 1m lengths of stainless rod which we will use as the hinge pins for the bonnet side panels. Now the engine and gearbox are out of the car again I can take the block off to the engineer to get the modification I need done to it.

Chummy wheels.

August 16th, 2015

I finally started on the cars again. The Turing Bombe is still ongoing but nearing the end! I keep getting distracted. I had some giant tress cut down here and am still splitting and stacking wood. I also got up on my roof to clean the guttering and took a few photos.

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The crane in the pictures is the entrance to the new motorway tunnel they are building in Auckland. The hill is Mt Albert, an extinct volcano.

Ian, as well as building his special body, has finished my block for me. He’s but bigger inlet valve seats (with a fancy gadget) and cleaned up some of the ports so I can see how it’s done and finish the rest off myself.


So he says I have no excuse for not finishing now! I started rebuilding the Chummy wheels so I can get that on the road again. The wheels were all blasted so now I have repaired any small holes (they weren’t too bad) with braze and I am checking the spokes and adjusting them to make the wheels run true. They are quite out it seems!

I am using the front hub on the car as it’s up on stands at the moment. I use a dial gauge, not to get accurate measurements, nut as a moveable pointer. I am just learning how you tweak the spokes to change the shape of the wheel to make it run true. I don’t know how true they need to be though. I guess the faster you go the truer they need to be!

Just getting consistent measurements is difficult. I am figuring as long as I can make them better than they were when they were on the car that’s good. I didn’t notice any issues with them before.


I have four I can tweak to get right and one I need to fully adjust on so I will make some kind of jig for that. I’ll do the four first, pick the best one and build the jig around that to do the fifth.

Jos also bought around some plywood for me today which I am going to use to make bucks so we can do the aluminium for the boot and bonnet. That is my job for after work this week.


The other thing I got a few weeks ago was this small grease gun. When cleaning my garage I found my large one had leaked everywhere. It was always a pain to use too so I got this small one. It works very well.

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So with the block done I can pull the crankcase out once I have made the bonnet buck and start looking at getting an engine built!

I just have to not get distracted by other new toys like this old microscope I got for a bargain price!


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