Chummy sold! And other news…

November 14th, 2015

Yes, the Chummy has gone. I also have some news on a new project and some other news of a more interesting nature.

First the new project. Anyone recognise this?

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Here are some more parts.

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What I have there are most of the bits to make a Riley Nine Brooklands. The chassis is an exact copy of an original Brooklands, chassis 8075, which was a car that was in NZ for many years and in which Arthur Dexter won the Prosperity Week Grand Prix in 1933. I have the door skin of that car hanging on my garage wall apparently.

When that car was restored the chance was taken to have several exact copy replica chassis made. This is one of them. Also alloy copied of the rear axle casing were made and I have one of those too. The other parts are all Riley Nine including the engine, which was rebuilt some time ago but not run. The gearbox has close ratio gears in it. And the engine has four Amal carbs.

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When I had the Chummy wheels blasted I had the Riley ones done as well.

There are a few bits missing. Some of the chassis mounts for the engine and suspension and I am trying to find out details of them now. Real Brooklands are few and far between. I think there are between 100 – 200 originals. But there are quite a number of replicas and recreations about.

The lights I got from TradeMe and were the first purchase for that car (although I did pick up a black out light earlier that might make a nice instrument panel lamp). I had also started to clean up and examine the parts and workout what was there. The Riley isn’t much bigger than an Austin 7 but it is a much more substantial car. And they were very well built. A lot of the parts are interchangeable between models which is why many replicas are around. I think Rileys look good with big lights so those should work well.

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The Riley rear suspension is interesting. For a start it is under slung, that is the chassis rails go under the rear axle. And the rear axle is on a torque tube. The Austin is too but it has a drive shaft between the gearbox and torque tube with universals on it. In the Riley the torque tube attaches at the back of the gearbox. On the sevens the axle attaches to the end of the springs on a pin running in a bush to allow for the rotation of the axle in relation to the springs as it moves up and down. On the Riley the axles on top of the springs in special blocks that hold the axle but let it rotate as the axle travels. The whole car is low. You sit just above the and the top of the body is about 36 inches off the ground (less than 1m).

So this will be an exciting project and I was looking forward to doing some simple clean up on it while finishing off the Austin Seven special.

But then life does have a way of taking funny turns. I had mentioned I had lost my a few posts back. I also mentioned finishing the Turing Bombe. I ended up sending a link to that to Richard Taylor, he’d seen an earlier project of mine via my boss at a previous company who knows him. I knew he’d be interested. We chatted a bit and I mentioned I was between jobs and, half jokingly, said I had always thought I should ask him for a job. He said if I was serious I should come down to visit them in Wellington.

So, booked a train ticket (I prefer the train to flying although it does take all day), packed my Steed puppet that Richard said he was interested in seeing, and arranged to stay with a friend for the week and went to visit them. We had a chat, they showed me around for an afternoon then the next day the offered me a job! I said yes of course. I then spent the rest of the week figuring out how to make that work. I found a flat on The Terrace, arranged to lockup my house, shipped down a few essentials (tools, camera and film developing gear, model making stuff and a microscope!) and basically moved to Wellington a week later to start work. I also sold the Chummy. I didn’t want it sitting unused and someone was very keen so the timing all worked out. The money helps too.

Because now I am working as an independent contractor to Weta Workshop doing animatronics!

If people have followed my other blog and projects they’ll know this is pretty much my dream job. Quite a change from IT I must say. The salary is about 1/3 of what I am used to. The hours are much longer (10 hour days) too. But I am loving it, and the time just flies by.

Unfortunately I can’t say what I am working on exactly for confidentially reasons but this project has about 6 months work. After that I am not sure. Weta work depends very much on what projects they have on. And it can be very feast or famine.  But I can see how it goes for six months and then see. I always have the chance to go back into IT as well of course. Wellington being the only other place in NZ that has a lot of good (high paying) IT jobs.

It’s very little risk for me. No dependents, bugger all mortgage, the perfect opportunity. There was no way I could pass it up!

So, all car projects are on hold for now. Actually life is somewhat on hold. I am liking Wellington. I’ve never really liked Auckland and over the years have been liking it less and less as it grows and the character changes. Wellington suits me more. I could see myself selling up there and moving. In fact my sister just has, leaving Auckland for Hamilton of all places. If my parents follow to be close to Sophie, their granddaughter, there is no family to keep me there anymore. Will see how it goes early next year I guess! Selling my over priced Auckland house to move somewhere cheaper where I could maybe build a big garage/workshop (and have money in the bank) is starting to appeal!

I will keep writing in my other blog about what I am doing and how I am going here in Wellington.

Here are some final pictures of the state of the special.

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And even though I am away from my Austin there is a reminder just down the road!

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2 Responses to “Chummy sold! And other news…”

  1. Renaud in Brittany Says:

    Hi Simon,
    Lots of splendid projects in cars & life! Excellent.
    Your Riley looks mouth-watering.
    Hope you’ll have time for it and for us to followit’s completion.
    Cheers,
    Renaud

  2. Paul UK Says:

    Simon – a big development indeed!
    Well, good luck with your new venture. I’m sure like everything else you’ve taken on you will make a success of it. I’ve really enjoyed watching your workshop exploits. Just don’t don’t leave it too long before you get back – we want to see that Austin 7 special finished and RACING…

    All the best.

    Paul (UK – South Wales)

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