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NEC Restoration Show Graced By A Siddeley Special

Special Restoration

Just a quick thank you to all the people that helped on the stand at the NEC restoration show.
On the stand were my Dad’s Siddeley Special Six, Maurice Smith’s 236, Dick Teasdale’s Whitley and
Colin Mancheter’s 346. 

With the exception of the special, all the cars looked absoloutely stunning. We planned to get
some more work done to the special although it was a bit vague as to what could, or indeed,
would, be done. 

The plans centred around whether the engine would be ready in time to be refitted, as it turned out, it wasn’t. Dave Harris, the engine builder wasn’t very happy about the valve timing. Apparently, the timing gears are not aligned correctly. If the timing marks on the cam gear are aligned, one of the big end bolts makes contact with the fuel pump lobe.

There are three ways to cure the problem:
1. Run the car with valve timing one tooth out. (How they are ‘all’ currently running)
2. Machine off the offending lobe off the cam and fit an electric pump.
3. Shave off part of the con rod nut so it misses the pump lobe.

At dad’s request, Dave went for option 3 originally. I’m a bit twitchy about having a deliberately weakened part, coping with combustion stresses, so, I’ve asked him to switch to option 2. Hopefully, the engine will run more efficiently with corrected valve timing and, at an estimated 8MPG, anything that might improve that is going to be welcome.

Anyhow, I digress. The tasks were to get the wiring loom out and get the wings straightened out. Luckily, being aluminium, the bodywork is mostly excellent, but being aluminium, there are quite a few dents in the vulnerable panels. Maurice kindly demonstrated his panel beating skills by knocking out the worst of the dents. The first rear wing he worked on took a lot of fettling. A hint to anyone wanting to run a popular stand at a restoration show. Get a hammer and make some noise. A crowd always formed while the hammer was being wielded. Seeing a craftsman at work is inspiring.

Time constraints meant, rather than spend the whole weekend perfecting one panel, we decided the remaining minor imperfections were dealt with by a thin skim of filler. Someone asked if we were going to lead load but, as I understand it, the melting point of aluminium is perilously close to the working temperature of body solder.

While Maurice was busy metal bashing, Jacquie and Colin were busy trying to remove the wiring. It soon became apparent that, the wiring must mostly have been laid in place before the body was attached, there are few wiring brackets on the chassis that are all but impossible to remove without resorting to chisels and grinders, neither of which were available during the weekend. That said, by the time the show finished there were only two or three clips still holding the wiring on. With power available at the house, I’ll get around to their removal this week. Then the loom can be sent off to Auto sparks as a pattern.

Unfortunately, although I wasn’t on the stand very much on Sunday, I didn’t get chance to see the rest of the show. From what I could see, there were a lot of visitors, a decent amount of exhibitors and autojumblers seemed to be selling. Many thanks to everyone who helped man the stand and particularly to Chris and Jacquie Hemingway for transporting the car to and from the show.

Robert Pinner

Posted in Restoration on the 29th March 2016 at 9:27pm.

Tags: Special, Restoration, NEC