Tuesday 2 April 2024

Out At Last

 It was an action-packed long weekend with my girlfriend, Good Friday was Wheels day - as reported, Saturday was a beer festival at the excellent & local Disruption brewery where the house band included one of the stressmen from work - look up "Stone Soup" on YouTube for their brand of heavyish, bluesish rock. We walked there & had intended on getting the bus back, but it was a nice day, so we strolled & then cut back through the woods without meeting so much a single axe murderer.

On the third day of the holiday we got up not quite so early & this time succeeded in attending a car meet in the Stylus. it's the first time it's had two people in it since I took the back suspension apart & replaced the tyres & the was a slight rub over some of the larger undulations, but a small adjustment of the Panhard |Rod should've fixed that. But here you go, enjoy some pictures from Blackbushe.

Not Actually a Fiat - It's a Puch

Almost a Fiat, it's a coachbuilt Arbarth Fiat

That Pop is lovely

Should've Bought Dry Tyres...

 ... because it's been raining since I bought the Rainsports.

The Stylus has hardly left the garage unfortunately. It was supposed to be transporting my girlfriend & I to the Surrey Street Rodders "Wheels Day" show on Good Friday. We got up early, had a quick breakfast we got my good lady nicely ensconced in the car (strapped down), my plan was to then put the hood up (notice how I've avoided the word "erect") & move the car out into the drizzle, thus keeping her as dry as possible.

However, try as I might the hood wasn't going to fit. It's usually a tight fit after not being used for a while, but I obviously wasn't going to get it on at all. 

Sensing my frustration & impatience, it was suggested that we move everything into the other car & go in that. It meant we wouldn't be part of the main event, but that was OK. She was absolutely right of course & after a quick re-arrangement of belongings we set off in the Cactus.

In spite of the forecast weather, there were a lot of cars on the show field - I'd guess at about 4 - 500 & the rain held off longer than forecast, but inevitably rain it did & we retired to the car to eat our picnic.

So - no Stylus, but enjoy the photos anyway.


We all know I like a 100e

That's a Pinto hanging over the back axle - go easy in the wet!

More Willys

Mid Mounted V8 - yes really

Thursday 14 March 2024

More Tyred

 The wheels are back - so of course it's raining. It was a lovely spring day when I picked them up four hours ago.

here it is when the 185/60s were new

And this is it today. You'll have to take my word for it that it looks MUCH better with the narrower, taller tyres on.

It's also raised an inch, so when I have time I need to re-adjust the speedo & lower it 1/2" to reduce the arch gap even more. To do that I may need to buy shorter springs for the front, but that's a job for another day.

Thursday 7 March 2024


 Yes, yes I know I've had all winter to notice, but I've been "distracted" & it wasn't until I took the Stylus into work after taxing it (£££££££££) that I noticed the front tyres were down to the wear bars. This was chiefly because I'd swapped them with the rears after noticing the limited slip diff was wearing them rather quicker than I was expecting. The rears (was fronts remember) are fine, but unfortunately I need to replace all four as I'm getting the tyres I want, replacing the ones that came as a deal with the wheels.

So off will come the Yokohama 185/60x13s & on will go Uniroyal Rainsport 175/70x13. Half the price, twice the life, more or less as good in the dry (In road conditions), much much better in the wet. Also 10mm narrower, 25mm bigger in diameter.

Anyway, here it is in the car park at work. I took it in after checking the weather forecast as I rolled out of bed at 06:00. No rain.

By 09:00, the rain alarm on my phone went off & the weather radar showed a whole storm coming from the south. So I moved it into the underground car park whose ramps are too narrow for the leviathan electric 4x4s that infest most of the parking spaces. Why do seemingly intelligent people spend £100k on a car that doesn't fit in a parking space??

But the big news is of course that the Stylus is back on the road & I'm having a few of those "sh1t this really is fast" moments. Nothing scary, just squeeze the throttle pedal & it's doing 70 before I've had time to look down at the speedo.

It's booked into "Wheels Day", the Surrey Street Rodders annual display of anything interesting on wheels, this year it's in Newbury - not actually in Surrey at all then. In fact, I've only known the Surrey Street Rodders hold it in Surrey once. It's on Good Friday & is usually a fantastic car show if you want to attend. 

Monday 12 February 2024

Two Wheels

 I may have mentioned I'm slowly refurbishing the bike I built when I was 18. It's a bespoke-made touring bike made for me, so while it's cost a hideous amount of money, it is one of my favourite things.

One of the difficulties was the brake lever "hoods" - rubber items that go over the brake levers. They were pushing 50 years old & shattered when I took them off. Replacements are available, but out of stock, but I managed to find a pair BUT, the cable adjusters that poke through the rubber hoods are supposed to have rubber covers. mine were similarly brittle & strangely - in spite of being a much simpler shape, are not available at all.

However, I've recently been experimenting with flexible 3D print filament & the OnShape on-line CAD system & the upshot is.......

Pretty good I think

Other Things

 With the Stylus back on its wheels, once again other things have come to my attention, mostly visits to places.

I've been to Duxford to look round the planes with my girlfriend, arriving before the sun was properly up & getting some good photos as they wheeled a Mustang out
Yes, that's frost in the far fields, it was freezing.

We walked around the main hangar - the one we missed last time, then into one of the flight sheds where as my girlfriend is a member of the Catalina Society (& strictly speaking so am I now), we were invited behind the ropes for a chat with one of the pilots, which was interesting, then back to the main hanger for a talk about photo reconnaissance - which we'd missed because I'd loused the time up.

But, one of the nice volunteers gave us a good talk about a pilot called Warburton who flew 400 PR sorties & took some of the most important aerial photos of the war.

More recently we went to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar where they make / restore / fly Spitfires, it was a Christmas present to my Girlfriend & she thoroughly enjoyed (other girlfriend's opinions are available). It was supposed to be a 3 hour tour, it actually took 4 1/2 hours which meant we missed out bub tea & by the time we got back to my house it was midnight & we were "really quite hungry".

A very interesting trip though.

Quite a lot of engine

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Ground Clearance - It's A Good Thing

Firstly the titanium skid plates are fitted on both trailing arms, painted & ready to fend off anything that comes their way. Also the newly refurbed Protech shocks are back on the car, with the the brass spacers my lovely girlfriend re-drilled on my Brother's lathe. They had been bored to 1/2", so when fitted to a 1/2" bolt they seized on just enough to stop the bolt coming out at all, meaning I had to take the trailing arm off the car & put the whole thing in a vice to get some proper pressure on them. Shouldn't be a problem now they're 13mm bore (sigh).

Also getting done this week, was the Panhard rod. It's been a bone of contention since I bough the car. Jeremy Phillips designed a beautifully elegant Panhard rod chassis mount, a previous owner decided they knew better & welded on an ugly fork fitting which hit the ground at regular intervals. I suspect this is the reason the car had REALLY stiff springs on the back. I'd already shortened it by an inch, but it was still catching the ground at full bump. A look from the side showed it was bent & ground off at an angle by asphalt the length & breadth of the UK. It was only a matter of time before it either got ripped out of the car, or started grinding away the rod end.

It looked like it might be easy, there was already a big bolt through the original hole in the rear bulkhead & the bracket - presumably someone didn't entirely trust their welding. All I needed to do was put a 2degree bend in the Panhard rod & bolt it on as JP had intended. No, the big bolt that came out looked different because it was an M12. The reason for that was because the 1/2" hole in the bracket & the 1/2" hole in the chassis didn't quite align. There wasn't space to drill or ream it from the inside of the car & I didn't want to start from the outside because the cutter would be pulled into line with the 3/8" thick bracket.

I called into the fantastic Margnor Fasteners & bought a 1/2" UNF bolt 6 1/2" long & took it straight to my Brother's, where I turned the head off the bolt & turned it down to 12mm & cut an M12 thread on it, I now has a shaft with a 1/2"parallel section for the rose joint, a 1/2"UNF thread on that end, a step & a 12mm dia section for the chassis & an M12 thread on the other. It fitted perfectly, so I cut the horrible fork bracket off & bolted the Panhard rod up. At full droop, there was 1/4" clearance between the Panhard rod & the diff & everything lined up nicely. As a bonus there's much more clearance around the shock absorber - it was a bit close to the old bracket.

The car is now back on it's wheels, but looks a little high. I'll leave it a day or two to settle before I start adjusting things.