Monday 28 February 2022

Panhard Rod Sorted - Possibly

 Ah the Panhard rod & it's mysterious bracket.

I said, did I not that it didn't look like a Jeremy Phillips design? Turns out I was right, JP mounted the Panhard rod to the outboard lower corner of the rear bulkhead in a rather elegant way that does the job & crucially - doesn't dig holes in the road. Today I've cut the angle off the fork, re-drilled the bolt hole an inch up & cut an inch off the bottom, tomorrow my brother will weld the angle back on to match the new position.

It's a simple fix - possibly too simple, but hopefully the car will now hit the bump stops before the bracket hits the road. I have a back up plan if it's still a problem, it's a more elegant solution but involves more complication, I may do it at a later date even if this works, as it'd lighter & stronger, but needs the car off the road for longer.

Sunday 27 February 2022

Getting Good

I've done 550 miles in the re-born Stylus & it's now pretty good. The ride is good, though I think the tyres are still a little hard, the handling is very good indeed, but will benefit from the tweaking of the geometry set-up booked for the 6th April & the panhard rod bracket hits the ground. This is an odd thing, the bracket itself does not look like a Jeremy Phillips item, he did more elegant engineering than this & the panhard rod itself slopes up to the axle bracket, so the chassis bracket is obviously too low. I can modify it by cutting off the angle, re-drilling the hole, re-welding the angle to suit & cutting off the excess, that should make the panhard rod horizontal at rest & make sure the bump stops work before the panhard rod bracket hits the road.

But apart from all that potential fettling, it's been to my brothers where we finished bleeding the brakes, it's been to Portsmouth to take my friend John to see his friend John who has a hotrod 32 & a 1940s American pick-up, then today it's been the "The Chalet" cafe & to my old next door nieghbour's house & everywhere it's been it's drawn universally positive comments which is nice. I like it, but I wasn't sure the orange would be to everyone's taste, but so far, not a single doubter

In the garage I've started fitting the "bi-fold doors". The side screens on a Stylus are fixed, I don't like that & on the Fury I'd made an arrangement where the side screens could be swapped for deflectors & they were hinged to the windscreen pillar so they open with the doors, but separate from them. It makes it very easy to swap one for the other which is handy on road trips as the full screens can be fitted with the hood overnight & swapped for deflectors when the hood is stowed in the morning. Work has had to stop however, as the hinges I had weren't up to the job & deflected with the weight of the full size side screens, so beefier lift-off hinges are on their way from internet land.

Saturday 19 February 2022

As Promised

 I took the Stylus out in the early morning sunshine, it's SO much better with the smaller wheels & tyres, so as promised here's a couple of photos.

Friday 18 February 2022

Brighter Wheels!!

It's been a blustery day here today, the tree in my garden lost a 12ft long x 4in diameter branch which I had to retrieve from the garage roof before it blew away & then I was looking out of the back window when my neighbour's greenhouse went by. It's a lightweight affair with a steel tube frame & plastic sheet covering & it came to rest against a tree, so I braved the storm & took the cover off & manhandled the frame into my garden. It's a little bent, but shoud be fixable

But onto more important things, having proved the wheels would fit - albeit with a couple of minor modifications - I set about masking them up & getting some colour on them. I've done quite well, I've got the side flashes & all four wheels done from one can of paint. But by the time the parts I needed arrived I had precious little time to cut down & fit the studs & get the wheels on, torqued & the car off the stands before the sun went down, so you'll have to make do with a photo from an odd angle in the garage.

Now isn't that just the cat's pyjamas?

Monday 14 February 2022


The new wheels have arrived, they're not without problems.

I'd done a load of work to ensure that the big brakes would fit inside the wheels at the front, I hadn't particularly thought about the back, the calipers were well inside the mounting face & the radius looked OK. But all was not well & there was a clash on the "shoulder" of the wheel.

At the front, the wheel studs that were too short for the old wheels (only six turns of thread engagement) were worse with the new wheels (only three turns - eek!). But I have spare studs I thought - wrong. the short studs I knocked out were oversize ones, so the new studs fitted - to use engineering parlance - like a prick in a top hat.

I did some sums to establish how long the studs needed to be & how much I had to move the wheels to gain clearance, then ordered studs & 12mm spacers from Burtons. Only after that did I mock up how the back would look with the spacers on. Oh dear, Anyone of my generation will be familiar with "Carlos Fandango" & that's what the car looked like. I quickly called Burtons back & amended the order to 5mm spacers which looked acceptable, but left me with the problem of wheels that wouldn't actually rotate. There were three obvious solutions:-
1/  fit half worn pads so the caliper moved inboard - not very clever really.
2/  fit drum brakes - my brother has a spare set & I like drums on the back - they work, but that would require a whole load of faffing with the handbrake cables.
3/  "fettle" the calipers a little - I worked out where the touch was & fortunately it was only on some cooling fins on a very thick part of the caliper & they were hitting an angle, so reducing them down a little has bought me around 1mm clearance as I type, I'll do a little more work tomorrow & when the parts turn up from Burtons I'll be able to finish it all properly..

Sunday 13 February 2022

The Futures Bright, The Future's .......


Out & About!
Ah - you're showing your age, finishing that off. But yes, some orange has happened - amongst other things.

Rally Design got the brake pads & master cylinder to me on Friday & I fitted the new master on Saturday morning - hideous job, but done now & all finished except for a little more bleeding. The brakes will now lock the wheels which is kind of re-assuring. I took the car out on Saturday PM & did about 30 trouble free miles, but the tyres really are rubbish. The Fury had what I called "carefee handling", you had to REALLY abuse it to make it lose traction & on a dry road you cold more or less dump the clutch & slam through the gears & the car would just go. The Stylus has the same engine, but a taller first gear & a taller diff AND a limited slip differential, so the tyres must be the reason it'll spin up the wheels at the slightest provocation. It's like driving a '60s American muscle car.

Anyway, I was very careful & light-footed, the new wheels & tyres should be here tomorrow.

Then yesterday evening I went into a bit of a decline - it's the depression I suffer from, it's just a chemical imbalance in the brain & it's cost me two marriages, but I now undertand it better than I ever have & living alone it's much easier to deal with. It was still pretty bad this morning when I went out to the garage to look for something to do - I decided that I'd put on the "stripes" (more of a HotRod scollop really). Maybe not the best day to choose, but the depression alters my perception, so I probably didn't see it like that. The fist one is a bit of a mess to be honest, the paint has bled under the masking. Not sure what I'm going to do about it yet. the driver's side went quite well though - so that's OK then - that's the only side I'll see when I walk up to it.

This afternoon the depression cleared - around 3:15 - I felt it lift. Weird I know.

So I just need those wheels tomorrow.

Thursday 10 February 2022

Evening Out

With the Stylus taxed & insured I was able to begin testing yes?

Well sort of. I’d bought a geared starter from Power-Lite but in-spite of the best efforts of both me & Julian in sales, I hadn’t been able to make it fit – no slight is suggested on the part of Power-Lite, the starter was the correct part for the engine & flywheel & adjustable for position, but a chassis rail on the Stylus meant it just wouldn’t go on. So it needed to go back, & Julian sent me a postal slip & said it would be picked up by DHL on Monday.

It wasn’t.

I e-mailed Julian & he called DHL to be told there was a problem with their computer, but it would definitely be collected Tuesday.

It wasn’t.

Through the same loop again & I was promised Wednesday, as luck would have it I happened to see TWO DHL vans pass my house on Weds, neither stopped to collect the parcel.

The point of this tale of woe is that I was unable to take the Stylus out in case DHL deigned to call. As I say, there is no suggestion of fault on the part of Power-Lite who have been very helpful, professional & apologised profusely for something they have no control over whatsoever, but after the cut-off time for a possible pick up I took the Quantum down to Tescos for a refuel & filled a petrol can so I knew the Stylus had at least a gallon, then when I got home I took it round the block, earning the traditional “Cor mate ‘ow fas’ does it go” from teenagers next door.

So what was it like?


The tyres are (I think) saloon car racing tyres & are no doubt brilliant after four laps of Silverstone at 120. On a chilly February evening in Camberley they are rubbish. The limited slip diff isn’t helping here, a gentle prod on the throttle sent the back of the car sideways before I’d gone 100yds, but I have a plan……

The other worrying thing is the absence of brakes. When I bought the car I didn’t like the brakes, there was no “feel”, the pedal just stopped as if you were pressing on a brick. I have made that worse by fitting smaller discs, so now although it will easily break traction when accelerating, the brakes will NOT lock the wheels under braking, so this morning I’ve ordered a set of Mintex pads & a smaller bore master cylinder which together should sort it out.

But – it needs the suspension geometry setting, but the whole engine / interior / clutch side (the things I’ve spent the winter doing)  felt REALLY good & it bellows & takes off like a rocket, so when the development has got a little further, it WILL be fantastic.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

It Really Moves

 After spending all day yesterday fitting a new, larger clutch master cylinder I was "a little disapointed" to find it was still exctly the same. It worked if I gave it extra travel by having the pedal leaning away from the bulkhead.

There was "lost motion" in the pedal - it moved some way & then got firmer as it started doing actual work, but was that lost motion the master cylinder compressing air, or was it the slave cylinder moving up to the clutch?

I had bled the system through & also used an "easy bleed" pressurised tool to no avail, but this morning my brother came over & I lay under the car opening & closing the bleed valve while he pumped the pedal. Imediately there was air coming down the pipe, but was it just the air in the bleed hose being forced out or air from within the system? I closed the valve & my brother said it felt better, we went through the same cycle a few more times & all the lost motion was - lost.

As I had him there, we went round the brakes & the brake pedal firmed up as well, so after rewarding ourselves with a hot chocolate, I started the engine & drove the car back & forward a foot or so - SUCCESS!

This afternoon I've put the bonnet back on, done a nut & bolt check around the car & driven it out the front of the house for a new "fleet picture" with the other cars, but now it needs road tax, petrol & some miles put on it ready for the rolling road session in early April.

Friday 4 February 2022


 ...sort of.

Since the initial start up I've received the last plumbing items to get the cooling system sorted & run it up to temperature. The battery light stays on, but the volt meter shows 13v. Haven't looked into that yet. Also the clutch doesn't work, but I think I've got to the bottom of that. A friend in the SKCC has the same slave cylinder (are we still allowed to call them that?) but has a 0.7" bore master cylinder, my master cylinder is 0.625" so will push less fluid, so less movement of the slave, so - possibly - insufficient movement of the clutch plate. I've ordered a 0.7" bore master along with a pair of springs to lower the front of the car a bit.

I did get the clutch working today & drove the car backward & forward about a foot, but to achieve that the pedal was adjusted to lean back so there was more travel before it hit the bulkhead, it's no good for the road, but it proves the system works.

I've also fitted the air filter today, so the induction system is finished. It was a foam sausage filter with a cold air hose running up to somewhere hear No. 1 cylinder trumpet(ish). It now has an airbox, fed with cold air from a filter in the nose next to the radiator.

Fingers crossed for taking it out of the garage & getting some fresh air next week.