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Barber 8th May 2018 12:09


Originally Posted by Mick O'Malley (Post 94810)

An 0650 start yesterday with my #3 son riding shotgun saw us on the road to Stoneleigh. At the end of another glorious drive, this time up the largely deserted Fosseway, I was stunned to be the only car at the entrance. I've been going to this event on and off since '86 and fully expected to be in the midst of the usual mass of Cobras and Caterhams (used to be Duttons and Jagos) awaiting entry. We were the first of three on the Tribute stand and again fielded many compliments and enquiries.

p.s. Blue is the colour, it seems..........

The 275 has turned into a stunner.

The 3 cars are a credit to the builders, and indeed to Tribute. We had an unexpected visit from relatives from Denmark, so were on family duties over the holiday, otherwise I would have definitely come to Stoneleigh this year. Next year definitely. Seeing all the other cars and clubs is always a buzz.

Mick O'Malley 13th May 2018 18:14

Prescott Today
Today's sortie in the A352 was to Prescott Speed Hill Climb, which is only about eight miles from here in Gloucester. The event was The Cheltenham Cleeve Vale Rotary Club 'Classics Drive The Hill' charity event which is in its fifth year but is a new one for me. Entrance was a modest £15 for spectators. Every time I visit this venue I muse that it would be my absolute top favourite, were it not for Shelsley Walsh. I'm blessed having both within easy driving distance, as also is Castle Combe :)

Synchronicity was to the fore again, with the Buckler Club having half a dozen or so examples on display and a Fiat Quinquecento parked near me with Abarth Clips! Wierd.

Originally Posted by Mick O'Malley

Car of the show for me was a Buckler of which I only took analogue photo's. I loved that it had three slim wood blocks holding the rear of the bonnet just clear of the scuttle for additional cooling. Abarth clips is the technical term, I believe

An old four wheeled friend from last year was in the paddock but I didn't manage to catch the owner for a chat.

I took a stroll to the top of the hill early, no other spectators at all. Once again, as at my first meeting there last year, the bluebells were worth the entrance fee on their own. The 'Classics Drive The Hill' got under way whilst I was up there: a Lagonda and two genuine GT40s had been and gone before I got out the digi. camera, having been snapping analogue. On the way back down a Berkeley passed me in some distress, conked out, refused to start and was ignominiously pushed away by marshals :(.

This week's car of the show for me was this divine A110 Alpine with a slightly naff Irish reg. no. I'll forgive him.

My own car didn't enjoy the prestigious company it has had at recent events, but I had to field many compliments from other punters. A good day out all round :)

Regards, Mick

IanA 14th May 2018 08:45

+1 from me on that Alpine. They are always the highlight of the show on my visits to Retromobile in Paris every February. Some are in full rally livery and some in everyday "civvy" finish.

Mick O'Malley 21st May 2018 07:02

It was the spring Beaulieu Autojumble at the weekend, and, as usual, I drove down to Yate to crash at my friend's house. As the forecast was so good I went in the A352 and it was a fabulous drive through the Gloucestershire countryside. We left at 0530 Saturday in his Mercedes and had a really good day as other events had doubtless severely thinned the crowds.

On return to Yate, and a quick coffee, I began retracing my route, noticing that the level of transmission noise through my ally tunnel was higher than usual. As the trip is only some 30 miles I pressed on regardless enjoying the surges of acceleration out of the corners on the twisty first section of my route. A loud bang, followed by hideous graunching noises and a total loss of drive brought my reveries to an abrupt end. A puddle of hypoy under the diff. told its own story :(.

I 'phoned my friend and he nobly came out and towed me the 20 odd miles home - I was carrying my Machine Mart towing bar so this was a doddle behind his Mercedes. We pushed the A352 onto my front and I decided to not even look until the morning.

I had other tasks to perform so it wasn't until late morning that I got the beast up on axle stands with the back wheels off and investigated. The nose bearing has completely vanished so I'm guessing that the shaft which passes through it has sheared inside. I 'phoned my ever helpful Spitfire parts guy who not only has a good condition diff. but is coming up the M5 mid week! Result.

It's a fair bit of work as access to the transverse spring mounting bolts is severely hampered by my cockpit panelling. I hope that recourse to neither rivet drilling nor tin snipping will be necessary.

Regards, Mick

Mick O'Malley 22nd May 2018 05:35

What a Diff-erence a Day Makes
I pitched in yesterday morning after a quick refresher course with my Haynes Manual. I'd taken the Spitfire diff. (as well as the engine, gearbox etc.) out of my Marlin Roadster to carry the frame from behind my house to the front before re-assembly, so the job wasn't completely new to me. The Haynes Manual neglected to mention the long bolt through the rear of the diff., an omission that didn't surprise me, as I'd taken issue with them a few years ago regarding a procedure 'detailed' in their BMW GS1100 manual, which, if followed, could easily have resulted in serious injury or death. I received a reply to the effect that, if reprinted, the error would be corrected!

As anticipated, the four studs through the spring into the diff. proved the only difficult part of the operation as the limited access required awkward contortions lying along the passenger side floor. Anyway, it all went fairly smoothly with a minimum of FFS's and skinned knuckles, the lump of oily scrap at last sitting on the ground.

Crap photo' alert.

And again.

If I'm extremely lucky, the replacement will be fitted by close of play on Friday, allowing me to arrive in style at the Lotus Day at Castle Combe on Saturday and the French/Italian day at Prescott on Sunday, weather permitting........

Regards, Mick

Paul L 22nd May 2018 05:41

Sorry to hear about your breakdown. but glad to hear you will be back on the road soon.

Good luck, Paul. :)

Wardy50 22nd May 2018 06:05

Hi Mick,
Sorry to hear of your diff woes, but glad to hear you're well on the road to recovery!
When I was taking the Spitfire apart I remember questioning the parentage of the designers who seemed to have gone to great lengths on the drawing board to make each nut and bolt the most inaccessible they could for no apparent reason.
That long rear diff carrier bolt was the worst, as it had managed to corrode itself along the full length into the guide tube.
Just out of interest what diff have you used - I'm sure I read somewhere that the latest 1500 ones were strengthened??
Good luck with the rest of the fix.

Mick O'Malley 23rd May 2018 06:41

Thanks for good wishes, it's all fallen into place quite nicely so far, what with getting an instant tow home; everything coming apart easily; and 'Spitfire Steve', as I call him, not only having an FH diff. but coming more or less past the end of my road today!

As far as I know, the only weaker diff. was the 4.11 fitted to Heralds and perhaps early Spitfires. The one I'm getting is a straight swap - good news as changing the drive flanges, of which there are two sizes, would be an additional pain. I'll be sure to give the long bolt, and all the others, a good coat of copper grease during reassembly.

Regards, Mick

oxford1360 23rd May 2018 07:51

I have "Spitfire Steve" in my phone contacts. He is very useful. And, I recently moved to just a few miles from him.

lancelot link 23rd May 2018 08:00

I have him his details too ..he's very helpful ...I am pretty sure he has spoken about dealing with Mick previously ...

Mick O'Malley 24th May 2018 07:44

No Surprise :(
My diff. is arriving around mid-day: unsurprisingly it's raining and the A352 is on axle stands (under a cover) out in the open. I think the chances of re-assembly in time for the weekend's jaunts are slim.

I had imagined that my laser eye surgery the day before yesterday would be a stumbling block, but not in the slightest.

The rectangular object under the cover is an inverted plastic tub. Without it the rain puddles over the cockpit and the so-say waterproof (and expensive!) cover leaks.

Regards, Mick

Jaguartvr 24th May 2018 07:57

Recovery time from laser surgery is very fast. Do make sure you wear a well fitting pair of goggles when working under the car, you want to avoid getting the normal dose of rusty, oily bits dropping into the eye!

Mick O'Malley 24th May 2018 08:22


Originally Posted by Jaguartvr (Post 95155)
Recovery time from laser surgery is very fast. Do make sure you wear a well fitting pair of goggles when working under the car, you want to avoid getting the normal dose of rusty, oily bits dropping into the eye!

It was for angle closure glaucoma relief, rather than vision correction. Apart from the first blast in each eye, it was more or less painless. Drops four times a day and a check over in a month will see it done.

Rust, under my car? Surely not!

Regards, Mick

Mick O'Malley 25th May 2018 08:05

A Diff-icult Day
'Spitfire Steve' turned up mid-morning and delivered my 'new' diff, as well as swapping my stainless transverse silencer for a straight though longitudinal back box, also stainless. Top bloke!

It will need a stepped connector to mate with the narrower diameter pipe. These I've bought before from Ebay for the A352.

The skies looked slightly threatening but I pitched in anyway, having to open a new box of nitrile gloves which resulted in a Michael Jackson vibe.

Balancing the diff. on the jack, I wormed my way under the car but, despite several attempts I just couldn't manoeuvre it into a position where I could replace the long bolt: it kept tipping forwards, even when I held the nose end up with a ratchet strap around the chassis rails. More head scratching resulted in my fabricating a bespoke wooden gismo which would hold the diff. horizontally. Ten minutes with saw, hammer and nails resulted in this masterpiece :rolleyes:

It worked a treat, and I was soon once again contorting my limbs to bolt back the frame connections, followed by the three flanges. I then uncovered the cockpit, lay down on the passenger side floor and began replacing the studs through the spring mounting plate into the diff. I managed three of the four before my screaming arms cried enough and I packed up for the day, reminding myself for the umpteenth time that I'm not 21 any more! This morning I'm glad to see the rain as I can rest my aches whilst awaiting more clement weather :)

Regards, Mick

froggyman 25th May 2018 10:14

Well done Mick. Sensible move on a rest day. Better to have one day rest than a forced week lay up. Good to see you will be back on the road soon.

Barber 25th May 2018 14:48

I can vouch for the fact that despite being better padded around the rear than I was when younger, it has no positive effect when sat on the ground or Z3 door cavity for prolonged periods trying to get the door lock in (out was easy).

Mick O'Malley 27th May 2018 10:42

After my rest day, which turned out to be anything but, I pitched back in yesterday afternoon, having spent the morning with no.2 son in Cirencester. The fourth stud and the cover plate proved a doddle, so it was back to more regular re-assembly: seats and covers; exhaust; reconnect rear shocks and replace wheels and dummy spinners. To avoid the danger of scratching the bodywork whilst negotiating the narrow gap, I decided to push her out with the help of my good friend down the road. This we accomplished, although my daughter's car was blocking access to the road. We had a coffee fortified with some hard stuff to celebrate (he'd brush painted his 1960 Hillman Husky with boat enamel the day before).

He's a signwriter by trade, so this was meat and drink to him.

This morning, between showers, I went for a gentle test drive for a couple of miles and all seems well. I'll perform a hypoy level and nut and bolt check before anything more rigorous. Belt and braces always!

Regards, Mick

Mick O'Malley 29th May 2018 08:28

Playing Poker. Not!
Yesterday's sortie in the A352 was to the Berkeley Castle Classic Car day. I had originally planned on going to Castle Combe but when I looked at the card the runners and riders didn't exactly blow my skirt up. I'd not been to either this event or its venue previously, despite its being more or less on my doorstep.

On arrival mid morning I parked with the punters and was immediately buttonholed by fellow enthusiasts. I asked a steward in the show area if I could move my car there and he kindly agreed :). There was a really good variety of machinery on display with a scattering of kit cars, amongst which were two of my least favourites: a VW Beetle floorpan based 'Type 35 Bugatti' and a Robin Hood. However, I had a long chat with the owner of a glorious Moss Roadster regarding both his machine and Monacos. Interesting stuff!

The car of the show, for me, was this Turner in Team Elite livery, beautiful!

When I returned to the car to leave I was besieged by punters for 15 or 20 minutes, one of whom said he'd built a Jaguar based D-Type lookalike in Ecurie Ecosse colours which he'd mistaken mine for. The twin apparently now lives in Bristle: it would be good to track this down!

The A352 performed faultlessly, the replacement diff. being silent. With hindsight, I think the old one had never really been right. Spitfire Steve is going to investigate its internals and let me have his verdict. Top bloke for both quality and price!

Regards, Mick

IanA 29th May 2018 16:28


Originally Posted by Mick O'Malley (Post 95219)
...he'd brush painted his 1960 Hillman Husky with boat enamel the day before).He's a signwriter by trade, so this was meat and drink to him.

Hi Mick- any chance of finding out what paint he used please? It looks like a nice finish. I brush paint my Jago because knocking bits off of a pricier job when off-road would be a pain. I've used International Toplac but it is not easy to touch-up or put on another coat. Cheers. Ian

Barber 29th May 2018 16:37


Originally Posted by IanA (Post 95250)
Hi Mick- any chance of finding out what paint he used please? It looks like a nice finish. I brush paint my Jago because knocking bits off of a pricier job when off-road would be a pain. I've used International Toplac but it is not easy to touch-up or put on another coat. Cheers. Ian

Go on, I dare you :icon_biggrin:

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