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What are all those people looking at? A market perhaps? Too bad they are not looking at this saloon, maybe then we would have had a better view. Hans Waldeck came up with this picture and he hasn't got a clue what kind of automobile this is. Because of the 'cooking-pan' headlights our first thought would be that it's American. But then it could also be French, or perhaps Belgian. The shape of the body suggests Chenard & Walcker or Hurtu, but then the six wheelnuts don't fit in. It is difficult to see what the white stripe at the front is... a hood ornament? Or is it something the lady with the coat is carrying? The licenceplate doesn't help as a clue either, as the number K-663 was issued in the Dutch province Zeeland. Your suggestions are more than welcome!
Last week we published an article about electronic ignitions. It was clear that not everybody was a huge fan of making some modern adjustments to their beloved classic car. But there were also people who thought it was neccessary and not a problem to change a part like the ignition.
In today's PreWarCar.com Workshop, we would like to show you how to install an electric ignition, as for sale in our parts section.
Changing your current system to an electronic system is quite simple. The system we used consist of 3 parts; The sensor, a small ignition box and a vane.
Lets start with the vane. We received this part already prepared for a 4 cylinder engine. The idea is that everytime the blade of the vane passes the sensor, the sparkplug gives a spark. Very simple and very reliable.
The hardest part when you install the electronic system is the height of the vane. I made an alumium holder partly on the lathe and a bit by hand. It fitted perfectly and the rotor still fitted on top.
After that, place the sensor. Make sure the vane goes through the sensor without touching it. There are marks on the vane to see how deep it needs to go in.
Placing the ignition box is most simple. Just screw it on a place that you think is a nice one. Most important thing is that you can see the LED light that is in the box.
The system comes with multiconnectors so it is easy to connect all the parts.
After installing the vane, sensor and ignition box and all the other parts together, you just need to adjust the ignition timing. Because of the LED light in the ignition box, live has become much more easy. When the light goes out, you have a spark. So put cylinder one on top dead center and turn the ignition a bit untill the light stops (depending on the car, you can advance the ignition a bit of course). And there you go, ready for making a lot of extra miles without ignition problems!
When the owner is away in November, and he asks if you want to drive his 1900 De Dion Bouton Vis-à-vis during the coming London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the answer is easy... But then one needs to learn to drive it first, and what better location than a disused airfield ? And why not the track used by Top Gear ? And why not during the 'Supercar Event' in favour of 'The Children's Trust', a charity for children with brain injury ?
Already for the third time, the De Dion Bouton Club UK used this event as an excuse to race veteran tricycles, and over the complete weekend, some 15 machines, ranging from 1898 to 1901 and mostly powered by De Dion Bouton engines competed in the ' Team Jarrott' race, named after one of the first British racing drivers, of course first on a tricycle: Charles Jarrott.
But just before the turn of the century, Count De Dion and mechanical mastermind Bouton realised that this most successful tricycle needed upgrading anyhow, and the De Dion Bouton Vis-à-vis was launched.
When it comes to learn to drive it, forget everything you know about driving cars and start from scratch. Most controls are on the single column that comes straight out of the floor. It carries a handle for the steering, and a handle for the gearchange. Use of the steering handle is logical and straightforward, the gear handle is a little different... But first, to start, one has to get in the boot, where the engine is located. Make sure the engine is oiled, open the petrol tap, tickle the carb and adjust two more levers that are on the steering quadrant. The lever nearest to the driver is the throttle, the one opposite is the advance/retard. Set this one to fully retard, and the throttle at a third or so. Beneath the drivers left leg, there is an ignition switch, that must be set from A (Arrêt) to M (Marche). Then to the starting handle, which is located on the right side of the car. A few hefty rotations should make the engine start ! If it doesn't, check if the automatic inlet is not sticky. If it isn't, it should make a gargling sound, meaning it lets the air in.
Once the engine is started (and the advance lever advanced), to get the car in motion, the gear lever is gently moved by the drivers left hand from its neutral position (at 9 o'clock), towards the driver (6 o'clock), which makes it go into first gear, very very smoothly. Throttle up a little, and when speed is gained, move from 6 to 12 o'clock, clockwise, to get to top gear. Indeed, there are only two gears ! In the meantime, do not forget to keep steering, with the right hand, mostly.
An important question comes up: how to stop it ? For braking, the driver's left foot can push the transmission brake, but it is not as effective as the contracting band brakes on the two rear wheels. The control of this is with the gearchange lever, which can also be pushed down, when in neutral, thus giving a most effective braking.
All of the above takes about a minute to explain, and three and a half minutes to get used to ! And most importantly: once one gets the hang of it, it is tremendous fun !
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