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The Ambassador's daughter

The Ambassadors daughterWhen you look at this 1922 picture, do you immediately think of the purr of the large side valve V8 beneath the Cadillac's bonnet, or perhaps the sound made by the 'Get Out of My Way' horn mounted on the nearside. What's that aperture for just forward of the rear wheel on the valance?
Of course not - you were attracted by that cheeky grin on Laura's face. And so were we!   Laura Bryn was the daughter of the Norwegian Ambassador in Washington and her grandson,  Edward Sisson remembers her 'devilish grin - she never lost that.'
He says '" She was lots of fun and very popular in the 1920s, a real 'flapper' - we still have her flapper dresses.'
Once inside the car she still has a ready smile for the camera and even when posing in the snow with her sister Inga, there's no mistaking Laura.
Our friday lady lived until 1981, just before the internet caught hold, and we wonder what she would have thought of auction sites selling pictures of her
The answer would be in her devilish grin.

Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Library of Congress.

Friday, 15 July 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A Rolls Royce Binder Mystery

Rolls Binder_1936
Car historian Timo Laitinen from Finland sends us this old advertisement. 
This Rolls-Royce Phantom II was shown in the 1936 Paris Motor Show (Autocar Oct 9, 1936).  Maybe Cord had given some ideas for styling...? The text says: "After being on exhibition for two days this car was withdrawn".
What happened to the futuristic looking Rolls with Binder body?
Thursday, 14 July 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

PWC Workshop: making a speedometer drive

photo 1

Did you know that Jay Leno makes parts for his older cars using the same process I do? I'm sure he started this method before me, but he has a deeper wallet! I was fortunate in having received an original speedometer drive with my PB. The housing was all cracked and nothing turned but all the pieces were there for me to recreate it.
My first attempt was simply making a new housing from aluminum billet transferring the existing steel pieces to make an assembly. It was OK but did not look authentic and took a lot of time to make, photo 1. So, the seed was planted to make a pattern to have housings cast quickly.

photo 23D solid modeling software was used to make an electronic model of how I wanted the part to be cast with added features to make machining easier to suit my tooling. My next step was to find a company that had a stereo lithography printer, sometimes called a 3D printer. This printer behaves just like your ink jet or laser printer at home but prints in space making my pattern in 0.004" layer of ink each pass. This process is called rapid prototyping. It is very popular in the automotive industry having a prototype part made of plastic. I now have a pattern that I can take to a foundry to have castings made, but where?

photo 3Over a few OSH I discussed my little venture with Bob Grunau who has a long standing source for aluminum castings. I passed on my pattern and in a few weeks had 6 pieces that I could play with. Fussing around with them proved useful. They weren't that good! The casting was fine but the pattern needed correcting. I went back to the PC and electronically edited the pattern. My final pattern arrived from the printer with Bob taking it to the foundry. A few weeks later and I had 6 new castings to machine. Success! I was now satisfied with the housing pattern for the speedometer drive. Casting cost for the 12 "prototypes" was not cheap, but it gave me an easy to machine and decent looking final part. 
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Keeping her barn fresh or give the full monty?

Barn find or fully restored?

When people see a derelict example of a car they like,  it immediately fires their imagination in one of two ways :  either to give the old girl a bare-chassis rebuild, or confine their work to a mechanical refurbishment and lovingly retain as much patina as possible.
There is just such a car in Brightwell's sale being held tomorrow in Herefordshire - a 1933 Alvis Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas Tourer which has just emerged from a long period of dry storage. Described as complete but needing a major restoration, we  shall be interested to see which direction the new owner takes.
Undoubtedly one of the finest cars available during the early 1930s, the glamorous Alvis Speed 20 embodied the latest fashion for long bonnets and low flowing coachwork and the instruction manual captures the spirit of the time..."The genius who designed it, the men who built it are proud of your car. It is the child of their brains ... you will be able to speed unchecked, the long day through, glorying in the swift acceleration and wonderful hill-climbing ... take care of it."
The second owner took it with him to Nigeria and wrote an article entitled 'Fast work in Africa' where he recalls a rapid cross country trip mostly on gravelled roads at speeds of 90mph.
If you prefer a Speed 20 that's ready to go, then there is this restored 1933 example estimated at a slightly higher price, and if you really cannot resist barn finds needing major major restorations, then have a look at this Swift, or this 1933 Morris Cowley Six or even this 1923 Fiat 501C which , when new, was described as "a car of unusual silence and refinement  " ... "there was a balance and quality about the design that has caused it to be considered one of the most pleasing small family cars ever made, particularly in its steering and brakes"
Whether you buy by sight,by advertiser's description or by the motoring press, be ready for it to engage your emotions - and your wallet.

Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Brightwells Auctioneers.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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