Thursday, 17 September 2015

Riding the Mountains, getting her home ..

It's a funny thing.. you spend plenty of time preparing for an event and then it's all over so fast. Yesterday we returned home from what I can only describe as a truly epic event.. The Riley, 83yrs old, got us all the way down through France into Spain and over some very tricky mountains.. some 2500 miles! getting as high as up to 4700ft in the Pyrenees.

We certainly had our problems along the way, to include fuel tank holed (really can't prepare for that one!) blown fuses, suspension mods, fried wires, blown bulbs.. the usual and we took plenty of spares with us! .. mechanically she was just amazing, didn't miss a beat. She only over heated once, but we were up high! glad we fitted an electric fan with manual switch : )

tunnelling through the mountains in Spain

Most of the trip is was beautifully sunny, we did however his some torrential rain and thunder coming through France... Difficult driving with no windscreen! but again, proper preparation with wet weather gear is no different to riding a bike. The secret is to stay dry and keep dry.

Lots of other cars and bikes on the tour, to include Porsches, Morgan's and Jaguars..and some 50's bikes..

It's hard work navigating and driving, (and fixing stuff along the way) but that's the challenge. Would I do it again.. YES!!!  question is what car next?

Stay tuned.. the Riley gets a well earned rest and I get back to the Allard.. want to get this finished and fired up next! ..

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mountain men and technology

Over the weekend we drove the 700 miles down through France, Le Mans, Poitiers, Bordeaux and across the border to San high in the mountains touring some truly breathtaking scenery. 
Transmitting live data via Freescale equipment and IBM software, amazing technology in an 82yr old car!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Launch day! - Tour Begins..

One minute you have months ahead of you to plan, decide on jobs to do, modifications to make and how you would love the car to look and run.. The reality of it is, and I know full well from past experience, that things like (the other stuff in your life) and unforeseen issues with the car pop up and they intern create other unforeseen problems and issues that need resolving and reworking.

 ... if you haven't already done so, read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'  

Back in April when the car was purchased, we assessed was it a 'goer' for a 3k km tour? Basically we had a list of jobs to do and drew a line at a point where we knew our 'go point' .. We have managed to get well beyond the go point and so fingers crossed the car is in good shape and we are good to go!!

To amuse you these are some of the issues we had to deal with, most in the last week! No blaming, just sorting and shakedown..

- Flat inner tube on a brand new tyre and tube (faulty valve ripped)
- Tachometer cable snapped 
 -Indicators failed to flash correctly (incorrectly documented back to front Japanese LED flasher unit)
- wiring fry up to the back end, lost brake lights... Previous wire fire, rain shorted out circuit during 'wet testing'
Battery totally dry and failing , fitted new one (and taken spare)
Water temp gauge busted, fitted another one
Coil cooked, fitted a new one.

Carrying many, many spares, all sourced and working prior to storage. We have tried to get an much plug and play equipment as possible onboard. coil, distributor, belts, relays, fuses etc etc .. 

We have actually fitted carpet in the footwells! no not for any aesthetic reasons, purely to stop road grot and dust flying up through the wooden floor. You forget just how mucky roads are these days when in the confines of an everyday modern car.

Lots of Pics to follow as we get under way, heading for the cross channel ferry, Portsmouth to Le Havre.

wish us luck.. we will need it!!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fire up and running!

The past few weeks have seen more action on the car and we are now down to the last few 'easier' jobs ... This week we got the car running and out the barn, she sounded amazing and really is starting to look the part!

The front headlights proved to be a real pain and rather un-functional from a 'glow-worm' at best perspective. The hi-beam never worked properly also. What I did was rebuild the light clusters to accommodate very modern halogen bulbs (sorry purists, but safety in the mountains overrides originality!) .. and added a separate hi-beam switch to the dash. We now have amazing lights!

Bonnet straps - beautiful leather we've had custom made and we fitted them. We also made up some small 'stays' to stop the straps slipping down the bonnet. Side spares also fitted to the car : )

The larger 18" wheels fitted to the back, bit more chunky and look the part.

Next up, tonneau covers to be made and fitted to 'secure' the car, seats are now fitted and the floor bolted down! even looking at getting some carpet!.. more soon. testing on the road now begins...

Monday, 3 August 2015

Race to the finish/start

Only 4 weeks till the start of the Tour, and still plenty to do on the car. Just finished installing indicator lamps on the dash for fan, dynamo charge, hi beam and indicators. We all now have beautiful leather bonnet straps made at a local Horsey yard :) agricultural talent, all we need now are some horse brasses and a shire! 

We have also fitted the Aero screen which hopefully will give us a little more wind and bug in the face protection beyond flying goggles.

Next up, floor and seats go in, and a load of fiddly finishing jobs, then test it like mad for a few weeks and see how she runs!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Working like a loony!

This past month has been flat out working on the Riley ready for the tour in September.. Yesterday was quite an Epic day as we fired up the car and ran it for the first time, having made many mods, and additions to it.

We are feeling now like we may actually pull this off! This list of things done is amazing and still quite a bit to go, this shot showing is amazing newly painted wings, matching/restored wheels and beautiful Blockley tyres. Couple of spares to bolt on the side also..

Having got the car up on the lifter, we had a good going over under the car. I've practically rewired the whole thing, and cut out so much old burned rubbish wiring, I'm now feeling much more confident with what we now have onboard, to include... a battery cut off switch, 12v dash supply, Indicators!, and electric rad fan, hi-viz fog lamp, reversing lamp, etc.. at least everything works and works well : )

We have added, side mirrors, Aero screens and currently making a full size windscreen, the luxury! 
we made a rear lighting bar to mount the rear lamps onto. 

You can see here, indicators, reflectors, fog and reverse.. all side lights and brake lights etc all now work fine : )

on board, all the clocks now work!! fuel, temp, oil and Amps.. we even have a working rev counter! ... oven the horn now works!

Good lord, seats, and carpets .. coming up ...
Stay tuned, more to follow through August as we go for the final push to get her Tour ready... we leave on the 4th September for a 10 day tour right down through Spain....

Friday, 19 June 2015

Tour Graphics...

During the tour later this year I'll be posting updates as we hit the various stages and update via blog and twitter, so you can follow all the fun!

Meanwhile a ton of stuff arrived this week ready to fit to the car (some of it slightly modern) but we decided safety was a priority.. in an old car.. in foreign countries.. up the side of a cloudy hill with it hammering down with rain or snow! ... so ...

Indicators, Hazzard warning, 12v charger supply, fog lamp, hi-viz reverse lamp, reflectors.. you get the idea...

Earlier this week we whipped the front water system apart and replaced all the hoses and flushed the rad.. greased everything up featuring imperial and metric grease nipples.. never squeezed and imperial before!  

Front end looking good, wheels and tyres should be back this week and the wings all ready for a refit : )

Friday, 12 June 2015

Holiday plans!

Earlier this year one of best mates, was brave enough to ask me if I wanted to go with him on holiday in September... well actually a 10 day tour down through France and into Spain, chasing mountain tops along the border... and we had to do it in an open top car along with loads of other cars.. how could I say no! The question was, what car to take... an old one of course!... so he got hold of a 1930's Riley which runs, but is unloved and needs sorting out before it will be fighting fit for several thousand km .... 

So... went to pick her up in the truck and got her back over to my workshop...

So first things first.. all wheels off and away to be stripped, cleaned and repaired.. and all new tyres, plus a complete spare set.
Need a pair of seats and I'll fit a complete lighting and indicator set for the trip.
need aero screen, electrics sorting, new exhaust fabricating, etc ...
lick of paint and a jolly good scrub up.

Whipped of the front wings, Radiator, and replaced all the water hoses. lick of paint and working my way through the usual 70yrs worth of electrical bodging that's gone on previously!

Meanwhile on the Allard, I'm waiting for a fuel tank, fuel pump and other bits ready to make up the complete fuel system. During testing I fried the started motor, which was a bit upsetting as I'd spent ages rebuilding it ... never mind, bit of a set back : )

Monday, 18 May 2015

Barn Pacing and getting shocked!

... been another interesting month in the barn as I continue to develop my relationship with the car... (no I'm not getting auto-married or anything modern like that) ... I had a big push on the primary circuit electrics and got well over excited at getting my wiring diagrams correct ....

with the dash in, clocks in and loom in place, the engine now turns over on the push button starter!! I did get a bit excited when it worked first go : )

Pic of the loom coming through the bulkhead and senders for water temp and oil pressure.. 

Whilst I wait for a fuel pump to arrive from the U.S. I'v been looking at what lamps, lights and lenses I have to hook up the front and back assemblies. The first job was to get those whopping front lights mounted somehow and in the right place...

... this wasn't right, too high and too close to the nose cone... also just not right ...

When doing something like this, there are no plans, no measurements, nothing to copy... just a few pics I've collected of 'things that look good' ... and it needs to look good... after much barn pacing and tea drinking I made a mock up frame to mount one of the light bowls on .... and had an idea..

A rod will run between the from dumb irons which the licence plat will mount onto, having clamped my mock-up lamp post to the chassis, why not weld the lamp posts to the same rail, make it detachable such that come race day, disconnect the electrics, take of both lamps and licence plate in one go!...... 

More soon as we move towards fuelling and fire up for real!!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wiring, bulking and fettling...

Probably one of my least favourite jobs.. wiring from scratch! .. Sometime ago I ordered a 'period' looking cotton bound wiring loom based upon a 1948 Allard M model (saloon). I had several modifications included like Alternator instead of Dynamo and the inclusion of indicator leads, and lost a few items not required for a hotrod : )  I figured in modern traffic certain concessions would be permissible... but nothing to extreme like fitting seatbelts, just a grab handle on the dash for a mechanic : )

SO having built the dash, built the clocks, fitted everything (blown one AVO) and got the preliminary wiring underway, it was time to see if the dash fitted in the car based so far upon only my cardboard mockup... none of the rounded tub section is square, it's all hand made so, lots of fiddly fettling ...

After some more fettling and welding in a suitable dashboard frame, in she went : ) .... I can now measure up and fit units to the bulkhead and run wiring between dash and bulk... talking of which..

I completely remade a new bulkhead firewall from one sheet and mounted the beehive oil filter.. I've also now got the correct copper pipe work in place and sourced the correct fittings.. that was a game! looks great and really sets that side of the engine bay. 

Next up, fitting the dash clocks, getting the wiring loom in, and wiring up. need to think about the brakes at some point .. hummm..

Monday, 2 March 2015

Th Dashing Dash...

Over the winter months, building the body work and generally being cold in my workshop, didn't really appeal, so I've spent time on the Dashboard and all the instruments. Each of the clocks have been rebuilt, or sourced or modified to complete a period looking set..

The clocks are made from original bit, replacement bits, new bits and a selection or hour hands from old time clocks! It's a real combo of Brass and modern electronics.. 

I got some 2mm 'Engine Turned' mill finish and very carefully marked up and cut out all the holes.. Tricky!! I wanted the dash to look period and hotrod cool! .. and only one shot as this, so no scratches nor balls ups!

This is the first mock up getting the clocks and switches to fit.. I've now got to make all the rear fastenings and then get my head around wiring it up!..

Imagine the huge steering wheel in place, it cuts just to the right of the green indicator flick switch, so positioning the clocks such that they could all be seen had to be carefully thought about..  I had done a cardboard mockup in the car with a seat so I know it will work : ) The Allard logo on the far left is a steel cutout which I havn't decided if I'll stick it there, or position a chrome grab handle for the passenger... well there are no seatbelts!!