More tech­ni­cal rem­i­nis­cences

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Your Letters -

Oh what mem­o­ries your let­ters page evokes! It’s hard to re­mem­ber that so many cars from the 1950s and 1960s had no syn­chros on first – or some­times any – gear. There were Fords with three-speed gear­boxes, Mor­ris Mi­nors with four on the floor, and if I re­mem­ber cor­rectly, Sun­beam-Tal­bot rec­om­mended in its hand­books that first gear was only to be used in an emer­gency. You were most def­i­nitely not sup­posed to set off in first ev­ery time, oth­er­wise the gear­box would suf­fer and fail.

Th­ese days, the art of dou­ble de­clutch­ing is prob­a­bly as rel­e­vant as us­ing your hand sig­nals – it is be­com­ing a lost art. I can re­mem­ber hav­ing a Mor­ris Mi­nor in 1963, and hav­ing to do that at ev­ery give way junc­tion, and all around the back streets.

In an Austin A35, the big end bear­ings would wear rapidly – that doesn’t hap­pen any more. Good job it was easy to do, with clear ac­cess to the sump. I also seem to re­mem­ber that if the crank­shaft was wear­ing out(!), the shells would show more wear on one side. The pis­ton rings men­tioned in the Top 10 1950s

icons fea­ture ( CCW, 20 Jan­uary) would not be Corded. Cords? A very pop­u­lar af­ter­mar­ket brand years ago, which un­like or­di­nary re­place­ments, had steel spring bands in­side them, which once the pis­tons had de­scended down past the wear ridge at the top of the bore, ex­panded to give a bet­ter seal against oil burn­ing. You also got bet­ter com­pres­sion.

Th­ese were very pop­u­lar back then, as it was a sub­stan­tially cheaper op­tion than get­ting a full re­bore. You’d also be less likely to need all-new pis­tons, ei­ther. It has to be said that they could be a good tem­po­rary bodge for un­scrupu­lous traders to get rid of cars with worn en­gines.

There were clearly no con­sumer rights back then. Or the small claims court! It was bought as seen, tried and ap­proved!

DS Boyes, Leeds, West York­shire

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