Stalling for time. Again

Classic Cars (UK) - - Our Cars -

When I ven­tured into the garage re­cently I found a box con­tain­ing some nice Car­bonif­er­ous-era plant fos­sils. It’s been so long since I was in there – ren­o­vat­ing a house soaks up in­fi­nite time – that they may well have been healthy, liv­ing ferns when I last worked on the Scim­i­tar.

My pal Richard Hamer ad­min­is­tered the arse-kick I needed, ‘I’m not do­ing any­thing next Thurs­day, why don’t we get your Scim­i­tar go­ing?’ I could hardly refuse. The en­gine, still re­splen­dent in new paint from its re­build at Brayon Engi­neer­ing near Loch Lomond, was min­utes away from run­ning for the first time, or so I thought.

Richard and I fit­ted an elec­tric fuel pump and pres­sure reg­u­la­tor, plus a blank­ing plate for the old me­chan­i­cal pump mount­ing. But the fuse­boards had been out and the pho­tos I took of their wiring were AWOL. Then, while fit­ting some ex­pen­sive new sil­i­cone coolant hoses and over-en­gi­neered Mikalor clips, I dis­cov­ered one of the con­nect­ing steel pipe sec­tions had rot­ted at one end.

I thought my luck was in when I spot­ted a piece of Alfa Romeo ex­haust pipe of the right di­am­e­ter, so I cut the length I needed and welded it on. Af­ter a fash­ion. Ever tried mak­ing a gas-tight butt weld with pa­per-thin, un­evenly-cor­roded pipe and an an­cient MIG ma­chine with a dodgy wire feed? Hav­ing wasted two hours on this, I stopped and de­cided to spin the en­gine over with its plugs out to make my­self feel bet­ter. Richard had worked out the fuse­board con­nec­tions, but an­nounced that the bat­tery live ca­ble seemed to be miss­ing. Why? How? A jump lead did the trick. Or rather it didn’t; all we man­aged to do was re­lease some smoke from the ca­ble. So next time I’ll be re­mov­ing the starter.

Soon af­ter, I was vis­it­ing my par­ents and had a chance to meet my fa­ther’s new pet, a pati­nated but very orig­i­nal 1938 Lan­cia Aprilia. The lit­tle Zenith 32 VIM carb was crusted with the crud of ages and the link­age was mal­ad­justed, but with a hur­ried re­build and most of the oil wiped off the spark plug con­nec­tors, it ran well enough for us to drive it up and down the road. Un­til it boiled, any­way. It’s a to­tal joy – light, well-sus­pended and with such a good ‘crash’ gear­box you can al­most treat it like a mod­ern car. Now I want one too.

Work fi­nally re­sumes on the Scim­i­tar af­ter a lengthy break, but it’s any­thing but childs’ play

Nigel’s dad has a new toy: a 1938 Lan­cia Aprilia

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