Sir, I cannot resist the opportunity to rush into print once again, because a recent leave from the R.A.F. enabled me to look around the local breakers’ yards. Thus, great was the excitement when my brother and I discovered a 1928 41-litre saloon Bentley-in fair condition and with five practically brand-new covers. The engine was partially dismantled, but all the bits were there, plus quite a few useful
extras, such as P100 head-lamps, rev.counter, etc.-and all for the modest sum of 210. The breaker obligingly towed us home for 10.s., our own 3-litre not ‘bang taxed at the time, and we parked the bargain on a neighbour’s land for the time being. Due to the fact that we feared the blitz, and that we could not find a garage, we decided to dismantle the car . . . and followed many hours of exceedingly hard labour, the high-spot being when we lifted the bare chassis away from the engine, after which it was necessary to wheel the
engine on a small trolley along to our house, and up two planks over the doorstep-no mean engineering feat ! I The neighbours were very interested, and even the local vicar stopped and said “Goodmorning,” notwithstanding the fact that we were practically unrecognisable under our layer of filth !
Having stored the various parts in nooks and crannies all over the house, and in the cellar (mothers are very tolerant) our next task was to get the engine to start, with the object of finding out what sort of condition it was in.
Some enterprising ” mechanic ” had attempted to dismantle it with the object of replacing one of the oil-trays just under the valve gear, which had corroded right through ; with the result that the sump was full of a nasty oil-water mixture. Said ” mechanic ” had attempted to remove the tray by means of crowbars, consequently it was in a very sorry state.
Having removed the block we noted that the pistons were quite clean underneath, and were marked +.040 in., which suggested that the engine had been rebored recently.
My brother volunteered to clean the sump out (he enjoyed himself immensely) while all pipes and odds and ends, phis the crankshaft, were taken to the nearest garage, to be blown out with compressed air.
It did not take long to reassemble, and in lieu of an oil-tray a flat plate was fitted, just to cover the hole.
Our worst task was the usual oneputting the block back, which took place by means of blocks of wood of varying thicknesses, hours of patience, and not a little profanity.
The compression when fitted up was terrific-we could hardly turn the engine at all. Nevertheless, after fitting one of the magnetos and filling the carburetter floats with petrol, we were rewarded (?) with a terrific backfire-a little retarding and off she went. We soon deemed it discreet to fit the exhaust-pipe and silencer, and were rewarded with a most exciting burble. We also discovered that it was perfectly quiet mechanically with no valve-gear noise.
Thus ended a very satisfying leave, and a letter from my brother informs me that he is toying with the notion of fitting that engine into our own chassis, or alternatively, discovering a short 3-litre frame somewhere. He has also managed to obtain an 8-litre barrel-type gearbox and a Hardy Spicer prop-shaft, which he says is short enough for a 3-litre. Incidentally, if any reader knows of a short “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley which Continued on page 414
out be broken up for spares, 1926-7, we should be glad of the tip. My brother is now engaged in making new shackle-pins from the solid bar, by means of a hand-die. We have no equipment beyond spanners, not even a vice—we love hard work. . . .
We should greatly appreciate some further information on Bentleys ; we have thumbed Mr. McKenzie’s articles until the print is almost worn off the page. For instance, can the compression be raised by fitting longer pistons and not touching the base of the block, and is it possible to do away with backlash in the rear axle without musing more noise therefrom ? We appreciate the meshadjusters on the gears in the final drive, and on the valve-gear, but it seems that adjustment of same brings new surfaces into contact which cause a different sort of noise.
MOTOR SPORT continues to be vastly interesting—it is a wonder to me how you do it ; it is still the best ” bobsworth ” there is on the news-stands.
Thanks a lot, anyway, for a most intriguing journal. I am, Yours etc.,
R. 13,AW1W.N. R.A.F. [If anyone can supply the required information, please send it to Mr. Bawden, c/o 23, Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow, London, E.17.—Ed . ]