Perhaps a short letter stating the progress made on “Babs” would not be out of place as it is now a few months since the last one.
The chassis components are being assembled back on the chassis at a reasonably satisfactory rate. Both axles are now fitted and a new hub and steering arm made for the near side with new bearings supplied by SKF.
Starting from the front, the radiator is repaired with a new block by Delaney Galley, who made the original. The main engine assembly is done with cylinders and camshafts off a Liberty tank engine, for the time being at least. The ignition system, Lucas, is complete, but I am making efforts to get Delco replacements for two reasons—originality and also the fact that I may not be able to put the two front carburetters on, in between the rather bulky Lucas distributors, which fit on the front end of each camshaft. The four Zenith carburetters are ready but the copper pipe manifolds still require a bit of straightening and aligning. The water pump problem is unsolved, although I am expecting a letter any day from the USA with offers. Following this there will be an extensive plumbing operation which will necessitate at least six dozen hose clips.
The clutch is complete and working. The gearbox is in the chassis with only the gear-change mechanism to sort out, the gear-change lever and the hand-brake lever having suffered badly in the crash, as they were on the outside of the chassis. The gearbox has now a new casing, a contribution by GKN, who made a pattern with the old casing and lots of synthetic material; they cast a new casing and then machined it. All in all, a first-class effort. The last month or so have been occupied fitting the gearbox together, gaskets, seals, etc. And fitting the three-and-a-half hundredweights of it in the car. The chain-drive shafts are fitted with the radius rods to the rear axle which is almost complete.
I have not tried the new chains, which after a long search and through the assistance of Morse chains were obtained from Germany. A member of the Bull Nose Morris Club while visiting me was surprised to find that I had managed to find a supply of the chain as he wanted some badly. I said that I would give him the address of the firm after I had got the chain for “Babs”. Unfortunately I have not now got the address of the Morris Club member.
The steering column is on but as yet I have no suitable steering wheel. I have two wheels on the front fitted with 32 x 4 1/2 tyres by Dunlop, which is the nearest as yet I have got to the necessary 33 x 5.
A problem still remains with the rear wheels, although one of the original 80 mm. Rudge Whitworth wheel centres is available. I still require one wheel centre. At worst an 8-litre Bentley hub can be made to fit, although it is not quite as wide. The 23 in. rims, I believe, are obtainable. It appears that at times Babs was fitted with 23 in. wheels or 25 in. wheels.
Nothing has been done to the remains of the aluminium bodywork, but I have part-straightened the steel fairing fitted on the o/s rear, which is at least a start.