Sparking plugs can be ignored between services in most modern engines, but this is not always the case for some of us with engines of older vintage. Having had experience with fouled plugs on the Maserati 300S and Lister-Jaguar I drove this year, I thought that Command Auto Accessories' new Spark Plug Cleaner might be the in-the-paddock solution to future problems.
In effect this cleaner is a mini sand-blaster, working on the same principle as a professional garage plug cleaner, but operated by a 12-volt car battery. A fouled spark plug is inserted into a neoprene grommet in the neat, plastic-encased unit, a push-button is depressed and a 5,000 r.p.m. impeller blasts a special silicon carbide cleaning abrasive at the fouled electrode area.
An effective job takes a little longer than a compressed air plug cleaner but the end result is just about as good. As it happens I haven't had cause to use this Command device on an historic racing car, but its arrival coincided with a spate of plug fouling on my Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce, thanks to a distributor malfunction. The cleaner processed each Golden Lodge plug in seconds. A more exacting test came when I attempted to fire up my XK150 for the first time for six years. Removal of the Champion plugs revealed not just fouling, but heavy rust (surprisingly, the engine revolved freely).
A minute's work on each plug had them spotless and sparking cleanly, which saved about £3.60 or more in new plugs. As the cleaner itself is only £6.99 plus VAT (49p for abrasive refills), it had to be money well spent. These well-made little machines, which come complete with a feeler gauge, should be available from most good accessory shops. They are manufactured by Norco National Ltd., St. Mary's Works, Krooner Road, Camberley, Surrey.
As an aside to the XK150 story, I was astonished to find that the twin six-volt Dagenite batteries had retained a small charge after six years of total neglect - C. R.
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The acrimony which has ensued between Donington Park, the BRSCC and MCD about the future of Formula Atlantic in Britain has ended with the BRSCC and MCD organising a single Championship for the 200 h.p. single-seaters, with sponsorship from Hitachi.
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On a happier note for Donington, a new film entitled "Welcome Back to Donington" relates to Donington's return to international motor sport. The 20-minute film centres on last June's European Formula Two race. Motor clubs or other associations can borrow prints of the film from Guild Sound and Vision Ltd., Woodston House, Oundle Road, Peterborough (Peterborough 63122).