VINTAGE POSTBAG, July 1961

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VINTAGE POSTBAG

Brocklebanks in Australia

Sir, The article concerning the Brocklebank which appeared in

” Fragments on Forgotten Makes” in April of last year prompts this belated letter. Mr. Charles Brocklebank states that one car was recently heard of in this country. He is only partially correct, as at least three exist in Australia—one in Melbourne and two in Adelaide, of which I own one. I’m sure Mr. Brocklebank won’t mind some comments and objective criticism, and perhaps some readers may be interested in my experiences with the car. My car, and the other one in Adelaide, is fitted with disc wheels,

which apparently were standard. These are the most handsome of their type that I know and eminently suit the body style, being elegantly massive, if I may coin a phrase. The oiling system as mentioned by Mr. Brocklebank seems to have failed in its main purpose. Firstly, the delivery pipe from the oil pump was considerably larger than the inlet and, secondly, the pressure relief valve on the pump itself, merely a piece of spring steel covering a hole, had become bent ill a permanently open position, resulting in most of the oil which managed to find its way into the pump being promptly blown out again, not enough pressure being built up to open the low-pressure valve to timing chain and rocker gear. The car is now off the road while mechanical modifications to cure this are installed. These include enlarging the oil-pump inlet, blocking the relief valve hole in the pump and placing a valve in the rocker shaft. With a bit of juggling of spring pressures I should get all the oil I need everywhere it is needed. The lack of oil to these departments resulted in extreme rocker and tappet wear and also timing-chain and sprocket wear. These components are also being replaced. I was fortunate in securing the car after it had done only five miles after reboring, replacement of pistons, valves, crankshaft grind and new bearings; in fact, everything but the departments which I am now putting right. On its test run the gearbox 2nd gear stripped and the car was taken off the road until I purchased it. On investigation I found that the clutch and gearbox were American in origin and I was able to fit a gearbox from an Oakland

Six after making up an involved adaptor piece to go between gearbox and bell housing, and used the car in that form for some time, until undertaking the current modifications. The brakes, as stated, are also American in origin, being

Lockheed hydraulic. Mr. Brocklebank states that the earlier models had three shoes in each drum—one leading and two trailing. My car has this system, and I feel that it would be more accurate to call it two leading and one trailing. I have had no difficulty in adjusting them satisfactorily and find that the braking power is far superior to anything else I have driven-24o sq. in. of brake linings in 14-in, drums with the grip on the road that 20-in. tyres give can’t be denied ! When I obtained the car it had the rear of the body removed

and a truck-tray fitted, which I removed and fitted, as a temporary measure, a tourer body from an Amilcar. This has now been removed and a station-wagon body is being built, in strictly vintage style, and should suit the angular front-half of the body which is original and quite sound and pleasant in appearance. The performance, in ” tourer” form, was much better than

indicated by Mr. 13rocklebank, probably due to reduced weight and particularly to a lower centre of gravity. Top speed would have been close to 70 m.p.h. and acceleration quite fair. The cornering capabilities, however, I found to be very good for that type of car, having little roll, and being able to be taken through corners in a perfectly controlled four-wheel drift. I don’t do this sort of thing as a rule, but it can be done with the Brocklebank. Taken all round it is a very pleasant car to drive and possLssLs distinct individuality, although not altogether in the true ” Vintage Tradition.” I would say that the purpose for which the car was originally designed was achieved very successfully and Major Brocklebank still has at least one satisfied customer. I am, Yours, etc.,

Adelaide. G. FOAL.

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