"Babs'" gearbox

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From time to time we publish progress reports on “Babs”, the disinterred Liberty-engined Thomas Special which Owen Wyn-Owen is restoring, from which it is apparent that very good progress is being made. When we first saw the dug-up car the 1907 Benz gearbox looked impossible to retrieve, its alloy casing almost entirely corroded away by sea water.

Consequently, it is interesting to discover, from Ciba-Geigy’s “Technical Notes” for last April, that, in fact, Araldite has come to the rescue. Although there was almost nothing remaining of the original casting, new patterns were ingeniously and painstakingly built up in Araldite epoxy resin by the pattern-makers of the J.100 Die Shop at Garringtons in Bromsgrove, using what fragments of the old gearbox/differential Wyn-Owen could give them. Kent Alloys Ltd., a GKN Castings Sub-Group, were able to make castings from these patterns, which were then machined by GKN’s Transmissions Sub-Group and Vandervell Products Ltd. So this complicated gearbox has been fully restored. Other vintage car rebuilders with similar problems may find Araldite of similar assistance. Incidentally, the GKN Corrosion Laboratory has been closely studying “Babs” in connection with the manner in which certain aluminium alloys have corroded to disintegration point, but, in so doing, have protected the steel components, as with “Babs'” gear wheels and shafts.—W. B.