Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simon's new toy has arrived.

He's having trouble believing these photos were taken in his driveway.

Some of you already know, but over the last year or two another interesting car project has been taking shape, and finally arrived late last week.
For years I’ve had a sports car of one type or another. A 100-4 Healey that was described as a “trailer load of rusty metal”, a V6 Capri, a succession of Bolwell’s, Mk7’s and a Nagari, a Buchanan, that now appears to have been one of the factory race cars, amongst others.
All of these have at some level disappointed and, in many ways have been a step towards something that I have really wanted for 20+ years.
I’ve always wanted an Aston Martin.
For years as kids, Marcus (my brother) and I talked about cars. Obviously James Bond was a hero, and late night reruns of Goldfinger probably sewed the seed, but always an Aston Martin was the pinnacle for us both.
Later on, reading second hand UK import magazines, we would marvel at the exclusivity, luxury, power and frightening cost of an Aston Martin, and who wouldn’t want a car that could actually use most of the 170MPH speedo.
I can recall reading an article on Aston Martin that interviewed the then Director / Owner, Victor Gauntlet. It was in 1984 and in 70 years, Aston Martin had just built their 10,000th car. The comment was also made, that in Detroit they were building 10,000 cars in an hour! An Aston was clearly the car for me.
Although the Bond DB5 connection had probably got me started, it was the then current (1984) V8’s that really caught my eye.
25 years later, and at the Phillip Island Historics two years ago, there were a couple of Aston Martin Club V8’s in the car park.
I was there with Dad and said that if there was ever going to be a car for me then it was one of these. Slowly I did the sums and realized it wasn’t entirely impractical, though I didn’t need much convincing. The Nagari had been sold (so the Sports Car Money was safely in the bank!) and after all, at least in an Aston Martin V8, the whole family could travel in it! 
Like most of you I always have my favorite car sales sites and a few favorites to punch in. Aston Martin, Bolwell, Austin Healey, Iso, Jensen, Kit Car and even Plymouth (Don’t ask!).
All of a sudden the supply seemed to disappear overnight, although I suspect that in reality there were never many for sale in Australia.
I contacted Paul Sabine at Brooklands and he showed me a Series 3 that he had, but I explained that I was after something a little better, even if it cost a bit more.
After fortnightly phone calls to Paul Sabine he finally told me of a series 4 Oscar India he had bought in the UK that was on its way over. I saw the photos, and was quietly keen.
The Series 4 Oscar India (October Introduction) cars were significantly improved over the earlier cars that I had initially looked at.
They featured a revised interior with walnut timber inserts and leather headlining (It took the leather from 9 hides to trim an Oscar India!) as well as an integral rear spoiler and lower, closed opening bonnet bulge.
Initially I thought that one of these more highly appointed cars would be beyond my reach, but the car finally arrived in Australia and I was hooked. It would be a little (!) more expensive than the series 3, but to me the improvements were well worth it.
I test drove the car, after waiting for what seemed like months, and wasn’t disappointed, which was a relief! The car upheld all of my Aston Martin expectations, but I was ultimately to reject it because again I thought that maybe I could perhaps do a little better.
By this time I had looked at all of the cars available in Australia (all of 2 in 18 months) and had come to the conclusion that I may have to look further to the UK.
I approached The Healey Factory who said that they would help with shipping a car here, and as I had no experience it was a great help, as it opened a whole new, all be it small market.
I soon found a car I really liked and set the wheels in motion.
The color and interior were all good, I particularly like the contrasting green piping on the seats, and the car had an interesting history file that demonstrated a lot of car in its previous owners and was a lot lower mileage than the car I had previously tested.
The car was inspected by a very reputable Aston specialist (check out Richard Williams Aston on Google) and given the all clear. I then parted with the money. You can imagine how nerve wracking that is, sending money half way around the world, to a guy you have only contacted by email and a few phone conversations, for a car that you haven’t even seen. Then with Healey Factory help the car was put in a container to sail to Melbourne.
After just over six weeks from leaving the UK, the phone call came from Rob Rowland to say the car was here. I nervously asked how it looked, “like a green Aston”, was the short reply.
I went after work for a quick look and was very happy. The color and overall condition was better than I had hoped for. I picked the car up on Saturday 25-6 and nervously drove home and checked all of the lights etc and arranged for a safety inspection for Monday, to put the car on Historic Plates. It passed no problem, so the next day, Tuesday 28-6 I went to Vic Roads with the necessary paperwork, and handed over $114, and picked up my new 90 day Historic club plates!
Even Rob was impressed, a new record to get a car from the container and onto the road.
So far, I’m not at all disappointed. There are a few little things to take car of, but they can be done once I get it organised onto a regular servicing plan.
Incidentally, I have been in touch with the Aston Martin Owners Club forum, and it actually looks like my car is one of two cars that were originally ordered new by Victor Gauntlets. The two cars had consecutive plates and the other one was a famous car used in many road tests at the time.
I hope to be contacted by Victor Gauntlets son, regarding the car!
Hope to have many years of pleasant motoring ahead!
Aston Martin V8
Chassis Number V8SOR 12260
Engine Number V/580/2260/S

First registered PBM 743W 1st August 1980
First Registered owner Pace Petroleum Ltd

Second registered Owner from 1981?? J Maclean??? 
I have no paperwork or dates relating to this owner, information from Tim Cottingham, AMOC only

Third registered owner Kingfisher Wood Products LTD 8-7-83
Registration changed to 1 KWP

Fourth registered owner Philip Vincent Meakin 22-9-88
Registration changed to RBW 682W

Fifth Registered owner John Czarnowski 1-3-93

Sixth registered owner David Sloan 27-10-10

Seventh registered owner Simon Wells 14-4-11

In 1987 and again in 1988, the car got third place in the Silverstone concours


From new to 10-4-85 (25,000 Miles) service by Aston Martin Lagonda, the 10,000 Mile service voucher is not stamped??
30,000 (21-8-87) and 35,000 (25-3-88) service by Richard Stewart Williams
40,000 (19-4-91) service by Aston Martin Lagonda
45,000 (2-12-91) and 50,000 (26-9-94) service by DJR Services
55,000 (6-11-00) service by Rikki Cann
On going servicing and repairs to end 2002 by Rikki Cann
Only minor repairs and service since

I wonder if servicing stopped at Aston Martin Lagonda because of cost? In May 1989, the invoice reports renewing the rear cigar lighter. Breakdown of parts supplied shows 1 cigar lighter, cost 30.47 GBP plus 15%VAT!

September 2002 Rikki Cann carried out extensive repairs to sills, jacking points and rear suspension pickups. Body work was repaired around front and rear window openings, and the car was repainted, though not to bare metal.
Total cost of this work in 2002 was over 10,000 GBP.
Mileage at this time was 57765.
Although staying with the same owner until Oc27-20-20 rather strangely, having spent all that money, since then the car has barely been used, having covered only 2314 miles for a total of 60079 in the last 9 years, and only 337 since its MOT 16-3-07.
One year 09-10, it traveled as few as 4 miles according to the MOT tests!

Well, half his luck hey!

2011 Australian International Motor Show.

The Melbourne Motor Show starts tomorrow. This is the turbocharged Subaru powered Toyota FT-86 which will be unveiled.
The Joss JP1 will be there too.
And don't forget the Bentley ute will be auctioned there tomorrow week. I've been looking for another ute.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

McArlus Cars - 25 - Ignition on!

Only a short update this time, as picture doesn’t really convey the significance of the event.
It only shows all of the dash lights on.
I have tried to upload a short video to Youtube but I’m not as clever as a 17 yo St Kilda school girl or millions of other people. (Any suggestions)
IT RUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes Ron has successfully managed (again) to modify the wiring loom to bring my baby to life! After the loom was done I went to Ron’s and filled the car with oil coolant and fuel.
With the plugs removed, it was cranked over on the starter motor to get the oil pressure up, with plenty of WD 40 sprayed in to lubricate the bores. This time done directly on the starter motor, bypassing all of the loom and ECU’s which may have caused us a problem last time, and then it was time to give it a go.
An initial backfire caused some consternation. We have had trouble determining exactly which is the front or rear cylinder, as the manual is confusing, but Ron was convinced that he was correct having looked at a bike in the showroom.
A little more though, a short squirt of aerostart and bang!
Immediately the engine fired and settled into a nice steady idle.
Not bad for an engine that has been untouched for probably 7 years.
I hope all is well for another seven.
A major step closer now and the job list is shrinking rapidly!
Keen eyes will notice that there is no bodywork on the car in this shot, that’s because its away being painted, so there will be plenty to see in the next update, well I’m excited!
Plan is to drive the car at Calder on a Wednesday practice day in July or August and then run a practice day at Winton on Fri 9 September and a AASA sprint the following Saturday 10 September.
Seven years in the making!

Photo of the Month.

From Tony Shaw.
The car's for sale. See blogpost dated Sunday June 12th.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ProdSports in the 70s.

Remember Fernando D'Alberto? I used to be amazed at the speed of his 260Z.
One of his mates from back then has dragged out some pictures from 1976. I thought I'd show you a few more because there's a few other cars I think you'll recognise.

Now that's my idea of a TR3!

McArlus Cars - 24 - radiators etc.

On the yellow car the cooling system was always marginal.
Initially it was fitted with one small radiator from a 250cc bike fitted in the right hand side of the car and fed cooling air via the wheel arch and duct in the top of the door. This quickly proved inadequate. The solution was to add a second similar radiator to the left hand side of the car, so doubling the radiator surface area and at the same time I fitted some aluminium paneling to provide some extra sealing so that more air would find its way through the radiators rather than around them, but the complicated pipe work was always a concern.
At this point the cooling was OK for one driver to run sprints, but would still struggle with two drivers on anything but a coolish day.
On the new cars I sourced a new larger aluminum motorbike radiator.
Initially the plan in this project has always been to use as many unmodified proprietary parts as possible, and once again in this instance it was possibly not the best option.
I sourced some late model Yamaha R1 radiators that were almost exactly the right size to fit in the side of the car, under the door and in the sill. These would provide around 1.5 times the surface area of the combined two radiators used previously.
This time there would only be a single radiator on the left hand side of the car, and I hoped to fit it with no modification.
Unfortunately this would not end up being the case. Firstly the radiators were turned 90 degrees, changing them from side tanks to top and bottom tanks, then the old radiator cap hole needed to be filled, the pipe connections weren’t ideal and so it goes on!
In the end I think that I may have been better off getting a couple of custom made radiators made that were the right size with outlets in the right place, and it may have been cheaper in the long run too!
I have made a new swirl header tank for these cars too.
Although heavy, I make these tanks out of copper plumbing fittings as they are easy for my mate Ray to solder for me! As I had to make two this time I needed a way of making two identical tanks. I first made a dummy swirl tank out of 100mm steel tube and tack welded the necessary inlet and outlet on it with 25mm steel tube. This was made with everything positioned in the chassis some time ago, and was done this way as it is relatively easy to tack these pieces together in situ in steel (at least with the equipment I have).
Once the dummy tank was made, I then set about making a jig that would allow me to duplicate it in the copper pipe. The jig has to be able to be dismantled to get the finished tank out of it.
The filler necks are then solder in as well as brass fittings for the temperature gauge. Before painting I check the whole assembly with a radiator pressure gauge to make sure it holds pressure.
In the pipe work that connects the radiator, swirl tank and engine together I also have used copper pipe fittings, connected with straight pieces of rubber hose. The copper fittings allow you to may tight bends that would otherwise be impossible in the rubber. I have however doubled the thickness of the copper, by soldering in a 20mm long piece of pipe wherever there is a hose clamp connection. The hose clamps can apply enough pressure to distort the copper pipe, particularly if tightened when the system is hot.
A few soldered “tits” on the outside of the copper where the rubber hose is connected will also help to stop the hose slipping off under pressure.
Although it is not yet done in the pictures, the radiator will be sealed with foam to the aluminium sill and the bodywork (door) to make sure that all of the high pressure are to the front of the radiator goes through it and not around it. If there is still a cooling problem there is still the option of fitting a fan or even an electric water pump.
The whole assemble comes up quite well with a coat of paint.
Radiator Fitted.
Swirl Tank Fitted.
Dummy Swirl Tank.
Dummy Swirl Tank In Jig.
Swirl Tank Jig.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sportscar or Beach Buggy?

Or both?
Here's the 1970 Virgo, a neat little sportscar.
But here it is being quickly converted to a beach buggy.
It was featured in a recent post on "Forgotten Fiberglass" here.......
I have also placed the Forgotten Fiberglass site in the links column. Lots of good reading there.
This particular post caught my attention due to the Ikara detractors rudely referring to that as a beach buggy when it first came out.

McArlus Cars - 23 - windscreen and side air scoops fitted.

I have now fitted my windscreen to the car.
The windscreen itself is formed in a two part, male and female mould that Ken has made. The perspex man shapes the perspex into the mould and then we end up with a roughly shaped windscreen that needs trimming in all directions in order to be fitted to the car.
The first process is to fit the fibreglass angle brackets to the body. Once these are trimmed and fitted, Ken takes them back and glues the windscreen into them with Sikaflex.
To do this he has made a special, and complicated, jig that holds the fiberglass bracket upside down, and in the correct contour of the body to allow the perspex screen to be glued into it.
I needed to get my screen at a steeper angle than the one Ken first made, and was trial fitted in an earlier update, in order to get adequate clearance (min 50mm) around the steering wheel, so it was glued at a steeper angle in the mould.
When I got my screen back, glued to the bracket, I trimmed the bottom edge and fitted it to the bodywork. Unfortunately there must be a mismatch in Ken’s jig and the body of my car, as the bracket wanted to sit about 6mm off the body on the LHS where it meets the rollbar. Initially I thought that I would just pull it down with the fasteners, but then I worried that there would be extra distortion where the screen is cut at the door openings.
Eventually I discovered that the Sikaflex has not stuck well on my screen (to the fiberglass bracket) so I pulled it all off and will now fasten the screen to the bracket with silicon and pop rivets and similarly to the body. But it has allowed me to take some stress out of the screen by not “forcing” it into a shape that it didn’t want to take.
After the lower edge of the screen was securely fitted, I nervously marked and trimmed the top. I agonised over the decision, but eventually decided that the screen should completely cover the steering wheel, so the screen is cut about 50mm closer to the rear of the car than the face of the steering wheel, and then angles back down to the bodywork where it meets the rollbar.
The end result is that the screen is slightly steeper and higher that I initially would have liked, but altogether the final result is really good. No longer when a driver sits in the car does it look like he is sitting in a bath!
After the screen was secured, I cut the door openings on each side. This is where the stress in the Perspex is most apparent. To maintain a nice neat fit when the door is shut (and to keep the screen aligned at the high speeds that the McArlus achieves!!!!), I have made some aluminium brackets that slip over the join and keep it all neat.
Next there are some new fiberglass mouldings that act as scoops over the air intakes in the top of the doors. These help to duct air to the radiator in the left hand side and the oil cooler and voltage regulator in the right hand side.
They are a far neater solution to the problem that the folded piece of aluminium on the first car.    Simon.
If this was on Facebook I'd be clicking the like button.

Friday, June 24, 2011

More from Grant, swirl pots this time.

How are you today?
Optimum Balance Products has manufactured a fantastic range of alloy swirl pots with extended JIC fittings.

obp 1 Litre Extended JIC Swirl Pot

obp 1.5 Litre Extended JIC Swirl Pot

obp 1 Litre Extended JIC Swirl Pot
This design will deliver the correct swirl required to remove the air from the returning unused fuel and cool the fuel. The cooling and the removing the air will make the fuel more effective in the combustion chamber when it is re-used, thus giving you more power and BHP.
These Swirl Pots have been designed to meet the requirements of professional race teams / drivers or the serious enthusiast who are using a fuel injected car for competition or fast road use.
swirl pot will ensure a constant supply of fuel, minimising the risk of an injection pump failure through fuel starvation or air contamination whilst cornering hard.
Please click this link to see Why, Where and How you use a Fuel Swirl Pot. 
Click Here: obp Swirl Pot Installation Diagrams and Instructions
The obp swirl pots are UK manufactured in obp’s own factory where we can ensure constant standards of quality control.
Because obp Ltd manufacture them selves we can offer these exceptional products at highly competitive prices.  
Click Here: obp Ltd Swirl Pots
Please click this link to see Why, Where and How you use a Fuel Swirl Pot.
Click Here: obp Swirl Pot Installation Diagrams and Instructions
Trade inquiries welcome.
Thank you for your time, all of us at obp Ltd look forward hearing from you soon.
We will keep developing our products, designing new products and sourcing top quality race car parts for you to use.
Please keep giving us your feed back? Your ideas are what drives obp.
Thank you for your time, all of us at obp Ltd look forward hearing from you soon.
obp Director

Ikaras have swirl pots.

The Blip.

Grant, from obp has posted another tech talk.

This is a tech session on the throttle Blip and how to Heel and Toe.

The Blip?

The Blip is used when you are changing down a gear without loosing speed or grip. Properly done the RPM should be raised to approx 2700 to 3000 RPM just before the clutch is engaged again. You do not push the throttle and hold it, you tap it, the best term to explain it is you "Blip" the throttle, this is a quick and sharp burst.

The blip should take place just before re-engaging the clutch by doing this you will not get the shock through the drive train or slow the car down when going from a higher gear to a lower gear. In a competition environment on the race track when you are driving close to the tyres limitations of adhesion, a down shift with out a blip could cause a loss of grip and send the car into a spin or loose grip in the straight line braking zone.

Heel and Toe?

Because you are using your left foot on the clutch and your right foot on the brake, you have to make some adjustments so you can blip the throttle. The way to do this is to adjust your foot position and use a race obp pedal boxdesigned for heel and toe. You use the ball of you foot pressing on the brake pedal making sure you leave enough of the outside of the foot to roll over so you can blip the throttle. By blipping the throttle you will enable a smooth down shift with out loosing any tyre grip.

The correct brake and throttle pedal relationship should locate the throttle and brake approx 30mm to 50mm apart. The throttle is set slightly below the brake pedal when the brake is hard on. The heel and toe method is a pretty hard technique to master and requires plenty of practice. The heel and toe term was phrased over 40 years ago when the brake pedal was on the right and the clutch pedal was on the left and the acc pedal was in the middle and 6 inches lower. Then you had to use your heel and toe to blip the throttle.

As I have explained with today's pedal systems the heel and toe is not used, but the term still remains. The pedal system in most road cars are not set up for heel and toe, so drivers are forced to go through some real contortions to be able to touch the brake and the throttle pedal at the same time. 

Of course Grant suggests buying one of his properly set up pedal boxes. (see obp in links).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kapunda - week 29

Shanks' Pony.
The beloved ute is no more.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Auction this Wednesday.

The complete catalogue is available here.
I dug out a photo I had of Gavin in the Type 37A at Mallala in the 60s. This was back when the pits were in the middle.
And a couple at Collingrove.
I remember when Gavin came over to drive the Ikara. He liked it a lot but he was looking for an interesting car for his daughter and the Ikara didn't have doors which might prove to be a bit difficult for a self-respecting young lady.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love Bizzarinis but why does this badge make me think of men with long beards, long guitar straps and funny hats?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Brabham BT8

Here's a few BT8s. The BT8 is the successor to the BT5 sportscar.
There were a dozen BT8s. All seem to have survived and are well documented, except the first one, BT8 SC-1-64 which had a huge prang in its first year. A new SC-1-64 was built which is, I guess, a replica. They all looked like the ones above except one although it left the factory as a standard 2.0 litre Coventry Climax engined BT8. This is SC-9-64. It was bought new by the Prince Motor Company. It was rebodied and hit the tracks as a Prince - the Prince R380.

It is very famous in Japan. I wonder if its Brabham roots are recalled in that history.