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Three Speed

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  1. I think another update is due. Not that there is anything new to say about either the Herald or the New Yorker - I've bought some rubber window seals for both of them but as yet they're all sill in the boxes. But I did get the engine back in the Traction and it works. In fact it's done 4200km since I fitted it. It made it to the Circuit de Charade for the Traction Avant's 90th Anniversary celebrations - and back (that was about 1700km round trip), and it has served as my daily driver a fair bit too. Here it is looking quite aggressive without its front bumper. And here is what some of the 1000 Traction Avants at the Circuit look like - Mine's in there somewhere. We had a few laps of the track. This is the view from the back of a friend's car. The car in front is a 1937 Normale that was recently totally restored. The one in front of that is a 1936 Super 12 which was only just put back on the road after 50 years. This picture was taken on the Saturday. Its first drive was from Lincolnshire to Dover on the Thursday - arriving at the Circuit on the Friday afternoon. There was a bit of finishing off to be done when it arrived. You can read about that epic feat in a forthcoming Practical Classics. A very pleasant trip - great weather apart from a thunderstorm at Chartres on the way back which did a great job of cleaning the flies off the windscreen. Bumping into @barrett at Dieppe was a nice surprise. He was travelling in this imposing Voisin. Back home I needed to change the DS clutch cable which had let go as I left the car park at Gatwick a couple of weeks before the France trip. It must be decades since I had to drive a car in that state and I was clearly out of practice but the gearbox seems to have survived. Changing the clutch cable should be easy - but this is a DS and the clutch end is right under the hydraulic pump which had to come off. Happily that was all straightforward and the new cable is now in and adjusted properly. Normal service resumed and all was well on the Sussex - Somerset - Sussex test drive. A couple of days later, as I turned into the car park at work, the steering got heavy and then the big red stop light came on. Bugger. I parked in puddle of green piss familiar to many on here. I could see that the leak was from somewhere in the return line but couldn't see which bit. Got a taxi home that night and used the Traction for the next couple of days until I had time to investigate. I loaded the Traction up with trolley jack, stands, ramps etc and remembered to bring the endoscope and a bit of 8mm fuel line. Actually - the trolley jack and one stand were still in the car from the French trip. It turned out that the return pipe from the regulator had split. Luckily I was able to graft a bit of fuel line onto the end of the split pipe using a couple of inches of 8mm stainless tubing I borrowed from work. That seems to have worked for the time being - I need to get a proper replacement. This is the second time this pipe has failed. The first time was soon after I got the car 8 years ago and it split at the regulator end which would have been much more difficult to bodge. Luckily the weather was amenable to a bit of car park maintenance. Apologies to my employer for making a bit of a mess. The DS bodywork is in need of serious attention. I need to make a plan... Meanwhile , have a couple of pictures of something I was surprised to see at a car show in Tokyo recently.
  2. The 1975 ”Being funny in a foreign language”
  3. same pub, different yanks. Must take mine there one day.
  4. This would be John Gillard. He is still operating but now located in Paddock Wood as Classic Restorations. John is an extraordinarily nice man who knows Tractions inside out, has probably worked on most of them that are in the UK and has trained a number of the other Traction Avant specialists.
  5. Nice to see you all today. A nice selection of cars and even though there were no Citroens there was still a car leaking LHM.And it was nice to see a car that does this:
  6. very happy to see this at the local pub. I used to have one just like it except more silver.
  7. Time for an update. It’s been a while. Quite a lot to report. I’m not saying any of it is interesting. I promised myself that I would get the Herald out of the garage and on the road this year. Didn’t happen. I’ve forgotten what I was doing to it before I got distracted years ago. I think it was the clutch slave cylinder. I imagine a number of other things need fixing now. I did recover the hardtop from my brother - it needs the rubber seals replacing. Will renew the vow for 2024. We’ll see if I actually do anything. The Traction did get fettled a little bit and has put in a lot of miles in 2023 - TOC rallies to Jersey and Devon. The fettling must have been of a high standard as nothing went wrong. One of the things I did was to fit hazard warning lights. The Traction has also been my daily driver when the DS was not feeling well. Which was quite often… Having changed the DS front brake pads I thought I should look at the rear shoes. When I eventually got the rear drums off (which took much heat and hammering) I found I had a weeping slave cylinder and also found a rear suspension cylinder boot was shredded - both on the offside. I ordered the parts but didn’t bother to fix it until I started finding green puddles under the rear offside wing. I assumed this was from the shredded boot. I didn’t have time to fix this so just used the Traction instead whilst i waited for some free time to coincide with good weather. Some weeks later I started to be aware of a knocking noise from the engine. I tried to ignore it but really knew I couldn’t. Its final drive was to get me home from a dinner after work. I took the long way home to avoid Handcross Hill which would not be a good place to get stuck - even with my newly fitted hazard warning lights. No AA trucks were required but the the Traction was now off the road with suspected big end failure and I hadn’t fixed the DS yet. It was now the New Yorker’s turn to be my daily wheels. I had attempted to take this to the American Car day at Brooklands in May. We got half way there and had an FTP on the M25 just after passing Cobham services. The AA took us back to Cobham to await recovery. This turned out to be a 10 hour wait which was not good. The problem was a combination of no fuel in the carb and a battery flattened by trying to start it. The root cause of the fuel problem was a perished rubber pipe on the pump inlet - I blame that on E10. I assumed the battery problem was just that the car hadn’t been used much and that the battery was a bit low when we left home. We made it to Mopar Muscle Day at Brooklands later in the year. Now the New Yorker had to get me to work and anywhere else wanted to go. Driving back from Guildford to Horsham on a dark and stormy night with the wipers, lights and blower on I realised the headlights were getting very dim. This thing is not charging. I had the dynamo reconditioned a few years ago and replaced the regulator but one of them is not doing its job. I haven’t worked out the problem yet but just made sure I charged the battery every night. That gives it enough Joules to get to work and home with the lights and wipers on. I found out about 10 years ago that it will get from Horsham to Bremen on one charge if you don’t need lights. I think there must be some crap in the float chamber as it stalled in the middle of Burgess Hill and took ages to restart. Anyway, this was the motivation to fix the DS. I replaced the the wheel cylinder and the suspension boot and then discovered that the leak was actually a brake pipe. So that needed another week of driving the non-charging New Yorker waiting for the pipe. I fitted it and fixed that leak - and a new one immediately developed at the front of the car. The steel return pipe had rusted through. Pipe ordered from Germany - wrong one arrived but I made it fit anyway. The DS was now back on the road and I could now pay attention to the Traction. I had assumed the knocking was a big end and so it proved to be. Two of them. I had hoped that my engine had been converted to shell bearings and that I might have caught it soon enough to not need a crankshaft regrind. Neither of these things was true. I opted to buy another engine. The “new” one is an ID19 engine which means it has shell bearings (the original Perfo engine has white metal big ends). It didn’t come with a head and I have used my old one. I had to replace an exhaust valve as one had a crack. Once I had torqued the head down I realised I had forgotten to fit the cam followers so it had to come off again. I had to modify my flywheel to fit the ID engine. It’s fixed to the crankshaft with 10mm bolts instead of 8mm. I could have done that myself but it also needed a dowel hole added which I could not do accurately enough. More significantly the ID crankshaft is 5mm shorter than the Perfo’s. I had 2mm machined off the back of it and a 2mm spacer made. This gives 4mm clearance between the block and the flywheel and puts the starter ring and the clutch face within 3 mm of where they should be which is close enough. This whole exercise has given me the opportunity to seal the gearbox a bit better than it was and hopefully minimise the amount of oil I drop on the driveway. Since I have had the gearbox out I have taken the opportunity to add a strengthening plate - the gearbox is the Achilles Heel of the Traction Avant, having the potential to split the casing when the crown wheel fails. The plate won’t save the crown wheel but will make it less likely that the casing will split. As things stand, the engine and gearbox are back in the car and I just need to fit the ancillaries and make all the adjustments to the mountings and timing before fitting the radiator grille, bonnet and bumper. Another day’s work if all goes well. And then I can look at the New Yorker’s charging problem and my son’s Scimitar which is waiting for attention to it’s clutch release mechanism - again. Having invested in an engine hoist I’m going to using it to pull the Scimitar’s engine out instead of wrestling the gearbox out from underneath. While it’s out we’ll take the heads off and replace the valve stem seals which may stop it smoking - and fix whatever else we find. Meanwhile my son has got himself a 2003 Hyundai Coupe to use while the Scimitar is off the road. It’s a 2003 car with only 45,000 miles on the clock. Of course the window regulator dumped the driver’s window into the door and then the alternator belt snapped soon after he got it. Both things now fixed. The moral of all this is that, whilst you can use an old car as your daily driver, which both I and my son do, you need to have a back up. And if your back up vehicle is also old, then you probably need a back up for that as well - and so on. As soon as I get the Traction out of the garage, and before I start anything else, I’m going to tidy up because it’s a real mess. This year, as well as being the year I get the Herald going again, may well be the year I buy a MIG welder and learn to use it. The DS is getting quite frilly and needs tidying as much as the garage does. If things go to plan in 2024 the Traction will get us to Clermont Ferrand for the 90th anniversary of its launch, to Torun in Poland for the ICCCR and to Northumberland for the TOC Rally. So, not much chance for the Herald then.
  8. this Hunter was enjoying premium parking in Ealing yesterday. Is it a Paykan? Very nice anyway.
  9. Poor old Picasso seems quite static now. Not moved for ages. Don’t even think it can now. Still full of crap. No parking tickets though. I wonder if this Corolla is the owner’s new means of transport.
  10. Welcome @Uncleben! Very nice motor. Here's my yank. Currently my daily ride as all the others are broken. Driving a huge LHD barge is not a difficult as people think since it's no wider than many modern cars. Longer though.
  11. seen on the A303. With those graphics on the back I wonder if the owner comes here?
  12. A pair of Aygos and their bungalow
  13. A Bristol taxi…and I assume this is a 20 tonner…apologies for the blurriness - it was early.
  14. This thing comes and goes from this local car park. Or at least it is not always in the same spot. Always has a valid car park ticket - MOT, not so much. Impressive list of 3 "do not drive" and 10 "repair immediately" defects - none for corrosion though. Good job as it is quite loaded.
  15. I was in Taiwan earlier this week. On my way to Taipei Songshan airport I was surprised to see the back end of a beige DS peeking out from under a ragged tarp. Looked like it had been there a while. I didn't bother to try to ask the taxi driver to turn back so I could get a photo.
  16. I humbly submit this Mondeo for your approval:
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