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  1. #1
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
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    Tales from the (not so very) fast lane ~ part 2





    Part 2 moves on from the Steroidal Dumper Truck AJS Combo. My urge to progress on to cars began to beckon to me and and eventually swapped the pre-cafe racer AJS 500 for a rather tatty looking white 1960 Berkeley T60 three wheeler complete with a hand painted red Ladybird on the bonnet. Was this an early example of custom airbrushed paintwork
    (probably not!)? Squint rather hard and you could almost imagine the Berkeley from the frontal view as being a bit like a miniature E Type Jaguar with its concealed headlamps and open grille (OK, perhaps not). During the 1950’s Berkeley started manufacturing caravans following the post second war and mid 1950’s caravan boom. Berkeley decided to use their ‘expertise’ in lightweight caravan building and ventured in to building glass fibre ‘sports cars’. The post war austerity had eased somewhat and Berkeley like many other ‘small players’ were to feed the new demand for inexpensive bubble cars, three wheelers and micro cars. Three wheeled and four wheeled versions of the attractive and lightweight little Berkeley sports car were produced. The basis foundation of the Berkeley was a pressed steel ‘punt’-like central
    floor/chassis pan with aluminium reinforced glass fibre moulded front and rear body sections. The front moulded body mouldings were simply pop riveted to the floor sections at the front bulkhead/door and sill section (more about this
    later) and the rear body sections were similarly fixed. Engines were Anzani and then 328cc air cooled two stroke Excelsior Talisman twin motor cycles engines (note – 328cc not 327 cu in!) T60 stood for three wheels and 60 mph. Well, you wouldn’t expect much more from 18 bhp would you? There were more engine choices with the 4 wheel cars with a 30 bhp 500 cc three cylinder version of the Excelsior two stroke twin and with B95 and B105 4 wheel models using Royal Enfield’s air cooled twin cylinder 700cc 40bhp and 50bhp engines. PHOTO These larger engined versions were very competitive in circuit racing during the 1960’s. With such diminutive lightweight bodies they had very good power to weight ratio’s. The three wheeled Berkeley T60 in its time was quite an advanced concept with single rear wheel and two wheels up front. It featured front wheel drive utilising a gate-shift gear linear 4 speed floor mounted gear selector with reverse gear and a differential. In handling terms it was streets ahead of any other three wheeler and most small cars of its time, probably on a par with a Mini in terms of ‘chuck-ability’. Size wise Berkeleys were similar to some of the recent tiny Japanese ‘town’ cars like Suzuki’s Cappuccino or Daihatsu’s Coppen roadsters. For starting the engine and charging the battery Berkeley used a Dynastart generator/charger unit fitted to the end of the crank shaft. This was quite unique
    for its time and this concept is only now being seen now on hybrid vehicles, replacing conventional starter motors. There were some very significant design inadequacies with the Berkeley (more about this shortly) With general improvement of living standards and disposable incomes in the late 50’s and early 60’s and better availability of more ‘conventional’ and affordable cars like the Austin/ Morris Mini added most plus poor management and Berkeley went bankrupt in 1960. This was a fate that would befall many other small volume car and motorcycle manufacturers later in the same decade. I mentioned design inadequacies earlier. Anyone who has ever driven an American muscle car fitted with a ‘Detroit Locker’ rear axle will know of the typical characteristics of these axles when pulling out of a ‘T’ junction, turning and accelerating at the same time. The ‘outside’ rear wheel will try to rotate at the same speed as the inner wheel
    (something a differential allows for). The ‘locking’ axle causes the inner wheel to ‘hop’ and spin as it tries to get grip. Other road uses will think that you are trying to do a ‘smoky’ burn-out at every junction. Now relate that to Berkeley’s front wheel drive. Each drive shaft has a universal joint at each end (not unlike Corvette drive shafts). All modern front wheel drive vehicles now use ‘constant velocity’ joints. CV joints give a far smoother and more linear method of power
    transmission than universal joints. Universal joints, when operating at an acute angle, are quite inefficient in operation will have a tendency to try and straighten themselves up – creating a condition known as ‘surge’. Now relate this to the
    Berkeley T60 waiting at a ‘T’ junction to pull out with the wheels on full lock. With only 18 bhp to power the car, as you can imagine, your foot is frequently ‘flat to the floorboards’ to achieve any form of forward motion, the drive shafts would be surging and the engine shuddering and hunting, yet without anywhere enough power to brake traction the end result would frequently be a broken drive chain or worse. This was all very hilarious to the casual onlooker. Structurally the
    Berkeley would suffer from some of the rivets holding body sections together pulling through the glass fibre moulding allowing a degree of body flex as the panels pulled apart. I experienced this one morning going to work in Spring
    Gardens, Romford. Trying to look ‘cool’ I sped down the factory entrance road in to our works. At that time my employer (Colvern Electronics) was a fairly large and leading manufacturer of specialist potentiometers for the Radio, TV,
    Aeronautical and marine industries with several hundred staff. Many of these would be walking in to the works at that time of the morning. I had not seen the company’s financial director just pulling up and about to get out of his new 3.4
    Mk2 Jaguar. My intention had been to brake at the very last minute and swing a hard right into the workers factory car park entrance which was situated to the right hand side of the factory main gates. The gates were in front of the entrance
    canopy to the offices (also where the directors parked their cars) Well, that was the plan. What actually happened was as I braked hard the body flexed upwards in the centre (due to the failed pop rivets) and caused the rear of the doors to
    raise up over their retaining catches and open-up. As I swung hard right in to the car park the nearside passenger door swung open wide open to almost 180 degrees, braking its leather check strap and snapping-off the cast aluminium
    door hinges. The passenger door itself being a ‘hollow’ glass fibre moulding was filled up with spanners, screwdrivers and other assorted tools, so was quite heavy. As the door broke off it went skidding off down the road and through the
    main factory entrance scattering all the tools in front of the main entrance doors, stopping close to the feet of the company financial director, who by then was standing beside his nice new Jaguar. Mr Mildren never said anything to me then or even later. I guess he just didn’t believe what he had just witnessed. As for me, well I had just made myself look a complete ass. Little did I know then that far, far worse things were to happen with the Berkeley! Early Mini’s from this
    period used 10” diameter wheels and tyres. These were conventional wheels and brake hubs. The Berkeley used 12” diameter wheels (same size as Austin/Morris 1100/1300 series cars) Berkeley’s however used a lightweight wheel that was very similar to the type you would see on Vespa and Lambretta scooters of that period. The wheel rim was just that – a centre-less wheel rim with bolt holes around its inner diameter attaching to wheel studs that were fitted to the outside
    of the brake hub (unlike conventional wheels studs fixed through the brake drum). There may have been good production reasons for doing this – however it did mean that the only thing holding the brake drum/wheel hub in place on
    the splined drive shaft was a 1” castellated nut secured - with a split pin. I am guessing that Berkeley’s selection of materials for major components were somewhat lacking in quality. The brake hub was cast iron. The drive shaft was cast and machined from what seemed to be a low grade steel. Wear on splined drive shaft/brake hub was to be an issue for my car! One morning setting off on the usual 7:30am 3 or 4 mile trip to work I had just got a few hundred yards or so
    into the journey on the first (and slightly downhill) section of the journey when a sudden jolt precluded an uncontrollable 270 degree turn in an anti-clockwise direction with total loss of braking followed by an immediate flip back to a forward
    direction and the Berkeley slithering (or should I say ‘grinding’) to a halt in the kerb. At the same moment I was aware of the left hand front wheel overtaking the Berkeley on the pavement and rolling off down the hill. I got out of the vehicle
    and chased the wheel, which now was a couple of hundred yards in front of me and now going straight along the middle of the road. Two building workers were walking across the road, one of them put his foot up to try and stop the wheel,
    but with no effect. Still running after the wheel I turned my head (to see behind me) the worker limping up the road. The runaway wheel had now changed direction slightly and was heading towards the other side of the road. The wheel ran
    straight in to the front of a Unigate three wheeler milk float parked in the kerb. The milkman who was sitting in his cab was bent over and marking-up his customer book, literally jumping out of his skin when the wheel hit the front of the
    cab. He was so surprised and shocked he didn’t even notice the badly cracked
    glass fibre front of the milk float! Later inspection of the Berkeley showed that the nearside drive shaft and brake
    hub were so badly worn and ‘floppy’ that the split pin holding the centre spindle nut had sheared, resulting in the centre nut working loose and the nearside wheel coming off. The fact that the brake hub comes off too with the wheels
    means that all braking is lost with nothing to stop the brake shoes ‘popping’ open and ejecting all the brake fluid when brake hub comes off. Can’t really remember how, but somehow managed to get the whole thing back home. Whilst there was some wearing away of the underside of the front steering it was not sufficient to prevent me putting things back together, and making sure the centre nut was really secure with a new split pin. Within a week the Berkeley was mobile once again. Unfortunately history has a way of repeating itself and a few days later exactly same thing happened again, this time later in the day and on Lower Brentwood road (which was parallel with the previous one only a week or so earlier). It was the same left hand wheel that came off, but now the wheel became momentarily trapped under the wheel arch, bursting out of the wheel arch at an angle of nearly 90 degrees to the car. It hit the kerb coming out and bounced up in the air and right over the top of a front garden wall and hedge, striking the front wall of the respective house unbelievably some 15 to 20 foot up at first floor level!. It narrowly missed going through an upper bedroom window, simply falling down in to the front garden of the house with no damage other than some flattened flowers and plants! Amazingly (and much like the previous occasion) there were very few other vehicles or people around to witness things. No one came out of the houses and no one in the street seemed to be bothered or really took notice of what had just happened. It was odd (and probably very fortunate) that on both occasions there was very little other traffic around. This time the front nearside suspension was badly worn away from grinding down the road and a total re-build was needed. With full engineering facilities to hand I bored out the king pin trunnion blocks and made some phosphor bronze bushes for the king pins to sit in properly and some spacers to help take up some of the drive shaft wear. At this stage I didn’t have any other form of transport and relied on work mates to run me from Romford to Prices Garages at the Broadway in Leigh on Sea if I needed specific parts. Prices were the only place in Essex that kept parts for Berkeley vehicles (and I guess Excelsior engines). ‘Monty’, the same work colleague who sold me the Steroidal Dumper Truck AJS Combo had now ‘upgraded’ his own transport to a Berkeley T60. With the Berkeley being so light in weight it was possible for one person to lift up the rear of the vehicle. Workmates learnt this very quickly and would lift up the back of the cars and would often hide them in an outbuilding somewhere in the works. A popular conversion during this period was to replace the two stroke twin and its transmission with the subframe, engine, transmission from an Austin or Morris Mini. Many years later large capacity Japanese 4 cylinder bike engines would be subjects of transplants in to both 3 and 4 wheel Berkeleys.



    (All photos shown are courtesy of library images)
    To be continued - part 3 - from Berkeley T60 to Ford Zodiac and 30mpg – oil
    consumption!

  2. #2
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Roll on part 3.
    Enjoyed the picture of the wheel rolling off down the hill

  3. #3
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
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    Thanks Phil - that is a 'real' story, not exaggerated in any way - its surprising how much kinetic energy even a small 12" diameter wheel has. Imagine a large truck wheel and how unstoppable that would be!

  4. #4
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    OH MY!!! wheels coming off? Sudden 90 degree turns? Itsa miracle youre still here to tell us about it...does sound like some fairly ingenious engineering tho, albeit possibly poorly executed... Learned a bit tho [as I imagine you did...]
    GREAT first car story - looking forward to Pt 3.

  5. #5
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
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    Tales from the (not so very) fast lane part 3 - from '40 mpg Zodiac' to 'Valspar Consul' (diverting briefly through East Grinstead)

    Part 2 of my early day motoring finished off with the 3 wheeler (occasionally 2 wheeled!) Berkeley story. It was now 1968 and I was 18 years old. Readers may recall that I had previously swapped my trusty second AJS 500 single for the Berkeley three wheeler. After a stressed relationship it was to be replaced by a Mark 1 Ford Zodiac. Before I go on to talk about the '40 mpg Zodiac' I do have a final recollection to share about a journey with the AJS 500 before swapping it for the Berkeley.
    My biker buddies, Dave Fox, Tony York, Harry and his younger brother Peter Warwick and myself all decided that we wanted to go on a weeks camping trip on our bikes. Our only biking activity of any distance had been a regular Friday night trip to Hackney Speedway. This usually ended up being an all-out manic race from Hornchurch to Hackney, generally with Tony leading.
    Our chosen holiday destination was a camping site just outside East Grinstead in West Sussex.
    Harry Warwick had a BSA 650cc A10 and was duly elected to carry an oversized rucksack and our camping equipment, including my grandparents twin burner paraffin fueled camping stove and all the required cooking and eating utensils and food for four hungry teenagers. The canvas 6 man ex-army canvas tent, flysheet and our sleeping bags were strapped to Harry's pillion seat, luggage rack and rear panniers. This ultimately didn't leave a lot of room for Harry, especially considering that he also had more of our camping gear strapped to the fuel tank and handlebars in front of him. The general consensus amongst the rest of us was “that would be OK”. Harry was lightly built and accordingly (by logical group consensus once more) had more room to carry all our camping kit.
    Tony York was on his racy metallic blue 650cc BSA Super Rocket complete with sweptback exhausts and rear-set footrests. He had bizarrely added a set of hand made, bare timber and plywood pannier boxes to the bike. Tony was was a tall well built bloke with huge long legs and size 12 feet that seemed totally disproportionate in size to the rest of his body. You always knew when Tony was riding towards you from a distance as his knees and feet would always seem to be at acute right angles to the rest of his body, significantly protruding either side of his bike. He would also wear oversized Wellington boots with a white piece of rag tied around the right toe. The rag served two purposes, firstly soaking-up an dripping oil leak from the right hand cylinder head, secondly to make changing gear with his right foot a bit more comfortable for him. Wearing a old style 'piddle pot' helmet and aviator goggles made him look intimidating. Tony had very little room for a pillion passengers due to his size, but it would be more truthful to say that with Tony's 'aggressive' style of riding no one was brave (or foolish) enough to go on the back of his bike, so he rode solo.
    Little Dave was on his Triumph 350cc twin and also rode solo.
    Peter Warwick's bike (a BSA M21 side valve combination) was off the road following damage from an 'off road' motocross type excursion carrying all of us across a very wet Tylers Common, so he was my pillion passenger.
    Our late afternoon/early evening Friday journey was initially quite a pleasant and leisurely trip from our home base in South West Essex over to East Grinstead in West Sussex. Whilst it was only a 40 mile or so journey there wasn't an M25 motorway back then so this would have been at least a two hour trip.
    Our four bikes were ridden in convoy and we were getting fairly close to the camp site on fairly narrow and winding single carriageway lanes. I was leading at this time and approached what at first appeared to be a small hump backed bridge over a single track railway line (probably the Bluebell Railway). Not being used to carrying a pillion passenger I badly misjudged the 'hump' of the bridge, going over it far too fast. What I didn't realise was that the bridge itself was hiding from view a sharp left handed bend immediately on the other side. Going over the bridge so fast meant that I didn't see the left hander until it was far too late to be able to either brake or steer around it (especially with the additional weight of a pillion passenger).
    I lost control and rode straight in to the the ditch on the right hand side of the bend, ending up spread eagled over a tree stump, entangled with the bike and trapped partly underneath with the additional weight of Pete Warwick flattening me.
    I really thought that I had seriously injured myself, the AJS's left handle bar had pierced my riding jacket and seemingly my stomach too. I was unable to breath for what seemed an eternity and was badly 'winded'.
    Tony managed to stop fairly close, propped his bike up and ran back to help, pulling the bike off me with Peter helping.
    Little Dave had to pull over to help Harry Warwick who stopped further up the road. Harry being so weighted down with camping gear, tried to get off his his bike to help but lost his balance (due to the weight of the oversized rucksack) and fell backwards on to the grass verge with the whole weight of the BSA, camping gear and tent trapping him underneath the bike.
    After I few minutes I had managed to regain my breath, and amazingly other than some bad bruising to my stomach and legs I wasn't injured. Even the bike was relatively undamaged except for bent handlebars and brake lever. Harry was OK too.
    We all sat back and laughed seemingly hysterically for quite a long time before continuing our journey to the camp site. Erecting the tent at dusk with torches was another challenge!
    The next afternoon I decided to ride back to Woodford Green to take a new girlfriend out for Saturday evening. We had been out a few times but she had not told her parents that I was a 'biker'. She had refused to go on the bike, which wasn't an issue with me. This was the first time I had been to her place on the bike and when her parents saw my bike parked outside their place they immediately banned her from ever seeing me again. Harsh, perhaps – but I learnt that her older brother had died in a biking accident – so, an understandable response I suppose.
    That evening I rode back to the camp site in East Grinstead to join up with the 'lads' once more. Unfortunately our well planned camping holiday wasn't going to last a lot longer! Later the following day we were asked by the site owners to leave.
    We had been far too noisy for most of the other campers. Tony was always a bit 'mercurial' and waking up at sunrise on the Sunday morning he disturbed the rest of tying to get our 'beauty' sleep after a late night. We all complained and shouted at him to go back to sleep and leave us in peace. Tony then lost his temper, burst out of the tent in his underwear and at the top of his voice started shouting out “good morning campers, wakey, wakey, rise and shine” and banging a spoon on a saucepan much to our embarrassment (and annoyance of other campers).
    The final straw for the site owners I guess was us finding an ancient, rusty 1920's or 30's artillery wheeled car or light truck chassis at the top of a hill that had been recently cleared of saplings and undergrowth. We all pushed it down the recently cleared hillside and jumped on the chassis when it had picked up some speed, it eventually throwing us all off when it hit a series of small tree trunks near the bottom of the hill.
    Right, enough of 'bike recollections'. Now on to the '40 mpg Zodiac'. I bought the 1955 Mark 1 Ford Zodiac for the 'heady' price of Ł12.00. This (to me at the time) was a very good price as the car came with 6 months MOT and 3 months tax.
    The Mark 1 Zodiac, I guess could be described as the UK's equivalent of Ford USA's early 50's 'shoebox' range. So called I guess because the cars didn't feature discernible front and rear wings (fenders) and were kind of boxy in shape. OK so the Zodiac didn't have a flat-head V8 (we had Ford Pilots for that) but did have a 'modern' 2253cc OHV six pot with three speed column change and leather interior and was finished in beige over grey. (library image)
    This car perhaps was a little unusual as both front and rear bumpers had been removed and just the chrome over riders were in place covering the bumper 'irons'. I probably didn't realise it at the time but this must have been my first 'customised' car (well, kind of customised)
    I hadn't actually passed my driving test when I bought the Zodiac and the only person I knew (other than my mother) who had a full driving license (to legally accompany me) was Little Dave. As a teenager you just don't ask your mother to 'sit-in' when you have 'L' plates. It certainly wasn't 'cool' then and most definitely isn't 'cool' now. And anyway my mother had this really irritating habit of reciting the Highway Code when encountering differing road conditions and potential hazards together with verbal explanations why a particular gear had been selected, the reasons for using indicators and rear view mirrors etc.
    Dave Fox needed a full driving license being an apprentice motor mechanic for Gidea Park Motors to test drive customers cars. The dealership at the time had some good franchises, including Daimler/Jaguar and Jensen.
    Dave would ride the two or three miles over to my place on his Triumph 3TA 350cc twin and we would take the Zodiac out for drives, usually with several buddies and respective girlfriends. I had bought the Zodiac in the middle of a particularly cold winter and as the heater had long since given out we would freeze inside with internal condensation on the windows turning to ice! The girls would take hot water bottles and cover ourselves with old blankets in an attempt to keep warm.
    Being then new to the world of cars and looking to do some routine maintenance I couldn't understand at first why the Zodiac's spark plugs were mounted in hexagonal section 3” long spark plug extensions, one on each spark plug. These extenders were sold during the 1950's and 60's for use with cars that had heavy oil consumption. The idea being that moving the spark plug electrodes further away from the combustion chamber would help prevent the inevitable 'oiling-up' of spark plugs caused by knackered engines. The Zodiac's rate of oil consumption was significant (as I will explain later).
    This car had an appetite for rear axle half shafts too. Little Dave's old girlfriend lived at the end of a small cul de sac in Dagenham. Dropping her off with Dave one evening I reversed the Zodiac back up the cul de sac and scraped along the side of a parked car. In panic I 'floored' the gas pedal to get out of there and promptly snapped a rear axle half shaft. Stranded at the 'scene of the crime' we managed pushed the car into the main road and parked it up the road a few hundred yards away to be recovered the following day. The recovery was to be another event.
    Back at work the following day I managed to coerce one of the other apprentices John Montgomery (Monty) to tow the disabled Zodiac back from Dagenham to my home in Gidea Park.
    Monty had been 'banging on' and boring us all about how good his Morris Minor van was and seemed pleased to be in a position of showing its capabilities. Monty didn't have a lot of experience of towing a broken down vehicle and brought along a 30 foot tow rope. (library image)
    He unwisely decided to use the full length of the rope (being worried that I would run in to the back of him). The little 1098cc Morris really struggled towing the heavy Zodiac and we made it as far as the old Merry Fiddlers roundabout in Dagenham at a steady 20 mph.
    Monty entered the roundabout with me at the end of thet 30 foot tow rope. Unfortunately a lady driver came around the roundabout before the Zodiac had actually entered it, cutting in between the rear of Monty's van and the front of my Zodiac. She was totally oblivious to the tow rope stretched taut in between our two vehicles and her car got caught up on the rope as she tried to pass between us. This only served to pull the rear of Monty's van and the front of my Zodiac in to contact with the right and left front wings of her car. We were all jammed up and tied together with the tow rope and blocking the roundabout. Somehow we sorted it all out and the only real casualty was Monty's Moggy Minor van which ended up suffering a set of worn out big end bearings.
    Little Dave's new girlfriend was a trainee nurse who had moved down from the North to work at Harold Wood hospital opposite Little Dave's house, just a few yards from Harold Wood railway station. She had booked a two week holiday in Spain with some of her friends and I offered to take her to Heathrow Airport on a Friday evening so she could catch her flight.
    Harold Wood is on the South West Essex fringes of Greater London, a couple of miles south of what is now junction 28 on the M25. Heathrow Airport is on the Western fringes of London just inside the M25 and just off the M4 motorway. In 1968 there wasn't an M25 motorway. We had to use the A406 North Circular route round to Brentford with only the the last 4 or 5 miles being on the M4.
    It was only when we almost got to Heathrow and travelling at a reasonable speed (50 mph) on the motorway that I noticed the blue smoke screen behind the Zodiac (probably more visible under the motorway lights) It would be exaggerating to say that it was worse than the smoke screen from a WW2 battleship – but hopefully the reader will 'get the picture'. Fortunately I had a gallon of cheap Comma 20/50 oil in the back and after we dropped off Dave's girlfriend at the airport I filled the car up with virtually the whole can. I recall still having to stop and buy even more oil mid-journey back home to Gidea Park, later worked out the oil consumption to be 40 mpg (hence the 40 mpg Zodiac!).
    The real problems started on our return trip back to Essex, getting lost and ending up coming back home via South East London and eventually the Rotherhithe tunnel.
    Ford Zodiac's have hydraulic clutches and either the master or slave cylinder decided to fail. With no clutch pedal it required some careful matching of speed and gear shifting of the 'three on the tree' column change. Traffic lights and road junctions were a problem. The only answer was to turn the engine off, put the car in 1st gear and when the lights changed to green, press the starter button and if lucky and on a level or downwards gradient the engine would 'fire' and with a few 'bunny hops' and wheel spins we would be away in first gear. Sometimes this didn't work.
    I didn't mention that we had passengers did I? - well, we had Little Dave in the front beside me riding 'shotgun' (he had the full license remember) Tony York and Jeff Moncrief were in the back. So when the starter alone wouldn't get us moving, Tony and Jeff would get out with Dave if needed and push the car whilst in gear. With me cranking the starter, it would eventually fire-up, do a few 'bunny hops' and wheel spins - usually with at least one of the team being dragged along the streets hanging off the doors.
    Several half-shafts later the Zodiac was pensioned off and ended up on the stock car or banger racing circuit.
    I bought another bike, a mid 50's iron-headed 650cc Triumph Tiger 110. This bike had originally been used with a side-car and came with a 'square' section rear tyre, specifically designed for side-car use, (not exactly what you want on a solo machine) In fact the Tiger 110 came with a history of previous owners who had all been thrown off the bike owing to its poor handling. I guess the knackered swinging arm bushes and side-car rear tyre didn't help. I bought a brand new rear Avon rear tyre for it. I seem to remember buying it on my mothers Freeman’s or Littlewood's mail order catalogue. The Triumph had sweptback exhausts, 'straight through' Goldie silencers, rear set footrests, a 5 gallon glass fibre racing fuel tank and single racing seat.

    The new rear tyre helped sort the dodgy handling of what was for the time a seriously quick bike. I was never quite sure if the engine had been modified. The main problem that I experienced with the Triumph was that the 'boys in blue' just wouldn't leave me alone. In hindsight, and looking at the photo above I guess that I shouldn't have really been surprised. I was continually being 'pulled' for one thing or another – usually excessive noise. Odd thing really – the excessive noise, it was noisier on 'over-run' when slowing down than it was accelerating on full throttle (perhaps it had cams with loads of 'overlap', who knows)
    It was always when trying to keep out of trouble 'plod' would give me a 'tug'. I was beginning to build-up a whole series of endorsements and fines and decided to break the bike up for spares with the engine/gearbox eventually being sold to someone building a Triton Café Racer.
    The Tiger 110 was the first bike I was to experience a 'wheelie' on. Pulling away fast from the left hand kerb on a heavily cambered road I couldn't figure how I ended up in the opposite kerb, until I realised I had 'popped' a little wheelie.
    My next car was another Ford, this time a mid blue over white 1960 Mark 2 Ford Zephyr. This had a slightly larger 2553cc six cylinder engine than the earlier Mark 1 Zodiac. The Mark 2 was quite a smart looking car although I was to find out later that the white finished lower part of the body was covering largely glass fibre matting and resin, all done quite well though. The Zephyr again had a 'three on the tree' column change with (unusually) overdrive. The overdrive itself didn't work, but the 'free-wheel' feature did. This was a great invention, allowing clutch-less gear changes. With the car wide bench seat and a girl friend huddled-up close the occasional gear change could be made with your left hand whilst still cuddled around the girlfriend with steering 'duties' being dealt with by the right hand.
    A previous owner had fitted the Zephyr with a six branch exhaust manifold, replacing the standard issue Ford 'scaffold tube/walking stick' exhaust manifold. This was effectively a simple length of steel tube with rectangular slots in it mounted horizontally across the exhaust ports on the cylinder head and connected to the exhaust down pipe, probably very inefficient. I doubt whether the aftermarket six branch exhaust manifold added any additional power to the Zephyr, but it certainly sounded good.
    The Zephyr was eventually sold and replaced for a short while by a 1961 4 cylinder Mark 2 Ford Consul. (library image)
    The 'Valspar' Ford Consul had a brand new reconditioned engine. The car had been hand painted in yellow with a black roof. Several hours over a weekend with wet 'n' dry, rubbing compound, 'T' Cut and wax polish made it look almost presentable (to be honest it was only the black roof that I spent the time on – I couldn't be bothered with the rest of the car!)
    This car was probably in the best mechanical condition of any car I had owned to date (and a few afterwards too!). But with only a 1703cc 4 'banger' engine it just had to be replaced by something quicker. Next episode - Part 4 – Mark 10 Jag to Ford Galaxie.
    Last edited by roscobbc; 13-09-15 at 06:38 PM.

  6. #6
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    I'm not the only one who fell off, then. Broke my thumb twice but never hurt myself in any other way. Decided you couldn't 'fall off' a car.

  7. #7
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
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    Quote Originally Posted by fad15 View Post
    I'm not the only one who fell off, then. Broke my thumb twice but never hurt myself in any other way. Decided you couldn't 'fall off' a car.
    Exactly - although I guess you can fall 'out' of a car!

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    Apr 2014
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    Principality of Sealand
    Posts
    1,738
    Fantastic! for a minute there, I was right along with you on the journey to go camping...

    Laughed out loud at the tow rope incident too. Lovely Tiger also. Thanx for sharing!

  9. #9
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Brough/Hull
    Posts
    3,713
    Great stuff! Oh how times have changed

  10. #10
    Old enough to know better
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    2,277

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