SHOWTIME

The London Classic Car Show Excel London 14–17 February

This show is exactly what it says in the title – a show of classic cars in London. In previous years there was a smattering of dedicated engine specialists exhibiting but none was to be seen this year although there were of course rebuilt engines to be seen on some stands of the many companies who undertake complete car rebuilds, examples of which included JME Healeys and Turner Classics. In addition to the Grand Avenue where cars could be seen in action, this year there was a display of the increasingly popular vintage aero engine cars (or should one say ‘monsters’) from the Parry Thomas 27-litre Liberty-engined ‘Babs’, another 27-litre record attempt Hispano-Suiza to a couple of examples of the ever popular GNs into which aero engines had been shoe-horned. In addition there was an extensive array of specialist dealers offering mouth-watering selections of cars ancient and modern. These included Companies whose stands are always worth a close inspection such as Vintage and Prestige Classic Cars, Joe Macari Performance Cars and on this occasion Howard Wise cars where what is understood to be one of only ten UK example of the 2018 Ford GT could be examined.

ACHATES POWER

If you believe the mainstream view, we’ll all be driving electric 

cars/van/trucks/buses before the year is out, but this American company has an opposing view…

We cannot get away from the fact that politicians are driving us towards an electrified automotive world, but there are some out there who are working hard to make the good old internal-combustion engine more efficient, which means more powerful and less polluting. One such company is the San Diego, California, based Achates Power who have taken the concept of the opposed-piston engine and developed it for the mid 21st century. 

And we don’t mean the ‘boxer’ type engine design where opposed pistons move in and out on a central crankshaft. Think the opposite of that with the pistons heading towards each other up a common cylinder to (almost!) meet in the middle with the con rods on the other side. And that of course means two crankshafts…

HINDLE REMAN

When it comes to the remanufacturing of engine components built to a large scale, Bradford-based Hindle Reman is at the forefront

Most of us in the engine-remanufacturing and rebuilding industries are used to working on motors that, while not exactly easy to move about, can at least with enough hands be placed onto benches or into machines. But what if the engine you are about to remanufacture had a cylinder block that on its own weighed more that six tons with cylinders that displace almost 6.5 litres each?  For Bradford-based Hindle Reman working on a Jenbacher Type-6 gas engine is all part of the daily workload, on a workshop floor where mere truck engines looked dwarfed next to the rest. The Hindle Group comprises three divisions that are also involved with gear and gearbox manufacture, and the manufacture and distribution of industrial and marine controls, but it is the remanufacturing side of the business – which was inaugurated back in 1941 – that took us up to its West Yorkshire base. The variety of power units that the company can work on is vast including include everything up to the aforementioned Jenbacher V20, plus axles, differentials, transmissions, compressor cylinders, pump housings and more, all remanufactured to the Original Equipment Manufacturer specifications.

Sealing in performance and reliability with vehicles old and new, for both road and track

ULTRASEAL

For many classic-car enthusiasts, restoring vehicles to their former glory is about more than aesthetics, with engine rebuilds, modifications and repairs playing an important part of many restoration projects. But in breathing new life into the engine of a classic, familiar challenges arise – namely reliability and performance.

When we look back at cars from decades gone by, it’s easy to be won over by the style of models which have now become valuable collectors’ items. But in reminiscing about the classics of automotive history, we’re all guilty of forgetting – or maybe overlooking – the common problems owners regularly faced, namely around reliability. 

Just like cars of today, components such as engine blocks, cylinder heads, transmissions and sumps are required to withstand high pressures and temperatures in order to deliver consistent levels of reliability and performance. These powertrain castings, whether cast-iron or aluminium, can suffer from oil leaks and pressure losses that are hard to find and cure – often because they result from porosity occurring within the casting.

OBSESSION – THE MOTHER OF IRRATIONALITY

One of the saddest things that I encounter, particularly with civil cases, is the way that they sometimes completely take over the lives of the people concerned, to the extent that they become fixated by the whole ordeal…

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ITALIAN JOB

You can steal the gold… but don’t steal the truth.

It is good to see that the 50th anniversary of the release of such an iconic film as The Italian Job is already being celebrated. Not only does this remind older ‘petrol-heads’ of some great car chases and other vehicular exploits, but hopefully will also introduce some younger people to this great film as well.

It was therefore pleasing to arrive at The London Classic Motor Show and see in the catalogue that there was a ‘feature’ on The Italian Job in the main hall. However when the catalogue went on to state that ‘The Legionnaire bus on display at this year’s show…’, suspicions were aroused since the original Harrington Legionnaire coach (not ‘bus’) used in the film, into the back of which the Minis were driven, no longer exists.

It is not uncommon to find that, due to their obsession, the costs in the case exceed the amount of the claim. I was involved in one case where the total claimed came to about £20,000, and the costs to more that £200,000!

Anyway, to the case in point! Henry Worthington purchased a Yank Tank – sorry, a rather wonderful Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am – when he was working in the USA. He was so taken with the car, that when he had to return to this country he decided to bring it with him, which he did. All was fine until one day he noticed that there were oil and water leaks from the engine. The vehicle by this time had covered about 100,000 miles. Accordingly, he took the vehicle to Americana Cars Ltd, the local specialist for this sort of vehicle.

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