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  •   Delwyn Mallett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Polished up but rather tyred

    CAR 1946 TATRA T87
    OWNER: Delwyn Mallett

    / #Dunlop-Road-Speed-RS5 / #1946-Tatra-T87 / #1946 / #Tatra-T87 / #Tatra

    There’s nothing quite like the thought that a bunch of strangers will be casting a critical eye over your cherished machine to focus attention on it yourself. Having agreed to show my Tatra T87 at the Chubb Salon Prive, I dived into the cosmetics box and started to anoint it with Autoglym Spending an hour or two staring at small sections of bodywork revealed more blemishes than I wanted to see but short-term there’s not much I can do with them. However, when cleaning the wheels, the state of the tyres became an area of increasing concern. Plenty of tread was an indication of the relatively few miles covered since they were fitted - Lord knows when - but it was the sidewalls that were showing the ravages of time, displaying more small cracks than my own weather-beaten epidermis.

    In the light of Robert Coucher, in Drive-My, drawing attention to tyre-related incidents on our motorways (and having experienced a front tyre blow-out in my R-Type Continental, rendering two tons of Bentley totally beyond my control), remedial action seemed prudent.

    So I called tyre guru Dougal Cawley of Longstone Tyres. The MoT, Dougal stated, is a little vague when it comes to the condition of sidewalls. A cut deep enough to reach the carcass is obviously a failure but light crazing is not. However, crazing suggests the tyres are getting on a bit. The car was imported in 1996 and I assume that the tyres were fitted around then. The Tatra doesn’t handle well at the best of times and the thought of a tyre failure at speed filled me with dread and visions that the ‘Czech secret weapon’ might bite me in the way that it used to bite careless German officers during World War Two.

    Following a further chat with Dougal about switching to radial tyres, and the different rolling diameter of various brands, I eventually decided in favour of Dunlop-Road-Speed-RS5 670Hx16 crossplies. A few days later the 70mph cruise down the M3 towards Syon Park demonstrated the wisdom of discarding age-hardened rubber. The Tatra felt much more responsive and displayed a notably better ride, and my psychological state was also markedly improved.

    At the end of a gloriously warm (hot, even) Wednesday, surrounded by some fabulous automobiles, I was gratified that the Tatra was awarded the Special Jury Prize for the ‘ #Most-Creative-Design ’. The perfect end to a perfect day.

    Thanks to www.longstonetyres.co.uk
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  •   Delwyn Mallett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Delwyn Mallett updated the cover photo of the group
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  •   Delwyn Mallett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    More grovelling in the gravel

    CAR: #1946-Tatra-T87 / #1946 / #Tatra-T87 / #Tatra
    OWNER: Delwyn Mallett


    As you read this we will be two months into 2016 but, as this tale begins, we are only two days in. New Year’s Day dawned bright and sunny in my part of the Isle, which encouraged me to fire up the Tatra and head over the 13 miles (if you are superstitious, that may have been an omen) to the New Year’s Day VSCC meeting at The Phoenix pub, in Hartley Wintney. Less than five miles from base, an ominous rumble from the rear rapidly deteriorated into what sounded like a major mechanical disintegration. After grinding into the entrance to a farmer’s field I resorted to that essential tool for the classic car owner: the mobile. An hour later an AA man arrived and an exploratory attempt to move the car confirmed that motion in any direction was out of the question. After jacking up the car, Mr AA removed the brake drum and diagnosed what I was dreading…

    Yes, it was a seized #bearing . This, of course, presented the AA Relay man (who arrived a few hours later) with the problem of hauling a couple of tons of dead metal, positioned at 90º to his vehicle, onto his flatbed. A plastic wedge hammered under the jammed wheel did the trick, allowing it to slide onto the trailer. Needless to say, the fine weather had by then turned to heavy rain, dampening body as well as spirit.

    Chez Mallett, getting the beast off the loader presented more of a problem than getting it on, as it would not roll and the ‘wedge’ trick doesn’t work on gravel. A temporary ‘low friction’ area was created with the aid of an old kitchen cupboard door – saved because I knew that one day it would come in handy for something or other. Rain, sleet and bitter cold stopped play for a couple of weeks.

    Eventually, between monsoon showers and sub-zero frosts, the application of a 36mm socket and a very long bar loosened the hub and – optimistically – I attached my hub puller. After a considerable amount of ‘pulling’ I had managed to move the hub no more than half-an-inch, bending the puller in the process. A visit to my friendly local village garage produced a hub puller truly worthy of the name. As Crocodile Dundee might have derisively pronounced on surveying my tiddler: ‘No, this is a hub puller.’

    Several hours and an immense amount of effort later, still the hub was not pulled, although a large amount of melted shrapnel had shaken itself loose. With me defeated, Martin, proprietor of Rowledge Garage, volunteered for an away match to apply some oxy-acetylene. Much heat, hammering, grinding, chiselling and sheer brute force finally shifted the melted bearing. Next problem? Finding a new one to fit. Meanwhile my always-garaged Tatra sits on the drive, looking as pathetic as a stranded whale.

    Below and right Awaiting the AA flatbed; industrial-sized puller was required to free seized bearing.
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  •   Adam Towler commented on this post about 4 years ago
    Getting to the hub of the problem / #1946 / #Tatra-T87 / #Tatra /

    There’s been a breakthrough in terms of Mallett fleet maintenance. For those of you who have been following the saga of the beached leviathan on my front driveway (aka the #Tatra T87), the spot it occupied has now been vacated – exactly four months to the day from when it ran aground.

    Recapping briefly, a rear wheel bearing failed on New Year’s Day, welding itself to the driveshaft in the process. AA Recovery managed to deposit the Tatra on my driveway: not easy given that the rear wheel would not rotate. Rain, sleet, snow and freezing conditions interrupted play but, with the damaged hub eventually liberated, it became apparent that a new one was required.

    Strangely enough, none was available at my local motor factor, but Tim Bishop, of Connaught Engineering and well-experienced in Tatra lore, stepped into the breach. In short order a freshly machined shiny new hub, complete with bearing and locking ring, was in my hands. Easy-peasy from now on, then.

    Well, actually no. Two of the six retaining bolts act as anchors for the brake shoe return springs and pass through the hub from the front – a detail that had escaped me when taking the old hub (without bolts) to Tim. The chamfer on the new hub must be a few thou’ greater than that of the old, just sufficient to prevent the elongated bolts from locating in their holes!

    A bit of low-tech engineering on the bench with a rat-tailed file (apologies Tim) modified the holes sufficiently to get the pegs in. I’ll brush over the fact that with enormous difficulty, and once again requiring the additional strength of Martin, proprietor of my local village garage, I fitted the new swing-axle rubber buffer before fitting the hub. That was an error, as it left no clearance for the top two bolts. Another low-tech solution was found!

    While the hub was off another fault has come to light. The handbrake actuating lever is hard up against the hub – meaning that on this brake it’s not working. Unfortunately the skid marks through my gravel don’t indicate an exuberant blast onto the Queen’s highway, as I’ve only moved the Tatra about ten feet into a more convenient position pending another strip-down of the brakes on both sides of the car. And so the saga continues.

    Below and right. New bearings and hub weren’t easy to fit but allowed the Tatra to move… a whole ten feet.
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  • Delwyn Mallett updated the picture of the group
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