•   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Rodders line up outside the wonderfully preserved Horsted Keynes railway station, where full use was made of the coal fire.

    Rad cowl shows traces of filled cap hole.
    Panels removed to provide access to fan.
    Resisting the urge for an impromptu race at Dungeness.
    Brake woes are now sorted.

    / #Ford-Roadster / #Ford / #1932
    Run by Julian Balme
    Owned since May 2014
    Total mileage unknown
    Miles since March
    2015 report 612
    Latest costs nil.


    The last time that I wrote about the ’1932, I had just taken part in the VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy. That marked the start of an eventful year with the car, particularly during the months that are optimistically regarded as British summertime.

    Maintenance was kept to a bare minimum but I did replace the electric fan. The task was more involved than with a normal car, but far more rewarding because of the Ford’s simple construction – and the fact that I found a replacement unit sitting on a shelf in the garage, already paid for. There are not many vehicles that require half the front sheet-metal removing in order to access the rear of the rad, though. I was tickled during the process to find the original grille shell – a rare and prized item – had been filled where the radiator cap had been. A textbook example of the customiser’s art.

    When turned into a hot rod, the roadster was built with long trips, comfort and economy in mind rather than outright speed. As a result, it makes all the wrong noises but is more than content to visit Sainsbury’s – as it has on occasion.

    I mentioned in my first report on the Ford that it was very much a bereavement purchase and subsequently, as a way of acknowledging my wife Karen’s passing, I’ve found myself organising an annual reliability run for the closest of chums.

    Last year we spent a weekend in the Cotswolds visiting places of automotive and cultural interest, ranging from Tim Dutton’s Bugatti haven to the Compton Verney art gallery.

    This year, we headed off to the south coast and rented a beach house in Winchelsea. From there, we undertook a similarly scenic and even greater culinary loop of the East Sussex countryside. Our ‘ultimate man-cave’ was CKL, just outside Battle, where Ben Shuckburgh kindly gave up his Saturday morning to show us some of the amazing kit being worked on and stored there. The seductive array of Jaguars went down well but it was a race-prepped Allard J2 that got the greatest scrutiny from the rodders, to whom the combination of Cadillac speed equipment and ’40s Ford components was all too familiar.

    By sticking to back roads, we managed to avoid the traffic, our convoy being greeted surprisingly enthusiastically by the occasional dog walker or horse rider along the way. Ironically, one of the only cars we encountered on the country lanes was driven by E-type guru Henry Pearman of Eagle GB.

    The route took us up to Horsted Keynes station on the Bluebell Railway, where we were warmly welcomedby the volunteers running the heritage steam line, although the waiting-room coal fire was even more popular with us. By the time that we returned to the coast, we had chalked up about 80 stress-free miles with no major issues. The other four cars making up the run would all be heading off to Pendine for the Vintage Hot Rod Association’s annual blast six weeks later, so for them it was a welcome shakedown. As for me, I was trying to find out why I had an increasingly spongy brake pedal.

    Confidence in the ability to stop being far from overrated in a car with automatic transmission, my mate Steve and I hastily bled the system before heading out the next morning. The result was a much firmer pedal and it started to deteriorate only after our Sunday visit to Dungeness and during the slog back to London.

    Closer inspection in the comfort of my own garage revealed that the nearside front flexible hose was not only twisted where it met the caliper, but was also rubbing on one of the trailing arms. On taking the braided pipe off, I had to remove a small L-shaped steel line attached to it as well as a union mounted to the chassis. At first I thought that in my usual hamfisted way I had snapped the pipe but, as I looked closer, I couldn’t find any traces of a flared end. The pipe had been interference fitted into the union adjoining the flexible line!

    Colin Mullan made me a new copper line and a trip to Think Automotive, which is just around the corner from him, provided two new flexible pipes for both sides of the front end. I’ve yet to find time to fit them, but once done summer might finally have arrived.
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