Monday, 31 December 2012

Merry Christmas to me... Zephyr twin carb manifold

After market twin carb manifold; a Christmas gift to myself. 
The manufacturer is unknown, but it is in very good order and will clean up OK.

The puzzle.
Although this came with a 36mm carb attached, the throats are only 31mm. Of course this means the larger carb cannot open it's butterfly on this inlet port. I have no knowledge of other Zephyrs, so maybe this is for an earlier model.
Upon closer inspection, the ports are 31mm all the way through, whereas the mk3 Zephyr is 36mm.
I'm thinking I will have to swap this for a suitable mk3 version. To be honest, I really want an inlet manifold that will take a weber double choke carb, like on Cortina GT's, the Pinto 2 Litre BDA motors and 3 Litre Capri V6. These are not available in Australia, it seems. I have never seen one.

Enough of the others - back to mk3 Zephyrs

1962 Mk3 Zephyr. Obvious, yes, but search engines can't recognise the picture without an innane label.
So back to the black Zephyr - a very early mk3. I've dug out the picture showing the 6 cylinder grille this time. If you look back through this blog you will see the Zephyr 4 grille was on it for that photo and perhaps notice it doesn't fit between the lights. The Z4 grille is also 1962, so the headlights must have been in different locations. Later 4's used a modified grille that sat lower with the zephyr letters below the bonnet like the 6.
This pic is the one I took to sell the car, and has the space saver wheel on the front. This wheel came off a Mazda RX7. Rare and hard to come by, but not really worth much. I have a few of them, as I want the tyres for the Austin Seven's 16" wheels.

Being black it's hard to spot all the rust in the car. This bootlid is currently on Ralph and was one of the better panels on the car. The boot lip was quite rusty, as were parts of the sills, particularly near the dogleg and around the drivers door frame had some holes. The boot floor had the usual "venting" in a number of places, but I became more concerned when daylight could be seen through the drivers footwell. The roof had proved to be a continuous blob of body filler, same with the guard in the picture. Possibly the result of a roll-over.

The interior was just an absolute mess, so no photos! Lots of wrecked seats that didn't match, no dash pad at all and a poor steering wheel.

I bought this car because there were no others about, but soon realised that it was simply too big a job to be practical for me.
Bought for A$1200, sold for A$1300, I guess I can't complain.
I would have liked to keep it as a parts car, but it had to be out of the drive way so that I could get the Austin 7 out for sale. The nose would make a great BBQ "cover" and the rear cut a perfect sofa!

After fitting another carb, the motor ran, but as the water pump spewed water everywhere it promptly blew a head gasket. The blue smoke was a fair indication that it had to come apart anyway!
Notice in the right hand foreground the vacuum tank, and on the left an in-line brake booster. This one is an after market replacement, but in the same position as the original. BTW the brakes were seized solid, as was the clutch.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Honda N360 rusty relic

Long before Xbox 360 there was the Honda N360. Powered by a 360cc air cooled engine, hence the cars name (no surprises there!), this diminutive mini car was also kmown as the Scamp.
So why the interest in this almost beyond salavation Japanese creation?
I owned one! The example I had was in far better condition, though. Bought for $500, it was very tidy to look at. The only faults were a small dent, rust around the front indicators and faded mats. Oh, and the small problem with the motor. It had been reconditioned, even though the car had only 36,000 miles on the clock, put back in, then started. However, as far as I can ascertain, the earth strap was not connected. The result was to fry the electrics.

It ran, but not well. It may have needed timing. Being essentially a motorbike motor married to a car front wheel drive gearbox, it had CDI ignition (capacitor discharge ignition) - simply not my bag!
I did quite like this car. They are quirky and have some unusual features; Starting with the power plant, it is a 2 cylinder aircooled four stroke on a four speed gearbox. The alternator converts to a starter to get fired up. One turns the key and waits for something to happen. It's all very quiet. Often the only indication that the battery is not completely dead is a slight rocking of the car as the two cylinders move up and down. With a full pee shooter car exhaust along it's length, the note out the back is very subdued, yet unmistakably a 2 cylinder. The gear lever cranks out from under the dash and does take some getting adjusted to if one wants to change up before all forward momentum is lost...after all, theres not a lot of spare power there! The car above is Hondamatic. I guess that would be quite rare.

So to the body quirks - Not what one would term pretty, more functional. Surprisingly roomy inside though. I am just shy of six foot and had no problems with ingress/egress, tough you would have to be more Japanese sized to feel comfortable in the back seat (unless you're a sumo wrestler). I liked the lockable fuel cap - lock the passenger door and the fuel release pin could not be accessed! Similarly, the plastic boot lid was an innovation at the cutting edge for the mid sixties, with more room inside the boot, as the spare wheel was under the bonnet.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Valiant ute

An unusual first car these days for an 18 year old "P plater"!

Valiant ute. I can't tell you much else about this model, not being a Chrysler guy by any means.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Globe mags polished and near new tyres fitted. The tread is great with no uneven wear patterns. Two are Kelly brand and two are Goodyear Ritmo - not exactly top of the range stuff, these aren't P6's, but then the price was also low at just $118 for the lot from Ebay.These are all 215/60r14's but the tread on the road is far narrower than a good quality tyre like Yokohama. The price included Holden Commodore wheels, so it cost another $80 to remove, fit and balance. Phil from Ridder's in Murrumbeena has again done a supurb job. Taking a little extra time, he has put all the weights on the inside. The rims look really clean with no weights showing. .

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Chrysler Valiant Regal CM and Ford F100 banana back

Another car in the neighbourhood, though probably just passing through. Holden Belmont HQ dual axle to the left.

This Valiant Regal looks to be in very good condition, but may have a leaking window seal, going by the large amount of condensation on the windows.

The Ford banana back wrecker truck. Over the years this truck has carried some interesting old cars, many times on their ultimate trip. Lets hope this car is not destined for the scrap yard.

Not long now till this truck moves away for good, as the owner has sold the property. I will miss spotting all the old relics at the end of the street.

As a young fella I remember these cars, the big Aussie luxury cruisers. My sister and I each had a Dinky toy that was a station wagon version of the car above, only red with two plastic dogs poking their heads out over the tailgate. One of my first memories of a particular "modern" car, bearing in mind I grew up in a vintage car family, was a similarly coloured Ford Landau Coupe driven by my uncle. All I wanted to do was play with the electric wndows! Even then, though, the rear window was jammed half open.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

HQ Holden ute tandem or dual axle - "dually"

I have been out with the camera in the streets around home capturing images of older cars I see often. This "dually" is one of two owned by the same bloke. I missed my chance to get a photo of the other, a HJ or HZ, as the house is sold and numerous vehicles are being moved out. This one hasn't been outside the gates for a few years now.

Ford XC Fairmont

This month I have been out with the camera in the neighbourhood.
I passed this rare GXL Falcon every week for 5 years while dropping my daughters off to gymnastics. I have always thought that I ought to get a photo. Better late than never, I guess.

Check out the "not for slae" note on the windscreen - someone is determined to see this car rot into the road in a pile of rust!

The bonnet scoops, factory mag wheels and rectangular headlights set the Fairmont apart from the much more common Falcon. The interior is also quite plush, with high backed seats in fabric upholstery.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mk3 Ford Zephyr 6 floor change gearbox

 Factory floor change gearbox for the Mk 3 Zephyr. This one is a 4 cylinder model. This is a 212E left hand drive 'box that was used in all right hand drive floor change mk3's.

Factory floor change again. A good view of the curved gear lever, knob and reverse lockout selector.

Factory floor change gate detail.

An after market "Impala" shifter. This fits standard column change cars with the gearbox selectors on the right side.

Speco shifter

Speco after market shifter

Exploded parts view of the factory floor change mechanism

Monday, 1 October 2012

Polishing my nuts

I have been lucky enough to have the use of the neighbour's polisher for a while. Some of the Zephyr wheel nuts were a bit rusty and a part set of Toyota nuts, left over from the old Rav 4 when it got mags, were a bit dirty. 36 hours in the polisher and they have come up really well.

I didn't get before shots, but we all know whay old wheel nuts can look like. I'm happy with the way they came up.

I tried to get the boot badges looking as good. Only one at a time can be put in, otherwise they will tangle together and scratch or even break. The first time I let it run with just the badge and the walnut husks. Only light marks polished off. Not a great sucess! This time I tried plastic and aluminium cylinders of varied sizes. The larger cylinders can be seen in the photo above. After 36 hours of not much progress, this trial can also be chalked up to experience as a dud. The badge above has a gold coating on it, but is badly faded and just looks like a film of dirt. I guess it's back to hours of metal polish and elbow grease! I had thought of adding fine ball bearings, but a lot would be needed and they still wouldn't get into the internal corners properly.
At least I have nice shiney nuts now!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Austin 7 Ace Project

Over the last two years, when time and good weather have allowed, I have been refinishing a friend's 1932 Austin 7 Ace sports car. Just another reason the Zephyr is not yet ready for the road.

The finished paint job

Two years ago; first undercoats on. Many hours of sanding and repainting were required as it is 80 years old and had a good shunt up the rear before the mid fifties. I know this because the owner from this era is a member of the Austin 7 Club locally. Bits of oil can were found grafted in to the tail! Both sides were completely replaced as part of the panel work before it came to me.

This is what I started with; plenty of bog, ripples, hollows and scratch marks from the panel work. One of the guards got a few spots of rain on it, so had to be reprimed and painted. The joys of having to work outdoors!

The rear guard primed for the second time. A couple of ripples can still be seen near the trailing edges of this guard even at this stage.

Rear guard top coat fresh off the gun.

Celebrity endorsed paint job!
Sparkling Monza red after cutting back with 1200 grit and machine polishing with two grades of cutting compound. Swirl remover is next.

Painting the bonnet presented some challenges.

Primed and the inside painted red.

Spot putty was next followed by heavy coats of primer over the block sanded filler. This process is repeated a number of times to achieve the desired smooth finish. Time was against me on this one and I didn't have the luxury of doing this 10 or more times to get it perfect.

A few days ago the car was driven here under it's own power for the first time. A sparkling new registration plate takes pride of place at the front and rear, having passed the Roadworthy Certificate examination earlier in the week. The front guard, valances and bonnet are still to be cut and polished.

 This is what makes it all worth while. It is great to see this beautifully proportioned car looking better than it did 50 years ago.

The hood is back with the upholsterer to make some changes.

The hood cover the first edition. The akward looking upright bits are being "smoothed over", after owner, Dennis, arranged a hinge to stow the section over windscreen flat when not fitted.

A very difficult windscreen to get watertight.

A "top" choice for fabric colour to go with the Monza red.

 The Austin 7 Ace is a 4 cylinder 750cc four stroke engined motor car built in England and bodied here in Australia. Production of the 7 started in 1922 and continued until 1938. It was the British answer to the Model T, in many ways, being dubbed "the motor for the millions". This car has a four speed gearbox ith syncromesh on 3rd and 4th. Brakes are linked to all four wheels.

 This Ace handles very well for a car of it's age and has surprisingly nippy performance.