Recent mention in this organ of various Works "specials" ejaculated by H-P from time to time leads to reminiscence over surely the graetest sporting motor bicycle that the "Old Firm" ever had the grace to spurt forth from anywhere other than Scunthorpe: The Zegli-Hurley-Pugh.
The seeds of this project were sown late in the Graet Marque's annals, in that mild August of 1939 prior to commencement of Hostilities. A party from the Works found themselves in a dishevelled condition on Hamburg's Reeperbahn during a particularly bibulous overseas Stag Week Outing in celebration of the impending union of Albert Entwhistle from the Machine Shop and Brunnehilde Lusch, a half-Westphalian saddle seamstress from Upholstery. This fraülein, incidentally, had an interesting hobby - taking snaps of secret military installations on the Lincolnshire coast. Anyway, in swaying from bordello to bordello in search of a bargain introduction to the primary matrimonial duty for Albert, the errant "Fettlers" bumped into one Wotan Zegli, the brilliant Bavarian engineer and exponent of the 1930s craze for synchronised saluting.
Zegli warmed to these visitors, admiring the brutish manner with which they accosted Hunnish hussies, and invited them back to his hunting lodge, a former abattoir in the nearby forest of Belsen. During the ensuing weissenbier-quaffing and thigh-slapping, the germ of a graet project was born.
The basis of this was a Full Works Excalibur Manxman SS Zegli had found abandoned after the rather high-casualty 1936 East Prussian 500-Kilometre episode. His input was concentrated in two areas: tuning and an all-enclosing streamlined fairing.
Gaining a considerable power-boost from the mighty 1212cc single-cylinder engine proved to be no hurdle for a man of Zegli's cunning. He quickly identified that the limiting factor within the motor (already at Stage-20 Works tune) was the retarding viscous effect of the engine oil. The problem was made worse by the large cargo of oil carried to allow for the Patented Pugh Total-Loss Lubrication System. Zegli's solution was almost brilliant. He dispensed with oil completely, relying instead on a token smear of whale tallow accompanied by blueprinting to remove the minor eccentricities from the Works crank.
But testing proved frustrating as engine after engine seized, peppering the rafters of his Schlöss Ahschtein home with swarf and componentry. As soon as they identified the problem as insufficient lubrication, H-P engineers came to the rescue with customary resourcefulness. A rear-facing pillion seat was fitted, on which was to sit a "number two" whose role was to feed raw blubber into the sump through a hopper above a set of miniaturised flensing knives driven off the rear in-board thrunging sprocket. Graded minke, blended with sperm and blue, the produce of Sir John's own whaling fleet, was chosen for this duty.
|The Hurley-Pugh pit crew enjoy flensing down a fresh-caught minke whale into manageable portions with the recently married Albert Entwhistle on top of the beast.|
Zegli's aerodynamic concept was harder to realise. He made several attempts at fashioning bodywork from zinc-clad lignum vitae hot-rivetted to a cast-iron frame, but with these the front tyre burst under the weight. After a brief sojourn with a solid front tyre, during which test rider Capt. Eric "Killer" Steerforth MC (who caught the first packetboat over from Goole upon being telegraphed with details of the ongoing adventure) had to spend a few days in a sanatorium having his bruised privates massaged, Zegli hit upon the idea of using burnished fish scales - herring scales, to be precise, of which there was a plentiful supply in the nearby Baltic ports - laminated with wallpaper size. This structure was extremely light and slippery, and could, he pointed out, be replicated for mass production using shoddier aluminium monocoque construction. Further to this, Zegli negotiated a sponsorship contract with a Professor Ernst Heinkel to produce the prototype bodyshell, although the H-P Team had to insist that he remove the bomb-sight mount and modify the gun turret fitted during development, as they did seem rather at odds with the need to save weight.
|Wotan Zegli's Platonic Close Gentleman Friend Hans Von Catamite demonstrates the apparent gun turret at first fitted to the machine by Professor Ernst Heinkel to the enthusiastic group of Works Fettlers on their extended Stag Outing.|
Steerforth conducted the first full test at the Würlitzerbürgring. Wotan Zegli himself took up pillion-station as "Killer" wound it up, accelerating to an estimated 104.23 kilometres per hour. After slowing to 12 kph for the first turn, "Killer" pressed on again. Once more the mighty beast edged up to the "ton", or rather metric "tonne".
But Zegli became concerned as he noticed the crankcase and thrunging sprockets glowing a cherry-red, moving towards bright knicker-pink, and began frantically stuffing blubber into the hopper. He was fighting a losing battle, though, and, as the wake of rank marine detritus spewing forth from the Patent Pugh Total-Loss System caught alight and flashed back, he ripped off the hopper and began feeding pure Minke directly into the whirling blades.
The machine surged forward to a even graeter but regrettably unrecorded velocity. And then Zegli inadvertently fed his own right hand and forearm into the sump. The inclusion of bone, albeit finely chopped, had an instant effect on the strained engine, which promptly exploded and, luckily for Steerforth, operated the ejector saddle. Although he was seen to wince as his kneecaps fouled the exit orifice in the fairing turret, "Killer" escaped remarkably unscathed from a rapid slide down the grippy rolled-gravel surface - thanks mainly to his new "Dachau" leather greatcoat, although abrasion ruined the interesting, tattoo-like "Isaac Loves Rachel" decoration on the left sleeve. Wotan Zegli himself, like the Zegli-Hurley-Pugh, was never seen again.
|Nose muffled against the stench of rotten herring from the laminated fish-scale fairing and decomposing blubber from the lubrication system, "Killer" gets ready for his record-breaking run at the Würlitzerbürgring (left). Wotan Zegli in a typically Nietzschian pose (right)|
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