Heinrich Kierschnorre of Surbiton (1938 Tropical Weatherman Wildebeeste Supreme) writes: "Dear Mr Overall, I am slightly concerned that the lacquer finish on my auxiliary pannier petrol tanks appears to be deteriorating in the bracing British weather. Are there any measures one might take to delay the process or, indeed, refinish the items concerned to a concours condition?"
So often foreign people who move to England like to change their name so they fit in better. How about Corndolly, or Kray? Now for you other problem. Your '38 Wildebeeste was one of the last to enjoy the "SuperLacquer" finish that was standard while "Buster" Cringethorpe reigned over the Finishing Shop, before his unfortunate demise under a Titan-Erasmus steamroller. Sadly, his key techniques were a closely-guarded secret he was unable to pass on to his son before the untimely accident, so the "SuperLacquer" recipe went to his very wide grave with him, as did his specialist knowledge of marquetry (featured in the Greenland maple, Balinese teak and Rutland rosewood renditions of Young Adonis on the coachwork of the '34 Gentleman's Weatherman De Ville). All I can glean from a contemporary monograph kindly supplied by Lt. Col. Berrisford-Spoint of the Durham Chapter is that many have tried to authentically recreate that extraordinary patina and all have failed - Cringethorpe's earwax, honey, porridge and pressed puppy juices finish was impressive, but sadly not entirely impermeable to the elements; you are lucky it has lasted so well. The best you can do today is try undercoating the tank with a nice, Virdigris-tone, Strychnine-based primer (let it dry fully and remember it is very toxic) and then build up a Jappaned Lacquer coating in your favoured colour in very thin layers using a boar-bristle toothbrush until a suitable effect is achieved. If you feel you must keep the original finish, remember, only use lukewarm nightsoil and neatsfoot soap, and buff when dry with a good-quality brown paper. It will tend to attract foxes and other scavengers in warm weather; I suggest that you surround your H-P with small upturned pieces of adhesive-backed tape - it sticks to their paws and deters them in the future.
Brigadier L. F. H. K. Pandrick-Fugue (Retd.) writes from the "Bide A Wee Afore Ye Go" Hospice in Nether Kneetrembler-cum-Snodgrass: "My surgeon has given me only six months to live and I am spending every last minute available fully restoring my great-uncle Lochinvar's pre-1934 Hurley-Pugh Wildebeeste Gentleman's Weatherman. The porpoise skin covering of the folding umbrella appears to have turned rancid and I wish to retain the original fabric with the Hurley-Pugh crest woven in every 3 inches. Can you advise on restoration?"
Glad to hear you are using your remaining convalescence sensibly. Umbrella restoration is best left to the professionals - may we suggest Crumpet Rainwear and Rubber Goods Ltd, of Prestatyn? They can invisibly mend the afflicted area, or replace the entire canopy in a range of period fabrics, including gingham-reinforced latex with the H-P crest in gold leaf - a perfect facsimile of the material used on Sir John Hurley's favourite machine. They can also supply fully gusseted, strapped and lockable replicas of the H-P Weatherstorm Mackintosh. Crumpet's turnaround is a fast seven-month minimum.
Dr Sean Kevin Keghane FRCS, of Kilburn and Tipperary, writes: "I have recently been fortunate enough to come into possession of a 1938 Brooklands Excalibur Injection Special, pristine in every way, with the exception of the Pughmatic Petroleum Monitoring System, which appears to be poorly-adjusted or incorrectly assembled. The problem is this: having stripped, cleaned and made good the brass columns, I have endeavoured to reassemble the installation making use of the instructions in the Workshop Manual which you were good enough to supply me (and a better-spent £182 19s 11d I cannot imagine), but the chapter on the Fuel Mapping System is somewhat curt, stating only "Assembly is the reverse of Disassembly". Could you elaborate, please?"
Well, well, well; the Pughmatic Petroleum Monitoring System. eh? Think of it as a simpler and more elegant solution to fuel supply metering than modern electronicals and you won't be far wrong. Based on Sir Charles Babbage's seminal Difference Engine, Pughmatic's sixteen tank-mounted knurled brass columns and vernier-adjusted calibration collars allowed the owner to develop, map and deploy his own fuel regulation "software" programme, stored on a punched sheet brass strip similar to a pianola roll, which would be fed into the installation over a powered platen, with the chain drive taken from the right-hand thrunging sprocket. As you'll have guessed, I have little truck with those flimsy, cheap, transistor-type "EFI" affairs we see fitted to lesser steeds, and Pughmatic was light years ahead in its day, of course. (Note: the brass columns are not identical, varying in length by up to 14 thou and diameter by up to 17 thou and each has its own place in the 4x4 array. Use your Vernier to establish the column thicknesses in ascending order and label them accordingly. Then, using the log tables in the Manual (Appendix J), programme the Walters-Phillipson injector to deliver between 4 and 5 pints of petrol per minute to the cylinder, which may seem a little excessive, but is re-regulated by the Fuel Map. Now assemble the columns in a clockwise circle, starting in the bottom outer right-corner of the holder (seated in the saddle and looked at from underneath) in the following order for normal riding: 16, 5, 9, 4, 12, 8, 3, 1, 10, 14, 2, 7, 13, 6, 11 and Robert's your proverbial - then simply customise to suit.
[previous article][next article]
[HPO&EC home][The Fettler]