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Topics - B.P.Bird

ACOC News and Events / Drive for June 2023
June 17, 2023, 17:22:56
Hello Everyone,
What with one thing and another I have failed to give Terry anything about 'Drive for June 2023' for ACtion, however as the drive operates somewhere in mid June and adheres to the 'No Plan Plan' the lack of a reminder is really rather in character.
To recap, for those less familiar, the idea is to go for a drive, as once you did, remembering that special person no longer with us. Perhaps taking one of their favourite routes and calling in to a well remembered watering hole. Some of us take a run in a small group, some alone with their thoughts - it matters not, we all celebrate those miles and those memories from our motoring past.
This last year is especially full of A.C. memories as we have said farewell to some great characters who drove many a highway and byway behind that wonderful art deco AC badge:

Tony Morpeth
Stewart Brown
Ron Mulacek
Terry Rodgers
Frédéric Delaere
Frank Ashley
Antoine Prunet
Alan Blunt

So take a drive in your A.C. (for those poor souls bereft of an A.C. any lesser car will do) remember them and remember your own and last of all, when you get back home and the car is garaged and slumbering again, give a thought to your chosen charities and make a gift. There is a special Just Giving page, if you wish to use it, where the gifts will go to Alzheimer's Research UK:

Have a lovely drive, see you on the road
The 2" Smiths instruments on Ace, Aceca and Cobra were illuminated by means of an external light bulb which shines on to the dial by way of some small windows in the case. These bulbs were held in a bracket. Here is one:

And another view:

They are and were in period, an aggravating object given to sulking in the dark given the slightest vibration. Some careful assembly and some tidy soldering can make them reliable. In any event that is the way Thames Ditton built them and to complete the dashboard, for AE 22, I am in need of two - anyone got any spare ?

Dashboard awaiting wiring

AC Weller Engine / Crankshaft Damper
August 22, 2020, 14:25:31
In common with all those who have care of a later version of the Weller A.C. Six I have a bonded metal and rubber 'Metalastik' crank shaft damper. There are those far more qualified than I to give an opinion, but I would observe that the superior fluid dampers now available do have the one drawback of not being original. I think it is fair to say that no original 'Metalastic' damper should now be relied upon - the passage of time, six decades, will have weakened the bonding between the damping element and the hub, even if it looks alright. I have been looking around for what seems to be a simple enough engineering operation - refurbishing the original 'Metalastic' damper with new rubber and bonding. I was surprised to discover no one in the U.K. offering such a procedure. Casting the net wider I did find two specialists, one in N.Z. and one in the U.S. The chap in N.Z. could not be contacted, but I had more success in the U.S.
Having sent my damper half way around the World and back I now have the original damper ready to fit to UMB 2043. The bonding has been done just as neatly as Metalastic did it in 1954 and the metal parts have been cleaned up good as new. Obviously only long term use will be a proper test, but I now have the original damper available and usable.
This is the contact for the chap who restored my damper and I can recommend him:

David 'Dale' Langsather
Dale Manufacturing
3425 Fairhaven Avenue N.E.
Salem, Oregon 97301
(503) 364- 8685

I do have a modern fluid damper ready to install and I am torn between originality and superior crank shaft protection, at least I do now have two options for defeating Selwyn Edge's famous 'Power Rumble'  thanks to Dale Langsather.

Ace, Aceca & Greyhound Forum / A.C. Bell Housing
March 07, 2019, 17:16:48
When you look at the bell housing, which joins the A.C. straight six to its gearbox, you will see a cover plate mounted on two studs. It looks like this:

What is this access panel for ? I could speculate that it was a hangover from the days when clutch fingers were adjustable. However, with the advent of the light weight gearbox  A.C. produced a different, thinner and lighter bell housing. Moreover the new bell housing still incorporated this access panel, not only that but the panel was redesigned with the mounting studs N/S rather than E/W (it had to be that way as the new bell housing was a continuous curve from side to side.) Why did they go to such trouble ? I make the assumption that somewhere there is a panel cover which looks like the ones in the photo' except that the mounting holes are top and bottom rather than side to side - has anyone got such a cover or were the old covers used so that the Company motif lay on its side ?
You could dismiss all this as a harmless eccentricity, but to go to all this trouble, to retain an access, seems to point to some useful function ?
There have been various discussions here on the Ace Lucas wiring diagram. I have been musing over the one I have.

Titled as follows:      Lucas Electrical Equipment A.C. "Ace" Sports Cars (1955-57) Home and Export Models

Information boxes as follows: Wiring Diagram No. W29340A Supersedes W29340 which should be destroyed

And: Issued March 1957

I suppose this diagram covers most Aces, except that there is an existing post by Keith Lessiter which references a different diagram as follows:

Wiring Diagram for 1956/1957 Ace Home & Export Models 
   reference no. W31520A issued  February 1957
   (supercedes W31520)

All this is rather academic unless you are trying to get the wiring as original. Firstly both these suffix 'A' diagrams supersede an earlier version and both cover dates which do not go back to the first years of Ace production. Again does this really matter ? Well apart from from originality I think it does as, at least in the case of AE 22, the components do not match the diagram. For example rather than supplying an earth, to activate the live horn circuit, the horn push controls a horn relay. Easy enough to make up the required circuit, but not so easy to get the cable colour code original without the relevant diagram. Next question would be at which Car No. did the horn relay get deleted ?
Ace, Aceca & Greyhound Forum / Sparking Plugs
June 03, 2018, 19:53:00
What sparking plugs are Members using in their Ace Bristols ? I had some Champion Z9Y, but this is what happened to them:

The other five had started down the same road with the porcelain coming uncrimped from the metal base:

I have found NGK tend to wet too easily on start up so I have gone back to some old, but serviced, KLG TENL100:

However I have very few KLG left on the shelf and a permanent solution is needed. The best 'plugs I ever used were KLG PTENL80, the P signifying platinum - anything like this available nowadays ?
General Forum / Naming of Parts
April 19, 2018, 13:49:07
Well leading on from the discussion, on the Cobra (Thames Ditton) Forum, regarding the description of steering boxes, I wonder if we should explore the whole question of how we name and describe our A.C.s ? Having some commonality of language has obvious advantages, but I wonder if we should also preserve the original nomenclature rather than accept some modern substitution ? After all we go to some trouble to establish what is the correct and original specification of our A.C.s - should we not also maintain the original description of those parts ?
There are many instances of what I am talking about, for example:
Splined Hubs for wire wheels need a retainer to stop the wheel falling off. What is the name for that item on an A.C. ? I suppose most of us would talk about 'Knock Offs' or 'Spinners' however at Thames Ditton they were 'Hub Caps.'
The control a driver uses to select gears in a manual gearbox would be called a 'gear lever' or 'gear stick' or just 'stick' by most of us but at Thames Ditton it was a 'Change Speed Lever.'
Of course the first thing is to enjoy our cars and so let us not be too precious about the language we use. However 'custom and practice' have to be treated with some care. There was a Forum discussion not long ago on the term 'slabside' which seemed to be a modern description of the bodywork style found on leaf spring Cobras. Never a word used in period. Again we see recurring discussions on what to call the three iterations of Thames Ditton built Cobras. Reading Dan Case's thoughts on the subject, on the Cobra forum, reinforces how confused this has become: Yet it was not confused in period albeit that the seeds of confusion were being sown.
Speaking of Cobras there was a great deal of what might be termed 'spin' being put about in period and what salesman ever allowed simple facts to spoil his sales pitch ? However it seems much of this misinformation has been so oft repeated that it has become 'fact' in many different parts of the world. It does rather appear that the origin of many of these stories is that great salesman and self publicist  Carroll Shelby himself. Please do not make the assumption that I am displaying any kind of bias - I should point out that at Thames Ditton the cover over an engine was a 'Bonnet or Engine Hood'  they may have been old fashioned, but they were also multi cultural.....
So the question is should we be more careful in what we publish and what we repeat here, or as Robin Stainer points out in the Cobra Forum, should we accept that common usage amongst large numbers of interested people renders a contemporary description valid when it was not in period ?
Ace, Aceca & Greyhound Forum / Ace Overriders
April 16, 2018, 16:19:11
               Ace Overriders

   It may not be generally known that A.C. bought in a special pattern overrider for the early Ace. I wish I knew who the suppliers were; there is a family resemblance to the items used on the 2 litre Saloon and the contemporary Lea Francis, but neither are identical. Some 70 cars were so fitted before a change was made to buy in the different overrider being supplied for the Standard 8.
   The early pattern seems to have become unavailable around AE 93 or 94 . Perhaps the supplier discontinued operations and A.C. had to look elsewhere ? Perhaps it was to accommodate the Aceca tubular bumper bars ? Although at least one Aceca (AE 504) used the early overrider. In any event it seems that when carrying out repairs the later pattern has had to be used and examples of Aces with early overriders on one end, with late overriders on the other have been found. This looks really strange.....
   A project has been running in the Club to reproduce these rather good looking early overriders. The research has covered the globe from New Zealand to California to draw on the expertise we have amongst the membership. The great challenge to be overcome is to produce the tooling and this is expensive, however we now have the 3D scans and drawings, but before we take the next step of starting the production process we need to get an idea of what size of batch to put in hand. The figures below are based on 15 car sets which is guided by a survey of early cars and might well be somewhat conservative. As in all these Club projects, if it runs, there will be no guarantee that any further batches will be possible. This is the chance to get early Aces back to their original, better looking, specification. The quality of the finished overrider will be every bit as good as the original and in fact the plating is likely to be superior.
   There is a scheme already running (see Keith Lessiter's advertisement in ACtion) to supply overrider brackets to suit the later cars and Keith has agreed to add the very different, early type, bracket to his offer. There is also the question of the simple spacer tubes used on the rear mounting brackets; they are identical to the later cars and can be cut from suitable aluminium tube. The fasteners required are all off the shelf 3/8" and 5/16" BSF nuts and bolts. We will publish dimensions of spacer tubes and fasteners, along with some fitting notes, at a later stage.
   Individual cars will vary in their needs: There will be cars which have lost everything, cars which need only a correct bracket and every possible combination in between. This being the case it is the intention to offer the parts on a single item basis rather than in sets. However fitting one new shiny overrider alongside a 60 year old worn example might not be an ideal result – perhaps best considered in pairs ?
   The projected costs for each Overrider, ready to fit, polished and triple chrome plated are dependant on batch size, exchange rates and applicable custom duties, they are likely to be in the range of £88 to £98, but only for launch customers. Later purchases, if there are any in stock, will have to be priced significantly higher.
To join the scheme as a launch customer and order overriders we will need a deposit of £45 per overrider:

   First send your deposit to 'Thames Ditton Spares Ltd.' bank sort code 30-98-77 account no. 01414758. For overseas members IBAN GB50LOYD30987701414758. Use as reference your surname followed by '-ORS.' For example 'SMITH-ORS'.
If you wish to pay by cheque, made out to Thames Ditton Spares Limited,
send to:


      C.T. Pearce,   
         Tree House,
            Yopps Green,
                        TN15 0PY

Secondly confirm your order to  and if you have any technical questions please ask me.

      If writing send to

         Manse of Premnay,
                     AB52 6QF


   Just for information, if a car has lost everything, this is the complete set of parts you would need, but remember this offer is just for the overriders and we will address the other easier items if we can get enough support for the overriders:
   4 off overriders
   2 off front brackets
   2 off rear brackets
   2 off short rear spacers
   2 off long rear spacers
   8 off fasteners overrider to bracket
   4 off fasteners bracket to chassis, front
   4 off fasteners bracket to chassis, rear

   This is the best information we have on the situation with early Aces:
   Those fitted with correct early style:-

   Those missing overriders altogether:-

   Those with incorrect (mostly Ford Prefect) overriders :-
AE29 (rear only.)
AE76 ( front only.)


AE 40 with correct fitting

AE 65 front with correct fitting

AE 65 rear with correct fitting

AE 32 front and rear with correct fitting


   Acknowledgements to the Overrider Team:

      Rob Hendriks
      Brian Horwood
      Keith Lessiter               

                           Barrie Bird
                           9th April '18
Ace, Aceca & Greyhound Forum / Old Aluminium
April 11, 2018, 14:43:07
I thought I would share what is looking like a small success: Most of the A.C.s in existence are old and getting older and aluminium features in much of their structures. Over the years I have tried to keep the one off alloy header tank on LM5000 water tight, but even with lots of anti corrosion anti freeze in the system the dissimilar metal corrosion around the radiator cap has been dire. The aluminium welding from 1958 still looks good, but I would not recommend trying to weld new metal onto the old - just too much oxide hiding within. So what to do ? Well complete replacement is one option, but I would sooner preserve the original structures where possible. Last year, discussing this with Rob Hendriks, he said he had experienced considerable success in this kind of repair with 'Belzona'
I gave it a try last year and so far the repair has been perfect and the tank looks just like it did in 1958. There are various versions of the compound and the one I chose has a reasonable working time before hardening as well as a longer shelf life.
It might be worth a try on Weller blocks with corrosion problems ?
Ace, Aceca & Greyhound Forum / Dampers
March 22, 2017, 17:16:34
There have been several threads on this forum raising questions about dampers in general and Spax in particular, as applicable to the Ace and Aceca chassis. Having reinstalled the original 1954 Armstrong dampers on AE22 it was apparent that the original open length, both front and rear, gave rise to various problems:
   1) The front suspension is allowed to droop so that further travel is limited by the track rods contacting the wishbone inner mounting bracket. At this point the steering is obstructed.
   2) The rear suspension is similarly allowed to droop excessively allowing the drive shaft U.J. maximum angularity to be exceeded. This locks the driveshaft.
   3) The rear dampers have a clearance cut out in the rear carrier (B60061/2) but with excessive droop this clearance is insufficient and the damper body is forced against the carrier.
   Of course one might rightly point out that unless you launch your Ace in to the air over a hump backed bridge these problems will not arise. Not quite true as they can be a nuisance when jacked up for greasing and are unwelcome, not to say dangerous, when on the track, where hard cornering can allow the unloaded, inner wheels, to droop far enough to reach these limits.
   I do not know whether Thames Ditton ever addressed the issue, or even regarded it as significant - obviously they did not in the early days. In any event, as discussed in previous threads, Brian Eacott pioneered a shorter rear damper extension to restrict droop. Inspired by this I discussed with Spax a similar restricted extension damper for the front. They have now produced this. With the shorter type fitted, front and rear, to AE22, all clearance problems have been eliminated and I have decided to retire the original dampers to the shelf.
   Out of interest the open length of the original dampers far exceeds the maximum suspension unloaded travel - front 15.25" rear 16". The Spax shorter extension dampers reduce this - front 12.9" rear 15.25" measured eye centre to eye centre rear and eye centre to mid stem on the front.
   The Spax part numbers are:
   Front - G9442AS
   Rear - G623EA
   I should say that the reduced extension rears are well tested on a number of cars, but the fronts await road testing and that will be a while so far as AE22 is concerned. If any one tries them meantime please report back. I must say Spax have been very helpful and, unlike many other manufacturers, their products have increased in quality since I first used them on BEF 2535 back in the seventies.The set I have had on CSX 2033 for nearly thirty years are as good as new.
   Here is a rear on AE22.
   And a front, don't copy the brake lines - the Formula III style mounting on the spring only applied to AE 22 and 23
General Forum / Jack Sears 1930 - 2016
August 10, 2016, 22:46:56
In common with many other enthusiasts I have been reading the obituaries for Gentleman Jack. Not one has come near to doing his life justice. I would recommend reading Simon Taylor's Motorsport 'Lunch With Jack Sears' article:
   Just that Brands Hatch black flag race would elevate him to the Pantheon of motor sports, never mind the rest.
Ace 'Brooklands' Forum / Sultan of Brunei
January 29, 2016, 09:35:33
I suppose most of the Brooklands Ace chaps know about the four cars owned by the Royal Family in Brunei, but I had not seen this before:
   Watch for the second car videoed. Wonder where they are now ?
Oh dear! A local tyre fitter (I can think of a better name) has hamfistedly knocked a 6" section of rim out of one of the 427 Halibrand pattern rear Dymags from a 1980s Angliss Mk. IV.
   Most welders who have looked at the damage have declined to attempt such a large repair as it is likely to introduce distortion. Would anyone have a spare rear 9.5 x 15 Dymag Halibrand 427 pattern for sale?
General Forum / Lapel Badge
May 19, 2015, 19:01:08
I seem to recollect Thames Ditton giving these away in the sixties. Anyway I still have my one, but here is another:
I am trying to identify this number plate light on the pretty rump of LM5000 at le Mans in 1958. I think it is possiblyone of those overnight parking lights we used to see in the U.K. in the days when 'old bangers' soldiered on, long into their old age, untroubled by MoT Tests. If I am guessing right one half of the hemisphere lens will be red and the other clear and when used, as intended, for parking would have been mounted on the offside with the red part facing rearwards. Used on LM5000 the red part would face upward leaving the clear part illuminating the registration mark. Blowing the picture up you can see where some of the clear glass has been painted out so as not to shew a white light to the rear. Then again it could be an all clear glass interior or under bonnet light or boot light ? Did the Invalide Car have an interior light ? Anyway despite looking around I have seen nothing like this - any ideas anyone ?
428 Frua Forum / Home again
September 20, 2014, 17:28:46
Back on the U.K. roads again, after a long period in the U.S., here is the old works demonstrator CF7. A great pleasure to see such a gorgeous car and the icing on the cake is DVLA agreeing with the A.C.O.C. that she should have her old registration mark returned. A great credit to her new owner as the shipping, customs, recommissioning and the retrieving of the old registration was far from simple.
   We are coming towards the end of the summer now, but perhaps CF7 will see some gentle shakedown exercise before it gets colder, darker and wetter.
Continuing from my note on the 'Rest and Be Thankful' report in the general forum, here is an update on my diff. failure.
   Having found the failed splines and being wary of rebuilding with old shafts of uncertain heritage, I did a bit of research: Salisbury still exist in the form of Dana Axles U.K. Ltd., but have no more of the early two part output shafts. Moreover I took a close look at the surviving shaft -
   As you can see the splines on the 'good' shaft are not far off being worn half way through.It follows that rebuilding with a second hand shaft on the failed side would only result in another spline failure, on the surviving shaft, in the near future.
   Salisbury replaced these early two part shafts with a single piece shaft which is a stronger design. Not sure if any Cobras used them, but certainly Jaguar went over to them. I am not sure if the later shaft has stronger splines, but if you go this route they will at least start off as zero time new items. It seems that there is a U.K. based competition transmission specialist who replicate the later single piece drive shafts, but in a stronger materiel.
   In any event, wherever the new style shafts come from, they will only fit the original Salisbury casing if it is machined to accept different bearings.
   You can see where this is going: The replacement shafts dictate some machining and there is no point in doing this and using the old bearings and seals, LSD clutches or differential gears. The crown wheel and pinion may pass crack testing, or may not. Whatever there is a sizeable bill to be paid.
   Given the years and abuse which older Cobras have endured this cost should be regarded in the context of half a century of service - leastways this makes it less painful.
   I have decided to bite the bullet and use the upgraded competition shafts, with machining and all the replacement overhaul items. I'll report again when it is all back together.
General Forum / Rest and Be Thankful
March 26, 2013, 13:59:17
We will be following in the tracks of Derek Hurlock and OPG192, the works 2 litre saloon, once again on April 21st 2013. There are full details on the News and Events Forum. Last years run involved a bit of off roading, but this year we will benefit from the authorities tarmacadam transformation and all will be as smooth as greased weasel whatsit. I wonder what improvement on their times would result were the ghosts of the past to have another crack at the hill without the bumps and loose patches ?
   We will have a good turn out of Scottish A.C.s together with Howard Bryan's Yorkshire Raiding Party, but room for plenty more. Here are some reminders from last year.
   Young William being grown up and responsible.
   And Howard The Demon G'hound pilot about to burn rubber behind a Cobra.
   This last shot gives you some idea of the challenge the racers of days gone by took on.
General Forum / Child seats and The Law
December 03, 2012, 15:50:48
This topic is really for those who are having problems sleeping. Moreover I am sitting in The Study watching the snow flakes floating down past the window - so no chance of driving an A.C. and every excuse needed for avoiding an Arctic workshop, so it's The Forum instead:
   Over the last couple of years The Grandchildren have become a significant factor in A.C. motoring. No doubt the same desire for a ride with Grandpa in The A.C. is to be found all over The World. I hope so.
   However we live in societies beset by petty fogging officialdom and crass do-gooders. So the question is can children be legally carried in two seater A.C.s ?
   First off let us forget the law, any law in any jurisdiction and just consider the common sense situation. Old cars are not designed to protect in a crash, as modern cars are designed to do and thereby there is a hazard to your child  co-driver. On the other hand old cars, unlike modern cars, are far less likely to have an accident. So you make a judgement and may or may not permit a child in your old two seater. If you say 'no' then you will need to consider at what age you will say 'yes' - yet another question. I have chosen to allow the children into the cockpit.
   However The Law in both Scotland and England and The U.K. has become too complicated for me and I hope there are some lawyers out there who can give us chapter and verse. Perhaps we might ask for the same guidance in other jurisdictions - A.C.s do tend to be International creatures after all.
   If you start with our Highway Code and the various interpretations of it by everyone from 'The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' through to 'Mumsnet' you will soon find that the advice does not cover the issue. See
   At this stage you will also see that there are two paths through the legal jungle a) A car with seat belts and b) A car without seat belts. You will also find that there are three kinds of children: Small children - less than 12 years old and also less than 4' 5"  (135cms.) Then there are Large children - these are less than 14 years, but not Small children i.e. they are over 12 or taller than 4' 5". Finally there are children of less than 3 years.
   Where there are seat belts the situation is reasonably clear. A Small child must use an appropriate 'booster' with the seat belt and a Large child must use the seat belt. It does not however seem clear to me if Mother can carry a babe in arms, as she can on a Public Transport aircraft.
   Without seat belts the situation is complicated. When referring to seat belts some provisions include the phrase 'where fitted' and others do not.
   However the situation was covered by the 1993 Act which incorporated an Exemption for cars first used prior to 1st January 1965. Thus you could carry your child co-driver in accordance with: The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats)Regulations 1993. All happy then ? Well no because in 2006 a Brussels directive had to be complied with and this gave rise to: The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) (Amendment) Regulations 2006. In this Act the exemption was removed. I doubt that a Brussels bureaucrat can spell A.C. let alone know what one is.
   Thus I find myself totally defeated by the details of these provisions. I am told that some local councils have taken it upon themselves, at taxpayers expense, to employ inspectors to roam the streets looking for infringements of these complicated provisions. I have some confidence in saying that these numpties will have little idea of the legal provisions affecting a child in a 1958 A.C. Ace and absolute confidence in expecting them to report the driver for a prosecution. It may be that after some trouble and expense you will be found Not Guilty, but a better course of action would be to know the answer first. As it stands I fear that next Summer our youngsters will be banned from the A.C.s unless we can get a lawyer, or maybe the FBHVC, to explain how we stay within the law. What a shame.