Ivan Saxton

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About Ivan Saxton

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  • Birthday 11/04/1940

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  1. If you turn to page 63 of Mark Dees book "The Miller Dynasty", you will see illustration of the concept of the very first cast Aluminium "blade wheels ", in patent drawings that Harry Miller submitted in September 1919. It seems that this was just before Leo Goosen took employment with him. There is no indication that Miller actually made and used these cast aluminium wheels; but definitely they constituted "Prior Art" to those Ettore Bugati used on his Type 35 racing cars several years later. It was not unknown that Buggati sometimes borrowed someone else's concept when something of his own work was not good enough. In 1923 a young graduate engineer from here in Melbourne, placed a firm order for an A model Duesenberg at the factory. Five weeks later he was contacted at an address in Chicago, that the Duesenberg was ready for him to drive away. Alan Powell told me in 1983 when I met him, that at his request, the highest compression ratio pistons were fitted, and numerically lowest axle ratio for fastest road speed. Alan said that Fred Duesenberg himself drove him on the Indianapolis Speedway; and he was given a certificate that it had been timed at 106mph, (though not necessarily when Alan Powell was a passenger.) The car was shipped to England, and was driven at speed on Brooklands track. He visited Bugati's estate ; and Alan told me in 1983 that he was most impressed how much of the car was produced on the property; including fine upholstery leather, he said. Then one of the racing drivers just happened to arrive, and Alan was sent on an extended joy-ride in one of the Type 30 racing cars. 60 years later he became very angry about Bugati again. He said "It never did him any good". He found a team of mechanics had taken the Duesenberg hydraulic brakes apart,, and had the cylinder head off the engine of his new car. Cylinder head design was not one of Duesnberg's strengths. Stuart Murdoch ha a fine collection of cars, ( including one of the 1914 Indianapolis Delages. He also has an early type 30 Bugatti with hydraulic front brakes, which I was told are poor.
  2. Ivan Saxton

    1920's Cadillacs

    Possibly the best way to make a difficult shaped float is to cast the shape in wax. ( An equal alternative is Woods metal.) If using wax, you coat the surface with powdered graphite. You electroplate copper onto the graphited wax or woods metal as case may be, until you can assess the thickness of the copper shell at around five to seven thou thick. You empty the float of Woods metal in a hot water bath, or whatever method and temperature is appropriate to recover the wax. The cylinder water jackets of the first racing 6 cylinder racing Napier, called "Sampson" were electro-deposited on graphite, but Bob Chamberlain chose to make new cylinders by a different method when he constructed a replica of Sampson using design notes from Arthur Rowledge's note books. Similarly, Alan Morgan, who was a long time Chamberlain employee, told me that during the war they had to make cartridge tube radiators for certain aircraft. They made a casting die to produce myriadds of woods metal formers, which they electroplated to suitable wall thickness. Then they assembled the shell tubes in a jig to tin and solder them into a radiator core. You can do much with patience and determination.
  3. Ivan Saxton

    1927 P-A with Tesla Patent

    You will find that at least some model L Lincoln used the Waltham clock and speedometer set, as did the 6 cylinder Series 6 Mercer with Rochester Trego OHV engine. The spring-return speedometer shell with the numbers is incredibly thin and fragile. I am not aware of any person with skill and knowledge to repair one of these if damaged.
  4. Ivan Saxton

    1920's Cadillacs

  5. Ivan Saxton

    Short wheelbase Duesenberg J

    Page 264 0f Fred Roe's Book "The Pursuit of Perfection", Bob. Fred said it was " J 113 in cut-down frame, originally number 2135 long wheelbase, with Auburn two speed rear end built in California in 1942. Capable of ferocious low end acceleration. Same engine put in 1935-6 Dodge chassis a year or two later and used with various transmissions including Nash Ambassador three speed with overdrive, and 1931 Packard 4 speed, with specially cut ratios for rear ends. Built for performance with appearance obviously not a consideration. Randy would be able to update what Fred wrote then. Fred sold me my copy when they were not on the shelves. He was kind enough to write in the front in broad blue pen: " To Ivan Saxton who will appreciate the first hundred pages more than most people. Fred Roe." I still do, Bob . I generally give suitable visitors joy rides between the house and the sheds in the 1923 Roamer Duesenberg which was bought out of a catalogue to break the Adelaide- Melbourne road record. The photograph of the April 1921 stock mile record at Daytona Beach in 34.25 seconds was passed to the second owner . Norman Dougal found it not long before he died, but lost the run of it, and I do not know what happened to it ; but I have a photocopy. I have enough to rebuild a 1922 A model Duesenberg , thanks to the insistence of Ray Wolff. I will have to build body and a few mechanical parts
  6. Ivan Saxton

    Help identify this carb?

    The Rootes diesel of these Commers was virtually a derivative from the Krupp Junkers diesel engines, but possibly a bit better. One of our friends moved to Adelaide , South Austral;ia in the late 1950s; and established a "milk-run" type business with refrigerated semi-trailer vans. They would load an tie down the truck and load of fresh fruit and vegetables on north-bound railway flat goods trucks. From Alice Springs to Darwin they would drive. After the first one had done 80,000 miles, which was considered to be about the useful life of a side valve Ford V8, Vic Wilson decided to se if the Commer needed new piston rings, ( because it was a dusty un-sealed road then .) Nothing was worn, so they re-assembled it and never looked again. The Commer had chrome plated cylinder bores, and if I remember correctly, the Humber Super Snipe may also have had that. I looked at the old Commer petrol engine of Les Christian's welder. They used it for decades rebuilding worn track rails for their logging bulldozers with a 4-500 amp DC welder. The carb is different to that shown. It is an English Solex diecast of muck-metal 'which is probably beyond usefulness after countless years in "the big shed.
  7. Ivan Saxton

    Help identify this carb?

    Some Commer trucks used the same 6 cylinder Humber Super Snipe engines. They were a decent size side valve six with a Rickardo patent cylinder head. They were quiet and powerful.
  8. Ivan Saxton

    Ring Gear RIvets

    For what my opinion is worth, you should ideally set steel rivets with a press jig in an hydraulic press of sufficient energy. When pressed with suitable heading dies, the shank of the rivet swells in the hole in crown wheel and carrier. I only use bolts in intermediate holes to ensure alignment, and total tight contact between the surfaces. Once round, I pull out the bolts and set the rest of the ring of rivets. I originally had probably 10 new Servex crown-wheel riveting jig sets in the mass of War surplus stuff. Apart from one for my workshop, I gave the others to friends in the antique car hobby here. The same riveting is also essential for clutch discs for heavy duty. Alan Moffatt has been an Aussie for many decades now, but I don't think he ever lost his Nth American accent. He drove Ford in racing for years at Bathurst and similar. Because he needed a special plate, and the rivets were just hammered, he had a string of retirements. Someone directed him to Clive Beattie, who was a Lancia specialist, and pressed his clutch rivets from then , He never had another clutch failure.
  9. Ivan Saxton

    Houk / Wire Wheel Corp. Of Ammerica hub cap wrench

    Your orphan wheel spanner needs a car a bit smaller than a Stutz. Stutz used Houk #5 size, but they changed from that style to an interchangeable wheel nut as to size and thread pitch , some time before the last of the detacheable cylinder head T head fours in the 1920s. If my memory is correct, Ian Smith's special 1918 Bearcat had that style wheel nuts, but considerably larger. ( Ian's crank shaft had a longer stroke than standard)'. The Hayes wire wheels of my Roamer Duesenberg are the same #5 standard , , but the material is a white bronze because of nickel content, no doubt; and the thread pitch is different. On the #5 size, the measurement across the sides of the hexagon is 3 1/4 inch which is considerably larger than your spanner. Hudson and Buick were also among optional users of #5 Houk. There were smaller Houk wheels , including possibly Templar and HCS which I believe were # 4.5,, and #4 were smaller again as sometimes used by such as Hupmobile. Very small Houk were used after-market on T Ford speedster types; but they were much smaller than your spanner size. I hope this gives you some guidance.
  10. Ivan Saxton

    How to leak check aluminum head?

    It may pay to check Foley Pattern Company in Auburn; because if there was need in 1980s or at any time they may have cast new heads for Stude, as I believe they did for Auburn and Cord. In 1984 I bought a beautiful Stutz transaxle casing from Paul Freehill. Stephen Hands was a friend and Metco service engineer, and once he stopped for lunch with us accompanied by an English colleague who was in a similar technical advisory role interstate, probably in Sydney. This man was describing how he repaired corroded Maserati cylinder heads with a machineable Metco self-bonding stainless steel powder coating. I shall try to contact Stephen at Bendigo Swap in a few weeks time.
  11. Ivan Saxton

    brake drums for 30's cars

    If you look among my past posts, I have given fairly comprehensive instructions on how to do this with a Metco wire-feed thermospray coating. Metco Spraysteel LS is a machineable or grindable work-hardening coating which has similar braking characteristics to SG cast iron. You will find people in USA who use arc-spraying equipment which uses twin wire feeds. This is much quicker and more economical than the single feed oxy/acetylene equipment which I have to use. You machine on the slowest speed possible , preferably with the outside fitted with tight heavy strap of leather so you do not work- harden your job. The big old Lang Lathe which I use for this has a slowest speed in back-gear of 12 rpm. Regards, Ivan Saxton
  12. Ivan Saxton

    New Engine

    You can see from that side photo that it is typical of 1916. !916 had the rocker shafts parallel to the axis of the crankshaft, and the valves (and valve guides in a straight line.) My friend Jim Formby from Drouin gathered remains of a 1916 from a little town in the Southern Riverina, called Barellan, where his uncle and aunt lived. His uncle, Wellesley Whybrow, happened to notice a little mite of an aboriginal girl , who was obsessed with the sport of tennis; though there was really nothing in town that could carry with grace the description of "tennis court". Yet this littlen girl could belt a tennis ball with such power and accuracy that you might never expect. So
  13. Ivan Saxton

    Braking Distance

    The other end of the continuum is what always interested me more. Same year, the A model Duesenberg would stop from 30mph in 30 feet, and from 50mph in 86 feet. Those figures might have been even better with better tyre compound , and with Houdaille dampers instead of Watson Stabilators. Stuart Middlehurst visited UK and Europe for about a year, and asked me to look after his Burlington bodied 6.5 litre OHC Hispano Suiza in my garage, and use it as if it were my own. I just did not like it, and I considered that the brakes, handling and performance were less attractive than the 1918 Mercer Sporting.
  14. Ivan Saxton


    It may be good to experiment, using a greater number of leaves that are thinner to get the same stack height but with a slower oscillation rate because more leaves in sliding contact have more drag. Maurice Olley came to Cadillac several years later than 314A. Read about all this in Maurice Hendry's book, When Rolls Royce stopped full manufacturing in Springfield, Englishman Olley met Ernie Seaholm through a letter of introduction . When Seaholm asked what he thought he could do to improve the Cadillacs, Olley said he thought he could help improve the ride. There was a lot of experimenting. Giving the front and back of the car the same spring rate was NOT the answer. Olley said the car "shambled". Skipping back to Duesenberg in 1922-3, Fred and Mr Watson of Watson Stabilators increased the number of leaves in the front springs for the same mass of load. Of course, the Watson Stabilators, like the similar Gabriel Snubbers only damp spring displacement in one direction. Huntington Hartford's friction disc type were easily adjusted, but had the same resistance for up and down movement, which was not ideal. Though my 1918 Series Four Mercer has had Hartfords from when I got it, The 1916 Mercer chassis blueprint clearly shows Houdaille rotary vane and lever type, which had different resistance up-and down because the oil had to be forced through a different one-way valve for up and down. Suitable Houdailles have been relatively plentiful to fit because a lot of army trucks used them during the War.
  15. Ivan Saxton

    Need Help ID a Buffalo Wheel

    I have been told that a couple of less common and intermediate size cars had Houk or Buffalo 4 1/2 hub and wheel centre size. I have never had anything to do with HCS,, but that is possibly one user. The other is Templar; but we have not been able to find front or rear axles for one that is an intended project of my son. I have a pair left and right hand of rear hubs of T Ford size, possibly #2, plus two wheel centres. It is not impractical to make extra wheel centres, and a fanciful possibility to make front hubs and scaled-down Hydraulics in A Duesenberg pattern. If you make a T speedster that might do half an hour in 20 minutes, the design and workmanship needs to be safe at any speed. I know that L.L. Corum's Fronty Ford Speedster finished fifth among a line of Millers in 1923 had no front brakes, But as far as I am concerned, if I make a T Ford speedster that family or friends might drive in modern traffic, It has to be safe.