Ivan Saxton

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About Ivan Saxton

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  • Birthday 11/04/1940

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  1. There used to be a 1929 P-A sedan in North Island of NZ that had the conventional headlamps in the mid1960s, and the owner was desperate to alter them to standard. The very derelict car I bought for 20 pounds was one of the handful of 1929 7 passenger sedans which City Motor Services in Melbourne used with scores of model 80s and maybe a dozen model 81s as prestige hire cars. They also imported a batch of low mileage Rolls Royce Phantom 1 cars from India, These had beautiful elegant English Touring bodies. There were two problems with these. They only ran formal sedans; and the import tax on bodies was extrortionate, so the bodies were removed and tipped over the edge of the wharf. Jim McLeod, whose uncle was one of the owners of City Motor Services, worked there in his youth, and my understanding is from his personal knowledge. There was a plate glass wall between the garage and the office, and when the RRs were parked against the glass wall , which apparently seemed to amplify the sounds of the engines cooling down, to the distraction and distress of the office staff. So they parked the Rolls Royces away from the office, and the Pierce Arrows did not annoy the office staff.. Now the 1929 8 cylinder cars were used to transport the federal parliamentarians back and forth between Melbourne and the national capital Canberra. The man I bought mine from told me that the log when he received it from CMS showed it had travelled 400,000miles. He used it for an other 136,000 miles, often towing a trailer with his trotting horses, even interstate. A second fuel tank was inelegantly enclosed by an extension to the back of the body, and the fenders were extensively altered and skirted. I had a full set of original fenders from one of the other cars. When a New Zealander visited, we cut the traditional headlamp sections from the worthless altered fenders, and he took those in his luggage to deliver to the man who desperately wanted them. There was no money involved, only supposedly goodwill. There was no acknowledgement either, which was rather graceless. The owner's address was a hotel; so I supposed he was a drunk's labourer. I hope that Pierce has fender headlights as that fellow so desired.
  2. Maybe we need to give him credit for inventing/manufacturing something with more useful. "Reeves drive " is associated with a variable speed V belt pulley drive with variable ratio. One pulley was either positively set, or spring loaded axially, so the V belt ,which may have been fairly wide, ran closer to the axis or periphery as required, to alter the ratio. I remember buying TWO different examples for curiosity at machinery auction in North Melbourne in the 1970s. They may still be in the shed somewhere, but I never found use for either. I was the only bidder at the auction, so everyone else there saw no usefulness for them.
  3. Best basic information on design considerations of the F -head is Sir Harry Rickardo's "High Speed Internal Combustion Engine" This was text book for mechanical engineers for many decades. He was instrumental in RR and post-Bentley Bentley using F-head. Do not forget that Rajo 4 valve heads for T Ford were F-head. It is interesting that the very first high efficiency high compression engines were 1907 Isotta Fraschini Tipo Taunus. These were an 8 litre displacement 4 cylinder T-head, with stroke shorter than the bore size. The piston crowns were highly domed, and nearly touched the combustion chamber roof. Having a spark plug each side firing synchronously by a 2-spark Bosch Magneto which had In the 1907 Coppa Florio race, Ferdinando Minoia won at average speed of 69mph. You could liken this to a double-sided Rickardo patent L-head engine. It was effectively "prior art " to Rickardo's 1917 patent. Minoia used 19.8 imperial gallons of fuel in the race over 302 miles. Fifteen miles per gallon from a big T-head !!!!! No owner of a big Locomobile or Pierce could comprehend that; and probably Giustino Cattaneo did not understand what he had achieved. …… You can pick this from the early racing chapter, and an engine cross section drawing in Angelo Tito Anselmi's book Isotta Fraschini. I don't think author Anselmi recognized the historical and technical achievement either.
  4. I would suggest that for 28 inch wire spoke wheels on a car, which likely would be one of significant power and speed capability, You would have a lot of spokes missing for usual lacing patterns. I have 28 inch beaded edge Rudge Whitworth wire wheels for clincher/beaded edge tyres. Originally I had a good few more than two sets of wheels with the big hub fitting that has six flat-top splines, which are supposed to stop the wheel centre oscillating and fretting on the hub. I retained a set of five very good wheels for my 1911 Napier. Bob Chamberlain was desperate for wheel hubs for the fastidious re- creation of Napier's first great 6 cylinder racing car "Samson". This was built using the original engine, which apparently had been stored and ignored under a bench in the factory when Napier built and fitted a bigger one to shift the scenery faster at Daytona. I understand that he spent a significant time in months transcribing Arthur Rowledge's notes from his design notebooks from when they built the original car. In the late 1960s and most of the 1970s we would find, understand, and conserve things that were significant; and no money was expected to change hands when they went to someone who had genuine need, and genuine intentions to help other people in return. I was later disappointed that Bob's consumption of early Rudge Whitworth wheels was less need than greed. So he had one set of 895x135 beaded edge wheels and tyres to be more period-correct, and another set with 700 x 20 or 21 straight sided tyres that Dunlop had supplied to be safe around 100mph ( if I remember correctly). My other leftover wheel centres I gave to Ray Whyte for his big early 4 cylinder T head 1907 Mercedes. ( Ray was a vital silent witness in a considerable period of Australian politican history. Ray was police bodyguard to a number of Australian Prime Ministers, and also to Governor General Sir John Kerr. He and I always stayed with a mutual friend for Bendigo Swap. We talked about our antique cars but I never asked him questions. He did decide to share information about the truth of what happened when Prime Minister Whitlam was dismissed ; and it seems he wanted someone to know the difference between the truth and fiction.) I will check the spoke numbers and rows of my Napier wheels for you. If you don't get it right you may be making an entry for the Darwin Awards. Of theR W wheels into the 1920s, most American wheels had 72 spokes, and occasionally you could find similar wheels of the same size with English 70 spoke pattern.. Surprisingly, nobody was ever spark enough to see the difference when I used a combination of 72 and 70 spoke wheels on my 1918 Mercer...………...
  5. Packard used two different sizes of Rudge Whitworth wire wheels in the period roughly around 1918 to 1924. Rudge 80 were used on the small six cylinder model. It seems just a few of the Twin Six were fitted with Rudge 100. They were probably a special order item, and the wheel maker was Buffalo for both. The wheels on the six do not appear to have worn well in general judged by the ones I have seen over the years, compared to those of the same size on Mercer or A model Duesenberg. The latter have a better fit on the hubs, which likely is because Duesenberg would have made their own hubs. From the beginning in 1921-2, Duesenberg could not have used standard issue hubs,. Rears were totally unlike those for any other car, because the hub and axle were machined from a single steel billet, with a hole bored through from end to end, probably intended to reduce incidence of broken axles. Mercer Rudge 80s were made under licence by Standard Roller Bearing. Probably one of the wealthiest men in Melbourne was Sir MacPherson Robertson, who bought a considerable number of Packards, possibly more than one at a time. He was a large scale manufacturer of chocolate bars. He had a large factory area, all painted white; and I believe the vast majority of his employees were women and girls, for whom exercise commendable care and respect. He was also a large scale public benefactor, for instance , he had a public secondary school built for girls. MacRobertson Girls High School has been run by the Victorian State education department , after costs and staffing were said to have been paid initially by Sir MacPherson Robertson himself. He also paid for Sir John Monash, an architect and engineer, to build a new bridge over the Yarra River in Melbourne. Monash was the general whose command towards the end of WW1 is generally credited for bringing an end to the slaughter. I have considerable remains of one of Robertson's Twin Six Packards. I understand it was stored in a building on one of the family's properties in the Dandenong Ranges. The Denny family who purchased the remains of the Runabout with Rudge 100 wire wheels told me that a very large tree had fallen across the building and the Packard, and they only saved what was undamaged. We bought the engine, gearbox, and instruments from the dash. Years later I was able to buy other important parts from one of the Denny family. I now have almost enough parts from other sources to construct a car similar to the original ; though the front section of the body , which has the distinctive features seen in that car, is so rusted that I tell people it looks as though it has been attacked by rats with tungsten carbide teeth. The engine I have has a 1922 casting date on the crankcase; and above the serial number stamped on the gearbox is the identification "3-25". This indicates a third series Twin Six with 125 inch wheelbase. Decades ago I bought a front axle with Rudge 100 wheels from an old car wrecking yard in Melbourne. It is from a 1924 Packard 8 with front brakes. If you refer to page 236 of Ralph Stein's book "The Great Cars" for his comments on driving Henry Austin Clark's Twin Six, you will understand why those Packard front brakes will be part of my project.
  6. The two in Australia that I have not seen but am aware of are were restored by Bob Trevan at Lismore NSW, who had a Ford dealership for many years, and Francis Ransley in Northern Tasmania. Bob Trevan's engine may have been rescued from a boat. I am more familiar with the 6 cylinder car which is a 6 cylinder version of the Model L. I understand this may have originally been a Ford family car. David Dryden lives about 15 miles away from here. All his early Fords are superb personal restorations. He used the machine I built when he painted the wheels on the Six. The spindle is controlled by a "Zero-max variable speed drive. Technique is to build up the coating at a suitable spindle speed, then turn it to maximum so insects do not land on it while the paint is cross-linking.
  7. Often Clutter, perhaps. I can give you another instance of an interstate friend here, who incidentally a specialist in Maserati. Les told me that he as an exceptional collection of fine and notable guitars, some 400 in all. When I was at boarding school I was afflicted by my mother's obsession that I should take music lessons, but that was something that I just could not include among my many obsessional interests. I endured ten years of piano lessons, but I never learned to read music or play a piano. In that, my mother was a very slow learner. One day Les was refueling his car at a service station, and there was a youngish man fueling his Maserati. So Les asked how he liked his "Maser". He liked the car of course; but could not find anyone to service it properly. Les handed him his business card, and said he would be only too happy the service the car if he wished. At completion of the job, the mechanic came to Les because he had encountered a problem with one item; so "could he please come and have a look at the reason he could not rotate the positions of the five wheels. The key opened the boot, all right; but it was filled with high power rapid firing armed robbery equipment. Note was written that it was not possible to unlock the boot to rotate the positions of the wheels, and please ensure that it would be possible to access the spare tyre the next time the car is brought in for service. A couple of weeks later the man was found shot dead in his Maserati.
  8. Alan Murtagh, up the King River valley beyond Edi, had a small post-war 4 cyl petrol engine Morris Comercial, which seemed fairly complete when I got a Lancia Kappa chassis and axles from him some years ago. Several years ago I saw a much bigger Morris "Comical" (as they were called by some). It had survived on a farm. It had the 6 cylinder 4 litre Saurer diesel engine, which should have been good. The crankshaft is massive, and the rest of the engine with wet sleeve cylinders in aluminium block. One peculiarity was the pore-less injector tips . The fuel spray came when the injector pump pressure lifted the tip off the body of the injector. They originated too far from Sir Harry Rickardo's efficiency and performance, though they may be useful with a whiff of LPG into the intake air, coupled with a turbocharger. As built they were a very obvious air pollution device. Otherwise they probably complied with Arthur Lang's descriptive metaphor ----- "like a Railway cup of tea . Big and weak".
  9. I set up a spindle with a "zero-max" electric motor with a variable speed drive. The base on the floor is in my case happens to be a Stuart light M3 tank track drive sprocket drum. ( I still have items like this to use for useful purposes. My father and one of his friends owned about 200 light and medium WW2 tanks, bought from army disposal auction sales. The 27 ton General Lee tanks were mostly too heavy and thirsty to be economical and useful for most small farmers; so at one stage they were auctioned in lots of twenty, at six pounds ten shillings and nine pounds ten shillings a piece. One of my father's deer-hunting and saw milling friends paid twenty pounds (as he thought) for one Lee, but then found he was bound to take the other nineteen as well. Dad paid Les Christian back his twenty quid, and took the other nineteen. Dad and his partner owned a fenced paddock directly opposite the auction depot at Bandiana; so they just had to start and drive the tanks across the road and into their yard. Les is still fit, healthy and unimpaired , well through his tenth decade; though he no longer follows the hunting dogs through the heavy bush.) I made a series of wooden cones to carry the wheels when they are sprayed and until the two-pack has fully dried and hardened. You paint outside in fine warm weather, with the wheel revolving at slow speed so you can see you have perfect cover. Insects stay clear when you are spraying; then as soon as you have enough on, you advance the speed with the hand lever, and the insects will not park on the moving wheel, and neither will the paint sag or run. You leave it turn till the paint has fully hardened and cross-linked.
  10. They were called "Rugby " here Ray, because an English car, probably still marketed here into the early 1920s had residual rights in the market to that name "Star". It must have been well over a decade since you visited here, Ray; and I cannot remember whether I had the Roamer Duesenberg running, with which I enjoyed giving visitors joyrides on the property. Last time I drove up the Newell Highway to Queensland was about 5 years ago. I stopped well off the road late at night north of Moree for recovery sleep. When I stared the engine to resume travel an hour and a half later, It would stall when I let out the clutch in first gear. It would move in reverse to a better spot, so I decided to wait till daylight. There was plenty of oil on the left rear brake where the broken wheel bearing was. So I jacked up the back wheels, and tapped the "bush mechanic" button. Then I adjusted the brake shoes in the drum that side, so the wheel turned easily by hand, and drove steadily on to Goondawindi well off the traffic lane. At Repco I bought two rear bearing kits, a small trolley jack, and a 20v angle grinder with enough residual charge in two batteries. I then drove slowly to where I could buy my autistic son breakfast/lunch. Then I found my credit card was still in Repco, which had closed at 12 oçlock because it was Saturday. So I pulled up under a shady tree to change the wheel bearing. ( on the 3rd of January, it got to about 42 C) . A mechanic pulled up with his service truck and asked if I needed help. I thanked him but said I had plenty of time, because I could not leave town until I could retrieve my credit card on Monday. Les said he knew the girls in Repco and would get it back for me. Well, he might have known their first names, but not their surnames or mobile phone numbers. Several hours later he located the management through his network, and my card was returned to me that evening. There was more than that, which I can tell you another time.
  11. Four cylinder "15hp" Napier were reverse rotation up to about sometime late 1912; whereas all the larger cars were conventional rotation. The small 2 cylinder variant of the small four were likely counter clockwise also, though I have not had a chance to question an owner. When they changed the rotation, and flipped over the side of the crown wheel in the back axle, it was said by some to have been co-incident with the termination of the commercial; association between Montague Napier and S.F.Edge. I have seen no documentation of that. Many of the 15hp fours were used as taxis, and there may have been some tradition of reverse rotation in other makes used as taxis. The 1911 I have is very soundly engineered. There is full pressure oil to the crankshaft, with sensible dimensions of crankpins and main bearings. There is an adjustable oil pressure relief to the main feed, and the earliest full flow oil filter I have seen. This is brass wire gauze, which might collect the biggest debris.
  12. I was given a copy of the most admirable catalogue for the auction of Alex Kennedy Miller's collection in Vermont by an associate of the auction company. I am sure there was a Henderson car in that auction, which indicates that AKM had a high opinion of it. In 1980 , after Auburn, I visited Ernie and Ruth Toth; before I travelled to Springfield Vermont to accompany Morris and Libby Burrows on the Glidden in their 1914 Mercer 35-O roadster. Morris' opinion of AKM was the square root of minus one, and there was no way he would assist or encourage me to visit him. To use our bush metaphor, if you shook hands with him you might need to count your fingers. By contrast, Stutz people like Paul Freehill and Ernie Toth seemed to have reasonable regard and working relationship with him. Ernie advised taking a container of icecream if I had the opportunity to visit him, because he was very partial to that. AK was obviously a very knowledgible and versatile person. Imagine repairing fuselage damage of a downed aeroplane during the war to fly it home in winter by patching the hole(s)? with canvass and water. I am eccentric enough myself that I would have enjoyed meeting him; but I never had the chance. In relation to your car with a Rochester Duesenberg engine, I had a problem with rust pitting of the water pump shaft of my Roamer, even though the car has only ever done 14,000 miles. You lose the timing when you have to do anything about that. I rebuild that with a Metco grindable stainless steel sprayed metal coating. I have explained this in technical posts in the past. There is also a problem with the stub water connection into the cylinder block. It is very thin wall thickness, and you cannot see how it is made and fitted. It is threaded on a slight taper. I machined a new one out of a free- machining grade bar stock, which has sulphur content. To cheat the taper fit of the thread I cut it parallel the correct pitch, then shaved it to correct taper by running it in the lathe and tapering the thread with a thread file , hand-held, with cutting lube.
  13. From the few of these engines that I know of, the 8-90 engines seem to have a common habit of coughing connecting rod big ends. I have a sad engine from a derelict sedan on a dairy farm , which has large exit patched bronze-welded back at different times and places. Two antique car people who I knew had similar blow-ups with good cars. I cannot tell from mine what might be the cause of the issue. Without going to check, I recall that there was offset between the big and little ends; but I doubt anyone could fit a con-rod the wrong way round. The 8-77 I have is only a whisker smaller bore. The 8-90 head is Rickardo combustion chamber, and is useable on the 8-77 for better performance and economy; and I expect the camshaft has better timing . It is practical today to make new connecting rods with material that will not fail, and it is probably sensible to change to slipper bearings. An external oil filter would help. And you can buy whatever high duty conrod bolts you need. Those 4 litre straight 8s, with a Lanchester harmonic resonance damper on the front are obviously good performers when they are right; and as we say , should do half an hour in twenty minutes. But you need to make sure everything is right.
  14. before you attempt to solder, immerse it in very hot water long enough to see where the bubbles come from; then maybe open the hole a little just to have solid brass, and be able to expel all the fuel as vapour. Then cut out and tin a patch of very thin copper or brass shim. ( three to five thousandths of an inch thick is any amount heavy enough. Then mark and clean where you want the patch to go. Remember that the first pre-requisite for soldering is "clean your work". It is best to use a small, tinned soldering iron.