Shiver Me Timbers

Lea Francis Estate Car

I hear you knocking

Over the summer I took a ride down to Connecticut to have a listen to an engine knock emanating from deep within the crankcase of Al Ridinger’s Lea Francis Estate Car, and we decided that the best strategy was to start putting another engine together.  When the British Invasion rolled around Al made arrangements to have Mike Savage trailer it up to Stowe while he drove his 14 HP (RAC rating) Sports to the event.

Well miracles do happen, and a scant few days before the ‘off’  Al called me to say he’d changed the electric fuel pump in the car and the knock had gone away !   It was true, I heard it, or more accurately, didn’t hear it Saturday at the show, and on the return leg he stuffed the sportscar in Mike’s trailer instead and started driving the wagon back.  Sunday around noon the phone rang, the knock had returned and the car was at the Maplefield’s convenience store in Bethel, Vermont just off the Interstate, and would I come get it ?   Which of course I did.  So he headed off in his chase car, and once I got on the highway I called him back to see where he’d hidden the keys and he said “In the ignition”, which tells you about all you need to know about our crime problems here in Vermont.

Austin A 95

Austin A 95

If you’re wondering, Butch and I think it might be related to the babbited (aka “Poured”) connecting rod bearing material then in use circa 1948.

Back in the late 1950’s, Langley’s Garage of Concord,  New Hampshire sold a very early production MGA Twin Cam to a lady owner who immediately complained of high oil consumption, as all early Twin Cam owners did.  Upon consultation with the District Service Manager, Langley’s pulled the engine down and had it bored 1st oversize.  That took care of the problem, which was that you can’t seat chrome piston rings in chrome-flashed cylinder bores, but the owner was still unhappy with it  so Langley’s gave her a liberal trade-in allowance on a new pushrod-engined car, and the Twin Cam sat under a dust sheet for many, many years until Frank Cangiano bought it in the 80’s with about 8,400 miles on the clock.


mystery car

What is this car ?

I heard this story directly from Marley Langley around the time he parked this Austin A 95 wagon in my barn in 1992.  The A 95  was something the British Motor Corporation never imported into the U.S.   Marley special ordered this one for his sister when she took the family to Europe for vacation one summer.  It’s got an Austin Healey 100-6 engine under the hood, and as I recall, ‘four on the ‘tree.  I sold it on Marley’s behalf to David Deutsch an active L.I. MG Car Club member, and he in turn sent it up to Canada where it received the beautiful restoration seen here.


off loading an E-type

George Rowbottom & Mike Savage give it a mighty heave

We’re using up some recent archival material because my digital camera died Tuesday just short of its 7,000th picture,  shortly after we imported the S1 E-type pictured here.  BTW:  The first five people who correctly identify the car attached to the open bonnet seen here will win a free oil filter of their choice if we stock it.

Monday was moving day for the Gunmetal Opalescent Metallic Grey series 1 E-type.  After much effort Jay & Nate at Windham Coach & Carriage in Brattleboro pronounced themselves satisfied enough to release it for our further ministrations with the proviso that we return it to them when we’re finished for a final buffing.  We think they did a pretty good job.  Enlarge the picture and give us your opinion.  That’s all for now.

Grey E-type

The common & ubiquitous Jaguar E

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