Shock absorbers part 1

Andre Hartford, friction shock absorbers to be clear. An in interesting idea of placing several wooden disks against brass plates and then clamping them together with the absorption being regulated by a single central nut. Tighter means a stiffer setting, looser – softer. Easy peasy, no nonsense infinitely rebuildable things. Except they are not actually that good. The initial damping is great because they have to overcome friction after that the damping is… questionable.

So obviously i need a pair of those dont I because thats what the race boys used back in the day. After two auto jumbles and multiple trawls of ebay etc, I eventually found an original pair of the right type, the right size and most importantly the right price.

Sadly this means more manufacturing of brackets and supporting metalwork as of course they were never mounted on this type of car by the factory. Getting the bottom bracket was not too hard, I found a chap who is trying to make a perfect copy of a Riley TT Sprite (one of the factory race cars) and he was willing to sell me a pair of brackets, ‘but not the top bracket’ he says, you will have to custom make that as your chassis is different to mine.

So here we are, bottom brackets fitted and the ‘racing’ shock absorber is half fitted to see exactly what i need to make

You will note there is a bit of a gap between the top of the shock absorber and the chassis rail. A mere couple of inches, give or take a smidgen between friends. The chassis rail is also at an angle to the Hartfords… hmm, creative cap on. I sense machining, I sense welding… i sense a little bit of work being needed


I am pleased to advise I have resolved the gear select, you may recall that the operating spring plate had snapped and a previous owner had significantly bodged a repair. My solution was a little more elegant – I simply bought a replacement spring plate at a huge cost of £4.60! After a little trial an error with small bolts, I determined that i would need to do as the factory did and rivet the plate on. And after more trial and error i found the right size rivets. 3/32nd inch. Anyway I got there but had to buy the small blacksmiths tool that is used to assist with holding the rounded end of the rivet known by the catchy name of a rivet snap. Long story short this is the fixed and patina’d dear select on the steering wheel


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