Alan's Live Sachs Line

It's filthy and you want it.

Sarge on, so NAF off

Sarge: complete with bird droppingsSarge: complete with bird droppings

he garage now has a new resident plucked out of the stash and to be put onto the road for me to use. In the end I chose not to use NAF as it required quite a bit of work to reach a roadworthy condition and so plumped for Sarge.

Sarge was found by Wynford Jones but passed on to me reasonably quickly some four years ago when I was buying up good unmolested cars before the latest hike in 'schmitt prices. It is another car that has remained much as is it was when use ended in the early '70s. The history is thin but it came from long dry stored female ownership in London, SE25, and is a pretty standard late spec 1961 dometop car. It is not 100% original in its equipment having gained a left hand floor mounted rod gear change. The body however is in a pretty solid state with a good floor. The door has a rather poor edge, not uncommon. The wings are a little distressed but not at all bad. In all it will consolidate for a few years service as it is with some work on the paint/rust spots. Thereafter it will be a simple and satisfying restoration project.

Gear lever modification: Rod gear change with lever mounted on the left.Gear lever modification: Rod gear change with lever mounted on the left.The original dome is still fitted though it has gained a short crack at the rear. I think this was from an impact to the front of the dome rail which has pinched the dome in place where the ali has lent back slightly. I would not be surprised if there were not a sharp edge beneath the crack at the rear, perhaps a screw not driven home correctly on the dome flange. The lighting is original too but for the lack of torpedo lights and the adoption of extra indicators instead. The mirrors are Raydot racing units and apparently quite desirable. Since they restrict my vision I might take them off despite thinking they looked rather amusing. The interior is tired and I think I will dispense with it save a comfy seat for the moment. This not least because of the gear change, one of the reasons I selected the car. The rod system makes for a much better gear change and is a traditional mod from the days when spares were unavailable.The rod system makes for a much better gear change and is a traditional mod from the days when spares were unavailable. As such it is part of 'schmitting history but rarely seen now and probably not allowed in polite 'schmitting circles!

I had George Johnston round on a visit from Crete (where he now lives, 'schmittlessly). He helped me get the car to start after years of neglect. It was more than ready to oblige once we bypassed a filthy petrol tank that seemed to be carpeted in felt! Both choke and tick-over were achieved once the residual oil in the engine had been driven off. Not so neglected after all — job done. It seems a good unit and has a very quiet exhaust fitted which I feel worthy of repair.

The plan is to fit a rebuilt engine using the Russell Church bolt on kit in the promise of a little more torque. However since the original engine is willing it seems sense to run it for a while and identify any weaknesses. It can then be removed and sorted out as suits and put on the shelf as a spare. My intention is to build a slightly modified 'schmitt from parts eventually so Sarge will eventually get restored and have its original engine returned so that it retains a matched set of numbers. Then again someone may decide to make an offer I cannot refuse — if so the engine is ready to go, with or without known defects. Either way Sarge is destined to move on, good though it is, as it is not planned to be part of the long term collection competing as it does with the 7000 mile Silver Bazzer as representative late style dometop.

Elsewhere I popped into Popham and had a gad about at Gaydon. Popham was as enjoyable as ever though I was still getting over my last attack of feet problems. Fortunately I had both the Darbys and chum Nick with stalls I could sit on. The usual suspects were present, though not all in 'schmitts. Indeed I missed some of them like Jules so have yet to hear about his new job — too good to be out of work long.

Gaydon on the other hand was on its third year and with no real development of the event or expansion of machinery apparently invited to attend it was waning as most venues only have so much to offer the regular attendee. There were many other events that weekend, not least a Saab weekend so no early Saabs were present. In the event I was accompanied by your Editor and Edward and we chose to blat across country from Chipping Norton using a book map. This was a mistake as not only was the signposting appallingly inconsistent but the map chose to have county boundaries that were the same colour as the lanes. So following the Roman road proved impossible when it became a field, which we only realised when we reached a village not expected to be on route.

However, the roads and countryside more than made up for it — stunningly good drive out material with sharp hills, fords, views and the odd excitement. I think only Edward was unimpressed, perhaps owing to a light breakfast due to some anticipation of the coming day.

I think the Gaydon based Two Stroke Rally has run its course but the notion of a Two Stroke Rally is good. It needs development and a new venue to pull back the stalwarts and collect the eclectic mix of strange machines you expect covering motorcycles, scooters, cars, trucks, industrial machines, lawn mowers, cyclemotors and anything else that suits.