Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

My First Car: Slip sliding along so simple in my Morris 8

07:02 26 December 2015

Graham Smee with his first car, a Morris 8, in 1955.

Graham Smee with his first car, a Morris 8, in 1955.

supplied

Graham Smee recalls the fun and frustrations of running his 1934 Morris 8 and keeping it on the road.

In 1955, while doing National service and stationed at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire, I fell off my motorcycle on to an icy road. Picking myself up, I rode on into nearby Grimsby, found a garage and did a straight swap for a 1934 Morris 8.

The registration number was TV 9383 and this vehicle had a side-valve engine, a four-speed gearbox, hydraulic brakes and headlights which dipped by a solenoid-operated mechanism which swung the reflectors downwards and to the left.

The engine burned a lot of oil so a billet mate, whose father was in the motor trade, got me some Wellworthy Duaflex piston rings and helped me to fit them. This turned out to be a very effective cure and, despite the fact that we reused the old cylinder head gasket, there were no more engine problems.

There were other difficulties. After a period of standing, the scuttle had to be thumped hard in order to wake up the petrol pump, which contained a cork float and suspended piston. The handbrake cables had stretched and so I made shorteners from scrap parts out of practice bomb cradles.

Having no money to buy Lockheed brake fluid and resisting the temptation to raid a plentiful supply of aircraft Girling hydraulic fluid, I foolishly topped up with linseed oil as a temporary measure. This attacked and expanded the rubber seals in the brake shoe operating pistons so that, although the brakes would apply, they jammed on hard. Luckily, it was not while I was on the road.

The main bearing oil seals leaked oil on to the clutch, causing it to slip badly. On one occasion the slipping clutch caused me to exit the upslope of the Mersey Tunnel at 15mph with a furious queue of traffic behind – understandable as there was a minimum speed limit of 30mph in force at the time.

To rectify this afterwards, an inspection plate on the floor was discovered. This gave access to the clutch bell housing, so that, by squirting acetone on to the clutch plates, they could be cleaned to give another few hundred miles of slip-free operation.

On another occasion, having taken a corner too fast, a rear tyre came partly off the rim. I jacked the car up, removed and deflated the wheel, trod the tyre back on to the rim, refitted the wheel and inflated the tyre and drove away. Things were so simple in those days.

This car took me all over England and Wales and only broke down on the road once, breaking a half shaft fairly near to home. I was able to coast downhill to a garage at Stoke-by-Nayland, near Sudbury. They fixed it whie I waited and this dealer later bought the car from me for £20

Happy days!

Tell us about your first car – bright spots, breakdowns, delights and disasters. Email your first car memories, with a picture if you have one, to motoring@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

A Martlesham man is angry after a booked trip on a steam train up Snowdon was cancelled due to an obese family taking up all the room in his carriage.

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

Chinese backers yesterday signed important financial agreements connected to the construction of Suffolk’s yet-to-be-approved Sizewell C nuclear power station.

A 15-year-old girl missing from Ipswich has been found, according to Suffolk police officers.

A 32-year-old autistic woman from Ipswich has hosted a Macmillan coffee morning in memory of her mother, who died of cancer two years ago.

And depending how significant the prize, or the emotional attachment to it, their fates can range from living out their days in a dusty draw to taking pride of place on your (or your parent’s) mantelpiece.

Police are appealing for witnesses and information after a nine-year-old girl reported being approached by two men on bicycles in Ipswich.

Police stopped a driver on the A14 this afternoon near Needham Market who was going at 107mph.

Members of a Suffolk-based fitness team have raised more than £7,000 for Ipswich Hospital’s neonatal and paediatric wards after completing the Three Peaks Challenge in just 22 hours.

Opened up in 1938, Broomhill Pool was, for decades, one of the most popular attractions in Ipswich.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24