Continued: –

We managed to hitch a ride back to Sydney and immediately returned in a rather decrepit British Dodge truck we used to take rubbish to the Kurnell tip. It was a long night, a very long night.

On dismantling it was apparent that a big end bolt had broken, they were unoriginal bolts from a pre-war Chevrolet. The crankshaft was twisted , the crankcase split through the camshaft bearing tunnel. Very sad indeed!

There was a welding genius named Billy White working in a back yard shed at Parramatta. He would not have a phone as it interrupted his work. So I had to drive over there to see how the job of welding up the crankcase was going .

He has very sophisticated equipment. Quite simple really. He would build a furnace on the dirt floor with house bricks around the item to be welded. Opposite diagonal corners, he pointed two large antique blow torches well pumped up into the furnace, covering the whole thing with a sheet of rusty corrugated iron. Then he would go and drink many cups of tea, spitting on the sheet of iron from time to time. When the suitable sizzle was heard, it was welding time.

I rebuilt the engine with a 12/40 crankcase which is still in the car. I am intending to rebuild engine 2689 using a new crank and rods. It should be “bullet proof”. Fifty-eight years later the welding is very sound, with no flux inclusion, the bane of welding aluminium castings with an oxy torch, but of course the only way to weld it.

In recent times an owner took his crankcase to a welding expert who welds water jackets in Roll-Royce cylinder heads. Very experienced I was told. A couple of weeks later this bloke rang me with a shame faced sort of voice to say he had failed and the crankcase was now cracked everywhere and was pretty much scrap.

It’s all about the expansion and contraction.

The end – for now!

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