Thursday, May 22, 2014

VW Type 2

Hasegawa's VW type 2 pickup now being available again, I can once again consider shoehorning a 956 drivetrain into the storage locker of the VW.

There's plenty of room for the 956 motor under the pickup bed, and I've got all the necessary components:
  1. a 935 body from AMT which could contribute fenders, air dams and wings, and which is coincidentally almost the same wheelbase as the VW;
  2. a couple of 956 kits from Tamiya to provide mechanical bits;
  3. a willingness to use the saw blade in my No. 11 handle.
That being said, the weather is finally looking good, so I'll be out riding the bicycle rather than slouching over styrene models and airplane glue in the workshop for the next few months. Progress on this, and other equally exciting projects, is likely to be slow until fall. So until then, enjoy summer! Fresh air is better than acetone fumes, man.

Originally posted 22 May 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Post-Alpine: what's next

The Alpine A110 is ready for final assembly. I'll post pics as it comes together. Next question is what's next once the Alpine is complete.

A while back I ordered a kit of the lovely little Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coda Tronca that ran at Le Mans in 1963. The kit came from Profil 24, the French purveyor of obscure resin kits based, where else, in Le Mans, and reproduces the three cars that finished 2nd, 4th and 5th in the GT 1.6 litre class. (Sunbeam Alpines took 1st and 3rd in this class; Bandini and Scarfiotti won overall in a Ferrari 250P). I am not sure if all were running at the end; according to, the winning Ferrari completed 339 laps in 24 hours while the Alfas managed 165, 70 and 7 laps respectively. Given the displacement difference, 165 laps seems reasonable and I am guessing car #34 could have been running towards the end; the others maybe less so. (According to Wikipedia, only the first 12 cars, 6 of them Ferraris, completed the required minimum of 237 laps, so technically all the Alfas earned a DNF).

According to

"Scuderia Sant Ambroeus entered two Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ 1600's with drivers Sala/Rossi and Biscaldi/Kim. Car number 34 with drivers Sala and Rossi did not finish because of a broken rear axle and car number 35 with drivers Biscaldi and Kim was disqualified for oil replenishment during (?) 25 laps. A third Giulietta Sprint Zagato (nr. 36) was entered by Scuderia Filipinetti but retired after 7 laps with enigine problems."

Car #34 is the one that managed 165 laps. Other sources refer to the drivers of car #35 as Biscaldi and Pedretti, not Biscaldi and Kim ... in any case the Internet may be full of mildly inaccurate information, but the one constant is Alfas have always had problems with oil leaks.

Interestingly, 1963 was the first year that Rover-BRM entered a turbine powered car, completing 310 laps, the same as the Cobra 289 that finished 7th. (It was allowed to run, driven by Graham Hill and Ritchie Ginther, but was not ranked). Some of you will know that I once owned a Rover (not a turbine, though), and that one of the combustion labs I completed when I did my mechanical engineering degree included a performing a mass and energy balance around a small Rover turbine engine.

Back to the model: the twin-cam 1600 cc motor is essentially the same as the 1750 and 2000 cc motors I worked on as a mechanic in the period 1977-1984. Given my experience with the 1750s, I would guess it was a tightly wound little thing, with the power coming on with a bit of a bang at high revs. Right up there with the Alpine, in other words, except the Alfa motor was a modern short-stroke motor with wet liners in an aluminum block, and was thus likely able to rev quite a bit more than the Alpine motor, based as it was on the Renault R8/R16 long-stroke iron block. The Zagato bodywork is at least as pretty as the production Giulias and Spiders I worked on, and was a big part of my decision to order the kit.

All in all a trip down memory lane ... so I started cleaning up the resin components which feature a lot more scarf and other mold problems than a Tamiya styrene kit. I'll post progress which is likely to be slow if the weather allows me to get the bike out.

Originally posted 4 May 2014