Skip to content

134. Rally: Day One


First day of the Rally, and we got there well ahead of the opening time to finish off the last of the rigging and get all the publicity material ready.

Then, just before the punters arrived, Rupert Wasey of Hercules propellers popped his head round the corner from the adjacent marquee with the propeller, finally finished. Well, we had to fit it of course, and Jack had his camera at the ready. It only took a moment to fasten the bolts enough to hold it securely in place, but I have to admit I felt a great lump in the throat as we did so. It’s quite astonishing how the propeller adds the finishing touch to the whole thing and brings it alive.

2014-08-29 Propeller fitted

That done, I deserted Theo and Sue and headed off with Jack and his assistant Izzy to Hendon in north London. We were going to Tony Stairs, who had finished the rewind and servicing of Granddad’s Bosch magneto. When we arrived, another chap was also collecting magnetos – these for a 1923 Delage racing car that he was in the process of restoring. On the floor were a couple of magnetos for a Griffon-engined Spitfire, so our little Bosch seemed quite mundane by comparison. Tony does all his work in the shed at the bottom of the garden, and it’s so small Jack had real difficulty fitting the camera inside!

Back at Sywell, the magneto – which looks simply immaculate, having been lovingly painted and polished in addition to all the laborious (and much more important) work of rewinding the coil and checking the rest of the internals – was admired and photographed before being bolted into place on the engine where it looked quite at home.

2014-08-29 Magneto restored

The rest of the day – indeed much of the rest of the Rally – was a blur as we talked ourselves hoarse going through the details of the project with the many, many people who were good enough to show an interest. All of them, without exception, had to stroke that astonishing propeller with its satin lacquer finish and genuine original Bristol logo. They all admired the markings stamped into the propeller boss, just like the Shuttleworth original. Rupert had even taken the trouble to source some original metal letter stamps so that the markings are in the original sized letters in the original serif font.

We also took pains to show everyone the filler cap – an original Rotherham’s no. 3 – which Ian Harris had sourced for the oil tank and we made sure to point out that this was likely to be the last opportunity to see his magnificent workmanship on it, since it would shortly be completely boxed in for ever.

In the process, we came across countless numbers of like-minded people who are involved with early aviation; either building or researching. Vic Flintham is an historian who approached us saying that he had photographs of Imbros during the period of Granddad’s service there, and were we interested? Geoffrey New owns the very first airliner, a post-war Avro 504L converted from a two-seat trainer to a passenger plane capable of taking a pilot and two passengers.

So it was no wonder that the three of us – Theo, Sue and myself – look a little worn down in this picture at the end of the day!

2014-08-29 Knackered


From → Shows

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: