Although this Grey Lady was in for only engine work, she certainly put up a little fight before being declared fit for the road.
We seemed to have a collection of little faults and frights. With the ever present high tension of the first engine start after a rebuild,she started on the button, first press... but before my pulse rate had chance to settle, this 6 cylinder changed to note to a 5 cylinder. Horror thoughts of pistons, rings, valves and gaskets raced through my head until there, on No 1 plug cap, was a pretty good impression of the lightening forks that had filled my bedroom window a few nights before. Phew, a quick insulation fix and back to 6 lovely cylinders.
Then after a few subsequent adjustment runs, as a routine I press the start button, but nothing! just a dull sound of nothing rotating.... now I am showing the signs of a winter of very, very, long weeks and I over reacted!! A quick attempt to turn the engine over by hand confirmed my worst fear. "Oh no", as I ripped the distributor and drive out of position, "It must have happened" ..."seized" .....snatching the skew drive gear out with long nose pliers, oblivious to marking any timing positions, "It must have wrecked the infamous cam and distributor skew gear", dripping with fear I peer in... but no it is fine, no distress whatsoever, I could almost feel it questioning me as I held the warm and oiled gear in my hand, I am sure it was as alarmed as a tipped teenager out of bed for school, only to find it is the first day of summer holidays!
So if isn't seized??... well,..... After rebuilding 62 different makes of engines and over 160 engine builds, including many quirky, unknown vintage types.... it obviously doesn't get any easier, or me any wiser, because a calming voice from the other end of the workshop cautiously quipped..."it's not the starter motor Jammed in mesh is it?" Oh how stupid am I, of course.. and with a satisfying "clunk" as that little square on the rear of the starter is turned, all was well and the engine happily rotated with a little pressure from my hands!
Now, where are those timing marks again...
Anyway, after a partial starter motor rebuild and recovery of the very distorted Lucas Eclipse Bendix type drive and a few more small issues with disintegrating HT caps and troublsome bonnet mountings and lighting and floorboard fitting etc..etc.. We have finally been out and about, touring this Grey Lady in her 6 cylinder splendour before she returns to her very patient owner..