Iain Hall's SANDPIT

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What I did yesterday

It actually feels like winter here this morning its cold and rather damp  with a real (pardon me while I get a bit hippy-trippy) cold weather vibe.  Today I am rather tired, a little sore but reasonably cheerful. I like this time of the year and I have rediscovered a bit of enthusiasm for the project in my shed. You see I went to visit one of my brother’s yesterday in my sports car, it was really an excuse to go for a decent test drive in the car after fitting the extractors. On the way there I filled it with a tank of regular unleaded and on the way back I filled with premium and I am now certain that the extra couple of bucks for a tank of premium is worth it for a much smoother running engine. I could really hear the difference in the exhaust note between the different fuels.

The 1960 Triumph Herald

The 1960 Triumph Herald

When I got there, my bro was working on his latest restoration, a 1960 triumph herald hard top coupe. While I was there I helped him get the engine running. my input into the process was rather minimal. I just screwed in a set of plugs and after we drove into the nearest town in my car for petrol  she fired up like a little ripper even though the exhaust pipe is currently truncated just under the gearbox I was in awe of just how sweet she sounded. Its rather amazing when you consider that the engine has been sitting idle since 1994! My bro was rather keen to have the exhaust remade with the same puny 1″ diameter pipe but I think that I have convinced him that he should got to at least 1¼” or even 1½ to make the 948cc engine breathe a bit better. I am offering him a nice “Staintune” stainless steel motorcycle muffler that I found by the side of the road for the car which should give it a nice note and last many years .

Its nice to see my car loving bro finally getting himself a really cute and fun “sports” model  instead of the more pedestrian models that he has previously restored and you really could not get anything much nicer than the Herald which is the epitome of the swinging sixties  with just a dash of fifties finny fun. It was good for me in another way because I found laying on a shelf in his workshop just what I have been looking for to add a heater to my car.


Its an oil cooler that will become the new heater matrix and it will be small enough to fit between the dash under panel and the top of the transmission tunnel. To make it work as a car heater my plan it to fit two computer fans on top and a fascia panel  in front that will help direct the warmed air into the foot wells. This certainly won’t fully  warm the very open car but it will keep driver and passenger feet warm enough in a Queensland winter. Now all I have to do is get  a couple of tail-pieces instead of the banjo bolts a couple of meters of heater hose and Robert is your mothers brother!

Such are the joys of DIY  car building where ingenuity is more important than very deep pockets.

Cheers Comrades

This is my new project a 1946 Morris eight hill climbing special

This is my new project a 1946 Morris eight hill climbing special

You can’t fault my brother for his work ethic so find below some pictures of his efforts today

Extractors fitting update

Beauty in stainless steel

Beauty in stainless steel

Regular petrol head readers may recall  me posting about my anticipation of the arrival of a set of stainless steel headers from the USA well they arrived about a week ago and it has taken me a while to find the time and good weather to fit them to the car.  Well I had a window of opportunity on Monday and I was able to fit them but firstly I had to cut them just beyond the final merge and my collection of “come in handy goodies ” had a nicely made slip joint of the right size which then had to welded to the cut down  connector piece that runs between the original  manifold  and my 2 ½ inch external exhaust. With a bit of eye-balling ,  cutting and tack welding while the car  was propped on one side (on ramps , I’m very safety conscious) I then took it right off the car and  welded the connection gas tight and  I then had to rush to reassemble the car before it was time to pick up my children form the bus stop.  I made it with only a few minutes to spare.

its amazing what a bit of heat does to a shiny header

its amazing what a bit of heat does to a shiny header

Of course the headers have not stayed the same shiny silver colour because as soon as the engine was started they first turned a straw brown  and then a slightly blueish/purplsih tone its all good though as there does seem to be a distinctly different feel to the engine when it is asked the question. While I don’t really rate my “seat of the pants”  dyno for specific accuracy the engine does rev  out more smoothly  and with more vigour so I think that the headers have made a worthwhile difference. They promise 10% power increase which would take my engine’s 86KW to 94.6KW which probably won’t make much difference in the real world but as they say too much power is never enough so I will take whatever gains the headers give as a bonus.

There are many problems inherent in the stock manifold. Firstly it is bad practice to pair cylinders 1&2 and 3&4 . Secondly it is restrictive in the amount of air it can flow and finally it weighs a motza.

There are many problems inherent in the stock manifold. Firstly it is bad practice to pair cylinders 1&2 and 3&4 (1&4 and 2&3 is the ideal). Secondly it is restrictive in the amount of air it can flow and finally it weighs a motza.

As  for the all important  exhaust note there is a distinct difference  to the stock manifold but it is not at all excessively noisy the sound is deeper and more meaty without being anti-social. However I doubt that they will improve my fuel consumption because the car now just sounds SOOOOOO nice when I give it some welly that I just want to give it more welly all the time just to hear that glorious noise*.

Cheers Comrades


*I have some video to share the new note but I have been having some difficulty in uploading this to you-tube

A most apt photo op and the fun at Chez Hall

There are times when a photo has a rather different message to the one intended by its publisher take this image published on Julia Gillard’s twitter account:

JG1To my mind this picture is a strong reminder that it is unlikely that there will be another Labor PM before these school children are old enough to vote its also worth noting that Gillard has once again changed her Twitter avatar, finally I can’t help thinking that being seen with chooks is politically silly because it brings this creative animation to mind.

kookaburra-log-periodic-vhf-uhf-digital-ready-tv-antenna-aerial_2_I know its not much but I have been trying to commit a neatness around here and doing a few little jobs like replacing the TV antenna which has been most fruitful as we now get all of the free to air channels which means that  I will be able to  watch so much more crap should I choose to do so, hmm I think I will pass on most of that. None the less my son is delighted to be able to watch ABC 3. Of course I can’t do much at a time but I approach it like eating an elephant, one bite at a time!

$(KGrHqEOKo4FF)7KYl3PBRgZ(m256!~~60_12Another thing that has been taking up some of my time is tinkering with my car I have recently fixed a transmission leak caused by loose bolts on the Oil pan , I have also ordered a lovely set of stainless steel headers, which are not as you might expect custom made they are in fact intended for a FWD Sentra which uses the same family of engine as the Pulsar that I got my donor motor from. The will work because I already have my exhaust running under the engine to exit on the driver’s side so I expect to be able to get away with just modifying the intermediate pipe that currently connects to the stock cast iron manifold should only take an hour so to change these over, They promise a 10% increase in performance but I will be happy if they just sound nice.    I was going to wait until my brother had paid me for a ride on mower I am selling him but Once I saw the Aussie dollar in decline against the Green-back I felt compelled to buy sooner rather than later. You guessed it I’m buying from the USA and its amazing how cheap the headers are, a measly $105 USD plus $125USD for shipping, The cheapest Aussie made system is $240 plus shipping($35)  and that is for mild steel with a crappy painted finish. Is it any wonder that Australian manufacturing can’t compete?

Cheers Comrades


Old vs new Leonard Nimoy takes on newbie Zachary Quinto and his all-new Audi S7

On a lighter note this ad for Audi is quite funny and most timely given the opening yesterday of the new Star Trek  “Into darkness”  movie:

live long and prosper Comrades


Pretty things from Honda

click for source

click for source

honda_chopper_racing_scooter_concepts-56 honda_chopper_racing_scooter_concepts-41

I have long been a fan of Honda’s motorcycles and their scooters, in fact when I first began blogging I chose the Screen name of Niceperson because I  used to ride a small capacity Honda motorcycle and they used to say in their advertising “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”. Anyway I like the new machines from Honda and think that when it comes to urban commuting a small scooter is a better option than a bus pass and the way that the fares climb ever higher….

Cheers Comrades


This could be a very sweet ride

One of my personal passions is automotive design and long time readers will remember that I have been rather critical of the current design paradigm of heavy machines made of iron and steel because two things are the enemy of efficiency, one is mass and the other is aerodynamic drag. Find below a couple pictures and a quote form an article from Gizmag about a new design that is both light weight and has a really low drag coefficient   number.



The new VLC also sports improved driver visibility, a roomier interior with easier entry and egress, a chassis made from aluminium sheet metal (as opposed to tubular steel) and larger wheels that result in more travel for the in-wheel suspension set-up.This in-wheel suspension, which is clearly visible in the VLC rolling chassis now on display at The Henry Ford, is one of the key components of the design. As well as improving aerodynamics, it improves handling, reduces mass and the complexity of the vehicle as a whole.

“We believe we can replace the twist beam suspension, even in existing cars … but it will take time,” says Edison2’s Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Kuttner.

No specific time frame has been given for the roll-out of the VLC consumer model, but the company believes its architecture “has a promising future in domestic and international markets” that includes “applications in suspension and vehicle segments far beyond Edison2’s current designs.”

“This car opens up the possibility for a whole new type of car…in a much more responsible, sustainable way to the future,” adds Kuttner.

click for source

click for source

OK this prototype is electric 🙄 but imagine this car with a good performance engine from  motorcycle, something like the Hayabusa power plant.  It would be the perfect combination of  light weight and good power, now that would be an eco-car that I could love, so too could other people who don’t see cars in an utterly utilitarian light.

Cheers Comrades


The Happy Wanderer


“Valdarie” is a 1954 model

As an unashamed petrol-head I notice the interesting or old motor vehicle,and today while I was out on a grocery run I came across this lovely old Austin A30, its lady owner was gracious enough to let me take a couple of pictures of her pride and joy. “Valdarie” is a 1954 model that she has owned from new and its clear that the car has been extremely well cared for its paint and jewellery does have a bit of patina that just adds to its charm.
I would have loved to find out more about the car’s history but having often seen it around Lawton and Strathpine I do know that its still a work horse rather than a pampered show pony. Of course this begs the question of how many cars of today will we see still serving their owners after 59 years?

Cheers Comrades

Indeed this is entirely expected and so long denied by Labor.
Cheers Comrades

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