THE FLATLEY DRYER

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 29 Mar 2019, 04:57

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The Sunbeam Talbot Alpine in 1978.

Just before I left the farm in 1978 when my marriage broke down I made a big mistake which I have always regretted, I sold the Land Rover for the same money I had bought it for and bought a new Talbot car. I still don’t know what possessed me, I must have been wrong in my head. I hadn’t had the new car for very long when I was talking to Newton Pickles who had bought exactly the same motor and we compared notes. We both agreed that we didn’t like the bloody things because when you got to a corner you had this funny sensation it was going to go straight on. They were front wheel drive and the classic way to get one of these round a corner is to feed in the power and let the front wheels drag you round. There must have been a flaw in the design of the steering geometry because any application of power when you had any lock on tended to freeze the steering. This was what was at the root of our dislike and neither of us kept the cars for long.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 30 Mar 2019, 05:18

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My mate Roger Perry was a Lancia enthusiast and while I was rebuilding an engine for him he mentioned he was selling a Fulvia. I wanted to buy it from him but he demurred because it was a rust bucket and in his words, a potential source of trouble. I persisted and in the end he gave in so I became the proud owner. It was the most annoying but delightful car I ever owned and when it eventually died I bought another one dirt cheap for the same reason. I never regretted buying either of them despite the problems. Anyone who had driven one will understand. If you want one you will have to pay up to £60,000 for a fully restored example.....
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by plaques » 30 Mar 2019, 08:17

Stanley wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 05:18
but he demurred because it was a rust bucket and in his words,
Is that the reason for the dark brown stain on the Brook St car park?

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 30 Mar 2019, 08:29

Not quite, but it was definitely tired!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 31 Mar 2019, 03:07

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It all started in 1984..... (Roger Perry picture)

Roger had many interests, one of which was a passion for Lancia cars. At that time he had a Fulvia HS with the 1.6 engine. This was the car Fulvia took the world rally championship with and held it until they brought out the Stratos which was the ultimate hairy-chested rally car until ousted by the modern breed of lighter, more highly stressed four wheel drive cars. Roger had a Stratos and occasionally came up to see us in it. At the time I knew Roger there were only 19 Stratos’ in the country and Roger ran a club for the owners. It had a six cylinder Ferrari engine based on the Dino, Fiat had bought Lancia by this time and they owned Ferrari as well. The car was a beast, Roger occasionally used it as a road car for every day use and he had a lot of entertainment out of it. The only problem was that it wasn’t happy tooling about in thirty mile an hour limits, it came into its own when it got to over 100mph in third gear and then still had a lot up its sleeve!
Later in the year Roger rang me. He was organiser of the Stratos Owner’s Club in UK and they used to book Silverstone for a day once a year and go and play at being boy racers. As soon as he started to explain this I knew what he was after, “You’ve not got the engine back in the Stratos yet have you?” He said I’d hit the nail on the head. I knew the engine was out from my visit earlier in the year. Evidently the arthritis had flared up and Roger couldn’t manage. He asked whether I could go down and put it all back together for him. Of course I said yes, arranged to be away for a week and jumped in the Fulvia.

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The Lancia Stratos.

When I got down to Gardiner’s Cottage Roger took me into the workshop and showed me the state of the wicket. The engine was, apart from the crankshaft being already installed in the crankcase, completely in bits! I looked at it and said “Oh dear!” or something like that. Roger gave me the workshop manual which was for the Ferrari Dino not the Lancia version, in addition it was in Italian!

Deep joy! I got my stuff into the house, had a cup of tea and a word with Annie and the kids, put my overalls on and went out to get started. Three days and about four hours of sleep later, I had the engine rebuilt and back in the car. There had been one or two glitches, the manual I had didn’t cover the distributor which was fitted to Roger’s engine and in the end I threw the manual away and timed it just as though it was a steam engine. I balanced the three twin choke carburettors as best I could and when we tried it it started first time! The nice thing was that just as it started, the phone rang and when Roger answered it it was his two mates in London who were doing exactly what I was doing, rebuilding the engine completely. I didn’t take a lot of notice what was going on until Roger gave me the phone and said “You’d better have a word with these two!” They were having the same problem that I had hit, the manual bore no resemblance to the engine when it came to fitting the distributor and timing it. I told them I had thrown the manual away and timed it exactly how I would time the steam admission valve on a steam engine, set the engine just before top dead centre on no. 1 cylinder and fit the distributor so it was just sending a spark at that time. It wasn’t quite as simple as this because the distributor had two sets of points, one set operated up to about 3000 rpm and the other set kicked in afterwards to give more advance. They took my advice and must have got it right, they were at Silverstone the following day.

Roger and Annie were due on the track the following morning so I worked all that night finishing it off and at about four in the morning took it out for a totally illegal, but immensely satisfying test run. I think I was doing about 100mph in third gear when I decided it would do! We loaded it on the trailer, the family went off to play at racing cars and I had a clean-up and a leisurely breakfast before driving home.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 01 Apr 2019, 04:02

I soldiered on, enjoying the Fulvia for about 4 years. The biggest problem with them was rust related. They had a sub frame at the front that carried the engine and suspension and this was always coming loose. You could tell when it was happening because when you used the brake the pedal pushed back at you as the sub frame shifted.
I was using Central Garage at Barrowford and I asked the lads if they could find me a cheap secondhand motor as the Fulvia was getting dangerous. They surprised me by telling me that there was a low mileage Fulvia in the village and it could be bought cheap as apart from rust problems it had a bad oil leak on the engine which due to the construction of the complicated little 1.3 engine could only be cured by a complete strip down. I bit their hands off and bought it for I think £300 in notes. We then had a bit of a problem, getting it road worthy....
Thereby hangs another tale!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 01 Apr 2019, 09:08

Our Alfas were always at most danger from rust, due to the Italian car manufacturers being forced to use poor quality steel from their state-owned companies; but they were always a pleasure to drive! :smile:

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 02 Apr 2019, 03:11

I agree Tiz and also about the pleasure of driving them. The Fulvia was a delight, it had a piece of steam pipe for a back axle mounted on two leaf springs and the front suspension was the best I have ever seen, one large transverse leaf spring and parallel motion in the linkage, the steering geometry never altered under any load conditions, it want round corners on rails! The 1.3 litre engine was built like a Swiss watch and was designed in the late 1920s, on a good day you could get 120mph out of it. Which brings me to the 'new' Fulvia I bought......
The engine in my old car was perfect even though it had done over 150,000 miles and so I had a word with the lads at the Central Garage and we decided to scrap the old car and take the engine and gear box unit out and put it in the new one. By the way, I gave Roger the serial number and at was one of the last batch of Fulvias ever made.
While they had the unit out I told them to replace the clutch plate and pressure unit and when we split the assembly we found that the flywheel had a lot of holes drilled in it. When I told Roger he said he had always thought what a good engine it was but hadn't realised the reason. There was a firm in Turin who took production engines and drive trains and rebuilt them to higher standards than Lancia, weighing all the reciprocating parts and balancing them and also lightening and balancing the flywheel. Evidently it was a bit of a gem and Roger was mad because he had missed this.
I ran the new one for about two years but then the front subframe started to go and I sold it two two students from Leeds making them sign a statement that they understood that I regarded the car as unroadworthy. They sailed off with it and I never heard any more about it. My Lancia odyssey was over!

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The red Fulvia leaves my life..... Despite all the faults I never regretted owning them, the best road-holding car I have ever driven.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 02 Apr 2019, 11:27

One of our friends in the 1970s, company secretary for a well known firm, had a Lancia Aurelia. A gorgeous motor car!
[Photo from this Wikipedia page: LINK ]

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 03 Apr 2019, 03:00

The old Aurelia had an automatic system for making sure you changed the oil regularly. The Spark plugs were inside the tappet gallery and bathed in oil, if the oil was dirty the engine started misfiring. Not many people know that. :biggrin2:
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 03 Apr 2019, 10:01

There are lovely photos here of a restored Aurelia. Click the side arrows to go through the gallery. LINK
For me, that period was the high point of car body design.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 04 Apr 2019, 02:43

My First Fulvia had a wooden and alloy steering wheel like that. I transferred it to the second one and meant to keep it as a souvenir but forgot.
Lancia were also one of the most innovative car manufacturers. If you read their history they had a lot of firsts. I have an idea that front wheel drive was one of them....
I'll never forget test driving the Stratos early on that perfect Norfolk morning. I think it had five forward gears and I never got past 100mph in third.... I decided it was good enough and pootled back to Rogers at 40mph. It performed well at Silverstone they tell me...
The thing I remember best because it was such a pain to set up was the tappet adjustment on the Dino. It was done by swapping graduated shims in and out until you got the clearance right. Effective and long lasting but such a fiddle!

Image

Roger Perry giving me a hand to put the engine back in. He had severe rheumatoid arthritis (the medication for it killed him seven years later....) and was in severe pain at the time....

There was one sad matter after I had done it. He wrote me a terrible letter accusing me of bad things and for a while it spoiled our friendship. We healed it up but he never mentioned it again. When he died his wife wrote to me and told me she knew about the letter and said he wrote it when he was deep in medication for a severe attack and regretted it afterwards. I still have it and it's a warning that everything may not be as it seems. I understand of course but at the time it was a terrible shock.
Look for his book, 'The Writing on the Wall', Pics of graffiti he found. He gave me a copy. You'll have to pay about £200 for one now if you can find one. Greatly underrated and died young, I think he was 47 when he died in 1991. (LINK)
The way I looked at it was that as Roger was one of the main Lancia men in the country and loved his Stratos it was probably the best compliment he could pay anyone in engineering terms because it was mission impossible. (Of course he may just have been desperate and nobody else was available......)
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 04 Apr 2019, 08:50

Stanley wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 02:43
If you read their history they had a lot of firsts. I have an idea that front wheel drive was one of them....
I gave up telling people who was the first to do this or that when I found out that my AlfaSud's wonderful flat four engine was trumped by the old Jowett Javelin one...and then found that was beaten by Karl Benz and others many times over!.... LINK

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 05 Apr 2019, 01:59

See THIS for the V4 engine first used in a production car in 1920.
I can remember riding in the back of an open Diatto sports car in summer 1936 on a trip with one of the family friends, Reg Lawley. My mother told me later in life that she couldn't believe I could remember it but that I was right, I was in her arms (no baby seats then!) and we went up into Derbyshire. I described the car park in Derbyshire and the view down a wooded valley
Reg was married to Phyliss who was a lovely woman and was the cashier at what was then the Carlton Cinema in Stockport. She sat in a kiosk with one of those wonderful ticket machines that popped the tickets out of a row of slots along the counter. Very modern........
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 06 Apr 2019, 05:30

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Even as a lad, Stockport fascinated me. The town hall looked like a wedding cake and I marvelled at what it must have cost. I can remember the ride on the tram into Manchester. Sitting on the top deck (always the top deck, you saw more!) I used to marvel as to what it had cost to build all those properties and wondered where the money had come from. It taught me a lesson I am still aware of today, when you see a headline that the Pound has been devalued or otherwise fallen in price always remember that in real terms, the assets that money is used to evaluate are unchanged. Indeed in some cases like stocks of goods and materials, the price actually rises. I remember talking to a man one day about where to put money in bad economic times and his favourite was ingots of cast aluminium. He reckoned that a cellar full of that never lost its vale and always adjusted upwards in the end. I think he might have been right.
I look at my workshop many a time and assure myself that I am a wealthy man, the difference between what I paid for the contents and what it would cost now must be enormous. Anyone who bought a house 50 years ago and is still in it will know what I am on about......
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 06 Apr 2019, 08:44

When we were swing dancing regularly, Stockport Town hall hosted the annual "Swing Cat's Ball". A small group of our dancing and re-enactment mates and ourselves used to make a weekend of it and stay over on the Saturday night. It has a fantastic ballroom and stage and the ball always used to feature more than one headline swing or big band. It could easily accommodate the 600 or so dancers that rocked up for the night. There were usually vintage clothes sellers and ephemera stalls in the foyer as well. Had some really good times there.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tripps » 06 Apr 2019, 10:55

Stanley wrote:
06 Apr 2019, 05:30
I used to marvel as to what it had cost to build all those properties and wondered where the money had come from. It taught me a lesson I am still aware of today,
I remember that building - usually viewed from my bicycle on the way back from Buxton. I seem to recall it was mainly downhill. :smile:

I still wonder about the cost of these enormous (compared to their surroundings) buildings. The wealth of the owners - secular as nearby Wimpole Hall or religious such as Ely Cathedral must have been extraordinary.

We hear a lot about 'inequality' in politics these days. I'd suggest it was worse then. :smile:
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 07 Apr 2019, 02:54

You're right David and yes Buxton was mainly downhill coming back towards Stockport. That was so good for our cycling, hard work going out and easier when you were coming back knackered!
The more you look at medieval history the more you realise that the 'income gap' was enormous in those days. The Church, Crown and landed magnates had incomes that were light years in front of the peasants. So were their levels of debt!
That raises something else in my mind. At regular intervals you will find episodes where a country expelled the Jews. (England was one of the first) What is not often recognised is that being landless by law the Jews concentrated on money and portable wealth and became experts in the field of finance very early. (This applies to Quakers as well. That's why many of our major banks have Quakers involved in their foundation.) They managed international networks of credit even in early medieval times. Their creditors were mainly the indigenous royalty and lords and an expulsion made a lot of sense if a lot of money was owed to them. In law it extinguished the debt. Always remember this and factor it into any pogroms. Remember Hitler railing against Jewry as the people who had financed the war against Germany in 1914?
So next time you look at a castle, vast house, fort or palace remember that it could quite easily have been financed by Jewish credit brokers.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 08 Apr 2019, 04:08

One recurring thought about my childhood is the fact that from four years old to when I was nine (very formative years) I was subject to air attack and threat of invasion. Did this affect how my mind works? I tend to think it must have and it perhaps explains the fact that while our modern population seems to be prone to episodes of what I see as collective hysteria (Think back to the death of Diana....), I have been almost accused of insensitivity because I don't join in. The older I get the more I think there is something in this and yes, it may be that exposure to things like bombing, threat of invasion and the 'normal' deprivations of war time life did have an effect and make a difference. Of course, on the whole I think this is a good thing, I don't do enthusiasm or despair, it seems such a waste of time and effort. This doesn't mean that I don't recognise and empathise with human tragedy, in some ways I am more affected than most but I tend to keep it to myself.
In Plato's Apology, Socrates famously states that the unexamined life is “not worth living.” On the whole I agree with this and that's why occasionally I post stuff like this, almost as a defence but definitely as a reason. I find that it makes for a contented life.... (Smug B*****d!)
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 09 Apr 2019, 03:00

One trade that must have suffered over the years is the brush makers. All brushes used to be natural bristle of various grades from soft domestic brushes to the stiff brushes like the ones used for rough sweeping in stables, byres or on the streets. All of them had wooden backs. Today, an old fashioned brush is a rarity and if you want a traditional boot blacking brush they are incredibly expensive.Good shaving brushes were always Badger Hair.....
One place where you could always find a brush maker was at cattle and sheep auctions. I once heard a story about a man who attended Otley Market for years selling brushes and one day a rival turned up and undersold him. He went to the man and told him he didn't mind opposition but he was puzzled because he stole the materials to make his brushes and couldn't understand how the other bloke could be cheaper than him. "Simple" said the bloke. "I steal the brushes!".
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 10 Apr 2019, 04:01

Remember the film 'Deep Throat? The informer advised "Follow the money". Looking at history this has always been the case. The desertion of Stock Village at Bracewell is a case in point, the economic advantages of Barlick outweighed long habitation of the village and the people voted with their feet. We see this today with the migration of young people to cities which grow exponentially all over the world.
Accompanying this is a reverse migration of people who have made it good in the city and hanker after a more rural life. This can raise problems of course, they tend to object to cockerels crowing at daybreak and cow muck on roads. In some cases they even object to church bells. Perhaps we need a basic assumption that if you move into an area you aren't allowed to impose city standards on an established community. I remember a case here when a friend of mine was forced to get rid of his cockerel on a pen at Esp Lane Bottom..... I thought this was most unfair. What next, shoot all the crows?
Many small towns like ours have suffered by becoming 'dormitory towns' but so far this hasn't happened to us. We should not be complacent and should guard against this happening. Look to the fate of many Dales Villages where the pub, school and post office have closed. Many of them are almost deserted now as incomers and second homes have taken over. They are no longer functioning villages.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 11 Apr 2019, 03:32

Another big change I have seen in my time is in agriculture. Time was, under the Milk Marketing Board, a small farmer was assured of a regular profitable income from a small herd of cattle and that was how most small farmers managed to survive. In doing so they preserved the land they farmed and traditionally Craven was a country where cattle grazed on almost every farm, even the hill farms. Two massive Foot and Mouth outbreaks later and following the abolition of the MMB in England in 2002 (founded in 1933) and the malign influence of 'The Free Market' have killed small producers and cut the profits of the large ones.
Supporters of this change point to better and more efficient milk production and quality but this would have come under the MMB anyway. What has been lost is the support system for small farmers and even the retailers have been knocked out by the supermarkets. The new way may be more 'efficient' but we have lost a lot collectively by the change, not least the social benefits and employment the old system of farm producers and retailers gave us. Milk chaps were often the first to alert the authorities if someone was in trouble. The supermarkets can't give that service.....
Think back to how busy Dobson'r Dairy was at Coates and West Marton Dairies as well. Is what we have to report an improvement?
(Having said this I am told there is a resurgence in home deliveries and even glass bottles. I hope this is true but it will never reach the scale it used to be.)
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 11 Apr 2019, 07:29

We use Ian Greenwood, he delivers Monday, Wednesday and Friday and yes, in glass bottles with silver tops, other colours are available if you want "white water" varieties, he does eggs and other stuff as well. :biggrin2:
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 12 Apr 2019, 02:56

Good! If all the bottles I delivered to depots were laid end to end........
School milk was a great thing as well. I often thought of how much good it was doing and what a well organised scheme it was. Especially when I delivered about 20 bottles to Kirby Malham School at about 6AM. That was my most remote delivery and then I went over the tops to Settle and from there back to Marton ready to start picking up kits by 07:30. The system ran like clockwork. A bit of a bugger in winter but on a good summer morning I should have been paying them! A trip up the Dales each morning all expenses paid. A farmer told me one morning he could set his watch by me.....
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by PanBiker » 12 Apr 2019, 08:52

Aye, I loved my 1/3 pint school milk everyday, orange juice for the lactose intolerant kids. Winter time you shared the cream with the blue tits. :smile:

Maggie Thatcher - Milk Snatcher, shame on her.
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