Posted by: Steamcarbob
I see that we have gone just over 70,000 hits, so someone must be interested in my ramblings! Perhaps more should be telling us what they are doing in the workshop although I have had a month of near idleness there, only surfacing the ends of some of my vaporizer castings with a few to go. Even my hands no longer look as if they live in the workshop!
George Hounslow turned up a little prize for me last week. He found a short video of a White being driven around in about 1960. He thought that he recognized the car. Yes, it was my 1908 White Model “L” English bodied tourer in its original paint with the lining shown and the small Garton crest on the left door which I had heard about but never seen. I had imagined it to take up most of the door! The car came to me in 1988 in white undercoat with some red on it. There was evidence of fire underneath it but the thermostat was a 1902 one trying to control the water bypass instead of the fuel. Clearly it had done little road work. That thermostat now is on my 1902 White. I will add some pictures of Lucy as she arrived here.
Looking at the 1960 video, the driver and restorer Alec Hodsdon has done quite a good job. He was a harpsichord maker living in Lavenham in Sussex and he worked on other cars including the 1900 Serpollet later owned by Bob Dale and often seen on the Brighton Run. Here, the White was not fit for the roads with the front number plate hanging off and it is giving off steam just pottering around, so the steam was not hot enough.
Do note the similarity of this car to "The Cricket" in the book "Through the Alps to the Apennines" now being serialized in our magazine. I think that my car is the sole survivor of this group of 1907/08 Whites. The difference is that mine is the 20 hp version and The Cricket was 30 hp and larger. The water tank is seen on my car in front of the wind-screen but with the larger engine, it was placed under the front passenger's feet.
Alec had problems with the steam generator which he had remade with no real structure. Also he had recast a new burner which was slotted at about 12 thou instead of nearer 30 thou width of slot. This caused me many problems when I was getting the car going as it could not take the full fire but let flames poor from under the car. Neither Alec nor I had other Whites to compare problems with when we restored the car and computer communication only really came in for the public in the 1990’s. Dick Hempel in the USA then helped me a lot before his death in 1993.
This is not the original registration number and it had no number plate when I got it. I managed to get the original number back on the car after I took a bunch of flowers up to the Swansea Registration offices for the lovely lady who was dealing with my case! I had an interesting couple of hours but the car certainly deserved to have its old plates back as I even had a picture of it probably taken by the original owner William Garton of Southampton in 1908. This is in the Montague and Bird book “Steam Cars” 1770 to 1970. I had also the local records with its chassis and engine numbers with the details of its taxation each year from 1908 until it was sent for War Service in 1915.
Austin Farrar told us that it initially had a truck body fitted but then had problems and was too complicated to repair so was laid up to go into a local scrap yard in the World War 2 scrap drive. The scrap yard was eventually cleared for the Southampton to Portsmouth motorway. The body was slung up in a shed and the scrap man retrieved it to sell it to Austin Farrar in probably late 1943 for £25. Austin did no work on the car but stored it in the dry and sold it to Alec Hodsdon in 1958.
There were about 10,000 Whites made between 1900 and 1910. Not many more than one hundred remain around the world but more recently some have been rebuilt from rather scanty remains. I think that this is probably a good thing. My Whistling Billy is in this group! That is not many more that one in a hundred original survivors. My car was a lucky one!
It is good to keep some cars as near original as possible but with a White, the car cannot be run successfully gently at low temperature, as some have tried. They need to be at full temperature and pressure, so need a certain amount of regular work with the corrosion problems that come at these temperatures.
Stainless steel sounds like a great invention but it was around in the early days of the cars as “rust-less steel”. It has a few problems if used in the White system. The conductivity is about a third of the rate of our “cold drawn steel” used in the steam generators. If one uses pretty stainless steel nuts on the steam-line, they will probably be welded on when one tries to remove them, so you may break your castings. Most of us let our steam-line nuts rust and then change them as Whites did. The black stove paint may slow up corrosion a little especially through the winter but it still burns off. Most of the steam-line coil in my 1902 White is original at a only 116 years old!
The modern insulation that I now use from Demon Tweeks is much thinner and less hydroscopic than the old asbestos and causes less pipe corrosion. When one comes back into the garage from a winter night run with light from the acetylene headlights and oil sidelights, such as we used to do with turning on the Christmas lights in the local town, opening the bonnet showed the steam-line pipes to be glowing red hot in the dark!
This is where to find the video on You Tube [youtu.be