Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob
Date: April 25, 2017 06:00AM
Those who did not go to the Isle of Man missed a very enjoyable week. We have just returned from what hopefully will be the first of many such events organized by Chris Wedgwood. The cost had put many people off but rather late in the day we heard that deals had been done and that the cost of the trip over and accommodation could be paid in advance at a much reduced reasonable cost.
We travelled over the water for less than three hours on a fast catamaran at about 30mph with two steam cars in my trailer; my 1902 White Model “B” Surrey and John’s 1902 Steamobile. After initially being sent by the Satnav up the mountain on the TT course which was closed for roadworks, we arrived late Saturday evening at Ramsey to be told that the Satnav and telephones are both difficult on the island. Mobiles on the island are no problem! We retired to bed, taking the cars up to the old airfield at Jurby the next morning.
Chris Wedgwood has been very busy restoring the Whites for the owners, at present mainly mechanical work, and he is rebuilding several 1909 and 1910 White engines (“O” and “OO”). He has worked on Serpollets and other steamers also and hopes to start work on the remains of a Doble that he has. He is clearly a very capable engineer and does lots of research before tackling a problem. Chris has built a steam motorcycle for record breaking. It is quite a machine and he hopes to do at least 120mph. We need to persuade him to do an article on it for our magazine. He too has been physically damaged by a motor cycle accident. We heard a lot about them over the week and we hardly saw a road fit for 100mph yet alone average speeds of 120+mph. The TT roads certainly had a much better surface than the other roads.
We arrived at the fine new Motor Museum run by Dennis Cunningham and his son Darren. We had free access all the time and there was a lot to see in petrol, diesel and steam, two and more wheels.
Next door to it was Chris’ temporary workshop where he had been for less than a month. Sitting there were six more White steamers! All the museum and workshop staff were very helpful especially Chris, Darren and Mike.
Malcolm Ranieri was there for the week and I expect that he got some good pictures for Old Glory!
The Whites at the site in date order were;
My 1902 White model “B” Surrey
Arnoud Carp’s 1904 White model “D” with American body
The Ward brother’s 1904 White Model “E” (not running this week)
Another White 1905 Model “E” was in the Museum (not running this week)
John Saunders 1909 White Model “O” with English Cann & Co body ( x-George Milligan).
Chris Ashford's 1909 White Model “0” with the American body
Alfie Cheyne’s 1910 Model “00” White with the American body
Also present were
Nick Howell’s 1902 Toledo
C 1904 Turner-Meisse, not running, it was the late Dennis Wedgwood’s car
The x-Mike Clark Stanley 2 seater C.1909 style now owned by Chris Wedgwood and this week driven by Stuart Gray.
Bob Bruin’s condensing Stanley C. 1919, over from Holland.
Outside our hotel in Ramsey sat Tommy Dreelan’s rig: a very large caravanette with a widening center section towing a trailer with his Speed Six Bentley in it. Neither of the Dreelan brothers brought their White steamers but it was good to see them at the event.
After looking around the museum, we steamed locally and chatted on the first day before retiring back to The Ramsey Park Hotel. From there we walked into town and we all met up at a local pub by the harbor to enjoy the very good local beer. This became our evening ritual which we continued to enjoy all week. During the week we had two Italian, two Chinese and two French meals which were all good and but a short walk behind the pub.
On the next two days we went on short tours around the top of the island and then down to the west of the island. The three later Whites were driven each for the first time by their owners who were hoping to tour for the week. None had driven a White before!
Alfie shot off only to break his valve gear on the first day. Chris Wedgwood repaired it but he bent it again on the second day.
We could see that Chris Ashford had a poorly set up bending propshaft which I did point out but he went off and bent it properly, denting the water tank. Chris Wedgwood did the repairs and fitted another propshaft but next day the hand water pump bracket with its clacks on it was found to be fractured, so his week was ended.
My brother John managed to scorch the Steamobile’s boiler on its first test run after three miles. He had only just repaired it and it will obviously need ferrules which it does not have or, more likely, a new boiler. He then went out with John Saunders in the 1909 White and they had a problem on a steep hill with blowbacks. The pilot light had cracked a tube. Again Chris came to the rescue.
In the meantime Arnoud, Stuart Gray driving the X-Mike Clark Stanley and Bob Bruin were going well. My little 1902 White was going well on the flat and light hills but struggling on the steep ones with its 6 hp more than usual. Running out of steam oil on the hill had finally stopped me this time. I stopped just by John Saunders car which was on a long steep hill with padded crash barriers as it was on the TT course. I gave him the diagnosis of his problems. He had gone out with no tools – not a spanner, screwdriver or pliers! It was a good job that John was with him to help or that car could have been severely burnt!
As we were stuck on this steep hill on the bend, suddenly sirens were going and speeding police cars, ambulances, fire engines and recovery vehicles went by going as fast as they could. We went on up the road towed by a very kind chap called Derrick Whittle as by then I had cold steam and would have struggled. We got up over the hill only to be diverted. A motorcycle had hit a car further up the road. We were told that they cut the top off the car.
We were sent down a narrow road with a steep downhill. Near the bottom some 6ft flames came out of both chimneys and from under the back of my car as I turned the fuel on again. I presume that the fuel had slowly dribbled into the burner as a liquid and then ignited as I turned the fire on full again. It has done it before. I turned the fuel off and kept going as the fire died down. I could have been burnt or had to use a fire extinguisher if I had stopped! Apparently it looked quite good from the car behind me! John went on with Mr. Whittle and was told stories of the motorcycle accidents and deaths at each corner. He towed me up another very steep short hill and found me some water. A motor cyclist had been smashed up in their garden last year (the helicopter landed on his lawn) and two had been killed landing in next door’s garden, one had lost his head! This was in Kirk Michael. It seems that these motorcyclists do not value their lives very highly! When injured with bones sticking out they try to persuade their rescuers to put them back on their bikes!
Now filled with water, I had a good drive back from there.
I had ruptured a rubber pipe on the steam line to the condenser on the first day and on the second the new pipe also broke.
The next day we more or less had a day off. John took his boiler out confirming that he could do no more before going home. I had a good look at my car and found that I had fitted the condenser return pump the wrong way around so I was pumping against the flow with renewed clack valves fitted the week before. This is easy to do as the in and out fittings are identical, the clacks just only work one way. This condenser does not run at a vacuum as the later ones do but has an exhaust overflow into the chimney so the solution was less obvious. I had not done that before! The water problems then ended and performance improved probably mainly because of the water tank warming up with the returned condensate.
The following day we drove the modern car around the island to have a look around. We went down the West coast via Kirk Michael, the home of the late John Walton who wrote the magazines “Light Steam power” and Peel to lunch at Castletown.
We then headed towards Douglas. On the way we went over a bridge and around to the left where there were nice new and neat vertical black and white panels with a neat hole in the middle that just fitted a motorcycle. The fields on an estuary were about 50ft below! We hoped that someone had had a look over the side. We could hardly stop as we were in traffic.
After Douglas we went on to meet the heavy haulage boys towing their 120 ton load. There were three large Fowler crane engines towing a solid rubber tired trailer with steering at both ends with a train on the top. Mike Dreelan was driving his leading engine and I believe that Les Searle was the brake engine at the back, I am not sure who was on the second engine. We passed them in a lay-by where one engine had a bearing running hot and then waited for them to go by. We then followed on.
On Friday we had our steam cars outside the Museum and the engines steamed along with their load. They were going over the mountain at Snaefell the following day while we came home.
On the Wednesday Darren, the son of the Museum owner gave us a ride in his Tessler electric car. He walked up to it and got in it. The key equivalent is in his pocket. He can just drive off. It takes less than 2.4 seconds to 60 mph. He asked us if our necks were alright (mine was well bedded into the headrest) and off we went pressing a few Gs into the seat. I have just bought a BMW X5 Sport which I now consider to be slow but it tows well! He tells us that he has to charge it twice a week but only uses it on the island. He purchased it in 2015 and has used about £900 worth of electric but his tyres only lasted 10.000 miles! Tessler gave him four chargers at the museum which take 45 minutes for a charge.
This seems to be the way that we will go.
You missed a really good week with lots to see and do! Let us hope that it all happens again.
Whites and the Steamobile.jpg (214kB)
The Ward brother's 1904 Model E White.jpg (186kB)
Nick Howell on his Toledo.jpg (184kB)