Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob
Date: September 23, 2018 06:47AM
We were all very sad to here of the passing of Arthur Thomson. He was a great White owner and runner of his 1904 Model “E” and 1910 Model “00” Whites. He was a very gentle driver and seldom if ever needed to work on the car after a day’s run. He and Pearl have been on several runs with us including following the rivers in Germany with their steamers.
I have decided that I do not use the 1903 White enough and I am going to sell it. If I need a veteran I usually take the 1902 White which has the same firing system and I do like the tiller steering. If I want a four seater for touring I will usually take the 1908 White and of course the racing car is quite a different kettle of fish altogether with no rear suspension making it anything but a touring car. That is my testing bed and great fun.
The result has been that the 1903 White has largely sat idle this year and that does not do the steamers any good. They are much better used a bit more and I need a bit less work to do at present although this car is now quite well sorted. I even move it around the workshop on compressed air as it copes easily this using 120 PSI of air. I have an airline connection on the blow-off valve, as I do with all of the steamers.
Little is known about the car before 1950 but it was an English bodied car by Cann & Co of London and had lost its correct rear seats. It was briefly owned by Dennis Blackford until he purchased the 1903 White saloon and concentrated on that car selling it on to Clifford Ewins for a year before it went to Alan Betteridge. It has a long history of London to Brighton Runs with Alan Betteridge doing them from the 1950’s to the time he sold it to Paul Morgan in 1993. With Alan the car was painted White, had a bench rear seat and was registered CR 13.
Paul had the proper body fully restored and it is now a four seater rear entrance Tonneau as it originally was. It is now painted blue. Paul also had the brass fittings Nickel plated to save polishing. The brass top angled parts of the bonnet he had sprayed blue but the paint peeled off the brass last winter while it was under covers. I have polished them as brass at present.
Paul did London to Brighton Runs from 1996 to 2000 before he was killed in an aircraft accident. His son Patrick I believe then did three more Brighton Runs before it was left in the garage.
I purchased the car in 2014 when the family decided to move it on. I found that there were a lot of problems. The block was cracked and the HP valve surface worn to a very strange curved surface rendering the block unusable.
Where to find another block?
It just so happened that I had a spare 1903 block on my garage shelf! I cannot be sure from where it came but I suspect that it was with a lot of parts that I picked up from Dennis Blackford’s workshop after he died in the 1980’s. The parts included the White engine H4 that is in Billy and the fittings for that engine with all its pumps, the dashboard with the instruments, the water tank and its fittings, the pedals and a couple of chassis members. Almost everything that I collected has now been used!
This block was in quite good condition needing very little work apart from the usual servicing. I have since had the old block repaired and it is almost ready for use as a spare.
I had many other problems with the car. I soon had to replace all the pipework and fittings between the steam generator and the engine back to the original design, they had been re-invented but with poor function. I took off the temperature gauge that had been fitted with inadequate fittings onto the steam-line. It was not working anyway! If someone wants to ref-fit it now they can use the proper steam testing well as originally fitted.This was never an original fitting on the early cars.
I found that the dog-clutch that had been fitted onto the prop-shaft, although a useful thing to get the engine warmed up, can easily cause engine damage. When one opens the throttle enough to get the engine turning over, it invariably revs away much too fast as there is no flywheel on the engine. It had also dented the fuel tank at some point when it had been over–stressed in the past. I took it off and made a new correct new prop-shaft. The one with the dog-clutch on it will go with the car if anyone wants to try it. The car is safer and easy to drive without it but one just needs to do a lap around the car-park or start slowly on the road on starting it up.
Now I think that the car is quite reliable. Although I have not done Brighton Runs with it, we have toured in Germany, followed the Midi Canal in the South of France and toured in the Cotswold’s and New Forest with good reliability. It drives at about 30 mph and climbs hills well but does need a bit of care looking after the steam.
I am running it at present on unleaded petrol with ethylene and 10% heating oil (kerosene). I am quite sure that with decent fuel (that is unleaded petrol without ethylene, ideally 70 octane) it would be even better. The answer could be to put in a second fuel tank under the rear seats with hexane to run the pilot light on and then use 100% kerosene. I am sure that then it would always have enough steam for anywhere. We found in Heidelberger that we could climb the switchback at the back of the town quite easily with four people up.
Over the last four years, as I have sorted this car, I have written what I have done in these pages where anyone can follow them. Now I feel that it is mechanically fairly sound. Somebody should have a lot of fun with it!
Contact me soon if you are interested, otherwise it will probably go into the pre London to Brighton Auction in early November.
1903 White Model C(s).jpg (136kB)
1903 White.jpg (148kB)
Rear of 1903 White.JPG (99kB)