The Skeoch cycle car project

The Dalbeattie Men's Shed's signature project. We recreated a cycle car, that was built in Dalbeattie over 100 years ago from a handful of parts and some of the original plans.

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The donor steering column shroud was welded to the bulkhead mounting plate

Continuing from last month the donor steering column shroud was welded to the bulkhead mounting plate and to maintain alignment extra stays were bolted between the bulkhead and the front chassis.

October 2019 – Cash and Controls

The project received a welcome increase in liquidity with a donation from the Bert & Ruth Dunn Trust, plus proceeds from the resale of the unwanted Model T Ford front axle, allowing us to settle outstanding supplier invoices and buy a Ford Model A handbrake lever.

November 2019 – Controls vs Components

The month was largely spent wrangling controls to clear existing components such as the steering column, exhaust and cockpit floor. Fitting the dashboard, cab and seat floors has allowed us to clear most of the control/component fouls and has made the chassis more car-like. Next month we will need to remove the floor and seat bases to fit access hatches top underfloor controls.

December 2019 – Coaxing a 100 year old motor into life

We ended last month fitting final controls to the Beardmore Precision engine, and sorting transmission access hatches. The countershaft hatch under the seat was cut, but the cab floor had to be re-cut in its entirety to accommodate moving the gear lever and handbrake further outboard, to give better access to the footbrake pedal. Procuring and fitting the missing AMAL carb parts allowed us to complete the engine controls ready to coax the engine into life.

The starting mechanism which will allow a handle start via a chain driven sprocket on the engine flywheel

A slow start to the year due to the festive break and member’s holidays, however work continued on fabrication the starting mechanism which will allow a handle start via a chain driven sprocket on the engine flywheel, early February.

The covered car transporter for the Skeoch

The build really began to gather pace in February after significant injections of cash from the sale of the last Riley 9 parts donated by Archie & Betty Sinclair, and a very generous cash donation from one of our new Shedders – thank you Tony. The resulting purchases included a pair of vintage Auteroche Phares acetylene lamps, upholstery materials, and covered car transporter.

Fabrication of the coachwork has started.

In March the Shed was locked down and progress halted. The lock-down had a huge impact on all the Shedders, who missed their project work and social interaction. Tom, one of key members of the Skeoch team, has lived with Parkinson’s for 17 years. He suffered a relapse at the beginning of lockdown, and recovering from his hospital procedures took a huge toll on his mobility and wellbeing. By early June Tom needed a practical interest, so the Skeoch was moved from within the Shed to a private workshop where Tom could tinker and interact with other individuals whilst observing social distancing.

The starting mechanism which will allow a handle start via a chain driven sprocket on the engine flywheel

Good old-fashioned fabrication skills resolved two of the our ongoing build difficulties – a new hand built starting handle & support bracket is now robust enough for repeated use; and a process of hand beating long louvres into bonnet side panels was developed using a profiled concave die machined by Donald. Coachwork progressed with the fabrication of rear wings and front wings (inner and outer). Work started on the upholstery, rubber flooring and windscreen support frame.

Having the car on axle stands gave easy access to refitting the overhauled engine and permitted coachwork detailing.

With the coachwork moving to completion, this month’s efforts were largely expended on resolving a couple of drive issues. The engine was removed to find an oil leak source, which lead to a complete engine strip down.

September 2020 – Rolling again, and a Press call

This month saw many of the workfaces complete, the wheels came back from powder-coating looking good and were re-fitted; fitting the seat squab completed the upholstery and trim items such as the boot and bonnet catches, the radiator badge, number plates and makers plate were fitted. Although the Skeoch team will continue to rework some of the mechanics to improve robustness, the car runs well and is ready for the paint-shop.

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