Single Seater



“Shoestring Special”. 1936.

My own folly for hill climbing one day! Body by Brooklands Body Craft of Oxford.

Straight Brookland look chassis made from Merlin wreck .

Finished car will resemble this to a degree.


The Shoestring Special.


When I started this next special I decided to try to build it on a shoestring. What do people NOT want??? Well as My mate Kevin Morton gave me a 1933 all helical gearbox removed from his sleek Silver Dream machine that seemed a good place to start.

No one wants a Merlin engine, unless it is to rob the crank. Nor do folk want Merlin axles……plan in place.


Nail together a pair of Merlin axles with the Merlin engine and helical gearbox. No need to carry passengers so one seat, keep costs down even more.


Two bent bits of steel held together with some cross members at 8ft 1in wheel base, under slung, holes everywhere. Less steel, less money?…. Some new springs, of Brooklands pattern. Aluminium back plates and seal carriers, aluminium trunnions on the torque tube Merlin axle. Aluminium torque tube. Merlin drums, many more holes. Aluminium Steering tubes, some bendy joints to get to centre line. Some aluminium dampers and there we go, shorted.


Light weight aluminium body by Brooklands Body Craft, no wood, less money!

18 inch knock on wheels and some free Dunlop race tyres. Add a hand full of odd, really odd, instruments and we are good to go.


Then that all helical gearbox, fitted now with straight cut gears on the constant mesh now giving Brooklands close ratios, reversed the clutch operation and modify for Borg&Beck operation. While I was at it, aluminium ball socket, as silent 3rd but shorter ( so a silent 3rd could replace it if needed) Extend gear change remote a loooong way,


Engine….Old Merlin Block, re-sleeve to + 0.020” as I found some NOS humpty pistons, much higher than Register Omega. Merlin crank, white metal rods. Best laid plans….changed to Free Arrow crank and made some Merlin length rods in tooling grade HT aluminium. Some of Keith Pointing’s Hot hot cams, New aluminium adjustable timing gears, new oil pump. Up rated valve springs, flowed head, all balanced with aluminium flywheel with steel face and Borg&Beck Ford clutch. Lucas Round Magneto. Pair of 1 ¼ SU’s on box aluminium manifold. Sorted!...... No not really, I decided, bit too light on power for a single seat racer, will do for road testing.


Next go…..Brand New Kieth Pointing 7 web block and Arrow Crank and rods, High compression pistons from Keith, and some HOT Hot hot cams and aluminium adjustable timing gears, new Brooklands oil pump. 1 ¼ bronze SU’s, as we are now going methanol and an aluminium manifold for the semi down draft float chamber setup. Head, inclined 14mm plug type, all flowed and up-rated valve springs. Scintilla Magneto. Another aluminium flywheel and Ford clutch, again all balanced with crank etc.


Now….. I have not only lost the plot, but where is that ruddy shoestring!


( No Riley Saloons were harmed in the making of this Special)