Thursday, March 23, 2006

Longstone Tyres

Thankyou for your order submitted via the Longstone Tyres website at 1:56 23rd March 2006. Order Details:

2 x 175SR16 Dunlop Trident Taxi Tyre (ZZ1193) @ US Dollars 99.18
Goods Total: US Dollars 198.36
Delivery: US Dollars 34.80
Tax: US Dollars 0.00
Estimated Grand Total in Your Currency: US Dollars 233.16
Actual Grand Total in Transactional Currency: GB Pounds 134.00

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I wasn't able to work on the car this week. Did manage to make a batch of chili. My recipe

  • 1 - 2 lbs. Quality stew beef
  • 1-2 Chipotle Chiles
  • 3-6 Ancho chills or 2-4 Guajillo or Mulato chills.
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • butter or oil

Seed the dried chilies (or not if you like the seeds) Boil some water. Take it off the heat and soak the chills in the water. While the chilies are soaking peel and quarter the onion. Crush and peel the garlic. Place the onion and garlic in a food processor. Drain the chilies and place in food processor. Put on the lid and puree. Heat oil or butter in a large pot. Clarify butter. Crank the heat all the way up. Fry the chili puree for a few minutes then add the meat. Brown the meat. Add the tomatoes and the paste. Add about a cup of water. Heat to boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook a few hours. Add water as needed. Serve with plain rice, corn tortillas and a salad. Sour cream if you want it.

Chipolte is a smoked dried jalapeno. No substitute for this ingredient. I've use several varieties of chilies for the others. Each brings a unique flavor. Some are hotter than others. If you have a choice, start with Ancho chilies.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stop Press

Something monumentally important happened today. So important that the word monumentally doesn't begin --- mere words have no meaning.

Whole Foods has chocolate biscuits. Chocolate Biscuits are the single best thing English culture has produced. You can't eat the Magna Carta. And you can't get Chocolate Biscuits here. Not at the grocery store anyway. July 3rd I bought 20 packs at the Sainsbury's across from the Russel Square tube station. We've been out since October.

So what are they? As an American, I would say they are kinda like chocolate covered Gram Crackers. That is the same as saying tea is kinda like coffee. They are chocolate biscuits and there is no substitute.

Biscuits come in a variety of flavors. Rich Tea, Digestive, wholemeal. They can be covered with plain chocolate or milk chocolate. Our favorite is the Plain Chocolate Digestive. Sainsbury's store brand are the best. McVities are a close second. If only the bomb was as well executed as those biscuits.

The FX4 taxi design was a great idea. The overall layout of the car, use of space, visibility are all fantastic. Certainly groundbreaking in 1959. But there are many flaws. A few were fixed over the 30 years the taxi was in production. Many never were.

These Lucas 7FJ fuse boxes are in just about every taxi ever built. By 1986 this sort of fuse box was entirely obsolete. The boxes are mounted to the driver side of the engine compartment, near the front. In this area they are exposed to road spray. The boxes are not sealed. The spade connectors aren't either. Corroded fuse box connections are a constant problem. I managed to find two NOS (new old stock) fuse boxes. I'm not sure if I am going to use them. A fuse box from a BMW would work much better.

(For anyone wondering: Yes, I missed the Bombings by a few days. Debbie was still in London and about a block away from the Tavistock Square bomb when it went off.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A few good bits

Sunday I pulled all the parts off the two wings. The wings on an FX4 are in two halves. I've never seen another car built like this. Splitting the wings was supposed to reduce the cost of collision repairs. I doubt it was anything but a source of rattles. A few hours work produced a box full of rusty bits along with the 4 wing panels. The right wing went directly to the trash. I don't have much hope for the box of rust. The headlight buckets are both bent. So are the metal gaskets that goes behind them. The rest of the right head light assembly was missing. The left might as well have been. New headlamp parts are available, just expensive.

The front side marker lamps are a different story. They are in very bad condition. I may be able to save the lenses. The side markers on the Bomb are not the same as an ordinary FX4 taxi. To meet US DOT requirements, Carbodies used parts from other British cars. I recognized the rear markers from an MG Midget. I've looked and they are available at $57.00 each. I looked at lots of photos and the fronts appear to be from a Triumph. No longer available. I'll see what turns up. Norm may have a set. I can always use the side markers from an 1980's FX4. I may have to.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Body Shops

The bomb is a wonderful learning tool. I am constantly reminded how not to restore a car. Body shops do the minimum work required for customer acceptance. Customers never look under or behind a repair. By the time the repair fails, the customer may not even own the car.

That rusty red thing is the inside of the right wing. That wing is a replacement. The shop only painted the outside of the wing. The inside is covered only with shipping primer. Customer can't see the inside of the wing, so why paint it? This wing is just about gone. It has rusted through from the back in several places. Some parts of the bomb's body lost their paint in this collision. The body shop didn't bother putting any sort of paint on any part that was covered by the wing. Those areas are now badly rusted.

The left wing had never been removed before today. I can tell because the left wing still had the factory gasket and fasteners. The right wing did not. The inside of the wing is protected by a nice coat of blue paint. Someone with a little skill could save this one. Someone not me. I'm going to keep the two left wing sections to practice on. By the way, you can click the images for a larger view.
The only rust is from collision damage. The wing was hit from the front. The dents were pulled, filled and painted from the front. The shop did not repair the damage to the paint on the back side of the wing. The exposed metal rusted. There are many places that were repaired this way and they are all rusting from behind.