The Best of British

The series 1 Land Rover arrived on Friday as planned and we decided to go ahead with the brake master cylinder conversion.  The original Girling cylinder has had it’s share of trouble over the last year or two:  It had been sleeved and assembled with a new kit set but after a while the brakes started to stick on. The culprit was the recuperating valve which relies on a wavy washer to allow the line pressure to reduce. Said wavy washer had become almost flat, allowing it to seal against the recuperating valve rubber even when the pedal was released.  Over the course of time we have exhausted the Thetford supplies of secondhand wavy washers (some re-formed with fine nosed pliers) and eventually they have all flattened and whenever the ambient temperature is high enough to soften the rubber seal, the brakes stick on despite having plenty of pedal free play. These cylinders were not well loved in the trade when new and were soon superceded by the later Girling design with no recuperating valve and this is the type used in the conversion.  Although the new design uses two mounting holes at 180 degrees compared to the original design of 3 holes at 120 degrees, making an adaptor plate was feasible since the pitch circle of the mounting centres is identical thereby aligning the bottom hole of the new cylinder conveniently with the bottom chassis bracket hole.  A typical and welcome bit of early postwar design standardisation!  The Land Rover brakes are now not only nice and powerful as they always were but should also be a little more reliable.

I’ve been fettling the MK2 Jag on Friday evening and we have had a lot of fun putting a few hundred miles on the clock over the weekend.  It was time to replace the old Lucas flasher unit which (as this car ably demonstrates) needs to be done every 50 years or so.  Except that the new unit which came out of it’s lovely retro – styled packaging, was worse than the old one and is now in the skip where it belongs.  The Jag is now flashing happily with an excellent unbranded unit probably made in the Middle East.

We are fortunate to have had such good parts availabilty for so many older cars in recent years although in many cases economies of scale have meant that quality is not always up to the standards of the original manufacturer.  The situation is, however continually improving both  with the increasing ease of manufacture offered by modern techniques and with increasing interest in classic cars.  Jaguar are now once again able to offer many genuine new spares for the MK2 and they have so far been of superb quality at a very affordable price.

Full marks also to the current manufacturer of the S.U. range of products:  The amount of fuel shifted in just one weekend by the Jaguar petrol pump is truly impressive!

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