With the long, dark winter nights during in, I feel it’s a perfect time to share some of the bikes that have been bought and stored for a future build. Along with the frame I used in the Kerry’s build, came this frame and three others. This frame looks the worst in terms of it’s visual appeal but after a bit of research I think it’s possibly the most interesting.
Looking purely at the frame you can see it has a bit of history. The paint looks to be brown but in some places you can find a vivid red. You’ll see the serial number carved in to the seat tube which generally tells me it’s an early frame (Pre 1960). The chrome that remains is rusted and shows a life lived in the elements. The transfers that remain are the biggest clue to this bikes identity though. Along the down tube there is the shadow of a transfer reading Ulster Sports but if you look around you’ll see the Rudge badge on the forks and the Raleigh tubing label on the seat tube. The head badge is long gone and all the components have been stripped but the identity of the frame remains.
Looking through the Veteran Cycle Club library I came across the 1957 catalogue, here it is, the Rudge “Ulster Sports” in the vibrant red the frame should be showing.
The catalogue shows the men’s model but scrolling through I find a table at the bottom which shows the correct equipment for the ladies.
26″ x 1 1/4″ Rims
Fixed / Freewheel gearing OR if you’ve got the extra money, a 3 Speed Sturmey Archer gearing.
3 1/2″ Rubber Pedals
All Rounder Handlebars with an adjustable stem
Caliper Brakes with hooded levers
White Celluloid Mudguards
Brooks B72L Saddle
Royal Carmine Finish (For this particular bike)
Kitbag, Tools, Inflator, Reflector & Fork lamp bracket as accessories.
Certainly a nice list of parts to find but for an extra helping hand the VCC has the spare parts brochure which gives an exploded diagram for the bike.
I love to see the detail like this. It makes tracking down the correct parts a lot easier. The original brochures are a massive help by themselves but they often lack the detail needed to pinpoint an exact model of part. I’ll have fun hunting down the long list of parts.
Now for a bit of history of the company. Rudge-Whitworth was founded in 1894 from a merger between Whitworth Cycle Company of Birmingham and the Rudge Cycle Company of Coventry. They produced Bicycles, Saddles, Motorcycles and Wheels. In 1938 they sponsored Billie Fleming for the World Record attempt of most miles covered on a bicycle in a year. She cycled 29,603.7 miles in that year and the record stood until her death (aged 100) in 2014! Raleigh bought Rudge in 1943 and after this point Rudge badged bicycles were essentially Raleigh models using familiar Rudge components (crown and chain wheel). The Rudge name was killed off sometime in the early 60’s.
I’d class this build as a bit of a back burner. I’d like to put some time into finding the right parts and restoring the bike to it’s original 50’s glory. The hardest, and probably the most expensive parts to find will be the rims. I’ll have a good look but it may be easier to convert to the more “popular” 26″ x 1 3/8″. There are Rudge spares floating around on eBay, whether they match this build or not, I’m not sure but I’ll investigate further. So there we go, another build to go parts hunting for.
As always, I keep an eye out for bargains on eBay. Things that I’m planning for further down the line. If they come up cheap enough, a last second snipe is all it takes and I’ll find the money. This time round a bucket seat.
There’s obviously the benefit of weight reduction when fitting a fibreglass bucket seat over OEM seats, as well as the body holding form for any spirited drive but I have to say, I find them comfier than standard seats. I don’t find the standard leather Corolla seats really that comfy. They have a large lower back support which forces my body into a shape it doesn’t really like to sit in, and my shoulders are rarely resting on the back. Comparing it to the minimal padding, body hugging BuddyClub seat I had in the Civic, well, I loved that seat. I could drive for hours and because it held me all the time I was never uncomfortable.
For the grand sum of £33 I’ve managed to bag myself a Cobra Imola 2 fixed back bucket seat. It was dirty as hell when I got it, covered in dust, dirt and years of grime, but amazingly, it doesn’t have any tears. There’s a few tiny holes (possibly fag ash burns?) in the seat cushion but they’re barely 1mm in diameter. I’ve stripped it all down tonight, chucked the covers in the washing machine and they’ve come out brilliantly. A little faded but for a seat that was produced in 1997, I can live with that.
When it comes to weight, even with the custom side mounts it has, the seat weighed in at 6.2KG. I’m expecting the standard seat to be around 18KG so even after I get some rails made I think I’ll have around a 10KG saving. Now all I’ve got to do is find a similar seat for the passenger side and replicate the weight saving. Well, that and make some rails and find some harnesses.
I can’t be doing with seatbelts… they’ll scuff up the material!
In preparation for my re-entry into the 21st century (having broadband installed in my flat) I thought I’d get a little office set out. We had a bit of a re-model at work and some lengths of timber were being thrown out. Discoloured, slightly warped and full of old screw holes they aren’t the prettiest pieces but I took a few to use. Before I set about assembling the desk I gave them all a quick run through the thicknesser to clean them up.
I wasn’t really too fussed about looks or fancy joints so I’ve just assembled a simple frame with a random selection of screws I found in the garage. Combined with the ply top I bought it doesn’t look too bad and it does the job. Sometimes a simple design is all it needs.
I’ve finally managed to put the Honda Integra Type R Recaro I bought to good use too. It’s not the best condition seat in the world, a quick repair should sort that but my god it’s comfortable. I actually managed to salvage the base from the skip at work too and make myself a basic adapter and voila. One Recaro office chair. Considering the retail on a brand new, Recaro branded office chair is around £1500, the £50 I’ve spent on this makes it a massive bargain!
Hopefully tomorrow, Virgin will have installed their cables and my internet will be up and running. Finally.
Four days off in a row; bliss. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do. I had planned to get the steering rack changed on the Corolla but the weather has been against me. It seems the British summer has returned, bringing in the clouds and the rain and making sunshine a rare occurrence.
Fortunately, for a brief time every evening at sunset, I have noticed the sun make an appearance. It’s given me a chance to take a few photos and try a few longer exposures. I’ve set my tripod up looking over the Hopwas hills, dialled down the ISO, closed off as much aperture as possible and let the shutter speed slow right down. On those darker, windier days I’ve managed to capture some slight movement in the clouds with a 60+ second exposure, where as on the lighter days I’ve tried to capture the colours the sun throws onto the clouds.
I originally wanted to capture the lighting from a thunder storm but unfortunately that storm blew quickly past. It would have been interesting to see if I could have caught the whole lightning trail… maybe next time! These may not be the best photos ever but I’m quietly content with how they’ve turned out.
Continuing on with my old Civic now…
I’d left things in the last part with the car now being powered by a B Series engine. The old D Series engine was about as healthy as a an old man, living off McDonalds, with his only exercise being lifting the 40 cigarettes he smokes to his mouth a day. It was pretty pathetic so the added power and health of the B16A2 made a big difference. The engine came with a cheap 4-2-1 manifold, short shifter and Fidanza lightweight flywheel which improved things a bit more but there were still a few parts I was eager to change.
I was still focused on keeping the car comfy but added more a performance hint to my choices. I’d managed to complete my interior with a couple of lucky finds in the scrapyard; a rare European only centre console that was designed to store tapes and a moderately rare armrest, both in black to match the rest of the interior. I was happy with how the interior sat so began concentrating on power and handling upgrades. The first to come along was a Beaks Rear Lower Tie Bar which was nice and simple to fit; whether it did any good, I couldn’t tell. Soon after that I picked up a HKS Super Drager exhaust system to free up a bit of power. The B16 was being strangled by the tiny OEM system on the car and once this system was fitted I could feel the difference in response. It was also a pretty quiet system (even with the de-cat), perfect for a daily driver; at cruising speed it happily mumbled away with no need to grab the ear defenders. The only downside to having this system is I found it fouled my rear Anti Roll Bar so I had to remove that in order to fit the exhaust. A few other small jobs followed; fitting a new Password:JDM Cam Seal to stop a small leak, tarting up the engine bay with Password:JDM goodies and generally cleaning everything in sight. The fuel rail and injectors came up nicely; originally being covered in surface rust, after a lot of polishing they shone brightly. There was still one thing bugging me though, my car sat too high!
I put the call out for a set of coilovers and one of my friends offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for a bit of cash and some Dairy Milk goodness he would give me a brand new set of MeisterR coilovers. They seemed to be getting good reviews so I went ahead with the deal and got them fitted as soon as possible. They were dead simple to fit; all the bolts came loose with ease and the coilovers slotted in with no issues. I didn’t bother adjusting the height they came out and it sat perfectly. The car looked 10 times better and handled 1000 times better.
The choice for coilovers wasn’t all about performance. It satisfied my vanity too. With Japfest 2011 approaching I wanted the car looking pretty so it would be pride of place on the Civiclife stand. I managed to find another rare JDM optional extra in the shape of a parking pole and ordered it. Despite being advertised as OEM, it didn’t have one Honda logo on it. I fitted it all the same and got it working with a few tweaks here and there. I was all set for a respray and began to sand down the bodywork, sort rust and fill any dents. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got before Japfest. I had to show my car on stand with sporadic splashes of primer covering areas I’d worked on. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. While at the show I bought and fitted a replica Back Yard Special front lip which transformed the front end completely.
Japfest passed and I continued to work on the bodywork. I wanted the aerial removed, the bonnet and tailgate de-badged and the side strip holes filled to give the look of the lower base “DX” model. All of these choices would give a much cleaner look to the car so I called on the skills of a friend and all jobs were done within a couple of hours. The welding was spot on so I didn’t need to do much work after. Next on my list was a set of new skirts and my choice was a set of “EK” Civic skirts. They’re not a direct fit but can be modified pretty easily. With some careful measuring, trimming and drilling I got them on, test fitted and resprayed them so they matched the black front lip. The car was really making progress now.
That was until things started to go a little down hill. The first bit of bad luck was buying a set of seats to replace the Integra Si ones I had fitted. I’d seen a set of Ford RS Recaros that had been retrimmed in leather and fitted to custom rails for the Civic. I fell in love with them and had no problem shelling out the cash to buy them. It turned out the only thing genuine in the advert is that they were Ford RS Recaros and they had been retrimmed. The leather turned out to be some sort of vinyl and the custom rails were butchered ford rails that sat so high my head touched the roof of the car (and I’m not that tall!) and they wouldn’t adjust properly. They wouldn’t even bolt into the car properly so after a few words and bit of research I attempted to solve the problems by buying some Integra Type R Recaro rails. They weren’t a direct fit but I got them on and got the seats in. They were tight and held you nicely but the fake leather crap on them ruined the whole experience so they didn’t last long in my car.
The next thing to happen was my passenger side driveshaft decided to destroy itself. The inner CV joint shattered into various pieces of metal and I had to quickly find a replacement. I wanted to buy brand new so headed in the direction of Tegiwa Imports but it only added to my misery. The new shaft they sent me caused problems from the start. It fitted in ok but when I drove off I noticed a vibration under acceleration. After contacting them and being assured they were balanced I drove over and picked up a replacement but suffered from the same issues again. I didn’t bother going back to them and fitted a used Honda shaft; low and behold, everything ran smoothly again.
With everything back up and running smoothly and after both those incidents I decided to treat myself to some new goodies. The seats, being first on my hit list, got replaced with a almost completely mint set of red EK9 Recaros. They transformed the driving experience! Comfortable, good looking and held me well in the corners; everything I needed from a seat. The only downside to them is they’re a bit heavy and with that thought I began thinking about the weight of the car. The added KGs of the seats were offset with one of my favourite purchases. A set of, extremely lightweight, Works E-Wing RSa wheels! They came completely stripped of paint and ready to be refurbished so I sent them off to a friend and told him I wanted them Honda Vivid Blue Pearl. The finish was amazing, I fell in love with the colour and on the car, they set the whole thing off. They were worth every penny but lead to a lot more pennies being spent! I’d been bitten by a lightweight bug.
I now wanted to take my car in another direction. I wanted to make it fast and lightweight. I started counting every kilo but had to sort one more thing first. The cheap short shifter that came with the engine was awful; it may have shortened the throw but it made everything clunky and shifting was hard work. I solved that with a set of Integra Type R gear linkages and shifter, combined with a weight Skunk 2 gear knob. With new bushes fitted and the added weight of the knob the shifting experience improved and every gear change was smooth. That one last little niggle was gone now and I could focus on loosing some weight.
Only small things went to start with. The electric window mechanisms the car had as standard were replaced the manual ones from a DX model. That meant the door cards had to be changed too; not wanting to remove them completely just yet. The DX ones were grey and horrible so I punched out the centres, retrimmed them in black suede and fitted them to my black door cards. A few KGs saved there and the next item saved a few more. I bought a pair of JDM headlights which, unlike our UK lights, have lenses made from plastic. The plastic weighs less than the glass but suffers from degrading more so they required a bit of tidying up. After going through countless grades of sandpaper and hours polishing they came up as good as new. They saved another KG or two but it set me off on a new journey of counting kilos.
The whole aim of the car had changed once again and a new chapter had begun. It would lead me again to transform the car and eventually; to the track.