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East Midlands Silver Shadow Workshop October 2023

October, 19th 2023

On Sunday 15 October, a bright and sunny day, visitors from all over the UK and Europe - including Denmark, Germany, Italy and Switzerland - gathered in Derby for a day of facts and friendships, supported by feasting. Hosted by Mike and Christina Wild at their modern facility on the outskirts of Derby, there were five technical focuses that ran in parallel through the day: bodywork, electrics, the hydraulic systems architecture, engine hydraulics and routine maintenance; each with a specialist tutor. An important theme was ensuring that the car’s safety was considered both in the workshop and when in use.

The hands-on opportunities were clear as a pair of legs was evident sticking out of Christina Wild’s Shadow 1 boot with their owner inspecting the mounting places for rear seatbelts.

Martin Carnell covered the electrical brief, supported by a demo board of a typical car’s complete electrical system, lamps, test gear, SU electric fuel pumps and a Shadow driver’s door complete with switchgear, lock, window-lift motor and loudspeaker. The latter has very recently been generously donated to the Section by Flying Spares Ltd. Company representatives were with us for the day and had many discussions with members about their services.

David Howard explained the operation of the heart of the hydraulic systems – the twin engine-driven pumps, the fluid reservoir, and their accumulators (the “spheres”) – by dismantling and re-building one of the pumps on our demonstration engine. He also had other useful safety sideshows including an illustration of date-coding on tyres. With the low annual mileages driven by classic cars it is not unusual for tyre life to be set by deterioration of the rubber rather than tread wear.

The Bentley T Series was not neglected in the Workshop with two cars present. Nicholas Simons based his explanation of routine maintenance procedures around his immaculate example.

This was all thirsty and hunger-inducing work. We were supported through the day by hot drinks, mugs of soup and cheese cobs prepared and served by the “Domestic Engineers”. They, the instructors and indeed all delegates had their participation recorded at a ceremony where certificates were awarded.

The final technical focus was covered by Rod Golightly who backed up the practical work on hydraulics with a very clear and detailed description of the architecture of the systems and their components. The debt to the legendary DS from Citröen, whose system was licenced by Rolls-Royce, was clear as was the typical development and refinement that the Company applied in all design work. Again safety was explained, particularly the risk associated with the transmission accidentally being put in gear when there is no driver in the seat.

The event was further enhanced by Lydia Chapman – Head of Marketing, based at The Hunt House – who brought a range of items from the Club Shop and some welcome free gifts. She took many opportunities to talk to members and explain the wide benefits that Club membership brings. It was good to hear from Wojtek Kordel, who was present, that he is working on the revival of technical events at THH.

There was also a mini-exhibition of engines, including a 6.75 litre Bentley V8, a turbocharged Bentley V8 and a R-R straight 6 that was used in the Van den Plas Princess R. These engines were borrowed by Reg White for the event.

We look forward to the next workshops which will be for Small HP Cars on April 16th and 23rd 2024.

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