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Monday, February 12, 2018

Lost and Found in the never ending winter...

It has been a particularly strange winter this year, lots of snow, some warmth, subzero temperatures, rain;  Lather, Rinse, repeat, etc.  Since Christmas, MotoCode HQ has fallen into a state of disarray and as said HQ has no heat, the motivation to tidy it up has been quite low.

I am reminded of a quote from the Steve McQueen Film LeMans.

"Racing's important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting"

Substitute 'Racing' with 'restoration' and you get the idea.    For those of us who work on bikes and cars, both professionals and amateurs such as myself, Winter is about the waiting.

This year, I have decided to use this downtime to work on other non-vehicular projects.  Every once in a while it is healthy to take a step away from our obsessions and come back to them with a fresh perspective.

For me, this has been a foray into (fiction) writing and film making.  I have wanted to play the auteur for a considerably long time but was never quite sure where or how to start.  Like anything else the answer is simple;  Dive in and do it.  Take any conceptions of success or failure out of your mind and see where the experience takes you.  Letting my creativity run free and stepping away from the technical has been rejuvenating.  I often wake up energized, full of new ideas to put into action.

My format of choice at the moment is Super 8mm.  I love the look and the simplicity of camera use. The focus is on what is being filmed rather than how.  At some point (maybe the Paris Rally?) I would like to capture some classic vehicles on film and share it here.

With all that being said, I apologize for the lack of posts but they are forthcoming.  I have some Firth's Motorcycle catalogs to share and once spring is upon us, project updates.

If this winter has you feeling somewhat despondent, switching gears may just work for you as it has for me.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Change of heart!

I just can't do it...

Cut the roof of an original car that is.  Maybe I am still seeing images of Daisy being cut up for the sweet hereafter.

I started to measure, mark, plot and plan but I didn't feel right somehow.

If anyone is interested in the original sunroof frame it will be up on The Samba for sale.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

To the fellow who emailed me....

I received your email and replied, however it bounced back.   That being said, I will post my response here for you:

Hi Scott,

I'm afraid I don't have any information on that specific bike.  I can give you a couple of leads though.  I am not sure if you knew this but Loran was the shop that took over when Harry Firth retired around 1980.  Firth's would have likely sold the bike originally (I have a 1969 myself that came from the same shop) as they were the main Norton dealer in Southern Ontario.

Mark at British Cycle Supply was trained at Firth's and had some contact with Loran afterwards.  

Mark is a very helpful guy and might possibly have some insight. Chances are very good that the owner may have ordered parts from him.  

The other lead would be the access Norton forum.  The members there are well connected, many of them from Ontario.  Someone there may recognize the name of the owner or be aware of the bike. 

I hope this helps and thank you for reading!


As for everyone else, I wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Welding updates...

As per my last post, I started a 6 week welding course at the local college.  I was four weeks in when the college staff went on strike.  For now at least, things are on Hiatus.

We spent quite a bit of time on SMAW (stick welding) which was highly educational;  The biggest lesson being that it is much easier to strike an arc with an auto-darkening helmet!  I was fortunate that we moved on to MIG on the last day, with a good three hours of lab time.  

With my Saturdays free I decided to have a look for my own machine.  As usual I turned to Kijiji in the hopes of finding something locally.  I cannot for the life of me understand advertising an item for sale and then ignoring potential buyers.  This is what I ran into on six different occasions until I found something within an hour from home. 

For the bargain price of $80.00 I turned up this little Italian made gem built in 1985.  

It's a little beaten up, but everything fires up nicely and it has its own stand (on wheels).  That being said, the gun is a little damaged and the tip was missing.  I discovered that it takes a 6mm Euro-type 15 which is available on Ebay and other online sources.  I bought a 5 pack from Scotland which came to about $7.00 including shipping!  

If you Google BeccaMig 140 virtually nothing will come up. I did email TelWin, the company who built it and was politely told that due to the age, they have no data to share.  I was hoping they might have had an archived manual somewhere. 

Without any Argon gas there isn't much I can really do, however I was able to test with the new tip and everything is a go! 

Until next time....

Monday, September 11, 2017

Get the lead in!

My poor old Beetle had definitely seen better days before it found me in 2014.  One of the most awkward spots to tackle was the rust right below the windshield.   Fortunately for me that area was solid but badly pitted with a few holes here and there (small ones).

I knew that putting body filler over top was a poor idea as rust could reform and bubble up under the paint.  I thought of fiberglass, however that was also messy and problematic.  I decided the best approach was to go back in time to the days of lead solder filling.   There is an excellent supplier in the US, TP Tools.

I had all the items shipped to my US address and they arrived within 2 business days.  I purchased lead body solder, tinning butter and a copper brush for application.

I have been sitting on this stuff for a couple months and decided to dive in yesterday afternoon.

Here are the shots of the process.

Here we have some small holes and pitting

initial filling of the holes 
I added some more material and smoothed it out.

Overall I am pretty pleased, especially for a first attempt.  I will need to use a thin layer of filler to smooth things out, however it is being applied to metal coated in high build primer.

I hope to have the rest done before class starts on Saturday morning!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back to School!

We are never too old to learn and never too old to deal with what has been put off.

I have decided to tackle both by signing up for a welding course at the local community college. 

 My friend did an exceptional job installing my floors and heater channels;  I found myself envious at times as he made it look so easy.  He is entirely self taught, honing his skills over the last 27 years on British cars and other projects.   

I am ashamed to admit that I was intimidated by welding and always avoided it.  Relying on others is fine on occasion, but not something to make a habit of.  

My friend has a young family and a demanding work schedule these days.  In conversation he has told me he feels badly about not getting the Beetle finished;  I always make sure to show appreciation for all the hard work he has already put in.  Without him, the project would have never gotten off the ground. 

It is definitely up to me to take things over the finish line.  

With formal instruction I hope to gain the confidence to do my own work.   The course runs from Mid-September until the end of October, every Saturday morning for four hours. 

I am very excited to take on this new challenge! 

Not me.....yet.  (soon though!)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ask and ye shall receive....

I asked the universe if I should do a ragtop conversion on the Beetle.  The universe in turn, put one right in my lap.  My lap and the rest of me will be making a two hour drive to collect in the next couple weeks, but so it goes.

It happened that quickly;  As a curiosity, I scanned the classifieds on the Samba and found this for a very reasonable price.

This roof clip from a '63 isn't perfect or complete but it is a great start!  The general consensus within the VW community is that aftermarket ragtops are subpar to a donor clip.  Well, I now have a donor clip and can gradually buy all the bits as I go.  This will make it easier to budget things over the winter.

It's funny how little signs pop up now and again.

Yesterday I wrote about my old friend Victor;  A few hours later, I spied a faded red Beetle (post '67) in the Dofasco parking lot.  What are the odds?

I believe in listening to the universe and it seems the universe occasionally listens to me.

Until next time....


I am still working on the Matchless engine rebuild.  Progress is being held up by a $1.38 sludge trap screw that will arrive in a few weeks.