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Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip

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1 year 2 months ago #245526 by Roderick Smith
Inspired by the Birtles adventure, my father's first car was a second-hand Bean. He had nothing but trouble with it, mainly broken stub axles on the very bad roads into the South Gippsland hills in the mid 1930s. He switched to a motorbike, then pushbikes after the war until buying the first family car when I was 2.
Roderick
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1 year 2 months ago #245528 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
I am no expert on BEANS but from what I have read the early models up to 1923 were mechanically weak and underpowered. They brought out the Model 14 and it was a huge improvement. Later in the 20's Hadfield Steel took control (they had been shareholders for years) and the big corporate "bean" counters ruled the roost with poor production choices and from all reports, absolutely atrocious quality control.

The company stopped car production and struggled on for another 15 or 20 years producing various metal products.

I believe my Model 14 was the peak of their prowess.

Lang
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1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #245540 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Managed to contact David Ragless who built the car 25 years ago. What a spritely and enthusiastic 88 year old.

It appears to be one of the great restorations. His attention to detail is extraordinary as he described everything he had done including sourcing Model A Ford rims, cutting the welded spokes out then dimpling the rims to take normal threaded spokes. He found the wheel centres on a 1930's Alvis.

Radiator all original-appearing with a modern core disguised inside, long range fuel tank etc.

He says the car drives like a dream and will do 110kmh but sits comfortably on 80 at 2,000rpm. Huge brakes 16 inch rear 14 inch front.

I had heard it was a bit squeezy but he said he was quite comfortable being only 5ft 7in but his wife (who was backseat driving the conversation on speaker phone) "...is not as.........................thin as I am".

He did lots of trips in it included rough roads in the Flinders Ranges and sang its praise.

"Do you think it will make it from England to Australia?"

"Absolutely gaurantee it. Can I come with you?"

The extra instruments are an aircraft altimeter and electronic tacho. Both of which he had the faces removed and made to match the original instrument silver finish.

It has a dual ignition system with coil and distributor backed up by a magneto using two totally different circuits unlike a Model T Ford with two plugs in each cylinder. He said it runs on both and gives a noticeable extra oomph but normal running is one or the other singly.

More as it comes to hand.
Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by Lang.
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1 year 2 months ago #245542 by wee-allis
Lang the fact that he is so keen for you to do this trip and probably not treat the car with the utmost respect at all times, after the work he put into it, is testament to the man himself. So many owners would refuse to sell their car if it wasn't to be treated with kid gloves.
I know I refused a bid of twice it's value fort my original C1300. because he wanted to make a rat rod out of it.
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1 year 2 months ago #245544 by Morris
Replied by Morris on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
Wee-allis,
I know how you feel. I will have to sell the very original 1929 Chev Ute I have had since the 1960's but I do not want it to be hot-rodded, or even worse rat-rodded.

I have my shoulder to the wheel,
my nose to the grindstone,
I've put my best foot forward,
I've put my back into it,
I'm gritting my teeth,

Now I find I can't do any work in this position!
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1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #245545 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
This is the current planning route.I have had 3 Zoom meetings with the Presidents of FIVA (the world body for older vehicles similar to the FIA for race and rally cars) in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. Most of their members are well heeled and influential people with the ability to open doors.Google maps are now starting to show roadworks and traffic snarls - the yellow and the red stop signs - so these change every time you look. You can remove them if you wish.










Distances:

London - Istanbul 3,000km
Istanbul-Lahore (Pakistan Indian border) 5,800
Lahore - Singapore 7,200
Darwin - Melbourne 5,200

Total 21,200


This is not too bad. Our trip in the same cruising speed vehicle, the FIAT 500 Bambino, from Vladivostok to Anchorage was 31,000 but we had a roof over our head!
Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by Lang.
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1 year 2 months ago #245553 by Zuffen
Replied by Zuffen on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
What's the situation with the border crossing at Lahore?

Last I heard it was difficult and slow, bordering on impossible. But then most border crossings where you are going are difficult and slow.

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1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #245555 by Lang
Replied by Lang on topic Francis Birtles Pioneer Trip
No problem for foreigners. Indian and Pakistani registered cars may not cross or operate in the other country.

I can drive across in an Australian registered car but the locals must walk or bus and be met on the other side. Remember there are several hundred million moslems living in India who want or need to visit Pakistan and vice-versa. They are not the best of mates but life still goes on.

Border crossings form the basis for many a dinner party discussion but you never know until you get there. No matter what the problem there is always a way out. A big smile, sometimes a donation, sometimes having a spiv :helper" and sometimes just waiting for the shift change and getting a new bloke.

There is no problem time and money will not fix - if you don't have one you can use the other.

Here is the ceremony every afternoon. The crowd on each side barrack for their team like European football fans. It is a great show fully choreographed between them.

Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by Lang.
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1 year 2 months ago #245560 by wee-allis
Looks like you could be in luck Lang. Not a lot of roadworks from Istanbul to Amritsar. Should be cruising.

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1 year 2 months ago #245561 by mammoth
Bean also made trucks, one being in Tasmania.
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