Author Topic: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth  (Read 8369 times)

steven mandell

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Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« on: January 01, 2014, 04:25:33 PM »
I know that they stopped being produced in 1958, but there had to be some good mechanics, if not factory personnel, maintaining these cars for at least a decade after that.  A somewhat younger mechanic from that era should still be cogent enough to add the voice of experience to my usual wonderings, and thus could save me the huge amounts of time that I have been wasting trying to rectify many of the idiosyncratic mechanisms that no longer function as intended.
I am well aware that some of the original engineering was sub optimal, and will be happy to try my lot at improving some systems for the sake of enhancing drive ability.  But for me to have to waste inordinate amounts of time discovering what someone else already knows from historical experience runs counter to my New Years resolution to work smarter.

Alan Budd has been extraordinarily generous by providing me with an owner's manual and wiring diagram before I had known to ask.
He also allowed me to buy the transmission that I so sorely needed.  But I don't know if he is a Petite mechanic per se, and has not answered my emails requesting a phone number for several days now while I waste my time blundering onward.

Alan Hitchcock is perhaps the single most knowledgable all round fountainhead of micro mechanical knowledge.
He has been enormously helpful in getting many micro car mechanical mysteries, including Petite ones, solved.
However, the Petite is one of the very few English micro cars that he has not chosen to own, so the telephone number of someone with the quintessential voice of Petite experience would still be appreciated.
Thank you all for any leads that you may choose to provide, and a Happy New Year to us all.
Steven Mandell

Jean

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014, 06:49:56 PM »
If you read RUMCAR NEWS on a regular basis you would know that Alan Budd is our expert on all things AC Petite and that he writes an article in the magazine each month.  He does a tremendous job  on a voluntary basis and can hardly be expected to answer phone calls during a holiday period.  Jean
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steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 07:09:51 PM »
I will be happy to subscribe to your magazine as well as buy past issues that deal with technical articles that deal with my quests.
Is there an index that would help me narrow down my search for same?

Bob Purton

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 12:56:40 PM »
I think you are grasping at straws Steven if you think you will find an AC Petite mechanical expert to solve all you issues. They are very obscure and an "expert"  will be even more so. Alan Budd doesn't do all his work himself on his car but uses Villiers services. You may want to speak to them. I'm not saying that Alan will not be able to help you though. With these very unusual cars its often a matter of learning for yourself as you go. You should subscribe to RCN anyway. I'm shock to hear that you are not already doing so.

richard

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 01:27:56 PM »
I heartily concur with both jean and bob  ;)
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 08:39:16 PM »
I think you are grasping at straws Steven if you think you will find an AC Petite mechanical expert to solve all you issues. They are very obscure and an "expert"  will be even more so. Alan Budd doesn't do all his work himself on his car but uses Villiers services. You may want to speak to them. I'm not saying that Alan will not be able to help you though. With these very unusual cars its often a matter of learning for yourself as you go. You should subscribe to RCN anyway. I'm shock to hear that you are not already doing so.

Hey Bob,
Nothing obscure about whether a mechanic has spent significant time trouble shooting these cars, and verifying that he is still breathing.  Hard to find- yes, but considering the number of Petites originally built and the fact that they probably actually travelled the roads in your country for at least several years, it does seem likely that there would be a few qualified mechanics still out there.  You know how helpful this can be as you have helped me out with a couple of jams that I've got myself in for lack of information on my Nobels.  Thanks again for helping me sort out the hubs and springs correctly.
Big Al and Alan Budd have both been extremely helpful getting me information that they had available to them.   I did just now finally leave an in depth telephone message for Alan Budd with the exact info requests that I need answered, after emailing him these same requests to both email addresses a number of days earlier.

The Villiers engine and car's electrical system are so simple that I have been able to successfully muddle through problems with these systems on my own.  It is the Burman gearbox and clutch actuation mechanism as well as the column controlled shifting mechanism (on a rear engine car!) that has been giving me headaches.  They suffer from poor design/ materials as well as both idiosyncratic and enigmatic as well as at least partially unknown (to myself) set up procedures that undoubtedly contribute to the car's reputation for terrible shifting.  I've done plenty of learning as I go, its time to cut to the chase and hear the voice of experience over the telephone lines.

My intention is to get the car shifting as good as it ever was designed to, BEFORE making mods to allow it to probably end up being the best shifting Petite there ever was.  This way I can keep it as original as possible whilst creating a good driver.
When I first attempted initiation of my subscription, I was simultaneously trying to find out which back issues I should bundle in, so as to complete a most useful compilation of articles related to the technical aspects of the microcars that I own.  At that time a contributor/  member advised me that the articles relating to the specific makes that I was interested in were not to be expected to be primarily technical in nature.  I am a grease under my fingernails, grass roots microcar enthusiast that lives to get all my microcars on the road.  So I repeat my requests;  1) is there anyone out there that can help me get the data that I am in need of
2) Is there an index of past issues that would accurately identify what technical issues for which cars were gone into with each issue?  I am particularly interested in AC Petite, Nobel, Peel, and Frisky articles.
Thank you,
Steve

Chris Thomas

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 09:14:08 PM »
Dear Steve
I have the list of articles in the back issues of RCN. However I do not think it will tell you what you want to know as it only lists the articles on specific cars, not the regular register reports, or what issues were discussed in each register article.

I will email you the back issue list, but I warn you not all of the back issue are available, Some I have rebuilt as electronic issues, some we have as paper issues and some are just out of stock.

I am assured by those that know, once you start reading Rumcar News, you will become hooked. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Chris Thomas
Rumcar News


steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 09:33:03 PM »
Thanks!
Perhaps I could even pm the authors of the regular register reports for their suggestions, in addition to requesting the issues that have articles about the cars of my interest.
Anyway you look at it, seems like I'm in for some fun readings.
Should help revive my spirits during frustrating times of being stuck in microcar mystery. :)

richard

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 09:46:43 PM »
best of luck with your enquiries steven  :D :D
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

Bob Purton

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 12:20:46 AM »
Both Richard and I were treated to a ride in Alans Petite at the National rally last year, I think I can safely say that the gear shifting is truly awful and if ever there was a case for a modification it would be this area of the car. The performance is as I think Richard described it "underwhelming"  All the same there was something about it that I found appealing and can fully understand why you want to get your sorted. I still think you will be working it out for yourself though.

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 01:19:06 AM »
I wonder if Stuart might have any ideas? I know there's little in common between AC's invalid carriages & the Petite, but perhaps someone who worked on one might have had experience of the other.
Malcolm
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Bob Purton

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 08:48:25 AM »
Or could try the AC owners club but looking at there website I guess they would deny any knowledge of AC ever being involved in three wheelers or conveyances.  http://www.acownersclub.co.uk/default.asp

richard

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2014, 09:04:03 AM »
What else was that villiers set up used in ?  No idea , was it "industrial" ? , a cement mixer perhaps ?  ;).       Or am I just stirring it  :)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 10:17:04 AM by richard »
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2014, 10:31:52 AM »
Yes it was industrial, with a full sized automotive starter and exposed ring gear.
It features a triple fan belt drive to the remote gearbox and flywheel with chain drive to a separate full differential.
Cobbled together a bit like a backwards Berkely, but with perhaps a better engineered differential.

The cars were recognized as having good suspensions and a soft ride, and were advertised as being able to "cruise at 35 mph all day" while getting 60 mpg.
Notice that the jack  stands in the picture are obviously ahead of the cars center of gravity.
Thus the greater amount of tendency to roll being handled by a full width axle with fully independnt suspension and coil springs.
Hence the reports of good ride and handling.

Bob Purton

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2014, 02:08:27 PM »
Yes, I can confirm the good comfortable ride of the Petite. My ride in Alans car demonstrated that. Now that you have said that it was only meant to go at 35mph that does explain why Alan didn't want to take the car on the Saturday drive out. He kept saying that he would not be able to keep up. I know he was worried about getting up a hill local to the camp site that to any other microcar would not have posed much of a threat. I offered him a ride and we did the run out together in Thumper. Most enjoyable except for a very slow start due to the pesky James May and all his film crew slowing us down. I dread to think what the program he was making will be like but just the bit we witnessed them make was studded with inaccuracies.