Replacement gears enable the adventure to continue onward
Driving through the fringes of the Gobi Desert in his 1955 Bentley Continental, Peter Noble resolved to buy a car more suitable for such pioneering motoring roads, and in 1991 bought a 1925 Lanchester 40HP Tourer, one of only 7 left hand drive cars ever made. A chance viewing of the Whicker’s World series, ‘Princes of India’, where an interview was conducted in a 1923 Lanchester 40HP belonging to the Maharaja of Alwar had awakened Peter to the Lanchester marque. This 3 ton touring car with full weather protection would make an ideal transport for crossing continents on unused roads or desert tracks.
The Lanchester brothers had built England’s first motor car in 1895 and their original principles of design and manufacture had continued to near perfection with the 40HP model favoured above Rolls Royce and Daimler by not only Maharajas of India but also English royalty. Everything about the car’s engineering is of massive proportion and if an item could be cast in bronze or solid nickel rather than plated, that is how Lanchester preferred to do it.
Last year Peter and his wife set out for a journey to Palmyra, Syria. They had taken various routes across France, Italy, Greece and Turkey to Syria over the last 15 years in the mighty Lanchester but in June 2007, just short of Clermont-Ferrand in France, there was a thunderous explosion below the car. The rear axle worm and wheel had broken. This was the first time in all of their travelling that they had to abandon the car to a transporter to have it sent home.
It would have been more depressing had they known the extent of the damage and even more depressing had they known how difficult it would have been to get another worm and wheel manufactured. Peter comments: “Renold was at first a ray of hope and later a beacon of reality that our beloved Lanchester would once again be travelling those ancient roads in far off places. Renold improved the metal by cutting the wheel from nickel bronze where Lanchester had used phosphor bronze and instead of the ‘hour-glass’ principle favoured by Lanchester they used the Holroyd parallel worm design. After producing a computer model feeding in the weight of the car, the power of the engine, the gear ratios etc, they gave an estimated life of 100,000 kilometres.”
The replacement gears have now been fitted into the axle and tested on the UK’s roads prior to a visit to India later in the year, where the car will be driven to the palaces of Alwar, the place where Peter’s passion for the Lanchester brand began all those years ago.
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