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Classical Gas is an independent web site and is not affiliated to any of the clubs or organisers of the events featured. Words and Pictures by Michael unless attributed otherwise. Michael is a proud member of the MCC, ACTC, Dellow Register and Falcon amongst others, but does not represent their views nor the views of any other organisers or clubs.

Me and My Dellow

October 2004 - Part 2 - First published here on 27 December 2004

Michael in his Dellow on The March Hare. The high bonnet line, outside fiddle brake and abscence of doors identify it as a Mk 1.

As can be seen from this picture there is a lot of work to do to bring the car back to good condition.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them
Click here for some notes on this article from Nigel Brown

I have had many years of enjoyable trialling in my Yellow Beetle since I bought it back in 1990. It’s been developed into a very capable Classic Trials car, but in recent years I found it lacking in two respects.

When I changed to a 1300 so I could compete in class 4 to reduce the number of re-starts I managed to obtain the ex-Robert Clough Triple winning engine. This is a great motor for classics, but is far to “peaky” for the local PCT’s,.

The family bought me a Nova for Christmas and I had fun in that until Murray arranged for me to passenger Dudley Sterry which decided me I wanted an open car. A Troll was my first choice and I had my eye on David Aldersons car before David Thompson snapped it up.

Then, on this years Clee Hills I suddenly decided to get a Dellow. Not an original spec car, an 1172 side valve and 3 speed box wasn’t appealing, No, I wanted a class 8 cross-flow car.

It was remarkably easy to find one. An e-mail enquiry to The Dellow register put in me in touch with Jim Harvey who told me there were two cars available that fitted my spec. One was in the West Country in good nick, the other in Yorkshire and a bit tatty. They were both the same price! Further questioning revealed that the good one had worn three registration numbers in its career and it didn’t have a chassis number. The tatty one had a complete provenance and that was the one that ended up in my garage.

It’s a Mk1 which means no doors, a high bonnet line at the front and that glorious outside fiddle brake. It left the factory on 8th December 1950 for The Regal garage in West Croydon who had it on their books until 2nd May 1951 when it was bought by a Mr Herbert Wilson. He sold it three years later and it went though a succession of owners until it ended up disused in a barn near Chichester.

It came to light again during a house clearance and was acquired by Porsche enthusiast Peter Wilson who had it converted to its present spec by his local agricultural engineer in 1988.

The conversion is functional rather than elegant. The Escort axle has a much wider track than the original so the wheels stick out. Most conversions use the narrower axle from a 105E. The other very noticeable thing is that the air filter sticks out of the bonnet which rather offends the purists.

Frankly a lot of the engineering on the conversion was not done very well and as the body has never been restored it is not a pretty car. That is part of its charm. It goes and I can use it but there is plenty of scope for me to exercise my mechanical skills.

In the time I have owned it I have completely stripped and rebuilt the brakes, introducing me to the joys of making brake pipes. Fifty years of grime and rust have been cleaned from half of the chassis and new paint applied. I have also done quite a bit of re-wiring and got some of the instruments to work.

It has had five competitive outings, two PCT's, the March Hare and two autotests. I have discovered that under high bonnet temperature can cause it to refuse to start when hot, so I have fitted a decent electric fan which seems to solve the problem.

So I am certainly enjoying my Dellow but it will be a while before it ventures to far from home. First because it needs a lot more work before it can be trusted mechanically. The second is that I have to find a way to fit my lanky 6ft frame into it properly!


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