The Blog Oldracers posts - Grey Flash Diary November 2012

Grey Flash Diary November 2012

Vincent Grey Flash

I seem to remember reading somewhere that some Flashes had their brake drums painted grey, perhaps that was true for the show bikes. When it came to the short production run however, I tend to believe that it would be unusual if the ribbed drums on production Flashes were anything other than black, and it would seem reasonable if they were simply just taken off the stack of parts already in the factory for the much more prolific Lightning’s and fast twins. So black it will be (since I intended to use the Flash I shall actually paint them in heat resistant dull black). The plates themselves however I will retain in their grey finish.
Making the tank cutaway deeper and wider to accommodate the TT carburettor was a bit of a task. Metal work is not an easy job without a full set of sheet metal manipulators but I finally managed to resize the cut out, shaped some 18G sheet to match the best of my paper templates and tacked the new sides into position prior to brazing. Not the cleanest of jobs but it’s hidden away and should result in a smooth throttle and minimum interference with the intake bellmouth. I have spent too many anxious moments in the paddock after replacing the tank and then finding the throttle was stiff to want to go there again.
On cutting open the bottom of the tank, I discovered the cause of the rattling I had been hearing as I moved the tank about. It was caused by slabs of ancient tank sealant that had sprung from the tank sides and were banging around inside like so many slabs of toffee. There then ensued a lot more banging about with the result being more fake toffee on the workshop floor. In order to try and reduce the stink and smoke when it was brazed, I poured a good dose of paint stripper in the hidden side of the tank for a day or so and then flushed it away. Once its all brazed up I will be adding some ethanol resistant sealant and testing for leaks later before painting.
Since I have never been much of a polisher, (apart from engine internals). I have always been a bit worried about my credentials as a true Vincent owner, My true self emerged when it came to sorting out the timing cover and primary cover of the engine. I had borrowed a soda blaster, and a sack of real (I tasted it) baking powder, Once I had charged it up and turned on the air supply, the dark side took control and things really got out of hand. I must admit that I got nothing but pleasure from removing the high polish that some well intentioned previous owner had spent many a Sunday morning over bruised fingers and countless golden tubes of Solvo obtaining. But Oh! how nice those matt grey castings look. Perhaps to do penance to the previous toil I have now destroyed, I promise to pick out the cast Vincent script on both covers in an understated grey background.
I have now completed the majority of work on the rear half of the bike. I have decided that the final rear wheel configuration would be as I originally intended, rear brake on side opposite sprocket, with cable operation. Trevor Southwold is making me another of his neat sprocket carriers for the near side, and I have sorted the seat supports with a straight run of tube with alloy plugs for the seat bolt end, and two SP4’s at the footrest plates.
I also need, a rear abbreviated chain guard, I was going to cut an existing guard, but it would have gone against the grain (let alone the cost!) to do that. So I now intend to make it from sheet to the standard cross section, and as for length and angles I will probably have to scale it up from photos, but as was indicated to me, I can with advantage make it from alloy sheet and then paint it.
The girdralic fork blades were an object lesson in indecision. Every Vincent barfly knows the fork blades on a Flash were milled, and my pristine grey painted blades were not. I found out what the slots should look like (don’t ask, my lips are sealed) and retro engineered the milling cutter required. What stopped me were 3 considerations. The cost if anything went wrong, (and thus I needed to find a good milling machine man). The worry about strength (now somewhat abated) and most of all my reticence in altering a standard part. As I vacillated I received an email from a good fairy that wanted some standard blades and had (You guessed it) some milled ones in exchange. The swap is now work in progress.

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