The project is at that point in the build when it becomes impossible to say how much longer it will take, all the important jobs are done, but a myriad of small tasks keep appearing. Initially I have simply fitted the 2” pipe with a wrap around bracket to the RH footrest plate, the curve of the pipe takes it very close to the ignition lead of the BTH magneto where it leaves the Bakelite housing but I have said before that I know I shall have to revisit the exhaust system to placate the noise regulations but for the moment it looks the part at 44” straight through. In detail the rear fixing for the hydraulic steering damper is held down with one of the nuts on the RH rear cylinder stud on top of the head bracket FT3 casting. Its a small steel bracket that follows the casting so it can not move backwards or forwards and I have bolted a substantial alloy tapered plug into the bracket that plug takes the hydraulic damper anchor body bolt at its tip. It prevents use of one of the two spark plug holes but it could fit on the right or left hand side anyway. The whole assembly sits just below the line of the petrol tank lower edge. It is the most anachronistic part of the bike so it is important that it be neat and unobtrusive. As described in an earlier article the front Vincent damper like the rear has been modified with all the mods and seals that I considered worthwhile so that it should work effectively (time will tell). In doing all those modifications it has been in and out of my hands quite a bit, but it was only I came to fit it that I noticed for the first time that both sides of the D8 had been cut off to save weight so it was just as well I was not fitting a shroud. This Flash is proving a godsend to all the parts lovingly modified by racers over the years collected by me and now saved from the scrap bin of standardisation. The standard rev counter cable for the lightning is the same as the Shadow speedo cable at 27 ½” long when I fitted it I found this leaves the revcounter in a almost horizontal position, or having to be mounted under the handle bar, fine for variety reduction at the factory but I prefer to see the dial in a prominent position and giving plenty of clearance lock to lock so I settled for a 32” chronometric cable from Burton Bike bits. The front mudguard (another refugee from the white death of corrosion) was a standard one shortened at the rear and repositioned. Although of course a Flash does not employ a front stay I don’t like to shorten the front position too much as the forward drips from the tyre in the wet at speed easily come up and onto the visor. Two little alloy spacers 7/16 long for the ¼ bolts serve to jack the rear stay over the rear facing brake air scoop and in spite of the pictures of the Grey Flash in ‘original Vincent’ I think we can assume that like the road bikes, the tabs on the rear stay point down. For the moment I have fitted the flange fitting TT that I had on my Racing Comet before the Gardener so it should not need a lot of tweaking. Unfortunately it comes very close to the A22 oil return union, so it’s not a very satisfactory solution nor is it the correct item. Brian Hill kindly sent me some details of modifying a TT flanged body to a clip fitting body and since I have a TT body to spare that is I shall do when I get time. There is a large store on the outskirts of the nearest big town that proclaims on a large sign GO! And then lists all the outdoor pursuits they can think of: walking, climbing, push biking, running, camping, Horse riding etc etc even caravanning, (I note they do not dare to put motorcycling in). In spite of my reluctance, I go in there however because they supply a nice alloy 500cc water bottle with a plastic/metal screw looped cap for the outdoors posers. I turn the cap flat screw in an old carb fitting and perforate the neck shoulder with some small diameter holes, add some pipe and –bingo! A neat oil catch tank. Then I go into an American muscle car shop (that’s an education in itself) and buy for under £2 a Standard motor company PCV valve there are a number available this time I used a V113 (last time a V148) they are all pretty similar (big American cars do not seem to go for variety reduction) this one is about 2 inches long and ¾ wide, with an outlet at each end. The breather pipe goes from the crankcase breather (remember I ditched the breather cog) high over the carb inlet tract and down to the catch bottle by the RFM pivot I cut my pipe and fit the PCV valve in just before the curve downwards, where it hardly makes a bump in the line. This is a copy of the comet racers set up and I only emptied a spoon full or two of oil out of the bottle after all of last season. I managed to make it to the Spares Company open day with the Grey Flash it was a close call with all the other jobs on my time as I struggled to catch up on the days lost in the cold of March. But that is the point of setting a date. Leaving it late is of course in the great tradition of Vincent’s, and other British bike makers (Certainly the first HRD) in that the ‘new’ model on the stand at the show was often not a runner, I recall that one bike (perhaps a Velocette?) had the bottom of its show model tank cut out so that the head of the new taller engine would fit inside. The Flash was not that bad I simply had not had time to polish up the mudguards or paintwork, the carburettor internals timing, clutch and a few other items were unsorted and untested, and the great oil embalming process had not been done. They are the next jobs before the big start up!
The Blog Oldracers posts - Grey Flash Diary May 2013