Just watched a terrific Storyville on BBC4. Entitled “From the Sea to the Land: Beyond Britain’s Coast on Film”, the programme gathered up 100 years of archive footage, to tell the story of 20th Century Britain’s relationship with the sea that surrounds it. With a thought-provoking soundtrack playing in accompaniment, it was spellbinding television.
The most impressive part for me was a shipyard section filmed in the 1960s, with amazing cinematography showing the scale of some of the vessels being built, when the UK still made the world’s greatest machinery. Deeply impressive on a multitude of levels.
The age of great British fabrication was briefly revisited on Saturday, when I finally managed to strap best mate Rob Campbell at Racing Restorations to his lathe for long enough to make a bush for my 924 Turbo’s steering rack. The 924 car failed its UK MOT on steering play, ascribed to a track rod but wound up being the bush in the end of the steering rack: those bumpy Italian back roads roads taking their toll.
I was happy to go and track down the part, but Robert insisted he could easily make it. Sorting this is the penultimate job before registration: all I need now is a set of tyres fitted, a retest on the MOT and official confirmation of date of construction, and it’s off to the DVLA with some paperwork.
In true OTT John & Rob style, the plastic bush I pulled out out of the Volkswagen steering rack – worth about 50p on a good day – was replaced with something that took rather more expense to manufacture. Robert turned it out of solid brass, giving me an hour’s entertainment and something good to blog about.
If you’ve ever seen brass being machined, you know it goes everywhere in splinters. But all metal is amazing to watch in transformation. Careful measuring throughout Operation Overkill meant the rack all went back together with no big dramas. I’ll get it back in the car sometime next week.