16 years ago
a Coventry-Victor "Neptune". Being in Brighton (I'm in Bristol) and
apparently sans flywheel, fan & tin ware, I looked at it, thought about it,
vacillated - and then when it was at the point of sale, Hazel was writing a
difficult report & I could hardly shove her out of the way so I could bid on
" ... yet another engine - surely you must have one of each by now?"
Ho-hum, I thought, there will be others.
Anyway, for courtesy's sake, I dropped the vendor a note to say thanks for
the extra pictures he'd sent me & explained I could not be on line when the
sale completed. I received a swift response saying the sale had fallen
through & it was mine for the £31.00 it had reached.
It seems I was destined to have it & nothing I could do could rescue me from
ownership, so reluctantly - yeah, sure! - I dropped off the M25 on my way
back from Saxon house building in Kent at the weekend. I found the house
without too much gnawing of the steering wheel.
The engine was actually complete with the flywheel, the rim of which was
decorated with the most rudimentary fan I've ever come across, just little
blades an inch high or so set at widely spaced intervals around the OD. It
was pretty heavy in it's own right, so it was useful that it wasn't
It was moved to the rear of the house without drama, fuss or discovery (!)
on Monday & received a good staring. I'm pretty sure it has never been
equipped with a cowl, or if it was, it hung in space from a skyhook. The
exhausts are neatly trimmed off at an angle, obviously designed to run like
that & a right noisy neighbour it would make in a line up. Here's the
Missing only its fuel pipe and aluminium magneto magnet cover, it has
obviously been restored for exhibition, I'd judge at least twenty years
ago. The points were stuck open and corroded, but, sad to say, a thorough
clean and oiling failed to produce a spark, although it appears to be little
used. I've several spares, but it will need the timing cover removing to
get at the sprocket - no rubberised canvas discs here, I'm afraid.
I assume that this is a modified marine engine from its name on the oil pump
housing. The plate describes the unit as an "Engine Starter" for a Whipple
engine & some quick Googling indicates that they now make superchargers,
most for marine use. As it was used for starting only, I assume it was only
used briefly & this would explain the lack of tinware.