AVCMC Fanmail
May 2017



From The Driver's Seat

By Joe Janssens


April has once again been an eventful month. Starting with the Bathurst Agricultural Show which attracted more than 20 of our classics joined by 4 cars from the East London Mercedes Benz Club.

 The Gymkhana had unfortunately to be postponed to an alternative date due to a lack of enthusiasm from our members. In order to attract more entrants, the aim of the fun of this event will be explained before the rescheduled date. Thanks to Rob Wallis.

This cancellation was actually a blessing in disguise. As the location for the braai was relocated to be held at the clubhouse, the next day I was informed and requested by the Lee family to kindly vacate the clubhouse by the 1st of June. The premises are to be used as a B&B in the future and the refurbishing and conversion work will start the next day.

I wish to thank the committee members and all members attending the braai for their help in packing and moving the club assets to the museum where Dave kindly made some temporary storage space available. Due to other commitments I was not available to attend the braai. The committee is currently investigating alternative venues for the relocation of the clubhouse.

I wish to thank the Lee family for the opportunity for us to use their premises until such a time they decided on this move.

We wish a warm welcome to our new members and looking forward to see them and their cars at our noggins and events.




Through The Windscreen

(This is what lies ahead)



 For Your Diary

Note that the clubhouse is now closed and that the venue for the next Noggin will be advised by sms to members.

Thursday 11 May  - 5 to 8pm - Motoring DVD at the Noggin

Thursday 18 May - 5 to 8pm - Supper night
Rob Wallis will be providing hamburgers. Bring some cash.

Saturday 20 May - Bathurst Vintage Fair
Rob Wicks is a collector of Vintage / Classic, Motocross and Enduro Bikes in Hogsback. He is planning a get together at the Bathurst Showgrounds track.  Entrance will be free to people who arrive in the period costume of their old car / bike, otherwise a small entrance fee is envisaged to cover costs. A fun outing even if you go in your modern contraption.

Saturday 27 May - 9 to 12 noon - AVCMC Museum

Sunday 28 May - 10h30 - Bowls and Croquet
Be at the Bowls Club (next to the bridge) by 10h30 for 11.
Bring and braai but buy drinks from the club bar. Bring some cash for green fees. Bowls and croquet kit will be provided although you are most welcome to bring your own if you have any. You must wear flat shoes (no heels) or bare feet for playing bowls.

11 to 15 June - Milligan rally
To be held in the George area

Sunday 25 June - Bonnets Up
Venue, time and details to be advised

Thursday 20  July - Club AGM
Diarise the date




We have a limited number of Club bumper badges and these can be yours for a mere R200 per badge from Shirley Martin. Phone her on 071 675 4570.



Birthday Congratulations


1  Gerda Kartenberg
15  Russell Warren
18  Bruce Yendall
22  George Galbraith
24 Neville Koch
27  Mike Webber
29  Daphne McNeill



The Dashboard

(This is going on right now)



Name Badges

Unclaimed badges were stuck to the fridge behind the bar in the old Club House. Now packed away somewhere. We will find them one day and make them available.....




The axe fell on Thursday 20 April.

The Lee family have decided to turn 51 Mentone Rd into a B&B as they are unable to sell at a reasonable price. We have until 1 June to vacate our clubhouse. However, in the light of there being workmen around carrying out renovations to the property, it was decided to move as soon as possible. Thus the planned bring and braai on Sunday 23 April was changed from Bruce Yendall's farm to the clubhouse. And we made it a work party to pack up and move as much of our club property as possible to the Museum. This will be a temporary measure until a suitable arrangement can be made.

Thursday noggins will continue but the venue will be advised to members by sms. There are a few options for a clubhouse that are being pursued by the committee.

So the 20th April was the last noggin to be held in the clubhouse that we have enjoyed since inception in 2004. It was a  nostalgic event for many of our members. Nevertheless we remain extremely grateful to Don and Pat's generosity during their lifetime and to their family for allowing us to continue to use the clubhouse to date.


Some of the folk at our last noggin in the "Lee" clubhouse on 20 April 2017:
Top left: Jackie, Shirley and Maggie
Top right: Bill, Roger and Keith at the bar
Bottom left: Lisbeth, Henrik, Sue, Pam, Mercia and Alf
Bottom right: Mike and Joe in the "old farts corner"


Welcome to New Members

It is always great to welcome new members:

Henrik Annesen lives in Bathurst with his wife Lisbeth. He has a 1972 BSA Rocket Three in good condition. It was good to meet them both (Henrik and Lisbeth, not yet the bike!) at the noggin on 20 April. Their picture is in this Fanmail. 

Diana Benyon is married to Peter and they live in Grahamstown.
She has a 1961 MGA in running condition but she says that it needs restoration. Diana, your email address is the same as Peter's so I regret that you will have to pick up Fanmail from him - or perhaps he does from you! Let me know if that changes. 

Lynne Cordner lives near Grahamstown with her husband David and uses the same postal address as Peter Benyon, so I am guessing that this old car bug runs in the family. Lynne has a 1961 Triumph TR3 and a 1956 Morris Minor 850 both in good condition. 

Hey, it would be nice to see more Grahamstown folk at club events some time - perhaps we need to go up there......



On The Lighter Side

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

(Source unconfirmed. By Albert Einstein? Alexandre Dumas, fils? Elbert Hubbard? Brooks F. Beebe? Anonymous?)




'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.'   -  Bill Keane



The Rear View Mirror

(Past Events)



Bathurst Agricultural Show - Saturday 1 April

by Ron Gush

A perfect day, light overnight showers had left a few puddles on the tarmac at the Civic Centre. A fine turn out of 13 cars had assembled. Then, Wow! Four cars turned up from BVCC, East London! What a pleasant surprise, though I gather that the organisers knew they were coming. At the Pig and Whistle 3 more joined the convoy and Mike Newlands led us to our parking spot under the trees, which was within walking distance of the coffee. A big plus! Nice central spot. Two more cars pitched up and I counted an excellent turn out of 21 or more. Great to see Dave McNeill's Westminster back on the road after a long illness. Water getting into the oil proved a tricky problem as it was not the usual head gasket nor indeed anything obvious. A bladder problem perhaps?

We did two drives around the show ground, greeting friends and strangers who showed interest in our cars.

I trust that you wandered into some of the exhibition halls - there is more to Bathurst than thirst, Boet. Once again Shirley Martin won first prizes for her quilting. The geometric black and white design was exquisite.

Altogether a very pleasant day was enjoyed.

Cars at the Civic. Austins have certainly changed over the years!

Dave, George, Peter and an interested visitor. An open bonnet always attracts attention. Peter's engine looked immaculate

Cars at Bathurst.
Steve Harris's Mini (Who said the flag was upside down? Looks cool to me).
Brian Sparg brought the Auto Union from East London

Norbert with the same VW which he drove in the first OD Inggs in 1998. Note the paint! The respray was done 30 years ago and is still in mint condition. A superb job indeed, and no doubt Norbert has looked after it very well too.



In The Boot

(Useful Baggage and Tools for the trip)



VW Kombi Spares for Sale

For a 1.9 litre flat four water cooled engine. Asking R2000 negotiable for the lot. The parts are in Port Elizabeth.
Contact Doug on 071 295 2290 or Lisa on           1/3

Some pictures follow. There are more: tappet covers, filters, various pipes etc.

Classic & Sports Car Insurance Placements
“We Drive Classic Cars”
We insure them with Great Care.

Approved Broker: Mercedes-Benz Club South Africa

Tel: 031 701 0226 l Cell: 082 781 4410


A Division of Smythe Financial Services cc Authorised FSP No. 16054




Chairman:                                 Joe Janssens      083 235 1101               
Vice-Chairman and Events:      Rob Wallis           082 334 0354        
Secretary / Treasurer:               Shirley Martin      071 675 4570
Clubhouse Manager:                Peter Viner          046 624 3552 or 082 831 5769

Grahamstown Rep:                   Norbert Drager    046 622 6282 or 072 765 6448
Fanmail Editor:                          Ron Gush            046 648 3186 or 083 272 1961
Members:                                  Keith Schroeder  046 624 4114 or 082 412 3378

                                                  Roger Darkes      046 624 2874 or 082 373 8181

Other portfolio holders:
OD Inggs Co-ordinator:             George Armstrong 072 347 0924
SAVVA rep and Vehicle Dating: Des Hill               083 228 6774
assisted by:                                Dave Hawkins    046 624 2215 or 082 453 2618
Webmaster:                               John Austin-Williams (contact via Ron Gush for web content)



Tailpipe - Triumph Spitfire Diff Ratio Change

by Ron Gush

Most of you know, to varying degrees of amusement or astonishment, that I have recently changed my Spitfire diff ratio from 4.11:1 to 3.89:1. The reason was that the crown wheel and pinion were worn, and I thought slightly longer legs would be a good idea.

The final result is wonderful. Through the gears, the car is not noticeably sluggish. The legs are only 5.4% longer, but what a difference! The diff is so quiet that I now realise how noisy the gearbox is......

So what’s the bottom line? Here it is: You can’t do it unless you have a diff housing suitable for the 3.89:1 ratio. Full Stop.

Read on if you want the Ts and Cs but first some technical terms:

Diff numbers starting FC = Mk 1, 2 and early 3 up to GA housing.   4.11:1 ratio.
FH = Mk 4 and other 1500cc cars, and more. 3.89:1 ratio
FR = 3.63:1 ratio and, I was told by reliable sources, that parts are interchangeable with 3.89:1 diffs.
But 4.11:1 and 3.27:1 diffs are not interchangeable with others
FM = American Mk4.  3.89:1 ratio

Here’s why you can’t put 3.89:1 (FH) parts into a 4.11:1 (FC) diff housing:

1 The front housings are machined differently so that the pinion meets the crown wheel at a slightly different angle. This is the show stopper, there are no shims or spacers to fix this.

2 The FH front housing diff carrier bearing mounts are closer together and smaller OD to suit smaller carrier bearings. Both carrier bearings have the same ID.

3 The front housing and diff carrier must be used together and can not be interchanged. The FH flange to which the crown wheel is bolted, is thinner - to allow for a thicker crown wheel.

Note that you probably could use an FC diff carrier if you are prepared to machine the crown wheel flange by almost 1mm. Then the modified FC carrier might be used in the FH housing. In that case the FC rear housing and side output shafts might be used. Personally I think it is risky to machine original parts into something non-standard. But if needs must....

The FH crown wheel bolt heads are flatter, to give clearance inside the housing.

4 The FH diff carrier (sun gear) output shaft splines are bigger in diameter

5 The FH side output shafts and splines are thicker, bearings are bigger, drive flanges are bigger.

The side output shafts and half shaft flanges are centred by a large diameter boss and recess which is the same for both FC and FH diffs. Thus the flange bolt holes can be slotted to match. This is what I did.

6 Front and rear housings are interchangeable w.r.t. casing joint and alignment of the output shafts. But FH output shaft bearings are bigger, thus front and rear housings should go together.

7 The FH pinion front bearing and seal is bigger

8 The FH pinion input flange is bigger and the splined length is longer. I had had my FC input flange splines slotted to fit the FH pinion while I was thinking that the FC housing would work. Thus my FC input flange fitted the new FH pinion.

Slotting the input flange was done by wire EDM cutting. Grindex Engineering in PE do this. It is very accurate and costs a good deal less than conventional slotting. Worth knowing.

9 Note: The pinion supplied by Rimmer was, in my opinion, incorrectly manufactured. The pinion is assembled with a collapsible spacer which fits between a shoulder on the pinion shaft and the toe bearing. As manufactured, the spacer would have needed to collapse by about 7.5mm - far more than it’s design allowed. I resolved this by making and fitting a 6mm spacer behind the toe bearing cone. The added advantage of this, I found out later, was that my FC input flange (now slotted to fit the FH pinion) was about 5.5mm shorter than the FH input flange. The spacer thus corrected the input flange position on the pinion splines - a gap is necessary between the pinion splines and the washer / nut which holds the assembly together.

Many thanks to: Beyers Vermaak tried very hard to find a FH diff for me and put me onto Jaco and advertised for me in Sabrina. Jaco Van Vuuren in Centurion makes his living by restoring and fixing Triumphs. He confirmed exactly what I had to look for, and he finally found a diff for me. Frank Dreher in Cape Town also fixes Triumphs, confirmed what I needed and could have sold me a 4.11:1 diff. The guys at ITAC issued an import permit to me efficiently and free of charge, just in case I got really desperate. The technical guys at Rimmer UK who also confirmed what I needed. Jeff Nagel at RDG PE was a mine of technical info and physical help and finally set up my diff professionally. And many more folk who I spoke to along the way.

Best of luck it you should ever have such “clever” ideas!

Our contact details are:
PO Box 2057, Port Alfred 6170


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