Head Gasket News From The Spares Secretary…

I was recently advised by our supplier that the manufacturer (the only one known) of A40 head gaskets, has advised that that the tooling for making these is beyond its serviceable use and they will therefore not supply any more. They also declined to make new tooling.

Together with the supplier we have now commissioned new tooling and an initial order from an overseas supplier. We were unable to find any alternative to this for a copper and board gasket. This has resulted in a considerable investment by the club.

The price of the copper and board gasket (1A180) from 1st November 2017 will be  £30 each to club members.

A number of members have written about the success they have had with solid copper head gaskets.

We have now also had a small batch of these made. They are made from soft copper and are ready to fit. I am also advised that they can be reused after removing from the engine  provided that they are annealed before refitting. They have been made by a water jet cutting process so are accurate and have nice clean edges.

It may be possible to torque these down higher value than the normal 40ft/lb value, say 5 to 10 ft/lb more. However, if doing this, then I would highly recommend fitting new studs and nuts.

The price of the solid copper gasket 1A180SC  is £35 each to club members and they are available for immediate dispatch

Ray Dawes, Spares Secretary


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Access to forums – ‘Log in’ section moved to top of page.

I’ve noted that quite a few members have registered for the ‘new’ forums, but that relatively few have posted to them. Following a chat with a club member yesterday, it seems that this may be because the ‘Log in’ section of the home page was right at the bottom of the page, and thus not readily visible.

I’ve now duplicated the ‘Log in’ section at the top right of the page, so if you’ve registered (follow ‘Forums’, ‘Register’ to do so) you should be able to log in and enter comments and question within the new forum(s).

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New – Club Badges Revised

The club has produced two new grille badges for club members. Both carry the ‘Flying A’ and the club name, with one being a ‘standard’ badge, and the other being a limited edition ’40th Anniversary’ badge. (click on the image below for a full-size picture).


Both badges come with a grille fixing kit, and can be ordered from Ray Dawes, the club’s Spares Secretary, in the same manner as ordering spares.

The cost for the ‘standard’ badge is £40, and for the 40th Anniversary badge is £45. Both prices are inclusive of worldwide postage and packaging.

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ACCC Torque Settings and Static Ignition Timing Settings

Another technical article for you all – this time provided by Spares Secretary Ray Dawes. This one is a reproduction of an old Austin Service Journal and relates to all important torque wrench settings and static ignition timing settings for our cars and commercials.

As with other technical items it can be found on our Technical Articles page. 

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Octagonal Hub Nut Advice – Technical Article

If you’ve ever struggled to removed the unusual octagonal hub nuts on the rear axles of some of our cars, Membership Secretary Mike Greasby may have found a tool to help – as detailed on our ‘Technical Articles’ page.

Mike has found a suitable spanner, and has advised that Spares Secretary Ray Dawes  is considering adding these to the club’s spares catalogue.

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‘Wheels-Alive’ Motoring Website Revamped

At this weekend’s very successful Annual Rally (many thanks to Pam and Brian for their efforts), I bumped into well-known motoring journalist, writer, and ‘Counties’ member, Kim Henson. He tells me that his motoring website, which has been running for a few years now, has been the subject of a recent revamp, and asked me to encourage members to take a look.

The site covers a broad range of motoring-related matters, and has sections amongst relating to modern cars, classic cars, motoring book reviews, write-ups on motoring tours, and technical tips from their resident ‘Grumpy Old Mechanic’, John. Kim tells me that he is going to produce a feature about the ‘Counties’ range of cars – so that’s worth looking for soon.

You can see the site here: http://www.wheels-alive.co.uk/ . Why not take a look and add it to your ‘favourites’ list today?

Pete Simmonds


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Austin Sixteen ‘7 Capitals’ Anniversary Event

News has come to the club of an event planned for 2017 to coincide with the Alan Hess ‘7 Capitals in 7 Days’ goodwill tour undertaken in 3 Austin Sixteens back in the very cold Winter of 1947.

Entitled ‘The Mintex Austin Sixteen Goodwill Tour Platinum Anniversary’, the tour is to be undertaken by three well-known motoring writers and members of the Guild of Motoring Writers: Guy Loveridge (Chairman of the Guild from 2014-16); Sopie Williamson-Stothert (Features Editor at ‘Car Dealer’ magazine); and Steve Berry, (who amongst many other things has appeared on ‘Top Gear’ and writes for the ‘Sunday Times)’. 

Guy states the following:

After reading the Alan C Hess book “Gullible’s Travels” when I was at University, I determined that a re-run of the 1947 Austin Motor Company Goodwill Tour of Europe ought to happen on the anniversary of its 1947 running. I tried to make it happen for the 50th but Austin-Rover were not  interested in supporting the event. I tried again in 2007 for the 60th anniversary, but again – no interest.

Now, finally, I have put together a project that WILL see three members of The Guild of Motoring Writers retracing, day for day and hour for hour the wheel tracks of the original tour.

Starting from Oslo on 13th March 2017 we will travel via Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Berne to finish in Geneva some seven days and 2500 miles later. We will be traveling in a 1946 Austin Sixteen bought and restored for this event. The car itself has a fascinating ‘one family owned’ from 1957 story to tell…”

The club will be following this event with interest and will endeavour to offer our support wherever possible. You can find further details and pictures on the event’s Facebook page.

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New Membership and Renewal Forms

You can find the 2016 Membership Renewal Form here, (If you want a copy in MS Word, try here) and the 2016 New Membership Form here (Word copy here).

We’re keen that members tell us as much about their vehicles as possible, so if you’re lucky enough to own more than one Austin then you can find an ‘additional vehicle’ form here .

Tip – if you’re using the ‘pdf’ versions of these forms, if you download the latest Adobe Reader software (Adobe Reader DC) here you can type your details into the pdf form and save it to your device. You can then email completed forms to webmaster@austincounties.org.uk  and they will be  forwarded to our membership secretary.


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