The culmination of years of waiting to get the Dennis E into a state of working came on Wednesday the 12th April this year. As you are aware, we have been working on the chassis of OT8902, the bus that was rescued from inside a house in Walton-on-Thames. Our engineer Charlie Lemon has been working on the chassis for some time now.
Over the past couple of years we have had to get our engine from a bad start with a restorer and get it to Graham Green in Fyfield who is a brilliant restorer. We had to move most of our store engines to Graham, so that the best could be used to rebuild the engine we were using. We will say at this point that the engine we are using is from the Welsh Dennis EV, now scrapped. We got two pages of items that had to be put right by Graham. We finally got back the last two stock engines on Wednesday 12th April and whilst being driven back home the President got a phone call - the engine started!. So technically the bus could have been driven out of the barn at this point, 81 years after it was put to bed in 1936. With the engine running with a mish-mash of bits of other engines, the good news did not stop there! On Thursday the President received a phone call from Paul Cheesman to say that the exhaust was ready and you can see below a couple of photos of parts. The photo on the right shows the brackets to fix the exhaust to the chassis and the two end plates of the box. We asked for the two plates to be incorporated in the new box as it has DENNIS GUILDFORD on them, a real treasure and possibly very rare. The photo on the left shows the box and the whole exhaust is made of stainless steel. Farther down we describe all the items we have repaired, painted, made, had done etc , to get to where we are today.
The chassis as a whole was in excellent condition and all that was required was a scrape and paint. We used proper black chassis paint. About £20 a tin.
The springs were in excellent condition and have been left in place.
All the brake shoes had asbestos linings so all had to go away to be redone with modern brake linings . Cost about £600.
The clutch needed relining at a cost of £350. The clutch is the white section in the photo below, also known as a cone clutch.
The exhaust was almost complete but very rusty and unlikely to survive, so we had a new exhaust made from stainless steel, but keeping the original ends of the silencer. Cost £1050.
We had to buy tyres, inner tubes and flaps at a cost of £4,500.
We had our original steering wheel sent away for refurbishment and a wonderful job was done. We paid around £400.
The wheels we carefully selected and had them collected for shot-blasting. £600.
The front cowling had to be made new and cost £1200. The front wings are being made.
The radiator is a bit of a problem as the aluminium it is made with has deteriated after 88 years. The cost of new tubes is over £4500, so to keep costs down the radiator will be made to look exactly like the correct Dennis 1928 original but will have new innards built in. Total cost expected to be £4500.
The gearbox is in excellent condition and working OK. The rare Rolls
Royce brake retarder clutch on the side of the gearbox has had the clutch
plate renewed. (asbestos again!)
It has cost a lot of cash to get to this stage and most of the £14,000 donated to the project has now gone, BUT we will have the oldest A&D bus, partly restored! The body will be another challenge, expected to cost around £25,000.
Annual General Meeting
Tilford Rally on the 28th May
I have noticed that several members have not yet renewed their membership. With the list of payments we have made (See above) it is essential that we get everyone to contribute the £15 fee. One other thing, a few members have not changed their standing order to £15, so we get £10 or £12. It costs money to post a renewal letter.
From The President.
We have also been very lucky to have Gift Aid as this has boosted the funds available for the project.
So, the question is Can You Help? Some examples:-
So far 4 members have donated a £1000 or more
Please help me to keep things going. As for the body, I am thinking of going to the Heritage Lottery Fund, as the anticipated cost could be £25,000 plus. Send any cheques to Laurie at the address below.