Gearing up for another road trip

Jan. 1, 2009
Car trouble. It's the bane of modern life, whether the auto on the roadside is a Yugo or a Rolls Royce. When the vehicle is a 1925 Lanchester 40HP Tourer,

Car trouble. It's the bane of modern life, whether the auto on the roadside is a Yugo or a Rolls Royce. When the vehicle is a 1925 Lanchester 40HP Tourer, replacing an errant part gets even trickier. Such was the discovery of Peter Noble and his wife on a recent summer excursion to Syria. After 15 years of road trips through France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, the mighty Lanchester took ill just short of Clermont-Ferrand, France. The Nobles recall hearing a “thunderous explosion below the car” during a steady incline along the Autoroute. The rear axle worm and wheel had broken.

The three-ton touring car, which is built like a tank, was a favorite among the Maharajas of India and English royalty alike. Every aspect of the car's engineering is of massive proportion. For example, if a component could be cast in bronze or solid nickel rather than plated, that's how the Lanchester brothers preferred to do it. But even well built parts won't last forever. The Nobles had to abandon their favorite ride and have it sent home. Peter spent the next several months searching the world for a parts manufacturer who could replace the broken worm and wheel. However, most gear cutting companies either didn't want to do a one-off job or did not have the technical know-how or proper tools. Then Peter contacted Renold Gears, based in Milnrow, UK.

Renold was able to not only provide a replacement part, but also a much sturdier design. The company improved the metal by cutting the wheel from nickel bronze where Lanchester had used phosphor bronze. And instead of the hourglass principle favored by Lanchester, Renold employed a Holroyd parallel worm design. Replacement gears have now been fitted into the axle and road tested. The Nobles and their beloved Lanchester are once again ready travel the world in style, with a visit to India planned for next year.

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