aeronca65t Reader
11/25/08 11:18 a.m.

My Austin A-35 Future Goofy Vintage Racer is home.

By Spring '10, it will be a proper Flying Teapot.

It's a '58 with a 948 and smoothcase trans (just like a Bugeye).

I drove almost 1000 miles on Saturday to collect it. Much of it through a lake-effect snow storm in the Syracuse area. I followed a snow plow on Rt. 81 for over an hour.

Special Thanks to JP Smit (from BCF) for finding this on a Canadian Kijiji site (and offering to help me, if needed). I found others but they were too perfect and too dear to hack into a race car. This car is ideal for my purposes.

I washed the car off at a coin-operated car wash in Ontario before crossing the US border (it's required by US law). The car-wash guy came over and shook my hand.....he loved the car and said that his Dad had one. Four French Canadian guys in a Beemer pulled up to me at a gas station and asked if it was for sale. An attractive blond woman pointed at the Austin and gave me a Thumbs Up! I'm going to like this car.......but it wouldn't suit an introvert.

The return to the US was a little worrisome because I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I had all my paperwork done properly (EPA form, DOT form, provinicial ownership title filled out properly) and of course, my current passport. The US officer at the border gate was gruff and unfriendly, but I think that was just part of his act. He sat there silently staring at the car for over a minute before he barked that I should "proceeed forward and then turn into the first bay on the right". Which I did. And the officer in the bay was great fun, talking about my "Mr Magoo" car, etc. The border stuff took about 30 minutes in was no big deal (as long as your car is 25+ years old).

I won't have much time to work on it right now, but I'm building a 1275 engine that I have on hand (and I have a spare ribcage too). Plus lots of other trick Spridget parts (Sprites are based on the A35).

I'll fit the roll cage, renew the suspension stuff and probably run Sprite disks on front. Lots of other plans as $$$ allows. There is some surface rust and a little "hanger rash" but it's very solid. I'll make the body repairs and a friend of mine will paint it (probably a light grey).

I'm keeping my race-Spridget. The Escort is for sale. Until this gets done, I'll race the Spridget and after that, I decide what I want to do with two British race cars (plus the street MGB). I think the best solution is a bigger garage.

The Car right now:

Lake effect snow going north on Rt 81 (near Syracuse) Saturday morning.

Driving up the skinny, windy Thousand Island Bridge (scary!) Barely wide enough when a big truck comes the other way. Built in 1932.

This is my goal (a racing A35 "teapot" at Goodwood) this space......

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
11/25/08 11:37 a.m.

That's the most awesome thing I've seen in awhile. Make sure you post it to Readers' Rides, if you haven't already.

Luke Dork
11/25/08 5:06 p.m.

That's extremely cool. I saw my first A35 on the road a couple of months ago. The driver was an old guy, hunched over the wheel with a massive grin on his face.

Here's another in racing livery - Image Hosted by

Fun fact: James Hunt owned an A35

Carson Reader
11/25/08 9:44 p.m.

That is fantastic! It really did just make my day.

The first picture makes it look like a lost puppy or something.

cyncrvr New Reader
11/27/08 9:46 a.m.

Looks awesome. Hate to ask the obvious's called a "teapot" because...? It resembles a teapot? Don't know much about older Austins.

Look forward to your updates. Very cool.

aeronca65t Reader
11/28/08 5:56 a.m.

Yeah, I guess the "teapot" name stuck because they pretty much have the proportions of a teapot when viewed from the side.

The border guard called it a "Mr Magoo car" and my kids call it an "Elmer Fudd car". I'm not planning on getting much respect!

Carson Reader
11/28/08 5:31 p.m.

I bet you'll get some respect on the track with the 1275.

You already have my respect! And admiration.

What is the weight on it?

aeronca65t Reader
11/29/08 7:01 a.m.

In stock form they're about 1650 lbs. There's not a lot to "gut" from these, so if I can get it under 1600 lbs with a cage, I'll be happy. For '08, I'll be happy with a nice, "cooking" 1275 of about 80 to 85 HP. I just want something reliable so I can work out the bugs in the suspension and overall car setup. Then maybe the follwing year, I'll build something in the 100 to 110 HP range. The little blue race A35 above (at Goodwood) has 135 HP......but that makes these engines too fussy for hobby racing.

blackrabbit New Reader
11/29/08 11:23 a.m.

What ever motor you run it will be fantastic!! Again "unlikely" racing cars are just the coolest thing ever and an A35 fits the bill. that is going to be a REALLY cool car when your done! hell its really cool now....

cyncrvr New Reader
11/30/08 12:11 p.m.

Is the older gentleman in the blue pic still alive or just asleep?

aeronca65t Reader
11/30/08 2:27 p.m.

Is the older gentleman in the blue pic still alive or just asleep?

Ha-ha! Dunno?! (but since that car's a right-hooker, if he's asleep, he's asleep at the wheel!

Carson HalfDork
1/17/09 8:58 p.m.

Any updates?

aeronca65t Reader
1/18/09 6:58 a.m.

It's too cold to work on the car right now so I assembling "bits" in my (heated) basement. We live on a lake and right now, I see plenty of people ice-fishing as I look out my window.......if that tells you anything about our weather.

This week I was working on setting up a double-bearing Spridget rear for it. And I just got some roll-bar tubing bent to fit. And I'm figuring out the fuel-cell plumbing. Right now I guess you'd say I'm "assembling all the bits".

I have a "good" 1275 engine that I'll start on when all the other bits above are done. I'll freshen it with new bearings, rings, timing chain and valve job, but otherwise, leave it stock. I want to work out the chassis and handling this year and then built a stronger motor for '10.

I'll probably take my ~Race-Spridget~ to the first '09 vintage race (Jefferson 500) but I hope I can get the Teapot going in time for the Pittsburgh Vintage. We'll see.....

As it get warmer I'll do some of the required body work and take it to be painted

Carson HalfDork
1/18/09 4:08 p.m.

Awesome! I can't wait to see more updates.

It's cold here too, it's 38* right now, burrrrr.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette Reader
1/18/09 6:32 p.m.

SUper cool !! Great find and make sure you keep the board up to date with some fresh piks !! Sanded 65 mgb all day today sorry65 here in Florida .

dougie New Reader
1/18/09 11:38 p.m.

Thought I'd chime in,

Pulled the 90 lb. cast iron head off the '57 100-6 Healey racer solo today....................think I also pulled a muscle in my shoulder. The motors still in the car and its on jack stands due to the pending brake work planned. The angle to stretch and lift is killer on the body..................mine that is. It's out and in the basement shop though and ready for polishing and match porting for Ruddspeed triple 2" SU HD 8 performance manifold. Cam change next. Better keep the heater on in the garage.

aeronca65t Reader
1/28/09 12:59 p.m.

Good to see everyone is busy with their classic out there!

I just celebrated a birthday and a friend sent this amazingly suitable card---see below (I have no idea where he found it?)

The inside said " At our age, pit stops are a given!"

Pretty funny!

Carson Dork
7/30/09 9:09 p.m.

aeronca65t, have you made any progress with the car? This is my favourite car/project between this and the GRM board and I'd love to see some updates.

aeronca65t HalfDork
7/31/09 2:27 a.m.

Cage is fully fitted but I just took it all out for painting. The 1275 is partly done. The big thing is that I converted it to right hand drive. That's easy because the steering box and idler arm are reversible. But the old cam-and-roller box seemed sloppy and these cars have a reputation of cruddy steering feel. So I found a right hand drive Bugeye steering rack and am converting it to rack and pinion. That requires me to move the engine back a bit. Which meant moving the firewall and tunnel. A lot of work but worth it in the long run. I just trial-fitted the disk brake suspension but it's back off to fit new kingpins. The car will run this year at some point. I'll try to get some photos up. We just got back from the Pittsburgh VIntage with the Sprite and I need to make sure that it's ready for the Thunderbolt Historics (here in NJMP in Sept). I guess I'm hoping the Tapot will run at our later Watkins Glen vintage event.

Also, I've been distracted. We spent 10 days in Antigua, a week in Rehoboth Beach and we'll be in LBI for week soon. I've been fairly busy helping my older kid and husband fix up their house. Plus I did ~THIS~ yesterday. Lots of (nice) distractions slowing down the car work a bit, but life is good.

Carson Dork
7/31/09 12:30 p.m.

Those are some pretty incredible pictures. You probably flew right over my house, Seymour Johnson AFB is about an hour from me.

archebald23 New Reader
12/16/09 9:18 p.m.

one question, what if the steering box and Idler Arm is not reversible? how do you convert one's hand drive from left to right?

aeronca65t HalfDork
12/17/09 7:10 a.m.
archebald23 wrote: one question, what if the steering box and Idler Arm is not reversible? how do you convert one's hand drive from left to right?

This is probably the more common case. You'd have no other option but to get a right hand drive steeering box (I can't think of any racks that are reversible).

Carson Dork
4/20/10 7:17 p.m.

aeronca65t, the A40 you posted on GRM reminded me of your A35. How's it coming along?

aeronca65t HalfDork
4/21/10 9:51 p.m.

Coming along great, but a bit slow. I'm part of the "sandwich generation" and I'm watching my dear old Dad at least once a week plus my grandaughter another day (and neither lives particularly close to me).

Also, we just bought a new house (three car garage!!). We've sold our old place, but are still working out some details before the big move to the new place (living out of our Summer house right now).

Next week I'll run the Jefferson 500 Vintage (at Summit Pt.) with the Sprite.....this weekend will be spent doing stuff on that car. And we have another event with the Sprite in three weeks (New Hampshire Vintage). Once I'm in the new house and have tools and equipment set up, I should start to make good progress with the A35....might be running this Fall. Fingers crossed.

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