THE clockwork P.2 Alfa Romeo model of the middle Twenties is too well-known to collectors and too well documented of recent years to need further description here. I have owned three specimens over the years, all requiring some renovation to a greater or lesser degree. The third, the subject of this article, came to me through the kindness of a reader of the carlier Model Cars, it having been the victim of an ill-advised and unsuccessful attempt to convert it into a petrol-engined racer!

The road to Hell is paved with good intontions, they say, and I fully intended to set about this Alfa without delay. Alas, it remained on my workshop shelf (and on my conscience) for more than 15 years. A move into semi-retirement in Cornwall, coupled with more leisure and a larger workshop, led to the bits being unpacked, cleaned up a bit and the job of restoration weighed up. It looked a formidable task.

The body remained reasonably original apart from tatty paint, some rust, a few dents, and the underside of the tail cut away and the hole for the winding key plated over. The removal of the tail panel unfortunately did away with the fixings for the spring motor, this latter vital component happily being complete and in good shape. Several minor items were missing, and would have to be made.

These included the filler caps, two fillers, shock-absorbers, starting handle, steering-wheel and two of the four wheel-retaining hub-caps. Even more daunting was that one of the precious tyres, somewhat hardened with age, had been split completely open in an attempt to remove it from its rim.

I left this 'horrid little problem till hiter, and made a start on the moto'r department. The original pear-shaped mounting plate was missing, so after checking and oiling the mechanism, a new and stouter plate was fabricated from iir in. mild steel, and bolted securely into the tail. The body was tackled next and

after removing the rather beautifu'l tapered exhaust pipe and its arm-guard, the remains of the old paintwork was removed with stripper, sundry dents dealt with and the whole job cleaned up with emery cloth and a wire brush in the invaluable Black and Decker. The same treatment was applied to the wheels, which were sound but somewhat rusty, with a few bent spokes. Two eoats of Holt's zinc undercoat were sprayed over the body and wheels, the latter having to be carefully masked, as I wasn't risking any more split tyres, thank you.

Replacements for the missing fillers were turned up from brass rod on my Super-Adept lathe, and then came the filler-caps. These were of the hinged type, with long "quick-lift" levers facing rearward, and were split-pinned in place on the original models. A "dolly" of similar shape to the fillers was turned and held firmly in the vice, and blanks of tinplate were cut to shape and carefully hammered to the requisite shape over the dolly, the lugs for the hinge-pins then bent and drilled. Lifting handles were formed from copper wire, flattened at the ends as the originals. These were soldered in place. and the complete caps polished up and sprayed silver.

The hub-caps were somewhat complex. The outer surface of the nut proper is circular, being the bearing for the outer end of the wheel hub. An annular recess is formed between this and the portion carrying the hub-cap ears. I made the replacements in three parts, first the nut, a brass-hex-nut-of-suitable thread, its outer face turned circular; the eared portion from brass plate shaped up by filing, and the outer domed part from a brass upholstery nail, with the nail itself removed and a clearance for the end of the axle "milled" into it by means of a burr in the electric drill. The lot were silver-soldered together and silver painted.

The shock-absorbers were straightforward cutting and filing from brass and aluminium plate, the two halves pivoting on 10BA bolts with friction washers as in correct practice. These were bolted to the springs and dumbirons with brackets. The steering wheel was a brass spoke-spider with the rim made from steel 'spring curtain-rail with a steel-wire centre. This was soldered ,to the spokes, and gives a nice suggestion of a corded rim as worn in 1924!

The previous owner, with track racing in mind, had made up new front springs with laminated steel leaves, correctly clipped together, an altogether better job than the original toy-like imitations, and I retained these, together with a very nice adjustable track-rod, and incorporated them into the steering, using the original rack and pinion in modified form. The brake gear was built up as original, the outside handbrake operating on the spring motor. A new starting handle was made from steel wire, with loose hand grip of brass tube, working in a length of brass tube soldered into the front cross-member.

The question of painting was then considered. I was anxious to obtain a reasonable approximation of the rather dark shade of red used on the early racing Alfas, (in fact, these model P.2's were sold in a variety of colours, including white), and I, also intended to spray the final coats, as I doubted my abilites with a paintbrush. It proved most difficult to find a suitable red in the Aerosol series, but eventually I found what I wanted at Halfords; in Dupli-Color Monza red, which came very close to the desired shade. A coat of red-oxide primer was followed by two of Monza red. and the wheel, and various loose components were sprayed black. After assembly of these bits, the model began to look much more like its old self, and with numbers added and the Alfa equipe's emblem of a four-leafed clover on a white triangle hand-painted on the bonnet, I was really pleased with the result.

There still remained the split tyre. The two broken ends butted perfectly together, so I had recourse to dear old Araldite, which claims to stick rubber amongst other things. First I made up a brass clamping band, rather like a large Jubilee clip, to encircle the tyre. Rim and tyre ends were liberally coated with Araldite, the tyre fitted to the rim, and the clamping band gradually tightened, all traces of surplus Araldite being removed as it appeared under pressure. The job was left to cure in a gentle heat for a couple of days, and as a further precaution the wheel-rim was drilled either side of the joint and small steel pins forced up into the tyre, the pins being put in from the back of the rim, where they are virtually invisible. With bated breath the clamp was removed, and sure enough a perfect repair had been achieved. The wheel was spun at high speed in the electric drill with no ill effect, and the joint is very hard to detect.

So another P.2 has been resurrected to join the very small number of surviving specimens in this country. Incidentally, for the information of would be collectors and to avoid any disappointment, the model passed out of my hands shortly after completion.

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