Last Thursday morning with the help of three friends, the 1914 Simplex 50 h.p. “Speed Car” body was installed on the chassis. After working four long days and nights the coachwork has been bolted down, the steering gear, shifter, and braking systems are all connected, and the majority of the wiring, plumbing and linkages were attached, so yesterday afternoon it was ready for its first test drive.
All of this effort was to beat “Old Man Winter” and the snow that is forecast for later in the week, and to put some test miles on the rebuilt engine and other systems before it arrives. After filling up a small one-gallon temporary gas tank, starting it up and checking that the shifter and brakes were working correctly in the yard we were off.
- The 600 c.i.d. 5 3/8 x 6 1/2-inch bore and stroke engine running at idle speed. The 35-pound bronze Newcomb carburetor mixture is adjustable on the fly by a controlled vacuum leak that changes the mixture. The temporary plastic container below it catches a teaspoon of gas that normally drips out the throat and air passages of these updraft units on shutdown.
The first test from a standing start is to climb the rest of our hill and a short section of a 60% grade up at the top which the powerful Simplex took in stride. After turning around at the end of the road, this set of photos were taken with Lilac Ridge Farm’s pastures and Round Mountain in the background, which is behind The Old Motor workshop.
The next test is to descend the steep quarter mile long hill and verify that both the hand and foot brakes are performing correctly, followed by a three-mile long loop of the areas gravel roadways twice, at speeds as high as sixty mph on one long straight section. Out on an open road is where a Simplex performs the best – the lightweight and powerful Speed Car accelerates quickly and effortlessly up through the four speeds, and in no time you are traveling at a high rate of speed.
After the car had accomplished this run in no time, it was time to travel back to the shop due the cold weather. Motoring along briskly on a gray, damp, and windy day through snow flurries with the temperature at thirty-six degrees wasn’t affecting the Simplex at all – it was time to return because the Editor, who was behind the wheel, and chilled to the bone after enduring the eighteen degree wind chill factor on the run, and the one gallon gas tank was close to being empty.
Today the car will be back out on the road one more time, followed by installation of the gas tank, more wiring and plumbing, and the rest of the bodywork. You can look back at a nine-part series of articles covering the rebuild of the Collier Collection Simplex engine and chassis here. Look for a follow-up article as soon as the job is completed.
- The exhaust side of the engine shows the belt-driven fan powered by an accessory shaft that also drives the water pump that sends the coolant to and out of the cylinder blocks to the radiator via rubber hoses and copper tubing.