|Andy gains altitude to start work on the skin of the newly-lowered roof.|
And now we bring you, straight from Scotland:
Albert Media Update
11 October 2011
To all Albert Friends
Albert is on the move again - at last . . . . Progress, progress, progress . . . . and some delays also!
It has been a hard slog these past months with Scotland’s absent summer hindering the goal of getting Albert back on the road resplendent with new paint ready for the Forth Bridge photo shoot. The restoration has been taking place in the open. Even so, significant objectives have been achieved with the overall integrity of the restoration maintained . . .
No 2004 is once again a self-propelled Albion bus legally able to drive on the public highway!
Engine – running sweetly . . .
Transmission - serviced and operational throughout with main gearbox, 2-speed transfer-box, rear axle now attuned to give a 50mph/80kph top speed and reduced fuel consumption.
Rear Axle – rear wheel studs were damaged in an earlier life when running with slack wheel nuts but are now all replaced new thanks to expert machining by a retired ex-Albion engineer.
Rear Platform/Stairs – restored with new flooring, panels, supports, etc. Under-stair compartment sealed for safe clean storage. Staircase lower steps rebuilt and staircase supports strengthened.
Top deck - rear end restored with new floor, body panels, insulation.
Internal Painting – lower deck and upper deck (excluding roof) now primed and given first top coat. Inside, the bus is presentable!
External Painting – has begun with an etch primer and Albert’s Sydney green has been purchased ready for application.
Roof – a major undertaking, now lowered from hippie height 14ft 6ins to Albert height 13ft 9ins; in other words, safe and legal for the motorways of Europe - with Red paint to follow!
Admin Activities – here it has been a game of Patience as we continue to tackle the issue of: overcoming the legal conundrum of how you re-construct and operate a 64 years old bus without being hit by the monumental bureaucracy of Brussels.
Sponsorship – after some interesting flurries since May 2010 we continue to probe new and different avenues refreshing certain past applications and looking for new prospects.
The Albert Film – despite serious interest earlier this year, things have quietened due it seems to budget cutting and lack of imagination by those-that-be, wedded as they are to the concept of “reality”. (combination of Big Brother and Masterchef, ed.) (Sorry, boys and girls – but it’s true!)
Albert’s restoration is recorded on HD video and the film script is already in draft form. Having been my passion to make this film since 1974 when much 16mm footage was shot, should a suitable movie-maker not join us, we will do it ourselves – promise!
A once-only-in-a-lifetime adventure film . . . remember?
DVLA – (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, or RTA if you live in NSW, ed.) has, dare I say it, a quiet interest in MRO 343H, first registered in UK by myself back in 1969.
During the ensuing years Albert had various owners including hippies then a fellow whose name is on the log book but who never possessed the bus . . . how sad.
Since claiming back ownership in 2009, each time I spoke with Swansea ( home of DVLA, ed.) I only had to mention the bus rego number – and all was clear! As of last week Albert has been granted “Historic Vehicle” status and (temporary) exemption from the regular MOT inspection. Albert has insurance. Albert now drives on the road.
Hotel-on-Wheels – or fitting of bunks, seats and galley – this is all next, but only after scrutinisation of the latest Euro-generated “motor home” specifications – and you can bet that will be some reading.
Scottish Vintage Bus Museum – a storage space at Lathalmond has been offered for the bus during the coming winter months.
Christmas Break – which may seem to be starting early to all you in Australia, until I remind you that in Scotland, unless you are in a warm and well lit workshop, fixing buses with cold tools, short days, rain and wind, is nigh impossible through the Scottish winter.
My Australian Office – 28 October 2011 - I will be retiring to my sunshine winter desk to pursue sales and administration activities; following up sponsors, film preparation, visa needs; detailed itinerary planning; etc., etc.. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Progress Review – We have slipped behind schedule therefore will be making a full review of work still to be completed with notice of any change in departure date to be advised by 15 November 2011.
Press support – has been great – for which we thank you. We ask only that ALBERT be the focus of attention.
A 64 years old bus of Scottish blood and Australian spirit.
. . you don’t get much grittier than that!
Remaining work - includes finishing the bodywork, road testing and adjustments, installation of the “mod-cons” (mostly portable and easily fitted), an eventual certificate for the MOT, a full paint job plus enrolment of three more top calibre Crew members.
I thank you all for your interest. It’s a long haul – the restoration I mean. Never expected otherwise – but time’s always on our side.
The Tortoise & the Hare – who won?