History Page (Some of it now almost Pre-History)

My Arrow started fairly conventionally in 1981/82, built on an excellent Herald 1200 base vehicle, using Haydn Davies' replacement chassis and a few of his special fibreglass parts (scuttle top, radiator surround, headlamp shells). Haydn founded Burlington from a railway arch in Leamington and ran it for several years before deciding his future lay in computers. He was the first of the 1980's designers to focus on selling plans for buyers to build pre-war wood-and-aluminium sportscars - there were several subsequent imitators, but none so imaginative and comprehensive.

The rest of the car was built up marine ply, aluminium sheet and leathercloth. Originally I skimped a little by using standard 13" wheels, which never looked quite right. In this form a couple of years later, Bertie (yes they all seem to be called that) formed the not entirely suitable basis of my new hobby - long-distance classic trials. I joined the Motor Cycle Club after being introduced by an enthusiastic friend, and the Burlington and I began our long and often frustrating competition history.

Breakages soon necessitated stronger components - gearbox, differential and halfshafts all upgraded after minor disasters. 15" TR4A wires arrived, and later faired-in wings replaced the early cycle wings and keep the mud under control.  A Vitesse straight-six engine and stronger springs followed. In this guise, the car looked much more the part, and even managed to win me an award in the Edinburgh Trial a few years ago. However, it was always clear that - whatever the virtues of the Triumph front suspension - the rear transverse leaf spring and swing-axle layout would never really be competitive.

Matters came to a head at Easter 1999, when loose wheelnuts on the rear nearly caused a disaster and wrecked the studs and drum on one side. Having also failed some hills which cars based on Marina and Escort running gear had sailed up, I decided on radical surgery.

Here I'm afraid we part company with the Triumph purists. With massive technical assistance from my tame mechanic and long-term technical guru, Alan Jones, I removed the entire rear end and grafted in a Toyota Hilux rear axle (the four-wheel drive one with 4.9:1 diff). To stir this adequately, the V8 removed from my decaying P6 Rover went in with it's manual box. At times this felt like a bit too much shoehorning for comfort, but it did all eventually fit in. 16" Hilux wheels with roadgoing 7.00 x 16 tyres completed the ensemble.
When working properly the result is a firebreathing monster.  Trials outings have shown the potential, although first time out (2001 Edeinburgh Trial) a flawed weld (Alan and I are still arguing about who forgot to finish it off) caused the rear gearbox mounting to collapse on the seventh special section. Now rewelded to Forth Bridge standards, at least that won't break again…..

For anyone interested, the rather crude diagram below shows (side view) how we modified the rear chassis to take the new axle.  The old chassis was cut off just in front of the rear spring and diff mountings.  We then welded in new box section ABOVE the old chassis rail line in order to leave space for the new axle to move in.  Top shock mountings (not shown) were welded in above the rails,  These can be seen in the pictures on the "2000 Rebuild" page)