as found in 1999
|A few of these SIVA cars were known to
exist on the Isle of Jersey. It is believed that originally they may
have been used as a form
of novelty taxi to chauffeur visitors around the island.
In 1999 my
SIVA, originally blue,
was found in the back of a barn by the previous owner. It was
broken, derelict and neglected. In fact, it was
amazing that the car was actually still in existence. Thankfully, the car was successfully
rescued from Jersey in 1999. I took ownership
of the car in April 2005.
This page walks through the cars past
life and the seven year journey of
to the previous owners of the car, who I have managed to contact.
Their help, memories and photos have been invaluable in the
compiling of this section.
When I first saw photos of my car as it
looked when it was discovered, my first impression was that it may
have been used as a novelty carnival car as it still displayed a
wooden banner across its front proclaiming that it was the "Variety
Club Special". However, a little further investigation gave a little
insight into the car's past life. The first section of this page
outlines the previous life of the car prior to it being put into
Strangely, the earliest photo that I have of my
car is the most recently discovered. In June 2007 I attended a car
show at Weald Park, Brentwood. I parked next to a Land Rover and, as
you do during the course of the day, got talking to my neighbour. I
had some photos of my car restoration and mentioned that the car was
originally located in Jersey. The family that I was talking to
mentioned that they used to holiday in Jersey and seemed to remember
a blue car like mine outside one of the village pubs. They said that
they might even have a photo of the car from the mid-1970s and
promised to look for it on their return. We exchanged emails and
true to their word, a day or so later an email arrived with two
photo attachments of a blue SIVA car outside a pub on Jersey. But
was it my car? Well it certainly looked like an earlier version of
the car from photos I had inherited. Luckily, on one of the photos
it was possible to just make out the car registration plate. This
number tied up with an additional photo that I had been sent of the
car in garage storage from the 1980s (see later).
What is surprising
about these photos is that the SIVA kits were produced between 1969
and 1974 so the car (kit) would not have actually been very old when
these photos were taken. However, the presence of bricks in front of
the wheels and the condition of the hood looks like the car was not
well maintained even at this early stage in its life.
- In this photo the "Variety Club
Special" wooden plaque can be seen across the front of the car.
This was still in place when the car was found in the back of a
- At this point in time the car still had
its white hood.
- The car has a proper front seat. This had
gone by 1986 and replaced with a wooden bench.
- It is believed that these photos were
taken around 1975 outside a pub called 'The Water Mill' in Grève
- This location may be Le Moulin de
Quétivel at Grève de Lecq.
With very little information to go on I started
searching the internet for any connections between "Variety Club"
and "Jersey". To my surprise I very quickly found a contact address
for the Variety Club charity organisation and, via their
headquarters, I soon had a contact address for the Jersey division
or "Tent" as they are known.
I explained to the organisation that, although
it was a bit of a long shot, I was trying to find any information
about the history of my car, which I believe had once been
associated with the Variety club. I was soon greeted by some very
friendly people who went out of their way to help and began
searching the club archives for me. After much searching, the last
photo, quite literally, that they came across in their archives was
a photo of my SIVA.
As luck would have it, one of the elder members
of the Variety Club had once been an owner of the car. On seeing the
photo he remembered that it had once stood outside a nightclub that
he used to manage called Caesar's Palace, located at Greve de Lecq
on Jersey. Unfortunately, he could not remember who he bought the
car from or whether it was roadworthy when he purchased it.
- The above photo is a copy of
the photo found in the Variety club archives.
- A reference number was written
on the back of the photo showing that it was a publicity photo
taken by the Jersey Evening Post newspaper. The photo is
reproduced here courtesy of the Jersey Evening Post.
- This photo shows my car in the car park
of Caesar's Palace nightclub, located at Greve de Lecq on
- Information on the back of the
photo states that the photo is of "Dancers from the
International Spectacular at Caesar's Palace".
- I contacted the Jersey Evening
post and was delighted that they could find an exact date from
the reference number. The photo was taken on 17th June 1986.
- The girl at the front is
actually sitting on a the large white collection box. This
was fitted to one of the running boards of
the car and was used to collect small change and donations from
passers-by, visitors and tourists. The collection box is
probably converted from a battery cover box made for some SIVAs.
It makes me
cringe to think of the abuse that the car must have been subjected
to when it was sited here. It very probably had drunkards climbing
all over it of an evening and kids crawling all over it during the
When the nightclub closed it is unclear as to
what exactly happened next. The car may have been transferred to the
"Fantastic Tropical Gardens" although, this part of the car's
history is unsubstantiated. However, the previous owner of the car
did recall that, when removed, the radiator was found to be full of
sand and pebbles. The sand may have been from a children's sand pit
at the "Fantastic Tropical Gardens" or indeed may have happened when
the car was sited outside the nightclub.
ever holiday in Jersey? Maybe someone reading this may have
holiday snaps of themselves or their children sitting in the SIVA outside "Caesar's
Palace nightclub" or at "Fantastic Tropical Gardens". If so, I would
be delighted to hear from you.
Towards the end of the 1980s the chassis of the
car broke into two causing damage to the main fibreglass body
panels. This damage probably rendered the car unsafe for children to
play on and it is likely that this is when it was towed away.
The car ended up in the rear storage area of Abbey Garage at Five
Oaks on Jersey. At this time a car enthusiast spotted the car and
offered to buy it but the garage initially refused and the car
remained stuck outside.
Sometime later the garage decided to scrap the
car but luckily the car enthusiast heard about this and rushed to
the scrap yard. The car was rescued and tucked away at the back of a
barn as a 'future project'. There it remained for about 10 years.
- This photo show my car in the rear
storage area of Abbey Garage at Five Oaks on Jersey.
- It is believed that this photo was taken
sometime between 1988 and 1990.
- This photo showed the original Jersey
registration which was unknown before this photo was sent to me.
- Note that even in this abandoned state
the hood frame was still up and in one piece.
THE OTHER SIVA
During the 1980s the Variety club on
Jersey must have owned two SIVAs, my SIVA, which was blue at the
time, and another SIVA, which was yellow. In any case, at different
times, two different SIVAs were sited outside Caesar's Palace
- This photo shows
that the yellow car was also located
outside the Caesar's Palace nightclub at Greve de Lec.
- It was
also fitted with a large white charity collection box presumably
for the Variety club.
- At this point in time the yellow
car was in much better condition than the blue car which had now
been taken away.
- The bonnet of this car seems to sit
higher than a conventional SIVA, perhaps due to an engine
- This car appears to have a proper SIVA
hood mechanism whereas the blue car had a different arrangement.
- It is interesting that both the yellow
and blue SIVAs were fitted with unconventional wooden front
seats. This probably indicates that the two cars came from the
same source at some point.
When this car became a burden it was
also rescued from being scrapped by another car enthusiast on the
island who wanted the axles as spares for his Ford EO4C van. He kept
it for a while, removed the axles and handed over the remainder of
the car to be stored with the blue car. Here it stayed for a short
while but as time passed and storage space grew limited in the barn
the car was passed on to someone else who wanted to restore it.
Around a year later it was discovered
that the yellow car had been taken to the scrap-yard. On hearing
this news attempts were made to rescue the yellow car but it was too
late. As rescuers rushed to the scrap-yard, they arrived just as the
car crusher was closing down onto the yellow car. The car was
crushed and completely destroyed.
- This photo shows
the yellow car surrounded by debris
after being crushed.
- The only parts of the yellow car
that escaped were one mud guard and one wheel trim, as these
parts had been overlooked and not put into the crusher.
- The sole remaining yellow wheel
trim was eventually to be used by me to make a mould to cast new
wheel trims - but this was to happen many years later.
LATE 1980s TO 1999
- These photos show the state of the car
when it was discovered in the back of a barn in 1999.
- Most of the metal components had severely
rusted and very little of the original was salvageable.
- Luckily the fibreglass body of the car
can not rust and although damaged in places was pretty much
- The chassis had split in two and the car
was sagging and unsupported in the middle of the chassis. This
had caused the body to become damaged at the weak section
forward of the front seat area.
- These photos show the yellow wheel
trim and mudguard - these are all that remain of the yellow
- These photos show the car just prior to
being shipped back to the UK in 1999.
- A custom made tow bar was made and fitted
and all the loose parts were tied down with rope.
- The last photo is actually taken at the
docks before departure from Jersey for the last time.
1999 TO APRIL 2005
- With the body removed the state of the
chassis can be appreciated.
- There is extensive rust throughout the
car and the chassis is rusted almost completely through causing
the body to collapse.
- These photos show the removed body and
how little of the original car was salvaged.
- Note that there is no front seat at this
stage. It is unknown what was used as a front seat prior to
- These photos also show the yellow wheel
trim and mudguard - these are all that remain of the yellow
- These photos show the donor car and its
engine and chassis.
- The donor car was a 1957 Ford Popular.
The engine, chassis and drive-train were treated and renovated.
- These photos show the final stages of an
amazing transformation of the car up to April 2005.
- The previous owner undertook a tremendous
amount of work to restore the car and get it roadworthy.
- Note that a front seat has been
manufactured by making a mould from the back seat. The front
seat is several inches narrower than the back and this was
achieved by cutting and rejoining the mould to achieve the
- The car was running and MOTed by this
- I took ownership of the car in April
- These photos show the condition of the
car when it was delivered.
- The centre photo shows the crack in the
body caused when the chassis collapsed.
- Obvious major structural differences
between this car and Bessie at this stage include the front
bumper arrangement, and back luggage shelf, the indicators are
set high on the mudguards and the headlights are too large.
There are many other minor differences.
- The existing bumper was replaced by a
custom made Bessie style one.
- A starting handle tube and cover plate
- A frame was built around the existing
radiator ready to house a new brass top.
- The luggage shelf was removed and a new
rear light housing made and fitted.
- The indicator lights were moved from the
mudguards to the front bumper and rear back plate.
- Obtained sacrificial 105E radiator,
sandblasted and polished. First version of fake radiator head
- Early version of rear tyre holder (later
modified) added to a reinforced back seat.
- Excess fibreglass was removed around the
Ford style running boards covers.
- Running boards freed. Mudguards freed.
- The mudguards were removed and
strengthened by added another couple of layers of fibreglass.
- Body rub down started.
- Correct style carriage lamps obtained.
- Windscreen edge stays constructed.
Windscreen frame repaired and stained.
- Windscreen support struts from carriage
lamps designed, constructed and tested.
- Windscreen wiper motor obtained, wired
- Wing mirror brackets designed and fitted.
- Seat cushion foam obtained and shaped to
- Steering column raised for the the first
time. This was raised further at a later stage.
- Body rub down on-going.
- Car readied for spraying.
- After much waiting car was finally put
- Further primer work continued (4 coats).
- Reinforcement of fibreglass around bottom
of front seat weak point.
- Storage area under front seat and lift-up
front seat constructed.
- Car sprayed "canary yellow" (4 coats).
- Coach-lining of body completed.
- Car lacquered (7 coats).
- Steering column raised further by adding
spacers at the steering box.
- Angle of steering column extended by
cutting through bulkhead under the bonnet to allow further rise
of the column.
- Old steering wheel removed and work
started on replacement steering wheel boss.
- Fitted home-made steering wheel boss
(made from old steering wheel)
- Fitted new "Five Doctors" style, Astrali,
- Fitted new steering column centre, horn
button and indicator switch assembly.
- Reconfigured dashboard by moving
battery-charge dial so that all three main dials are centred.
- Moved Ignition switch to below battery
- Remounted windscreen.
- New battery.
- Started work on folding hood frame and mechanism.
- Redesigned and attached hood frame mounting brackets on rear
- Designed and made '3-piece poles' for hood frame to
- Added hood press-studs attachment points to back of rear
- Added windscreen tension straps.
- Designed and fitted strap retaining clamps.
- Redesigned and fitted multi-purpose windscreen corner
bracket (windscreen support strap end cover, corner press-stud
and hood frame attachment point).
- Repaired and repainted carriage lamps.
- Redesigned carriage lamp mounting plate and secured carriage
lamp base to reinforced front wings panel.
- Added sealant between windscreen glass and frame
- Painted and attached windscreen support struts.
- Painted foot-wells
changes this month.
- Hood frame and folding mechanism completed.
- Front and back seat upholstered (upholstery button patterns
matched to the original Bessie).
- Rubber matting cut and fitted to the running boards.
- Running board aluminium edging made and fitted.
- Rubber matting cut and fitted to front and rear foot-wells.
- Front foot-well prop-shaft plate painted and fitted.
- Rear foot-well aluminium edging made and fitted.
- Artillery wheel trims drilled and bolted to hubcaps.
- Hubcaps and wheel trims fitted to road wheels and spare
- Carriage lamps finished and fitted.
- Brass radiator head and attachments fitted to top of
- Front number plate strengthening back-plate countersunk and
fitted to front bumper.
- New front and rear number plates fitted.
- Temporary 'wing' mirrors attached to windscreen frame.
- Leather bonnet strap added.
- Radiator painted with heat-proof paint.
- Radiator surround and various areas painted.
- Correct style windscreen washer nozzle fitted.
- Windscreen washer bottle fitted.
- Windscreen washer wiring completed.
- Windscreen wiper wiring completed.
- Trafficator switches added to dashboard.
- New windscreen retainers made and fitted.
- Metal tax disk holder fitted to windscreen.
- 'Fake' folded hood made.
- Hood retaining straps made and fitted.
In April 2006 the Jersey Evening Post
very kindly ran an article on my car restoration. The hope was that
a previous owner may recognise the car or somebody may know
something about other SIVAs on Jersey. Unfortunately, no further information
about the car came to light as a result of the article.
What a bit of luck. I went on a
coach trip to Cotswolds village of Bourton-on-the-water. Whilst
there I decided to have a look around the Cotswold Motor Museum (I'm
not really interested in cars). However, I'm really glad that I did
because inside one of the glass cabinets was one of the hand-shaped trafficators that appeared on Bessie from
The Time Monster onwards.
This was he first one of these trafficators that I'd ever seen. The
curator wasn't there during my visit but I rang him the following
day and he took the trafficator out of the cabinet and told me the
brand name. The hand is connected by cables to a lever so that when
turned the hand lifts up 90 degrees. The hand is made from an early
translucent plastic and additional wires travel into the hand so
that originally it would light up. At least I now knew that this was
not a custom built prop so the search was on for one.
- Original windscreen plate-glass replaced with toughened
- New bespoke windscreen frame professionally built and
stained by a local cabinet maker.
- Finally managed to locate wing mirrors identical to the type
used from the Five Doctors (1983) onwards.
- Installed bulb-horn the same as used from the Five Doctors.
- Added leather bonnet strap.
- Windscreen top front edge press-stud fittings installed.
- Finally completed hood.
- Fitted press-studs using press-stud fixing tool into the
hood at the fastening points across the top of the windscreen
and around back of back seat.
- Managed to locate a ratchet style long brake lever very
similar to the one used on Bessie. Unfortunately it was for sale
in America. As the brake was made of iron, the shipping ended up
costing more than the item.
- A deep mounting plate had to be designed that had the
characteristic 'T-shaped' mount on the body but that matched the
mounting bolt holes on the new brake. This was co-designed with
my friendly welder and the drawings sent off for the aluminium
mount to be laser cut. I was very happy with the look of the
lever brake once installed.
news. A hand-shaped trafficator finally turned up as one of the lots
at a classic car parts auction. This wasn't a local auction but I
registered as a proxy bidder and luckily won it. The hand needed
some repair but after a bit of patching up and some paint it looks great.
decided to include my favourite bits from the various incarnations
of Bessie. Some of my favourite parts from the 1970s alongside parts
from the 1980s. For example, the hand-shaped trafficator, horn and
wing mirrors are all windscreen mounted. This makes the driver's
side of the windscreen a bit 'busy' but it looks great and its nice
to have been able to track down these components.
Bessie's first job as main wedding car. I think I was as nervous as
the bride that the car would behave herself, but she did a splendid
job and everything went off well. A great day with some great photo
opportunities... and some great hospitality too. Congratulations to
Andrew and Clare and the best of luck for the future.
London to Southend classic car run. Maggie in Edwardian outfit.
Probably the hottest day of the year to be wearing heavy clothes.
Maggie really suffered with the heat wearing the numerous layers of
Another landmark event. Bessie's first Dr Who convention
appearance at the Invasion 2009 event at Barking. A fairly
cold day but I was lucky that it kept dry as I drove in Bessie to
the event and back. Quite a good day
with lots of people taking an interest in Bessie. Some nice photos
on the day too including some great photos with a small selection of
Derek's monsters posed in and around the car. A reporter from the
Daily Express was there interviewing people throughout the day and I
ended up being quoted in the Sunday paper.
London to Southend classic car run. Maggie in a 1920s
Charleston/Flapper dress. We
gave up trying to keep up with the rest of the convoy and pulled in
for a pub lunch. Consequently we arrived last on Southend seafront
but to much
JULY - SEPTEMBER 2010
oh. A MAJOR problem.
Bessie's engine started making a horrendous thumping noise. After
testing compression it seems that compression has been lost in one
of the cylinders. Reluctantly, I removed that engine head and it
looks like a piston ring failure. A lot of metal fragments can been
seen inside the cylinder. The piston crown looks damaged too. This
decide to bite the bullet and fork out on a new reconditioned
fully rebuilt engine. This has several advantages over the old
engine including adjustable tappets and hardened valves and valve
seats. This means that the new engine will not require a fuel
additive as it is able to be run on conventional unleaded fuel. Also
decided to buy a new clutch and fit that at the same time. First
time I've tackled anything as major as this. Old engine is removed
and the new one installed. But that was the easy part.
Engine is installed but struggles to start. Once running it feels
very rough and stalls as soon the throttle is touched. When
jump-leads are used, first of the battery, then on the starter
motor, it is apparent that there is poor earthing. New earth straps
are fitted which cure the earthing problem but the car is still
running poorly. Cold weather halts further progress for the winter.
Bessie just manages to start and run long enough to load herself
onto a trailer to appear at the Pit Stop media event in
Bayswater. Here she joins many other replica cars of film and TV.
The event is organised by Bayswater Business Improvement District
(BID), an organisation set up to improve the area which is funded by
local businesses. Bessie sits sandwiched between the General Lee
(from the Dukes of Hazard) and K.I.T.T. (from Knight Rider). A
freezing cold day and to ad insult to injury at the end of the event
Bessie once again fails to start and has to be embarrassingly pushed
to a local side street and up onto the trailer.
I think the
problem may be down to weak spark as the spark itself looks a weak
yellow-orange colour instead of a healthy blue. There also seems to
be excessive movement in the rotor of the distributor (this was the
original distributor from my previous engine). Bought a 'new' fully
rebuilt distributor, cap, leads and condenser. After wasting some
time with poor ignition lead caps I finally get Bessie running again.
a day. Took Bessie to The Daemons at Forty - Return to Devils End
event at Aldbourne in Wiltshire, which was the village location used for
It was wonderful to see Bessie in front of the iconic village
church, and in and around the village green. The weather was
beautiful and I spent much of the day taking people for rides in
Bessie. The highlight of the day had to be taking actress Katy
Manning out for a spin in Bessie (although at the time, driving off
away from the crowds with Katy in the car it felt more like kidnapping). Katy played Jo
Grant, one of the Third Doctor's main companions and a firm
favourite with the fans.
was quite surreal driving Bessie around Devils End with
Jo Grant in the passenger seat. Riding in Bessie brought fond memories
Katy of her time on the show, and of being in the car with Jon Pertwee, and she became quite emotional and tearful.
At least, I don't think
it was my driving that brought her to tears...
only downer was Bessie conking out right at the end of the day. This
might have been an ignition problem although on reflection as it was
so hot that day and the car worked pretty hard it was probably fuel
vapourisation, which is a notorious problem with early Fords.
Ignition problems again. It seems that the new condenser must have
got cooked at Aldbourne (after only one month). I decide the replace
the condenser with a "points assisted electronic ignition system"
(Boyer Bransden kit 00069). This device takes the hard work away
from the contact breaker points, so that instead of being a high voltage spark
circuit, the points become a simple low voltage 'switch' and the spark
circuit is handled by a small electronic box-of-tricks. So not only
are the points protected but the condenser now becomes redundant.
There is also a nice flashing LED light on the device which blinks
as the points open and close. For the first time the spark now looks
a nice healthy blue colour and at last the car is running great
Bessie is invited to Elstree studios in London to appear in a photo-shoot
alongside other Ford cars of film and television. This is part of
the 2011 celebrations of Ford's centenary in Britain. The line-up
included replicas and originals including; a Harry Potter 105E
Anglia; Granada GT from the Sweeney, the James Bond Mondeo (which
was a prototype at the time) from Casino Royale and Lady Penelope's
Ford version of FAB1 from the 2007 Thunderbirds are Go movie.
The photo-shoot was arranged for The Sun newspaper's motoring
correspondent Ken Gibson who dressed up in various costumes relevant
to each car to pose for photos. The article appeared as a double
page centre spread in the motoring section pull-out a couple of
On the back of this photo-shoot the I.T.N. news crew turned
up in the late afternoon to film a feature on the cars. This also
interviews with the owners to camera. This feature was hosted by
Sangeeta Kandola and appeared that same
evening as the '.. and finally' item on ITV's London tonight
programme. Watched by millions of people across London and the home
counties a short section of my interview was included in the
feature. Fame at last.
Ever since I got my Bessie I'd been toying with the idea of making a Super Drive
prop. The Super Drive only appears in one Doctor Who
story - The Time Monster. However it is such an iconic prop
that I thought it would be very nice to make a replica of it for my car.
Over the years I'd always kept my eyes peeled at car shows and
auctions for the panel from which it was made. I was convinced that
the BBC props department must have cannibalized a piece of everyday
equipment and converted it into the Super Drive. It was obvious from
the outset that
the central display dials must have been made from an old electricity
meter but the red surround panel looked as if it was cut out of something.
I found myself constantly looking at anything which contained a
chrome inlay panel; car dashboards, old TV
sets, juke-boxes, vintage radios and radiograms, in fact anything which
had a control panel on it.
After many years of searching I had virtually given up, when one
day I happened to be flicking though Steve Cambden's book The
Doctor's Effects. Steve worked in the Visual Effects Department
of the BBC in the late 70s and 80s and his book contains interviews with
various BBC designers. Although no specific details of the Super
Drive were mentioned in the book there was a very brief interview
with Peter Pegrum who worked as designer on the The Time Monster.
I got in contact with Steve who in turn put me in contact with Peter Pegrum.
Peter had a remarkable detailed memory of his time on Doctor Who and after a
few exchanges of emails I was much better informed, first hand, as to how the
Super Drive was originally made.
surround was not made from an existing piece of equipment (as I'd
always thought) but was
actually made from a piece of black acrylic sheet which was covered
in red fablon (sticky-backed plastic) and then sprayed. Originally
the prop had a some edging made from plastic tubing, which had been cut lengthways, and
around the edge of the panel. However, Peter explained that this
edging tended to keep coming off, so it was decided in
later shots to remove it.
Interestingly, if you look closely, at the screen grabs of the Super Drive it
can be seen that the edging
is present in episode 3 but not in episode 1. Checking Peter's
recollection against the filming dates (in the DWAS Doctor Who
Production guide) I was amazed to find that the shot that appears in
episode 3 was actually filmed before the shot in episode 1. I hadn't
noticed this before and was amazed at such a remarkably accurate
recollection from Peter.
knew that the Super Drive was effectively a scratch built model, I set about
making one for myself.
task was to estimate the size of the Super Drive. To do this I made
up a one-inch grid on a large piece of cardboard and fixed it to the
underside of the passenger dashboard on my Bessie where the prop
would be located. I then took a
photo of the dashboard and overlaid this with a screen grab of
the Super Drive from The Time Monster. As my car is made from the
same mould as the original Bessie car I was able to line up the dash contours
and dials and scale up the screen grab to accurately estimate the size of the
control panel. I then used Photoshop to transform this overlaid image
back onto the one-inch square reference scale.
I could then use this as a template and cut the correct shape of the
Super Drive from acrylic. I decided to use red acrylic directly
rather then use black and paint it as one of the colours available
was already close to the final colour that I wanted.
to make the edged version of the Super Drive as I thought this
version actually looked slightly better than the flat fronted
version. Rather than run
into the same problems as the original production team with tubular
edging, I made my edging as a second layer from a duplicate piece of
acrylic. This was identical in size to main panel but only retained
a narrow band of material around the edge. Once completed I cemented this
narrow 'ring' of acrylic onto the main front plate.
The original metallic
parts were apparently from a car chrome grille but after much further
searching I was unable to find exact matches for these so decided to
have these made up on a milling machine. An additional adhesive
chrome strip was used for the top metal bar.
fairly easy to find the correct type of electricity meter. There are
a few variations of these but I knew the specific dial configuration
that I wanted, so it was just a matter of time waiting for the
correct type to turn up. Incidentally, the writing around the dials
cannot really be made out in the screen grabs but once I'd obtained
the meter dials it was nice to finally
be able see these symbols clearly. The dials designate power in
increasing orders of magnitude. The red dial denotes tenths of a
kilowatt-hour. The arched writing around the bottom right dial says
"10 KWh per division". I'd always wondered what that dial said.
lettering was fairly easy to source from self-adhesive letters.
However, these are now only available in metric sizes so there is a
slight difference between the original imperial letter size (3/4
inch) and the
modern metric equivalent (20mm). This was added and sealed onto the
panel with clear acrylic spray lacquer.
top left corner of the dial window there appears to be a mysterious
blue/red reflective quarter disk. Nobody seems to know what this
or why it was included. For completeness, I added this feature to my
prop by cutting a clear acrylic quarter circle and painting it blue on
the reverse side to maintain its reflective surface.
I made two further
to my version of the Super Drive. Firstly, I made a clear window to
protect the dials and pointers from dust and dirt. This was friction
fitted into the dial window. Secondly, I modified the
fixing point and added a friction hinge so that my version of the
Super Drive could fold away neatly behind the dashboard. I added
this feature in case the prop got in the way of any passenger's legs.
very pleased with the final result. The images below show a
comparison between the original Super Drive and my homemade version.
The Super Drive, as it appeared on Bessie, in The Time Monster,
My Super Drive, as it appears on my Bessie, completed in August
If you would like to contact me about Sivas, Edwardians or
Bessie, you can email me at