September 2011 Magazine  



                                                       September 2011.








WEDGE WORLD is the magazine of the
Princess & Ambassador Owners Club

Harry Parker, 20 Maxstoke Close, Dosthill,
                     Tamworth, Staffordshire, B77 1NP.
If you have a general query /enquiry please send a SAE.

Editor :
Open Position �all copy to

Matt Holden.

Web site:
Club Email:
Members area access. User name: member
                                            Password: fingers

Club Phone: 07801 445189 (Please respect Harry's time when calling
as he is responsible for many aspects of running the club).

Spares: The Club hold a nominal selection of popular spares, if this does
 not forefill your requirement contact Terry Miller on 01775 767999. If Terry
 can not meet your needs then try the internet, you like us may be surprised
 as to the strange things that come up for offer especially on Ebay.

This club and its officers reserve the right to edit or not print Articles submitted
to the magazine. Content of articles is not necessarily endorsed by the club
and officers but is the license of the article authors.

Next  Rally: Dyrham Park, Bath
                   18 September 2011.




Contents for issue 46                     August 2011.

         4. Editorial. Round up of the Wedge related goings on.

          5. Dyrham Park Rally Info.

          6..An Ambassadors Life. Mike Lias.

          8. BL/BMC Rally and Spares Day - Peterborough.

         12. The Old Primer Problem Overcome.

          15. Ethanol Fuel Additive.   Pete Maycroft.

          17. Wedge Mart. Cars and spares for sale.

          Thanks to Pete Maycroft and Mike Lias for contributions to this issue.
      Please forward your stories, tips or photos to

Welcome to new members:

                Michael Munzak.  Dorking, Surrey,Princess 2 HLS.
               James Turnbull, Stirling, W. Australia. Princess 2.0 HL


Current Membership total 60.





It�s been something like six years since I sat facing a computer screen to do a club magazine, so please forgive me for being a bit rusty.  As you all know, due to his daily workload, Jim is no longer able to continue as Editor of Wedge World, so it looks like me getting down to do the job once again.
Hopefully, some of you will come to my rescue with articles for publication.
Good thing I have now retired from paid employment.

Membership Renewal 2011/12.
Despite membership renewal forms being sent out late this year, I am pleased to report that the number of renewals received to date are slightly up on the same time last year, and hopefully we will maintain the steady (but small) annual growth in membership numbers achieved in recent years.  There are still a number of members who have not renewed. If this is you, please would you give this your attention so that we can declare job done for another year, and thanks to all who have renewed. Just realised, the club became fifteen years old on June 1st. We look forward to our sixteenth year.  Please find enclosed your membership card for 2011/12.  (That is if you did not receive it with the June Wedge World update).

The Bank tell us that the use of cheques will be phased out early next year. Looks like we will need to set up other ways for future payment of our membership fees. They have informed us that the first step for this is to set up internet banking on the club account which I have already done, and will take advise on what to do next. In addition, I will see if we can get a Pay Pal account installed.

It�s good to see that more than one third of members who have rejoined this year have been with us for ten years or more. Your continuing support is greatly appreciated, and hopefully you and your Wedges will be around for at least another decade.  We must be doing something right!

Website and Forum.
The club website attracted 1,932 visitors during the month of July 2011. mainly from Europe, the USA , and of course the UK. I also note that 14% of all visitors during the same period came from China. It seems the Chinese people like British cars, especially ours.
Following the suggestion from members in the recently conducted survey, we installed the discussion forum in November 2010.  To date we have 40 registered members � mainly club members. The Forum seems to be a popular addition to the website, but would be better if more members would register to use it to communicate with the rest of us. Maintaining the forum however is proving to be a very time consuming business due to the massive amount of spammers who register as users from all over the world, in particular, Poland, Russia, and the USA. On average I have to de-activate 60 plus newly registered individuals every morning.



Next Club Meeting Dyrham Park, Bath. 18th September 2011.
Dyrham Park is a treasure to enjoy; set in a dramatic deer park on the edge of the stunning Cotswold escarpment, near the World Heritage Site City of Bath. Discover the beautiful late 17th-century home of William Blathwayt, a hard-working civil servant who thrived during the political upheaval of three monarchs. Explore how fashions changed over the centuries, from the original 17th-century Dutch-inspired interiors and formal gardens, to the very different style of Victorian country squire Colonel Blathwayt. The elegant garden is a more recent restoration, recreating the spirit of what had been lost.

Admission Charges
House and Park and Gardens � Adult �11.55, Child �6.00, Family �28.90
Gardens and Park                      Adult �4.65,   Child, �2.35, Family �10.30
Park Only                                  Adult �2.90,   Child  �1.70, Family   �9.35






An Ambassador�s Life. by Mike Lias.
My Ambassador is a 1982, Y reg, 1.7HL in silver grey with paprika trim. A beautiful combination. Isn't it great how a photo makes the car look so good. In reality it's a bit tatty. But that can soon be changed. If anyone can get me a Princess driver's seat with the armrest, I'll be in 7th heaven. It passed it�s MoT last week with not too much trouble. A number-plate light not working, a tyre to be replaced, a rear bearing to be tightened and �60 worth of welding done to both front floor panels. �120 covered the lot.

 The MOT.
The worst job was the numberplate light. I did this myself. The rest was done by a welder, a secondhand tyre place [of good repute] and the garage to tighten the bearing. I could have done this myself but it's been raining a lot lately.
The numberplate light was one of those jobs which just won't go right. The unit is held on by a clip attached to the bulb holder which fits into a backing plate under the bumper. Came apart alright. But would it go back together again? It would not. I delete the swearing that took place and the way it slipped into place quite easily in the end. Corrosion was the problem. Water was getting in somehow. Cleaned it up and I didn't even have to change the bulb




Anyway this is all beside the point. My car, our car I should say, because my wife, Jane, always supports me. Sometimes by the neck but I won't go into that!
I don't work any more, so the Ambassador doesn't travel much. We use it for hospital appointments, shopping and pleasurable things.
Much of our large shopping is done at our local Asda. It's a small store but the best we can manage around here. Parking is good, again for around here. It's build on the site of an old pit, I believe, which is about the only level ground you get in the South Wales valleys.
   Do you think I'll get it 10% cheaper?                     An Expensive Business:
Our local Asda at Tonypandy
Petrol is expensive, as everywhere. This place has got plenty of room around the pumps [some are very difficult to get into].
It's right next to a train station. So it's probably built on old railway sidings [our other source of flat land].
Unfortunately, my wife has had to spend some time at our local hospital. It's local for us but some people have had to travel miles for their treatment. 
the Hospital Car park.                                                                                 
I daresay this is the same everywhere. The scenery is lovely but the car park is small






                                        Outside my front door.
It's a pity it's usually raining. It had just stopped when these pictures were taken

18th BMC BL Rally and Spares Day
Peterborough � August 7th 2011.

Having put �50 worth of four star into the tank on Saturday 6th, Phil and I set off in fine sunny weather at 8.30 am.  Weather fine, and car looking great after Phil had spent most of Saturday polishing and cleaning.  The journey was uneventful except for the signage for the A605 Peterborough on the A14 no longer being there � leading us onto the A1 close by Brampton.  This minor diversion upped our mileage by about 20, but helped get us to Nene Park by following many other BMC BL vehicles who were obviously going our way.  As we had not pre booked, we joined the line of Rovers, Marinas, and Allegros  � filled in our form, paid our fiver admission, and were directed to the PAOC display area at 10.30.

Two Princesses and an Ambassador got there before us.




So we parked opposite:

During the next couple of hours, more members and cars arrived, and by mid day, the club display area became well populated..
As usual, Derek Pearson came down from Durham � a massive distance. Likewise, Tony Cooney from Dublin. Harold Richardson was the local lad just travelled the short distance from Kirton nearby.

Something Like 13 Wedges.
We don�t know the total number of visitors to the event, but our number on the entry pass was 578 � issued when we arrived at 10.30 am, and they were still coming in at 12.30 when Phil and I left early due to me feeling unwell with a severe chest infection, (now sorted by a visit to the Dr and a course of anti-biotic).
Our total distance for the day, 170 miles, and plenty of petrol left in the tank.














The Old Primer Problem.
My Ambassador is an early VDP model, which has been in my care since late 1995. Unfortunately, I know little about the cars past, in the early years of my ownership it became clear that at some point it had fitted both front wings, bonnet, front bumper, left hand chassis leg, and passenger door.  Obviously very severe accident damage!

During the late 1990s, I noticed that on all the above panels there was a problem with the paintwork which took the form of lots of tiny blisters �some showing rust spots. I attempted sanding down and re painting on the front wings, but after a couple of months, the problem returned, and could only be permanently cured by a bare metal paint strip and re paint. In recent years I have carried this out on both front wings, but now it was time to tackle the bonnet.  So, taking advantage of the good weather in May, Phil and decided it was time to tackle the bonnet.

The rust specking can just be seen here:

Working outside, we  removed all the top coats of beige paint, but soon found the removal of the original factory primer was going to be a much more difficult and time consuming operation. Paint stripper had little effect, likewise the use of the




use of a wire brush in the angle grinder. We also tried the use of a paint and rust removing wheel in the electrical drill with little effect on the stubborn black primer

A word of warning!  we also tried a coarse sanding disk in the angle grinder, and immediately got an area of metal distortion which also had to be dealt with.  So, we asked for advice from a car re-painting expert who remembered the problem from his younger days, which was, apply liberal quantities of paint stripper, then cover this up with metal foil to prevent it drying out, and leave overnight do the business. This we did, only to find that the primer still stayed stubbornly in place, but had softened sufficiently to be removed with the wire brush and angle grinder. Another couple of days were spent removing the remainder of the primer before attacking what remained with the paint/rust removing disk followed by hand rubbing with a block and coarse sandpaper. 

Having finally got down to shiny metal, it became apparent that the small blisters in the paint had allowed moisture to get to the metal, and had caused  many small rust spots.  The only course of action now was to remove as many of these as possible by hand sanding then coat the entire bonnet with Jenollite applied on fine wire wool, leaving for half an hour, re applying, and finally drying with a cloth before re-painting.






The rust specking following treatment with Jenolite rust treatment.

A few coats of grey cellulose primer were then applied (half a litre) before applying a further half litre of Champaign Beige cellulose to finish the job. Two weeks later the bonnet was treated to a good polishing with cutting paste and polish, leaving both Phil and myself pleased with the outcome.




Ethanol � it�s inclusion in petrol and implications.
O.K., so we�ve all read about the increasing use of ethanol in petrol, but what is it, why is it happening, and what are the implications for us Princess/Ambassador owners?
First; what is Ethanol?
Ethanol is a liquid form of ethyl alcohol, with additives so as to make it non-drinkable (otherwise, it could be hit with �alcohol taxes�). If you try to drink it, you�ll be sick � it�s as simple as that!
Second; why?
Governments from Europe have been set targets for �renewable energy� usage, and the need to reduce their dependence on �fossil� fuels � oil, coal and gas. Because ethanol can be produced from plants (rape seed oil, sugar beet, etc.), it�s regarded as �renewable�. Blending this with petrol, makes the oil go further and also addresses this �renewable energy� issue. The downside of using crops for fuel production, is we now have less acreage for producing food, so food prices are going up (one reason, anyway) and more people will become short of food.
Third; where are we now?
Currently, oil companies can blend in up to 5% ethanol into petrol (E5), and not tell us � there are no warnings on the petrol pumps or in the media, etc. Plans are to increase this percentage by up to 10% (E10) by 2013. Whether there�ll be any more information given to us by the oil companies when ethanol percentages go up to this 10%, come 2013, is anybody�s guess. Possibly not, due to Europe�s desire to appease the minority but politically active, �tree huggers� amongst its voting population! Also, can we assume that 10% will be the maximum percentage of ethanol in petrol? Maybe not. In the USA, they currently have up to 85% ethanol in certain petrol grades (E85). That said, I understand that currently, most of our �higher octane� (97 or higher) petrol blends do not contain any ethanol, due to its compromising this higher octane rating. No doubt in the future, this might change!
Fourth; how does this affect us?
Engine operation.
This is where it gets a bit technical; for reasons of reducing their tailpipe emissions figures, vehicles produced after 1991 and equipped with electronic feedback fuel injection systems with three-way catalytic converters, need to keep their air/fuel ratio (AFR) in a very narrow band - as near as possible to 14.7:1, by mass (1kg. of fuel mixed with 14.7 kgs. of air), for the majority of their operating cycle. Theoretically, this 14.7:1 ratio is the optimum AFR for �complete combustion� � where there should be no atoms of air or petrol left � they should all have been burnt. This is known as the �stoichiometric� air/fuel ratio (for
petrol). A vehicle so equipped has the ability to reduce regulated pollutants by up to 98% - �raw� gas (engine out) emissions versus tailpipe emissions. For ethanol, the stoichiometric AFR is lower - around 8 or 9:1. Now, our �lower technology engines� (�B� series, �E� series and �O� series) may run





on a much wider range of AFRs � from 12.5:1 (�rich� � for acceleration) right out to 18:1 or 19:1 (�weak� or �lean� under cruise/light throttle conditions) � a �normal� range for vehicles of their age. Adding ethanol (or any other hydrocarbon) will change this stoichiometric AFR.

Whilst more modern (post 2002) vehicles have engine management systems that can �learn� when fuel compositions are changed, and �adapt� their fueling and ignition maps accordingly, ours cannot. The addition of ethanol in petrol for these �modern� vehicles is therefore, of little consequence whereas for us, it can have huge implications, particularly if the percentage increases beyond 5%.  As stated earlier, we currently have up to 5% ethanol in our petrol (E5). Today, for us with �wedges�, these �tune� issues are fairly small � at 5% ethanol. Doubling up to up to 10%, and they become a lot more significant. The net effect of increasing the percentage of ethanol in petrol, is to �lean out� the set AFR range of the engine, meaning that under all operating conditions, our vehicles will be running �leaner� and possibly) hotter than originally designed for. A stoichiometric AFR of a petrol engine using 10% ethanol might move from 14.7:1 to say, 12.5:1, and running leaner than our designed AFR (under cruise conditions) of say 18:1, will be further leaned out, to the point of engine misfires/engine damage. Therefore, a re-tune of our vehicles - fueling (by changing the carburettor needle(s)) and (maybe) ignition settings (mechanical and vacuum advance changes � springs, bob-weights and vacuum capsules), might well be required. This is not something that can be undertaken easily as to do it properly, requires access to either an engine dynamometer and/or a rolling road and expensive, sophisticated gas measuring, ignition measuring, �knock� sensing equipment used by skilled engineers/technicians.  Manufacturers spend huge amounts of time and money developing �tunes� in this manner.

Ethanol storage
Ethanol is highly corrosive, attacking all manner of rubber compounds, cork, aluminium, brass and even steel fuel tanks and pipework. It�s so corrosive, that it�s only added to the petrol, as the tankers leave the refinery/storage depots, so that it�s not in the steel tankers for longer than absolutely necessary. Implications for us all with older vehicles are obvious; random fuel leaks and maybe, vehicle fires. This is one of the many things that the authorities haven�t considered, and by the time they wake up to it, it might well be too late � �classic� vehicle fuel spillages and fires, becoming a regular occurrence.  Again, the �tree huggers� might use this as a reason, to push to get rid of all petrol-powered vehicles of a certain age or older, from our roads.




Fifth; the future
There ought to be a big �push� to continue the production of �normal� (ethanol-free (E0)) petrol for some years to come yet, not only for us �classic� or �older� vehicle users/owners, but also for the many pre 2002MY vehicles currently on our roads. In total, these numbers might well add up to several million vehicles � a significant number. Add to that, the numbers of historic racing vehicles that there are around, and this total number might be too big for even our government to ignore!!  Let�s hope the issues of random full leaks and fires are also taken into account. We live in hope!!!

                        Happy motoring. Pete Maycroft

Wedge Mart.
Cars For Sale.
Austin Ambassador fitted with 2.2 6 cylinder engine. Automatic transmission. Some new parts also available.  Contact  Garry Fowler  -

Austin Ambassador 2.0 HLS 1984. One Owner from new, Rust treated and carefully maintained - no welding. Only 39,000 miles.  Light Green. Located Central York. �2,100. Please contact Andrew - 07979598423


Wolseley 18/22 1975 Harvest gold with Navy velour interior. 63k miles always garaged. Second owner, first was chauffeur driven!  In concourse condition with plenty of awards to reflect this.  1 of 6 road worthy examples left from the 3000 units built of the last car to bare the Wolseley name.  Many spares with car. Located in Coventry. �6995 ono.
Contact Derek on 02476 467 364 or 02476 337 456.







Austin Ambassador 1,7 HL, Non runner - for spares or restoration.  Surrey. please contact  Richard Garrett at

Austin Ambassador 2.0 HLS. 1983
73,000 miles.  Failed MOT due to front suspension fluid leak and underside welding.  Otherwise - good condition.  Bristol Area. Telephone contact 01179694450.

Austin Ambassador Vanden Plas.
First Registered 05/83.  Approx 70,000 miles - Three former owners. Tax and MOT to May 2010. Many new parts including exhaust, rebuilt gearbox, all brake pipes and hoses, suspension ball joints etc.  Twin carburettor with manual choke conversion.  Silver leaf metallic - paintwork needs minor attention.  �700. Call Pete on 07817 151030 and leave message.

Club Spares For Sale
. All prices plus postage and packing

               Ambassador Front Disc Pads.                                         �15.00
               Princess Front Disc Pads.                                                �12.00
               Princess and Ambassador Rear Brake shoes.                   �15.50
               Rear Cross Tube Mountings. (FAM8108)                             �9.00
               Front Suspension Lower Arm Rear Bushes (Butterfly)          �6.00
               Cover Sills (Right Hand Only).                                            �20.00
               Ambassador Rear Brake Cylinder Repair Kits.                 �6.00
               Ambassador Rear Brake Cylinders  (VECO).                �14.00
               Princess Rear Brake Cylinders  (VECO).                           �13.00
               Front Suspension Steering Ball Joints (QH)                        �10.00
               Thermostats (O) Series - 82 degree  (QH)                            �8.00
               Rear Wheel-arch Repair Panels.                                        �18.00
               Ambassador Twin Carb Air Filter Elements.                        �11.00
              Cambelts for �O� series engines. (QH).                                 �8.00
Brake Discs                                                                   �18.00.
             Factory Reconditioned Outer CV Joints                               �24.00
             Lucas CB Points.                                                               �4.00
             Lucas Condensers
.                                                                                 �3.50.








Why not advertise your spares here.

Wedges at Lupin Farm, Staffordshire � 21 August.
 More on this next time.





Derek Pearsons Princess at Peterborough - August 7th.