A View from Broadway

Louie gets a D ...

The Louie Louie Speed team. Flying Lines photo.

By Ken Burdick


... Or, why do these things happen to me?

Yes Folks, it’s true.

I’m happy to say that no classroom was involved in the obtaining of a D, and yes, it is another engine.

It must be winter and as if Boris was not enough, Ken-Louie (of the Louie-Louie speed team) has begun yet another D Speed ship. It all started innocently enough, with a visit to Scott Newkirk to get a few Rossi .15 parts, then I could say Louie got an A -- but more on that later.

Anyway, while yakking with Scotty, He brought out incredible quantities of speed gear, not to mention an original Profi 40 that has enough ports to park a bus in. There were boxes of Rossi .60 parts, and I was getting a little overwhelmed, when he showed me an honest-to-goodness Nelson .65 front end. These things are as rare as a warm day in winter, and that as they say, was that -- I knew that while we would be running Boris in 2018, this would be another fun project for 2019! So the list of parts from Scott were; piston and liner, front end assembly, a Rossi backplate, spinner assembly and a crankcase.

WAZZ A Nelson .65?

That’s an excellent question, and I might be able to just scratch the surface of it. I’ve seen a case that has some initials on it and it may have been a Galbreath and Henry production. The exhaust is to the side , the pictures I have seen show a very nice casting, and if it has Henry’s name on it, that’s good enough for me. The only one that I have actually seen was in the speed arena, it used an OS .65 case and everything else was good ol Henry.

Why doesn’t anything fit?

When I got home, I laid out the parts I had purchased from Scotty, and I was like a kid opening a new present. I immediately began to put the liner into the case -- it didn’t fit. Hmmmmm. I then tried the front end housing. It didn’t fit, so I sat there wondering what to do. I sent a note off to Henry, who wasn’t around, asking if the case needed to be bored out or what? Not having an answer, the next stop was John Newton, who has many D engines and likely would know the answer to my problem.

Which witch is which

The pie rotor. It’s beautiful, but I needed a plain old backplate.

After  an enlightening conversation with John, I learned that the engine I wanted to build needed a “big case” OS .65. Fine. That’s just great,” I thought, “so what do I have? “I asked him. “You have the small case” "Just perfect,” I thought.

But John said that he uses the small case and that he had a big case he would swap me.  I smell a rat since his D ship is around 199 mph and mine close to 180 on a good day. I figured I was already over my head and said, “Sure, let’s swap.” John also had the remaining parts I needed to complete the project: con rod of a specific style, wrist pin and backplate.  I sent John the funds and the small case.

Now we're getting someplace!

I was pretty excited and sat on my hands for a few days waiting for the package to arrive. But It didn’t (Christmas rush) and I had to return to British Columbia without it. I could get the box sent it to me in the land of ice and snow from Seattle whenever it arrived.

There was a major storm that was about to hit Seattle and the entire Northwest the day before I left. Winter snow warning n the mountains it said. “Don’t go there,” it said. “This means you ,Kenny” it said.

I usually stay out of the mountains and especially the Coqahalla Pass when the big one hits. They even have a TV show about where I drive through. “Highway through Hell.” is the name of it and that might give you a clue, they fish semi’s out of the cliffs and canyons after they slide off the road.

I waited until the next day, stopped in North Delta to see good buddy Barrie Hobkirk, but got nailed anyway in an ice storm. I took the canyon route going around the famous mountain pass, and that was where the ice storm went.  Eleven hours later I returned to the winter palace quite worn out and with white knuckles.  The parts sent from Seattle followed me at a snail’s pace and arrived sometime in January. Christmas was over, things were just getting back to normal when the little box arrived. I was ready to look it over and finally assemble my shiny new Nelson .65.

Enter Gomer Pyle

There are times, I suppose, that we all feel like Gomer Pyle -- this was one of them.

“Gollie! Lookie there, a bunch of parts!”

I sat down in my workshop and began to assemble my new prize.

The first piece I tried was the liner and it went into the “big case” John sent, perfectly, I breathed a sigh of relief.  But the backplate somehow had turned into Pie style rear rotor assembly and it’s beautiful, but I needed a plain old backplate.

I tried it in the case just to see if it would fit and it did!

Okay, now I am thinking this is a slam dunk and all I need to do is get a backplate and I’m on my way to BIG TIME SPEED ... man.

I had previously assembled the front end I bought from Scott; it’s really cool and I couldn’t resist putting it together. I tried to fit it into the crankcase. It didn’t fit

I could the feel tears welling in my eyes, and was thinking of baaaad things. I set a note to Henry wondering if it was just me or did everyone have this much fun.

Henry wrote back right away saying that there were actually three different size OS .65 cases, small medium and large. (How do I get myself into these things?)

He went on to say that the liner for the medium size case was 1.14” in diameter, and 1.10” for the small one. I measured mine and guess what--it was 1.14”. Now, at least I knew what I had. Henry went on to say that the empty front housing should be assembled only after bolting it to the crankcase because it “swells up” when the rear bearing is installed. Oh crap,” I thought, staring at the fully assembled front end. Getting the rear bearing out would be difficult and the whole thing was beginning to weigh on me, so I put the front end into the deep freeze, waited two hours and heated the case to 300 deg F -- it assembled perfectly.

Before me I have a nearly complete Nelson .65 san the backplate, but Henry has one, I hope it fits.

 "I don’t know what a Nelson .65, is…….but I want one!" -- Gene Pape.

To be continued ...

-- Kennyb

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This page was upated Feb. 20, 2018