Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Arrival

I don't place much stock in omens, but it was absolutely pouring down with rain when I got the call the from Matthew the Truckie the he would be dropping the bikes off today. It was Monday, 9th of June at about 8am and I was on the bus to work, so I jumped off at the next stop into a veritable thunderstorm, got absolutely drenched and caught the next bus home. Matthew said he would be there at 10am and he damn well was. 10 on the dot. It was big rig and the bikes were in the mid section. It took a lot of shuffling and reshuffling by his packing crew to unload the bikes - well, not exactly bikes, more boxes of bits and things really. One of the guys asked me, "what the hell are you gonna do with all this junk?" (sounds alot like something my wife would say). "I'm planning on restoring them.", I replied. He looked dubious. I guess I looked dubious too.

The Heinkel & boxes - rainspatted and fresh from the truck assembled on the porch

The Heinkel came in 8 boxes (including the chassis and panels). Of course I knew what I was getting when I bought it, but it was still a bit of a shock to see it right there in pieces on my front lawn. The Troll was shipped whole of course, and Matthew hopped on it and coasted it down the ramp, carefully riding the front brake. I had visions of the old brake cable snapping and the whole thing plunging into the ground, but it came down okay. I was really excited as I wheeled it down the driveway but it wasn't long before the full realisation of what was ahead caught up with me. A quick once over of the Troll revealed numerous problems - let's call them "challenges" to be resolved before it has any chance of getting on the road. While parts of the body are in very good nick, other parts are very badly worn. It needs a damn good panel beating. The body however is the least of the bike's problems. The throttle was broken, it's missing its indicators, the front brake is partly seized I think and new cables are required. I suddenly felt completely daunted by the prospect of all the work ahead. It was overwhelming.

Fortunately, the thunderstorm had passed just long enough to unload the bikes - otherwise my mood might have been even grayer. The Heinkel boxes were packed under my porch and the Troll was parked in the driveway. I took a couple of photos and then I headed off to work. My wife messaged me on the way to hear how it all went. I sent her a couple of photos (ahh, the wonder of mobile phones). I was expecting Shelly to be extremely dubious, but she said the Troll looked really cool - whether it was running or not. It was a relief.

Once I'd freed myself of the emotion, I began to think clearly again. Like a good project manager I began planning out all the activities that I needed to do. I had originally hoped to have the Heinkel ready by November - six months. Clearly that is unrealistic. I now don't expect to have the Heinkel ready before the middle of 2009. The Troll will be priority for now.

Unfortunately rain and work commitments during the week prevented me from carrying out a proper appraisal of the Troll, nevertheless, I spent the rest of the week searching the internet for IWL parts. There seems to be is a surprising amount of spares available from German scooter/motorcycle retailers. I ordered a complete set of new cables, new wiring, indicators and rubber seals (the seals on the engine covers are perished in several places. It will be two or three weeks before they arrive.

Saturday turned out to be a stunning autumn day - sunshine, blue skies and pleasant warm humidity so I began my first offical survey of the bikes. Firstly the Troll. Apart from the problems with the front end, the vehicle seems to be in fairly good condition. The engine seems clean (not really a gauge of how well it runs I know), it looks like it's had some repair / maintenance fairly recently. Some of the wiring looks a bit old and frayed, but I'm going to get all that replaced. One interesting discovery was a set of dangling wires out the back of the bike. These are an indicator connection for a Campi trailer, so back in Dresden this old girl must have been towing a trailer.

I unpacked all of the Heinkel boxes and - just to get a picture of what is and isn't there - did a bit of a dry reassemble on the lawn. When the Heinkel was delivered I was surprised not to see any wheels. There was only one single wheel packed amongst the boxes and that turned out to be the Troll's spare. I couldn't see how the Heinkel's wheels could have fitted into the boxes. But they did. Two 8inch wheels and four tyres. They look so diminutive and it immediately made me wonder. Was this really a 103A?? Turns out no. It's actually a 102A-1 (observant readers may note that the blog tagline has changed). The ID plate clearly states it's a 102A-1, chassis no 134084 built in Stuttgard in 1955. Only 17,500 102A-1's were built between 1953 and 1955. Mine was obviously built towards the end of the run. The main difference between the 102 and 103 was the move to 10inch wheels to improve road handling on the 103.

As promised, there were two engines in the boxes, both dismantled. Some of the parts looked quite new, others were frighteningly bad condition - the clutch for example. There is a lot of work to do. Things I've identified as missing so far - exhaust, rear shock absorbers, suspension, axle and mudguard, gear change and throttle controls and probably a lot more. After the review I packed all the boxes up again and have stored the Heinkel for now. I've sent my membership off to the Heinkel Club Deutschland and am awaiting the parts and price list. Once I have that I'll begin sourcing the parts.

On a trivial note, it's clear the old Heinkel has had quite a varied life. It was originally black but was handpainted it's current gaudy red and blue. Its original seat has gone and been replaced by a sheet foam glued to marine ply. That'll need to go too.

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