It's been a couple of months since my last post on this project, and it'd be easy to get lost in the weeds regarding what'd been happening this summer. As with most of us, 2020 has produced more than it's share of frustration and setback-- but it's all part of the journey and part of the "fun" (I keep telling myself).
I've been motoring around in the Speedster with the 2110. It's an OK motor-- Cima/Mahle pistons/cylinders, an SLR "120-ish" cam, and some heads AJ Sims did for me 20 years ago. It was a fresh rebuild, and broke in nicely. I've been fighting an older set of 40s for most of the summer, and finally gave up and put on a set of 45s with a fresh rebuild. With these carbs, the engine idles down to 600 RPM (should I want to) without a fart, spit, or sneeze. I believe I've got a twisted throttle shaft in the 40s, but that's a project for a winter day, not for right now.
On March 20, at the front end of the COVID shutdown, I boxed up the twin-plug heads and sent them via USPS to Denmark to have Torben Alstrup rework them. During the great fire of '18, they ingested some molten aluminum from the misfire problem chronicled elsewhere. That was not the only issue-- the same erratic spark had caused enough detonation/pre-ignition that the combustion chambers needed work. The heads have what appears to be a DRD port. Lots of guys liked them because they flow well on the bench, but the I/R ratio is not good (too much exhaust flow for the intake). Torben knows exactly what to do, and had the time to do it.
Anyway, the heads were guaranteed to get there in 6 days, and the cost was about $200, which was less than half of UPS. I boxed them up in the mother of all boxes, bought all the insurance USPS would sell me ($650), and sent them on their way.
USPS offers "tracking", which is a joke. I watched them go to St. Louis that night, sit there for a week, then go to Chicago (we're halfway between the cities). At that point, they fell off the face of the earth. I inquired (in person) at the 2-week, 1-month, and 2-month marks. The postmaster recommended filing a claim, which I did on June 20 (3 months to the day after I sent them).
I heard nothing for 5 more weeks. On August 1, they showed up on my doorstep. My wife went to the post office to get the cost of shipping back (she's very good at getting refunds, I'm not). They now had good tracking (the kind you get every time you send something FedEx or UPS). The box sat stateside until July 23-- at which point, somebody put it on a plane for Denmark. It arrived in Danish customs, cleared, and sat in Copenhagen for 2 more weeks. The box processed through Copenhagen, "attempted delivery", and processed back to the US as "not picked up" all within a span of less than 10 minutes. I got it about a week later.
Apparently, some EU countries are just sending stuff back to the US because they don't like our COVID response (even though the package could not possibly have live US virus after a 2-week quarantine after Danish customs). Regardless-- the heads are back home after a 4 month tour of the post-apocalyptic landscape that is "the new normal" (I've got a dozen such stories in my business). The heads still need reworked, but I'm not super excited about $1000+ in shipping two ways. and hoping for the best. I need to figure this one out before moving forward. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Progress on the longblock has been similar, but Jason from VintageVolks is doing a killer job for me. It's just been very slow, mostly because of me. I'll have more details as soon as I've got more to tell, but I'm quite grateful to be as deep into spares as I am-- I'm not sure what I'd do if I were just waiting.