The Sponsons Thread

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Renegadenemo
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Post by Renegadenemo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:55 pm

They really make clear just how big the sponsons are, and the shot of DCs head thru the canopy makes it clear just how small the cockpit entrance must be.
The sponsons are huge, which Is why I don't believe for a second that someone messed about burying them in a hole in the ground, and the cockpit opening is tiny - I was in there yesterday and it's very cramped.

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Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:52 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:
They really make clear just how big the sponsons are, and the shot of DCs head thru the canopy makes it clear just how small the cockpit entrance must be.
The sponsons are huge, which Is why I don't believe for a second that someone messed about burying them in a hole in the ground, and the cockpit opening is tiny - I was in there yesterday and it's very cramped.
Going back to my account - the account given to me by Ken Norris in 1990 - of the loss of the sponsons, no-one "messed about burying them in a hole in the ground": they were simply pushed - maybe even bulldozed - into a hole that already existed; a deep hole in the ground, dug-out for foundations.

As you know, when the sponsons were ripped off the sponson-arms in the accident, both sponsons were shorn of their entire upper structure. This reduced their volumetric size considerably.

They were quite slim and slivery without their upper fairing structures. Not small. But not "huge" either.

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Terminator » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:19 pm

Still waiting by the way !

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Post by Renegadenemo » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:41 am

They were quite slim and slivery without their upper fairing structures. Not small. But not "huge" either.
Twelve feet long and a foot and a half square at their widest point, that's huge enough for me! That's four standard size graves in one go and at least four strong men to carry one or a forklift driver who no one has ever been able to trace.
Then there's the small matter of the builder, skinflints very one of them, who dug a hole that was too big, for some reason and almost had to pay for extra concrete to fill it if someone hadn't fortuitously landed on the scene with half a ton of scrap ally that they didn't feel the need to turn into beer tokens - what an accident!
Then there's the building inspector. My dad was a major house builder on Tyneside during those times so I know a thing or two about that too. He'd be thrilled at the prospect of a new building going up atop a pile of corrosive scrap.
As for hitting the sponsons with the back-actor of a JCB, now that I'd like to see. Why you'd try in the first place, I can't imagine, and the high-duty castings that spanned the sponsons end to end would have taken more of a beating than your average JCB driver could be bothered to give them, assuming he didn't wait 'til no one was looking and haul the damn things straight to the scrapyard to swap for beer tokens...
Come on guys... can we have a scenario that at least stands up to even basic scrutiny?
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Post by f1steveuk » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:12 am

Ina a word Bill, no! :D

I'm not going to argue with the people who were standing there, and when I say "attacked" with a hoe arm, simply that, dragging them from where they were, to in the hole. I am not suggesting they were folded in half, simply "JCB handled" into a hole.

For comparision, Mark Tidy snr was also peed off at the time, a De Dion four seater chassis also dissapeared, possibly into the same series of holes, they're not small either!
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Post by Renegadenemo » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:30 pm

The only 'hole' theroy that I ever thought feasible was the landfill at the end of the site. The old clay pit dug out to make the pottery that was the original purpose of the site, but it wasn't built upon at the time and we're still left with the assumption that someone would throw away half a ton of ally rather than weigh it in. One thing sounds right though, you'd need a JCB to handle them and I was told that anything that went in there was thoroughly compacted first - sounds bad.
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Post by quicksilver-wsr » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:38 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:Then there's the small matter of the builder, skinflints very one of them, who dug a hole that was too big, for some reason and almost had to pay for extra concrete to fill it if someone hadn't fortuitously landed on the scene with half a ton of scrap ally that they didn't feel the need to turn into beer tokens - what an accident!

As for hitting the sponsons with the back-actor of a JCB, now that I'd like to see. Why you'd try in the first place, I can't imagine, and the high-duty castings that spanned the sponsons end to end would have taken more of a beating than your average JCB driver could be bothered to give them, assuming he didn't wait 'til no one was looking and haul the damn things straight to the scrapyard to swap for beer tokens...
Come on guys... can we have a scenario that at least stands up to even basic scrutiny?
I think an important part of the account given to me by Ken Norris is being forgotten in what you write, Bill ...

The builders actually buried the sponsons believing they were following an instruction from Ken. In other words, they were doing what they were told to do.

Where the "accident" occurred is that Ken didn't mean, "Put them in that hole" - he meant, "Put them over there" (the words "over there" being accompanied by a vague sweep of Ken's hand).

Ken - as a personality - was meticulous, absolutely, it's true ... but he also had a habit of being vague when issuing certain instructions. I saw this time and time again when we worked together on Quicksilver and it resulted in no end of problems. My theory as to why he did this was that he was used to having other people take care of the details (bear in mind that Norris Brothers was a major enterprise - I have heard that as many as 700 people were employed at its peak: no doubt Steve has the actual number).

So, basically - whatever the precise number of people he employed - there were always minions (terrible word, and not one I usually use, but it will suffice for these purposes) who would do Ken's bidding. Ken would make a broad-brush sweep of the hand and assume the job would be done right ...

Cue an endless list of instances when this proved disastrous - such as when we built the wrong windtunnel model, or even purchased the wrong jet engine ... wasting time and money and causing great consternation ... when it could all have been done "right first time" if only Ken had been concise about his original requirement.

Big things do get buried ... remember Babs?

It was customary in the old days to bury the wreckage of vehicles in which drivers had perished. I'm not saying it was universal practice, by any means - witness Miss England 2, which was recovered, repaired and run again straight away - but it was certainly a known and accepted practice.

As recently as 1970, when poor Piers Courage was killed in a Formula 1 crash at Zandvoort, the wreckage was chopped up into pieces and buried to keep it out of the hands of grisly souvenir-hunters. And I am given to understand from people who were very much "in the know" - senior Shadow people - that the wreckage of Peter Revson's Formula 1 Shadow was similarly disposed of (i.e. cut up and buried) after his fatal crash at Kyalami in 1974.

We'll never know the full story, Bill, but I believe there is a mad logic in what happened to K7's sponsons. Ken was in his 80th year when he told you a variation of the story. Who knows why his story wavered a little then? We'll never know.

But I am prepared to go with the story I know - the story as it came direct from his lips, at a time when he was in full possession of his faculties - until such time as any future events prove this story wrong.
Last edited by quicksilver-wsr on Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by Renegadenemo » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:41 pm

Where the "accident" occurred is that Ken didn't mean, "Put them in that hole" - he meant, "Put them over there" (the words "over there" being accompanied by a vague sweep of Ken's hand).
Now there's a contradiction because he told me, when in possession of all his faculties, etc, that he had no idea they were missing until he went looking for them later...
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Post by quicksilver-wsr » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:
Where the "accident" occurred is that Ken didn't mean, "Put them in that hole" - he meant, "Put them over there" (the words "over there" being accompanied by a vague sweep of Ken's hand).
Now there's a contradiction because he told me, when in possession of all his faculties, etc, that he had no idea they were missing until he went looking for them later...
(You've come back very quickly with a response, whilst I was correcting the literals in my post - hence my high number of edits)

Was Ken in full possession of his faculties in his 80th year? Difficult one, that.

I think not, but I think it would be unfair to go into all that now - as to why I believe that he was not.

As I say, I personally don't think we'll ever get to the bottom of it ... not fully ... but time may prove me wrong.

I want to stand up for Ken's original account, because I think it is the right thing to do.

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Re: Lakeland Motor Museum/'Across The Lake' Mock Up/Sponsons

Post by Mike Bull » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:57 pm

Chaps- I've moved these last few posts into the sponsons thread and removed the subject title of Neil's book thread out of them too, to keep things neat and avoid confusion. Pray continue!

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