Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Alan's barrelback!


Please take a good look at one of my clients' cars. Alan purchased a basic Aero Merlin barrelback MG3 kit from me then added the various modules in kit form to finish it. This car ranks as the best built barrelback, indeed best built car to date and is an inspiration to us all.

If you wish to build one of these, you have a choice of either barrelback, just like this one here, or a beetleback variation, then take a look at my website, www.aerocyclecars.com
plus www.aerocyclecars.blogspot.com where you can see some build up detail. 

So, let's get stuck in to the detail of this car.

Immediately it can be seen that this car is extremely well built and finished to a very high standard. The paintwork is BRG, British Racing Green. Notice the superb flow from the front nose cone back to the raised twin humped scuttle. The colour shows off the multi louvred bonnet, in fact 96 louvres are present in the overall bonnet. The stainless steel and chrome fittings stand out superbly. The next few pictures show different angles and then we get into serious detail.

The Moto Guzzi 1046cc (1100) engine/gearbox/drivetrain all come from a 2002 Moto Guzzi California motorcycle. The car once built has to undergo a 3 hour MSVA test in the UK, then the registration process can commence. Effectively you'll surrender the bike's current registration and will obtain an age related registration from the same year.

A pleasant front end shot square on displaying the 90 degree V twin 1046cc engine and front suspension system together with the vintage 1930s MG TA 19 inch front wheels.

A low angle shot always shows off the wheels and headlights to great advantage. Alan decided to go for chromed wire wheels, alternatives are grey painted or black, or any other colour you wish if you have them painted to your own colour scheme. Red wheels always look good against a brighter green overall finish. The stainless steel tie bar across the front end can be polished and always looks good with vintage badges attached.

Shots taken from above always look good.


The barrelback advantage! The spare wheel, obviously a spare for the front. In 1936, it became law that a three wheeler must carry a spare wheel, so as a consequence Morgan developed their barrelback version in order to carry a spare. Having said this, there are period photos of their beetlebacks also carrying a spare wheel horizontally above the rear curved cover. Incidentally, the barrelback model then went on to become the Morgan F Type, with a flat front radiator and grille, behind which sat a side valve Ford engine. Some F types had doors. I have seen a one off Morgan F type beetleback.

The rear cover lifts off completely, indeed it is held in place by 4 quarter turn Dzus fasteners. With the barrelback model, the exhaust silencers can be kept close to the bodywork using the original bike location brackets as shown here, whereas on a beetleback the body starts to curve inwards from just behind the seats. Rear lights could be located on the body sides using different fittings if a builder so wanted.

We're beginning to get into detail now. Just look at those louvres. A previous client some years back seriously got me into louvres in a big way, his view was, there is only one thing better than louvres, and that is more louvres! The bonnet top louvres were inspired by many vintage cars, and of course Morgan 4/4s etc, and the bonnet side louvres were inspired by seeing those on a French three wheeler called a Sandford. Note the chrome on brass bonnet catches, which are standard items from me. Note also the exhaust side pipe brackets which again, were inspired by those seen on Morgan three wheelers, incidentally, it is well worth taking a visit to the Chris Booth collection of three wheelers (Falstaff Antiques) in Rolvenden, Kent.

Alan "went to town" on the cockpit interior. I supplied the bucket seats, Alan selected the colour and the carpet to the seat rear and the green piping. He made his own dashboard and covered it in the same vinyl, together with the tunnel cover, the panel behind the seats, plus the inner side panels with pockets. Alan also designed and made his own arm rests, which are so simple, I kick myself for not having got there first! The wing mirrors and steering wheel might not be to everyone's taste, but suitable items have to be fitted in order to pass the MSVA test. After market more vintage items can always be fitted after the vehicle test if the owner so wishes.

Tremendous detail here in the method that Alan used for covering the aluminium tunnel covers. Alan integrated the Moto Guzzi bike dashboard lights, then included some push button switches. I supply an "engine turned" circle polished aluminium dashboard for those wishing to use it.

I rather like the way that Alan has fitted the Brooklands aero screens. Normally I would fit them closer to the bonnet line, but Alan has fitted them further back towards the dashboard but in doing so has had to lift them slightly by packing some aluminium pieces under the mounting plinths. This method shows the vintage style scuttle humps to great advantage.

This shot is just here because I like it! Louvres and the stainless steel bonnet hinge.


Bonnet opening time. I'm a bit of a fanatic for polished aluminium and I make the scuttle front panels and fuel tank from polished aluminium sheet, called Propeller, because it has a propeller motif, and being an aviation nutter, it just fits in with my thinking. I like Alan's two tone painted grille within the nose cone.

An obvious under bonnet shot showing the pedal box and tandem master cylinder. Note the braided hoses from the fuel tank, stainless steel braided brake lines, and the propeller panel to the rear of the nose cone. Vintage style bonnet tape is stuck to the bonnet shuts on the nose cone and scuttle.

The polished rocker covers (originally grey) and the stainless steel headlight bowls together with polished aluminium alternator cover, all add to the bright vintage look. I drill the headlight bowls and fit the bullet indicators to them, thus all wiring can run up through the threaded headlight stanchion mounting point.

The two tone grill looks vintage and has a 1930s racing panache about it.


Alan designed these arm rests and there are so simple, why didn't I do similar ones myself....I will now.

A polished grab handle is a nice touch.

Dashboard detail.


Under bonnet again, note the air filters, braided pipes and lines. Alan fitted a fuel sender, and the classic tank filler cap is on the other side.

Fuel injection system and the large K&N air filters.


Alan fitted a stainless steel catch tank which sits behind the detachable louvred front panel.


Bonnet louvres, yet again!


An inline fuel tap is a good idea. Note the adjustable pedal box.

The cockpit rear panel is fully removable enabling the fibreglass rear cover removal. Note also the opening hatches directly behind the seats. The panel is aluminium, but Alan has covered this in vinyl.

Detail showing the chrome on brass bonnet catches, polished aluminium trim strips, stainless steel side pipes, and I very much approve of the stainless steel rivets holding the main side panels on. Alan had the main side panels painted prior to fitting them.

A final reflection perhaps?

Fancy one of these then.....best get in touch!

I ship overseas, especially to the USA, particularly California.

for build up details, go to


01273 843749 07976 312058