Eighteen year old engineer, Charles Tanner of Formhalls Vintage & Racing based in Downton, Wiltshire is the 2014 Young Craftsman of the Year. He will receive his £3500 prize and the Trophy at the Worshipful Company of Coachmaker’s and Coach Harnessmaker’s annual Automotive Dinner at Haberdasher’s Livery Hall in London in March.
The annual competition challenges young engineers and apprentices, working within the historic vehicle restoration industry to pit their skills against each other to find the outstanding young craftsman. The competition was made possible by a trust fund established by a former Liveryman of the Worshipful Company and is now jointly promoted and administered by the Coachmakers in conjunction with the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs.
Charle’s project was the full engine restoration of a 1939 B series Rolls Royce Wraith. This engine was one of only 491 produced by Rolls Royce. The engine had been showing signs of overheating and a lack of maintenance requiring its full restoration.
Following very careful stripping and cleaning, major work was identified including replacing the pistons, crankshaft main and big end bearing white metalling and a complete refurbishment of the cylinder head. Water leaks were identified from the copper tubes in the block that prevent the head studs corroding and Charlie had to develop a process to remove these thin walled tubes without damaging the block.
The overheating problem was found to be a combination of sediment in the block waterways and a water pump that had completely destroyed itself and was a very difficult rebuild in itself.
The engine was fully assembled by Charlie with all the new and refurbished parts and was checked for the correct tolerances and clearances at every stage before assisting with the refitting of the engine in the car and the eventual start-up.
Charles presented his project to the award panel made up of members from The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and the FBHVC. He presented photographic evidence of the work he undertook on the engine together with the monthly reports that were given to the vehicle owner.
The award panel were very impressed with the very detailed and careful work that was undertaken on this project and Charles clearly demonstrated his personal commitment to doing the best possible work on this complex engine and is a worthy winner of this prestigious award.
Young engineers and apprentices interested in competing for the 2015 Young Craftsman of the Year can apply now for details and an entry form to : The Secretary, FBHVC etc etc