Author Topic: Simmonds Update  (Read 1654 times)

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Offline Thumper

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Simmonds Update
« on: September 29, 2014, 11:23:42 AM »
With apologies to BN, since I've not posted here for far too long, but just a quick update on Simmonds - not that there's a great deal to relay. I keep tabs on any and every Simmonds I come across, and there have been a few gracing the pages of eBay in the last few months. One side of those appearances that's pleasing to note is that prices have been holding fairly steady, and the sales of good condition restored or easily-restorable boats have been rising, although not exactly fast!

I've noted one rather fine example heading south to the sunny climes of Spain, and another now doing well in the Dordogne. Just recently a new owner contacted me with interesting plans to convert his part-restored Simmonds to electric power. Another owner did this a few years back, with some success, but the unit he installed only gave a top speed of about 15 mph. The current project will include a much higher-powered electric motor and give a top speed nearer the original for the boat.

I've just been contacted by a Simmonds owner, new to me, asking about the header tank design, and my own Simmonds is non-standard (although was installed by Donald himself) so can't provide the reference he needs. Does anyone have a photo of the standard header tank that I could pass on? I imagine it was probably an off-the-shelf unit, but it's equally possible that Simmonds fabricated the unit themselves.

Offline Thumper

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Re: Simmonds Update
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 03:11:24 PM »
I can't believe it's such a long time since I last posted an update here for Simmonds. My apologies BN.

I suppose the truth is, my own personal involvement with my Simmonds has taken a back seat these past couple of years, and my own "restoration project" remains just that - a project, and little progress has been made.

Despite this I receive a fairly regular stream of contacts via the Simmonds website. Most are from people who have just purchased a Simmonds (or are about to sell one) and are looking for advice, much of which I feel ill-qualified to supply ... but I try my best. I have had two recently from the continent; one from a Frenchman who has recently purchased a very well-know example from the Dordogne, and then today from an enthusiast in Spain planning a full restoration of another.

Last week I had an email from Frank Morgan, who has his Essex V6-powered Simmonds for sale on eBay at the moment. This is a slightly unusual beast. Most Simmonds had the Ford Consul 4-cylinder engine, several had the Zephy straight-six, and even a select few (very few) carried the Daimler Dart V8, but I've only found records of two others installed with the Ford V6. Photos of his engine suggest it may not be an original installation, since the carburettor appears to be fitted to a standard manifold (and hence is not vertically aligned on the slant-mounted V6) and the header tank is in a strange place, but the rest of the ancillaries and brackets look right, so it may just have been 'played with'. I'll post a link in the appropriate section.

My research into my own boat has progressed a little further, and while I'm no closer to getting it back onto water, it does at least maintain my background enthusiasm. I knew it was "Number 1", and its launch had been featured 'live' on the BBC back in 1954 - although no recording is thought to survive. The programme was seen by David Brown, who then owned Aston Martin, and he was so impressed he offered to buy it. He had the Simmonds installed as tender to the yacht he then owned, which I had always believed to be the Marsaltese II. I've since discovered that it was the Marsaltese III, and that extra digit made some difference in tracking the vessel down. It confirmed that he only owned the yacht for a couple of years, and that it subsequently had a name-change (one of several) before ending up as a luxury cruising restaurant on the Seine in Paris, known as the Don Juan. It retired about ten years ago - current location now unknown.

I now need to establish when the Marsaltese/Don Juan became separated from my Simmonds! Did David Brown keep the Simmonds, or did it remain with the Marsaltese? I suspect the former, since my boat did return safely to the UK, but I haven't yet found proof. The search goes on ...