Copenhagen International School leaderboard

Fergus's Dream Machine!

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 12th of September 2013

In 2008, Oundle pupil Fergus Flanagan (18) arrived at Oundle School as a Third Form Design and Technology scholar with a rusty chassis, a cracked engine block with the wrong cylinder head, a rusted front axle and rusted rear axle casing for an M type MG.

He accumulated parts by visiting auto jumbles and visited many car shows to take pictures of other M types to find out how sections worked and how they were made to go together. Almost all the parts required renovating and modification to fit the car as many were damaged. He sourced a new engine block as the previous one was cracked and already bored out. This again required modification as it was supplied to him as the correct block but turned out to be from a slightly different car.

Fergus gradually built up the engine, making a number of parts in the workshops. Many parts had to be outsourced (crank, rods, pistons, cam etc). While he waited on parts for the engine he proceeded with the chassis and ancillaries; blasting, priming and painting the axles, polishing and fitting the leaf springs, re fitting the shackles. He rebuilt all the hubs with new bearings and all the tolerances were checked. All safety critical parts in the steering system were replaced by new crack tested parts.

Once the engine was finished Fergus started it up in the Patrick Centre when he commented, 'This was a defining moment of my career at Oundle.'

The engine then had its final fit in the chassis and the prop shaft was measured up and made to order.

Fergus's first drive happened over the summer at home when he drove the car up and down the drive, making small adjustments to the engine and general car set up. Then he bought the bodywork (in a really bad state) from a man who was replacing his with a new body and didn't think the old body was worth recovering. Fergus repaired and renovated the body using a set of drawings that gave a general idea of the shape, but were by no means precise and he had to rely on the now large bank of period pictures and those he had managed to take himself.

Fergus estimates he has so far spent over 1200 hours working on the car which was on display at the School's Speech Day at the end of June. Fergus is now eagerly awaiting his A level results hoping to have secured a place to read Engineering at Cambridge. At the School's Speech Day Fergus was presented with the Nicholson Engineering Award, which is given annually to an Upper Sixth pupil to offer support in the first year of an engineering degree course. The award was initiated by Mrs B M Wright to commemorate her father, Mr Rupert Nicholson. Although Mr Nicholson did not attend Oundle School, it is the School's excellent reputation for engineering and the close connection of previous members of the Nicholson family who attended Oundle that led to this Award.
Fergus commented, 'My experience building the car exceeded all expectations and dreams that made me want to come to Oundle School in the first place.'
Head of Design and Technology, Clive Humphreys commented, 'This is a fantastic achievement. Fergus has shown that with dedication and hard work almost anything is possible. This is an ideal start to his career as an engineer. The confidence he has developed through the project will be a huge help when he faces bigger tasks in the future.'
Fergus's Dream Machine! - Photo 1
Grace Education