Body Work

Body Work

Paul Taylor is responsible for the bodywork and overall appearance. “The look of the bike is exactly as raced on June 3rd, 1978 – every detail on the bike can be backed up by photos of the bike on the island”. Tricky, because only a single picture of the left hand side could be found.

When it came to the one-piece tank seat unit, the Paul Taylor’s carbon specialists faced a challenge: “We had to had to dumb down our own fabrication techniques. The bodywork is in fibreglass matt with polyester resin, which is very simple to use compared to the heat-cured carbon fibre we use which has to be expertly laid up so the pattern of the weave is visible.”

The clear resin means the bodywork is translucent, but that will only be visible on the sighting strip on the side of the tank. A sealant had to be put on the inside of the fuel tank to protect the polyester from the chemicals in modern fuels. One late nuance was the discovery that the top of the fairing sides are a different shape on either side of the bike.

There has been a lot of internal, sometimes heated discussion about the shape of the fairing and nose. Paul Taylor said: “We have been adamant that we would only take dimensions from authenticated photographs taken on the day of the race. We have scaled things up, we have calculated camera angles, but even so there is room for debate.”

Uniquely, Mike’s bike was fitted with a fuel tank breather – not just relying on the breather in the fuel cap. And speaking of the fuel cap, an R-clip can just be discerned locking the fuel cap from accidental release from, say, a bouncing helmet. Authenticity!

The swooping aerodynamic curves and narrow aspect of the fairing allowed Mike to clock a remarkable 158 mph with an engine putting out a reputed 80 hp. A key part of that great aero is the screen. The original screen curves gracefully down to the fairing in one continuous arc. US screen specialists Zero Gravity were tasked with reproducing that screen and nailed it!

The Hailwood fairing had another unique feature. ……..the tennis ball…………Hailwood was keen to avoid vision problems caused by insects on his visor. The day before the race, he requested a tennis ball be fitted to the inside of the fairing with the top almost cut off. A piece of tape acted as a handle so he could to hold open the ball and use the wet sponge inside to wipe his visor.

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