For the latest episode of his “Workshop Diaries” YouTube show, former “Wheeler Dealers” host Edd China starts work on one of his more unusual projects. It’s an Outspan Orange, a fruit-shaped vehicle built in the 1970s to promote a South African orange grower.
China acquired his driveable Orange directly from the company, restored it, and has driven it occasionally ever since. Because it’s been acting up recently, China puts aside his other projects temporarily to focus on it in Episode 6.
The Orange is based on a classic Mini, though with a tiny 48-inch wheelbase that matches the track. Owing to the unusual bodywork, the engine sits under the dashboard. So if it breaks down at the side of the road, China will be sheltered from the weather while working on it, at least. The spherical interior has a definite ’70s vibe, with a smattering of Mini gauges and controls.
Edd China’s Outspan Orange
After removing a bird’s nest from the engine compartment, China finds a leaking fuel line. Fixing that smooths out the previously rough-running engine, seemingly addressing the problem, but because the Orange had been sitting for awhile, China also replaces the air filter and the spark plugs.
The work gets the car back on the road—a dirt road in this instance—and a short test drive reveals plenty of other problems, including a hesitant engine, a bearing in need of replacement, and steering that pulls dangerously to the right. China plans to tackle those issues in future episodes, so instead he segues into a segment answering viewers’ questions, which in turn leads him to briefly pop the hood of his ongoing Land Rover Range Rover project to make the sure the engine has oil pressure.
This episode also continues the story of the world’s fastest electric ice cream van, which China started building in 2018 for a successful Guinness World Record run. He started out with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and has spent the past few episodes focusing on how he got the stock transmission to couple with an electric motor. That continues in this episode, where China discusses machining down the flywheel to save weight, and machining an adapter to allow the motor to fit with the transmission. That leads to the next issue, which is the need for a bellhousing of sorts. The finished product will certainly be included in a future episode.
Watch the full episode for a complete explanation of the processes China uses to work on all three of his ongoing projects.