Super Duper: Smith-Corona Super-G

I’m a Facebook lurker, and a recent post on the Facebook Mid-Atlantic Typewriter Collectors Group caught my attention.  The poster was having trouble finding time to work on a distressed S-C Super-G, so he was giving it away:

[Facebook Post about free SCM Super-G]

Yes, please!

I’m making good progress on the Great American Novel, so this typewriter was a nice reward for my hard work.  I had initially described my novel as a historical romance, but I think it’s more of a historical comedy. Or maybe a historical comedy-drama.   I have the first draft completed, and gosh, it’s funny.  The romance scenes are rough. I don’t know if I have the necessary mettle required for romance writing. Here is a sample love scene in the current draft:

There’s a whole lot of tragedy and death in my novel too.  I keep killing off major characters because people died a lot in the old days.  I am getting a little concerned by the body count. Maybe I’ll let them live. As an author, I am very powerful.

Anyhow, in recognition of my excellent ahead-of-schedule novel-writing progress, I am rewarding myself  with a special treat: a broken typewriter.

Tim, the  guy who was giving away the Super-G, runs a bike shop near my place.

I drove over and we did a safe, socially-distanced typewriter transfer:

Thanks, Tim!

I really didn’t know much about Super-Gs before I got this.  I didn’t even know they were made by Smith-Corona.  With those racing stripes, the Super-G looks a lot like my brother’s 1972 Saab Sonett III (designed by Sergio Coggiola, who worked at Ghia at one time).

Anders Jensen, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons

I was thinking maybe the Super-G was an Olivetti.  Duh, NOOO.  It’s a good ole British-made Skyriter in a  sleek Italian-style shell:

This little racing Skyriter, this Formula One Corsair was designed by automotive designers Tjaarda and de Tomaso of Carrozzeria Ghia SpA.

The Super-G I got from Tim is from 1974 by serial number 7YP124855 (7YP Series 1)

So here’s the Super-G on arrival.  It was in pretty good shape except the return lever problem, a bent ribbon vibrator, jammed-on spools, gummy typebars and escapement.

The racing stripes on the Super-G are just super excellent—so much classier than painted flames.

With a bent return lever mechanism, there was no communication with the platen, so it wasn’t line spacing.  I assumed that the pieces inside were all bent, but I couldn’t see anything.  It was time to judiciously dismantle.

To familiarize myself with the typewriter functions, I downloaded a Super-G typewriter users manual from Richard Polt’s manual archive:

Click to access SuperG.pdf

 

I vaguely recalled a blog post by Ted Munk about replacing a teeny return lever on a Skyriter with a larger one from a Corsair.  This post came in handy during dismantling:

Yes you can swap the long return lever from a Corsair for the vestigal return arm of your early Skyriter!

I downloaded the Smith-Corona 6YC Series Typewriter Repair Manual in PDF format for diagrams and service reference material:

And after removing the return lever,  right platen knob, and the platen, I got to this point.

Ugh. This looks weird. What do I do here?

I found this video from Duane at Phoenix Typewriter very helpful in dealing with this plunger assembly:

 

I removed the plunger assembly, paper tray, carriage feed roller assembly, and page gage assembly.  I was finally at a point where I could see what my problem was:

It’s not supposed to look like that. The linespace pawl assembly was sitting on top of the linespace lever arm.  That’s bad and wrong.   It’s supposed to look like this:

 

After some careful forming (bending) of the linespace pawl assembly,  I got it into a position similar to the diagram:

Now it should line space and the return lever should work properly.  I wouldn’t know for sure until I got it back together.

Could not get the spools off easily – they were jammed on the wrong way.  They had to be eased off carefully so I didn’t  damage the teeny spools.

So here’s The Rule: you cannot let a dismantled typewriter become Parts in a Box.  Reducing a typewriter to Parts in a Box brings shame onto your entire family. I knew I must work quickly to get it back together. I figured I had about 24 hours after dismantling before the parts became vague and forgettable.

The clock was starting to tick. I had 24 hours to get this typewriter back together. I needed to peel out. Burn rubber.  Make tracks.

I get to work. I become one with the machine. I become Super Duper: I am a S-C Skyriter with racing stripes.  I am small and unassuming, but fast and driven by vast ambition, full of powerful hidden talents.

It is done. The typewriter is reassembled.  It types. I bring honor to my family.

It makes a loud plastic clatter when typing.   It makes you feel like you’re really accomplishing something while you’re hammering away. The print baseline rolls like a ship at sea. The typewriter  was whacked real bad at some point, and everything’s a little askew.  I think maybe I like that.

My tips for dismantling and reassembling:

  • Take lots of pictures – you’re going to need them.
  • Stay organized with boxes, cups, bags.
  • Work on a soft white surface so you can easily see dropped screws and little springs.
  • Get a long thin flat head screw driver.
  • Magnetize your screwdriver.
  • Operate in good light.  I use a rechargeable headlamp.
  • Download a service manual.  For me, the diagrams are invaluable.
  • Reassemble a dismantled typewriter as soon as possible to avoid Parts in a Box syndrome.

It’s a sweet ride, this machine.

This typewriter is a generous source of the best band names ever:

After I finish the Great American Novel, I’m going to start a band so I can use one of these names.

Thank you, Tim of bikes@vienna.  Regarding bikes, my family has gotten into this YouTube channel Not Just Bikes which is sort of about bicycling and how great life is in the bicycle-friendly Netherlands.