Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Sunday 1st May - WCR+2 At Gaydon

 This World Cup & Marathon Rally car day was originally scheduled for two years ago. Obviously, the covid restrictions that forced everyone to stay indoors (while Boris and his mates attended parties!) prevented this from happening. So, at long  last a new date was organised and this brilliant event could finally take place. I had a car full of people organised, but various cancellations before the event meant I was making the 135 mile journey alone. 

My car of enforced choice for this event was the Mk1 Pi. This was due to the blue car still missing its gearbox and diff and the Mk1 estate still being in Norfolk awaiting welding. I had a trouble free run up to Gaydon other than stopping a couple of times to adjust the timing which hadn't got back to being quite right since the new engine was fitted.   

Once at the show I met up with good mates Dave Harvey and Richard Warr, plus many others that I hadn't seen for some time. The cars on display were fantastic and there was many interesting stories of previous rallies to be heard. 

One of the cars that had been in the  World Cup Rally was a Citroen DS that had travelled over from France. I have to say, it looked very good. 

There was also a Mini Clubman that took part that was also for sale. I deliberately didn't ask how much it was in case I was too tempted to buy it!

A World Cup Rally car that I would love to own is one of the Mk2 Triumph Pi's that took part, but these are now so sought after that even a basket case would set you back over £15k and then you'd probably have to spend at least that again to get it back to its former glory. You could use another Triumph shell I suppose, but then the car wouldn't be the genuine item, so it's unlikely that I'd ever own one. There were a few of them there though and as always, they looked fantastic. 

The only thing that blighted the day was the cold weather and the rain. So, by about 1pm after spending three hours in the damp, we'd all had enough and decided to leave. It had been a good day though and I enjoyed meeting up with Richard and Dave again. I left at 1.15pm and after another short stop to adjust the timing for a final time (it's spot on now) I arrived home at 3.35pm. The Pi had covered 272 miles door to door and hadn't missed a beat. What a great car! 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Saturday 16th April - Bye bye Rusty Custard!

 With the recent purchase of the Mk1 estate, one of the fleet had to go. So, with a heavy heart Krusty Mustard was put up for sale. Well, that's not strictly true because before I even had a chance to advertise a buyer came forward and a deal was done. 

The buyer, who is a good friend of mine (and who shall remain anonymous for now) came down to mine by train on Good Friday and stayed over so that we could have a laugh and get out for a beer on the Friday night. To be fair we probably went a bit overboard with the drink which resulted in my friend not being fit enough to drive home until Saturday afternoon instead of the planned Saturday morning. 

I had had the bonnet painted the correct colour during the week and to be honest, I thought the car looked great now it was all one colour. I had re-fitted the bumpers too and this also improved it's looks. This car also drives absolutely beautifully and I must need my head tested for selling it. To be fair though my real love is for Mk1's and I always said that this car could just be 'an itch I had to scratch'. I'll still be seeing it on the events though, plus it still has a good owner who will look after it. 

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Saturday April 9th - Another Long Day!

 Not happy with having covered 760 miles last weekend my mileage for this weekend would be over 400 again although with me not doing so much driving this time. 

My day started with a 6am alarm call so that I would be leaving my house at 7am to be at Colin Wake's place in Frating, Essex for 8am. Once there we jumped into to his Land Rover discovery,  hooked up his car trailer and headed up the A12, A14 and M1. After an unsuccessful search for somewhere to have breakfast we arrived at our destination at Nottingham for around 12pm.  

After consuming a welcome cup of coffee and bacon roll from our host, we then loaded up the car we had came to collect, a Triumph 2000 Mk1 estate onto the trailer. 

I've bought the car as a project and it will need some welding done before it can be driven on the road. So, instead of the car coming home it was being delivered to near East Dereham in Norfolk for these repairs to be carried out. Various other work will need to be carried out before the car can hit the road again. It's been stood for years so all of the brakes were seized on, so these will need rebuilding  or replacing. 

We left Nottingham around 1.30 pm and made our way across country via the A52, A17 and A47. We had a quick stop for coffee and sausage rolls at 3pm, but other than that we pushed on and arrived in Dereham at 4.45pm. After unloading the car and having more coffee we left there at 6pm to make the journey back to Frating. I eventually got home at 8.45 that night. We'd covered around 430 miles. It had been a long day. I'm pleased with the car though and I'm looking forward to getting it on the road. 
This car also has a bit of history with it in the fact that it was used in the detective programme 'Endeavour'. It's not in it for long and it's also on false number plates, but I've been assured it's definitely the car that was used.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Saturday 2nd April - Sunday 3rd April

It was finally time for the  trip that had been planned in January to come to fruition. Nothing was really happening on the club scene and there were no events planned at that time, so I had decided to put a run together for just a few close mates. 

The route was a huge triangle that covered the East coast, West Coast and South coast. The weather was a concern as Friday afternoon it was snowing with more sub zero temperatures predicted over the weekend. 

Dave Harvey arrived at mine on Thursday, Richard Warr landed on Friday and Dave Maton showed his face on Saturday. We left Leigh On Sea around 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon with Dave Harvey and I in my Mk2 saloon and Messrs Maton & Warr in Dave Maton's Mk1. We had planned to fill up at Sainsbury's Rayleigh, but they had ran out of fuel. Luckily, we had enough fuel to get us to the start location at Ipswich, so we would try and find fuel there. We then met up with Colin Wake and Mike Bishop in Colin's Mk2 saloon at a carvery in Ipswich for dinner and also found some fuel at a local Sainsburys. With the petrol tanks and our stomachs filled, we set out just after 6pm. 

Our first planned stop was Ness Point. Lowestoft. This is the most Easterly point in England. (This was our East Coast stop) After a quick photoshoot and meeting up with some of Dave Maton's outlaws, (in-laws) we were soon on our way again. (We had planned a 'brew with a view', but the freezing cold Easterly wind put paid to that. 

We then headed north towards Great Yarmouth and then took the A47 towards Norwich where we witnessed the most fantastic sunset on the Acle straight. All of us agreed we'd never seen anything quite like it. A huge black cloud had settled across the road with an impressive almost straight edge at the bottom and the sky above and below the cloud were two different colours. All very beautiful! 

Once past Norwich we took the A47, A17, A16 then A52 up to Skegness. Another quick photo shoot followed, then a quick top up with fuel at an Asda petrol station. 

Our next destination on the  itinerary was a 'shit and snacks' stop at Leicester Forest Services on The M1. Our route to here from Skegness was across to Lincoln, then Grantham and finally cutting down the A46 onto the M1. We had a quick stop just outside Skegness so Dave Maton could top up his gearbox oil, so Richard put the travel kettle on and we had a quick coffee while repairs were effected. We then had a decent break at the Leicester services although the coffee turned out to be dearer than fuel with two average cups costing £6.20. (Do these places not realise they would sell more if it was cheaper?)

After leaving the services we took the M1, M69 and A46 & M5 towards Weston Super Mare. (This was our West Coast stop) Again, because it was so cold we just stayed in the cars and kept going and reached Weston Super Mare before it was even light! Another top up of fuel was the order of the day at a large Tesco's and then a quick pic in front of the Grand Pier was taken. (No idea what all of the police cars were doing there though? 

After leaving Weston Super Mare we travelled some fantastic A and B roads before finding a decent sized layby where we could make a brew and scoff some biscuits. The previous nights carvery was now a distant memory and it would still be some time before we could breakfast. 

It had been a very cold night in the south west and the fields and parked cars were covered in frost. With coffee and biscuits consumed we then altered out plans slightly and changed the breakfast stop from Amesbury in Wiltshire to Eastleigh in Hampshire. (The one in Eastleigh was open earlier)

Breakfast was partaken at a very leisurely manner and was a welcome break away from the cars. We all love our cars and love driving, but were starting to feel a bit cabin feverish! Needless to say it was getting on for late morning when we left the eatery and the traffic was starting to build up due to the bright sunshine that was now in attendance.  We postponed our planned drive along Brighton seafront due to this and headed along the A27 for the less crowded Newhaven instead. (This was our South Coast stop) After more quick pics we headed for the A22 where another decent sized layby was found and our final brew up for the day was had. 

A nice drive up the A22 was had, apart from Colin's satnav deciding it wanted to go through some B roads to Lingfield before putting us back on the road that we'd just turned off of! Anyhow, the dreaded M25 was clear (even through the Dartford tunnel) and we were back at Radspeed Racing HQ (my house!) shortly before 4pm. 

A final photoshoot was done and cups of tea were drank before heading off for the usual celebratory 'beer and curry' at the Indian diner. (And very nice it was too!)

All three cars had done well, especially Dave Maton's with its gearbox leak. Total mileage for Colin and Mike was around 700. Us setting out from Leigh on Sea covered a bit more with the total being around 760. We had completed the run in just over 24 hours and had passed through the counties of: Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire,  Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey, Kent and finally back to Essex. 

We all had a great time and unlike the first two runs I organised....we had no rain! 


Sunday, 27 March 2022

March 26th. A full day in the garage.

 I decided to do something about the exhaust rattle on my Mk2 before next weekends overnight journey. When I was underneath the car a few weeks back I noticed that it didn't have the correct exhaust mount where the exhaust goes through the rear cross beam. Well to be more precise, it didn't have one at all!

So, this was purchased (See above) and promptly fitted. This isn't as easy as it sounds as I had to remove the back box and the link piece that goes over the axle before I could get it where it needs to be. 

Once fitted I then started the car up and found that the exhaust was blowing. (Grrrr!) But after a few minor adjustments the exhaust was corrected and the blowing had ceased. Another job off the list then.

I then decided to remove the gearbox from the Blue Mk1. I've had a annoying bearing rumble on the run down on this car for some time and seeing as this is my chariot of choice for the upcoming 10 countries in 5 days rally in September, I thought it I'd get it sorted out before taking on such a mammoth journey. After a few hours the gearbox was out and sitting in the back of my Renault Clio waiting to go to the gearbox specialist.

I rang him later that night, but to my disappointment, he cant do it for a month. I was kicking myself as I should have rang him first to check. It doesn't really matter as I don't really need the car, I'm just annoyed with myself that I never checked with him first. I now have the car up on axle stands for a month taking up garage space. Let's hope I don't need the workshop for repairs to the other cars!

March 19th. A drive out in the sun.

 Seeing as we hadn't been out for a while, Gavin and I decided to have a leisurely drive over to Wallasey Island. It's not that far, but far enough to get the temperatures up on the cars and the roads going over there are twisty enough to test acceleration, braking and suspension. 

The drive was fine but the wind was a cold biting one that made us not want to stay too long. Plus, I was going to a footy match in the afternoon as well so I couldn't stay over there all day. 

Both cars performed well although I did have an annoying rattle from the exhaust on tick over, but I know what that is anyway and it's on my 'jobs to do list'. 

The other reason for the drive out was to test the rear suspension on my car. Since owning the car I'd noticed a 'clonk' when pulling away and a metal rattling sound behind my right ear when driving. Almost as if the off side rear door wasn't shut properly and was banging on the door shuts. I wondered if the clonking was the propshaft and so inspected that, but could find nothing wrong there. I then decided to check the rear suspension bush. It turned out this was exactly what the problem was. The bonding between the metal and rubber had failed and the bush was collapsing and providing excessive movement. 

So I replaced this bush with an old genuine Triumph part that I had in stock. I then decided to check the other side and found that this had started to fail as well, but wasn't quite as bad. Needless to say that one was replaced as well. and I now have a rattle free and clonk free car. 

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Sunday 20th February - Mk2 seat challenge

 Since buying the Mk2 triumph last October I've found that I've had to crook my neck when getting in and out of the car. The previous owners (team Rusty Custard) had fitted MG ZT front seats which although very comfortable are absolutely huge! They have you sitting quite close to the door and also in a higher position that I'm used to as well. 

I decided to look for a set of Alfa Romeo 156 seats which I have now found although they are up in Mansfield. They will be collected some time soon by Dave Harvey (He doesn't live that far away from Mansfield) and he will bring them down with him the next time he visits. In the mean time Dave Maton still had the original seats from Gertie in his loft and offered to loan me them, so I collected them Saturday morning and attempted to fit them in the afternoon. 

After removing the MG ZT drivers seat I stumbled across a problem. There had obviously been some problems involving the floor pan in the past and repairs had been carried out. The problem was that new metal had been welded over the top of the captive nuts where the original Triumph runners would have bolted in. 

It was at this point that it also started raining so I took that as a sign that I wasn't meant to get this job done today and locked up and went indoors. 

Sunday morning saw me playing musical cars so that I could get the Mk2 into the garage. With the drivers seat and carpet removed I then got an old seat runner and bolted it into place using the front bolt only. I then positioned the rear of the runner to where I thought it should locate. I then drilled a small hole through the repair panel to see if I had found the position of the original hole of the captive nut. Luckily I had, so I moved up to a bigger drill bit drilling very carefully so I didn't damage the thread underneath the repair panel. I then tapped the hole with a 5/16th tap to clean up the original thread and then tried a seat bolt to see if the runner would bolt down and hold tight. It did! Success! 

I then had to do the same to the repair section on the side near the sill and luckily this went just as well as the first one had and before long I had the Alfa seat bolted into position. The passenger side had had no such repairs done to it, so this seat fitted straight in with no issues. The seats aren't the correct colour, but as I said I have only borrowed them until my ones arrive. 

While the car was in the garage I carried out a couple of other repairs to the windscreen washers and improved the earthing to the electric fuel pump and with that done, I called it a day. Quite a successful morning all told.