Monday, 31 July 2017

Next seasons rally car?

Back in June I'd been made aware of an apparently very solid 1967 Mk1 saloon languishing in Hertfordshire that could possibly be coming up for sale. Seeing as I also had to go to Hertfordshire for Scrutineering the day before the East Anglian Classic Rally, I decided to factor in a diversion to go and view said car. 
The car had been put up on ramps so I could view the underneath when I arrived, but I have to say, it looked very sorry for itself with its bent front bumper and covered in dust where it had been previously dry stored since 1999.

However, it was indeed a very solid shell with no sign of any welded repairs, and still had its original floor pans and sills. The interior was also very original as well. (albit covered in dust!) After spending a few days pondering I decided it was too good a car to pass up and agreed to the sellers asking price. (Which I thought was very good anyway)
Due to he and I being away at different times arrangements were made to collect the car on the 15th July. So, armed with a very good borrowed car trailer and my trusty old Land Rover I arrived in Hertfordshire around 9.30am.
Loading the car was quick and easy and the only concern was the slightly sticking front brakes. I was going to have to unload this car on my own when I got home with it and being a non-runner I wasn't relishing the thought of pushing it with motionless front wheels! 
After a trouble free run home I set about moving my other two Mk1's off of the drive and getting this one in the garage ready to start work. I did manage to get it off the trailer and into the garage on my own although the rain making the ground slippery didn't exactly help. (It only rained for half an hour that day as well! The half hour that I was unloading the car!) 
     Over the next few weeks the car was emptied of all of the rubbish in the boot and in the cab and the interior hoovered and de-dusted. I was surprised at how well it started to come up to be honest. 
When I first  got the car a long list had been drawn up of jobs that would need doing before Mot and after spending a couple of hours in the garage a few nights a week these jobs were gradually completed. The carburettors were stripped, cleaned and rebuilt as were the front brake callipers. The rear wheel cylinders were replaced along with the rear shock absorbers and a very noisy water pump was changed for a much quieter one as well. As an upgrade the original sealed beam headlights were replaced with modern halogen items. 
   On Sunday 30th July, Graham Parkins (The man who I bought the car off and fellow co-driver on the 2014 RBRR) came up to help out for the day and by close of play the car was running well and not only driving, but stopping as well. All it needs now is the bottom ball joints replacing and the blowing exhaust centre section sorting and it will be ready for its first Mot for 18 years. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sunday 18th June. East Anglian Rally.

As with the Hughes rally a few weeks previous, scrutineering for this rally took place on the previous evening as well as the day of the event, Sunday morning.
So after going to look at another Mk1 saloon on Saturday afternoon, I then made my way to Elsenham to face scrutineering. 
Unfortunately, this didn't go as well as it did on the Hughes Rally and after finding and fitting some static seat belts as opposed to inertia reel seat belts I finally received a pass stamp on the Sunday morning.
The weather for the day was excessively hot as predicted and I had taken the precaution of fitting my louvered bonnet in order to expel the under bonnet heat. 

We left Elsenham at our required start time and completed regularity sections through Great Notley and Cressing before heading to our first set of tests at Wethersfield Airfield. Some of the courses for the tests were quite long and poor Gertie was getting a proper thrashing. We didn't do too bad and put in some acceptable times for such a heavy car. 
After leaving Wethersfield Airfield, we then had to contend with regularity sections through Justice's Hill and Castle Headingham before stopping for Lunch. Whilst at the lunch break we discovered that we were running in second place in our class behind a very well prepared stage rally Mk1 Cortina GT. (Painted in the obligatory Lotus Cortina colours)
The day was still blisteringly hot and a number of the cars were suffering from overheating problems. (So had one of the crews who had retired solely due to the heat!)  We had even taken to running with all four windows open and the electric fans on continuous while doing the tests. 
With food and lots of cold drinks consumed we headed through Sible Heading and back to Wethersfield Airfield for more tests. 
The day just seemed to be getting hotter as it went on and again the twin electric fans were switched to permanent. The car got pushed a bit harder in an attempt to improve on our second place, but too much right foot was resulting in a fair bit of sideways action which looks good, but isn't the quickest method. Great fun though. 
After battering Gertie around Wethersfield again, we then did more regularity sections through Finchingfield, Cole End, Carver Barracks and Sucksted Green before finishing back at Elsenham. 
After the planned dinner (and more cold drinks) we learned that we hadn't improved our performance enough and had to settle for 2nd in class and 17th overall. Still a good result considering some of the other cars and crews we were up against. A brilliant day, but incredibly hot weather. I have to say though, I was impressed with Gertie who, despite getting a good thrashing in such fierce heat, the temperature gauge never ventured past the 3/4 mark all day.