by Kevin Thompson
Well left off at the body was ready to come off now and was on the floor awaiting prep but that shoved to one side.
It was the time for the engine to come out it was eeewwwww yuk dam well was filthy so it was a good strip down but before I did that I looked at the chassis. It was good as being galvanised but was going to clean it up and repaint it, so there was a lot of rust not one bolt came off peacefully most had to be grinded off even the prop nuts would not move after 30 on the road what would you expect.
So after many words with it all the nuts and bolts were off now and had just the chassis all sanded down then I turned to my front wheel hub/axle. Good job I did take it off as it was starting to rot on the clamp sides ( you might just make it out) so after dismantling all what on it was scrap and had to source another one but that was later so after a lot of cleaning and wire brushing the chassis was ready for painting.
Next the time - the paint job.
by Kevin Thompson
The restoration begins as you can see from the picture's it was pink and black. Anyway we did have different colour schemes - first off was pink and white.
Then we tried two tone pink. We were toying with the idea of just having pink, but not agreed on anything just yet.
SO THE STRIP BEGIN'S
Here you can see the pictures inside the Reliant. First the seats were removed, then the back seats, the seat belts, sunroof, centre console, dials, dashboard and all the equipment as I had to take the steering column the pedal box hand brake anchor bolts and the remaining bolts that hold the body on to the chassis; then it was ready to come off.
This took best part of a week as I had to do all this outside in open air (oh do wish could have a double garage!). The worst part was the electrics. Now I don't know about you but I HATE electrics - they never go right, always going wrong.
Well the back end of the cables were shot and brittle so meant a part total re-wire. This was under the Reliant body so was exposed to the elements (great), so I took out the whole wiring loom ( oh God I have gone and done it now - where does it go back when I re-build it ?)
Right so that was out, then it was down to the body near enough everything was out. The bolts were out you think, "Great it's ready" ... ha nooo there was one bolt I had missed! After much arguing and swearing to my self etc I finally got to take the body off using an old lifting aid to help me as shown in the picture below.
So one end was now up in the air and I now had to go to the front to make sure it was loose and not holding on anything like they do lol ..... and that is where I will stop for the next chapter :-)
by Gar Cole
Following a very busy Friday and the 'High Drama' in the evening (that the scriptwriters of Eastenders could only dream of replicating) it finished in a gentle manner with a few drinks.
Now a few drinks sounds innocent enough. I am Teetotal due to my arthritis medication, however I was thrilled to be on a month's treatment break so I could enjoy a drink. Unfortunately I now have the constitution of a 14yo and after a grand total of half a cider and a bottle of 'Girly' Smirnoff Ice I had to retire to my caravan to sleep it off, much to my shame!
I also have very little recollection of anything that happened after Cruella and her MGB fell silent that evening, however I was informed they had packed up and left in a huff first thing in the morning 😁
Slightly Soggy Saturday 😎
Saturday morning around 8AM I awoke to blazing sunshine, accompanied by an impressive hangover and quite severe pain in my left hip. Between the 160 mile wasted trip for that blasted gazebo and several circuits of the airfield on its uneven surface I had well and truly overdone things.
As I hobbled over to the communal area in my black shirt and trousers it occurred to me I probably looked like an overweight version of 'Herr Flick' from the Allo Allo TV series. 'You look rough' came the chorus of greetings, and I couldnt deny it, I was in a lot of discomfort. But I will say everyone was brilliant - offering to help in any way they could from cooking breakfast, carrying chairs for me and offering rides in the cars. Guys, if I sometimes refuse help its not I'm ungrateful, it's a mixture of pride and stubbornness but I was very grateful you were all there. You're a great bunch! Right - that's enough sentimental talk - back to the vehicles.
Mikes wife Anita and youngest daughter Emily had joined us, along with Eric Dalton all the way from Montrose in his Rover 216 VDP auto, a one way journey of 450 miles. Jason in his Harold was also camping and our club stand looked fuller today, situated next to the Land Crab owners club.
I had driven Erics VDP into the show ground and it is supremely comfortable with big leather seats, auto and a tiny 27k from new, it was a pleasure Eric and thank you once again.
The photos of the show illustrate the amazing diversity of vehicles on display, rare cars I'd never seen before such as Panhards, buses, coaches, military vehicles, classic caravans and of course dozens of steam traction engines and lorries. It's a cliché but there really was something for everyone and it's well worth a visit if you've never been.
Now Mike's daughter Emily is mad for classic Minis and wants her Dad to restore one for her just like he did for her Mum as a wedding present all those years ago. This is something planned for a few years down the line, so Mike asked us not to encourage her just yet. Of course we wouldn't, Mike 😈.
So, the first thing we did was take Emily to the classic Mini section which by coincidence was just opposite our stand. Her eyes glazed over at all the gleaming Minis on display, Mike looked on helplessly tapping his fingers together in best ' Oliver Hardy' fashion, Paul Cheetham then reinforced her desire to own one by letting her have a sit in his car to see if she liked it.
Mike now had steam coming out his ears at our blatant ignoring of his instructions and we received a curt 'Cheers chaps' for our disobedience. Thankfully Reagan didn't make another appearance or we would have run for safety.
Despite a very wet episode around at 11am where we were holding onto the gazebo in high winds and rain (well some of us were - Ian and Bernard retreated to their caravan for a late breakfast!), the weather brightened for the rest of the day and evening. Myself, Phil and Paul enjoyed a steady walk (hobble in my case) around the commercials and military stands, some amazing vehicles such as Scammels and Diamond T's to admire.
The show closed at 5pm and we retreated to the camping field as the Muggles queued for over an hour to get out. Paul Cheetham took me for a ride in his mini to get supplies for the evening BBQ. Now its been a very long time since I've been in a Mini and Paul drives it exactly as a 19yo should - flat out through the gears and cornering like we were being chased by that T Rex from Jurassic Park! I loved it and am not surprised the outside of Paul's front tyres are nearly bald 😉 .
Kev Thompson did a brilliant job of cooking enough burgers and sausages for 10 people on a small BBQ, while Phil and Anita used the caravans to prepare salads and spicy chicken. We may be camping but we don't go hungry in this group! Kev even took it in good humour when he was given a pink 'Fairy Girl' plate to eat from 😁
Following dinner we headed off to the steam fair ground and communal area that is reserved for those displaying over the weekend, this proved a highlight for many of us, we were up close with the steam engines in full steam, all lit up and powering everything from the Big Wheel, Waltzers, to the Carousel.
Many of us grew up at airshows and steam fairs and the nostalgia and memories came flooding back, good company, great atmosphere, laughs, cider and that wonderful smell of coal smoke and steam, great fun watching Mr and Mrs FB have a ride on the Carousel. I was the only one there high as a kite on painkillers, but I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
Back at base camp, I introduced the new campers to my log burner, which is in fact just a washing machine drum mounted on a stand made from its pulley. The usual scepticism soon vanishes when flames leap out of it! It's the many drain holes ya see, gives it lots of oxygen at the base.
I also displayed my party trick of chopping up a candle and letting it melt around the top rim of the drum, as it ignites it flares up in an impressive circle like the olympic rings. You have never seen 10 adults so mesmerised and I'm afraid we then raided Phils caravan for the rest of the expensive citronella candles his wife Lorraine had purchased from the garden centre.
Before you knew it we had close on 2 foot flames beautifully smelling of citrus. This I fear may have had a slightly narcotic effect as everyone stared wide eyed into the flames without speaking a word. In my defence we had the best smelling fire on camp and I never saw a single bug all night 😯
Sunday was a beautiful day weather-wise. We were joined by John Malley in his Piper and Andy Perman in his VDP Allegro. We filled every space on our pitch and it looked good. Mikes daughter returned to the show, despite us all being middle aged it seems we are just cool enough that the youngsters want to hang out with us, praise indeed.
Sunday was by far the biggest day of the weekend and it was packed with exhibits and show goers, the steam engines were giving a full display at 2pm and myself and Phil headed over to get some photos and video footage; see the video below for how spectacular it was.
The event finished with our group joining the official parade around the main arena. This was great fun and I was in the Harold with Mike shooting video, his daughter with Paul in the Mini and wife with Bernard in the Moggy.
The commentator praised Bernard's beautiful Moggy, then cheekily described Paul's Mini as 'bottom of the range' before describing the 'low slung' Herald as Mike and I rolled past in Poppy! I could go on and on about everything I saw that weekend, but I'd rather just encourage you to come along and see for yourself in 2018 - oh yes, we're booking to go back again 😀.
I bet you think that's all folks? Well the show did shut at 5pm, but that was far from the end of the fun and games for that day........😨
We had all gradually packed up with the intention of leaving around 6pm. Mike and family were going on holiday to France the next morning and the rest of us had some way to go, however the public were still queuing to get out the gates at 6pm and we resigned ourselves to getting home late. I was due to be working at midnight but thought I had plenty of time as we enjoyed a tea at Ian's caravan, laughing as Mike and crew took 45 minutes to get off the field, down the runway and out the gates. Bon Voyage, family Peake 😀.
Ian, Bernard, Phil, Paul, Kevin and I left at around 7.30pm. We tried to stay together but the marshals were separating cars from caravans in who they let out first. Eventually I got out and headed for home towards the M5. After a few miles I caught up with Phil and the P5b + caravan.
I could smell it before I saw it - a very strong smell of petrol and he was struggling along at 35mph. I phoned him and we pulled over into the next layby. It turns out Paul who was following Phil home had already got lost and broken down himself and Phil was understandably stressed.
Kevin pulled in as well in his pink Reliant and we set about trying to help. The V8 was over fueling badly - black smoke coming from the exhaust and spluttering when revved. Kev had been a big help all weekend and once again produced tools and feeler gauges. The points were checked and set and we very carefully backed the carbs off to weaken the mixture. We had it ticking over beautifully with no more smoke but still hesitant to rev. Phil pronounced it good enough to get to the next Services where he would call the AA. I bid the chaps farewell and headed home.
After getting to the Services, Phil and Kev went to Paul's aid some 14 miles away in the Reliant rescue van. It seems the Mini had just cut out and refused to start with a flat battery. Of course while doing work on it before the weekend Paul and his mates had remembered to reconnect the plug to the alternator hadn't they??? 😂
The boys then stayed with Phil until gone 1am when the AA finally showed up. I believe nobody was home much before 4am that night.
All stories told in this blog are based on completely true events and only the names have been kept the same to cause maximum embarrassment 😄
by Gar Cole
The weekend of the Gloucester show was now upon me and I had failed miserably in my attempts to get both my booked display vehicles to the show. The Minor was off the road with a snapped leaf spring and burst tyre, despite my best efforts the classic 59 caravan I'm restoring also wasn't completed, needing a full repaint. I resigned myself to taking the modern car and caravan and our new Gazebo, but more of that later.
I arrived at RAF South Cerney around 7.30pm in howling wind and rain, the miserable and unhappy security officer with water droplets dripping off her nose refused to let me and others in as they were overwhelmed by new arrivals, but after half an hour of traffic chaos we were finally allowed into the car club camping area.
I set up pitch not far from Fat Bloke and organiser Mike Peake, Kev Thompson and a work mate of Mikes who had managed to pitch together. After pleasantries were exchanged we headed off for a circuit of the show arena to see what was there. It took the best part of an hour in the darkness but it soon dawned on us this was going to be a whopper of a show.
FREAKY FRIDAY 😱
Friday started off normal enough, I was awoken by a knock on the caravan door to say breakfast was cooking in Mikes abode. Very nice it was too, and the 4 of us made our way over to the group pitch to set up the gazebo and cars before the Muggles " sorry Public" started to arrive.
This was easier said than done as within 10 mins we were distracted by tractors, lorrys, military giants, vintage race cars and steam engines all heading for their respective areas. Finally we got our old 10ft smokey gazebo erected, but what of the posh new red 20ft gazebo I'd told you about before, I hear you ask? Well despite it being ordered from Germany 2 weeks beforehand, it's delivery date was between the Wednesday and Friday just before this show. It hadn't come by Thursday afternoon so I had to take our old one which isn't much good - in fact it was swaying ominously in the breeze from the start.
We had been joined by Mike's 2 daughters Sophie and Emily and we walked a tour of the show with them, via the bar tent of course, well it was 12pm at this point! Friday is the quietest day of the 3 and it became obvious with our extra members arriving that evening our wee gazebo wasn't upto the job. I'd received a text from my sister to say the new gazebo had been delivered that morning so with it only being just over an hour back to Birmingham I decided to go and fetch it while Mike and the others "manned the stand".
Did I say an hour? 3 hours later I arrived home after getting stuck in horrendous Friday afternoon M5 traffic. Pleased to be out of the car I bounded into the house to grab the gazebo before trying to get back to the show before others arrived around 6pm. My sister Sue then proceeds to hand me the box that had been delivered; it was no more than 20 inches square and weighed about the same as pair of shoes! I took a deep breath and exclaimed. "Are you seriously telling me you think this small box contains over 20ft of canvas and 16 metal poles, feet and pegs? " 'Hmmm' she replied, 'Have you ordered something else as well then?' " Does it matter if I've ordered 50 other items, it's pretty bloody obvious this isn't a full size gazebo" I wailed. Upon opening the box it turned out to be the small portable toilet I'd ordered for the 59 caravan.
Feeling my hands starting to form the "Strangle" position I contemplated 20 years in prison for murder on the grounds of temporary insanity, but instead I settled for calling her a 'Dozy mare ' and drove back to Gloucester in another 3 hours of traffic minus a gazebo and grinding my teeth the whole way. A 160 mile round trip for nowt! I arrived back on site and relayed my tale of woe several times to much laughter.
At this point Ian Woodward and Bernard Owen had arrived and my spirits were immediately lifted as Ian gave me a klaxton horn for my Moggy, then a drink was placed in my hand and I started to calm down as everything would be quiet now I was on site ... wouldnt it?
Now parked next to Mikes caravan were a couple in their tent, with a modern Mondeo with a trailer that was carrying their lovely blue MGB. They had unloaded it and parked it between the Mondeo and Mikes caravan. I had chatted briefly with them and they seemed nice enough, they jumped into the MGB and went for a ride to the local supermarket to get supplies.
No more than 5 mins later Phil Allin and Paul Cheetham arrived, Paul in his Mini and Phil pulling his modern caravan with his P5B, before I could say anything Phil pulled into the smallish gap left by the MGB, I pointed out to him and Mike that a car was there previously and the returning campers might not be happy. This was met with a coordinated shrug of shoulders so I piped down but I could hear that old song in my head " There may be trouble ahead, but while there's moonlight and music, and love and romance, lets face the music, and dance ".
just as the Merlot was starying to flow freely the MGB couple returned and the wife transformed into Cruella DeVille, saw Phils caravan and loudly shouted out the window " What T*** has parked in OUR space? " Now Phil is an easy going gent and calmly said it was his van but there was no need for unpleasantness as there was loads of room at the front or back of their tent to park the MG.
She was having none of it and continued to berate Phil for his selfishness at parking so close to their Mondeo that she couldnt even open the door to get in it (exaggeration ). Now at this point a remarkable transformation took place, even more impressive than Clark Kent into Superman. Mike lept to his feet and transformed into Jack Reagan. I've never seen Mike angry before but the Sarfff London accent came to the surface as he said " Oiiiiii, shut up, I'm a fat bloke and I can fit between the caravan and your Mondeo, give me the keys and I'll move it for you".
Now the husband who had remained quiet in the MG until now shouted out the window "You couldnt get a fag paper down that gap " to which Reagan ( sorry I mean Mike ) responded with a stern "Shut it!". The husband did as he was told and kept quiet, but not before Cruella rounded on Mike and got in his face saying " Dont underestimate me cause I'm a woman and small. I'll put you on your ar*e sunshine" somewhat bemused Mike walked off saying " anytime, I look forward to it " .
The rest of us watched all this drama unfold almost with our hands over our eyes, she stormed off to her tent loudly threatening to bash her car door into Phils caravan, after a few minutes an uneasy calm and silence decended as the adrenaline started to wear off. It seemed a good a time as any so I loudly exclaimed in a sarcastic voice to the rest of the guys, " I TOLD YOU SO ".
Cruella wasnt quite finished with us yet and continued to rant in a loud voice from her side of Phils caravan that we must be a car club and thats why they dont join them because its full of idiots, but her quote of the day was "They must be used to being crammed together in close proximity, bloody council estate scum". This reduced us to fits of laughter which rather took the wind out of her sails and she remained quiet for the rest of the evening, however her insult has now stuck with the group and we took great delight in calling each other Council estate scumbags at every opportunity. Her snobbery was so blatant you couldnt take the old battle axe seriously.
Part 2 " Slightly soggy Saturday and Superb Sunday " to follow soon.
by Kevin Thompson
Way back in 2008 we bought this Reliant. A friend of mine said there a was Rialto going for a song so I said would be interested in buying it this was in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
So we both went to look at it no harm in looking is there nope there isn't so having a look around it as it was on breeze block's so I could crawl under it no problem it was all fine underneath. It was well plastered with oil on the chassis did not need it really as it was a galvanized one so would not have rotted anyway. The chap we got it off or getting it off only bought from new and after a while he just wanted to tinker with it so put it up on blocks and took off the tyres and stored them shame really as they do like to run all the time and never stood.
So upon inspection we started the engine and was a very sweet running engine after much looking hearing seeing it I will have it so there was a MOT station not far from where the Reliant was and got it booked in for the very next day. After we put on the tyres back on and raised it off the blocks and put it back onto it's wheels and lock it up again and left it the following day.
So the day came and went into the MOT station after a hour's wait we got a call from them saying it failed only on two things - so we went back and looked what it was and it had failed on the side light and the main anchor bolts to the chassis and main body.
So took it back home and started to repair the bolt took three drills to bore it out and finally got the new bolt in. I checked the side lights cleaned them up and got them working, rang the MOT up got it booked for the same day as it was only 2 things. It did not go through the full MOT again got there they looked at the 2 jobs I had done was all ok and gave my MOT so she was now back on the road ready to use.
So the next chapter is what did I do next? You will have to wait for Part Two to find out!
by Jim Lodder
My second Mini was not quite as old as The Bomb – this one (5577 HP) was a 1961 model! Not quite as expensive as a 1959 one these days, but not far off. It was a real bargain though. A bit tatty and rough round the edges, with both front wings in Red Oxide primer, but it was only £35! Another 850cc model, I originally intended to “do it up” but a change of job and a lack of finances prevented this, so I just had to keep it maintained.
Around this time my parents had bought a holiday caravan in mid Wales, so most weekends I used to head for Wales with a mate or two in the Mini, whilst the parents sped ahead in the GT6. They used to do it in around 2 ½ hours, I used to take nearer 3 ½ ! One weekend the exhaust manifold cracked whilst in Wales – I “repaired” it with a baked bean can and 2 jubilee clips. It stayed together as far as Warwick, almost home!
Shortly after this, my parents returned from Wales one weekend to announce that they had decided to give up their well paid jobs, sell the house, and move to mid-Wales permanently where they were going to buy the shop on the caravan site and make their fortunes. Did I want to go with them, or did I want to buy the house and stay there?
With hindsight probably should have done the latter rather than the former, but hindsight is a great thing! So armed with the knowledge that I was going to be living at the seaside in the near future, I sold 5577 HP and bought…………….. an ex British Army Austin Champ!
The Champ was a real hoot, limited to 55 mph despite having a 2.8 litre Rolls Royce engine under the big bonnet. And around 15 miles to the gallon! To get from Coventry to mid Wales required a tankful of petrol plus the reserve in the jerry can on the back; plus it took most of the day. It only sported a canvas hood, no side screens, so the horizontal Welsh rain soaked me through to the bone.
Once settled in my caravan with the Champ proudly parked outside, it started to unexpectedly earn a living! The slipway down to the beach was quite steep, with a bit of a drop at the bottom during low tide and the beach was mostly shingle. Once word got round that the Champ was mine I started to get lots of people asking me to tow their boat trailers down to the sea, and subsequently back onto dry land again, for a bit of “petrol money”. Turned out to be quite a lucrative hobby.
Plus on one occasion I dragged a stranded Vauxhall Cresta off the beach – never did get to the bottom of why the owner thought it was a good idea to try driving onto there in the first place though. Of course I soon found out how much fun could be had actually driving the thing in the sea! As it had a 5 speed box with a transfer box that selected forward or reverse motion, it was possible to drive as fast backwards as it was forwards. Changing gears whilst reversing was a bizarre experience!
Inevitably within a few short years the body tub disintegrated because of the salt water and the poor old Champ got scrapped. In the meantime my Dad had bought an Austin Maxi that then became my daily transport. It was an early one, with the cable operated gear change……………
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