By Mike Peake
As soon as I got home with my new primer kit, I was back in my tent. Poppy was tack clothed and panel wiped yet again. The primer was mixed 3:1 as per the instructions and filtered into the top of the gun. With great trepidation, I pointed the gun at yet another piece of cardboard and pulled the trigger….
YES! Success! An almost perfect spray pattern on the first attempt! A slight tweak on the fan, a slight lowering of the pressure and I was good to go. I pointed the gun at the car yelled “Tally Ho! Bandits at six o’clock” and off I went. I entered a Zen-like trance of concentration and thought of nothing else but my spraying technique. It was very therapeutic until the tank ran dry. I topped it back up and vowed to check the level more often. That bit will flat out I’m sure.
After what felt like an hour to my head, 3 days to my knees but was actually about 3 hours, Poppy was now a ghostly white. So, following the sage advice of my paint guru that stated, “when you’ve finished spraying LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!” I dutifully resealed the paint and hardener cans, disconnected the gun and carefully extracted myself from the tent before sealing that too. I had a big smile on my face for the whole time I was cleaning the gun and felt justified in my celebratory birthday pint of G&T and strongly worded email to my original paint supplier.
The spooky ghost of Poppy
I have to say that I was greatly relieved that all that angst in part 52 of the blog wasn’t down to bumbling incompetence and was just inexperience. Irritating as it was, if I had ever seen raw HB primer in a can before, I would have known it was wrong and saved myself hours of mental strife. I know now though, so if there is ever a time I choose to subject myself to this torture again, I won’t make that mistake.
The following day, I rushed home from work and before even going indoors to change, I was back in the tent inspecting my work. It wasn’t perfect by any means. There were a couple of spots where I could now see that my feathering of sanding marks wasn’t quite up to scratch. There were a couple of marks from an errant air hose. (Why can’t they invent a means of putting paint in a can and doing away with a great long unwieldy air hose?) There was also the bit where I accidentally sat on the bonnet while it was still wet. Oh, and a dead fly right in the middle of the bonnet.
However, for my first-ever attempt at spraying a car and in less than ideal conditions, I was actually quite pleased with myself. Poppy looked good and I feel that the blemishes listed above can be put right by rubbing down, filling and reapplying primer locally.
So, it was time to get back on with it. Filler was applied to the couple of areas where the sanding marks were showing and locally covered in primer on Friday afternoon after work. Saturday was spent flatting back the primer coat with wet 800 grit.
Now the boot lid, which appears to be cursed. I’d already rubbed it down to bare metal on the top because of the accident with the dust sheet after I sprayed it last year with rattle cans, but only lightly rubbed down the bottom as the painting was good here. Or so I thought. I’d then sprayed half the top with seagull poo and had to rub it back again.
Then I sprayed the whole top with seagull poo and had to rub the whole thing down yet again. I had been storing the boot lid in the conservatory between jobs as it was getting in the way in the tent. Long term readers will know the terrible risk I was taking doing this but I learned my lesson and made sure I disguised it so Mrs FB wouldn’t notice.
Well I had my new primer now so used the last of it to spray my boot lid. Well, the top came out beautifully. However, it would appear that there was a problem with the paint I used last year. The primer that had gone over the paint on the bottom of the lid had wrinkled and cracked and red was bleeding through! I left it all to fully cure and went indoors muttering some very bad words. I am wondering if maybe I had put too much paint on too quickly last year which prevented it fully curing? This would also explain why it stuck to the dust cloth having been apparently dry?
Anyway, Sunday found me back in my tent and spraying my car red. 2 mist coats and 2 proper coats. The time it took me to spray the car and return to the 1st bit for the next coat ensuring I didn’t put too much on too quickly. Once again, when done, I sealed everything up and LEFT it alone.
I returned to boot lid and had it back to bare metal. The primer sanded off easily but last year’s paint seemed really soft and kept clagging up the discs and smearing. However, I got it all back to bare metal eventually. Unfortunately, I’d run out of primer. So it was time to retire with a G&T followed by a fine Sunday roast!
Monday 20th May had been booked off work a couple of weeks ago so I could fit all the trim, lights and fuel tack etc so I would be ready for the Cotswold Tour. It would appear I was being rather optimistic though and suffering from the wasted time with duff primer.
So, instead I was back at the local paint supplier buying another litre of 2K HB white primer, which was applied to the boot lid immediately on my return. All was good! I finally had a boot lid in primer.
Poppy was now on the drive so I had room to properly spray the boot lid in the tent and I decided to leave her there while the boot lid dried. It was also better to see the results of my spraying in daylight rather than the dimmer interior of the tent.
Well in some ways I was quite impressed with myself. Even the bit I thought had run wasn’t really visible and I had a good even coat over most of the car. However, it wasn’t as shiny out of the can as I was expecting and I’m guessing that maybe I had the gun pressure too high as there was a lot of overspray settled onto the upper facing surfaces of the car.
After 8 hours of flatting back with wet 1500 grit paper I’d done most of the car. Just the bumper areas and front grill area were left to do. The overspray was removed quite easily however 8 hours of close contact with the car had revealed a further couple of sanding marks that I’d missed on the primer stage and I was a little bit grumpy until my daughter came home and was very impressed with the work so far. Then Anita came home from work and pointed out even more defects. She did finish by saying that it wasn’t bad for a 1st attempt, which is praise of the highest order from Mrs FB.
The light was fading and so was I, so the boot lid was moved and disguised back into the conservatory and Poppy went back into the tent for the night. I retired to the bath because I was red too. On the plus side, I have no finger prints anymore, so a life of crime is now open to me.
All I have left to do now is spray the boot lid red, finish flatting back the car, flat back the boot lid, compound polish and wax the whole car, put the light lenses and front grill through the dishwasher, (that conversation with Mrs FB will be interesting) wash and polish all the chrome trim on the polishing wheels and then put it all back onto Poppy… Refit the petrol tank and new rubber bumpers. All this in the 3 evenings left before the Cotswold tour.
It looks like Anita and I will be doing this one in her modern Mini or my CRV. Sorry chaps. Letting the side down aren’t I? (Of course you're not! Not even a little bit - Ed).
To be continued...
by John Lonergan
In 2010 the only Classic car meet I attended was "Cars in the Park" in September as I wanted to see what the classic car club scene was like and this was held on the Shafto estate near Spennymoor Co Durham only about 7 miles from home.
As I pulled through the gate there was quite a bit of head turning (who's this? never seen him before) I was a total stranger on their club meet which was open to all . I did feel a little conspicuous but needn't have worried as Cath and I were made very welcome by all. I was asked a bit about the car and gladly told my tale and within minutes the word had spread. I heard one guy saying "Have you seen that Escort? It's only got 3,000 on the clock!". His mates reply "Aye they're still popping up now and again" . One guy made me smile as he popped his head inside and said "you've dun a cracking job on this interior and only 30,000 miles". His face was a picture when I told him to look more closely at the odometer and that the car had not been restored at all but genuine original condition . We had such a good time there we joined the club and are still members to this day .
The car was given the Zeibart treatment from new and although good protection it looked quite ugly especially under the bonnet, so in 2011 Cath and I removed all the Zeibart visible topside and under the bonnet - that is front and rear valances, sills, doors and inner wings - using white spirit, rags and a plastic spatula. It was left intact on the underside, this improved it's appearance greatly though there is still a little bit under the bonnet still to do.
There was another minor niggle; on opening the NSF door it caught the wing, this was due to badly fitted replacement wing when Keith the original owner had a minor scrape with a gate. As it was not an original part I had no qualms about removing it and having it replaced and correctly fitted.
We continued to take the car to shows and meets and it was at one show (the Durham MG show at Houghall College Durham in 2013) again the little Escort was getting loads of attention when at about 12.30 pm two guys in particular were very interested in its history and supporting paperwork. They asked loads of questions and seemed to go away two happy chappies .
By this time I was quite in need of a loo as I had been drinking heavily (tea) and Cath was in a similar situation so off we went - it was a few hundred yards and the queues were massive. On returning to the car I could see something on the windscreen and with a bit of a scowl I said "somebody's stuck something on our windscreen - cheeky sods " but as I got closer and my eyes focused better my scowl turned into a very large grin as it turned out to be a red rosette awarding the Escort "Best classic car". The two guys who were so interested in the Escort and it's history turned out to be judges.
This was my first MG show and hadn't realised that the car would be judged or indeed that there were prizes . So at 3 pm I was at the presentation to be presented with the Escort's very first trophy. I didn't stop smiling all the way home.
Since then the little Escort Popular has won quite a few trophies with many more 2nd & 3rd places and has brought much pleasure driving it around. It's also been the subject of several magazine articles. My greatest pleasure though is not trophies, but interacting with people who like to see it and relaying it's history. On the one hand I quite often get nods of approval or congratulated for keeping it in original spec, on the other I get people telling me what mods they think I should do. Hmmmm... I know which way I'm leaning!
One funny moment was when Cath and I were travelling to an event one Sunday morning when we found ourselves surrounded by motorcycles on the dual carriageway heading north past Newcastle. They all slowed down giving the car the once over - nodded, gave the thumbs up and sped on. Marvellous, the reaction this little car provokes.
And on more than one occasion has caused someone to shed a tear bringing back fond memories. For me this is what it's all about. I know Keith the original owner often looks at it with approval and sometimes comes over if I'm washing or polishing it just to see it and I'm pleased he is happy with my treatment of his lovely old car to which he still has a sentimental attachment.
By Mike Peake
OK, I left the last blog with the car ready to spray. Or so I thought. You see, apparently 180 grit isn’t fine enough before the primer coat and I need to use 240 now. Yes, my paint Guru had already told me that but I forgot, ok? So, Saturday found me spending another day rubbing down again with 240 grit. This was mostly by hand as I’d had a row with my sander. It sanded my knee and we weren’t talking anymore. Also, as Anita had already masked the car up, I wanted to keep dust to a minimum. Of course my Guru was quite correct and everything felt much smoother now and I was ready to get the primer out.
To be honest, after my temporary success with rattle cans last year and everyone telling me it’s easier with a spray gun, I was expecting this to be the easy bit. Oh how wrong could I be?
It started badly when I plugged in my compressor. Nothing happened. I remembered my compressor Sugar Daddy telling me not to press a particular off button as the corresponding on button was broken and it was really fiddly to switch it back on. Well I hadn’t pressed it but it had been pressed. I’m guessing in the car on the trip back. Anyway, after much fiddling, panicked messages for help and the removal of a cover, I eventually found the hidden emergency on switch and normal compressor service was resumed. It’s a lot quieter than I expected.
The next problem occurred when I connected my brand new hose and was treated to the sound of a Hissing Sid convention. The hose leaked at the tool end. Tightening the connection didn’t help so a trip to my local hardware store was required and roll of PTFE tape was procured. It was liberally applied to the problem connection thread and tightened back up. It worked. The leak was cured. It would seem compressed air plumbing is pretty similar to water plumbing after all.
It was now time to assemble the brand new spray gun with the brand new pressure regulator and the brand new water trap. Every joint leaked and required further use of the magic tape but eventually, it was all airtight and I was ready for the paint.
It’s a messy business is paint, isn’t it? Eventually though, after thoroughly stirring the pot of primer and shaking the hardener as instructed, I had my 500ml of 2k primer 4:1 mixed and filtered into the paint pot at the top of the gun, all the spills mopped up and clean gloves applied. The pressure regulator at the gun was set at 3.5bar. (instruction was between 3 and 4 bar.) I pointed the gun at my test piece of metal and pulled the trigger. It was horrible. It was all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I then spent an eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
Now the instructions for the primer stated “for high build use minimum thinners, however, up to 10% maybe needed”. I added 10% of thinners to my pot and stirred. It was still all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I spent another eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
So, I added another 10% thinners to my pot and stirred. It was still all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I spent another eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
My test piece was now completely covered in a horrible layer of paint and I couldn’t really tell how the new paint was going on so I did something really stupid. Yes, for some completely unknown reason, I decided to try it on the car. For another completely unknown reason, I had painted the inside of the boot, the back deck and the fins before finally coming to my senses and realising it was all horrible.
So, I did the only thing left that I could do. I left the tent, flung my PPE in every direction, sat on my drive and blubbed like a girl. Then I put my PPE back on and strip cleaned the gun, reassembled it and went to have a bath, a pint of G&T and a heart-to-heart with my paint Guru.
Sunday morning had me back in my tent and rubbing the back of the car down again to remove all evidence of my bumbling incompetence. This involved rather more of the car than I had anticipated. You wouldn’t believe how far it had spattered! Anita helped me again but I think this was to stop me committing suicide as I was really quite depressed.
Poppy was now ready for paint again and getting really quite impatient with me. Armed with start point settings for the gun (Paint flow at max, airflow at min and pattern turned down) I mixed up some more paint with 10% thinners, pointed the gun at some scrap cardboard and pulled the trigger. It was horrible. It was all spotted and spattered and not good at all.
I then spent an eternity methodically taking all the controls through their complete range but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all. Every single piece of cardboard in Wiltshire is now white and speckled, and I couldn’t really tell how the new paint was going on so I did something really stupid. Yes, for some completely unknown reason, I decided to try it on the car. On my doomed boot lid this time.
I stopped much sooner though with just half of the top of the boot lid looking like a photo of the night sky. I know, you don’t have to tell me. I have reached previously unattainable levels of bumbling incompetence.
When stripping down the gun for cleaning, this time I noticed that there appears to be some damage or swarf in the nozzle paint hole. So, like all bad workman everywhere, I leapt at this opportunity to blame my tools and ordered another gun for next day delivery.
In the meantime, I did some research on the interwebby thing and found a great website run by Hot Rodders that explained gun set up in simple steps that a bumbling incompetent fool could understand. I know, but if there is one thing Hot Rodders know how to do well, it’s paint. So, here is the link if you are interested. http://www.how-to-build-hotrods.com/set-up-hvlp.html
So, with the new gun set up as instructed by the Hot Rod chaps there I was again with it pointed at yet another piece of cardboard. It wasn’t the gun.
Another 3 hours was wasted fiddling with settings and pressures on the new gun, as well as another half a litre of paint and acres of cardboard covered in what could only be described as seagull poo. I was still no closer to a decent spray. Was I down hearted? Well yes, I was devasted. Especially as I had sprayed seagull poo all over the boot lid because I’d run out of cardboard – again! It is also now very unlikely that Poppy will be ready for the Cotswold Tour.
That evening, Anita and I had a bit of a brainstorm. Could I really be this incompetent? (Don’t answer that!) So, we hatched a plan. I had booked the following day off work as it was my birthday. I planned to have a nice relaxing day with Anita, have a nice Pub lunch and enjoy the sun. Well, change of plans. Anita volunteered to rub down the boot lid, while I would have a crack at spraying the red paint to see if I could get a decent pattern with that and thus prove if I am completely incompetent or not.
My Birthday morning found me in my tent on my drive, setting up my 1.4mm spray gun. I dropped a small amount of my “ready to use” top coat into the gun. Surprisingly, It turns out that I am not completely incompetent. A perfect spray pattern was achieved almost immediately.
So whilst cleaning this gun, I got to thinking about the quality of my primer. It was CONSIDERABLY more viscous than the top coat appeared to be. Maybe, just maybe, I had a dodgy batch of primer?
Well, there was only one way to find out. I bit the bullet and went and bought a new 2k primer kit, this time from a local supplier.
On picking up the can, the difference was immediately obvious to me. When shaken, you could hear the liquid sloshing about inside. This didn’t happen with my original batch. I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
As soon as I got home I was back in my tent. Poppy was tack clothed and panel wiped yet again. The primer was mixed 3:1 as per the instructions and filtered into the top of the gun. With great trepidation, I pointed the gun at yet another piece of cardboard and pulled the trigger….
To be continued…
by John Lonergan
I have lived at my present address since 1985 and didn’t know my close neighbour Keith had a car until about 7 years later ( @ 1992 ). Another neighbour who had lived there a lot longer than I had stopped for a chat and during the conversation he looked across the road and pointed to the garage and said “ye nar , eez gor an auld car in there and it’s dun nowt “.
A few days later that same garage door was opened for the first time that I could recall since moving there and revealed a white S reg. MK2 Ford Escort. A stranger started working on the car and later that day it was running. A few days later I found out he had taken the car for MOT which it passed, then my neighbour Keith and his wife Maria took the car for a run, returning a couple of hours later and the car was put back in the garage where it remained until July 2010.
I had asked if he would ever consider selling his car and if so would he give me first refusal. I also told him I didn’t wish to sell the car on, but wanted to recommission it and take it to classic car shows. I was politely told it was not for sale, but if ever he wished to sell he would let me know. I asked why he didn’t use it and he said public transport was quite adequate for his needs.
In early 2008 Keith had quite a bit of work done on his house and the garage door was going up and down like a yo-yo with workmen going in and out, revealing the car again covered in dust and boxes. I guess a lot of people saw the car and around that time and Keith was inundated with strangers knocking on his door asking to buy the Ford but again he would not sell.
I think all the attention troubled him somewhat as he is a very private person. Then one evening mid-2008 Keith approached me and asked if I still wanted his car. I said I would be delighted to own it and with a little haggle the deal was done. I asked why he had not sold it to someone else and he said he would like the car to be looked after by someone he knew and would take care of it and not just sell it on.
Not long after that I suffered some health problems and the car had to wait until July 2010 to come out of its hibernation. First I had to enlist some help from friends and relatives; the first job was to tie back the overgrown bushes on the drive, then I lifted the garage door and there it was covered in dust, boxes and an old carpet. All the tyres were totally flat, the inside was covered in a white dust and the handbrake was on. I got inside and let the handbrake off while my son James dragged over the portable compressor. He inflated all the tyres then he and my wife Cath gave the car a shove. There was a little clunk and the handbrake came off, I couldn’t believe it - 18 years it was on, and it came off so easily. Next all the rubbish on top of the car was removed and then it was pushed out of the garage and over the road onto my drive.
The car looked in great condition though very dusty inside and out so Cath and myself started the task of cleaning the car. The speedo read an amazing 3,131miles - it had covered just 30 miles since that 1992 MOT, and it looked great.
The next task was to get the engine running. We changed the oil and filter, air filter, plugs, points and condenser, fitted new plug leads as the old ones were green-looking, fitted a new battery, the car was jacked up and put on stands, then the 18 year old fuel was drained off and then in with a gallon of fresh petrol.
I then tried to start the engine. Everything looked fine but it would not fire up; a little investigation led to the coil, so straight down to my local auto centre for a new one, once fitted the engine fired up without hesitation and soon settled down to a smooth tick over. So a quick check, oil light out, there was oil to the rockers and a check under the car for leaks showed all ok. What really stood out was the condition of the underside - it was immaculate having benefited from the ziebart treatment from new. The only job under the car was to change both rack boots which had split when the wheels turned for the first time. The parts were ordered and fitted a few days later.
Next items to be checked were the brakes, all wheels jacked up and removed , rear hubs were removed, Cath worked the brake pedal and handbrake all checked out ok. There was nothing leaking, nothing sticking, all going on and off with each application - unbelievable. The wheels were then refitted and the stands and jacks removed. I started the engine, engaged 1st gear and slowly released the clutch pedal and let the car drive a few yards forward and then in reverse. Again all seemed fine, personally I have never known a vehicle stand so long without something sticking , seizing or leaking, so I carried on and checked out the rest of the vehicle. Everything was working as it should , so it was time to book an MOT.
The MOT was booked and insurance arranged, and as the MOT station was a ten mile drive, I took my wife Cath along for its first trip in 18 years. The car performed well once the brakes had settled in, though I have to say not having a brake servo felt a bit weird for a while. The only thing to show up on the trip was those 32 year old tyres; it was like driving with three-penny bits for wheels (fifty pence pieces for you post-decimal types).
When we arrived at the garage the examiner was very pleased to see it at last. I asked if Cath could stay in the car and he replied, “She should be ok as she is age-related”, just as well he was out of reach. "Mileage?" he asked. "3141 miles" I said. "Bugger off!" he said and put his head round to check, then said you lucky b*****d.
All through the test all I could hear was him repeating expletives and “I don’t believe it“. He even had his workmate and some friends come have a look. It passed with flying colours and after a steady trip home all the wheels were removed. I had them blasted and repainted at Stella Blasting and Painting of Pelton Fell Chester-le-street Durham and had new tyres fitted at Tyre Plus Durham and now it drives as it should.
The only downside to the Ziebart treatment is they sprayed the stuff everywhere, under the bonnet was totally black but I am slowly removing it a bit at a time to reveal the pristine original paint underneath. There was an issue with the n.s.f. wing to address where Keith had a minor scrape many years ago and this was attended to by Dick Francis and his team at Carrosserie of Barnard Castle .
Keith the original owner came over to see me the other day to see how I was getting on and is very pleased with its progress. He gave me the original purchase invoice from the Heaton Motor Company of Consett plus it’s handbooks, along with the last test certificate he had showing a mileage of 03101mls, and a service invoice from 1982 showing the mileage of 1,600mls.
It doesn’t get any better than this - a one owner ultra low mileage vehicle been locked away for years and taking very little to recommission. Am I ecstatic? ..... you bet! .
Since then my little Escort popular has won quite a few trophies, not that that's why I go to shows. Many I go to are just displays but it is nice that the originality of this car is recognised as there are so few base models left, most having been modified to mimic RS models or Mexico's.
This car is in exactly the same spec as it left the dealership in 1978, and I aim to keep just like it is .
By Mike Peake
Oh my good gods what have I done?
OK, I’ll back up a bit. As regular readers will know, I’ve been struggling with Poppy’s ageing, fading paintwork for a number of years. For the last 3 years I’ve learned to machine polish really quite well and been very impressed with the results (and I still can’t believe the cost of polish!).
However, it would only last a matter of weeks before it would return to what has become Poppy’s natural colour of “Signal Pink” and you can only machine polish so many times before you start to run out of paint. (yes, from personal experience) There are also a couple “battle scars” that are in need of attention.
So, I’ve made a monumental decision! I’m going to do a full re-spray! Don’t pull that face! I know you’re doing it! And before you ask, like everyone else does. Yes, I’m doing it myself and no I’ve not done it before. I said, stop pulling that face! Why does everyone pull that face? Come on. What’s the worst that can happen? (you don’t have to answer that. Poppy is nervous enough as it is.)
Due to the incredible generosity of fellow group members, I am now the proud owner of a large super duper compressor that only cost me two award winning lemon drizzle cakes and a pub lunch. I have also been supplied with all the required primer, paint and consumables, to crack on with the job. I won’t name these lovely generous chaps here as they like to project the image of tough, hard bitten cynical men and I don’t want to reveal their true “fluffy teddy bear” natures to the world, but you know who you are and thank you very, very much.
As my rented council lockup doesn’t have power and there is not enough room for a fatbloke to squeeze between the walls and the car, working up there was ruled out almost instantly. However, I had the bright idea of erecting a 6m x 3m garden gazebo on my drive and bought one for £60 off the great bay of flea.
It was PANTS! The poles were rather flimsy and already dented in several places before we got it out of the box. There were also several unstitched seams to contend with, but this was “fixed” with Gaffer Tape and we pressed on with the erection. (I won’t continue until your minds are out of the gutter! Finished now? Pathetic!)
Anyway, having roped in the entire Peake household, we had nearly completed the task when disaster struck! A pigeon, in a neighbour’s tree, passed wind and the whole useless structure collapsed. To be fair to the manufacturers, they clearly state “not to be used in high winds”, but as pigeon flatulence doesn’t usually register on the Beaufort Scale, I was a little annoyed. I telephoned the purveyor of useless gazebos and told them the tale. They asked me how far up the tree the pigeon was? I said it was about 6 meters up. They said “Well that’s pretty high and we clearly state ….” (Sorry. No more of those, I promise)
The next day, my in-laws were visiting their cousin somewhere in the East and whilst they were regaling him with this tale of woe and no doubt laughing their socks off, said cousin remembered that he had a “portable garage” that was really quite sturdy and had survived a year pitched outside his house and was now all boxed back up in his loft. It was soon pitched on my drive and provides a much more robust and suitable workspace so Poppy was soon snuggled into her temporary home.
The following weekend was the weekend of the Brecons tour. I’d already said I wouldn’t go because I wanted to work on the car and the weather was horrible. However, It wasn’t so bad when I woke up Saturday morning, so I went. I had a great time despite the odd text from Mrs FB saying Storm Hannah had hit and she was spending the day hanging onto tent poles.
I made up for it on Sunday though with a full 8 hours working on Poppy and by the end of it had her stripped down ready for washing and rubbing down. I also tackled one of my long term niggles. Some years ago, in a bout of bumbling incompetence, I backed the car onto some ramps. I went too far and fell off denting the back of the offside sill. As these aren’t available at the moment, I borrowed a set of hammers and dollys from local fellow enthusiast Jason Wright and attacked the sill with a will. It’s better than it was... honest.
Mrs FB? Still traumatised and not talking to me.
Best of all though, like all “proper” car restorers, I now have a couple of “you should have seen what the last bloke did!” stories. He’d only gone and riveted the window weather strips to the door caps instead of using the proper clips AND used spire washers to hold the “TRIUMPH” letters on the bonnet instead of the plastic doobries.
Needless to say new weather strips, clips, letters and doobries are now on order along with numerous other screws and gaskets that aren’t good enough to go back on the car. I have also ordered a bottle of rust converter due to some unfortunate discoveries. So again like a proper car restorer, It’s already turning into a bigger job than I thought and become a “light restoration and re-spray”!
I just read that back. I sound really quite heroic don’t I? Well that won’t do will it? I know no one will believe me if I elevate myself from bumbling incompetent fool all the way to resto hero in one mighty bound. So, here is what actually happened.
As part of the strip down, I decided to remove the original rubber boot mat which proved a bit problematic as it was completely perished. If it hadn’t disintegrated, it had stuck like glue to the boot floor and I had to resort to a wallpaper scraper to get it all out. Once this was all removed, the dreaded rust was revealed and I’m not ashamed to admit that I screamed like a girl and cried for a bit.
Once I calmed down, I investigated a bit further and decided that it was just surface rust after all. After a once over (ok, maybe a thrice over) with my wire brush drill attachment - OK my Father-in-Law’s wire brush drill attachment - and a liberal dousing with rust converter, all is now good with the boot. Except now I have to re-spray the inside of the boot too. I hope Tosh told me to buy enough paint!
My other “discovery” was a bit of paint bubbling on the offside rear wheel arch. However after a bit of rubbing down it didn’t look so bad. I thought a bit of rust converter and a tiny bit of filler and all would be good. Then, I made a terrible rooky error. Yes, I poked it and picked at it. When I’d finished poking, I was left with a 30mm gap in the folded under bit of the wheel arch.
So, out with the angle grinder to cut out any remaining rusty bits. A piece of sheet metal was then carefully shaped, offered up and neatly welded into place. You’re secretly impressed aren’t you? I can tell. Well don’t be so stupid! That’s what I should have done, but as I have never welded anything ever and don’t even own a welder, I resorted to aluminium mesh and body filler.
I’ve never done this before either, but it seemed a more viable option and it was only a very small hole anyway. Looking on the bright side at least it will give the next restorer something to moan about. Before this though I spent a lot of hours with the first rub down with 80 grit paper in my sander.
When Mrs FB heard what I was going to do with the filler, she decided that, as it would be “just like royal icing a cake”, she would be far more qualified to undertake this task and I didn’t argue.
Anita didn’t stop with the wheel arch though and she soon had all the rest of the dinks, dents and gouges filled, including the two dents in the boot lid that I didn’t spot when I did it last year. Once all the filling was done, I spent the rest of the day on the final rubdown with 180 grit paper on my sander and by hand. The car was incredibly dusty by this point as were all the floor coverings, so I reconnected the fuel tank and drove round the block to blow the dust off and shook the dust off the tent floor coverings.
It was Sunday evening and I was now ready to go over the car with tack cloths and panel wipes and spray the primer on the bank holiday Monday - or so I thought. At this point, Anita came out to do a surprise inspection of my work so far and proceeded to point out all the bits I hadn’t rubbed down properly. I have to admit that I found this incredibly irritating. Even more so because, of course, she was perfectly correct.
So, instead of applying the primer in my usual gung-ho manner on the bank holiday Monday, we - yes WE - spent the day completely rubbing Poppy down again until she met Anita’s exacting standards. We then went over the whole car with tack clothes before masking off the bits where I don’t want paint to go. Well, I say “we” but really it was Anita who took over the masking after suffering complete frustration at my ham-fisted attempts.
So, after spending last Saturday holding onto tent poles to stop storm Hannah blowing it away and then spending her entire bank holiday Monday rubbing down the car, Anita seems to be under the impression that I owe her a weekend in Rome.
OH MY GOOD GODS, WHAT HAVE I DONE???
To be continued …
by Gar Cole
The date was Saturday 20th April, just 1 week before our first tour of the year and officially declared the hottest Easter Saturday on record. My spirits soared as I gave the Moggy a wash in the sunshine with the anticipation of more good weather to follow, and to be fair the following Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning were beautiful.
Then Storm Hannah decided to pay us a visit; I watched in almost disbelief as this monster headed right for the south coast of Wales and our tour destination predicted to hit it's peak on Friday evening.
Several of our regulars and a few locals wisely pulled out of the tour and I must confess I almost pulled the plug on the whole event. Spectactular as the scenery is, it's not much to look at in heavy rain and mist and those roads can be dangerous.
However the spirit of the weekend was revived by Brian, our 76 year-old Yorkshire sage who resides in Ireland with the following profound quote "I've paid fer them there ferry tickets and I'm going no matter what".
How could we ignore a call to battle like that? So I packed up the caravan with supplies in howling wind and rain on Thursday evening much to the amusement of neighbours; "Should have gone last week Gar, it was beautiful over Easter" they hollered. I don't think my muttered reply was very 'Christian'.
The drive down on Friday was interesting to say the least. After meeting up at the services with Ian 'Windy' Woodward and his son Jonathan 'Breezy' Woodward, we enjoyed a bucket-sized cup of Costa Coffee and I admired Ian's Zephyr and the matching caravan which looks great with the burgundy stripe and matching chrome script down the sides.
Once on the road however despite stabilizers both our caravans started swinging back and forth reminiscent of 2 fat bottoms in a hula hoop competition. Safety dictated a slow-down to 40 mph in places, which made us popular with other motorway users but thankfully after braving wind, the heads of the valleys roads and steep climbs we arrived on site some 3 hours later ( even if Ian overshot the entrance ) 😉
We were relieved to see the pitches were on a rock hard standing and not grass and quickly set about getting the caravans pitched, electric connected etc. The 3 of us then attempted to put the group Coleman shelter up, not easy in wind but we managed and took no chances, all 4 legs had 4 heavy duty pegs in them and extra guide ropes. We filled it with chairs, tables, lights and the all-important cooking stoves while cautiously watching the approaching black clouds and increasingly ominous whistling winds (and that was just the Woodward boys).
One of the things I most enjoy on our tours is cooking a basic evening supper for everyone, and one by one the weary travellers arrived:
These sensible folks had all booked hotels. Despite the shelter starting to flap a bit and the rain coming down fairly heavily we all remained dry inside enjoying home cooked choice of sausage n chicken cassoulet or sweet n sour chicken, followed by apple crumble n custard or chocolate brownies for desert. We're not exactly the Rolling Stones and after a few drinks we all retired to our abodes around 10pm to warm up and get a good nights sleep.
After a very rocky night for those of us on the campsite we awoke to a much calmer morning. The Coleman had survived the night with just a few guide ropes pulled out the ground. There was still a few hours to go before the tour started, so the smell of bacon cooking soon filled the air from several caravans.
At this point were were joined by the 'day trippers' - Mark Wilson and his father Keith in a stunning V12 E type Roadster and Phil Gunn and wife in a lovely mint green Triumph Stag. Printed directions handed out, I jumped in the Zephyr to be lead car with one walkie talkie and gave the other to Mike Peake who had unexpectedly turned up in his modern after originally saying he couldn't make it (he can't keep away really), so Mike was in Eric's Rover and I asked them to be last car so we could keep an eye on our convoy, but as with all the best laid plans they quickly go 'udders up'; the Zephyr pulled in for fuel within the first mile with us expecting the convoy to follow when they all sailed by one by one. So much for being the lead car! 😄.
I had picked Grawen campsite for its proximity to the National Park and within 5 minutes of leaving camp we were greeted with scenery that had us passengers taking shots out of the windows; the cultivated arable fields quickly giving way to much steeper wooded forests and narrower lanes with a canopy of trees giving that eerie dappled light.
Passing through several small hamlets with just a dozen or so houses, one shop and a pub we pushed on towards Sennybridge and the town of Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales' smallest town and home to the Heart of Wales micro brewery.
This award-winning stop was first on our list and was planned for group member Andy Perman (who likes his rare ales) but sadly couldn't make the trip due to oil seal failure on his Allegro driveshaft. We managed to catch up with the convoy as we arrived in the town and promptly parked (I suspect illegally) in front of the local fire station, ahem, but passing locals didn't seem to mind - it's the sort of small town where a cat stuck in a tree makes the local front page, so we created a bit of a stir.
The brewery proved harder to find than first thought with the satnav taking us to a car park behind some shops??? Turning on my best smile and trying not to frighten her, I accosted a local lady for directions to the elusive watering hole.
Lo and behold - it turns out the brewery is located inside the charmingly olde worlde 'Neuadd Arms Hotel'. Well it would have been rude not to go inside and sample what was on offer, however a few of the ladies had food on their minds and disappeared to a local shop only to return armed with bags of cakes, doughnuts and other assorted goodies.
We were so impressed with what they were munching that we all vowed to also join slimming world once we were home on Monday.
The Neuadd Arms is one of those places that almost hugs you as you enter, charming if slightly worn wooden bars and stairways, friendly collie dogs wandering around, soft leather sofas in front of huge open fires with logs cracking inside. Having been a hotel since the 1780s it has some amazing memorabilia on the walls and frame after frame of locals who had won the local 'Bog snorkelling ' championship (I kid you not ).
Now here's where fate intervened; the landlord had heard from a local that Nick's Jensen had just parked outside. By remarkable coincidence the landlord owned a Jensen CV8 and he and his wife welcomed us all with open arms.
Nick works for Everards brewery so he knows a good ale or 2. We were surprised at the strength of the brews on offer with most averaging at 6.5% with the toe curlers rated over 10%. Naturally we all sampled various brews (including me who doesn't drink at all), but their Brecon gold cider was beautiful and potent at 6.4%.
Nick pronounced it a good and balanced beer and everyone enjoyed their drinks except Ian Woodward who had a cup of tea in a china cup (because he's a big girls blouse). We had expected to maybe just see a small counter selling beers but our man Nick talked the owner into giving us a full tour of the micro brewery. It turns out to be located in a converted barn in the rear garden of the hotel with three holiday chalets above on the second floor. He proceeded to give us a very thorough and interesting talk on the brewing process; he didn't even flinch (much) when Jo our resident lawyer started questioning him on how he declared the tax on each batch ( can't take em anywhere 😂 )
Bidding our new friends farewell and dragging Nick and Jo out as they were tempted to forego the tour in order to stay and continue sampling what the Neuadd Arms had to offer, back on the road the satnav was programmed to take us to Lynn Brianne Dam via the infamous Devils Staircase road, which was voted one of the top 5 best driving roads in the UK. It's also in the top 5 most dangerous roads.
The satnav displayed lone unnamed roads with ominous warnings that they were not suitable for larger vehicles or caravans (yikes Scooby, let's turn back!). After taking the lead in the Zephyr the scenery increased in beauty at the same rate as the roads became more challenging. As we approached the tiny hamlet of Abergwesyn we were on single track roads with few passing places.
Large areas of the forest had been felled by the Forestry Commission but lots of trees had been upended by yesterday's storm Hannah. We gingerly avoided large puddles and fallen branches as we increased in height through a deep valley with breathtaking views, so good in fact we stopped and jumped out for photos. Braving the winds and steep cliff edges just a few feet from the roads edges, our convoy stopped for 15 minutes and we never saw another car approach in either direction. It felt very remote and being a city boy I loved it - no sign of other humans anywhere except our convoy. I even braved climbing a rocky outcrop to get good photos but soon discovered I'm no mountain goat after slipping twice.
Reluctantly we left this mountain that so resembled something out of a Tolkien novel. Soon we saw the signs for the descent I'd warned everyone about, "25% use first gear' it warned us. All the cars performed brilliantly down this twisting steep mountain road with no crash barriers and in places drops of over 100ft. Congrats to all the drivers for keeping a cool head; the road levelled out in the bottom of yet another picturesque valley, however in 3 places this one crossed the river we had been driving alongside.
The little bridges were barely above the water level normally, but following last night's storms they were in full flood with just the posts and metal pipes marking out the actual roadway over the bridge. Being the big kids we are we stopped and primed cameras and dashcams ready to record. The first one wasnt too daunting with maybe just over 4 inches of water flooding over the bridge deck.
We splashed through like extras from Jurassic Park, all cars through we made our way to the next one and promptly halted. The second crossing looked very foreboding and considerably deeper, much less of the bridge side markers were visible and nervous swearing could be heard muttering from the open windows of the cars. A modern 'soft roader' approaching from the other direction paused for several minutes before the driver braved the crossing. We estimated from the vehicles submerged wheels that it was at least a foot deep this time 😮
Feeling less cocky this time, we led the intrepid convoy through the water with it splashing up the sides of the doors in quite spectacular fashion. Things got very windy inside the Woodward vehicle but we made it through, rounded a corner and eyeballed crossing number 3.
This looked even deeper than the previous one; the water was flowing at a faster rate plus once you had made it across, the road almost immediately started the 25% opposite climb to the earlier descent. Having forewarned Ian the slope carried on for nearly a mile I told him to not lift off. Naturally Ian's a very good driver and the Zephyr was in first gear, flat out pulling 3 fat blokes up a 25% incline at 8 mph. Several minutes later we levelled out on the summit and stopped to see if everyone had made it.
We noticed at this point that 4 cars were missing including Brian's Triumph which Mike had jumped into and was acting as rear car. We had zero phone signal, so I grabbed the walkie talkie and tried to reach Mike 'come in fat bloke, everything ok at the back of the convoy?'. Eric who was standing by me then says in his gentle Scottish tone 'are ye tryin to reach Mike on that thing?' Yes I nodded, 'aye well you see, the thing is Mike is in Brian's car but he's left the walkie talkie in mine'. "#$£¥*&£#****!" clean translation "Oh bless my soul that's unfortunate").
As we pondered going back on a rescue mission Jo emerged from the Jensen with delicious goodies she had made and brought along. Nick informed us that much munching had been going on and the Jensen was basically a '7.2 litre mobile picnic'.
Luckily the missing 4 cars heroically arrived at the summit, despite making it through the last flood both the Ital and Triumph saloon couldn't make it up the mountain at first with clutch slip. We surmised some river water must have gotten into the clutch covers during the crossing. Happily after around 10 minutes of drying out in the increasingly warm sunshine all cars were fit to proceed as we hunted down the elusive dam - hey it's only 220ft of concrete wall so how hard could it be to find?
The unknown road that the satnav said it was on announced we had arrived but we saw nothing but forested hillsides full of beautiful bluebells and the odd sheep. Pleasant as this road was after 4 miles of nothing I declared we had missed it and ordered a full turnaround when I spotted a sign for Lynn Brianne back in the direction we had come - no indication of how far it was but we all managed to turn around one of those tiny triangle junctions you get in the country.
Not wanting to take any chances I spotted a pair of local ladies walking along the road and asked Ian to pull over. They appeared to be mother and daughter and may have felt slightly unnerved at a bunch of blokes in old cars pulling up beside them, so I adorned my best cheesy smile and asked the mom for directions.
The daughter was a very attractive country type in black jodhpur-style tight shorts and boots,. Just as I was about to take in the directions from the mother, Ian and Jonathan turned into Benny Hill and Frankie Howard 'phwoarrr look at that, oww stop it, corr Matron, get a photo quick'. It's not easy trying to listen to directions, not laugh and ignore the innuendo coming into my right ear all at once but somehow I managed while biting my lip. Directions got, we pulled away as I filled the car with language that shocked even Ian, before myself succumbing to childish laughter. I made the situation worse by saying she had 'paid £3 for those shorts but was chewing £1.50 worth with her bottom'. Ian's face turned red with laughter and I did fear for a second we were going over the cliff.
Fortunately Mike now was in possession of the second walkie talkie but unfortunately messaged me the following ' come in Fat Controller, we have a puncture and need assistance'. The Zephyr headed back to help as the rest carried on to the Dam. Breezy Woodward soon had the tyre swapped and we made the final trip to the Dam.
Iin our defence the tiny road leading to it has no sign posts and you can't see the Dam from the road. Once arrived we parked in line in the Dam car park and enjoyed the magnificent views while the wind nearly tore our eyebrows off, but we had made it through some very challenging terrain and it felt really good.
It was at this point the day trippers went their separate ways. The journey back to Merthyr passed without incident except for the rear tyre shredding itself in spectacular fashion on Darren's Ital. Luckily being in convoy a few folk stopped and we were on our way again within 15 mins.
A fabulous days driving and a big thank you to everyone who braved the forecast to join us. Afterwards we headed for a Chinese buffet and a few drinks to round off the day.
Normally I'd end the blog there as on Sunday we just visited the Brecon mountain railway, however while we were there another driving group arrived and turned the car park into an impromptu and quite impressive car show; it was a real bonus with lots of ooohs, ahhhs and misty-eyed looks.
Bring on the next tour in the Cotswold Hills on Whitsun weekend 😀
By Mike Peake
Time to introduce the rest of the exhibits on our stand. This one is a bit unusual in that it isn’t a car. Often on our group meets and tours we are camping without mains power for 3 or 4 days which can be a challenge, but we had resisted getting a modern generator due to their noise and they aren’t popular on campsites.
The idea came about one evening to acquire a vintage, quiet running stationary engine and connect it up to a basic generator. It would be both useful and a period correct addition to our shows. To this end, Gar recently acquired this 1947 Wolseley 1.5hp. It's a real group effort as it was restored and painted correctly as it would have been when it left the factory by Bernard Owen, our resident expert on such things. (He used to sit in front of his caravan all day at shows and watch all of his wonderfully restored engines chug away to power a light bulb. Or if he was feeling in need of the exercise, connected to a pump so he’d have to get up every now and then to swap the buckets over. Oh come on! You’ve laughed at these strange sorts too!)
In the near future it will be connected to a generator of some sort and be able to provide power to charge phones, caravans etc. when we are off grid. The Wolesley that is, not Bernard.
Now we come to another pair of group stalwarts. The ever reliable and entertaining Brooks brothers, Gus and Tosh and their lovely 1946 Talbot Sunbeam. The brothers only bought this car 6 months ago at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor show here at the NEC. In that time Gus has set about sorting the temperamental electrickery side of the car. As you can imagine, with 73 years of modification and bodgery to the wiring loom, it resembled a large bowl of unidentifiable spaghetti. So, rather than spend the rest of his life tracing each wire through individually, Gus took the decision to strip it all out and replace it with a new wiring loom. He then had to reinstate 73 years of modification and bodgery to get it working.
In the meantime, Tosh has been itching to get his hands on it and give it one of his trademark re-sprays. This desire of his has led to a few disagreements as many of us rather like it in its current state, patina and all. However, I’m pretty certain that Tosh won’t be able to resist returning the car to its former shininess. (Probably not as shiny as shiny Paul Shiny’s shiny MGB GT though. Tosh doesn’t have a spare toothbrush.)
What about this 1931 Humber Super Tourer? I LOVE this car. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it was my favourite car in the show.
Ian Booth bought the car in August of 2015 becoming it's 6th registered keeper. At 1st glance, the car looked very much as it does now. however, as we all know, digging deeper reveals hidden woes.
The dashboard was a homemade affair and not particularly well executed with a mixture of original and aftermarket dials. The wiring loom was a nightmare of botched repairs and additions and was a 'rats nest ' to quote Ian. Fortunately the car came with the original dashboard and Smith-Jaeger instruments in a box albeit in very poor condition. Ian set about repairing the dashboard and glove boxes and the clocks were sent to Richfield Speedograph in Birmingham who did a fantastic job refurbishing them. The rare Jaeger Le Coultre time clock was sent to a master watchmaker, Paul Shrouder in Repton, who fully reconditioned it.
After repairs to the brakes, clutch and gearbox , new custom wiring loom , distributor, rear leaf springs , new hood and carry bag plus a myriad of other bit and bobs the Humber returned to the road in heroic fashion. No pampered trailer queen is this car! Ian and his friends in his car club took the brave decision to do a tour of Spain.
The car performed beautifully but there were still one or two “adventures” of note! My favourite ones were getting a police escort and when friends in front driving a 1933 Rolls Royce braked very suddenly. Unable to stop in time Ian had the split second decision to either hit his friend’s car or turn into the crash barrier, naturally he went for the barrier. As it happens the Humber is so solidly built it escaped with nothing more than some extra 'patina ' on the front wing.
Favourite car status was achieved in no short measure by Ian Booth being a thoroughly nice chap and fine fellow who was more than happy for us plebs to clamber over his car and be silly. I think I rather suit the role of rich 1930s industrialist don’t you? Obviously Gar Cole knew his place.
Now for the “pièce de résistance” of the stand. Nay! The show! A 1902 James and Browne. I’m sure you’ll all agree that it was an incredible coup have this important piece of motoring history on our stand and we might as well all go home now because I really don’t think we can better this. Huge thanks must go to Gar Cole, Matt Harris and the Students of Imperial College for bringing this about.
The 1902 James & Browne is 1 of only 2 survivors. The other is a 1904 example residing in Europe. This car was originally purchased new by a blacksmith believe or not! (I’m guessing a rather successful and wealthy blacksmith!) It was purchased by students of the City and Guilds in 1932 from a travelling fair of all things. It has been a mascot ever since and currently resides at Imperial College London as their official mascot. It is a regular on the London to Brighton run and is regularly used to ferry the students to the pub where they have found it incredibly useful for scrounging free pints from landlords and rich bankers keen to have a good look over the car.
At the show, the engine cover was removed to reveal absolutely nothing familiar whatsoever to those of us used to modern fare. (Yes, I’m calling 60s and 70s cars modern!) No, that’s not completely true. I spotted 2 spark plugs but not where you would expect them.
It’s bonkers! It features a 2 cylinder engine of 2.5 litres developing 9 RAC Horsepower, (approximately 15 modern HP). Although they are laying on their side and run front to back. It is lubricated by a “total loss” oil system and ignition is by something called a trembler coil. It has two, yes two, gearboxes and is chain driven direct to each rear wheel. Brakes are on the rear wheels only and are of the external contracting bands type.
Like I said, bonkers but we all loved it!
All the students were fine fellows and a pleasure to spend the weekend with. They were more than happy to spend their time explaining the workings of their marvel to all and sundry. They were even allowing visitors to sit in the car for photos. Although it has to be said, most of those I saw sitting in the car were of the young and pretty variety. We were further surprised when they brought lunch back to the stand. No Pot Noodles for these chaps. No, they turned up with sliced artisan bread, smoked cheese, honey roast ham and halloumi and proceeded to make sandwiches.
They redeemed themselves to “typical student level” on the Sunday by turning up late and hungover after discovering how cheap the beer is in Birmingham compared to London.
As you all know by now, we were again shortlisted for “best online presence” at the National Car Club Awards. This time we chose our finest and most sensible members to represent us at the awards dinner. Yes, Phil Allin from our print sponsor, Alveston Press and your celebrity admin (what do you mean “who’s that then?” It’s me!) We were with Sue and Nigel Hains from the Boston Classic Car club (and fellow members of this group). They were representing John Simpson who was up for Club Ambassador of the Year, but couldn’t make the show.
The meal was excellent as always with good company on our table and free wine flowing. It was at this point that I spotted the flaw in our plan to send to send our finest and most sensible members to represent the group. You see, Phil is a dreadful influence on me. Whenever I drink with Phil, he makes me drink far more than I would normally. I should know this by now after several long evenings at previous events but I guess I had forgotten.
Mike Brewer was in excellent form again this year acting as compère. He really earned his money too as he had to fill for about 10 minutes while the missing page of his script with the 1st 3 awards was found.
No. We didn’t win. We missed out to the rich-as-Crassus MG Car Club and John missed out to the Volvo chap.
I suppose I should say that it doesn’t matter and that we did really well as a non subscription club just to get shortlisted blah blah… but I really wanted to win this year!
Anyway, I kind of lost interest (and almost consciousness) after these two were announced so I wasn’t paying attention for the other categories but I’m sure our super organised glorious leader Paul Sweeney will be able to insert the link where you will be able to find all the results (https://www.necrestorationshow.com/winners-and-highly-commended). Thanks Skipper!
The evening progresses and Phil and I had a lot of fun and a lot of wine but I think we got away without embarrassing anybody or anyone noticing how inebriated we really were.
However, next morning was a different matter. Let’s just say I wasn’t at my best and was very sympathetic to the students in the same state. At least we made it to the show though. Phil felt the urgent need for fresh air so went to watch his son play rugby instead.
Copious coffee and sugar in the form of cake is my miracle cure though and I was soon back to my normal self, enough for Tosh to take me shopping and spend far too much of my money on equipment and stuff for my upcoming secret project on Poppy.
It really was a great weekend at a great show and I had a great time wandering around as well as manning the stand. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the show.
The end of the show came round far too quickly as it always does and as hundreds of car horns greet the tannoy announcement it was time to pack up and say a sad farewell for now to lots of good friends.
Special thanks as always to all the owners of the cars on the stand, all our members for visiting and especially Gar Cole and Paul Sweeney for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to put on these events.
A huge well done chaps. I think that was our best showing yet. So on behalf of our members, Congratulations and thank you.
Thank you for reading and see you all soon.
By Mike Peake
Well, what a weekend that was! It has been a tough few weeks for me so I was REALLY looking forward to a break and a weekend of playing cars. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
I wasn’t able to make set-up, so when I arrived Friday morning, I got the full “smack in the face” experience of our stand. IT WAS AWESOME! The chaps had done a fantastic job but let’s face it they had incredible material to work with.
From the gloriously crusty Wolsely to the ridiculously shiny Humber. From the rare-as-hens-teeth James and Browne to the common-as-muck but very, very shiny MGB GT. From 117 years old to the mere baby at just 40 years old. (No, not Bernard and Paul! I’m still talking about cars. How very rude of you!)
We even had a stationary engine, a foot powered lathe, bales of straw and a Herald tail lamp! Our Fat controller of events, Gar Cole, had really excelled himself again… and then some.
So let me introduce the exhibits and their proud owners. I’ll start with the gloriously crusty Lincoln Hunt and his mad-as-a-box-of-frogs 1928 Wolseley. (Hmmm, did I get that the right way round?)
Lincoln proved to be a proper stalwart this weekend. Despite some issues at home AND being called out all night to keep our railways running, he still made sure he was at the show helping out. He’s a top chap is our Lincoln. He’s even promised me a boot load of Herald spares!
Lincoln’s 1928 Wolesley has been languishing in his barn ever since his Dad bought it approximately 50 years ago, after the one-off special body had already been fitted. It has been part of Lincoln’s life ever since he can remember. He particularly remembers the thrashing he got after he’d shot out the headlamp with his catapult.
Lincoln showed his dedication to the club again by exhuming this beauty from its burial place among literally thousands of other projects and 50 years of accumulated detritus to show it on our stand as well as bringing all the accessories you can see in the photo below to make the “barn find” section.
Lincoln has now begun to clear the thousands of potential projects and has a metro engine on standby as he has promised to resurrect this car for the road.
Next up is Roger Spaven’s 1978 Series 2 XJ6 4.2 Jaguar. Actually, the newest car on the stand but you’d never know it! (Who said that? How very rude!)
Roger is Vice Chairman of the Isle of Wight division of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and had always admired the Series Jaguars but wasn't actively looking for one. However the Isle of Wight has a thriving and close-knit classic car scene and word reached Roger via the islands ' jungle drums ' that a series 2 was available and the widow of the previous owner was trying to contact the club.
She had been approached by members of the islands active oval racing scene but her husband had owned the car since 1995 so it held 20 years of memories for her. Naturally, she wanted it to go to a home where it would be restored.
Roger and his good mate Keith went to view the car in October 2015. The paintwork had seen better days but importantly, there was very little sign of corrosion.
The previous owner had made some ' odd ' modifications during the past 20 years. He’d stripped the chrome bumpers and painted them a matt grey, fitted modern blue led spot lights, replaced the original biscuit rear bench seat with a black leather 2 seat VDP rear bench, and finally a Halfords special high-level brake light on the rear parcel shelf.
Despite being stood for many months the big cat fired up right away, Keith bravely volunteered to take it for a test drive while Roger followed in case it broke down, Keith decided to do a brake test and they worked brilliantly, unfortunately the sunroof seals had seen better days and he was drenched in cold stale water that had accumulated in the sunroof recess. Despite Keith being wet and smelly, a deal was done for the car including a shed full of spares.
Back at home, more issues came to light. Non-functioning wipers, washers, blower and lights. After carefully replacing various relays and putting right some of the electrical modification the previous owner had done, all was now working correctly and the car was booked in for MOT.
Roger was amazed when the Jaguar passed the mot with no advisories! A good inspection of the underside revealed no previous welding or rot, something of a miracle for a 70s era XJ that lives in a salty coastal town, but Roger knew this car was an excellent base.
Having used it and enjoyed it for several months the car developed an oil leak from the gear box and one day during a house move it broke down due to a faulty fuel relay. It was at this point Roger decided to take the car to his friend Ray's garage and restoration business. The plan is to strip the car for a full bare metal re-spray, restore the chrome work and put right any aftermarket modification including that leaky sunroof. However, you know what we car people are like, whilst acquiring a new rear seat for the car Roger, purchased a 1985 series 3 at the same time so now both cars are competing for time and funds to be restored.
Shiny Paul Clappison’s shiny 1972 MGB GT is very shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny! Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny.Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shinyness. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny!
In case you didn’t notice, Paul’s MGB GT is VERY, very shiny. A previous owner, a retired engineer completed a restoration of the car making it quite shiny, but by 2015 health problems forced the reluctant sale once again. However, it wasn’t until April 2017 that Shiny Paul Shiny steps in and purchases this quite shiny MGB GT.
The quite shiny MGB GT wasn’t quite shiny enough for Paul shiny so he spent the next 6 months shinying it and got it so shiny that it won shiniest car at the Manchester Classic Car Show. By the following April, after lots more shinying the MGB had made it to the finals of the Pride of Ownership area at the NEC restoration show where it won Best In Show for being so shiny.
It was great to have such a shiny celebrity car on our stand but we noticed that Paul may have become slightly obsessed. You see, in between kidnapping passers-by and forcing them to see how shiny his MGB GT is and telling them how he’d made it so shiny, he was caught several times lying down by the side of the car, using a toothbrush to make parts of the car that nobody could see shiny and muttering “my precious”. As you can imagine, it was incredibly embarrassing for us to come across such intimate scenes so we told him to get a room!
I strongly advise the wearing of a welders mask to protect you from the glare before viewing the following photo.
Of course someone had to take it too far and play a heartless trick on our dearly sainted Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole. I can’t imagine the type of evil mind that would put this sign on the back of his buggy without him noticing and then letting him drive all over the NEC with it! Despicable behaviour and very childish.
To be continued...more cars to come!
by Matthew Homburg
And now for something completely different, as Monty Python used to say: a technical blog from Matthew Homburg, final year mechanical engineering student (Imperial College, London) and elected driver /club chair for last year.
Matthew's report details the work involved in recasting the crankcase for Bo, the stunning 1902 James & Browne car proudly displayed on our stand at the 2019 Resto Show recently (see photo below).
Thanks to Matthew and to Ed Speirs for sharing the report with us.
by Graeme Moore
It may be of interest to group members to know that the love of classic cars is alive and well in Thailand, as last Saturday the Classic Car Friends Pattaya held its second classic car show as per the flyer below. It was a great event with a mixture of British, European and American cars on display.
I was duly present with my 1979 Jaguar XJ6. I’ve included a few photos of other British cars on display. One of the sponsors was LIQUI MOLY well represented by two lovely ladies as you can see in the photo of the Austin Healey. Of particular interest was the 1946 Austin 8 and the exquisitely restored 1964 Bentley S3 that was also very much admired.
It’s interesting the number of Thai people who own and / or are interested in classic cars, so it’s not only the expatriate community. For example both of the Bentleys displayed at the show are owned by Thai gentlemen. I had some interesting conversations with some of the owners. For example, the guy who owns the 1946 Austin 8 is from Austria and he says that the car was manufactured in the UK in 1946, but exported to Thailand in 1947, apparently as a military vehicle.
There were also some classic motorcycles on display, mainly British, but including an American Harley Davidson. I took a few photos of these as well for your interest.
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