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 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 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 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 Mike Peake.
As with all old cars, the list of jobs to do wasn’t getting any smaller, but winter is the time to do them as I won’t be driving the car quite so often. It was time to crack on.
On the Isle of Wight tour, Super Enthusiast Man noticed the odd puff of black smoke from the back of Poppy and pronounced that I needed a carburettor rebuild. So, of course, the first thing I did on my return was order a rebuild kit from Burlen LTD. The kit turned up very promptly and immediately scared the life out of me.
You see, in all my years, I’ve never had to take a carburettor apart or indeed put it back together. So, to receive a bag of lots of really tiny unidentifiable bits, was a bit disconcerting. The instruction that came with it didn’t fill me with confidence either. It was just a diagram with numbered arrows pointing at lots of really tiny unidentifiable bits with the instruction “Remove in numbered order. Reassemble in reverse order.”
So I did the only thing I could do. I panic-watched “how to” videos on You Tube. The one I found was in three, 30 minute segments and was for the ES version of my carb as fitted to a GT6 he was restoring. So, not all of it was applicable to mine. In fact the only similarity seemed to be the lid.
Well I couldn’t procrastinate any longer, so I removed the carburettor from the car.
As Mrs FB had made it very clear that I was not to be allowed in the house with any more oily bits, I cleared space on the table in the bit of the garage I hadn’t turned into an office and started work with the new screw drivers I had bought specially and lots and lots of carb cleaner spray.
I removed the damper piston and undid the 4 screws holding the assembly lid in place and removed the lid. Everywhere I’d read and watched said to take extreme care when handling the metering needle because if you bend it, it can’t be saved. With this advice in mind, I decided to leave it in place as long as possible so I couldn’t bend it. I then turned the whole thing over to examine the bottom. The piston fell out of the top, bounced on the table and then onto the floor, bending the needle.
I said bad words, ordered a new needle and went to my Father in Law’s to see if he could make the lid shiny because obviously, a shiny lid will give it that extra performance boost.
The next day I was back at my workplace to finish the disassembly which went surprisingly smoothly apart from dropping the nut which holds the choke mechanism on. Of course, before even hitting the floor, the nut was swallowed by an errant wormhole which sucked it into another galaxy far away never to be found again. Not to worry though. I have a bag full of spare nuts, bolts and washers for when I come to rebuild.
Hours were then spent cleaning every internal nook & cranny of the carburettor body with gallons of spray and the new brushes and probes I’d bought specially, until not a speck of dirt was left inside. The old gasket material was absolutely horrible to remove. I had to resort to single bladed razor blades and fine wet and dry before, eventually, I had clean mating surfaces again.
However, I got bored. The dirt on the outside was really, really stubborn and even after resorting to Anita’s tooth brush and wet and dry, the outside components didn’t look as clean as I was hoping. The top was shiny though so hey ho.
Time passed. Due to the Christmas holidays, family commitments, work commitments, cold weather, fear and laziness, it was some time before I returned to the task. Finally, I could stand Simon Stock’s constant nagging no longer, so in the middle of February on an international rugby-free weekend, I was back at it and using the “plate” from the Triumph manual and photos SEM Gus Brooks took of Henry’s Stromberg (Mine didn’t come out), I began the task.
I started at the bottom and after replacing all the O rings and jet I refitted the metering jet assembly to the carb body making sure that it looked central. The adjusting screw was tightened up fully and then backed off 3 complete turns as a starting point for tuning.
I then fitted the new petrol inlet valve and the floats making sure that the pin holding the floats was spotlessly clean and smooth and then checked the height of the floats above the body. Specs said 17mm. Mine were 16.5mm without any adjusting so close enough I think. If you do need to adjust, there is a tab on the float frame that can be bent up and down to achieve the correct height. (B on the diagram)
Once all this was done I could fit the gasket and float chamber before moving onto the throttle assembly. I was in the zone now and fully concentrating on the task at hand and trying to figure out which way round the return spring went when a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses snuck up on me and made me jump out of my skin causing the spring to fly across the garage. Surprisingly, the Jehovah’s witnesses left unharmed and unaware of how close they came to being torn…. Well anyway, enough to say I restrained myself to a polite “no thank you” to their offer of a rain forest’s worth of literature and set about finding the spring which had missed the worm hole and come to rest on my socket set. I know! All praise Jehovah!
I returned to the zone and soon had the throttle assembly together. I’d fitted the new butterfly valve and shaft and made sure that I’d “split” the 2 screws to make sure they don’t fall out into the engine which would be bad, and got all the linkages fitted correctly. I’d even spotted the error on the diagram and made sure that the throttle link arm was fitted the correct way round (Item 15 on the diagram). I then spent the next 10 minutes proudly flipping the throttle open and watching it spring closed.
Next up was the choke assembly. The shaft was in place and all the linkages and springs were fitted correctly. I just needed to fit the retaining nut on the end. Yes, the inter galactic wormhole traveling nut. I dug out my bag of spare nuts, bolts and washers and found the correct size of nut. It wouldn’t fit on the shaft. Perhaps the thread is dodgy, I thought. So I found the corresponding bolt and tried the nut on it. It fitted and ran freely up and down the thread. Hmmmm. Interesting. Is it actually the correct size then? So I took the nut of the throttle assembly and tried it on the choke assembly. It fitted. I then tried it on my corresponding bolt. It fitted and ran freely up and down the thread. I have to say, I was a bit stumped to say the least. The only thing I could now do was dive down the wormhole myself and try and find the original nut. This involved emptying the entire garage to look for the nut on the unencumbered floor. It wasn’t there. Next I started to empty out all my boxes of left over plumbing bits, electrical bits, car polishing bits and leftover car bits from previous jobs.
Miracle of miracles, I found it! It was resting at the bottom of a box of floor tiles left over from the conservatory! It was quickly screwed into place and I’m still left wondering why my new nut wouldn’t fit. The only difference I could see was that the original nut had a flat face with the thread starting at the face. The new one was slightly countersunk from the face before the thread started. Never mind though. It’s all together now.
Finally, I was on the home straight. The diaphragm was fitted to the piston ensuring moulded tabs all lined up. The metering needle was then collected from its rarefied “safe place”. The endless layers of bubble wrap were removed, the plastic tube opened and the needle very carefully removed from its plastic tube. I fitted it to the base of the piston and slotted the assembly home into the carburettor body, again making sure that the moulded tab on the diaphragm lined up with the slot in the body. I then very quickly fitted the lid before I could do something stupid and bend the needle again.
Another 30 minutes was spent breathing deeply, de-stressing and admiring my handiwork. I was feeling very pleased with myself and took that incredibly complicated diagram into the house, shoved it under everyone’s noses and proclaimed loudly that “I’ve done it!” they were all suitably impressed, but my bubble was burst when my eldest daughter said “do you think it will work when you put it back on the car?” Humph! Such little faith in her old Dad!
Anyway, that was enough for me that day. My brain hurt and I was hungry. Time for a couple of beers and one of my home made Cornish pasties.
After a good night’s sleep which allowed me to recover from my mental exertions of the previous day, I was up at my lock up with a boot full of tools and a fully rebuilt carb ready to bolt it back on to Poppy’s plucky little engine. This was achieved in very short order. Accelerator and choke cables were reconnected along with the fuel and vacuum pipes. I even remembered to top up the dash pot with some fresh engine oil.
Now was the moment of truth. I turned the key with trepidation. My battery was flat so not a lot happened. Poppy was quickly connected to my Honda and I tried again. It took a while for the fuel to get there and a couple of false starts but she fired up and ran. I AM A GOD!!
As you can see from the video above she was running a little roughly and I was in danger of CO poisoning in my lock up so I disconnected the Honda and moved poppy out into the sunlight where some fiddling with the Idle adjust and mixture screws achieved a smoother engine note. The filter box was reattached necessitating another minor adjustment of the mixture screw and we were off for a test drive.
1st stop was for some fresh fuel as the stuff in the tank was leftover from the Isle of Wight tour and therefore a little stale. Then it was back home to show my family the fruits of my labour. Following another quick adjustment now the fresh fuel was coming through we were off around the green lanes to give Poppy’s newly rebuilt carb a full workout through the complete range of speeds and acceleration. She performed perfectly and even Mrs FB noticed that she now ran smoother and was a little more responsive. I knew that the shiny lid would add a little extra to the performance!
50 miles later a purring Poppy was snuggled away in her garage and we were home in time for a quick G&T before one of Mrs FB’s superb Sunday dinners with our cobwebs and cabin fever fully blown away.
Thanks for reading and we’ll be back soon. I have lots planned for Poppy this year and will keep you informed as I sink my incompetent teeth into the ever increasing “to do” list
Fatbloke and Poppy.
The things we do for you! A glimpse at the decidedly unglamorous life of your overworked Admin and blogger.
By Mike Peake
I’m fed up!
The girls are watching “I’m a Strictly X factor celebrity get me out of here apprentice come dancing” on the box and the groups are behaving themselves. So, I’m looking for something to do. My new metering needle for the Stromberg still hasn’t turned up so my carb rebuild is stalled. I can’t even finish my blog about it as there has only been one incidence of outstanding bumbling incompetence and a thousand word blog needs at least a couple to get full value. I can’t even have a row on Facebook as no one has put up anything stupid for at least 30 minutes.
So, to relieve my boredom and increase yours, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of life as a member and then an admin of a couple of large and successful Facebook groups. None of them were interested in sharing their experiences though so you shall have to put up with mine.
A bit of history first. I joined the illustrious EBMVBB1985 back in May 2015 as a refugee from another Facebook group about old British cars. I was completely fed up with the negativity and out and out rudeness shown there. Regardless of which British car was posted, someone would comment with a tired old cliché or just spew out and out vitriol and it was never long before the thread decayed into a bout of foul-mouthed name calling.
Now whilst I don’t deny that a lot of fun can be had baiting these sorts, even this pales after a while - especially when it is your own car that is receiving the abuse. So I was looking for somewhere a little more tranquil where the members were actually “enthusiasts” and we could enjoy and be enthusiastic about cars. Well the “clue was in the title” wasn’t it and it was time to see if it “did what it said on the tin.” (Sorry, but I was still living on a diet of clichés from the other group.)
Well, what an oasis of joy! There I was, scrolling through pages of posts of lovely British cars and no one trolling. Dare I? I did dare. I posted a pic of my car with a thanks for letting me join and I didn’t get abused. In fact, I was welcomed and complimented.
I did have a bit of a slip up on my first comment on another post. It was a “which do you prefer Mk1, 2 or 3 Capri?” post. Well as I’d had a poster of the 2.8i mk3 on my bedroom wall as a kid, I’d posted it in “the other group” and been roundly abused and called all sorts of a fool because it was German. Well seeing this post here, I innocently enquired if “the mk3 was allowed? Isn’t it German?” To which Gar commented “oh no! let’s not do this again!” Well I didn’t know what he meant so as I hadn’t chosen, my next comment was, “I’ll have the German one.”
Well imagine my horror when I returned to the thread to find my comments removed and an admonishment from Captain Sweeney himself saying “Mike Peake. You were warned!” I found out later that earlier that week, just before I joined, there had been a bit of a bad tempered discussion about what is and isn’t British.
It subsequently turned out that this group applied a "simple common sense" approach to questions of this sort, which I rather liked. Well I apologised profusely, promised Lemon Drizzle cake (It hadn’t won an award yet) and promised to behave myself. I was allowed to stay but the experience has left me slightly scarred.
(I'd just like to state for the record that I have no recollection of this exchange but since it resulted in cakey, who am I to argue? - Paul S)
I spent the next couple of months enjoying my time on Facebook much more than I used to, posting pictures and annoying Zebidee by pointing out the Heralds in every street scene picture posted. (It is almost guaranteed that there will be a Herald in every street scene photo or film taken in Britain between 1960 and 1980. It’s true, go and look.) Yes, this was the origin of “Oh look!”
In January 2016, Inspired by BL Dan Bysouth, I started what I thought would a short run of blogs detailing my trials and tribulations and joys of classic ownership. (Here we are on my 74th blog and 94,000+ words written. Sorry about that, but thanks for putting up with me for far longer than I ever expected.)
So, despite a rocky start I must have been doing something to get noticed in a good way as in March 2016 I was invited to help Admin the group and I was honoured to accept. (It was the cake, you fool! - Paul S)
I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected. There was no vast salary or corner penthouse office to come with the post. Apparently, the love of a well done job is payment enough, and I guess it is because here I am 2 years later.
The 1st task that the new guy is given is vetting member requests, which to be honest isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. The thrill of nosing through peoples profiles soon wears off as most of you are pretty dull on the whole especially when you are wading through hundreds a month when we were growing at our fastest. However, there were one or two memorable exceptions.
“Wilma Sussies” was one such memorable potential member. His profile was full of adverts for women’s clothes in male cut and sizes but nothing that suggested any interest in cars. Whilst I have absolutely nothing against cross dressers in any way, I felt that he would only be joining our group to promote his business. His profile picture was rather “Racy” for our sensitive members too (and also how I know Wilma was a “he”). Wilma was confined to the Lift Shaft of Doom without passing Go and without collecting 200 cakes.
You may be interested to know that we currently have 3830 permanently residing in our LSoD many of whom have been sent there directly as a result of our vetting procedures. Of the rest, surprisingly, most are sent there not for transgressing our rules, but for arguing with Admin or throwing all their teddies out of the pram after we have reminded them of the rules and pointed out how their most recent post broke them.
Some of the levels of vitriol and hate shown can be rather surprising and doesn’t always end when the individual is cast down. It is not unknown for the arguments to continue over private messenger. Accusations of Nazism, aspersions on parentage and even death threats are not uncommon - and you should see what they send back to us too. You wouldn’t believe it!
Usually, a casting down the lift shaft of doom is a quietly done affair. However, if the transgression is serious or there has been a spate of lawlessness, we may make an announcement in the group as we have noticed that our members do love a good public hanging and it serves as a reminder and deterrent and results in quieter evenings all round for us Admins.
Of course it isn’t all fighting and conflict. I’ve had some great opportunities to represent our group at some of the most prestigious events at the NEC. The recent “panel show” was definitely an experience. Of course there has also been the onerous Awards dinners which are the most difficult to bear but I’ve taken it for the team and will do so again if required.
I do love these 2 groups though and I am extremely proud to be a part of them. Knowing that, under the expert guidance of our Skipper Paul Sweeney, I am part of the team that has made this a safe place to enjoy our hobby with proper enthusiasts gives me a real sense of achievement. In addition, watching us all grow the group to the point where we are taken seriously and mixing with the big boys of the industry is an honour and a pleasure.
Best of all though are the friends I have made here and transferred to real life. People I didn’t know 3 years ago, I now consider some of my best friends and make interacting in the group so much fun and our real life meets the very best car events I have ever attended. They really are like family gatherings. (even down to Grandad getting a bit frisky after half a pint and that weird Uncle everyone is slightly wary of.)
So as it’s that time of year again, I’d like to say thank you to our great and illustrious leader, Captain Paul Sweeney for his vision and determination in steering our good ships in the right direction and the fantastic job he does in designing and running our website. I’d also like to thank our founder, John Simpson for laying down the keels, our ever enthusiastic events and merchandise coordinator Gar Cole for a great job done and the rest of my fellow deck hands Zebidee Habib, Steve Favill, Edwin Feenstra and Andrew Tanner for stoically bailing the bilge.
Most of all though a huge thanks to all our members for all your contributions and making this such a great place to be.(except Mr Stock. He’s very rude to me.)
Well slushy bit over. Normal service will be resumed soon as my metering needle has just turned up.
Have a very merry Christmas, Saturnalia, Yule, Huneker, Ede or whatever you are celebrating and a very happy new year.
Fatbloke and Poppy.
By Mike Peake.
Sunday had us back in the hall bright and early ready for another day of playing “who’s got the best car layout”.
Well, of course WE did so let me introduce the rest of the cars on our stand.
Dale Scutter’s 1952 Hillman Minx is a proper “family car”. It was purchased by his father, Brian, in 1998 who took 4 years to restore it to the level we see today and it is an absolute credit to his skills. It really is a beautiful car. Sadly, Brian passed away last year but Dale has bravely and proudly picked up the baton of keeping it on the road for the rest of us to enjoy. There is even another generation waiting keenly in the wings as Dale’s daughter seemed just as proud as he is. Dale is also the custodian of another Hillman, a vintage caravan and a scooter courtesy of his father’s passion so we really are hoping to see much more of Dale in the future. He’s a top chap too!
Of course, no BEBVBM1598 event would be complete without another Brooks masterpiece and this show is no exception. This time it is the recently completed 1958 Standard Pennant. (Yes, Poppy’s Grandad!) As we’ve come to expect, it is absolutely stunningly beautiful. Even the chairman of the Standard Owners Club was heard to grudgingly admit that it was the 2nd best Pennant he’d ever seen, just before pointing out that it had the wrong hub caps. Praise indeed.
The Pennant is another celebrity with several appearances in ITV’s Heartbeat and the Royal.
The last car on our stand was supposed to be a favourite car and owner of mine. The lovely 1948 Rover 16 owned by Alan Crown. Sadly he had to pull out at the last minute due to ill health and was sorely missed by us all. We’d all like to wish you the very best for a full and speedy recovery Alan.
So, huge thanks are due to the Brooks brothers for stepping in at such short notice and bringing a vehicle that needs no introduction, but I’ll introduce it anyway. Apollo the Rover P5B Camper. Yes, I said a Rover P5B camper. For those of you that have been members for any length of time and haven’t been hiding under a rock, you will already know and love Apollo who has become somewhat of a mascot and flagship of our group.
For those of you that have been living under a rock or new members, put the shot guns and pitchforks away. Apollo was converted into a camper by his original owner way back in 1972 when you couldn’t spit without hitting one of these cars. No one is really sure why he chose this car to convert but he did and created a unique vehicle. The Brooks bought him at this show some years ago and worked their magic to produce the glorious, mad as a box of frogs, vehicle we see today. A wonderful mix of the old and new, he was, quite possibly, the most popular car of the show. There wasn’t a moment when he wasn’t surrounded by admiring muggles and he bought a smile to everyone that approached our stand.
Saturday had been ram packed full of visitors, so much so that it was very difficult to get around or close to anything. Sunday was a little quieter and I didn’t have any more celebrity showings so it gave us a chance to chat on the stand and get around and see a bit of the show in a much more relaxed manner.
First though, at 11 o’clock a 2 minute silence was held to commemorate the Armistice 100 years ago. At the sound of Big Ben’s chimes, all halls fell completely and eerily silent. All the hum and noise of thousands of people just cut out while everyone reflected and remembered. It was actually quite moving and impressive.
Unfortunately, we did have a bit of an incident at about midday, when Gar and Gus were arrested by site security for stealing the seats out of a car in the car park, but we managed to smooth it all over in the end and I was able to have another mooch around the halls between manning the stand.
Now I make no big secret out of being a bit of a Triumph fan and have always quite liked the little front wheel drive 1300 but never really been up close to one until now, and this one had the bonnet up. Imagine my surprise then, when I noticed that someone had put the engine in the wrong way round!
It’s a front wheel drive car with the engine fore and aft instead of transverse. Why on earth did they do that? I thought Issigonis had already proved that the transverse is a much more efficient way of mounting an engine on a FWD car? (Answers on a postcard please) It was a jolly nice looking car though.
This is another car that caught my attention.
I’m seriously thinking of getting one of these for our tours as it could be very useful in keeping away pink Rialtos that get too close to members cars. What do you think? Crowd Fund anyone? (What? Too soon?) (Sorry Kevin, Couldn’t resist)
Of course we then had to play "Squeeze the fat blokes in a small space" and it fell to the Flat-Nose Morris to provide the space. Actually it was surprisingly roomy, but I don’t think the suspension will ever be the same again.
There were lots of others cars we wanted to play this game in, but unfortunately, the owners weren’t keen. Can’t imagine why.
Oh, and keep a close eye out for this car in the future. I’ve a feeling we may be seeing a bit more of it soon, but Shhhhh, don’t tell Allison Brooks
The show was coming to a close so our thoughts turned to a group photo for the annuls. As you can see, our early attempts weren’t up to much and we were having trouble getting everyone in the same place at the same time.
So, we decided to kidnap the Boston Classic Car Club stand to make us look busy and happy and slightly less scary. Most of them are our members too. Much better, don’t you think?
Of course there was a moment when we heard that the Artisan Bakery stand was having an end of show sale, so, as we hadn’t had enough cake over the weekend apparently, a small stampede ensued.
I think this was my favourite group picture of the weekend though. It shows what a family group this is with 3 generations of members attending. Grandad, Gus Brooks, Dad Kurt Lawrence and little Seth Lawrence whose favourite car was definitely Bernard’s Moggie. The photo was even shared by the NEC Classic car show Instagram account. As Gus said, when our club gets together, it really is like a family outing.
Sadly, the show came to an end and apart from breaking up a potential fight between the Austin 7 Club and the Period and Classic Caravan Club, the breakdown went well and sad farewells were said to all.
So, a massive thank you to John and Elaine Fisher, Matt Harris, Ian ‘windy’ Woodward and Bernard Owen, Dale Scutter and Gus and Tosh Brooks for showing their beautiful cars and manning the stand. A weekend like this is a huge commitment in both time and money and we really appreciate your support. Thanks also to all our members that came and said hello and shared cake with us.
As always, it is great to see you all and put names to faces. It was also great to see so many members on other stands with their cars. Paul Clappison, Lincoln Hunt, Chris Allan, Andy Gardner, Graham Boxhall and the Boston Classic Car Club, to name but a few. Keep spreading the word chaps!
Biggest thanks of all go to Gar Cole and Paul Sweeney whose tireless behind the scenes organising and form filling made all this possible along with the help of our sponsors Dave Youngs of Lancaster Insurance and Phil Allin of Alveston Press.
Finally, no event report would be complete without a picture of our glorious Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole.
See you all soon,
Your Celebrity Club Administrator.
By Mike Peake
Saturday morning found me winding down a country lane looking for the Brooks who needed a lift in. Needless to say, Gladys the sat nav wasn’t very helpful and I was reduced to asking the local postie for directions. I finally found them and whisked us all to the NEC, trying to blank out the continuation of last night’s micky taking.
The 1st hour and a half in the halls is a bit of a haze for me as I was a quivering nervous wreck with my time split equally between the “facilities” and hiding behind Apollo blubbing like a little girl.
Mrs FB arrived with my daughters and then bolstered my confidence by beating me around head and telling me to “pull myself together”.
It was time to head to the stage and I felt like a man on the “gallows walk” but I made it there and mounted the stage with my fellow death row inmates from the Jowett club and 2CVGB.
I perched on the ridiculous “boy band” bar stools and just waited for the axe to fall in the shape of the rowdy chorus of “who ate all the pies” that I was expecting from my friends. It didn’t happen and I felt a modicum of relief and thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Danny Hopkins (Editor of Practical Classics) introduced the segment and we were off. He then asked the 1st question … directed at … ME! It was quite a simple question. He asked me to tell everyone my name and which group I was representing. Of course I immediately forgot the answer to both but it didn’t matter because as I tried to stutter out something, anything, bumbling incompetence struck. My microphone didn’t work. I don’t think it was my bumbling incompetence as I really hadn’t had it long enough to break it, but it wasn’t working. It was soon swapped for a functioning one and having accidentally gained some thinking time, I finally stuttered out the correct answers.
Between trying to maintain my balance on the ridiculous stool and concentrating on the questions and my answers, I forgot my nerves and made it all the way to the end without completely embarrassing myself or the club. There wasn’t even the slightest heckle from my friends! I’d like to think this was out of respect for me and my position with the club, but suspect that it is far more likely that they were scared into good behaviour by a glaring Mrs FB and the threat of the withdrawal of cake privileges.
Well, with that ordeal over and done with, it was back to the stand for a celebratory slice of cake and a cup of coffee. Everyone was polite enough to say that it had all gone well and I’d done a good job, but I was holding a knife at the time.
With my adrenaline levels ebbing I could relax and mooch around the halls for a bit with my family and we had a very nice time of it. The highlight for Emily-Fleur was when a celebrity even higher in the lists than me actually spoke to her. It was Lewis Hamilton’s Dad and I don’t think she’ll ever forget his words. He said “Oh! Sorry! I didn’t see you there.” I’m sure that this was all down to my own new found celebrity status.
My celebrity status also made it possible for Tosh Brooks to smuggle Nick and I into the VIP auction area. I could really get used to this. However, he soon had me thrown out again when I started bidding on an SS Jaguar using his auction ID number.
Jaguarless, I returned to mooching the halls with my family having a great time discussing which cars we would take home with us if we could. Of course Anita and Emily were going to take all the minis home but Sophie was torn between the TR7s and MG Midgets.
Me? Well almost everything! However, this little gem caught my attention.
Yes, I’m sure it’s not to everyone’s cup of tea but holds a place in my heart as it was my Mum’s 1st car. Hers was a Talbot Horizon, but otherwise identical to this one. Mum learned to drive later in life and actually only passed her test (1st time) a year or two before me. Therefore my Mum, me and my younger brother all learned to drive in this car. The poor thing. My brother is the only one in our family, including my daughters, that didn’t pass his test first time, but we barely mention it these days. We barely mention the fact that there wasn’t a single undented panel left after he’d finished with the car either.
Whilst on our mooch, we bumped into fellow member, Andy Gardner on the TR youth stand where amazingly, he’d actually remembered to bring his classic car with him this time. It’s a jolly nice TR7 that he has shoe horned a really, really big V8 into. He immediately fell back down to young idiot status again when he admitted that both Harris Mann and Lewis Hamilton’s Dad had been chatting to him on the stand but he forget to get photos with them or get Mr Mann’s signature on his boot lid. Like I said, Idiot! He’s even got a rosette to prove it.
Of course there was plenty more to see in the vast acreage of displays and here are a few of my favourites.
No selection of my favourites would be complete without me boring you with yet another pic of that 1930’s Triumph Dolomite. But no! it’s not the red coupe this time but a black saloon showing off that incredible waterfall grill.
Oh OK. The red coupe was here again too.
Another car that grabbed my attention for personal reasons was this absolutely mint Vauxhall Viceroy with its 2500 straight six engine that I believe it shared with the Bedford vans. Only 2290 of these cars were made by Vauxhall. Not out of any ideas about limited editions, I just don’t think it sold very well.
Why do I like it so much? Well I had one. It was my 2nd car when I was 19 or so. It used to waft me effortlessly between Swindon and London to see the future Mrs FB in velour clad luxury. Nothing puts a rose tint on your glasses more than nostalgia, but I did love that car. I had to sell it in the end though, because I took a job in Reading and I couldn’t afford the petrol bill this monster was producing on the daily commute from Swindon. Ahhh… happy days. Mine was white with a black vinyl roof registered RLF 410W and sadly, hasn’t survived. I hadn’t seen another one in the flesh since I sold mine back in the early 90’s so this was a real treat for me.
It was soon time for my ladies to head to their various homes and I headed back to man the stand for the last couple of hours and eat cake before a pleasant evening meal in a Harvester. I had a much more relaxed evening than the last one.
To Be continued …
By Mike Peake
How about that then? Nick Arthur came up with a new title for me and I like it much better than Bumbling Incompetent Fool, so I think I’m going to use it for a while. I’ll explain later, but don’t worry, I won’t forget my roots!
Well that was another epic success at the groups 2nd showing at this prestigious event. The Lancaster Insurance Classic Car show with Discovery, at the NEC in Birmingham.
Our beloved Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole, outdid himself yet again with a wonderful collection of cars and owners all beautifully displayed in Hall 8. The cars looked great too. Annoyingly, work got in the way a bit so I missed set up and didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon to be greeted with a very professional looking stand.
So let me introduce you to some of the cars and their owners.
First up is this 1966 Mini Crayford Convertible owned by the delightful, if slightly bonkers John and Elaine Fisher.
Oh! Sorry. Wrong pictures. This isn’t how it appeared on our stand, but how it was discovered. Now, most people would have looked at that and thought ”how sad, a lovely rare little Mini that has gone to meet its maker, fallen off its perch and is, indeed, an ex Mini.” But not John. He looked at it and thought, “that will fix up alright”. Yes, as I said, “slightly bonkers.”
Quite an Improvement isn’t it? So, although bonkers John was correct, but before you witty wags start, it took a lot more than the miraculous “bit of T-Cut”. It took an epic and substantial rebuild which eventually turned the rusted heap into the car we see before us today. A sympathetically rebuilt car that retains the heart of a really great and rare little Mini. (let’s just hope that Stephen King’s “pet cemetery” isn’t true.)
Now whilst this provides quite enough evidence of bonkersness, John and Elaine provided even more by admitting that they actually have 761 other Mini’s and mini-based cars at home, AND they spent the weekend camping in a field … in a tent … in the middle of November, just to be at the show! Yes, as I said, “slightly bonkers.”
Next in Line is Matt Harris’s 1928 Morris Flat Nose Cowley and as you can imagine, it has seen a lot in its 90 years of life.
The pick-up truck actually left the factory as a 4 door car and is believed to have been converted to its current configuration during the 2nd World War. The reason for the conversion is thought to be because as a commercial vehicle, it would receive the larger petrol ration than that received by private vehicles. Apart from a little woodwork, the car is believed to be completely unrestored since its modification.
It has a 1546cc 11.9 HP side valve engine which, after a rather complicated starting procedure, ran as smooth as a sewing machine. I noticed it could be a little smoky when revved hard though. It took me ages to get the soot off my face and clear my lungs and I decided not to stand behind it anymore.
The Morris has a 3 speed crash box with a cork clutch but I was reliably informed that no bottles of merlot will be harmed when it comes to be replaced.
There is also evidence that the car was used on the BBC TV show, All Creatures Great and Small as the sign written doors bear the legend “Jeff Mallock, Fellmonger, Darrowby 308”. He was the knacker who collected dead animals in the fictional village. An ex BBC Props manager also confirmed that the truck was hired from Action Cars for filming, but Matt confesses that he hasn’t yet waded through all 7 series and 90 episodes to find it.
Finally for now, Bernard Owen’s immaculate 1962 Morris Minor 1000.
Bernard is one of our groups elder statesmen. (That is the polite way of saying that he is really, really old. See? I can be polite when I need to be.) Bernard is a lovely chap and everyone’s idea of a favourite Grandad but he has a wicked sense of humour with one liners that can cut you dead. He also turns into a berserker whenever there is sausage plait being shared out.
The Minor is just like him too. All cute and cuddly on the outside but a bit of a sleeper underneath. You see, the mystery engine has been identified. It turns out that a 1.3 Marina engine and gearbox has been fitted at some point during its life, along with the larger SU carburettor.
Having a “modified” car on the stand, however lightly and sympathetically, inevitably attracted a “Norman Shufflebottom”. (See my “Spotters Guide to the Classic Car Enthusiast”)
Norman furtively approached the car and then in a stereotypically nasally voice pronounced “The brake master cylinder is in the wrong place. Why isn’t it under the floor where it should be?” We had the last laugh though, because although he had spotted this minor modification, (did you see what I did there?) he’d failed to notice the much larger engine and gearbox swap so Gar took great joy in pointing this out. Norman’s face was a picture of horror as he stumbled off in shock, muttering “Ohhhh, Its been modified!”
There'll be more on the rest of the cars later, but Friday afternoon was spent pleasantly chatting with old friends and getting to know new ones and continuing this over a very nice Chinese Buffet in the evening.
Well, I say “chatted pleasantly”, but most of my “old friends” just wanted to take the micky. You see, our group had been approached and asked if we would like to put forward a representative for a panel discussion to be held on the main stage … in front of an audience. I had volunteered.
Well, I say “volunteered”, but what actually happened was that whilst I was trying to understand the question, the rest of the admins had instantly run off and hidden behind the furniture. “Thanks Mike” said Captain Sweeney. “Be on stage at 10.45am on Saturday”. (Hence the “Celebrity Club Administrator” title)
I really hadn’t been all that nervous about it on the run up to the show, but I should have known I could rely on my friends to change all that. So when I went to bed, I had the nightmare of walking on stage to a rowdy chorus of “Who ate all the pies?” from my friends and the rest of the hall joining in. This played on an endless loop in my head all night so needless to say, I did not awake refreshed and relaxed on Saturday morning.
To be continued…
Filter by Author
Filter by Month