by Mike Peake
Summer 2015 and the re-conditioned driver’s seat is wonderfully comfy and looks great (when compared to how it was and from a distance). However, it showed up how bad the passenger seat was and I’d been feeling a little bit guilty that my wife and daughters had to suffer it.
So, when no-one bothered on Father’s day, I decided to treat myself to the necessary to re-condition it (among some other insignificant car related items.)
My Father’s day treats to me arrived and I thought I’d start on something simple.
My 1st job was to repair the intermittent horn that is the bane of my MOT man’s life. It never works for him but I arrive, give it a press and hey presto a working horn and a baffled MOT man. (I know just where to position the wheel to where it works…is that bad of me?) Anyway, I fitted a new slip ring and brush and all in perfect working order now. The only problem was that without resorting to acrobatics and contortions I wasn’t able to work out how to remove the cable trunking under the column to run the new wire from the slip ring. So, it is temporarily taped to the outside of the column until I am more inclined to go upside down in the foot well to work it all out.
Next, it was finally time to tackle the passenger seat. Having already done the driver’s seat, I was fairly confident. I pulled out the passenger seat, stripped off the covers and swept up what was left of cushions from the floor. Nearly all the back straps were broken but I had anticipated this and ordered new ones along with the cushions. I also removed the diaphragm which promptly and catastrophically fell apart. It had looked ok when I inspected it in the car, so I hadn’t ordered a replacement but that was soon rectified. Well, when I say “inspected” what I meant was, given it a casual glance when the seat was raised to allow a back seat passenger access and thought “oh good, it’s not broken!” There was one surprise though. When I pulled the base cover off, a car key fell out. It fitted the ignition perfectly and started the car. It looks like it might be an original key which I think is quite cool.
The seat frame was actually in rather good condition having benefited from not having had a fat bloke sitting in it but the “clip rails” still needed slight straightening and I rubbed it all down and gave it a couple of coats of Smoothrite and left it to dry and await the arrival of the diaphragm.
This left me with the opportunity to “have a go” at one of my other long term niggles with the car. No, not the incontinent gearbox, but the extremely faded paint on the top decks. It was more dusty pink than signal red and I was fed up with having to defend it at car shows etc. Why do so many people expect all classic cars to be pristine trailer queens capable of a good showing at a concourse event? They seem to enjoy and think they have the right to point out all my cars defects! I KNOW WHAT THE DEFECTS ARE. I drive mine regularly and the paint is 25 years old. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money, space, equipment or time to re-spray it every couple of years or spend hours and hours cleaning every nook and cranny with a toothbrush! It’s a CAR NOT A SCULPTURE!.......Oh dear…sorry….I got a bit carried away and went into full on rant mode… no disrespect intended to owners of trailer queens, concourse winners or toothbrush wielders…It’s your car and I admire you for your dedication and results…just not my thing…sorry again and rant over….
I’d tried to tackle this problem several times before with various types of paint restorers from t-cut to Autoglym’s paint restorer and got mixed results. So I’d started to flirt with the idea of trying to re-spray it panel by panel with rattle cans but there was one process I hadn’t yet tried as I didn’t have the equipment, cutting compound and an electric polisher.
A Silverline electric sander/polisher was the other “insignificant” car related item purchased, along with Maguire’s Ultimate Compound which is formulated for use with electric polishers. So, I lovingly removed my new toy from its box and assembled it and plugged it in. Then, with a maniacal laugh, I attacked the car!
I’d never used an electric polisher before… The good news was that the bonnet, rear deck, fins and door tops all looked fantastically red and shiny again. I was really pleased with them and they way they came up. On these results, I would recommend the process as a last resort to anyone, and the bad news? Well, I was planning on re-spraying the boot lid and lower passenger door anyway. At least I have an electric sander for the preparation!
A couple of weeks later, and for the 1st time in my ownership I now had 2 plump and padded front seats to match the plump and padded driver! All new straps, diaphragms and padding were assembled to the restored frame before refitting the original covers to the passenger seat.
It all went surprisingly smoothly benefiting from the experience gained on the driver’s seat earlier in the year. I even managed to hide the horn wire without resorting to ungainliness.
Obviously I then had to take her out on a test drive after fitting the seats in case she now goes any faster after all that work and it was on this test drive something happened that made my day.
I was at a roundabout in the left hand lane and an Aston Martin DB9 convertible pulled up in the lane next to me. A white van man stuck in traffic on the roundabout shouted "nice car mate!” the chap in the DB9 waved nonchalantly and white van man says, " No. Not you, the red one!"
I might have smiled smugly...just a bit...and waved nonchalantly at the white van man or I might have laughed out loud and given White van man a huge thumbs’ up. What do you think?
Later in the summer, we had Ana, an American exchange student from Gar Field Virginia staying with us and she seemed very impressed by Poppy and insisted on being driven everywhere in her. (Who said Americans have bad taste!) Poppy caused quite a stir with the rest of the American students and their teachers when I turned up to collect them from various events during the week. We had great fun introducing Ana to the sites of England and the pleasures of open top classic motoring
The summer continued and we continued having fun days out in Poppy. This included a great day out at the Gloucester Steam Fair among others, with my cousin and his Boys. It’s a really good show if any of you are in the area. I think I might have talked my cousin into buying a Triumph Spitfire too, but shhhh... I don’t think his wife knows yet!
The rest of the summer passed in a blur of green lanes and the wind in what’s left of my hair until it was time put her away for the bad weather, only to be taken out on those bright cold frosty days.
That is ... until Gar Cole announced the groups Coventry meet for November. It’ll be one of those bright frosty sunny days though won’t it?
to be continued
Filter by Author
Filter by Month