by Callum Tooey
It’s a Sunday morning and I’m in the passenger seat of my dads car as we are driving to Cambridge to visit our boats when my phone beeps. ‘What’s that?’ My Dad asks whilst pulling into a supermarket to buy a drink. ‘It’s eBay, that Vauxhall I showed you finishes in 10 minutes’ I replied whilst reviewing the advert. I passed him the phone to take another look at it, ‘it does look clean’ he admitted ‘but I wonder if you could still get parts for it?’
"Good point" I said, so I took a few minutes to check eBay for various parts all of which I appeared to find with relative ease, then left to my own devices as the timer ticked down I entered a bid of the asking price, confident that I’d be outbid. As the timer hit zero, I was shocked to see the green banner informing me I had won. My dad was equally shocked ‘I thought you wanted a Morris Minor’ he said, something that I would be constantly reminded of in the weeks to come.
We arranged to pickup the car the following week. The advert said it was in Hythe in Kent and further contact gave us an address of Port Lympne which my partner said was a zoo of all places. I had visions of finding the car inside an enclosure overrun by animals all week but fortunately that wasn’t the case and the only ‘wild’ animal we saw was a woolly rhino that was being moved.
Once we saw the car we took a look at her condition and were happy she had been described correctly. I decided to name her ‘Nutmeg’ as her number plate reads ‘NMG’. I planned to drive the car home, so after a brief drive around the car park I was satisfied she was driving and stopping OK. We followed the signs back towards Maidstone before picking up the M20. I was checking the instruments and noticed the speedometer and temperature gauge were not working and she was struggling a bit with constant coughing before refusing to accelerate anymore.
I coasted her onto the hard shoulder and we started diagnosis whilst awaiting recovery. Fuel seemed good, no tools to check spark but we presumed it was an electrical fault. The recovery guy diagnosed the coil and she was loaded on the back of the truck.
Getting her home, we blocked the road with the truck whilst we tried to offload and manoeuvre her into my garage, hoping she would fit. This prompted a few of the neighbours to come and see what was happening with one running shirtless to move his car as he thought I’d called a tow truck to move it! (Parking across the dropped kerb has been an issue and metal sign stating vehicles will be towed has been put up).
We got Nutmeg into the garage with a couple of inches to spare. With the garage door shut this was the last I’d see of her for a couple of weeks until part 2 when we could start working on her.
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