Saturday, December 31, 2005

Parts collecting

I needed an inertia cutout switch for the PI - there are original Lucas ones out there but they seem to go for silly money. As this is a safety thing - in an accident it will shut off your fuel supply - I thought I might just spash out and buy new - eBay of course! They were cheap so I bought two :-) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

and so it begins....

I had to go up to York on Friday for a business meeting. It's a bloody long way to York, especially as the meeting was for 10am - I left in plenty of time and despite the fog I got there for 9:30. Business done I headed for home, stopping in at Canley Classics to see Dave and start the ball rolling on the Lucas PI conversion for the Vitesse.
Over the years I've acquired several sets of Lucas PI kit, from all sorts of places. Some of it's good, some of it's covered in crap and hard to distinguish what it is! I really need to start with an early TR5 metering unit but I don't think there's anything close in what I have, it's mainly saloon stuff. So I asked Dave if he'd look over it all and give me some advice on what's worth keeping, what's worth selling and what's worth melting down for scrap!
I'd like to make it look good as well as go good - the car is used every week so it's not going to be bling bling but I do like things to look good :-)
I had a great evening with Dave, it's ages since I've seen him, work getting in the way again. In fact it was probably the 10 Countries Run back in September when I last saw him. I used to be up there every few weeks but working in Norwich all the time has kinda screwed that up.
Whilst at Canley's I saw the resurection of yet another "works" car underway, this time for a customer. I won't say too much apart from the attention to detail is amazing and the result is great. The car will be used and will come out on the RBRR next year too. The dedication to getting things right by the owner is to be applauded.
Back to business, in my quest for garage space I had decided to move a large collection of Vitesse bumper trims. The original idea was to sell them on as is but some of them were a bit cruddy so I tried to find somewhere to get them polished and re-annodised. Dave was in a similar position and so we threw his lot in with mine. You have to come up with volume or the cost per item gets silly - far more than anyone will pay. Anyway, they were all back from the polishers and I have my selection in garage now.
The trouble with doing it this way is that the quality of the polishing is patchy - mainly due to what you're starting with! The polisher is working to a price, he can't stand there and spend ages on teh job or he won't make any money. The polisher can't put metal back so a dent remains a dent and deep scratches just get turned into shallow ones. The pieces are all packed up in bubble wrap at the moment but once I get the chance to unwrap and assess them I'll pick the best for myself and get the rest out on eBay - as they will all need an individual photo it could take a while!
Right, must go, I'm being pestered to put up Christmas decorations now, I've still got the Area News article for the TSSC to write and I've just realised it's a couple of days late!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Stirring stuff for all Ten Countries Run veterans

This cropped up on the Club Triumph messageboard a few days ago and I just thought it was so good that I had to propogate it - especially as I get a name check :-)
10CR Day Speechfrom Henry V by William Shakespeare
(well actually by Don Cook)

This weekend is called the 10CR Weekend:
He that outlives this weekend, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the weekend is named,
And rouse him at the name of 10CR.
He that shall live this weekend, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'In September is 10CR weekend:
'Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on the 10CR Weekend.
'Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that weekend:
then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Raider the king, Bancroft and Martin, Carruthers, Gingell, Foreman, Tornado, Chinn, Hoogmans and Tomboy,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he, on that weekend that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
That weekend shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That drove with us upon the 10CR weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thoughts over a beer

I'm sat in Norwich in a hotel bar, specially selected because there's free wireless internet here! I've had a few beers and decided- I will do the 2006 RBRR in my Vitesse. Now, having made that decision I need to find a co-driver.
I now need to get some time together to sort out the fuel injection idea - I've sort of got the money (need to sell a few things on ebay - some parts, some computer kit, a kidney, you know the score) I just need some time to get the parts I have up to Canley Classics for the once over, a fettle and sort out. I also need to get over to Bill Davies's barn for a couple of Herald fuel tanks - I've decided that's the way to go.
So, it'll be pretty hefty on petrol, fun and noisey but the car needs it - it did the 2004 RBRR so it can do it again!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

7 years bad luck

In using the Sixfire every day there were going to be the inevitable maintenance jobs - I was expecting those. I wasn't expecting that bits would drop off! Well if I'm honest I did - those damn clip on quarterlight mirrors always fall off. It's done it before when I was driving but I manaked to stick my hand out of the open window and catch it all! I still can't believe I did that but I did. Claudia wasn't so lucky and lost the driver's side mirror, of course there was a big truck following and that was the end of that!
So today's jobs include taking the useless passenger side one off and putting it on the driver's side. I also bought some nice Union jack dust caps for her as she covets mine - well it is her birthday :-)
I also get to wash and wax ot - oh the joys of having a nice car that has to be kept nice.
Right, off to work.....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hide and seek, automotive style

It's troubling me this Vitesse fault - it hasn't popped up again but likewise I haven't actually found out what went wrong. As I am now spending more and more time away from home Claudia has to rely on the Triumphs. The Sixfire is fine but with 2 kids to ferry around it's not that practical, the Vitesse has to be reliable as well. The hardtop is on, against my wishes but it does make it a lot more cozy in the winter and well, if you've got one you may as well use it! So, anyone got any ideas? What would cause a car to stop and prevent it from turning over?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Problem? What problem??

I returned home last night to see both Triumphs on the drive - Claudia had been out in her car and hadn't been able to push the Vitesse back into the garage. So before I did anything else I thought I'd get my car into the garage and see what the trouble was. Although I didn't expect it to start I jumped in, turned teh key and it fired first time! It wasn't running great but then it was a little cold and damp - I drive into the garage and put the bonnet up. I suspected a loose battery connection but couldn't see anything amiss there - in fact it all looked fine, just as it should be. Anyway, it was late and I was tired having just done the M25 on a Friday so I'll take a look at it later today, after the inevitable kid taxi duty and some shopping.
Talking of the M25 by journey was bouyed by what looked like a Mk3 Spit in red white and rust on a trailer towed by two chaps in a Discovery. We swapped places in the queue on the Motorway - I'm sure I saw him on the M11 too so I wonder wher he was going - the car had no screen surround and looked like it was engineless with maybe a GT6 bonnet on it - H reg I think - red bonnet, white rear wings. Made me smile.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Remote fixes

So, I'm sat in a hotel in Norwich bored out of my skull and the phone rings, it's the wife. She says it's raining in Reading so when she needed to go collect one of the kids she decided to take my car, the Vitesse. OK, I took her car, the Sixfire out last night so no problem.

That's not why she's phoning, it's becuase the car just died on her at a junction and won't start, she's sat on the threshold of the junction and it's dead, click click goes the solenoid in the back ground - can you fix it she asks :-) Well I ask if she's opened the bonnet - don't be daft she says. So, I will it to start with ever ounce of my psychic power but no, it won't. Sounds to me like the batter connection is loose or there''s an earth issue - but would that cause t to stop dead? This all waits me for my return on Friday.

Suffice to say that her father came out (nice bloke but about as mechanically minded as chewing gum) and towed her back to our house. There the poor car sits, out in the rain in disgrace waiting for me to come home, fix it and then take it out for a spanking - I'm looking forward to that, the car always but always makes me smile and drive like a man possessed.

Meanwhile, I'm now tucking into a curry from room service and watching Star Wars II on TV - like's hard here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

All work and no play

Yes, it's been work work work all that way lately. I'm spending 3 days a week in Norwich living in a hotel - it soon loses it's appeal after a few weeks of it. Still I spent today cleaning the Sixfire to make sure it doesn't end up being put away dirty for the winter like it did last year. I even waxed it and polished the plastic soft-top windows. Although it does get used in the winter I would like to try and keep it protected from the salt as much as I can - I waxoiled it earlier in the year and really would like to do it again - the price of a can of waxoil is trivial compared to sorting out body work issues! Also I am a dab hand at waxoil and I;m pretty crap at bodywork :-)
I've got to get up to Canley Classics soon too, I've got a load of Lucas PI kit to check over and fettle with Dave so we can pick the best of it - I mean to have that fuel injection on the car this winter - I always wanted a fuel injected Vitesse and that's what I shall have. I just need to sell a few more odds and sods to make a little more cash for the job. Oh and I've decided to try twin tanks to get a bit more range out of the car - I'm going to try 2 Herald tanks rather than 2 Vitesse tanks as I don't want to make it too big - the boot isn't that bg to start with. Coupled with the weight of the fuel I think it could overload the swing spring when I inevitably brim it up! I've got a couple of tanks sourced, just gotta get myself together to go fetch them!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blimey - how neglected is this?

I've been so lazy yet so much has been happening over the past few weeks. My eldest has changed schools, I've changed jobs, my wife has effectively doubled her hours at work and my youngest has turned 9! On the Triumph side of things I've completed the Ten Countries Run with my good friends Carl "Shakey" Shakespeare and Colin "The Scrapman" Wake in Carl's Dolomite Sprint.
This event is awesome, 40+ Triumphs driving all over Europe including over the alps and round the Nurburgring (well that was the plan anyway). We did the 10 countries but fell foul of Swiss border routine and ended up stranded in Italy for several hours. We missed the Ring :-(
I'll write the whole story up one day but basically it was all going great until a slight navigation error in Italy put us behind. There was a lunch stop in Lesa, great lunch and one of only a handful of "must do" organised stops. We went charging down the motorway missed an exit, that meant we were off into tunnel land, for several miles - like about 25+ with no exits or opportunities to turn around. Added to that was the ignomy of having to pay a toll at the end before we turned around - we turned an hour in hand to circa 2 hours behind - major unhappiness.
Anyway, that mean that we got to Splugen and the run up to the Stelvio rather late in the day, in fact so late that we did Stelvio in darkness. Not too much of an issues as we followed a local in an AMG Merc who was thrashing up the pass - great! So we get up there OK and start our descent only to find the road closed - gate down and padlocked. No one around to ask so we decide to carry on, down the other side of Stelvio.
We found this was the case with several roads and border crossings - I think we spent 6 to 7 hours going up and down various roads and passes - you see they have sign posts at the foot of the pass saying "The Pass is Open" but it ain't!
Anyway, that kinda screwed all thoughts of doing the Ring but we enjoyed the non-stop 15 hours up through the remaining countries and into Belgium o rejoing everyone at Brugges in good time for a shower a beer or two and a BBQ!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Egypt and the Pyramids - this camel bound policeman had just offered to take our photo - for a fee of course! I couldn't beleive the way you just turn up, park almost touching the pyramid and get out to be hassled non-stop by hawkers and policement alike. As I explained to the kids, I don't want to give anyone my camera and I sure as hell don't want to get into an arguement with a bloke with a gun - camel mounted or otherwise :-)

I couldn't resist this one - Silverstone in July - Dave Pearson realising that whilst he can fix any Triumph you care to throw at him (and that's not an uncommon event) he has just realised that he's got an erection problem - no poles for the tent meant that he couldn't get it up - again, not an uncommon event :-0

Phew - back to the real world

Well loads happening, I came back off holiday to find that I still have a job, great ;-)
My eldest starts a new school tomorrow, we ran out of patience with the local Comprehensive.
I start the Ten Countries Run at the end of the week - just a drive in the country really. 2500 miles of pretty much non-stop motoring in a 30+ year old Triumph. I'm doing the run with a couple of mates in a Dolomite Sprint - Carl Shakespeare and Colin Wake who I've known for several years now. Colin aka the Scrapman has provided me with loads of parts for my cars and gave me the tip off that lead me to buying the Sixfire for Claudia. Carl's a fellow TSSC Hants & Berks Area member and has looked after us on numerous camping trips as he has all the gear! We of course were crap and forgot everything so he kept us safe - OK well it was his partner Becky really!
I had tried to get Dave Pearson of Canley classics interested but he just couldn't commit, so I jumped ship. Fortunately he eventually succumbed to my constant nagging and is doing it with Dave Walker in the Canley Classics Vitesse rally car - well done the two Daves!
If you want to check out our progress take a look at the SMS diary pages here this worked really well the last time and should allow anyone interested to pick up live news of the event.
Right, I'm off back to work :-)


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

You think UK driving is bad?

I'm in Cyprus at my Parent's place, just got back from Cairo - what a mad place! They drive anything anywhere - donkey carts up the motorway the wrong way is common! As soon as I can figure out how to get my camera and my parent's PC to talk to each other I'll put some ohotos up. No Triumphs seen anywhere yet :-(

Thursday, August 11, 2005


My work colleagues have found the Blog! So hello to Jihad Jackson, Purlpe Steve, Lawrence aka Mr Phone Porn and Alan, the artist formerly known as the Boss.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Triumphs MGs and the weather

Thought I should just make a quick entry about the last couple of week's activities. I went to Silverstone last weekend, to the MG Car Club's 75th anniversary bash. I wasn't too interetsed in the MGs but serious respect to them all, to see that many cars from all the different clubs and registers was great - the Triumph movement could take a leaf out of MG's book on that. I went to see the ex-Works rally cars for the 50th anniversary of the BMC Competitions Dept. That was well worth the trip. I had not intended to stay but started off dropping in on Dave Pearson at Canley Classics on the Friday night, there a cunning plan was hatched - he'd be camping with his youngest daughter, I could do likewise and take my youngest and well there you go. Saturdaysaw me packing up the car and with Poppy on board off we went to the MG bash!
I'm not sure what the MG owners thought of us in our loud and proud Vitesse, snorting and popping our way through the place - we took a wrong turn and ended up in the MG TF enclosure! I eventually found my way to a space in the huge camping area and we set up home.
The show was good, the weather great on the Saturday too. We bumped into a couple of fellow Triumph owners, Tim Bancroft and James Carruthers so had a beer and a chat - they were taking in the TR Natioanl at Malvern the next day too.
I managed to bag a ticket for the Works Drivers reception that night - £60 a piece to Joe Public! It wasn't really my cup of tea and although I stayed for a couple of hours I felt like a bit of spare part. I did bump inot a couple of TSSC members and had a chat and a drink or two before legging it back to the tent. Dave and family had been looking after Poppy for me, she seemed fie so I settled in with Dave and a few beers.
The next day was a slow start, the weather was crap and eventually threw it down with rain - we stayed as long as we could but it was no fun, the races were awful due to the conditions and so I broke camp in the rain, got soaked putting it all in the car and off we went.
An easy journey home in the pouring rain and the tent is still hung up in the garage over the dehumidifier but it was a goodtrip out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Last night I dropped in at the Plough in Enfield for the local Club Triumph meeting - following a 5:30 start I had been in Norwich all day and left there about 17:30 - I stopped off at the Plough and met with some familiar faces - Tim Bancroft, James Carruthers, Ellis Stokes, Nigel Gair and loads more - good to have a chat and a bit to eat together. I'll put these meetings in my diary and, as I'm often in Norwich on a Monday, I will try and do it again.
If I'm not passing then it might be a laugh to take teh Vitesse out and take a drive over - the traffic at that time sucks though and I would prefer not to spend ny leaisure time sat on the M25 clockwise when I sit on the M25 anti-clockwise with my job so often :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Nice blow job

Sorry, should say Nice blower job, Shorrock supercharger on a Spit - very nice installation and a really nice car. The car belongs to a long time TSSC member - Lewis Jones.

Scroll down for more photos from Stafford and a few words.

The W.I.T - Women In Triumphs at Stafford.

Kiss and tell

There's far too much of this sort of thing going on, I mean, she should get her own chewing gum.

Rare picture of Zoe actually smiling - how un-cool!

Stafford in the sunshine

Lots of cars parked up on the field - we went and rounded up some of them from the camping site on Saturday

Who farted? We all know it was Carl

Andy on the left and Carl on the right - looking drunk and disorientated in the smoke - I think that was from Carl's backside.

The pick of the crop

The ladies of Stafford, funny lot - and who's that bloke in the background picking his noise? :-)


Enjoying a beer, a BBQ and a Triumph - I think the smile on my face says it all!

Monday, July 11, 2005

TSSC International Stafford

Just got back from a weekend away, camping in a field full of petrol heads.
Me and the guys from Hants & Berks did our thing - Andy Cook & Family, Mike Crewes & Claudia, Carl & Becky and Zoe and I made our way up separately but all converged on Friday night for a beer or two in the bar. It was great to catch up with old friends and put some more faces to names. The internet is a great place to correspond with people but it's quite weird to have some "stranger" come up to you and know you by name, by car etc.
Saturday breakfast was the usual Hants & Berks super full English - BBQ toast, bacon, sausage, Becky on the eggs and Carl on the beans - we'll feed anyone.
Becky's car was in for a hood fitting demo by Anglian Triumphs and Carl was so impressed he entered the Spit for the Cruised and Used concours, no prize but an interesting experience none the less.
We did our "official duty" and went round the campers asking people to park their cars on the field with the other visitors' cars - a good opportunity to chat to people too.
After that a quick trip round the hall, Carl stopping and buying from almost every trader - parts for the Sprint to make sure it's in tip top order for the trip round Europe, we even sorted out the Insurance with Footman James. Carl managed to save a tidy sum by putting all his and Becky's cars together on one combined policy including their modern car.
I picked up some wheel locks for our cars from Midland Wheel Supplies who were out in the sunlight on the autojumble stands - the jumble was quite good again this year. I noticed quite a few new components out there amongst the oily bits - some low key operations selling some rather tasty stuff!
Saturday night's band were very good, the ale flowed well and we drink them dry again. Not so many fancy dress revellers this year but enough to maintain the strangeness of it all.
We crawled into bed at some unmentionable hour and awake in red hot tents in the morning - this thing with camping is that when the sun shines on your tent, you don't want to be in it! Despite a thick head and too little sleep we were up and about. Carl & Becky needed to go polish the Spit and we sorted breakfast.
Sunday was a bit of a zombie day but nonetheless enjoyable. More catching up with people, a quick ride in the Picton Sports Cars Green monster - 2.5PI powered Spit, no seatbelts, no windscreen, no silencers - niiice. Piloted by James Caruthers who was up for the day to do the Official Photographer bit. - see photo

The WIT, Women in Triumphs, had their first outing, born on the spur of the moment this was a parade of ladies in their cars around the main arena. It went down rather well and I think we'll see it again.
After that it was wind down time, pack up and tidy up for the drive home. A masterful piece of navigating saw me avoid the Silverstone traffic and get home in pretty short order - hood down all the way. OK it was a bit of luck and a fortuitous error but I think it was good navigating - no satnav and my daughter asleep so who would know if I went wrong?
I'd like to attend a few more general classic shows this summer but with weekends away, school trips, another reorganisation at work (sigh), a near 3 week holiday to Cyprus and the 10 Countries Run to fit in, I may just have to accept that I can't do everything!

After my worries about the head gasket I have to say that the Vitessewentt well,coveringg in the 150 miles up there without drama and again the return journey was fine too - she never missed a beat and the oil stayed where it should, a little bit of a blow out of the oil filler vent which is annoying but nothing like the previous outings. I improved the breathers and I think I'll go for a larger bore breather system into abiggerr catch tank eventually.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I see you baby, shaking that ass!

The Sixfire suspension and handling has always needed tuning ever since we got the car. She sits too high at all round but especially at the back, this leads to a touch of positive camber, never good. The front is too soft, I suspect it's got Spitfire springs on. The shocks aren't aweful but they aren't great either.
If I were driving it more often I'd have invested in 330 lb front springs and a thicker anti-roll bar with either a lowering block on the back or a replacement spring from a trusted source ( to get it sitting right. At the moment it's all too easy to induce rear breakway.
However, as this is Claudia's car I've left it up to her and she's been quite pleased with the soft ride and hasn't taken it near it's limits (it doesn't take much to get there!). Until now that is!
She was out in the rain in the week with a friend in the car, probably gossiping and not paying too much attention to anything. The road was wash and she says she just entered a roundabout at a modest speed, as she came around she felt the rear break away and start to slide, she caught it and apart from some extra laundry, no harm was done.
Of course the first thing I was question on when I got home was suspension improvements.
I'll get onto it now boss!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

If only I had the space ......

I'd give Dave a grand then spend another getting this one back on the road and upsetting the Corsa driving yoofs around here in this machine Canley Classics - Cars For Sale : Triumph 2.5 PI MkI Saloon
I love those Mk1 jukebox dashboards - it just needs some big wheels and to lose the bumpers ;-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's amazing what you find on the web

A mate of mine sent me this link, be careful when you use it, make sure your boss, mother or children are not within earshot b3ta presents buffys swearing keyboard. Make sure sound is on :-)
My personal favourite key has to be "Z" for the shear randomness!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Under pressure

After my high speed trip back from Gaydon I had noticed some oil leaks from the spark plug side of the engine, it seemed to be coming from the head gasket, not good. However, that side of teh engine doesn't have a reputation for leaking and shouldn't cause a problem. I suspected excessive crank case compression caused by worn rings but this is a "new" engine, probably only 5 thousand miles old. Could it be a blown head gasket?
The only think I'd done to the car that could have influenced this was to fit the catch tank. So I investigated, the catch tank inlet is narrower than the rocker box vent that feeds it, could the step down create a restriction that could allow a build up of pressure? I seriously doubt it but I've gone back to vernting to atmosphere for the rocker cover vent. I didn't want the catch tank to sit there doing nowt so I opened up the vent at fuel pump blanking plate (the pumps now electric and in the boot) and vented that to the catch tank. We'll see if that does anything.
I also did a compression test to see if I could find anything interesting there. I'm never too sure what these readings mean but I'll find out. For now though

  1. 150 psi
  2. 165 psi
  3. 160 psi
  4. 130 psi
  5. 150 psi
  6. 120 psi

That's quite a spread, 10 to 15% is usually said to be acceptable. So I took it out for a blast and of course, it scared me and was great for it! It's one of those things where I think I don't really want to mess with it as it's so damn good BUT it won't get any better by just driving it.

I have all the neccessary to change the gasket but I'm thinking maybe a better copper one should be sourced, rather than the grey one that's on it and that I have "in stock" - I've had issues with those grey gaskets before on the Herald.

Need a job?

If you're a Triumph enthusiast and you're looking for work click here Canley Classics News Blog: Need a job? I can vouch for Dave - he's disorganised, enthusiastic, flatulent, pasionate about Triumphs, good company, dedicated and friendly. If I didn't live 100 miles away (that commute would be a bugger) and I thought I could support the family on the wage, I'd be there now saying "Gis us a job". Maybe one day :-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Canley Classics News Blog

Canley Classics News Blog

I thought Dave had been quite for a few days since I saw him last week on my way back from Bolton. He just can't stay still can he!

Monday, June 13, 2005

OK. it's done, I am committed - or should be!

Carl Shakespeare and I are doing the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run in SpetemberClub Triumph's Official Ten Countries Run Website 10 countries in a long weekend, can't wait :-)
We're going to be using Carl's Dolomite Sprint - his daily driver and a car that did last year's Round Britain Run. We're hoping to get a third crew man, a Sports Six Club friend of mine, Colin Wake - not definate yet but he seems keen.
Let the preparations commence!

Credit for photos

I don't know what the law is on this sort of thing and I don't want to fall foul of it so if this is considered publishing these photos I had better giove credit where credit is due! So looking on the back of these prints the only details on the back of some of them are "Colin Taylor", an old address pre-post code and a 4 digit phone number - I'm not sure if Colin is still around but I'll make an attempt to contact him even though these photos are now 30+ years old . The Mk1 covered in mud has Duckhams Photographic Library stamped on the back but no reference, date or contact details so I think trying to trace that one is a non-starter. That's gotta be over 35 years old.

My favourite out of all these photos - Brian Culcheth and Johnson Syer in XJB305H on the Scottish Rally of 1971 - see below for an earlier photo of the car on the same event. I;ve got another picture (on a promo poster) of the car receiving this damage. I think it was done when Culcheth put the car off the road whilst lying third - you can see the spectators pushing on the side of the car. now those door skins are all aluminium and it doesn't take a lot to dent them in the way you see here.

UJB642G wearing the World Cup Rally number 48 - why? First things first, no Mk1 PIs enteredt the WC Rally, in works or provate hands. Secondly, in every entry list I've seen, car 48 wasn't a Triumph it was a Lotus Cortina! So why the number 48?
I think this was just a "dress rehearsal" car for practice and testing - this shot seems to be on military grounds and I know they did an awful lot of testing at the tank grounds in Bagshot.

I can't see the registration on this one but I'm assuming it's UJB642G - see previous photo.

UJB642G - Mk1 PI - this is a sister car to UJB643G that Culcheth drove in the '69 Scottish, breaking a rear axle and coming in 24th overall but still 2nd in class. I can't find any trace of "642" as having a competition history and I suspect it was a practice/developement/spare car but I don't know for sure.

The second batch of photos arrived - this one's interesting as it's a Mk1 and shows clearly the registration and crew names - VBL197H crewed by Andrew Cowan & Brian Coyle. This car appears in Robson's Works Triumph Book but the details in the results table in the back of the book are wrong - Robson says 3 Mk1s entered the RAC Rally of November '69 and that Cowan & Coyle were in VBL195H and won their class. They did win their class but were in VBL197H. Now there are no dates on this photo but as the car only seems to have had one official works outing, the Nov '69 RAC when the car worn car number 1 and it was very snowy, then I;m thinking this was indeed taken on that rally. The text in Robson's book clearly says 195 was Hopkirk's car and so the it's the results table in the back of the book that's screwed.
The story of these Mk1 PI's is that they were one off developement cars for the World Cup Rally of 1970 built out of brand new Mk1 shells as the Mk2 hadn't then been homologated. They were obsolete as soon as they were made but were solely for the purpose of developing the World Cup "Rally Tanks". Cowan won his class in VBL197H and made 11th overall. Not bad for a one off car, straight out of the box!

Hot Herald and the basket of snakes

Last year I got involved in helping out Kas Kastner (US Triumph tuning guru and all round good bloke) in putting together some info for his book. He was after stories of interesting Triumphs from across the pond and my mind quickly turned to Kev Hadfield's racing Herald, amongst others. Kev and I put together some words and pictures of the car, tech specs etc and I bundled it up and sent it off to Kas. The results are now in his book along with numerous other cars from around the world.
One of the pieces of tech info in the book is how Kas managed to get the Spit 1500 engine to hold together under race conditions. The 1500 is notorious for running it's bearings due to low oil pressure at the bearing (not at the gauge!) Kas came up with a crank mod and ultimately an external oil feed system and he stopped losing cranks.
Kev wanted to get some info on this mod as he was losing cranks far too regularly to retain a smile. The book wasn't out and I though Kas wouldn't bee keen to give up his secrets in advance of the publishing date. I was wrong, he was kind enough to let me have an advance copy of the article, some pictures and a bit of extra detail long before the printer saw the book. I passed it onto Kev and he duly sat down with his engine builder, scratched heads and started creating. The crank mods were done, the oil feed plumbing decyphered from a photo of a 6 cylinder layout and what you see below are the results.
Kev reports that he hasn't yet lost a crank and is now doing 40 min races with no detrimental effects. Go Kev and thanks Kas!

Hmm, must get myself a three letter nick name,


The solution to running the No3 bearing on a Triumph 4 cylinder 1500 race engine. Modified from a Kas Kastner original design (as detailled in his book) it's an external direct oil feed. That's what you see on the outside, what's on the inside is a crank specially cross drilled with modified oilways and oil circulation. It's really quite a simple mod in concept but getting there consumed quite a few 1500 cranks!

Basket of snakes, Herald style

Here's the remote oil filter and cooler

Friday, June 10, 2005

Another lucky break

Having emailled the lady who sold me the rally photos to say thanks she replied to say that she had some more and would I like them - oh yes please. They are on the way to me.

Lucky find

I saw a few old rally photos on eBay recently and got in touch with the seller to see what was in the bundle, she told me she had some other photos of Triumphs and so I bought them blind. The following 4 black & white prints were in that bundle - if anyone's got any insights into where and when they were taken, give me a shout!

Paddy Hopkirk's World Cup car, XJB302H showing it's World Cup Rally number 98. I hink this must be a practice/testing shot as the car doesn't have any roof mounted spot lights on it, in fact there's no sign of the mounts for them. Each car had different arrangements for spotlights, it must have been driver preference. Hopkirk's car had them realy far back, almost over the rear quarter lights, very weird. In the original photo you can just about see the mid roof mount for a spare wheel.

Brian Culcheth in his ex-World Cup Rally car at the start of a stage, somewhere. I'm guessing that, as the car is in Team Castrol colours and has the roof vent blocked off and is clean and tidy that this is early on in the Scottish Rally of 1971. The car had been lightened and tuned - as far as I can tell this was the first time it had competed without the roof vent. In the original photo you can see the plate over the vent.
The car only did three events that year - The Welsh, The Scottish and the Cyprus rallies. I've seen pictures of it on the Welsh and it has the roof vent so as the above certainly ain't Cyprus I'm guessing it's the Scottish June 1971 - it looks like June weather too :-) Culcheth achieved 2nd in class and 10th overall on that outing.

XJB305H, Brian Culcheth's World Cup Rally car. In this shot the car is in Team Castrol colours. After the WC the Competions Dept was closed and Culcheth was out of a job, but he scraped together some sponsorship, got hold of his old WC car and formed "Team Castrol" - notice the stripes down the near side of the bonnet, these are the red and green Castrol colours and the badge just above the numberplate is the Castrol GTX logo.

This one has the caption "Roy Fiddler" and the words "Ancient Gorskz Pirate" typed on the back on a label from the Duckhams Photographic Library. No date or other info. Does the bloke with the bucket look like Paddy Hopkirk or what?
I'm intrigued by this shot - I initially though it was an old works car put out to serve it;s remaining days as a rally cross beast - check the bent n/s/f quarter bumper and what looks like broken centre spot light. However, why leave the lights on a rally cross car? But what's that weird "N4" number about? Also, you don't tend to get the front of the car covered in crap on a rally but you would in a close rally cross with other cars in close proximity.
It's got a works colour scheme, that black bonnet and wing top pattern was a bit of a Works trade mark. So when could this have been and which car?
Roy Fiddler drove Works 2000s from '64 to '67.
He used AHP426B, AHP424B, AHP426B and FHP993C and so it isn't really very easy to determine which car or year this is!
Anorak foot note - in 1966 (the year I was born) Roy Fiddler became RAC Rally Champion

Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Vitesse and daughter Zoe at today's Best of British Day, Gaydon.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Problem solved

Well I finally tackled the overdrive failure that occurred on the way to the rolling road last week. I had checked the switch and found that to be OK. I couldn't see any major oil leaks and so I decided to take the gearbox tunnel off and check it all. Oil level was indeed fine, everything looked in place.
I started off by bypassing the inhibitor switches as these sometime give trouble - nope it wasn't there.
I then started looking for bad connections, it's fair to say that the overdrive harness had one of every conceivable type of electrical connector in there somewhere. Although some of them were decidedly dodgy they were all making contact.
Solenoid? I took a look and saw something out of place, some broken insulation on the earth wire leading to the solenoid. Nice one, yet that wouldn't cause the overdrive to fail - a quick wiggle and there it was, not only was the insulation brittle and broken but the wire had fractured where it was supposed to be joined onto the spade connector. No earth, no circuit.
I couldn't get to the bottom of the overdrive where the earth wire was attached so I ran a new wire to a convenient point - on the chassis.
After a quick test drive, I put the whole thing back together, sealed up the tunnel with some duct tape and the job was done.
The rest of today has been spent cleaning and tinkering - I fitted a mini filter to the catch tank I'd fitted last week - it's not the best fit but I'm waiting for some nice braided hose to arrive and I can sort out the plumbing properly - I'll have to get some fittings and tidy the whole instaltion up.
The other job I wanted to do was adjust up the rear brakes and see if I could trace the handbrake "sponginess" - yup, the cable is a bit kinked and the return springs are unequal. I've fettled it and now the handbrake is working fine. I could do with getting a pair of springs, something else for the shopping list for tomorrow.
Right, off to get the rest of my stuff together - see you tomorrow if you're going to the Gaydon show, the Vitesse will be on the Club Triumph stand.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Shiny bling

Having noticed that my top alternator mount was cracked I faxed through an order to Chris Wirtor for a replacement one in stainless. I bought some other trinkets too. Impressive turn around on the order and a good price too.
Chris Witor - Triumph 2000,2500,2.5 & Dolomite Specialist Parts Supplier.

They break quite often - it's the second one I've seen broken in 2 years.

These top mounts aren't available new and no one else is making them so second hand ones are getting harder to find. Not that they are anything special, just another part to remake.

The above new one arrived in 24 hours, impressive :-)

Whilst on the Bling trail I also went from this

To this - hard to see in the dark I know.

It's a chrome handbrake lever I've had on the shelf for at least two years. Another impulse buy. The handbrake in the Vitesse needed atttention, the lever was loose and moved excessivly so I took it apart, the rubber boot was well knackered and I though "What the hell, let's go 'exposed' for a change". A new cable might be needed as it's pretty well stretched, I'll adjust the rear drums and see what it's like first though.

And finally, as I may be going abroad in this car, I thought a GB sticker would be good. Again, here's one I've had in the garage for several years.

....and that concludes today's blingification. Of course I still haven't fixed the overdrive fault!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Catching what's dropped

After the rolling road session the car dropped some oil on Neil Slark's newly painted floor and I thought it was time to fit the catch tank I'd had in the garage for a while. An eBay impulse buy from the US it looked quite nice once I;d pulled the silly stickers off it . So armed with some aluminium plate to make a mount I went to work. Here's where it ended up.

The cheapo clear hose needs replacing, I think some nice bling bling aeroquipe stuff will do. I know it's a bit tarty but I like it. I also need to find one of those little filter thingies for the vent just to finish it off.

On the subject of hoses, I think I will replace the fuel hoses too, there are some cracks appearing and whilst they are in a low pressure applictaion I would still prefer something that looks a little safer :-)

Thank you Canley Classics

Called yesterday at about 3pm for some ignition parts - a new rotor arm and a spare (should have got two!) and a pair of points. Arrived this morning -excellent.
Both cars will be up and running today - now to trace the overdrive fault.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Photos from the rolling road

Ready for the off

First run done

The car's doing about 85mph standing still here

There are lies, damn lies and statistics .......

The Rolling road Dyno chart from Slark. This wasn't the best run of the day for power but was the best for reliable and sustainable power. Click on the picture to enlarge it if you want to read it all - the bottom line is max power was 127 hp at 5300 rpm with max torque of 140 ft lbs at 3600 rpm .

Panic over!

Dodgy/worn points and a knackered rotor arm - put my spare points in and pulled the rotor arm off the Sixfire, put that in and she fired up and roared. I just now have to re-time it and find the optimum again - the clicker had fallen out of the dizzy, I salvaged one out of a spare dizzy but lost all my settings - I've timed it up thereabouts, just need to give it a run to fine tune. It'll give me a chance to use my accelerometer thingy my mate sent me from the States - just need to wire in a cigarette lighter socket to plug it into. I also noticed that my alternator bracket (the top one) has fractured, they do that. So time for a nice Witor stainless one methinks! That'll complement the stainless catch tank I have "in stock" - ooo shiny bits

Whoo Hooo!!!!

The Sixfire passed it's MOT first time, nothing required, no warnings or advice. I needed something to make me smile again and that was it :-)

I took a look around it this morning having fettled it on the weekend. I don't know what made me try it but having found the Vitesse Dizzy loose yesterday I just put my hand on the dizzy in the Sixfire and wiggled it, bugger me! It was loose! The clamp wasn't tight and I could ove it, quite a lot. Out with the timing light and I timed it back up again, ran a little smoother and faster too.

The MOT man was complimentary - he was an enthusiast and talking to him, he seemed fair and reasonable. I had been told he was and I'd recommend him to anyone, The Sun Garage on the A4 heading out of Reading towards Newbury

Now to get out into the garage and try and ressurect the Vitesse!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Roadside shame

The Vitesse let me down :-( I can't believe it, it died on the approach to a roundabout and just refused to start. No cough, splutter or other signs, just died on it's arse.

To put it all into perspective -

I took the car down to the Rolling Road in Amesbury, a great run down, I was late, I spanked it severely. As I got close the overdrive popped in and out, it's a column switch and had been playing up a little, not engaging correctly so it might be that. No drama, I didn't need it for the rollers.

I got to Slark and met Neil Slark, what a nice chap. His brother restores Triumphs, mainly TRs but he has a Stag, Spitfire Mk3 (I think), a TR4a, 5 and 6 in his workshop at the moment. These are all major full restorations. I had a chat with him after the RR session, seems like a genuine chap and the Stag they were doing looked very nice.

Anyway, I digress. Neil put the car on the rollers and did a power run, 130 ish at the flywheel (these rollers can calculate transmission losses - about 11 HP in my case). The car was pinking under load and running a little rich but not bad. He retarded it 5 degrees and she misfired at the top end. A little testing and we got to a place where full power was achievable - 127 HP at 5300 rpm. The torque was impressive - 140 flbs at 3600 rpm - that sort of torque is produced from about 3250 rpm and does start to drop off until about 4250 rpm. A carb balance, checks for wear in the jets and a tinker with the mixture and the car was given thrash up the road - nice.

One thing we did spot was that the dizzy advance vernier was not very positive, it didn't click round as they usually do. In fact it was quite sloppy. Neil marked it for me so that I could tell if it was moving - perhaps that's why I had started to get pinking?

So, bill paid - £80 which I thought was good value. Apologies to Neil for dropping a little oil on his newly painted floor and I was off. No overdrive but that was OK and I headed for home.

The car went well, despite the rain and traffic until it cut out 3 miles from home!

so back to the breakdown - I was in a bit of a vulnerable position but I couldn't do much about that. I tried to see if I could find any obvious faults but it all looked fine. A passing motorist stopped to help, he had a Stag in the garage at home. We played about a both and noticed that the spark was weak but present and the dizzy seemed loose. On closer inspection I saw that the vernier adjusting wheel had moved, Neil's marks were not lined up. In fact the body of the dizzy was loose and I could turn it - the timing must be shot to bits now :-(

I couldn't get the thing to start so the wife came out and we towed it home. I've parked it in the garage and walked away. I have the week off work to play with cars so looks like I have my work cut out.

I just hope the Sixfire passes it's MOT tomorrow!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rolling rolling rolling

Slark race engineering: Performance engineering and rolling road tuning
I was talking to a mate of mine last weekend, he hill climbs a rather quick Mini and had just had it on the rolling road to try and cure a high rev misfire. He's been using rolling roads for some time and I have been meaning to get my cars tuned up properly for a while. He and I were boy racers many years ago - he in an indecently quick Metro that we replaced the entire front end on and me in a Ford Fiesta that would go off the speedo but frequently eject the whole choke assembly off the carb in a fit of vibration! Mike was my best man when I got married 15 years ago and wrote off that Fiesta when I leant it to him. Not his fault at all and the Insurance comapny were very kind to me ;-)
Anyway, there's a rolling road here in a Reading that always used to have a good reputation, Mike has been there before and sais they were OK so I called them - Clifford Cox. Seems they are having trouble with their operator, he's got some family or health issues and can't work full time. I wasn't filled with confidence that I wouldn't get messed about and as time is precious I thought I'd try Mike's new suggestion, Slark engineering down near Salisbury. Now I remember Slark back in the days when I was hanging around the Mini crowd, most of my mates had Minis. I of course was different and had a Vitesse! Slark were always good with heads but I had lost sight of them over the years and it wasn't until Mike told me he'd been there and they are a well established rolling road operator that I remembered them!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fan controller

A couple of people have asked me where I go my nice new fan controller from, well it was from fellow Club Triumph member, Andy Pearce. This will take you to his new Blog and give you contact details - ajp-triumph there's a limited supply and it's only for Club Triumph people I think.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I've been asked whether the fan touches the water pump boss on the Sixfire, well, as is often the case with GT6s, there's not a lot of space in the engine bay for an electric fan. This is a very slim fan, only about 2 inches deep in total - that's including the shroud, mounts and motor. Remember that in order to get the engine and radiator into this engine bay, Triumph pushed the engine back and the radiator forward - this is afterall the same engine bay originally designed for a 4 cylinder engine. The crank pulley is a Vitesse item not original GT6. Clearance here is now about 1/2 an inch, should be enough to allow for slight engine movement under load. I will be watching to see if there's any fouling going on but I doubt it will happen.
Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

First Job of the day was to fit my Vitesse with an alloy rocker cover I bought for my old Vitesse project - I had to get some longer studs as the original had some short ones on to allow a flush mounting with screws - neat but I wasn't able to replicate on the alloy cover. All looks nice now :-)

Posted by Hello

And this is what was "left over" - essentially a full kit - it all works and will soon go on eBay - these kits are about £100 which I find quite scary considering it's just a few plastic bits.
Posted by Hello
NOW SOLD - to Dave Walker, they guy I bought my Vitesse off :-)

The finished installation. You can just see the oil cooler mounting to the left of the pipes as they pass the chassis. The Temp sender for the Pacet controller is in the top hose with the white wire going into the blue plexiglas controller box.
Posted by Hello

20 COUNTY CHALLENGE :: Triumph Torque

20 COUNTY CHALLENGE :: Triumph Torque

Looks like the CT boys had a good night out, the usual drama - old cars, you gotta love 'em.

Still, I had a good day today. I had a couple of jobs to do to finish off the Sixfire after Thursday and Friday's work. The controller unit was only zip locked onto the oil cooler pipes and needed a proper mounting. The oil cooler itself needed locating properly as there was something not quite right with where I'd put it earlier. I also wanted to paint up the expansion bottle holder and bottle cap and paint the chassis where we'd welded on the cooler mounts. Also I needed to tidy up some of the pipework that was left.

I had wanted to put some shiny bits in but Canley's didn't have any Stainless bottle carriers in stock. I would have liked to have had a new bottle, carrier, cap and pipework but there's been supply problems with this stuff and only the cap was in stock! Dave pointed me at a 2000 saloon and suggested I rob the bits off that - so I did, I forgot about new bits and just used second hand - today I took them all off and cleaned and painted them. I refitted the carrier with a stainless nut and bolt. As the Sixfire doesn't currently have any engine valences I'd drilled a suitable hole in the radiator mount to hold the carrier - worked fine that way. I will make up some aluminium valences one day.

Back to the main pain - moving the oil cooler. It needed repositioning to clear the GT6 radiator but I needed to make sure it didn't end up in a vulnerable position. Dave and I welded a couple of bolts onto the chassis to slot the oil cooler mount onto. On inspection this morning I found we'd not got them mounted entirely parallel - so out with the grinder! I buzzed off one, measured and repositioned a new bolt and welded it on. I then used a couple of shock absorber rubbers to make it less rigid. The idea is that if I do just catch the cooler on an obstruction it will give a little. It now sits behind the anti-roll bar and looks nice and sheltered. I also trimmed the bottom hose so it is angled away from the oil cooler mount, I don't want it to rub!

That left the controller to mount, I wanted to try and keep it out of the road spray and in a safe place but there wasn't that much wire between the sender and the controller so I ended up making a plate to "hang" it on the alternator adjuster - it fits nice. I'm unsure as to whether this is the best place as it may vibrate a bit too much but it'll do for now :-)

A little red lead primer and some Rosso Red top coat over the welding on the chassis and a few minutes spent tidying up the cables left it looking nice again.

All that's left to do is to put some anti-freeze in the system, it's just water at the moment. Oh and as soon as I can be bothered I'll put some pictures up :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The best laid plans of mice and men .....

It's with slight feelings of shame that I write this. I should really be taking part in the 20 Counties Challenge with Dave Canley Classics News Blog but business, work, time, apathy, being knackered etc all got in the way and well I'll cut to the chase, I'm not doing it. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride this week anyway and I'm kinda relieved to be back at home.

It went something like this -
The Sixfire was built with a Saab 900 turbo radiator plumbed in - it was sound theory - the rad was wide, had space for twin fans and seemed to do the job. However, it revealed itself to be really marginal, a pinhole leak started to show up the design. The car wouldn't keep a constant temp, if left to idle it would overheat, chuck it's water out and well you get the idea. Radweld fixed the leak. The temp sender was zip locked to the outside of the top hose, this meant that there was no possibility of a leak but it also meant that the controller was operating at the extreme of it's range.

I acquired a new controller with a sensor that sits in a collar in the top hose - it's screwed into a section of hose so it looks a little strange with 4 jubilee clips in it but it works. A proper GT6 radiator replaces all the pipework required for the Saab unit - I have ended upstripping quite lot of weight out the front end and am now left with the Kenlow controller and a slimline fan to sell on - eBay I think :-)
The resulting cooling system works great, it's been ticking over for hours getting up to temp and cooling down. I did the swap up at Canley classics and it ran great on the way home.

Which is more than can be said for the journey up there!

And there lies a tale. The Sixfire is the only one of my Triumphs that's ever failed to get me where I wanted to go and this trip she let me down again! That's the third time on a flatbed so this time, I was determined to find this fault and fix it. Essentially it just dies, fuel starvation symptoms. The first time it happened I thought it was the fuel pump and having examined the original it was not 100% but it didn't look bad - I changed it and that seemed to be OK for a while. Then it died on me again and Karl at Canley's traced that problem to a sticking carb jet.

This time I saw crap in the fuel filter - lots of it, not enough to lock it but enough to be concerned. Everything we saw seemed to be contributory - there was a flat spot in the metal fuel pipe that could be restricting the fuel. This and the dirty filter were sorted but I knew these weren't serious enough to cause the engine to die. I took it out for a spin and whilst driving along those country lanes started to think about the pattern of breakdowns.

The thoughts were these
- the car dies after being filled up with petrol.
- it spluttered on long, straight, fast roads
- there was crap coming through the filter
- the flow of fuel into the filter was not steady
- it was fine on tick over
- it was fine on twisty roads

It had to be a blockage in the fuel lines, a leaf in the tank floating around maybe? But then it hit me, there's an electrically operated fuel valve in the fuel line and I decided that this was likely to a bottle neck where debris could accumulate. I decided to strip it out and isolate it to remove it from the problem list - as soon as I got it out I could see it was choked with crap and I mean choked! I couldn't see how the car had been running at all like that, it was solid. So, as the valve is a good anti-theft device I kept it and refitted it but with a fuel filter in front of it.

The fuel now goes like this - Tank>filter>shut off valve>filter>pump>carbs

The car ran fine on the way home and I'm happy that I've solved the problem.

Of course that wasn't the whole story, whilst fitting the radiator I managed to damage the bonnet, again! I had it open, then jacked up the front to get underneath but forgot that with gas struts fitted, once you tilt the bonnet there's nothing to stop it falling. It fell, with one almighty crash and yes, you guessed it, it bounced hard down on the rocker cover and put a pimple in the bonnet.

I cried.

This is the second time I've damaged the bonnet, last time I had the whole top repainted. As soon as I got home I called my painter mate and have set him up to come and do the job with me. I think I'll get him to paint the whole bonnet this time and blow some paint round the wheel arches too just to give it some more protection. This car goes out in all weathers afterall.

So a good couple of days, breakdown, flat bed ride, mechanicall work, panel damage and fault finding. All I have to do now is make a permanent fix for the oil cooler and fan controller, oh and pay for the paint work!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Two on show

We went out today for Sunday lunch and took both Triumphs, me and Zoe my eldest in the Vitesse and Claudia my wife in the Sixfire (six cylinder Spitfire). The little one, Poppy, was out with her Grandparents. It was all organised by Hants & Berks Area of the Triumph Sports Six Club where I'm Area Organiser - although I didn't do much organising and ended up being the last one there!
It was fun to get both Triumphs out but it did involved shuffling two modern cars (I'm looking after my parents VW whilst they are in Cyprus). Once both cars were out of the garage I gave them a wash and polish and then decided to go the whole hog and waxed them both! I was knackered after that and needed a rest but the cars looked great.
So off we zoomed to get to the pub in Newbury for 12:00 noon only to turn around and go back home because I'd forgotten a package for a mate, Carl (that's a whole other story - toys from the US) .
So we re-zoomed (sorry) and made our way out onto the A4. The intention was to turn off the A4 ASAP and go via some of the nicer minor roads. Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy and as soon as we got to the turn we were greeted with "Road Closed" signs - sigh.
With my 13 year old Zoe navigating we successfully spent the next 20 minutes traveling parallel to the A4 only to emerge back on the A4 not appreciably closer to our final destination! OK no great problem, let's just follow the A4, turn left and Bob's your uncle, we'll be there. In fact no, we'll be even more lost :-) OK so we drove around in circles for a bit with me thinking "This is stupid", my wife following mouthing "This is stupid" and Zoe keeping very quiet. Suddenly I see a Vitesse with a Club Triumph sunstrip on heading in the opposite direction. I wave like a loony, as I usually do when seeing a Triumph. It's friends Craig & Sarah on their way to the pub -thankfully the phone rings, Zoe answers and it's Sarah with a life line. "Turn round and we'll be in a layby waiting for you" she says - and the day is saved!
A very nice lunch with fellow enthusiasts follows and then we have a nice drive back home, without getting lost at all! And all with the tops down, a glorious 6 pot soundtrack and the sun shining - of course if rained later in the day but by then I'd ceased caring.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Another Blogger

mintylamb - automotive photography and utilities
This is James, fellow Triumph enthusiast and it seems full time net junkie. This trackday lark looks like fun, I must find out some more - doesn't look too expensive, unless you break something!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

WTF was that? A near death experience

OK so maybe not THAT near to death but it was frightening.
So I'm on my way to Norwich, 8am bombing up the M11 in the Toyota Eurobox, in a line of fast lane traffic all doing 70 ish, good spacing, no one doing anything silly. It's chucking it down with rain but visibility is fine. I can see something in front of the car ahead of me, it's black and about the size of a laptop (I'm writing this on my laptop so it wasn't mine!) and it's flying over the car ahead of me and swooping down, heading for me! Now I'm in the outside lane, the inner lanes are occupied, cars all round d a central reservation barrier to my right - you get the picture, ain't nowhere for me to go! So I grip the wheel tightly and whince
It hits the front of my car,
it hits the screen
it hits the tailgate.
I am nervous - I check the screen for cracks, none. Check what I can see for obvious damage - none, nothing seems to be broken so I carry on.

When I arrived in Norwich I took a look at the car - nice gouge out of the front bumper grill and bonnet - big black marks, almost like a massive hand print on the bonnet - with three dents to prove it. I'm not a happy bunny.

I can only think it was a piece of lorry tyre or similar but whatever it was it put the fear of God into me!

Still as I sit here, Billy no mates, in my hotel room, it does give me something to write about and prevents me from ordering another beer - oh, that's it, I'm finished - Room Service!!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Greeks In Oz

Greeks In Oz
I've just found Graham Reeks' Oz Blogg - Graham's a fellow Triumph enthusiast, veteran of the Ten Countries Run and the Round Britain Run and the man responsible for me ever thinking I could be a rally navigator (I was hopeless). Anyway, he's sodded off to Oz and is now teasing us with tales of Brumby driving in the outback - it's all Greek to me!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Go on, Slip your top off!

Well the sun came out and I took the hardtop off the Vitesse - great! I then took it out for a great thrash down the Roman road - it's even better topless. I even forgot to take the camera and take some sensible photos - I will remember next time. I should really get some good shots of the car out of the garage!
Posted by Hello

I was amazed at the weight of the hardtop - it's so light one person can easily lift it when it's off the car. Now I just have to figure a way to get it up into the loft of the garage for the summer :-)
Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Where did the time go?

Well that week was rather hectic, I've been down in Worthing all week working - interesting times. I managed to come home in the middle of the week for dinner and a sleep in my own bed with my own wife ;-).
Worthing's a weird place to get to from Reading but I found some great roads between Guildford and Worthing - the first time I've really caned the Toyota and got it to slide a bit. That is no mean feat as although it's capable it is a diesel and rather gutless unless thrashed to within an inch of it's life - still it's a compnay car and deserves to be excercised a little.
Thankfully the buyer of my body shell was able to come up and get it so it was gone by the time I got home - he'd had some transport problems and I'd given him up as a non-paying bidder but he came through in the end. I was happy to see it go and it didn't cost me to get rid so that was a bonus. The front end should go tomorrow and I'll be back in favour with the family as we won't have to look out over rusty car parts anymore.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Wolfrace recliner seats found!

eBay item 7961574280 (Ends 23-Mar-05 21:39:13 GMT) - Wolfrace recliner seats

Not sure if these would fit in a Herald but having sat in them on my patio (best investment for all weather eBay photgraphy!) they are comfortable. My wife tells me that her Godfather gave them to us when he was clearing out his house - so Lord knows where they came from prior to that! It kind of explains why they are in such good condition - he isn't known for his driving in fact I can't remember him having a car for much of the past few years, he always seems to borrow one when coming out of London to see us. Anyway, I didn't really know where to list them so I just put them with the other seats on eBay - seems something of a backwater though so they might not attract any interest. Shame really as they are far superior in quality and features that the modern aftermarket recliners I put in my Herald - there's loads more adjustment in the rake and the tilt mechanism is independant so you don't lose your rake setting every time you fold them to let someone in the back of the car! I've no use for them now and they are big things to keep on the off chance so out they must go!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A real eye opener on eBay

eBay item 5560940277 (Ends 06-Mar-05 18:29:36 GMT) - 25 MAIL-LITE PADDED ENVELOPES - E/2 - �6.69 inc p+p

Caveat Emptor
I bought some bubble wrap envelopes on eBay the other day and got more than I bargained for. One of those "I'll just quickly get those" jobs that turned into a monster. First off, I've been around eBay for a while now and I think I know what's what buying and selling. Anyway, back to the tale - I clicked the "buy it now" option and got an immediate "wait for our special email" advice, so I did.
I then got an email saying "Pay with Paypal" - so I did.
Then I got an email saying "Don't pay with Paypal"
So I emailed these guys and asked what was going on, just how did they want me to pay and if they don't take Paypal why send me a Paypal request?
Immediate email back telling me to withdraw it and use one of the methods advised (they told me to use Paypal!)
Unsurprisingly I was a little miffed by this but I did what was required and sent the guy an email saying he should sort out the silly automatic emails as they were contradictory.
I then tried to pay through their "secure server" well what a farce, the thing fell over three times and I thought better of putting my credit card through that one.
Bank transfer - I'll do one of those I thought, at least I know that will go, so I did.
All this was on the 3rd of the month
A week later I got an email saying my order was on it's way and it turned up on the 12th
When the postman handed me the package I thought, wow they are light and so I weighed them,the postage cost was something like £1.30 - I'd paid £3.57 to these people - on the high side but not that bad. It had taken 9 days - slow but not too bad. Their emails were terse and the whole payment fiasco was annoying and time consuming for such a silly little purchase.
I always try to give feedback and in view of the less than smooth progress on this I decided to give them a neutral feedback, not negative just neutral - my experience wasn't great and I certainly wouldn't go back to them.

Wow! What a reaction from them, immediate abusive email -

"Your feedback is grossly unfair, I you (sic) read the details before purchase you would have seen that we do not take Paypal. The postage and PACKING charges are inline with eBay policy and includes materials, postage, time and VAT, if you think that £3.57 VAT for p+p is expensive you need to live in the real world. The delivery took only 2 days, slow don't think so.

I would suggest you purchase from other sources in future as we only wish to sell to literate customers.

AJB Supplies"

There were other emails but not quite so nasty, more sarcastic - I particularly liked the comment "...this one live is a dream" - good job they are so literate :-) If only they applied their time to improving the customer experience instead of abusing their customers then perhaps they wouldn't get criticised.

So, when you see a negative (the first one) on my eBay feeback record on eBay, you can see why. Having now taken a look at all their feedback most of it is concerning their unhelpful attitude and confusing payment systems - shame they can't take it as constructive.

Right, enough of Jason's consumer watchdog sermon, back to the putting the treasures from the garage on eBay.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Look no wires

A bit of eBay fodder and 10 minutes set up is all that it took to get a wireless network up and running at home. Maybe now I can get the kids online and stop them hassling me for email and web access. Before I get it all sorted I need to figure out how to secure it and supervise it and filter the crap and spam out of the email! at least we can sort out some Death matches and I can cleaver them legally and in the comfort of my own living room :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Back at base

Bit of a hectic week so far 500 miles covered, lots of paying work done, introduced a collegue to the delights of Tapas and went to Whitehall - all in a weeks work

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hi ho, hi ho...............

It's off to work I go - nice little drive up to Bolton now, then Liverpool and Shrewsbury over the next couple of days. Then hob knobing with Government in Whitehall - my suit has never seen so much action! Triumph activity's taking a back seat for a few days. On Saturday I'll be at home for collection of the last couple of large items - then the patio will be clear.
I'll also be digging out 2 sets of front seats for selling - unless anyone wants a set of everyday Herald seats, refurbished with new foam and replacements for the diaphragms (pirelli seat webbing style) Not perfect but no major holes or nastiness. I think they have new rubber seat blocks on them and I'll throw in a set of seat runners too - price negotiable but they've gotta be worth £50 ish. The other pair are some 80's fabric recliners from Wolfrace - I think they were in good order when I stashed them, will have to see how they have faired - they are stripy and blue but very comfy as I recall.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Here's the RR wing repair in situ
Posted by Hello

Here are some of the repair panels I have that I need to sell on. Right rear wing repair - for those frilly arches and disolved B post bottoms

Right front wing repair panel, this one's galvanised. Fixes the wheel arch and the are forward of the bonnet catch.

Here's the RF wing repair panel in situ

Photo above is at the Club Triumph dinner where Dave Pearson and I collected our finishers awards for the Round Britain Reliability Run from Gillian Taylforth - thanks to Ellis Stokes' for the picture.

It's was a really good night out, the time went far too quickly. From a few conversations I was able to confirm a few things about the World Cup cars - like Car No1 is definately safe, having been exhumed - Pat Walker, who has both the Safari car and Andrew Cowan's World Cup car had told me about the securing of Buchanan-Michaelson's car and that was confirmed to me over dinner. I hope to be able to go see the car again soon (I saw it about 18 months ago) It's saveable and although it's had a hard life it has surprisingly retained a lot of original features - more so than WRX perhaps. Anyway, I digress.

The evening was also good for confirming a few things - I think we've got a plan for the 20 Counties event - it involves a rally Vitesse :-)

I also need to work on my 10 Countries entry - I've got a ferry ticket but no plan yet!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Today's learning is.....

A Spitfire 1500 type factory hardtop will not fit in a Nissan Micra.
Last night's learning was - A Vitesse chassis will not fit in a Transit, well it will but you need to leave the doors open a bit and turn the heater up full :-)

More learning later.

Oh and if the guy who bought the body tub is reading this, please get in touch to arrange collection. Thanks


Friday, March 04, 2005

I can see clearly now the chassis has gone....

.....and the centre section, anti-roll bar, front valance and rear spring :-) Looks like it's time to get out some repair panels - front wing and rear wing plus a pair or rear wings and a pair of Herald front seats, some convertible rear seats and maybe some Wolfrace recliners too! The garage life laundry continues!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Another day in the city

Sigh, ah well at least it's done now! Looking on the bright side at least my wife posted out all the eBay parcels and books that needed doing, of course there's more now I've opened today's post and seen the emails. The "goods out" pile is more manageable now at least.
I was disappointed that my new spring only made £25 but at least it's going to see the road at last after all these years!
Tomorrow I have some local appointments and will be home by about 5:00pm as there are a couple of people coming to collect stuff. I have to admit that I've lost track of who's collecting what when so if you turn up make sure you get what you came for!!
Likewise Saturday, I'm off to the Club Triumph annual dinner and won't be available from about 4:30 ish.
As for Sunday, well I'll be home in the morning but out from about 11am AND the Reading Half Marathon is on, so Reading will be pretty paralysed traffic wise!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Shock horror, I had to go into work in london this monring and will have to do the same again tomorrow! Then it's on the road again Friday - it's almost like a proper job :-)
Came back home to a pile of emails, a couple of Kastner book orders and a cheque! The cheque is the wife's savings poilicy that she donated to pay for my Vitesse - here's a picture of it again. I still like it and it gave a good account of itself when worried by a Mini Cooper the other day - we can't let these plastic moderns get too superior, besides, even with a blower it wasn't very worrying.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

It's going fast - , Classic Cars Parts by Brand and Automotive items at low prices
Another batch sold - this time most of the bulky items, hopefully it'll all get collected and paid for by this weekend - the wife can ave her patio back and we don't have to look out on car parts every day :-) Actually I quite liked looking out over a chassis.
Just got back from my Triumph Club night, took the Vitesse out in teh rain, worried myself a bit, on a nice straight road I explored traction - wheel spin in every gear but she points in one consistent direction. The car demands respect in the wet and I need a few more trips to get the confidence up but I still love her!
Shame we didn't have many other people at the Club night - the usual suspects but no other Triumphs :-( Ho hum, at least there's a few of us going over to the Isle of Wight next month - should be a good laugh.

Another one bites the dust

Part that is :-) Just had a call from a guy with a Vitesse who needs a few parts, he's coming over with a Transit and wants a chassis, he made a sensible offer and as no one had bid on mine I pulled the auction. I really need to move this stuff to keep the wife sweet and she's now very happy that's on it's way. A few more things will go in the Transit - anti-roll bar, front valance, boot infill panel and the chassis - RESULT! I'm well happy now and should have cash in my pocket to go to the Club Triumph dinner on Saturday :-)

Serious Performance - Serious car care products

Serious Performance - Serious car care products

Just a quick plug for some auto-bling products James Carruthers put me onto. I've never been one for cleaning cars, too lazy I guess but I had always promised myself that when I got a car worth polishing I'd look after it. I also thought that there must be some "tricks of the trade" so to speak, these concours guys spend ages on getting things 100% but couldn't I just spend a few minutes, maybe an hour and get it looking pretty good? Well having spoken to Alex at Serious Performance (a one man band car bling officianado) I bought a few products, nothing expensive and got some great results. At the Stoneleigh show I spent no more than 45 mins on the car having driven up there and it got favorable comments all day.
Now with the Vitesse in the garage my attention has been drawn to the paintwork and I think it needs a little care to bring out the shine so I'll be ordering some kit from Alex to help me ensure I don't spend hours on it. he recommendation is something called "Vanilla Mouse" so I'll have a go at that then - and with a 10% Club discount it's not too expensive either.

Monday, February 28, 2005


eBay item 4531417708 (Ends 05-Mar-05 17:18:34 GMT) - Vitesse/GT6 telescopic shock absorber conversion

What you can't see is the number of people watching this auction - 16 at the moment. That means there are 16 people interested in this conversion. I put one of these on my first Vitesse as I could not get replacement drop links for the lever arm shcokers and also neede new lever arms anyway so I went to the TSSC and bought one of the kits - at the time I was in the RAF and these were delivered to my address in the mess. Unfortunately the package created some sort of security alert and I was called to "explain myself" to the RAF Police in cgarge of Station Security - I was an Office Cadet, in RAF terms lower than a snakes scrotum and just as popular. I was told to inform the guard room if expecting packages of this type and sent off with my shockers! Luckily for me the local RAF motorsport club was a great place to sort stuff like this out and I got them fitted that same evening - easy job and the conversion transformed the handling - probably because the original levers were absolutely knackered!
Anyway, that car kept those on throughout my ownership and into it's 3 seasons of competition, I think they were still on it when sold.
The set I'm selling now has never seen the road so apart from being about 12 years old they are "new".

Lessons learnt

If you put an item on eBay for £1.00 starting bid and no reserve and you only get one bid they you have to sell it at that. If it's big and heavy and fragile then you have to pack it and post it so if you were generous and put the postage at cost you make bugger all! Then you need to pay the eBay listing and sale fees PLUS if the buyer pays by Paypal you have to pay them so in all you get to run around like an idiot, use up all your saved bubble wrap and sticky tape and queue up in the post office for 25 mins all to make a loss on a piece of crap that you really ought to throw away!
Ho hum, at least the buyer is happy - sods law will now operate and the damn thing will get damaged or lost in the post!
Remember, I do this for fun, I do this for fun, arse!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Roger's Blog

Roger's Blog
Just a quick plug for anyone reading, here's a Blog form one of my fellow Club Triumph members, Roger is a GT6 owner and is in the Netherlands.
There are a growing number of us Bloggers, many can be found on the Club Triumph message board - link on the links pane on the side of my Blog or off the Club Triumph Home page
Oh and whilst I'm at it - I go bored with a gren blog and changed it to the rather natty red :-)

Spitfire MkIV & 1500 Hardtop - now it's REALLY cheap

eBay item 4531561700 (Ends 04-Mar-05 09:45:12 GMT) - Spitfire MkIV & 1500 Hardtop

Well there were loads of people "watching it" but no one actually put in a bid! C'mon people, I need to move it, you're now for the price of a bottle of coke and bag of crisps. Don't make me bin it, please!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Another one for collection only really - a Vitesse anti-roll bar, complete with all mountings and drop links on either end. Nothing much unusual about this one apart from the fact that it's straight! So many are bent when you take them off. Painted an interesting hue of blue hammerite. Open to offers, suggest a tenner would see me happy, Gotta be worth it for the colour alone :-)