Saturday, April 22, 2006

Busy day and another MOT gained

I must be getting good at this, just took the Sixfire for an MOT, passed no problem. I think the tester likes the car, we always have a good chat about the engineering of it and what's different to standard etc. The testing station are really good, no nonsense and they have respect for the cars. If you're in Berkshire I recommend them - the Sun Garage, which is on the main A4 Bath Rd at Woolhampton Tel: 0118 971 3237 - tell them I sent you :-)
The cars going really well too, handling is much improved, I just need to find the new limits now!

Jobs that I can see having been crawling all over the thing are that there appears to be a coolant leak somewhere, very slight - I suspect the radiator which is annoying as it's only a year old, will have to have a word about warranty.

I saw Ben Hutchinson today, "Hutch" off the CT messageboard - he was after those 5.5J Spit wheels I had, good to see them go to be used.

I also took the hardtop off the Vitesse, just trying to figure out how to string it up in the garage roof again. I have also made some nut for mounting it - they are really difficult to get a spanner on and so I've made two little alloy plates for them. I've stuck them on with some epoxy and peened them over - they don't hve to take much load. Now they are effectively little handles so I won't need a spanner and they won't drop into the rear quarters with all the other nuts and washers that have dropped in there! All ready for the winter - I am surprised I thought to do it now!!

In between all this I've also been gardening to keep the wife happy! Tonight we go over to Basingstoke to see my mate Carl and his partner Becky for her birthday party - it's all go here!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Funny what you find when you're not looking

I have a growing collection of old car magazines, I get them for the World Cup articles but I'm usually too tight to pay eBay prices plus postage unless they are very cheap! Anyway, I was making a note of what I've got and scanning the articles to create a separate reference source - I know, I am anorak - but then if you've read this far, so are you! So I'm scanning a rather delicate 35 year old magazine page (it's already fallen out) and I'm flicking through what's left of the mag only to find this article on the Traco Rover V8 - that could just have been the engine that went into car No 1 from the World Cup Rally. Legend has it that there were spare engines, a shamed rally car and a lot of chaps with the know how and time on their hands to create a monster - the car was known for being a monster in it's later short life on the road and drag strip.

Go on - do your worst!

I've just relaised that by using my fingers to just the gap I have opened the subject up to smut and ridicule, especially when describing the car as "she" - so rather than try and reword, help yourself and crack a smutty joke :-)

Arch to tyre gap - rear

This is before I lowered the rear. The gap is three fingers plus a bit of slack. Posted by Picasa

It's now down to just 2 fingers and that's quite tight. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 14, 2006

Suspension sorting

Ever since we got the Sixfire I've been unhappy with the handling and the "attitiude" of the car - it sits far too high at the back and is too soft at the front. As it's Claudia's daily driver I haven't been that fussed about it and she has never really ben intereste din handling. However over the winter she experienced it's evil handling in the wet and came home telling me to get it sorted out!
So I got myself a Canley Classics lowring block and thought I'd drop the rear 3/4 of an inch. Now what to do about the front?
I had some 330 Lbs springs from the abandoned Vitesse project so I though I could use those but as it happens I acquired another set of springs with some old Konis. On close inspection they looked OK. They are a bit scabby and I thought I could paint them but then I thought, what the hell let's just clean them up and fit them.
I also wanted to replace a slightly dubious track rod end so I picked up a pair a week ago when passing Canleys.
So today I fitted the rear spring lowering block - bit of a fiddle but not to bad. As that went so well I had a go at the fronts - cleaned up the old Konis, blasted and painted the top platforms and reassembled them with the blue springs that came with them. I had a bit of hassle getting the old ones off but did it in the end - just needed the right curse :-)
Track rod ends were straight forward and with careful positioning I think I've preserved the tracking settings - we'll see when I test drive it tomorrow.
I took some photos to show the ride height before the work, once I've driven it and it's settlend down a bit I'll take some more to compare and post it all up here. I hope it's done the trick!

So this is the "attitude" of the car before I lowered the rear spring and changed the front springs and dampers. Pretty arse in the air isn't it - not good for handling. The front was prone to porpoising after hitting a bump, especially at speed. Posted by Picasa

And this is the "attitude" of the car after lowering the rear spring and changing the front springs and dampers. A small improvement visually but a big one on the road, the porpoising front is seriously improved as is the dip on braking. The rear feels more stable and roundabouts aren't quite so roulette like - will she won't she get round there without doing something weird! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Greeks In Oz

Greeks In Oz
Just a quick plug for the dearly deported Graham Reeks who's down in Oz and Blogging his Triumph trials and tribulations. Australia is a place I'd really like to visit, looks dry and sunny with quite a few Triumphs around - maybe one day!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What's happening now?

I've had a few emails asking what's happening with the TSSC message board thing and why haven't I responded to the statement.
Well here's what has happened - David Aspinall reinstated my message board access and I am now back on and active.
David, as General Secretary of the TSSC has issued a statement on the board, I'm not yet happy with it and so I drafted a response and slept on it.
I have now sent that email privately to David and the Club, I have asked for some things to be done and I will wait for a response. I won't say anything more so that David has a chance to consider the contents and my requests.
If TSSC members want to join in the debate, please do so on the TSSC board, if you're not a member then I think you can get a "guest pass" or post a comment here - comments here can be posted anonymously.
When there are developments I'll report them here or on the TSSC board as appropriate.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Ticka ticka ticka ticka timing

I love the web, it's instant publishing. I love email, it's written communication in an instant. Of course sometimes you can overtake yourself and publish things before your email has been read or events can over take you - your email is out of date before it's read!

A written note is a snapshot in time - the situation as it stood at the time you pushed the button, out of date in an instant.

Amongst the flurry of emails was one from Jon Binnington, aka Binman of Supersix fame, a green homebuilt Gitfire. Now Jon's email was sat there waiting for me this morning and as I was eating my cornflakes I dashed off a reply - at that time I couldn't get onto the messageboard so I asked Jon if he could post for me when he had a minute.

About an hour or so later and before Jon posted, I got a call from David Aspinal, we chatted for over an hour, again a good natured discussion. I don't think we're ever going to agree on everything but we can hold a civil debate. He's running all over the place and hasn't been able to sit in front of a PC to pen a statement. Of course things are moving fast and totally independantly of anyone's schedule. I sensed that he was getting frustrated at this but fair play, the guy has a business to run and a full diary. I happen to be at home today so sat infront of a PC :-)

So, I've posted on the TSSC board and said that I'd like to give David the time and space to put up a statement, answer a few questions and generally have his say before I continue with the thread, if that's appropriate.

As I now have access to the board there's no need for anyone to copy and paste this onto the board for me anymore - thank to those who did when I was unable to. I'd now like to encourage the CoM and the officers of the club to particiapte in the board without fear of being "had a go at" so when David does post, consider your responses before posting.

Right, back to work :-)

Latest on the TSSC message board thing

I'm not going to follow suit with a couple of the guys who've emailled me and call it the "Jason Incident" - makes me sound like a deviant.

Anyway, message board access not yet sorted, David Aspinal sent me an email to apologise for not yet issuing his statement, he says it'll happen today. Not sure whether David wants to do that first before letting me back or whether, as I suspect, it's just circumstances with him being away from a computer or on the road - from what he say he's certainly all over the place - bit like me I guess, I was in Norwich yesterday.

Anyway, thanks to the guys reading this Blog some of what I'm saying is getting onto the board and being read by the members.

I'm pleased that this episode is being talked about and has raised interest. I've got over 90 emails about it and that doesn't include the discussions raised on other boards. I do hope we can learn some lessons and have some more open debates without fear of being censored or booted off the board. Whatever the motives, it's the effect that counts - people see hassle, pain, upset and anger caused by a simple question.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

TSSC access - why I'm not quite ready to return

I thought my access was "sorted" today but it needs some manual intervention at HQ to restore everything and that will have to wait for the staff to come in tomorrow. I do hope my profile, photos and info remains intact.

I've had another chat with David tonight, he called to say that he will be putting up a statement on the message board and I will be restored. He did say he'd run it by me first, I'm working at home tomorrow so I should be able to give it some attention.

I've said that taking down posts without explanation and without addressing the issues raised doesn't answer anything and leads to the kind of anger and frustration that I experienced.

The questions that have been raised remain mainly unanswered so I hope David's statement addresses them - saying "this is not the place to raise it" doesn't really work and as I consider the TSSC board IS the place to raise issues I will continue to do so. If people aren't allowed to air their views there, then they'll do it in public forums - you can't solve a problem by denial. I do respect the views of the CoM but I would like the same respect for mine. If the CoM consider the post inappropriate then they can remove it and deal with the issue personally, I don't necessarily object to that but they must talk to the poster and sort it out, not stonewall people.

My Blog will always have the unadulterated truth in it and the comments people post are not vetted although I do have the option of deleting anything offensive.

I believe in the freedom of information and consultation with members - I don't believe being on the CoM gives you the right to make decisions with complete immunity from question. Members should never hesitate in questioning. I don't believe in a Utopian society where everyone is consulted on everything but as far as practically possible people should have the right to be heard. Decisions need to be made but justified and public to the members.

My discussions with David have been amicable and forthright and I am grateful to him for that. He probably won't thank me for pointing this out but if anyone has an issue they can write/email him with it and he has promised to respond. If you don't get a satisfactory response to your post, send it to him and ask. He is quick to point out that although he's the General Secretary he doesn't get paid.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chit chat

Well that was good, an hour on the phone with the guy who took my posts down, David Aspinal the General Secretary of the TSSC. Seems the issue was not solely down to what I had said but also down to what Tim Scrivens, ex-Council of Membership had said in his posts, I think David will take that up with Tim.

David feels that a discussion about trade advertising should not be had on the message board, he feels it's "not about Triumphs" - I disagree. I think it's very much about Triumphs and the club that supports them - very much about what the message board is for. We agreed to differ on that.

David said that the minutes were erroneously typed and that it was never the CoMs intention to ban traders from advertising on the web if they were not advertising in the courier. The intention was to favour traders who advertise in the Courier with first call on web advertising space, this is to encourage web advertising and thus generate increased revenue for the club. In my opinion a laudable aim but not a good method - again we agreed to differ.

I was banned because I wouldn't stop posting, although of course no one asked me to and I was therefore unaware I should. David and I had an amicable discussion about this. I don't accept that my treatment was the best way to sort the issue out and it would have been just as easy to send me an email or call me as to ban me. My contact details are printed every month in the Courier. David's actions made me angry, frustrated and I dare say encouraged a few others to feel likewise.

I believe that the message board should be used to discuss things pertaining to the club and it's aims amongst it's members. If things are said that the Club Management don't agree with, their recourse should not be to remove them but to answer them and discuss things before banning anyone. Posts of an "illegal" nature can be removed but the posters or participants should be told why immediately.

Whilst I don't agree with David's reasons and actions, he has offered to reinstate my posting rights on the board. I have asked him to post an explanation and he's agreed to do this tomorrow. I'll be back on there tomorrow, if I get the time to post.

It's taken me all night to read the messages on the board and the emails concerning all this - I'm really quite touched by messages of support and encouragement - thank you all.

Apparently I have a history!

I can receive posts on the TSSC board but not make. I've just read this - now I am interested in my "previous history" and the implications of such a statement. I can recall one message board incident where a trader sent what I felt was a threatening letter to my home address when I dared to pass comment on his customer service when participating in a thread. So please DO discuss my previous history and in great detail, in fact spare nothing, I insist. I will do likewise.

Here's what I went onto the board, a board I still can't access

Julie Sewell -

Has added a post to the clubchat MessageBoard -

In reply to previous post:

I would like to make the following points:

Please be aware that the decision on advertising was I am sure a very careful one at board level, both for the club, Traders and members alike.

Personally, I can see why this decision has been made. It is only a very small minority of members who use the website to look up traders etc in comparison to the courier. If Traders decide to move their advertising purely to the web, where does it leave members who do not either have web access or decide not to use the web. I am sure that HQ and the directors will have pulled together a very competitive package of advertising for Traders in order to keep both courier and web advertisers happy.

As far as Jason is concerned, (and I won̢۪t discuss his previous history) he has been emailed and asked to phone the General Secretary regarding this matter, and I am confident this can be sorted out amicably, as it has been in the past.

The message board is not a forum to the inner workings of the club nor should it be used in a defamatory way towards the club. As in Trudys previous post, various club officials and directors may be contacted to discuss these matters.

Please remember that Directors and all Club Officials do this voluntarily and have an enthusiasm for the club. I am sure that the decisions made are purely for the benefit of the members and the ongoing success of the club.

Well, what a day!

I've just had to dash up to Malvern to see my Grandmother who's been taken into hospital, come home and my wife's had to dash off to see her Grandmother who's also been rushed in to the local hospital! So I'm really in the mood to follow up on this, posted in the commenst on my Blog

Posted By : Trudi Prettyjohns, 05-Apr-2006, 1:21pm

The reason for the removal of the thread titled "Web and printed advertising" was due to inaccurate statements and in part, a breach of confidentiality. Some valid questions were asked but unfortunately they became caught up in the deletion. Questions and issues of this nature should be directed to Council Officials so that factual answers can be given and not aired on the messageboarad. The messageboard is not the medium to use when seeking information of this nature. Contact details: David Aspinall, General Secretary 01986 895633 (between 7pm - 9pm), TSSC HQ 01858 434424, Julie Sewell, Public Relations Officer 01986 894805 (between 9am - 9pm)

Inaccurate statements - I'm intrigued as all I saw were unanswered questions. Breach of confidentiality - who's?

Questions and issues of this nature concern the club as a whole and all members, I am not happy with the divide and conquer attitude of the club officials. Silencing people won't work - I won't be told to shut up when decisions are made in my name.

I need to read all the emails and posts that have happened today before I ring David - why is it down to me to make the running? The club has my mobile phone number on file.

More later

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thanks for the support

Thanks for the messages of support on this from members and ex-members of the TSSC. If you don't like the sound of what happened to me, post a message on the TSSC board and ask HQ what's going on. Of course I cannot do so now as I have been kicked off without explanation.

I came home from my TSSC Area Meeting, that I run for the club that's just kicked me off, to see Craig Gingell online. Now as Craig built the site I wondered if he'd been instructed to pull the discussion threads off the board. He's been at the hospital all day with his wife and premature born son, Callum (who's doing really well). He was unaware of what had happened and couldn't tell me any details - he's in a tricky position and I don't want to compromise him by pressing for info. Suffice to say he told me no more than I already know and I didn't ask.

So, who is making decisions and what are they trying to supress?

Blimey - I've been kicked off!

Yet more revelations from the TSSC messageboard, I've now had my access revoked and cannot get on! This is amazing, no communication direct from the Club, no reasons, no explanation. I've been a member for 20 years and this is how I get treated, I wish I knew what provoked such a response - I've said nothing defamatory, abusive or in any way contrary to the rules of the messageboard or the club. It really looks like it's time to leave the TSSC along with the many other long term members walking away. I thought the club was about the preservation of our cars - obviously I am mistaken but I would like an explanation.

Right, email written to the TSSC to ask for an explanation and now I'm off to get the hardtop off the Vitesse and go out to ..... the TSSC Area Meeting! Yup, I'm the Area organiser so I'd better ask my fellow TSSC members to post on the board for me :-)


It's weird, I started a thread on the TSSC messageboard because they sent me a copy of the minutes of the Council of Membership (CoM) meeting. Now whether I should have had them or not I do not know but there was something in there that made me thing "What's that about?" The CoM have decided that traders who don't advertise in the Courier, the TSSC magazone, should be banned from advertising on the TSSC website. I thought that was a bit of a silly thing to do and so I started a discussion thread about it. All very adult and amicable. A few people joined in and all was well with the world. Until the thread disappeared. So I reconstructed it and put it back up, it was taken down again. So I put it back :-)
No one has explained why it gets taken down and I am now wondering what in it has provoked someone at TSSC HQ to watch for my posts and take them down - I think I'll publish it all here now

I said -

I've just read the Notes of the Council of membership meeting that dropped through my letterbox last week. Why have the COM decided that only traders who advertise in the Courier would be allowed to advertise on the Club website? This seems like a quantum leap backwards. Who are the COM aiming at with this weird ruling and why?

Stephen Weblin said -

This should be a club for the benefit of the members. Many people live in cyberland now - why are we as a club looking to restrict relevant advertisers from our website?

Andy Cook said -

I agree, Surely if a trader want's to advertise on the website only but is still prepared to pay for it then this is still a source of revenue for the club, by turning him away we are turning down revenue that we otherwise wouldn't receive at all. I'd have thought that the margin on web based advertising was really good as it must cost a lot less to add anadvert into the website than to arrange for printing in the Courier.

Another couple of car clubs that I belong to are totally internet beased are mainly funded purely through web advertising, in fact the membership is free unless you want to advertise stuff for sale or make a dontaion. Therefore it appears to me that going totally web based obviously works as a business model for a car club.

As I understand it most of our TSSC annual membership fee goe's on Courier printing and distribution costs so maybe the club need to consider whether sending out the Courier as a monthly magazine to all members is viable in the longer term. It may be more efficient to have an opting out option with a discount on memnership for those who opt out and then just have the Courier available on line to members who want to download it or read it on line. Just a thought..........

Ian Mulford said -

I have always thought that a magazine a month is a bit excessive especially as there's often pleas for more contributions to fill the pages. Most clubs I know of have quaterly magazines. Surely that would save a lot of money.

Tim Scrivens said -

I agree with most of the points on this thread, the direction that the CoM is/was heading was a main reason why I stepped down from being a Director.

I strongly believe that the TSSC should be a car club first and a business second, unfortunately at present the situation is reversed. Whilst it costs money to run the TSSC, I'm not convinced that revenue generating should be no.1 prority.

A degree of respect for some members of CoM mean that I cannot say too much about the ins and outs of decisions made at council level.

Claire Hill said -

I personally look forward to receiving the mag every month. Also for members who can't make it to meetings etc it is a way of keeping them in touch with what their area is doing. Would anybody advertise in the private ads if they knew it would take three months to get to fellow members? Surely this would just push even more onto ebay.

Mark Astley said -

I agree completely with Claires comments, however if it was a cost saving that would be required then why not reduce the glossy Courier down to bi-monthly or quarterly and pack it with good quality articles and for the intervening months print a low tech area news report compilation along with the small ads and camping/event ads and booking forms like we used to get a few years ago. Trade advertisers could still pay as before but maybe reduced rate for simple black/white ads.

I would miss my Courier every month though.

Tim Scrivens said -

Mark, again, a possible solution but not a viable one.

The Courier is created in an odd manner, it is created 'in-house' by an externally controlled and owned company, and cutting the number of issues of The Courier would only mean that the TSSC would have to find other things to fill the Courier production time with - so, as you can see, there will be a saving on print and mailing costs but still a couple of people to pay all year. I believe that there has been an agreement to produce the Courier in it's current form upto the next 5 years, so it's a no go, again as the money's already been spent.

I said -

"created in an odd manner" I think that describes the working of the whole club very well. "created 'in-house' by an externally controlled and owned company" isn't that a contradiction? The whole point of outsourcing something is to diverst yourself of the fixed costs associated with producing that something :-)
It would be really interesting to see the real accounts of the club, the ones published to keep the members happy don't really make a lot of sense and are generalised beyond being useful. I'm not an accountant nor do I run a business but just looking at things like cleaning costs I have to wonder, why is it so expensive?


I think that covers it all, we can carry on now.

What do you think? If you're a TSSC Member go onto the messageboard and ask what happened to the thread or just start your own, in fact why not post the whole lot and see how long it takes for your thread to be taken down.

A fellow TSSC member and Blogger originally alerted me to the removal of the thread and has mentioned it on his blog here

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Jason's Blog: Curious yet exciting

Jason's Blog: Curious yet exciting

I thought my post might throw up some comments and it did, seems 305 was crushed by dropping a metal skip on it at Abingdon or so a third party told another third party :-) Until I see proof I'm still dubious and I know the people who tell me it was crushed believe it and are trustworthy but I want fact, unequivocally fact. I know I whilst I don't get it the dream is alive :-)

Apparently there were quite a few spare panels made, not surprising as they had a team to support over a 15000 mile rally and you'd expect a few accidents and some damage to a rally car. I'm told the late John Mark acquired a set, they subsequently made it onto a road car.

Of course these panels could be a similar set, acquired off a car as spares and subsequently fitted to a competition car. Oh the intrigue!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Curious yet exciting

I've been away on business in Manchester and I'm on my way back home. I usually call in and see Dave at Canley Classics, either collecting or delivering some piece of Triumph oily metal but always for a chat and to put the world to rights. So, picture the scene, I pull up at Dave's to see Karl and Dave putting a Triumph 2000 bonnet into the back of Dave's Herald Estate, nothing weird in that. However, the way they are handling this bonnet shows that it's not a standard item, it's far too light. It's matt black on the outside and white on the inside - the skin is riveted on - it's an aluminium Works bonnet!
And that's not all, there's a smooth boot lid in the workshop and a door, I think.
I say "I think" because there are so many ex-works parts in Dave's place it's like a reincarnation of Abingdon in late '69 early '70!

These parts are rarer than a rare thing elected Rare Thing of the show at the International Rare Things Convention. The provenance of these parts is interesting, I have to keep my council because there may be more! Put it like this, these parts were made on original tooling, they are definitely factory parts, no doubt about it. If you look closely you might see the rivets holding them together. I only had my phone camera on me so I couldn't take many photos and the quality is pretty crap but you et the idea :-)
So where are they from? They have been on a car but don't show any signs of what car. There's some race numbers stuck inside but they don't give many clues, there's some tuning data written on the inside of the bonnet but again, no real clues apart from this was a competition car. But which one? Well I can account for all the works shells but one, you work it out - my theory?

Could this be the infamous XJB305H, Brian Culcheth's World Cup car that became the Team Castrol car and was ultimately given to British Motor Heritage who apparently decided it was too far gone to restore. BMH ordered it crushed and so, the story goes, it was broken up. Brian Culcheth told me it was broken up, several others have said likewise. However, I've always refused to believe that, maybe it's just a foolish romantic notion that it survived in a lock-up somewhere within range of Swindon (from whence it was reportedly disposed of). Anyway, these parts could be spares from the works, could be the broken up remains of "305" they are certainly unlikely to be anything other than works parts from works cars!
Anyway, Dave is on the case and if there's more to be had, he'll try and have them and I'll do what I can to help ;-)

Canley Classics - Triumph Desktop Calendar

Canley Classics - Triumph Desktop Calendar

This is great, Craig Gingell and Canley Classics have been putting these up for a while, I have one on my PC and now it's a World Cup Rally themed wallpaper from some of the photos I've acquired over the years. Thanks Craig and Dave.

World Cup Rally calender page

This is great, Craig Gingell and Canley Classics have been putting these up for a while, I have one on my PC and now it's a world Cup themed wallpaper from some of the photos I've acquired over the years. Thanks Craig and Dave.