Saturday, October 20, 2007

My first works drive!

It's a long story and one that was full of ups and downs as we nearly didn't make it but it all come good in the end thanks to Dave Pearson's perseverance.

Basically works Triumph Driver Bill Bradley had a few cars "left over" at the end of the Triumph Competitions Department. Included was ADU 5B one of the rally Spitfires. 5B has been with Bill ever since, languishing in the back of a barn in partly dismantled state but largely complete.

Bill has been slowly piecing the car back together for the last few years getting help from his considerable and venerable network of ex-works guys. The car has been slowly taking shape for years culminating in the idea that it would be a good idea to commit to running the car in the Norwich Union classic on Sunday 14th October.

Now that meant a lot of shaking down of the car, it needed an MOT, along the way it needed quite a bit of tweaking and fettling to get an MOT, get it handling somewhere in the right ball park and getting the ex-works spare engine running. Peter Clark, ex-works mechanic had done a lot of the fitting up but dave was left with the hard work of making it all actually work.

It was a seriously touch and go thing.

On Saturday night Dave was pretty low, nothing had gone well and he had been at the car for 15 hours straight that day as well as most of the previous week. I was on my way up to Dave's and took some food and some encouragement that took him to a full 18 hour day!

You see nothing is really simple on a works car - the rear spring was shot so it needed changing, in order to change the spring you need to get at he hatch on top of the diff, in order to get at that ou need to take the tank out, in order to get to the tank you need to strip the trim out. In order to physically remove the tank you first need to get the seats out then you need to take a door off! Once you've done all that you have to put it all back again!!

Anyway, the car was there or thereabouts, stuff didn't fit 100%, stuff didn't work 100% - including the starter but what the hell! Let's do it we said and we did.

I won't say it was a walk in the park but it wasn't exactly a RBRR - we had some issues and we had some fun - an oil smoke filled cabin at 100 mph round the high speed bowl was interesting but we made it. Bill hadn't seen the car complete until the finish, he had been round in FHP993C with his wife and daughter - another car Dave has worked hard on - regular works mechanic ain't he!?!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Back in the world again

I'm back. My confidence to fart has returned and my nervousness and spare pants in my bag have been banished!
India was good, hard work but fun at the same time - some great people, some good work challenges and the potential to make a mark - I think I'm going to enjoy it.
I've come back to lots of jobs that have stacked up including sorting out a drive in the Norwich Union Classic a week on Sunday. It's now in the hands of this specialist

Yes Dave Pearson and I are at it again, although I hope he won't stick his tongue in my ear again. We've got a special car to drive, well we hope we do as it's not finished yet! I can't say too much at the moment but if we can get the thing finished in time it will be a special day indeed for both of us.

The other news is that following a board meeting of the Canley Classics "What can we do next that no one else has done?" committee (OK it's me and Dave and some beer) Team Atlas has been born - yes we will do the RBRR 2008 in a Standard Atlas camper van! These ugly, underpowered, ungainly, nasty things are as rare as a lean running PI car! For those who've never seen one, look away now and preserve your innocence. Here's the beast of Canley

It's not in the best of order and hasn't got an original engine thankfully - they were only 948cc! So that makes it OK to get ot back on the road in useable guise with something better under the floor - a 2500 six cylinder with an auto box perhaps?

Dave's got another Atlas in far better and much more original condition that will be restored to original so this one can be more practical - if ever an Atlas could be such a thing!?!