Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wheel meet again

Well I picked up the TR6 steel wins from Hertford yesterday, not as scabby as I had anticipated. Tyres are all ancient and decaying, three of the wheels were painted in silver hammerite and the fourth was scabby. So I whizzed the angle grinder with wire wheel over them all and slapped on some of Screw Fixes finest "hammer finish" silver paint and you know what? They look crap but hey! They are wheels and will soon get some tyres on them if I can stop fannying around and decide on a size.
I originally thought I'd just stick some cheapo tyres on, run around on them and then when finds allow I would put some nice wheels on and sell off the TR6 rims. Now. I think I might settle on 15 inch rims and put some decent tyres on that I can swap over onto the new wheels when I get them.
Now, what can I fit on standard TR6 steel wheels? They've got 185s on them at the moment so I was thinking 195/65 R15 Toyo Proxies, same tyre as on the Vitesse. I've been really pleased with them, not so soft that they don't last but soft enough to give good grip. Excellent in the wet and the dry, looks OK and not too noisy.
Then I thought I'd better get busy with to see what the best aspect ratio should be - there seems to be a lot of difference between tyre costs in these tyres, 65 series are a full 50 quid a set more expensive than say 50 series of the same diameter - weird! I've never really been into all this mix and matching of tyres. I'm probably all wrong here but I do know that if I got up a wheel size or two, I can come down an aspect ratio and keep an overall similar tyre circumference. Trouble is I don't know what a Mk1 2.5 PI should have - I know 13 inch wheels and 175 tyres but I don't know the aspect ratio - the manual is silent.
No matter, I'll sort it out eventually, I hope!

The other thing that a few hours in the garage has sown me is that there are loads of parts and spares that I should be selling on now the Sixfire is gone and the Vitesse is up for sale. Anyone want some reskinned Herald / Vitesse doors? Maybe some re-polished and re-anodised Vitesse bumpers (what's a full set worth - £150 or more?), Vitesse boot lid, steering rack, rebuilt diff, new brake pipe set, a twin carb manifold for what I think is a 1200 engine, etc etc. The list goes on! I'd better get eBaying

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back in the world again

Well after a good 60 hours awake I am finally feeling human again. Watching the news footage about Terminal 5 and hearing the reporter whinge on that he had to wait 20 minutes to check in I just wish he was with me in Delhi - four and a half hours to check in and get through immigration (security was a 5 minute job) and that was to get out of India! Never mind, it was a good trip and I only got Delhi Belly once, which was a bonus :-)

Whilst out of the UK I managed to buy a 2.5 PI, some TR6 wheels, some replacement phone parts for my daughter (who wrecks mobiles with ease), a 2000 worshop manual (for 99p) and an almost complete PI system (again a bargain - £20 inc postage).

I had no end of financial access issues, couldn't get into my bank accounts, had credit cards locked "you need to unlock the car in a UK cash machine sir" right, that's convenient when I'm thousands of miles away! The daftest thing I did was to get a little confused with the decimal point in the India ATM and draw out 20,000 Rupees (about £240) when what I really wanted was 2000 Rupees! Now 20,000 Rupees is a BIG wedge of cash, I mean I could not physically get it into my wallet! Fortunately for me I was able to pass it on to a coupel of colleagues who them put Sterling back into my account for me - Bank of Jason :-)

The other hassle I had was that the IT security in teh office was so tight I could not access my online banking for all my accounts. The account where the cash was sitting for the PI was beyond reach so I scrped together a gesture of good will for the seller and pinged that off to him. I've just followed it up with teh balance and I have now completed the purchase of a 1969 2.5 PI MkI - still can't quite beleive it's mine!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wheely pleased

It's amazing what a few beers and a PC will produce - one set of TR6 steels procured from 5000 miles away. I just have to collect them, hope they are straight :-)

Right now for some ditchfinder remoulds and we're mobile until I can afford those Compomotive ML competition spec wheels I like with some decent rubber.

Oh and I have to sell the Vitesse when I get home too. Fun fun fun!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The first picture

Well there it is - forget the wheels, they are MOT! I will be strong, it won't have Stag alloys.
It's a bit of a sleeper, I'll not reveal the spec just yet, suffice to say it's all Triumph, none of your modern silliness here.
I can't wait to get stuck into the car and start using it - I know I'll get the nagging pain in the ear from the wife that I will have to sell the Vitesse in order to make way for the PI but that's just part of life's rich tapestry.
Anyone wanna buy a PI Vitesse?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bhang on!

Using my considerable planning skills I find myself in India during the Holi festival, the Hindi festival of colour this weekend. I am invited out on the weekend to participate - apparently I have to wear a white shirt so people will throw coloured powders at me. Later I can go and have a speciial drink called thandai which will help me enjoy the festival even more because it is prepared using bhang, basically cannabis!

So it's trip out time with a dope shake for me - well you've got to embrace the culture haven't you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The deal is done

Well sort of...
OK I'm having cash flow difficulties. You see I've been in India for a fortnight and I'm here for another couple of days. Internet access is flakey to say the least, the offices are all locked down and I can only access a few sites. The browsers won't allow scripts, hotmail and eBay are blocked (as are a few more obvious "recreational" type sites I'm told). So the long and the short of it is I've managed to buy the car remotely from India, pay a deposit on my business expenses and hopefully I'll be able to shuffle some money to that account to balance the books before the biriani hits the punka wala.

So I'm not yet the proper owner but it's nearly completed - so near and yet so far.

On the subject of finances in India, today I have learned that Tesco Finance will lock your card if you're abroad and you get the pin wrong (or the Indian machine loses a connection as I think happened). Helpfully you can unlock this at an ATM - in the UK! So, in order to use my card I need to nip back home and reset it. Otherwise you're screwed - thanks Tesco, every little helps - my arse!

Whereas Morgan Stanley will happily lock your card for it seems similar reasons BUT they will unlock it after going through their comprehensive security questions.

Yes I spent a happy half hour trying to pay for some tat in the Jaipur Gem Emporium which, as seems to be compulsory in India, is no where near the city ion it's title. Tomorrow I will pop into the Bangalore Sairi Store, which is in Noida, a 3 hour flight away from Banagalore where I was a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst jabbering on about money, here's some perspective for you - I got hassled by a cheeky little street urchin called Babu on the weekend, he was desperate to shine my shoes. We had quite a chat as he followed me about a quarter of a mile down the road - I gave in eventually and started price negotiations - 2 rupees "includes all polishes and you don't have to pay if you don't like the first shoe I do" says Babu.
Now 2 rupees is actually 2.5p - the tight little kid wouldn't negotiate so I had to pay up - OK I'm a softy and I gave him a 5 rupee tip - he was made up. I would have given him more but t he transaction attracted an older, scabbier kid who looked like he would just take it off Babu.
This was my first real encounter with these kids, I usually do what the Indians do and ignore them but it's hard. Babu was, I'd guess about 6 years old.
Makes me miss my kids. My driver said something to me today that has stuck in my head - we were talking about flying, he was keen to understand what it was like, he'd never been inside an aeroplane, he said he would not get to do it in this life but in the next he would. He asked me how times I have flown, I honestly couldn't count them all, he was impressed. He said he wished his God would be as kind to him in the next life as my God had been to me in this.

इंडिया - दिर्टी, स्मेल्ली, क्रोव्देद चोस, इ लोवे आईटी
India - dirty, smelly, crowded chaos, I love it

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The results of the poll and a decision made - ish

Well there she is on La Carerra Caledonia last year, looking damn fine and by the time that photo was taken, running OK.

Yes I've made a decision or rather circumstance have made the decision for me. A price has been agreed with the owner and my people are talking to his people :-)

For those who voted and expressed an opinion via email etc, thanks - the results were
42 votes cast
78 % said buy the PI
21% said keep the Vitesse
1% said the Blogger pole machine can't count

So, that's sorted then, well not really. I've still got to sell the Vitesse so if any one's interested let me know. There's plenty of specification options to sell it and I'd like to get circa £4k, whether that's achievable or not remains to be seen. It's a bit of a "specialist" car so I'm happy to feel my way through selling it.

Whilst I'm away in India for most of March you might want to have your say on wheels for the PI, it's got scabby steels on at the moment and I doubt it's going anywhere on those so I need to sort out some replacements. I still like Minilites but what else is there? If you're reading this off the CT pages, scroll down and click "more from..." to go direct to my blog and vote