Showing posts from February, 2007


I'm on a bit of an epic journey this week. Reading to Newcastle then on to Dundee and back to Reading - leg one to Newcastle was easy and I'm now enjoying a pint in the bar waiting for my dinner to arrive. I stopped off at Canley Classics for a chat with Dave and to see if he had a single pipe, single back box exhaust system in stock. As it happened he did and so it's now in the Toyota. Although I had a twin system on my first Vitesse I don't really liked the look of them. The system that was on my present Vitesse was only recently fitted and it's a bit of a shame but I decided that I would go with the 2" version Canleys offer. There are a number of other reasons apart from aesthetics - the PI pump sits in the spare wheel well, it's susceptible to heat. The twin exhaust boxes sit directly under the spare wheel well and so pump and exhaust are really in the worst position possible. Also, the twin system "Y" piece hangs quite low under the diff, whi

A weekend's work

Well not quite a whole weekend, really just a Saturday but at least a day at the car. I had high hopes but it was not to be my most successful stint at it! First issue, the missing studs- I still couldn't find them and that bothered me, still does! I had some replacement new studs from Canleys but you know how it is, I still wanted to find the originals. So that was 20 mins wasted. Then I started on the jobs that would be easier with some of the ancillaries out of the way - the main electrical feed to the starter, the clutch master cylinder to slave pipe and getting the tubular manifold and collector fitted right and sorted - these three jobs should have been a couple of minutes work each. Well that was easier said than done. First job, the clutch pipe, yeah no problem, make up an Aeroquipe pipe with the right ends on and fit it - easy job done. Quick test, yup works - hang on, what's that - a leak! Damn, tighten it up, try again, still leaking - there then follows a couple of

What a stud!

Well several studs actually. You know how it is, you take something apart, you carefully put all the fastenings safe so that when you come to reassemble it all, you have everything to hand. Well that's the theory, the fact is I couldn't find ANY of the studs that attach the manifolds to the head - I've got the little butterflys, some washers and the brass nuts but studs, nope! Now I know I took them all off the head before it went away for machining - been there before and learnt that you send a bare head and get a bare head back. Otherwise you send a head with studs etc and get a bare head back and sometimes a bigger bill! Anyhooo - I decided that rather than keep turning the garage upside down I'd just get new ones, I like new fastenings, sad but true :-) I know that having done this I will find the old ones immediately. This week I've been busy, no time to do anything apart from work, making up for a day out I guess. Still I'm listening to my Chief Exec drone

Farewell to Harry Webster

I attended Harry Webster's funeral today, to say farewell to the man who was instrumental in making the Herald and especially the Vitesse the good looking practical cars they are. Harry was the guy who introduced Giovanni Michelotti to Standard Triumph and it was this Italian stylist who clothed the Herald and had a hand in so many of Triumph's offerings. I "met" Harry once - many years ago I was introduced to him, shook his hand and thought "Who was that?" - I could only have been 19 at the time! 20+ years later I wish I'd sat down with him and had a good chat about his part in my favourite Triumph, the original Kenilworth Dragster - the Vitesse. He had a hand in so many thoug, including the TR range and the 2000/Stag range - prolific is a word that wprings to mind. It was good to see so many Club representatives out today and a few Triumphs in the car park and a nice TR6 outside the main doors to the church. For those who have little idea who I'

I just slipped it in, now I'm satisfied.

Yup, the gearbox is in, single handed and without drama. I came back from looking at bathroom fittings with the wife (that's the other major project going on at the moment) and decided to get into the garage and get stuck into the gearbox fitting. I'd had a chat with Dave Pearson about how the hell I could get the gearbox in on my own - it was just too damn heavy, big, cumbersome, etc for me to get it in. Dave explained that what I needed was a pry bar to lever the gearbox - explaining his single handed technique as putting the bar under the gearbox drain and then levering it against the chassis rail, this would take the weight of the gearbox and allow me to push against the flange and slide it in. If you slip the gearbox into third you can rotate the flange and line up the splines with the clutch. The addition of a stud in the top hole on the back of the engine means that you can "hang" the gearbox on this stud as you push it in. Well armed with this info it took me

I've been to the dark side

I was looking for some Penrite or Millers running in oil and stumbled across Beech Hill Garage just over the motorway from me. Popped in there this morning, nice place, nice people and got what I needed. Stood and had a chat with the owner who explained that I should use the use for no more than 500 miles "If you find it hard to do that many miles you could just keep it in for 2 to 300 miles" he said - "not do 500? You're having a laugh" I said, "I'm a Club Triumph member and am signed up to do over 2000 in 10 Countries later in the year" - there then followed a chat about the RBRR and the 10CR, as we parted he said "That must be awesome, all those cars out on the road" and he's not wrong. Surprisingly he had only the one head, no scales and wasn't eating small children - perhaps they are normal types these MG people? Must make a point of driving past when the Vitesse is up and running again - right off to the garage with me for

Harry Webster obituary on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio Player - Audio on Demand fast forward to about 9 mins 35 seconds for the piece on Harry Webster. Only 6 mins but worth a listen.

Stoneleigh, the power of the Blog and the engine post mortem saga

Stoneleigh show was good, I spent the day helping out Dave Pearson on the Canley Classics stand, the stand that almost wasn't. You see Dave didn't book and tables and didn't bring any either so guess what? Yup, there were none available when he arrived with the van full of stock. A panic trip back to the workshop for Dave then ensured, I thought he was going to weld up a few Triumph wings and make some but he just threw everything off the shelves in the shop and brought those. Meanwhile, my daughter spotted a guy loading up some tables back into his van so I went over and blagged them :-) We had a stand at last and, with the addition of a table made out of two cardboard boxes and piece of chipboard, were in business. With such a dodgy start to the day I felt sure Dave would soil himself again with a bacon and egg roll - as he has done so many times in the past. But no!! He actually managed to eat it "clean" - our luck had turned :-) The show went well, chatted to

I hang my head in shame

I just realised that no matter how hard I try I'm not going to get the Vitesse together before the MOT is due but then the tax is due within a couple of weeks so there's nothing else for it other than to declare SORN, I feel dirty. On the up side, I think I have everything major I need to put it back together apart from some time and a third hand! Nevermind, I have a plan for the third hand, might cost me some beer but what the hell, it'll be worth it. Time - hmmm, not got that one cracked yet. Just went out into the garage to get the documents that were stashed in there for the RBRR in October, bloody hell it's cold!

Snow business like slow business

I've just attempted to get the wife to work, 200 yards from my front door there's the start of the 4 mile queue into town! It's not worth the effort of getting there and beck only to have to go out again to collect here! Of course I am working at home this week so can't blag a day off due to poor weather :-( Nevermind, my turn will come when I resume trips up North next week. The bummer of it is I will be out when the new series of Life on Mars starts - 9pm BBC1 on Tuesday. Gotta watch it, ace 1970's themed show and has a few Triumphs in it including some of the Canley Classics fleet.

Dressed for success

There's a limit to what you can really add onto the engine before you fit it although I did nearly get carried away. In the end I kept it fairy bare to make sure I didn't snag it on the bodywork. It got cold so I moved inside for this bit on Saturday night. Sunday was sunny and really quite warm so I dropped it in outside. 

Engine refit - some progress

Well I spent some time this wekend outside and in the garage refitting the engine. It didn't all go to plan but the engine is in and I'm making progress. Here's what I was faced with on Sat afternoon when I eventually got out there. 

Happy as a pig in sh...

I dropped into Canley Classics on Thursday, I was on my way to Newcastle for a meeting the next day. As I pulled into the carpark, what did I see but the unmistakable outline of a Standard Atlas Van! Dave has been after one for ages and he was as happy as a pig in sh1t. What a good un he's got too. These things are weird - forward control, 948 (this one has a 1200 in it) and transverse leaf spring front end The driving poosition is interesting with your feet 1" from the front corner of the van and the gearlever at your elbow. The pictures are misleading as the seats are just resting in the cab, backwards and all over the place! Below is the front, yes the front suspension - the weird air scoop think is a weird aid scoop thing for the shrouded radiator. The rod on the left is the steering linkage. This is the rear suspension, with "convensional" cart springs. It's really in quite remarkable condition considering it was last taxed in about 1978 if the tax disc is t