I had hoped to take the Dyane to the 2CV 24hr. It was broken. I had hoped to take the Dyane to Cholmondeley Castle. It was broken. Two days before the Goodwood Revival 2015, it was broken. But I would not be defeated a third time. Frantic fettling occurred including replacing all of the rubber fuel line, opening the carburettor and cleaning the jets out (more than once) and replacing the points and condenser. Then replacing the new condenser again after it almost immediately failed.
In the week leading up to Goodwood, the Dyane was struggling to complete just one short journey without breaking. On the Tuesday before, I had even had to push it home. So, I was a bit anxious when I got up on Saturday morning. The plan? Drive to Sussex, enjoy a kip at my sister-in-law and family’s home, spend Sunday at the Revival, then drive home Monday. So, stage one was get to Sussex – about 270 miles away. The journey started well as a tractor run was visiting our village. Some classics had joined the fun.
Not a bad start. I drove over the entertaining Elan Valley Mountain Road and tried to ignore the sound of the fanbelt trying to escape. I need to replace it but didn’t have a better one. I had a spare BX belt as emergency back-up.
After a couple of hours, I had almost reached something approaching a dual carriageway. I stopped in the pretty town of Crickhowell to visit independent traders and stock up on supplies.
I did consider rolling the roof back, but opted not to. As I encountered fierce showers on the M4, this was the correct choice. After a great many hours, the M25 was encountered. Incredibly, the car was still running beautifully. At a previous service check, I had discovered that it had lost pretty much none of its engine oil. A far cry from the first drive back to Wales, when it seemed to lose quite a bit. Perhaps that newer breather has done the trick. Naturally, things slowed down on the M25 and as I wasn’t moving at the time, I snapped this pic.
The traffic may have been a blessing. The steering wheel obscures the fuel gauge, plus the XM has got me in the habit of rarely checking the level, because it can drive 800 miles on one tank. When I did finally look at the Dyane’s gauge, it was rather low! I managed to get to Cobham services, which was horrendously busy, but parked up away from the building to munch on pre-bought supplies, and then got 23 litres of fuel into the 25 litre tank. Close.
I made it to Sussex tired, but very, very pleased with the little Dyane. It had run majestically all the way and despite me thrashing it pretty heavily – cruising at 65-70mph where traffic levels permitted – it had returned 45mpg. The next day, I set off early and avoided the worst of the queues. Me and the Dyane had made it to the Revival!
At this point, I need to thank several people. My friend Pete Sparrow sorted me out with a complimentary ticket, as he was driving one of the safety cars. Unfortunately, I managed to leave this ticket at home, which I realised as I was driving towards the event. Oops. I secondly need to thank Andrew Page, who sell autoparts. A frantic call to a friend and they were kind enough to sort me out with a pass for the day. You can’t believe how grateful I was! The bacon was saved.
I’ll talk about the event itself some other time, but it was suitably amazing. It was my first visit in six years, but was every bit as good as I remember. Expensive too. £6.80 for a bacon roll! I was thankful that my sister-in-law had provided me with food.
My good lady wife deserves a special mention, as my colourful outfit – her handiwork – went down very well indeed. As I wandered barefoot around the aircraft displays, I realised this was the most comfortable my feet had ever been at this event. Previously, I’d always dressed smartly – and uncomfortably! The hippy look is recommended. (I had -non-sixties sandals for the gravelly bits!).
Another sleep and it was time to drive home after a really fantastic weekend. I was calling in to see the chap who sold me the Dyane on my way back, to collect a few spares. That meant driving along the south coast and that was as horrible as it always is. I’ve got to go back to Portsmouth in a week’s time to catch a ferry. Joy.
An accident on the M27 didn’t help matters, and my ‘quick’ diversion through Southampton saved me no time at all. I rejoined the motorway with the traffic I’d left behind at the previous junction. Worse, the Dyane had begun spluttering and refusing to idle again. However, that didn’t really matter on the motorway and after a couple of hours of foot-to-the-floor, it got rid of whatever was ailing it and ran beautifully again.
After finally making it to Warminster, I collected bits, drank a much-needed cup of tea and headed northwards. Actually, I thought it was probably time to look at the fuel gauge again. JEEPERS! It was some way below zero. I limped to a petrol station and fitted 25.5 litres into the 25 litre tank… I’m an idiot.
I’m utterly sick of the M4 Toll and refuse to pay it, so that meant Gloucester and the pretty roads of Monmouthshire – where this Dyane used to live. It continued to run very well. In fact, I was not doing half so well as the car. I’d replaced some seat rubbers before the trip, but none in the seat back itself. This was a mistake and backache was very much setting in! Despite the emergency measure of sticking a jumper behind my back.
I was very tired as we crossed the border and thought a short break was wise.
It was still raining. I’d been battling through showers and mild flooding since the very start of the journey. The wipers were struggling to cope. In fact, at 70mph, they were struggling to stay on the windscreen! Side gales near Bristol left me worried that the wipers were simply going to blow away. I need to make improvements here.
But, some nine hours after leaving Sussex, I’d made it home. In three days, me and the Dyane had covered 652 miles together, which is pretty impressive! It takes our total tally to very nearly 1000 miles since purchase. Given how much of that time the Dyane has spent in the garage being broken, that’s really not so bad at all. Well done Dyane. It was the perfect bonding experience. I think I like this car.