Today, I needed to be in Nuneaton, near Coventry, for work-related reasons. I spent yesterday agonising about which car to take – this can often be a problem when you have four vehicles. I even resorted to asking the good people of Twitter. These sensible folk democratically picked the ZX as the vehicle to take. I was surprised.
I very nearly did their bidding too. In fact, I opened my front door with the ZX keys in my hand, and very nearly stepped through. But then, this happened.
I wasted valuable minutes grabbing spares, ‘useful’ stuff and tools and headed out into the gloom. I’m sorry to report that leaving the house at 7:40am is rather a shock for me. I waved at the school bus as I departed the village, opting for the Elan Valley Mountain Road for a proper hoon session.
By the time I reached Ludlow, my sat nav was revealing the bad news that I was going to be six minutes late arriving in Nuneaton. Earlier, I had been seven minutes late, but had managed to make up a minute – not easy in a 2CV, but good fun nonetheless. Then it all went wrong. The slog between Ludlow and Droitwich saw me stuck behind the same two trucks for pretty much the whole way. I was not impressed. I lost a full 15 minutes behind this pair. It was time to call ahead and admit I was going to be late.
On the M42, this milestone occurred, with the photo definitely taken by the passenger.
My celebration was short lived though as, just out of shot, the fuel gauge was looking rather scarily low. In a 2CV, there’s low, and then there’s “doing a weave doesn’t move the needle” low. It was in that category. Bother!
So, I zipped off the motorway at Monkspath near Solihull, where I knew there was a Tesco with far more reasonable prices than most motorway services. I got 22 litres into the 25 litre tank, so it was a good job I stopped.
About 30 miles later, I arrived at Martin Robey Engineering Group in Nuneaton, where there was much gawping at heavy industry. Oh, and a photo opportunity of rather lighter engineering.
It had been a lovely drive, despite frustrating trucks. Elly was absolutely flying, though I’m not sure why. She dealt with the big hill on the M6 almost as if it wasn’t there. I even overtook stuff! We hit a sat nav 71mph at one point, and she felt very comfortable. My ears were comfortable too, though only because I’d remembered to pack my 3M ear filters. These are like plugs, but reduce rather than block noise. They take a good 50db off, which makes a big difference, yet still allows you to hear sirens and worrying car noises. Thankfully, there were not many of either.
With the engineering drooling completed, it was time for the journey home. This time, I’d be simply using the M6 and M54 to get home as quickly as possible. Again, Elly seemed very happy to zip alomg at the legal limit, which varied from 50-70 along the M6. The only real problem is traffic bunching. When it all slows down, then speeds up, a poor 2CV can be left in the lurch, unable to match the turbo-aided torque of pretty much every other vehicle out there.
Still, before too long, we had returned to Wales.
After this pause, purely for artistic effect, I pushed on home. The only incident was when I cut a corner slightly, and caught the cats eyes while on a fair degree of hoon. The car skipped alarmingly across the road, towards a rather solid looking crash barrier. We managed to avoid it, but it has left me thinking there’s work to do on the suspension. The front shock absorbers are certainly not fresh – I bought a set in about 2004 I think – and the rears are Monroes, which do not seem to work well in this application. There is also the MOT advisory regarding both kingpins to consider, though I’ve not had kingpins cause this handling foible before (they can rattle when cornering, which feels more alarming than it is. These don’t do that yet).
Oh, and one more tiny problem. As I went to turn into my driveway, the offside front indicator decided it didn’t want to work anymore, which I suspect is either a duff bulb or the fault of my wiring. Overall, that’s been a pretty decent shakedown run. I’m glad I swallowed the brave pill and went for it! After all, I’ve put some serious effort into getting this car back on the road. It’s about time she covered some miles!