Project OMG: Caper woes

This collection caper has rather hit the buffers then. I do need to address the diesel leak, because it left this stain while waiting for the test. 

Though the snapped rear spring is also a good reason to seek assistance. 

Not ideal. I found a couple of garages, but both were too busy. I have now found one a little further away, so I’m hoping they can at least get started on fixing it this afternoon. There will be a break in proceedings though, as they’re busy until at least half three. 

To be honest, this problem wasn’t entirely unexpected. I packed clothes for another night away…

More news as I have it!

Project OMG: MOT

We’re at the MOT station!

The test is ongoing as I type, but she’s already failed on exhaust, which I knew about, and a snapped rear spring, which I did not. The diesel leak really kicked off on the ramp too, so it’s a fail. Now to plan what to do about it!

Honda S-MX: Bedding in

As related in the previous post, I had headed to Plymouth to collect my new Honda S-MX. Having got the headlights working, I could settle in for a 60-mile drive, and get a feel for my new steed. What is the S-MX like to drive?

Oddly different. In terms of looks, it’s like a shrunken Volkswagen Transporter, and it feels similar to drive too. You have a nice, upright driving position and always feel like you’re driving a big box.
The column gear selector is not very VW-like I’ll grant you, and it’s not very pleasant to use either. It really is a case of stick it in D4 and leave it there. Snicking around the ratios is annoyingly difficult and best ignored.

A nice place to sit.

That’s ok though, as it’s a pretty nice gearbox. It is perhaps a bit over eager to kick down, but changes are smooth. It does initially slip a bit on downshifts, and the torque converter lock up doesn’t seem to function. I’m hoping fluid changes will improve both issues.

Gear selector a bit clunky and rubbish. 

Thankfully, even with the lack of lock-up, the engine is smoothly doing 3250rpm at 70mph, so doesn’t seem overly stressed. 

The steering is very light, to the point that I think something may be wrong. I wonder if it is meant to get heavier at speed and isn’t.  

It makes it very easy to drive, but it does feel a little nervous at speed. It also inspires zero confidence when cornering, not helped by mismatched tyres and, I suspect, poor wheel alignment.

The brakes are good though, and the ride pretty refined. It loses composure over uneven terrain, but I reckon it rides better than my Rover 600 did. The suspension is typical Honda double wishbone up front, but an unusual trailing arm multi link set up at the rear, which is unique to the S-MX and, I think, the Stepwgn, which is an annoyingly named long wheelbase version.

Being a big, boxy thing, there is a fair dose of wind and road noise at speed, but it isn’t sufficient to ruin the listening experience when tuned in to Radio 3. Pretty good then.

Back to the story. I reached Cornwall, found a quiet lay by near St Agnes and got ready to test bed mode! 

Wherever I park my car, that’s my home.

Luxurious eh? To be honest, like every car with seats that convert to a bed since at least the Austin Maxi, it isn’t exactly ideal. It is a bed with contours that most beds do not have. Despite this, I got a reasonable night’s kip. I avoided steamy windows by cracking open each opening window (there are three). Normally, this could allow rain to sneak in, but the S-MX has wind deflectors to keep the rain out. Which turned out to be fortuitous. 

It took mere moments to get packed up and on my way, though mist ruined any chance of the nice view I had hoped to wake to. Now, I needed to get near Redruth for the entire reason for the Cornish adventure. A friend of mine with a garage had offered his services at a very good rate. It was time to treat my new steed to a bit of love. It would turn out to be a long time since anyone else had…

Bromyard Speed Festival

I must apologise for the lack of posts recently, and for taking three days to get my next video edited. I’m currently very busy writing for Classic Car Buyer as well as editing the first issue of Classic Jaguar magazine. Life is frantic. Which is nice.

But on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to visit the first Bromyard Speed Festival, and it really didn’t disappoint. There were some great cars in action, as well as one very interesting mobility scooter, and a running appearance by Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird land speed record car. Wow.

You can watch the video here.

Project 2CV: Body delivery video

As reported in my previous post, the 2CV’s body is now up in Yorkshire. Here’s some footage of the journey itself.

Remarkably, the Elly restoration fund stands at £1826 now! That’s following a healthy contribution from myself. Your funds have not been spent on getting my trailer fixed, nor on transport costs. The total will only be used directly for stuff Elly needs – mostly bodywork then. I have had to keep away from Ebay!

I should be able to give the pot another boost as the Honda Prelude has now been sold. As I suggest in the video, the Dyane may be the next victim of the fleet cull. It’s job was to fill in while the 2CV was off the road. Now the project is underway, far sooner than I anticipated, then I’m afraid the Dyane is going to have to make way. For a start, I need my garage back so I can crack on with chassis fettling ahead of the body’s return. Though, I’m pleased to report that the galvanised finish seems to have lasted very well, with no signs of rot.

If you think £1826 is a great deal of money, you’d be right. But, restoring cars is an expensive business, and I can see all that (and more ) disappearing very easily. Elly will need new wheels and tyres, and that’s £356 gone straight away. I’m looking forward to the next stage though. Stay tuned!

Up she goes! Ready for some sorting out.

Up she goes! Ready for some sorting out.

Project 2CV: Splitting up!

Getting the trailer sorted meant that Project 2CV could move on a step. Yes, it was time to separate chassis and body! This is always a huge moment, and I was feeling a certain amount of nostalgia. It is now 13.5 years since I did this job, on this car, the previous time.


Unbolted body, ready to lift off.

Now I must say, I definitely married the right woman, as Rachel was full of enthusiasm for this bit. With just two of us, it wouldn’t be easy, but we managed it. I reckon I’d lose to Rachel in an arm wrestle, and her muscle was certainly appreciated.

Of course, the body didn’t actually fit on the trailer, because I never measure things, but with the tailgate removed, all is well. Not like I’ll be rolling it off is it?

2cv body

The body is ready to be shipped off.

It was hard work, but we got there! It’s not like we had to be careful to avoid damaging it after all. I will be strapping it down before I set off. Don’t worry.

Now I had a rolling chassis to deal with, and wanting my garage back for the Dyane, we decided to return the chassis to a local friend’s garage – where the 2CV had been hibernating since last summer. I did consider driving it there…

Hoon? Maybe not

Hoon? Maybe not

…but decided for trusty wife power. We bolted the rear bumper back on for this. Rachel is sadly not unaccustomed to this position, on account of the number of times I’ve got stuck in mud, off-road or in snow.

Manual labour. I did push as well. Honest.

Manual labour. I did push as well. Honest.

So, the 2CV is in pieces, now spread out over several locations. On Monday, I’ll be driving up to Bradford to visit Citwins, where Alan Rogers can size things up, suck his teeth and tell me what the damage will be. That 2CV fund is going to vanish very quickly! We both reckon it’ll need over £1000 of panels, but your money is making that a realistic prospect. I’ve added a bit into the fund myself, which currently stands at just over £1700. It’s ruddy marvellous that quite so much is available for 2CVs!

That concludes this update. Progress has been pleasingly swift and I thank all those who’ve contributed for making it happen. Enthusiasm is high once again!

stuck 2cv

With wife power, anything is possible! Almost. We did need a Land Rover…