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    Greg MacLeman
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    CAR TRIUMPH 2500TC
    RUN BY Greg MacLeman
    OWNED SINCE June 2017
    PREVIOUS REPORT May

    / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph -2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    As a result of sharing my life with a woman whose primary interest doesn’t revolve around wasting money on old cars, my classics live a precarious existence. Their perceived pecuniary value and usefulness to the family are in a constant state of evaluation, each unexpected cost having the potential to weigh down the scheme just enough to pull its head beneath the water – and potentially mine along with it. So the news that the Triumph’s engine problems were serious came as a bit of a blow.

    My first instinct was to follow the example of pal Matt George and get a full engine rebuild from the ground up, but the more I looked into it, the more the costs seemed to spiral out of control – the antithesis of what has been, to this point, a budget restoration. With half an eye on my bank balance and the other on an anniversary tour to Chantilly in June, I decided to scale back the works and make as much progress as I could with the help of art editor Port (and a big hammer). In a display of diplomacy that ought to have him sent to sort out the Middle East, Clements managed to negotiate access to the office basement car park to give us the time and space to pull apart the engine. It took little more than an hour to strip off the ancillaries, carburettors, exhaust manifold and water pump then separate the head from the block, and in no time we’d wrapped it up and sent it by courier to deepest Derbyshire.

    Peter Burgess is a legend in MG circles, and his work on Triumph’s straight-six is just as well regarded, so there was never a doubt in my mind that he was the man for the job. Burgess will refresh and uprate the cylinder head to ‘fast road’ spec, including beefier valves with stiffer springs, reworked combustion chambers and a full port and polish, as well as a light skim to raise the compression ratio. In addition to solving the burnt-out valve that first highlighted the engine problems, the work should also unleash the potential of the ‘big six’ and mean it will be ready if I one day decide to go the whole hog and build up the bottom end, too. With the head off, we gained an insight into the state of the block, which seems to be in excellent condition: the bores were smooth and clean, with no discernible lip that could suggest excess wear. It looked good enough to back up the ‘documentation’ (a note scribbled on the back of a used envelope) that suggested it’s done about 10,000 miles on a reconditioned engine.

    Of course, there’s only so much improvement that head work will have in isolation, and with the block in such good shape it’s given me the encouragement to add a few other modifications. Our next step was to go fishing for cam followers with a magnetic wand before removing the radiator, electric fan, pulley and timing cover, then taking out the camshaft, which eased through the grille after the removal of both fuel pump and distributor drive.

    It’s now been sent to Piper Cams to be reprofiled to ‘yellow’ specification, a favourite among Triumph specialists that greatly improves torque and usable power.

    ‘The work should unleash the potential of the “big six” and mean it will be ready if I one day go the whole hog’
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    Car #Porsche-356A / #Porsche-356 / #Porsche

    RUN BY Alain de Cadenet
    OWNED SINCE 2005
    PREVIOUS REPORT July 2016

    I rediscovered that leaving the 356 parked up and lonely was the worst thing I could have done. I had to get another 6V battery, change the hygroscopic brake fluid and seriously detail the paintwork. It was, however, tricky to use the car when one’s health is not really up to it as well. But it was so exciting to have the car back from Andy Prill, who had done a great job on the motor and set up the suspension – including camber change and toe-in adjustment. It is now spot-on.

    Meanwhile, I did a full grease-up and gave it some TLC all around. I could hardly wait to get in the magnificent old bird and try her out. The motor pulls well (all 60bhp of it) on the original single-choke #Solex-32PBIC carbs, which had endured a complete rebuild to factory specification and now enable the car to pull away with some extra low-down torque.

    Having driven another 356 at Monterey last year, I had remarked that the car handled far better than mine – only to realise that it was fitted with #Vredestein 155SR15 #Sprint-Classic-tyres . That’s tires over there, of course. Naturally I had to have some of those, but I found it tricky to source a local tyre-fitter who could handle tyres that needed inner tubes!

    Not far from the mews in Kensington – in Munster Road, Fulham, in fact – I found someone and he did a great job fitting my new ones. But he did not have a mandrel on which to mount the wheels for balancing, so now I have to find someone with an on-car balancing set-up to finish it off. These ‘A’-type 356s have Volkswagen open-centre wheels, as you may know. However, on my first outing of some 120 miles I didn’t notice any vibration to concern me at legal road speeds. Plus I happen to prefer the 155 rather than the 165 tyre size.

    There is a small difference in the rolling radius but the car feels so good and has less drag than on the 165s. It also sits well on the road, just as it did when new. I have never understood why folk want to turn these older machines into something way out-performing what they were originally, with big tyres and double or more the horsepower.

    But they do. And why shouldn’t they? It’s just not for me. The tyre-fitter also produced some small plastic collars that fit into the valve hole in the wheel rim to stop the neck of the valve chafing on the steel of the wheel. It makes sense to have these for the first time, something I was pleased to learn about and yet another trick of the trade that you can only find out from someone who knows about such things. I have a rally coming up and expect it to run as well as she did when new after all this attention.
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    Car VOLVO 240 GL
    RUN BY Jack Phillips
    OWNED SINCE August 2016
    PREVIOUS REPORT May

    / #Volvo-240-GL / #Volvo-240 / #Volvo

    It shouldn’t be that hard. Find blower motor, unplug, replace. Alas. Lengthy searching on Google produced a forum page that said [sic]: ‘If you do it and suceed, you will be an official Volvo 240 stud.’ It took two years since the fan blew for the final noisy time to find the courage. Even that morning I wondered whether the £1000 garage quotes would in fact be worth it, so I went for a run to delay the torture. The task isn’t difficult and the part is only £50, but fitting requires patience and diligence – neither of which I have.

    The motor must have been the first part on the assembly line and everything else built around it. It’s squeezed into a plastic case, nestled deep in the messy dash and bolted to the bulkhead. Everything needs to be removed, carefully noting where each screw came from (I, naturally, didn’t), every wire unplugged and labelled (I did, vaguely; too vaguely, naturally) to even see the container. Some remove the seats for better access, others remove the dash surround; my hands and back wish I had. There was still the matter of getting in. Clips hold it together, and the fronts were removed easily and more or less retained. The back was another matter, access not helped by those in-situ seats. But my girlfriend, Sarah, has much more patience and succeeded. Wrestling the container apart, coaxing the motor through all sorts of angles, it finally came free.

    By then darkness had fallen, so, with the instrument cluster already out, the broken gear was replaced in the warmth of the house and the odometer was hopefully fixed. It wasn’t, but the connector wasn’t in correctly; it’s counting again now, a thousand miles or so behind. The following day, Sarah’s father – and clearly the source of her patience – Keith spent an hour prying the finicky rubber bungs of the new motor onto the blades, ignoring my pleas to simply cut and glue. Home straight, surely? Alas.

    With the motor slipped in behind the dash, another hour was wasted trying to blindly line things up in the container. Tether at its end, Keith (and coffee) reappeared with more patience and less of my willingness to bodge. Motor in, various clamping and crimping finally lined it all up and the finish line was barrelling into view. Bolted back together, only a few screws failed to find their way back home. Half the instrument cluster is now in darkness, for some reason, the clock still doesn’t work, and a cursory glance at rewiring the stereo to bypass the amp fell by the wayside and has been done by a specialist. Still, a few jobs have been ticked off and £1000 saved.

    Binnacle out, wires (inadequately) tagged.

    A mix of force and angling freed the unit.

    Just one tooth on the odometer gear had broken and frustratingly stopped it from counting.

    An impasse was met swapping the motor.

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    CAR #NSU-Ro80 / #NSU
    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE 2009
    PREVIOUS REPORT August 2018

    Itching to use a ‘proper’ car after months of reliable but somewhat dreary Mercedes W124 estate winter motoring, I exhumed the NSU from the shed late in March for two trips to London. Actually, this wasn’t its first 2019 outing because I took FAR 666K out on a sunny Sunday in February to photograph it near Colesbourne in the Cotswolds. Rather than the usual half-hearted snap with a tree growing out of the roof (or the back end obscured by a wheelie bin), I took a bit of time over these. Happily they are good enough to be reproduced here (below).

    The first London trip in the Ro80 was with my dog Ruby to meet up with Nick Kisch for a VW show. I’m not massively into Beetles (although I’m intrigued by 411s and Type 3s), but it was an excuse to get out of the house, the wife having disappeared to Majorca for a three-week ‘working’ holiday. Our plans were thwarted by the fact that they don’t let dogs into Sandown Park, so we had a quick scoot around the car park and moved on to Brooklands Mini Day.

    Once again, no dogs. So I left Nick to it and visited Jason Yorke-Edgell to look at his rusty Monteverdis, which was probably more fun. My second London visit was really to Longcross for David’s memorial lunch; the ‘Ro’ was his favourite of my cars. The blue Husky Ro80 model he gave me is still on my mantelpiece.

    On the way home I left the slow moving M4 at junction 14 and took the B4000 cross-country along the Lambourn Downs, pausing to run a business card through the points – it only takes a speck of dirt to make the engine falter when it should be singing. It worked and I pressed on, frightening myself somewhere on the B4001. Braking late for a bend, the back end uncharacteristically locked up and unsettled the car’s (and my) composure. I must check the brake proportioning valve.

    The NSU fitted the bill again when I was invited to Paul Blofield’s 60th-birthday bash. Paul is a VW man to the hilt – he owns probably the oldest Beetle in the UK and an amazing Porsche-engined split-screen – so I reckoned the Ro80 was our best bet to join the selection of tastefully patinated ‘Splittie’ campers and ’50s/’60s saloons. I wasn’t the only non-Beetle: there was a very rat-look Jensen-Healey and a bumperless Alfa Romeo 750 Spider that belongs to Chris Mann and his wife. It was Easter Sunday and we were blessed with probably the warmest weather of the year.
    The Ro had been having cold start problems the day before, put down to plugs, but a good thrash over to Slad up the A419 seemed to clear them. I was pleased to see that Mia could do her mascara in the vanity mirror at 90mph [Ahem, not on a public road of course… Ed].

    A weird thing happened the day before. I spotted a familiar car – and a familiar face – conked out at the side of the road: Fredrik Folkestad and his (up to now totally reliable) #NSU-Wankel Spider.

    If he and I had a tow rope between us, you would be looking at a unique picture of a Ro80 tugging a Wankel Spider up the road. By the time I’d run Fredrik back home for the rope, the Spyder had righted itself and sprung back into life. Even so, not a sight you are going to see every day.

    Good weather over Easter led the NSU to join its VW cousins at Paul Blofield’s birthday gathering, among patinated cars aplenty. The NSU Ro80’s first outing of the year: to Colesbourne to be papped by Buckley.
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    ClassicAudi
    ClassicAudi updated her profile
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    Paul Knight
    Paul Knight joined the group BMW E30 Club
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