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    / #1973-Citroen-DS23-Pallas-IE / #Citroen-DS23-Pallas-IE / #1973 / #Citroen-DS / #Citroen / #Citroen-DS23 / / #1973-Citroen-DS23ie-Pallas / 1973 / #Citroen-DS23ie-Pallas / #Citroen-DS23-EFI-Pallas / #Citroen-DS23-EFI


    This fuel-injected 2.3-litre range-topper has desirable optional extras including factory air conditioning, explains Mike Renaut.

    Shiny dark blue paint suits this 1973 DS #Injection-Electronique and covers straight, corrosion-free panels with generally excellent gaps. All the Pallas trim is in place and appears in nice condition despite some surface tarnish, especially on the rear window surrounds. All glass including the headlamp covers is free from damage, the inner set of lights turning with the steering. Originally sold in Prato, Italy, the left-hand drive DS came to the UK in 2014 and the headlights still appear to be set up for driving on the right. Bumpers are equally blemish-free, as are the Pallas wheelcovers. If we had to nit-pick, there is slight surface rust on the wiper arms and the lower door trims are not affixed perfectly straight, but otherwise this car is hard to fault.

    The factory-fitted – and operational – air conditioning is an unusual option. The blue and white cloth and leather-cloth interior is in especially nice condition with no obvious damage and the big seats with headrests prove both comfortable and supportive. The dashboard is free of cracks, but there are a few small areas of scuffed paint and the surround for one set of pushbuttons needs securing in place.

    A rear window blind is included and the light grey fabric headlining is droop-free and in perfect condition. Door cards appear unmarked, as does the dark blue carpet. Turn the ignition key and the engine fires up immediately, soon settling to a smooth idle at an indicated 1200rpm. It quickly warms up and nothing on the numerous warning gauges offers cause for concern. The suspension operates just as it should, with the car soon finding its natural ride height. Again, no leaks or untoward noises were spotted during our inspection.

    On the road the Citroën is quiet and well-mannered with very light steering that still feels precise. Finding your way through the five-speed gearbox using the column-mounted gearlever soon becomes second nature, with each gear dropping into place positively. Stopping power is impressive, the sharp brake pedal virtually halting the car dead in its own length at low speeds. Winter and summer tyres are supplied with the DS, the set fitted during our test being Petlas with excellent tread. The jack and an unused ‘multiseason’ spare tyre are present under the bonnet. A generally tidy engine bay has a little worn and scuffed paint on some components, but no obvious leaks or areas of concern were noted. Recent #MoT certificates mention a weep from a power steering hose joint, but our inspection failed to detect it.

    The odometer reads just over 98,400km (60,000 miles). The previous owner added a new swivelling centre headlight assembly, alternator, high-pressure pump and fuel pump. New injectors and fuel pipes were fitted, and the fuel tank cleaned and lined in 2014. The air conditioning system was repaired and re-gassed in 2015. This very attractive example of a #Pallas has an excellent specification. The car drives beautifully and a little tidying under the bonnet would finish it nicely.

    Good colour, Pallas trim is all there and the panel gaps are generally good Interior looks and feels almost brand new Engine runs well, but its bay would benefit from tidy-up.

    1973 Citroën DS Pallas IE
    Price £28,000
    Contact European Classic Cars, Avebury, Wiltshire (07813 394167,
    Engine 2347cc 4-cyl OHV
    Power 141bh p@ 5500rpm
    Torque 135lb ft @ 3500rpm
    0-60mph 11.7sec.
    Top Speed 116mph
    Fuel Consumption 29mpg
    Length 4874mm
    Width 1803mm


    1 Unveiled in 1955, with hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, power steering and disc brakes. A more basic ID version was available.

    2 September 1962 restyle saw a new nose, pointed front bumper and better ventilation.

    3 Pallas model with 41 improvements including a more luxurious interior debuted for 1965. The original hydropneumatic system used vegetable oil ( #LHV ), then switched to synthetic ( #LHS ). For the 1967 model year, Citroën introduced mineral oil-based oil ( #LHM ).

    4 1968 model year cars got four glass-covered headlights, inner set swivelled with steering.

    5 #Bosch fuel injection was introduced for 1970 and a 2.3-litre engine in 1972. Production ended in 1975 after 1,455,746 DSs were built.
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    Paul Walton – EDITOR

    / #2000-Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #2000 / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0 / #Jaguar-XK8 / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #Jaguar-XK8-X100 / #Jaguar-X100 / #Jaguar

    After suffering yet another setback, Paul finally manages to take his XK8 for a drive to the Norfolk coast, but will he make it back home again?

    You couldn’t make it up. Just two days after collecting my now legal XK8 from the bodyshop (to repair a small rusty hole close to the offside sill so it could pass the #MOT test, which it had failed the week before – see #Drive-My ), it has suffered from more bad luck.

    Due to visit friends who live an hour away in the Lincolnshire countryside, I figure this is an excellent opportunity to drive my now rejuvenated XK8. So, while my wife changes for the umpteenth time, I go into the garage and start the car. It fires normally, but soon falters, eventually stalling. When I turn the key again, the engine cranks unevenly, starts hesitantly, then idles awkwardly before stalling again. The big V8 eventually runs smoothly, but only after I give the throttle the beans, something I hate doing when the engine is still cold. I grudgingly leave the car at home and take my less-stylish Nissan SUV.

    After the problem persists all week – eventually resulting in an amber engine warning light – I finally cave in and contact Nene Jags Specialists (

    Even proprietor Clive Kirton is surprised to see me back so quickly, joking the car must be on a piece of elastic. He soon diagnoses the air mass flow meter is at fault and also discovers the air filter is incorrect, meaning it doesn’t fit correctly.

    With typically poor timing, as soon as the car is fixed and ready for action, the weather takes a seasonal downturn and, frustratingly, I have to leave the XK8 in the garage.

    Waking to an unusually warm and sunny December morning a few days later, I decide to blow caution to the wind and take the green Jaguar for a drive. With little time on my hands due to our hectic Christmas schedule, I choose Hunstanton, on the Norfolk coast, as my destination. The 100-mile round trip is enough to test the car and I can also be there and back in an afternoon. That I know an excellent chip shop on the seafront isn’t a factor at all.

    As I start my journey along the eastbound A47 that cuts through the flat, empty, but still beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside, I swear my XK8 feels a little faster, the engine slightly more responsive than it was before. I’m guessing this improvement is because the car can now breathe properly thanks to Clive fitting the correct air filter. More importantly, as I reach King’s Lynn 40 minutes later there are still no warning lights.

    As most of my recent long journeys (and some short ones) have ended in a dashboard filled with more flashing warnings than a Boeing 747’s console after a wing drops off, I’m constantly expecting something bad to happen. But nothing does, not even when I turn onto the tree-lined A149 that passes through the Sandringham Estate. Or even when I enter the outskirts of Hunstanton 20 minutes later and make my way down to the town’s pretty seafront. It might be just 50 miles from home, but I feel a real sense of accomplishment as I park the XK8; it hasn’t put itself into limp mode, broken down or blown up. Although that could still happen. Even though it is a glorious afternoon, Hunstanton’s seafront is deserted as I go for a stroll. The amusements are empty, the beach is quiet and, even worse, my favourite chip shop is closed. My run of bad luck continues.

    My journey back home, though, is enjoyable and trouble-free, and, with the Jaguar’s immediate issues taken care of, I return my attention to a most pressing task – replacing the original plastic tensioners with metal ones from the 4.2 #V8 . When Leeds specialist Tasker & Lacy removed the head to inspect them in 2016 they were in good condition, but knowing that the engine could still self-grenade at any minute, should the tensioners snap, is never far from my mind. I plan to drive the XK8 to Le Mans for the 24-hour race in June, so it’s something I need to get looked at, and sharpish. Other jobs for 2019 include having the increasingly crusty rear wheelarches tidied, and repairing the worn driver’s side seat bolster.

    But that’s for the future; today, I’m simply enjoying the warm sensation of my XK8 getting me to Hunstanton and home again in one piece.

    The XK8 beneath Hunstanton’s famous red-striped cliffs.

    Paul cuts through the desolate Cambridgeshire countryside using the A47.
    The amusements are empty. Well, it is December and Hunstanton is deserted
    The view down Hunstanton’s beach in bright sun is gorgeous.
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    1988 E32 750iL V12
    2017 F22 230i M SPORT COUPÉ
    1983 ALPINA B9 3.5 (E28)

    Alpina B9 3.5 (E28)
    YEAR: 1983
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 138,520
    TOTAL COST: £25 (relays), £10 (fuel hose), £40 (ignition coil), £20 (distributor)

    E32 750iL #BMW-V12 / / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW / #M70 / #BMW-M70
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 119,572
    MPG THIS MONTH: 18.7
    TOTAL COST: £136.14 (MoT work), £10 (seatbelt buckle), £50 (storage)

    F22 230i Coupé
    YEAR: 2017
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 18,934
    MPG THIS MONTH: 38.7
    TOTAL COST: Still none

    Last month I made a promise to update you on Maggie’s #MoT and the Alpina’s non-start issue, so here goes.

    The annual MoT test can be a nerve-wracking ordeal for any classic car owner, but I had faith that Maggie’s test wouldn’t produce a fail sheet as long as my arm. Thankfully, as it turned out, my hunch was spot-on!
    The fail list consisted of two tyres which were not fitted in accordance with the side wall instructions, a windscreen wiper that doesn’t clear the windscreen effectively, the horn not working, a rear seatbelt buckle that was found to be broken and a ball joint dust cover that was no longer preventing the ingress of dirt. However, all things considered, I didn’t think there was actually terribly much to put right and, to be honest, most of them were things that I was already aware of. What’s more, the bill wasn’t too bad at all, either, at just £136.14, which included the test fee. Sadly, though, that inner glow of well-being wasn’t to last.

    While I was out with the car on the photoshoot for this month’s E32 Buyers Guide, I suddenly became aware of an odd, groaning and grinding sound emanating from somewhere under the bonnet. It lasted for a few miles until the power steering failed followed, shortly after that, by a loss of brake pressure. Thankfully, we managed to get all the photos we needed for the feature, and then limped Maggie home without further incident. She’s now sitting patiently, awaiting a slot at the garage to investigate things further.

    Early research would suggest that the most likely culprits could be either a failed power steering pump, air being drawn into the system, a drive belt failure or a brake bomb failure. However, it shouldn’t be the latter as that part was replaced fairly recently, but I’ll just have to wait and see what the garage can find.

    As you saw last month, I’m also having some challenges with the Alpina. It’s never once failed to start in all the time I’ve owned it, but is definitely showing not the slightest interest in fi ring-up now. In an effort to isolate the problem, I bought myself a multimeter and began testing various parts with that. But, in the end, I think it’s better to just replace the most likely candidates, on the basis that they will all then have another fresh lifespan on them.

    Finding parts hasn’t been overly challenging, although you can’t really buy bigger parts from BMW any more. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of alternative options online. So far, I’ve picked up a new distributor and rotor arm, a DME relay, fuel pump relay and an ignition coil. Hopefully, I will find time in the next week or so to fi t these myself, and see if that does the job. I’ve also noticed a strong smell of petrol coming from under the bonnet, and have traced that back to the fuel pipe that runs to the cold start injector. I don’t think it’s related to the starting issue but, clearly, a weeping fuel line in the engine bay is never a good idea, so I’ll be tackling that, also.

    If there’s one positive thing to come out of the current situation, it’s that I get to spend a bit of time getting hands-on with the Alpina; E28s are always nice cars to work on. Of course, if the problem turns out to be more involved than I’m currently hoping, I might be forced to eat those words! It does mean, though, that the car won’t see the light of day this side of Christmas, because I’m struggling to see a time when I can get the subsequent MoT sorted before we go away to the West Coast of Scotland in the New Year.

    Below: The E28 is a good car to work on which, as it turns out, is a good thing. For the first time since I’ve had the Alpina, it won’t start and I’ve yet to isolate the problem. But among the new electrical components I’ve already sourced online, is a new #distributor .

    The Alpina’s also developed a fuel leak, coming from the pipe that supplies the cold start #injector .

    The annual MoT test can be a nerve-wracking ordeal for any classic car owner, but I had faith that Maggie’s test wouldn’t produce a fail sheet as long as my arm. Despite the MoT test success, Maggie rather blotted her copybook on a recent BMW Car magazine photo shoot, with an as yet unidentified power steering and brake pressure failure.
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    NIGEL FRYATT #2002-BMW-Z3-2.2i / #2002 / #BMW-Z3-2.2i / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW /
    / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36

    YEAR: 2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 74,807
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £681.69 (inc VAT)

    It’s been a pretty good summer to own an open-topped sports car, and my Z3 has certainly lived up to expectations. I bought the car because I wanted a (relatively) cheap sports car that I could regularly drive with the top down, and I didn’t want it to be a Mazda MX5!

    My budget was around £4,000, and it was surprising what little choice there is. But when this Z3 came up for sale, it fitted the bill perfectly. The underpowered four-cylinder model was never a consideration and, having checked a few example insurance quotes, a three-litre would have been a little extravagant. Of course, an #M-Sport option would have been fantastic, but wasn’t going to happen on my budget! If I’m honest, I didn’t actually realise that there was a 2.2-litre version of the six-cylinder-engined Z3 until I did some research. They are limited in number and so, when HF51 PUV appeared on the AutoTrader website, I went to see the car and immediately did the deal. Regular readers may remember that I bought it during a snowstorm in February 2017, but I did check that the hood folded down correctly. In fact, it was obvious that the car must have spent much of its life in a garage, or at least covered, since the quality of the hood was high; the deal was done.

    It was also obvious that it would need some new tyres. Why do people buy different tyres for each wheel? My Z3 had three different brands on its four wheels; one of them a Chinese tyre branded ‘Triangle’ (does anyone else feel mystified at the choice of name for a round object?). The quality of the hood, however, did mask a problem that I’ve reported on before. The rubber seals around the screen and door jams were allowing water ingress when it rained particularly hard. Water collected under the passenger seat and promptly flooded the DSC yaw sensor that’s located there.

    Although the total repair cost – replacing all the seals and getting a refurbished DSC sensor (a new BMW OE version being some four times the cost of a refurbished version!) – was over £1,000, I wasn’t too worried and didn’t feel it was something that was ‘missed’ when I bought the car; the passenger carpet was certainly not wet when I handed over the cash. All the work was done by Walkers Autotech (walkersautotech., tel: 01403 751646), where Andy and his team did an excellent job. He left the old seals in the boot for me which, if nothing else, did emphasise how much had been changed! When this year’s MoT and annual service became due, I was hoping for a rather cheaper experience, and was pleased to get the call to say that the Z3 had passed the MoT without problem. Walkers did a comprehensive ‘health check’ on the car before the annual service and, while there was nothing that needed immediate attention, there were a few things that I decided to get done while they had the car.

    The windscreen wiper arm had become twisted slightly and had scratched the screen. While that’s particularly annoying (and I have no idea how it happened), the scratching isn’t directly in front of the driver, so didn’t influence the MoT test. The arm and the wiper blades were duly replaced.

    More significant was that the propshaft rubber coupler was found to be perished and cracked. Walkers suggested I consider replacing it sooner rather than later, so it seemed logical to get that done during the service.
    They also spotted that the rear anti-roll bar drop link bushes were perished, and had started to split. This rang true as I had felt that, in high-speed corners, the rear of the Z3 did feel a little soft to me. Although I don’t claim to be some kind of seat-of-the-pants-engineer, I had noticed this rather unnerving characteristic on a particular bend on the A24, near where I live. Now, my other car is a Lotus Elise so it’s probably a little unfair to make the comparison, but I did. So, getting these bushes replaced seemed an excellent idea. Driving back from Walkers and negotiating that same bend, the car certainly felt like it was squatting down into the corner a lot better – a feeling that makes spending the money a lot easier!

    The only really annoying thing was that, during the standard service, the exhaust studs snapped on removal, which meant they had to be heated to remove them. Walkers kept the cost down, though, and only charged an hour’s labour when I suspect it took a little longer. That said, the labour, new studs and new exhaust manifold did add £95 to the total bill.

    In total, therefore, the #MoT , annual service and a couple of replacements that while not essential were sensible, saw a total bill of £681. When you consider this is for a year’s motoring, it works out at around £56 a month, which is reasonable – and a lot less than I had to spend last year on those bloody seals!

    The service was carried out in late October, just when we had that cold snap in the weather. Nevertheless, the day I collected the Z3 it was blue sky and sunshine. Decent jacket, quality woolly beanie hat fitted, shades on, the drive home with the roof down, through some great Sussex country lanes, was excellent.

    Add some decent tunes on the stereo, and that’s exactly why I bought the car in the first place. Walkers also give each customer car a full wash and vacuum, so we were looking good. An open-topped car isn’t just for the summer!

    My Z3 certainly lived up to expectations during the summer. Left: All the work was done at Walkers Autotech, who also gave the car an excellent clean and vacuum – much appreciated! Right: These are the old rubber seals that go around the windscreen; now all replaced.
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    STEVEN’S E31 #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-E31 / #BMW / #BMW-850i-E31 / #BMW-8-Series / #BMW-8-Series-E31 / #BMW-M70 /

    Yes, I know the 850 is supposed to be for sale. But you can’t sell a broken car, and if there’s one thing that E31s are good at, it’s being very high maintenance.

    I suppose I could call this one a narrow escape, as it happened the day after it passed its #MOT . Upon start-up, I heard the characteristic screech of a worn fan belt. This surprised me as it’s not that old, however it is adjustable, so I mentally put it on the ‘to-do’ list. While pulling away, however, I heard a distinct rattling noise coming from the engine bay, so I quickly pulled over to investigate. I found the viscous fan rattling away at all sorts of angles, with coolant spraying out from the water pump which it’s connected to. Clearly the water pump had lost its bearings and was moving in a ‘nonlinear’ fashion.

    Water pumps are not that hard to change, they are simply bolted to the front of the engine block. Accessing one, however, does require the removal of several parts, namely the viscous fan, fan shroud, radiator and coolant hoses, thermostat, both auxiliary fan belts and associated tensioners, and finally the crank pulley. The last one is particularly difficult to remove and has to be levered off using a large screwdriver, lots of muscle and even more patience. All of this took me about four hours to remove.

    I could now access the water pump, and removal of that was interesting. The pump housing has three threaded holes in it which seem to serve no purpose as they line up with nothing. In fact, they are there for removal. You screw some bolts into the holes and, by tightening them up, they push the pump away from the block. After that, you just need to carefully pull the pump off from the block, trying not to pull the top hoses off from the back of the engine.

    Fitting of the new pump was, as always, the reversal of removal, and once I’d drained and replaced the remaining coolant I fired her up. Lo and behold, a spinning fan and no leaks. Happy days, and all-in the job took six hours. Shame I chose a day when it was 33°C, but never mind. I also had another go at the headlining last week. I replaced the headlining a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the sunroof as it was sagging badly and quite dirty. It was a time-consuming, but relatively simple job. However I noticed that it was starting to sag again, so clearly more attention was required. It is only really held-up with clips so can be pulled off once you have removed the roof handles and sun visors, and I set to work removing and re-gluing the material back on, this time with stronger glue. All of the clips instantly broke when I removed it (as they always do) so a quick trip to BMW sorted me a replacement set. Once refitted, I have to say it was looking rather smart. Now I can sell it.

    Knackered old water pump has been replaced. New water pump in place.
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    Jensen not on the button

    CAR: 1968 Jensen Interceptor
    OWNER : James Elliott

    / #1968-Jensen-Interceptor / #1968 / #Jensen-Interceptor / #Jensen

    The worst thing about getting a car back after a long time is that, unless you have had it fully and properly restored, it will still have 99% of the faults, annoyances and quirks that it had when it went away. And that can be pretty disheartening.

    If you recall from last month, my #Jensen-Interceptor-Mk1 had been off the road since December 2016, had gone off to a specialist in June 2017 to have its gearbox investigated, and was then moved on to my pal Len Hand that September soon after he had moved to Herefordshire.

    At the start of 2018 I started to put pressure on former colleague Gaynor (Len’s missus) to get the car back and, having had an early burst of energy with the welding, followed by a long lull, Len threw himself at it with renewed vigour. The lengthy lay-off hadn’t helped matters, with non-starting, a dying starter motor, dodgy brakes, a flat battery and more adding to the problems that it went away with.

    As with all these things, therefore, all the works that make up the bill (which was large, but still incredibly insubstantial for the hours put in) are under the skin. Which is slightly deflating when you hand over the cash because, just as you want to see a reason for the traffic jam when it finally starts moving again, it’s nice to see at least some superficial improvement in your car.

    Gaynor and Len are both volunteers at the brilliant Kempton Steam Museum and regularly come down for steaming weekends, when the world’s largest working triple expansion steam engine is operated. You’ll have seen it in films or TV shows, but to see it in the metal was mindblowing.

    So they trailered the car there for me in March (which saved me a pretty penny in fuel driving it back) for the reunion. After spending half a day at Kempton, it was time to limp the Jensen home. Worryingly, when pressed, Len wasn’t confident that it would even make the nine miles back to Putney, but it did. With a thick layer of snow all over it the next morning, it was pretty depressing to clear it off and see bodywork even worse than I remembered. The rear arches are now more or less absent.

    I then opened the doesn’t close- properly driver’s door and it was pretty much the same inside. I did start to notice all Len’s work, though, with signs of extensive precision welding in both footwells, which I know was matched with similar work at the rear of the floorpan. The starter motor was lazy, but it turned just enough to fire up the Chrysler 383. The Jensen soon settled into the same lumpy idle that I recalled it having when it went away.

    When it was warm and I applied the throttle, there was some pretty bad pinking, too. So that was a worry. On the upside, it was actually working, it did get me home, I know that a lot of welding has been done and it was at least good enough to pass an #MoT before they no longer become necessary for this car. Plus, the brakes are better than they have ever been. Even when I knew it was road legal and on its way back to me, I tried to temper my enthusiasm with the reality of what it was going to be like. But I knew I would be over-optimistic and that, after nearly 12 years together, the first few days would genuinely be make-or-break for my ownership of the Jensen. When I got home, I got my answer: instead of typing an #eBay listing, I started making a list of all the jobs to do on the car. Then I took the kids to school in it for the next few days and drove it around locally, revelling in the positive reaction it gets even in this appalling aesthetic condition. Now I just need some time and weather to start working through a to-do list as long as Jenks’ Mille Miglia pace notes.

    Life would be a lot less complicated, and expensive, if I didn’t keep falling in love with this accursed car.

    Clockwise from left Looks great – seen from a distance; #Dunlop-calipers ’ old-style automatic piston adjustment has now gone; floor needed much welding.
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    CAR #MG-1300 / #MG / #ADO16 / #BMC-ADO16 / #BMC
    Run by James Page
    Owned since June 2014
    Total mileage 96,319
    Miles since September
    2017 report 315
    Latest costs £550


    Back in August, the MG passed its MoT with flying colours. I’d given everything a quick check beforehand, which threw up a couple of things that needed doing. First was the handbrake operation on the nearside rear. Or lack of operation, I should say. I adjusted it so that it felt quite convincing and, while it wasn’t so impressive a couple of days later on the rollers at the #MoT station, it did enough to pass.

    The other job was to replace the brake-light switch. The lamps were a bit feeble, coming to life only when the pedal was some distance into its travel, but a new switch sorted it. Not that the old one gave up without a fight – as is often the case, a five-minute job turned into about 20 minutes as we tried to unscrew the stubborn b… blighter without knackering the pipework.

    With those minor tweaks sorted and a new ticket issued, the MG then had a short period of behaving itself. When a headlight failed, I took the opportunity to convert to halogen units, but time was always against me when it came to various other small annoyances.

    That being the case, I eventually gave up trying to do it myself and took the car to local specialist Autoclassico, which had Jaguar, Aston, Maserati and Lotus projects on the go when I dropped the MG off. My humble saloon still seemed to be a popular visitor, though. Everyone who drove it did the universally recognised ‘bobbing’ motion to describe their progress, bouncing down the road on Hydrolastic suspension and softly sprung seats. As well as a general service and a look at that handbrake, I asked them to investigate its embarrassingly long-standing clutch problem.
    For a while, selecting and deselecting gears had been something of a hit-and-miss affair, although predictably it behaved perfectly during their first test drive. They nonetheless rebuilt the master and slave cylinders. Apparently, the crud in the old fluid was a sight to behold. I went to pick up the car and, for 25 miles or so, it was transformed.

    As part of the thorough fettling, the timing had been checked and the carbs adjusted – even though emissions didn’t officially form part of its MoT, the ever-affable tester at Elberton Garage had remarked that it sounded rich and took a reading that confirmed it. The handbrake was much more effective, too.

    The following day, and buoyed by how well it was running, I went for a random lunchtime drive. After about 10 minutes, the pressure again started to disappear from the clutch pedal and gear selection proved stubborn. Eventually, at a T-junction, it went completely and I couldn’t find anything – the first time that it had reached that stage.

    I checked the master cylinder and it hadn’t lost any fluid, so there was nothing to do beyond calling for recovery. By the time that it arrived (which wasn’t long, despite me initially sending them to Tockington by mistake rather than Tytherington…), gear selection had been restored, but back the car went to the chaps at Autoclassico.

    This time, the diagnosis was that the piston was sticking in the master cylinder – it would be okay for the first few gearchanges, but gradually it wouldn’t return correctly. Given time, it would get there eventually, hence why it had ‘come back’ after 20 minutes or so. Mike at Autoclassico refused on general principle to order one of the plastic master cylinders that are currently on offer, but eventually we found a genuine Lockheed item on eBay. With my credit card recovering in a darkened room and what must surely have been the world’s most expensive master cylinder fitted, the MG was once again back to full health – and seemingly on a rather more permanent basis this time.

    THANKS TO Autoclassico: 0117 956 9115; / Elberton Garage: 01454 414670

    With everything finally sorted – after a return visit to Autoclassico – the MG is back on the road. MG ready for MoT test at Elberton Garage. Recovered, but note bright brake lights! VW rolls by as MG refuses to select gears. A fresh pair of Wipac halogen headlamps. New master solved the gearchange issues.
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    MODEL OF THEWEEK ★ #1980 - #1984 #Lada-Riva / #VAZ-2105 / #Lada-2105 / #Lada / #VAZ

    MINT £1750
    GOOD £1100
    USABLE £500
    PROJECT £250

    The How Many Left? website reckons that at the last count there were about 60 Rivas still being used in the UK, which is more than you might expect but still not a lot of choice – and there are currently just three being offered for sale here (there are many more newer Rivas in Eastern Europe). Still, they are out there, and if you want a car designed from the outset to deal with winter weather, something built in Russia is a fair place to start. But though a Riva won’t bat a headlamp at blasts of Arctic weather, don’t expect much from the driving dynamics. Heavy controls and dubious handling are the order of the day – nothing like the Fiat 125s they were based on. And it’s part of Lada ownership that things will regularly fall off it. Then again, unless it’s been removed at some point, they did come with a very comprehensive toolkit for bolting stuff back on again.


    Avoid any post-1992 models as they struggle to pass #MoT emissions tests
    It might not impress the seller, but unscrew a spark plug to see if the engine’s burning oil.
    Check the fusebox for corrosion and signs of melting caused by things shorting out.
    Seat covers are commonly fitted – so don’t forget to look at what horrors may be hidden underneath them.
    Expect some gearbox whine, but if it’s annoyingly intrusive expenditure is due.

    ENGINE 1452cc/4-cyl/OHC
    POWER 71bhp@5600rpm
    TORQUE 78lb ft@3400rpm
    0-60MPH 16.4sec
    FUEL CONS 30mpg
    TRANSMISSION RWD, four/five-speed manual


    In the late 1980s the New Zealand Dairy Board accepted around 1000 Lada Rivas in lieu of payment for several shipments of butter.
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    STEVEN’S #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-E31

    Last month I said that I was going to be taking Hiro for an #MoT . To cut a long story short, she failed. I walked back to the test centre only to be greeted by the sight of my car still up on the ramps – never a good sign! Gutted. I was so looking forward to cruising around for a few days before I commence the next stage of the rebuild (bodywork) but it wasn’t to be.

    To be exact, she needed some welding done on the rusted #OSR jacking point, the front brake balance bias is out of whack (I knew I should have changed the pads!), the handbrake is nonexistent but most worrying was the emissions. It was five times the legal limit!

    Starting with the brakes, I changed out the front brake pads for some Pagid items which I bought for a bargain price, and cleaned up the rust from the handbrake. After several sharp brake tests to bed in the pads, I think I have cured the imbalance (and the pesky ABS light on the dash has gone out – woohoo!). After that it was down to the welders to have my jacking point rebuilt.

    As for the emissions, however, that’s a different story. She has sat unused for about three years and I was hoping that some injector cleaner and a damn good blast (on my way to the MoT test centre, obviously) would clean out the cobwebs and get the cats up to temperature, but it wasn’t to be. The readings were still double what they need to be, which is an improvement, but still worryingly high! There’s a strong smell of fuel, too. Since the air filter and spark plugs are only about four months old and the lambda sensors were reading normally, I was at the end of my expertise in how to fix it, so I decided it was time to consult an expert.

    The first garage I spoke to were very willing to have a look until I told him it was a #BMW-850Ci , at which point he laughed at me and told me to consult a specialist. As a result, it went to the local BMW indy #K&M-Autotechniks for a check up, who diagnosed dodgy cats.

    Hiro has a Powerflow exhaust fitted by a previous owner, and so I figured the best solution was to replace the cats with new Powerflow items, a decision reinforced by the fact that #BMW quotes the cats at £1300 each, and I need two! My closest Powerflow dealer was Enigma in Slough, which is run by a guy called Naz, and is also conveniently only five miles from my house. When they removed the old cats, they were found to be empty. That’s right, empty, which throws into question the previous owner’s MoTs as being a #1993 model cats are a requirement to pass the emissions test. Anyway, Naz installed some new shiny ones and took it for an MoT and it has now passed (just)! Legend.

    However, there was still a strong smell of fuel whilst driving. Again, the guys at #K&M came up trumps by finding a snapped fuel return pipe just below the driver’s side door. I was able to repair this very easily with some spare fuel hose I had lying about, and all this means I can at last drive the damn thing! Which of course means I can test out the new suspension and brakes installed.

    The #Bilstein-B12 kit came highly recommended, and I can see why. The handling is much sharper than I expected, giving great feedback when pushing on yet remains soft enough to waft along with the windows down in comfort. It genuinely offers the best of both worlds and I really can’t speak highly enough of it. The brakes are also a massive improvement; the resealed calipers, along with the braided lines and fresh fluid have given a really firm pedal which really inspires confidence. Oh, did I mention the #ABS light has come back on? Damn car…
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