Monday 28 June 2021

Simplicate & Add Lightness

 First things first - Chris Chapbloke - my computer has forgotten your e-mail again!

Next thing next, started looking in more depth at the Stylus today, there were some cables going into the firewall with the hole just plugged with duct tape, so while replacing the bolts with titanium ones - as you do - I made up an aluminium cover plate.

As the big box of titanium bolts was out I replaced the bonnet & boot hinge bolts & turned the boot stay the other way round so gravity holds it locked & the boot supported - as it was the slightest puff of wind raised the lid slightly, the stay unlocked & the boot lid fell on you head - trust me on this!

Then my brother popped round to see the car & while grovelling about under it I found one of the rear axle oil seals is weeping, I shall change them both once I've borrowed a slide hammer.

I then set about tidying the nose up, there was an oil cooler it might have needed when it was supercharged, it didn't need it now & it hung below the radiator so after a graet deal of trouble with fittings (all of witch loosened at the adaptor joint, not the connector joint makng it impossible to remove them) I eventually removed the cooler, the remote oil filter, the oil-stat & pump adaptor & all the piping - removing 2 1/2 kg as well as the likelyhood of tearing the oil cooler off on a drain cover.

Bit of a dodgy bracket this one, quite "leggy", with a heavy thing on it & held only at the bottom by a 5mm self tapper & one M6 bolt which also attached two brake unions, so it it came adrift it would take the brakes with it - having said that, it never happened, so I guess it was OK

Much tidier now.

The underseal is peeling & there's some rust underneath - nothing serious, but a job for another day.

Sunday 27 June 2021

Big News

 I'm sitting here quite excited because today my next project has arrived.

People in the SKCC have been kindly sending me links to cars they've found ads for on the interweb & two of them sent different ads for the same car, one on Faceache the other on Pistonheads. It was another Jeremy Phillips design, quite similar to the Fury, but this is the later Stylus. I left it a week or two because I still had the Quantum to fix and really didn't want another car to work on .... and ..... and, but one day in a moment of weakness I sent an e-mail asking if the car was still for sale - it was - bugger, I had a choice to make then.

I arranged to go & see the car on the Friday afternoon & after a meandering route selected by the SatNav (I'm guessing the M25 was in difficulties) I arrived & found the car. The owner appeared & I started my inspection.

Initially this was a little disappointing, the photos made it look better than it was, but Stylii don't come up for sale often & as I looked at it I realised it had been very well built & the owner explained it had been built as a street-legal track day car with a supercharged Zetec, but the supercharger had been removed. That meant the basic spec was actually very good, the stronger V6 gearbox with the taller 1st gear, limited slip diff, big brakes, huge aluminium radiator, so really what it needed was a refresh. It started OK & a trip out showed no real problems (the suspension was a little squeaky but it has hardly been used in the last few years).

I went home & thought about it, the only thing bothering me was the price, I reasoned that the spec was better than my Fury had been, on the other hand the general condition was not so good, so I decided what I would've been happy to sell the Fury for & offered that.

A nervous wait ensued, but then an e-mail arrived accepting the offer & after a little negotiation the owner delivered it (saving all the hassle with insurance & tax).

As these things go, the very day the offer was accepted I was sent another ad, for another Stylus! From the pictures it's in better condition, has more power & is only a little more than my car's original asking price. Initially I was cross, but then I thought the car in the second ad is turbo'd - which I don't want, it's all finished - which I don't want & it is actually quite a lot more money that I ended up paying, which kind of confirms I paid about the right price. The only thing the second car really has in its' favour is a flip front.

So there we are - I am now a three car family all on my own & getting the Quantum finished & sold has become a more pressing priority. But did I work on it today? Did I hell, I have a new toy!

Poking round the engine bay revealed all sorts of things hidden away in odd corners. There was a reservoir for the cooling system & a reservoir for the reservoir, the first one is a stainless steel tube thing & really quite heavy, so I might look for a plastic one to hide away.

Then I found a catch tank for the oil breather - empty fortunately. It's a shiny blue billet alloy thing that's mounted in the way on the fuel system & weighs about a kilo, so that might be finding it's way onto E-bay as well. down in the depths of the nose cone is an oil cooler it might have needed when it was supercharged, a remote oil filter & a yard of hose, so that will be getting sold off as well. 

Simplicate & add lightness.

Good things I've found include a removable steering wheel (rusty steel blots replaced with titanium) & a Quaife quick-shift. It doesn't really need either, but I shall experiment & see if I like them. On the down side it has no heater. I'm not overly bothered by that as such, but is has no de-mist & it will need something as I've had problems in the Fury with the screen misting in the autumn. the Fury had a heated screen, but I don't think I want to take the screen out of the Stylus - of course if I fit a heater, the screen will crack the following day.....


So here is my fleet.


Saturday 26 June 2021

Back To The Quantum

 After the excitement of the Rogue Runners' road trip, I had to get the house ready for my son, daughter-in-law & grandson to stay with me for a few days, then there were other things that needed doing (cam belt in my daughters' car), but eventually the Pendulum of Priorities has swung back to the Quantum.

The flip front was a mess really, at some stage quite early in its' life someone thought it would be a good idea to put vents in the bonnet & sourced a couple of GRP mouldings of the vents Ford put in one of the mid 90s fast escorts. I hope they were cheap because they look like a moulding of a moulding of a moulding of the Ford part. They'd fitted them (in my opinion) 6" too far forward & because they were horrid they had painted them & an inch all around them matt black.

They were aso badly fitted, with cracks all round where the filler (which looked suspiciously like window putty) had come out. I'm not good with bodywork, but I have tried to fill the gaps with new GRP, then filler, then high build primer & my Brother has a local company that can match a colour with a rattle can ful of paint, so I'll drop a headlight cover off with him later on & I'm hoping that I can paint the whole thing white, or maybe just paint the louvres in the vents black.

At the same time I've repaired the centreline front damage. I guess someone has opened the bonnet onto a kerb & pushed in an area the size of a tennis ball with star cracks speading out 6" in all directions. Again the filler did not look like car filler so I dug it all out, put a piece of glass mat in the hole & filled it, then ground out the star cracks & filled those too. So far it looks OK, but we'll see how what happens when the paint goes on.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Rogue Runners '21 - Day 10


Day 10

The last day. This was a sad thing, it was officially the last day, though three would be taking two days to go south as they took two days to come north. The one who had furthest to travel set off first by the shortest route, then the elises & one Seven bound for Hull left & the other three cars, two Sevens & a Citroen left just a little later.

The route mostly reversed the route up, Hawick was still being dug up, but the Cactus had been refuelled just north of Selkirk the day before so I didn’t need the fuel stop we couldn’t get to. The closed roads threw the SatNav into a quandary, but I’ve been through Hawick so many times recently I knew how to find the B road we needed. The problem was that we ended up behind a minibus that went v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y for 12 of the 16 miles & where there was an overtake opportunity, drove in the centre.

Shortly after that we were on the M6, then Tebay South to get a drink & buy CAKE – we like cake, then we began traversing the Yorkshire moors. The roads are good & the scenery is lovely, but I’d failed to realise it was a sunny Bank Holiday Monday at the end of a lockdown & EVERYBODY was out. Every village, pub & tea shop was rammed with folk, & the roads were busy with those who had finished & were heading home or were still driving around looking for somewhere to park. They were not in a hurry & were not going to let us past in case we got to the parking space first.

But it was a lovely day & a pleasant drive. Soon enough we found ourselves on the A1 / A1M with the SatNav warning of delays of up to ½ hour which magically melted away as we approached them, we had to slow to 40 or so a couple of times, but it wasn’t at all bad really.

Then we arrived at the garden centre we’d set off from ten days before – on that occasion we just caught them as they opened, this time I walked in as they were wiping down tables “are you still open?” I hazarded “only for coffee & cake”. This was of course music to our ears, we like cake.

Then one left for Peterborough & the other two left for London’s passenger side, but got split up almost immediately afterwards. On the M25 in busy traffic I was surprised when a bike came past me on it’s back wheel, followed by another, then several more bikes came screaming past, then three matt wapped, “stanced” cars weaving in & out to keep up with the bikes. I was expecting to be bought to a halt by the inevitable pile up but I must assume they waited until they left the motorway for that & then I was home. The Cactus’ dash showed 2,500 miles at 60mpg & remember I said it was filled north of Selkirk? I went to my brother’s the following day & the dash said fuel remaining was enough for 248 miles. I set off driving & it increased to 261.

One day back & we're already discussing Rogue Runners '22, any suggestions for names?

Rogue Runners '21 - Day 9

Day 9

Did I say things went wrong on day 8?

Did I?

No – on Day 8 things went slightly awry. Things went wrong on day 9.

I don’t mean things went wrong like a breakdown or a crash, just that I seemed to be stymied at every turn. My plan had been to leave my Son’s early & meet the other Rogues somewhere around Moffat. Then I realised their route had changed significantly & also, if I wanted to get to Stranraer I was looking at 360 miles & lot of hours. I decided to leave Stranraer for another day, but I didn’t have the Rogues new route. I asked if someone could e-mail it. An hour later I asked again, then three came all at once, so I opened the e-mail on the laptop, filed the attached route, opened the route in TomTom MyDrive (which I hate) & coppied it to the SatNav. Then I did it again & made sure the “SYNCHED TO DEVICE” pop up thing popped up, shut the laptop down & went to bed.

In the morning my Son suggested breakfast out, so we went into a cafĂ© / bakery in the local village. My Grandson hadn’t had any breakfast, so my daughter-in-law asked if they had any fruit. The man behind the counter looked horrified & said in a broad Scots accent “FROOT? NAE! Nea froot!” Having watched the Scottish diet being ridiculed on a number of comedy quiz shows, I was very glad of my face mask which meant I only had to stop my shoulders shaking, not keep a straight face as well.

So we ate breakfast & my grandson entertained the clientele with effortless cuteness (he’s just tuned 1), when we left, I turned on the SatNav, went to the routes page – no route (did I mention that I HATE TomTom MyDrive?). I put a message on the WhatsApp group asking if they could estimate where they would be around 12:00, but knowing they would be driving I set off. I thought I could maybe head south west & if a rendezvous came up I would be heading the right way, so tried to head for the Kincardine Bridge – got lost, but saw signs to Inverkiething. Knowing this was very close to North Queensferry & the Forth Bridge I thought I’d get a photo of the car under it, I drove through Inverkiething, but saw no signs & only after 20 minutes did I realise I’d already driven past all the things I’d been looking for – the railway bridge over the road, my ex-in-laws old house & the road to North Queensferry. So eventually I got there & took my photo, then headed west along the shore road, which is very pleasant & passes through several very old villages.

I reached the old Kincardine bridge (didn’t realise there were two) periodically checking for WhatsAp responses, but then I spotted the Kelpies, so parked the car & walked along a canal to where they are & took some more photos. At around this point I realised that I wasn’t going to catch up, so set the SatNav to “The Glen” in Selkirk & just rumbled along, occasionally stopping to take photos & kicking myself for not staying with my Son & his family for the day.

So I arrived at The Glen at about 2:00ish, it was locked. I thought I’d go find coffee & cake & saw a sign saying “Strathcarron Visitor Centre” – I knew the river was called Carron & earlier in the week we’d been to the Lairg Visitor Centre which had coffee & some local history – perfect. A little further along the road was another sign saying “Strathcarron Visitor Centre Coffee Shop”, but it turned out that “Strathcarron” was a company & being Sunday the visitor centre (& coffee shop) was closed.

I went back to the hotel – it was still locked, but a car that was just leaving reversed back & the proprietor directed me round to the back so I could get in & the nice lady of the house made me a coffee. I put the day’s videos onto the laptop & decided to go for a walk along the river – which was nice - & while strolling back I was dimly aware of someone calling, as I surfaced from my thoughts I realised they were calling my name – had to be a coincidence, I was 350 miles from home, but the calling became more insistent & I realised it was the nice lady from the hotel, also out for a walk who had not only recognised me as part of the car club, but had remembered my name & was telling me that everyone else had returned. I really really envy some folk’s people skills.

On my return I heard the main group’s stories of meeting Bob of the Scottish Kit Car Club, of losing him, finding him again, missed way points, turn-arounds & all the random shenanigans we’ve come to expect. Then another excellent meal at The Glen, a couple of beers & sleep.

Tomorrow was going to be a long day.