Since it happened today (I haven't slept yet so for me it's still Sunday as I write this), seems sensible to write up the collection report while it's fresh in my mind. A very early start was had at 7am, my usual work hours meaning I couldn't get to sleep earlier than 3am so I was already disadvantaged before we even set off. This was further hampered when trying to make myself a cup of tea and completely forgetting to put a teabag in the pot.
Luckily, I wasn't doing any driving today, I was just an extra pair of hands, a document signer and of course going to see just what I'd let myself in for. Mike and I went in his car to the first stop in Malham where we'd meet up with Joe who had the trailer and would be doing the rest of the driving. Happily we arrived only a couple of minutes late due to cyclists and a wrong turn so there was no real delay. A cup of tea was provided made with actual tea which was also appreciated before trailer testing and van loading was done. Then we hit the road and I fell asleep at least once before we made a stop for packed lunches at Lymm Services.
There was a good omen in the form of this pleasingly tatty Beetle.
Refreshed, legs woken up, bums no longer flat, we climbed back in the van and set off again towards Ludlow. More interesting things were seen like this shockingly clean D reg Mk2 Polo. I only wish mine had been so tidy!
As we neared our destination a Renault Master horsebox appeared which even appeared to have a horse in it, allbeit a small one.
We got to the destination without any drama or problems at all and very quickly became acquainted with Rich, Imogen and Tom who had appeared in his Zender kitted Xantia which looked rather smart if I do say so myself. Luckily I had a really good excuse not to buy it.
Much nattering was had and a fairly relaxed approach taken to the whole loading up thing. Mike and I had set off about 8am, it was now about 3:30pm, so we weren't in a rush to get back on the road just yet. Rich showed me around the car and highlighted the good, the bad and the other stuff. Overall it's really not bad at all, if anything it's slightly better than anticipated. I didn't take any pics as I'll do that in detail when I start the proper clean and strip down for repairs. I already knew about some of the issues, in addition there's a section of inner sill to floor join that's turned to cornflakes but doesn't seem to have taken the outer or intermediate sills with it and one front subframe mount looks like it needs a patch.
Overall, the car is in reasonable shape. The floors and under the seats looked okay, the bulkhead has already been repaired so didn't look too bad at all and the suspension was nice and healthy feeling. Eventually it was time to load up and of the first spares were two front wings, one complete and one almost complete. Between these and the wings on the car, there's enough to easily make two really good wings and repair the worst of the outside rust on the car.
Other spares included were a posh full-width wooden dash, a pair of bumpers, a starter motor that may or may not be good and a decent windscreen. There's a few bits and bobs in the car to sort through too and several metres of matching green and purple striped cloth which will do a fine job of the door cards and parcel shelf. It will need a new carpet and while I'm going to put a cover on the back seat for the short term it could do with a new green Wolseley seat back cover in the back. Surprisingly, the tyres still look in serviceable condition and held enough air to roll the car easily. Before loading up onto the trailer I checked the brake pedal and a pipe promptly burst spitting brake fluid out across the drive. Handbrake seems to work fine, brakes weren't stuck and the clutch feels like it needs a little attention just from being stood for a while. Otherwise, everything is present and correct, it's not a basket case from what I could see, neither is it a show stopper. For the price paid, it's much better than expected.
Rolled quite easily onto the trailer with four or five people to hand to help. I make no apologies for my very loud trousers. Joe accidentally wore a tee-shirt with sleeves that matched the paint on the Austin.
Loaded up, strapped down, all the spares neatly packed inside and we were pretty much ready to go. Joe was towing with the veg-powered Toyota Estima Charme Pleasure Wagon Joyful Canopy (to give it the full and proper title) which is a very capable and very comfortable vehicle, even in the back in the mini-bus-esque seats.
There was a slight hiccup when checking the bounce of the corners and I managed to crunch my hand through the front wing I knew was bad which meant the headlight was loose. Because we didn't want that falling off we gave it a wiggle to check how secure it was and it came away in my hand and a moth flew out of the wing. That was then unplugged and safely stowed away. Final checks made, we were finally off!
The first stop on the way back was for something to eat at a Little Chef that was probably last decorated in about 1988. The burgers were massive, the chips delicious and the teapots had teabags in them so it was big wins all round.
On a particularly long hill on the way back after that we were overtaken by a VW LT high top camper... or a bungalow. It was difficult to tell the difference and my camera skills were quite poor by this stage.
Eventually, the weary crew landed at Castle Cleland at about 10pm. Originally we had intended to swap the trailer onto Mike's car and carry on north with it tonight but the roads are dark, unlit and narrow which isn't ideal when you're very tired. Instead, we'll go with the alternative plan of Joe bringing the little Austin up to the north east on Tuesday after which a full and proper investigation of works needed can be undertaken.
Many, many thanks to Joe, Mike, Rich, Imogen and Tom for all their help today. I'll do everything within my abilities to see this little purple car back on the road where it belongs.