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Inspector Morose

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Inspector Morose last won the day on May 13 2019

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  1. B—-FOG aye, that was the one. Turned out to be a good one too. The S was the sporty model with floor change (most 353s were column change), front spoiler with built in fog lamps and a DDR copy of a twin choke downdraught Webber carb.
  2. My 1957 311 (the grey one) next to a mates 312 at some show somewhere. I drove that back from Poland after swapping the original engine for a scrapyard 353 lump. Years later I found the original engine in Gilford after a chap had bought it from the fella I’d bought the 311 from. Looked nice, handled well but was full of rather dubious repairs to the structure and mechanics. My daily at the time was a 353S that had come, indirectly, from Nick Larkin of Popular Classics. It’s about time saabnut arrives here to remind me that my 1.3 is still sitting behind his shed.
  3. Thee were a few of us on here that used to trip Trabants back after the wall came down. Apart from me, I think Mr Bickle used to do it was well. Proved to be a useful bit of extra cash plus a bit of fun. Some of the more memorable trips include finding a hycomat in true time warp condition, ‘inheriting’ some tramps that came over in the back of a load of IFA W50s that Leavesley has bought to try and sell along with their other ex-military stock. We broke the tramps for parts (no papers, no identification) and made a profit but I think Leavesley weren’t so lucky as I used to see the W50s in their yars for years afterwards. one of the last sorties was spectacularly unsuccessful as only one Trab was found. Cue four generously proportioned chaps cannonballing a dubiosly registered baby poo coloured Trab back to the UK from near Zwickau. No brand new Trabbis were ever registered here although some of the 1.1s that came over were pretty new at the time. Wartburgs were not sold in the Uk after 1976 although there was one enterprising company that bought a load of 353s that had lay at a docks (somewhere around Egypt, I think?) . They advertised a ‘refurbishment’ service for your old Knight where they used the new parts from the dockyard cars to thoroughly refurbish you own. Yeah. So thoroughly were they ‘ refurbished’, they almost looked like someone had just used the RHD bits of the old car and swapped that, along with its identity, onto a dockyard car, given it a blow over and hey presto! A completely rebuilt, as new, Wartburg! If you come across a Knight Lancastrian, it is one of those rebuilt jobbies. You might notice their similarity to a much later 353W that has had its identity taken from an older UK model. But that never happened. No, not ever. Honest.
  4. When we borrowed 2450 for the Black County Museum event, we had to drag it down from Sandtoft. Usually our recovery company of choice would suspend tow stuff down but one look at that tower perched on the roof and he decided it was coming down on a flat bar. Guess who got the job of ‘driving’ it to Dudley? Quite possibly I must be the person who’s driven it the furthest distance in one journey.
  5. Good man! I knew you’d come up with the info I missed.
  6. Stupid fact: Reg Varney (he who played Butler) opened the first ATM in the world in 1967 at the Enfield Town branch of Barclays. He also had a proper PSV licence too.
  7. The top one is the newest UK trolleybus, SYPTE 2450. Built as an experiment for a proposed trolleybus network, it only ever ran on a test course alongside Doncaster racecourse. The depot was opposite the course so wiring was also strung across the road to the depot making that little bit of overhead the last and newest trolleybus overhead used on public roads in the whole of the UK. As nobody had built a trolleybus since 1962, there wasn’t a company in the UK that could build one ‘off the shelf’. Enter Dennis during its “you want a what? Sure, we can build that” phase. Although everyone calls it a Dominator, the chassis is very much more similar to its Falcon single deck chassis with its longitudinal rails all the way back to the rear of the bus. As you couldn’t buy trolleybus spares at your local factors, a little ingenuity was called for when trying to equip the chassis. The motor was a reconditioned ex-Bradford 120hp motor and was controlled by a scratch built thyristor control set up that plagues it to this day (the usual method to make it go involves lifting the rear side panel whee the control system is located and giving it a sharp kick where normal service is resumed). making it go is one thing but theres a lot of other systems on a bus to power. A compressor to supply air for the brakes, doors, wipers and suspension is needed and as it didn’t have an engine to drive it, one powered by the overhead was needed. A root around various stores of the sponsors of the project, a suitable set up was found that used to be housed in a class 08 shunter. Horribly over specced and large, it was available for cheap so in it went in the back. Next was hydraulic power for the steering and low voltage electric for the lights and other bus things. Here the solution was to find a motor-generator set from an underground train and modify one end to drive a hydraulic pump. This had to run all the time to keep steering and electrical power and was incredibly loud making the proclamation on the side as the ‘quiet revolution in transport’ a bit of a piss take. It also drew huge current on starting, making the initial current draw of the bus when switching on enough to occasionally trip the breakers on the overhead power supply when we ran it at the BCLM. SYPTE wanted off wire manoeuvrability so a three cylinder Ruston diesel engine was perched on top of the back of the chassis, driving a generator that could supply the bus with enough electricity to make it move along at about 14mph on the flat (theres a tale about driving this to the local pub one evening but I’ll leave that for another day) So, we have a chassis (bit of a lash up but it worked) so how to body it? Alexander was bodying a run of the standard SYPTE Dominators so they were ‘persuaded’ to modify an extra one of those to fit the trolleybus. The roof was calculated as being strong enough in itself to carry the weight of the poles on the roof. Ah yes, trolleypoles. New ones were still being made on the continent so buying a pair wasn’t a problem but attaching them to the bus was. Nobody had made bases suitable for fitment to a double decker for over 20 years so to keep costs down, single deck ones were used and mounted at the right angle with a huge cowling fitted around it all to try and disguise the bodge - making this Alexander R type the tallest of its style ever made.. They had a bus and the route was wired using off the shelf continental overhead fittings and they were ready to test. This they did and it became a regular sight travelling up and down the racecourse route. On open days, it even carried the occasional passenger or two but it never actually entered what any sane person would call ‘service’. It was registered though as it had to cross a public road to get back to the depot and the ministry of transport was an arse so the number B450CKW as the last of the run of a batch of standard Dominators delivered at the same time. Before it ver ran un anger as a complete bus, the plates were swapped, it becoming C45HDT instead as the first of a series that included another Dennis oddball, the Domino midibus. After spending so much time and money, why did it fail? Admittedly, the bus was a total lash up but it did prove the concept and was enough to convince enough people that a properly built trolleybus could be a goer. Problem was Deregulation was just around the corner and nobody knew what was going to happen. Would competition be allowed to use any overhead constructed at great cost to the PTE? It was quickly decided that this sort of thing was not a clever idea in the current climate and so the whole thing was quietly and rapidly shelved. 2450 sat at Doncaster for years, slowly donated body parts (near enough brand new and unused) to the identical diesel fleet and eventually the test route was dismantled and sold for scrap leaving 2450 marooned at the depot. To save costs, many depots were considered for closure and Doncaster was one of them. 2450 was effectively still owned by SYPTE and not the bus company, renamed Mainline. With Doncaster closing, the PTE had to move the bus somewhere so contact was made with Sandtoft to house the bus there, with enough bits to make it into a complete vehicle again. And here it’s stayed ever since, apart from being borrowed for the Black Country Museums ‘Trolleybus Galore” event - the only time it has ever run under its own power other than Doncaster and Sandtoft. It was very much a fickle beast at the best of times and it looks like it’s complexity has won out as it barely ever runs now and is regarded very much as a static exhibit. Such a sad end for a bus that effectively never entered service and could be considered a brand new 1985 SYPTE spec Dennis. The other bus is a recreation of an early Railless trolleybus that Sandtoft commissioned from, I believe, a Czech trolleybus group who specialises in recreating the early days of the trolleybus.
  8. Which is odd as Saabs have one of the best spares supplies for a defunct manufacturer around. Are the parts cheap? Hell no, and that is the heart of the issue. Saabs (and Volvos for that matter) take money to maintain. They wee not cheap cars and consequently, the parts to maintain them were not cheap either. Folk wishing to run one of these successfully on a shoestring will be on a hiding to nothing because as soon as the goodwill of the previous owners maintenance has run out, large bills will ensue and that’s not what folk want from what they see as a disposable item. Saabs (and I think this is part of the reason of why people either ‘get ‘ them or don’t) are not disposable items. They are to be maintained and cared for and that takes a lot more money than trying to run a Focus or whatever. Those prepared to put their wallet where their mouth is are rewarded with a very capable car that will serve them well for many years. Those who don’t find the bills rack up rapidly and wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to run one. It’s all about mindset, you see. As Saabs are seen as cheap banger fodder, this lesson is lost and therefore they get a bad reputation of being difficult and expensive. Treat one well and it will serve you well. Don’t and I guarantee that it will bite you hard.
  9. When I realised that I couldn’t afford to run it, it was sold and replaced by something I could maintain properly on my reduced budget. It’s not what I’d want to run but cutting my cloth and all that. But fuck me, I miss that thing.
  10. Mine was a bill for about £350 all in for a similar job. Saabs are not cheap things to keep on top of properly so maybe it’s for the best if you’re uncle isn’t up for that sort of challenge. Mine cost a fair amount to maintain and that was for a low mileage car with a wad of history when I bought it. I kept on top of it as I used it for popping over to Europe on a whim. It was sublime for covering distance in but it came at a cost.
  11. Bulb, couple of ball joints and a steering rack. Plus a clean up of the front brakes. Meh, that’s general maintenance. would if I could. Can’t so I won’t. The steering rack is one of three types on that. If you’re lucky, it’s the non-sensor version as thats the cheapest but as experienced a year or so ago when mine blew its seals onto the MoT tester, they’re readily available. Your garage doesn’t want the job as it involves a subframe drop to change the rack.
  12. <Smug mode on> Yeah, I bought and owned one for a while. <smug mode off>
  13. I might know of a suitable and even more deadly home for that if you ever want to be rid of it.
  14. XBF was ordered by the NBC for comparative trials for the next generation of double deck purchases. It was placed with PMT to run alongside another experimental purchase, a Foden NC on their routes. Maidstone also had evaluation vehicles of its own, an Ailsa-Volvo with similar Alexander body to the Dennis and a Rolls Royce engined Metrobus. After the trials ended, the Dominator was sent to Maidstone (hence why it was red in the second pic - that one was actually taken not long after it was transferred). The Foden wasn’t so lucky as it withdrawn at roughly the same time as the transfer of the Dominator, after the umpteenth transfer gear failure, and languished at the rear of PMTs Hanley depot until finally sold for scrap by First in the ‘90s (there’s a whole tale to tell about that but I won’t this close to bed time). The upper photo of it was after it sustained fairly major front end damage after an accident. instead of just buying replacement Fiberglass panels from Alexander, Maidstone thought it could do it cheaper by employing its bodymen to craft a complete new front end out of aluminium and having a bespoke grille made especially for it. Surprisingly, it didn’t end up cheaper and took many months to finish.
  15. SYPTE were big on Dennis at the time with a large fleet of Dominators, some Gardner powered, some with RollsRoyce so their choice of a Dorchester for their coach fleet isn’t that surprising. They were so well in with Dennis at the time they managed to convince them to bespoke build a trolleybus chassis (that everyone calls a Dominator but having spent a considerable time under the thing, it really isn’t). Coachline seemed to gather the waifs and strays of the coach world, alongside the Dorchesters, they also obtained the motor show “Ebdons” Olympian that Ebdons decided they didn’t want from Leyland after all. After dragging it off the hard shoulder too many times (and it catching fire at least gave up on that one. Dennis were going through their mix and match “we’ll build you anything you want using bits from our spares department” phase at the time. Not only were they doing small runs of (actually rather good) coaches for a few operators, they bespoke built some midibuses for Greater Manchester and SYPTE, the afore mentioned trolleybus and two types of rear engined single deck chassis - one with the gearbox ahead of the rear axle and one with the box close coupled to the engine behind the axle.
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