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Formula Autos

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    old Fords mostly, but any old shite'll do


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  1. Cars and sportswear firms: The Jaguar and Lonsdale sportswear/accessories brands are “lifestyle” offshoots of the respective car companies. Italian sportswear company Kappa was started by a Milanese car dealer to promote the Lancia model of the same name. After some intense competition, Fila were responsible for a special edition of the Lancia/Autobianchi Y10. Le Coq Sportif were livid at being beaten to this by Fila, and so changed all their logos in their advertising to a White Hen. Reebok lent their name to Toyota for a special edition Rav 4. Nissan later copied the idea, launching the Juke Nismo - a tie-in deal with the Dutch clog manufacturer. The logo of Sergio Tacchini’s eponymous sportswear brand inspired the Talbot logo. Before the last minute change of designation to Peugeot 309, the top of the range Talbot Arizona was to be known as the ST, with a tie-in offer of a free tracksuit, sports hold-all, and baseball cap for every buyer. Thus providing a deal that acknowledged the logo similarity and provided Tacchini with a revenue stream. Eventually this resulted in PSA having to come up with a compromise deal; Tacchini making team apparel for the Peugeot-Talbot rally team, and the seat covers for the last remaining Talbot - the Express van - until the deal came to an end in the mid ‘90s. After that, PSA were clear to drop the Talbot brand completely.
  2. DDF 522Y could easily have been Dale’s car that I’ve been trying to track down. The colour fits from my recollection, the engine size fits from the record the scrapyard had, and I remember it was in very good condition bodily (too good to scrap, so Dale saved it, from what I can remember. Don’t recall seeing primer/anything like replacement panels on it). I also remember it being covered in dust when it first turned up - possibly stored indoors beforehand, which extended its life? Maybe it went off the road in ‘88 with a mechanical issue? Even by that point Lonsdale-specific parts (as opposed to Mitsubishi parts that were interchangeable) might have been hard to come by. We’ll never know now…
  3. Worth a shot. I knew deep down the car was probably long gone, but if I’d found any trace of it I’d have been straight back here with photos, hoping someone could save it. Sounds like there was no demand for any parts off it even, and that it was probably gone for baling before the turn of the millennium. Maybe no Lonsdale made it into this century? Someone at the yard was clued up enough about it to put it down as a Lonsdale/Mitsubishi though - they must have had at least a vague idea what it was, and that it had parts that might have been useful on a Galant. Apparently their system was to put the actual make of car first, then what it’s got useful parts for second (e.g. Citroen C1/Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo).
  4. Well there is an Oz-barge (Betty the Ford Fairmont of Dollywobbler/HubNut fame) wafting around Wales. It’s do-able. On the flip side, no-one remotely sane would do it for such a forgotten make as Lonsdale. But it is do-able.
  5. Further update. Not good news though. I think the trail has gone cold. I rang round the scrapyards that Dale frequented and after the whole “what’s a Lonsdale?” conversation was got over, I asked each of them if they have any trace of such a car, or even remembered Dale. Sadly, this got a result from one of them - they had a record of “Lonsdale/Mitsubishi 2.6 saloon”. No record of any parts having been taken off it. The fact there’s a record of it basically indicates in was “on the stack” at some point, before presumably being baled. Cars that are still in the yard are shown as “parts available”, and it doesn’t have that status in their system. They went over to computerised inventory in the mid-90s, apparently. The timescales all seem to fit with it being Dale’s car. Especially as there’s very little detail like the colour, number plate, and VIN, that they’ve been recording for years now. No doubt it’s been recycled long ago. As was to be expected. There’s the slimmest of slim hopes in that they didn’t remember Dale, and there’s no colour mentioned in the system. I can’t say definitively that this is the same car, but let’s face it, it is.
  6. After a quick look up of Shoguns on Wikipedia, this does appear to be a badge engineered version of the Shogun/Pajero Mini/Pinin’s second generation. This did also lead to another Nissan oddity - the Kicks. Which isn’t the Kix in the picture, but yet another SUV of some sort. Recycling and mangling of a nameplate by Nissan? - like Ford did with Cougar/Kuga? Only this time Nissan appeared to have reverted to the correct spelling with the later model.
  7. News update. I’ve been speaking to a couple of people about the potential Lonsdale - one of them runs a local garage, and knows a lot of the classic car folk in the area. I also asked my parents what they remembered of Dale. Firstly, news on Dale. Apparently he died in the past decade or so (certainly a fair few years before the pandemic). His car collection was smaller than it had been, but he had a few on the road at the time, and might have had some projects stashed here and there. No recollection by anyone of a Lonsdale/big Mitsubishi saloon though. The main things I’ve picked up though are: My parents hardly remember him living next door to them - Dale was apparently fairly quiet, and had it not been for the old cars strewn about, they probably wouldn’t have remembered him at all. Recalling anything about him wasn’t helped by the fact that Dale’s partner Julie later lived with another bloke called Dale in that house. The conversation got a bit confused at times - I don’t think that line of enquiry can help. Dale was “in the car trade”, and it’s thought that at some point he worked for Steele’s garage in Moor Row (just outside Whitehaven). They were Datsun/Nissan main dealers and, briefly, dealers for Colt Cars. This video is of Steele’s garage in the ‘70s https://www.facebook.com/BBCArchive/videos/474130219626680/ Dale may have worked in a bodyshop after his days at Steele’s (I think Steele’s shut up shop in the early ‘90s). After he split up from Julie he moved to a village called Arlecdon. Apparently you could tell which was his house by the Japanese cars parked on the road in front. He wouldn’t have had storage there for any cars (it was a terraced house), so when his cars were taken off the garden next door to my parents’ house, they were presumably either sold, or some storage elsewhere might have been found for them. This could well have been where Dale stopped owning the Lonsdale; Autumn ‘98, from memory. Although my parents knew Julie’s surname, her and Dale weren’t married, so they never knew his. Dale was a regular on a Saturday morning at the local scrapyards; The Forge at Cleator, “Kenny Wilson’s” near Gilgarran (actually called Broughs, but people still referred to it as Kenny’s, who was the Dad of Malcolm Wilson), and one at Workington (that I can’t remember the name of). Having been many times to “Kenny’s” I know they used to have a too good to scrap/possible classic car area, where they see if anyone wants to buy a complete car off them, before it’s certified destroyed. For someone like Dale, that’s probably temptation right there… Dale showed cars at local car shows - the last of which was apparently a Daihatsu Charade Turbo (GTi?), which I remember seeing at a show in Distington one year. I have a programme from one year, listing cars and owners, along with a bit about the car. No sign of it the Daihatsu that year, and owners first names aren’t listed - just initials. There’s so many with the initial D that I can’t infer anything from the programme. Obviously I checked for a Lonsdale too but, unsurprisingly, there wasn’t one shown. Through the Daihatsu, there is a possible thread to pull; Camskill (a name some of you may know if you’ve bought tyres from them). Before they went online only they had a tyre depot in Whitehaven. I used it myself a few times (they also did MOTs), and they had a small motor factors/accessories shop. Unbeknownst to me they were also suppliers of performance parts and spares for sporty Japanese cars, and the owner had one of these Charade Turbos. They also did a bit of fettling/restoration/tuning on sporty Japanese stuff too. Dale was apparently “in that clique” - at least as a customer, possibly as an employee. Dale was apparently in his late ‘40s when I lived next door to him. Probably heading towards 50 when he moved out about 25 years ago. That would put him at around 65-ish when he died. I’ll see what the local paper’s archive throws up. Finding out where his old cars might have ended up would be a lot easier with a full name and last address. Cars belonging to “a bloke who had a load of old Japanese cars” still exist in the area as projects - one of which is the Celeste I mentioned in an earlier post, and another is a Triumph Acclaim (OK, so Japanese-ish) that a local garage owner was going to restore. His garage was shut and demolished for housing, and that car ended up in a poly tunnel in a garden centre opposite. Next time I’m there I’ll check for a Lonsdale, on the off-chance. The garage owner I was talking to about Dale reckoned that the Lonsdale most probably got scrapped- it’ll have been worthless at the time, and losing the free storage in a front garden would have, in his opinion, meant Dale would have probably had it collected by a scrappy. Unless someone was kind enough to store it for him. Then it might just have survived. Investigations continue …..
  8. I used to live next door to a Lonsdale owner. The bloke who lived next door to my parents (when I was still “living at home”) had one in about ‘98ish - a brown saloon. This was in Whitehaven in Cumbria. Talking to him about it one day he told me it was an Australian built version of a Mitsubishi with a six cylinder engine. First time I’d ever heard of Lonsdale; growing up I prided myself on being so car mad I knew every make that had been sold in the UK since the war. A new make from the ‘80s was a shock to me. His Lonsdale was very much a non-runner at the time, parked on the front garden, and I think from memory the number plates had been taken off. Y reg seems to ring a bell in connection with the car though - maybe I saw a plate inside the car when we got talking about it? This bloke was called Dale and had gaffer taped over half the badge so it read “Dale”. Can’t remember his surname though. Not long after that he had a fall-out with his other half and left, with his cars being trailered away by mates shortly after. He had a few old cars - some road legal, others parked up on the garden (Onslow style). I’ve seen a Citroen GS Pallas that was once his turn up in a barn near Whitehaven in recent years. There’s a chance his Lonsdale may have been similarly stashed/bought by one of his mates. Or he could easily have fixed it up and got it on the road. I know he successfully restored a black Lancer Turbo. He seemed to be well into Mitsubishis (as well as other stuff), and an orange Celeste I remember him having still exists and is being restored by someone else at the moment - also in Whitehaven. It had survived in a barn nearby. I’ll ask around the weird old car scene of West Cumbria, and if there’s any word on Dale and/or his Lonsdale I’ll report back to this thread.
  9. One. Unless this is a replica of the prototype, in which case two. One of many BMC/BL evaluations of a variation on an existing/upcoming model. Deemed to have a limited appeal to buyers, so not worth the tooling needed to put into production.
  10. There’s been several kit car versions of the big Healeys over the years. Some were Sierra based, so the H plate could have easily transferred over from a donor vehicle.
  11. I’ve got a very similar set of punches to these, branded as Stanley. Every single blow with a hammer results in massive flakes of yellow paint shattering off them. The exposed areas then rust faster than a Ka in the tide, unless liberally coated in WD40 or somesuch. Which makes them slippery to hold - not brilliant. Plus the thinner pointed ones bend easily too, if you don’t hit the fat end exactly square on with your hammer. I suspect the Aldi equivalents will be superior in every way. Any tool that results in you having to needlessly clean up after you’re done is just annoying. In fact Aldi send me their offer emails, meaning next time their set is going to appear in the middle aisle of dreams I’ll buy some and bin off the Stanley ones. TL;DR - don’t buy the Stanley equivalent of these punches, as they’re thunderingly shit.
  12. Also known as Bergen. For little-used items and things where it doesn’t matter who made a tool (magnetic trays, mirrors on a telescopic stick, etc.) you can’t really go wrong with Bergen/US Pro. Their sockets and ratchets are pretty good for the money too - close to big brand toughness/manufacturing tolerances for a tiny fraction of Snap-On/Mac/Facom prices, in my experience.
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