There's nothing here yet
I've had various threads on the go for different collections this year, but thought I'd condense my threads into one manageable thread to document my ham-fisted tinkering.
At the turn of the year I was driving a nice, dependable, modern 2011 Peugeot 407 and no other vehicle. It was nice enough, but boring as feck. I'd bought it after a series of disastrous heaps in the awkward age bracket of being new and valuable enough to worry about but old enough to be fucked. The 407 was just too new, too bloated and dull. I had a hankering for old metal, my Mineral Oil withdrawal pangs were strong.
From January I started looking, there were eBay bids, missed reserves, wasted trips from Gumtree and other such nonsense. I happened on an automatic Rover 216 GSI with one giffer owner from a year old. The chap was giving up driving at 93 years old and his grandson was moving it on. I bid, and failed. It was in London though, about 420 miles away so I wasn't all that bothered. Of course when he offered it to me for my losing bid after the winning buyer was a no show I said yes. I was on the Megabus down to that London overnight for about £15. I hung about in Liverpool Street station like a mad shivering jakey until my train out to the suburb for my first sight of the new steed. It was battered outside but had been well looked after. A frankly insulting amount of cash changed hands and I was away up the road.
We had many adventures together, it was dependable and it whet my appetite for interesting old motors again and proved that the very bottom end of the market was navigable if I had the patience to wade through the sea of shit to find the odd pearl.
The 407 was still on the fleet at this point but I was covering a lot of miles in the Rover, with a long commute though the fuel economy wasn't ideal. When a friend's mother was looking for a new diesel saloon to replace the faithful old Xsara she had a scheme was concocted. I sold the 407 to her and was on the hunt for an interesting replacement.
When I was growing up my dad had a succession of hopeless shitters, indeed I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn in a brush painted Skoda Super Estelle. The best car he had was a red XUD Peugeot 405 with air conditioning and electric windows. So when I found a 1994 GTXD advertised by someone who could actually compose a car advert in the fashion you would expect of a human being educated to a Primary School level, I pounced.
Of course I couldn't buy a car just down the road so it was on the train to Birmingham. First class no less. I stayed in an absolute flea pit of a hotel and drove up the road the next day. This was a proper bit of nostalgia and a really practical borderline classic car. It had been fastidiously maintained by the previous owner. Apart from there being a hole where there was once a stereo and the lack of working air con it was a pleasant drive home.
Given their relative scarcity and how dependable this one has proven so far, it's a keeper, I'd struggle to part with it.
Two cars just wasn't enough to worry about, so this Citroen C1 was acquired. Pure Aleppo spec. A camel can go for weeks, or months without stopping at a watering hole, the C1 has a similar thirst for Motor Spirit. Man maths were employed and worked out that it would easily* pay for itself.
There have been further movements, I'll recap them shortly. I should probably do some work.
To mark the genesis of my fleet project thread I here present my new car: a 1997 Nissan Micra Shape-
It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.
As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
Well, here we go again. I bit the bullet and bought me this.
It's still up at the lot right now, there will be a miniature Collection Thread embedded in this thread when I go fetch it. Hopefully if the weather's good, that'll be this weekend.
So, what is it?
As the title suggests, it's a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain.
It's got a flat-head straight eight hiding in the engine bay, 4.4 litres of it. It's bolted to a 4-speed Hydra-Matic Drive gearbox. No torque converter on this one, just a fluid coupling. 116 horses at a screaming 3700 RPM, 240lb/ft at 2000. It idles at 375 RPM. Redline just shy of 4k.
Did I mention it's quite big? Sixteen foot eight from end to end and it seats six people in comfort. Every door has a quarter-light, too. Comfort is provided by properly sized tyres and (quite surprisingly for the age of it) double independent wishbone front suspension. Steering is via worm/wheel steering box so is moderately direct and the brakes are hydraulic drums all round. Modern and scientific!
It's an honest example; looks to have had a "restoration" about 15-20 years back and the rust is coming through the seams and filler. The bottoms of the door skins have gone, the bottom of the A-pillars have gone (the front doors, on a single hinge a piece still open and close with one finger!) And it's got a couple holes and blebs in all the places you would expect.
Not much electrical works. It needs to be completely rewired because someone has "converted" it to 12V. Thankfully it was originally negative ground so that's a good start. Gauges and such can be driven from a 6V bucking converter.
Engine has had some work done on it- starts and runs nicely with very little greb coming out of the exhaust. It's got a few gaskets that need replacing and the tappets need some major adjustment, the gearbox engages gears correctly, the steering is okay but has a lot of slack in the center and the brakes work well, dont sink or feel spongy but need adjustment.
More to come. I'll post up more pictures when I get it home.
Well I've been meaning to sign up here in forever, but kept forgetting. Thanks to someone over on another forum I frequent poking me about it recently the subject was forced back into my very brief attention span for long enough to get me to act on the instruction.
I figure that my little varied fleet might bring you lot some amusement...
1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate (now fuel injected, as I reckon the later cars should have been from the factory...).
1989 Saab 900i Automatic.
1987 Skoda 120LX 21st Anniversary Special Edition.
1985 Sinclair C5.
2009 Peugeot 107 Verve.
Now getting the photos together has taken me far longer than I'd expected...so you're gonna get a couple of photos of each car for now, and I'll come back with some more information tomorrow when I've got a bit more time...
Firstly...The Lada. Before anyone asks - in response to the single question I get asked about this car: No, it is not for sale. Took me 13 years and my father's inheritance to find the thing.
Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.
Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...
Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.
Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.
Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...
Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.
Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.
Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."
I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...