This evening I venture forth into hitherto unknown lands (Kirkintilloch) to collect my latest acquisition.
Which, naturally, has issues.
I have purchased my first line of defence.
Which appears to have antigravity properties
More will follow this evening...
I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at Ã‚Â£300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for Ã‚Â£850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:
Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines...
I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost Ã‚Â£1400 (about Ã‚Â£400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:
It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about Ã‚Â£20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:
As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
Since my life has followed a nearly unrelenting course in project, “good-intentions”, “nice ideas” and general chod accumulation ever since I was about 14, I’ve decided I’d concoct all my projects into a haphazard fleet diary, for your amusement and viewing pleasure. My reports are likely to be sporadic, as and when I find time.
Coverage predominately will flit around my current stable, but I'll show some past vehicular activity too.
I'll go into each in turn in the coming days and weeks, but briefly for now my current fleet comprises:
1959 Ford 100e. Bought as a rolling shell in 2015. Built it up myself with all-Ford bits: 2.0 Pinto, type 9, GP4 MK1/2 Escort goodies up front, Bilstein 2.8 Capri struts on coilovers, 105e axle out back, RS turbo Recaros. Looks rough as fuck but it's solid and sorted underneath. Some don't like it because it's old, noisy and smelly. I love because it's old, noisy and smelly. Want to build a fast-road head for this soon really, but skint. Hardly needs to be quicker anyway.
A lot of work to build, about 3 years, but immense fun to drive. 100% never selling!!!
1991 Saab 900 16v Turbo. Bought last Summer, suspiciously cheap with a hot running issue and a heap of paperwork. I did the head gasket and rebuilt the head with new exhaust valves, stem seals, thermostat etc over lockdown. Also fitted new calipers, discs, pads and hoses all round, and replaced the NSF inner wing/driveshaft tunnel back in February. Embarrassing MOT last month reveals more weldage is needed elsewhere, so that’s next for it and shall be reported in the coming pages
1995 Citroen AX Jive. 1.0 4 spd. Hilarious to drive, immensely French, ripe but not rotten, wearing something akin to a peeved expression. Needs a few odds and ends but otherwise a goer. Back-up car in case my existing daily shits itself or something. Anyone spare a boot latch actuating rod and gear knob?
2005 Clio 182. As close to a daily as I get (cycle to work). Not really Autoshite, or even very “me” frankly, but I’m convinced these are the last proper French hot hatch and soon to be daft-money, so I finally snubbed two years of looking-not-looking at them on eBay and bought this the other week. I'm 27 so many could argue it's a "quarter life crisis". Newest and quickest car I’ve ever owned, so probably not the wisest first choice to exercise modern car ownership.
But my current main project, sapping funds and time and social life in equal measure, is my 1963 Ford Falcon 2dr sedan, so I'll post up the progress to date of that in the coming days.
or now, here's a seller's shot of when I bought it.......
Thought I'd start a thread about my old Capri since it's now reached it's turn in the que to receive a bit of attention.
I've actually had this since 2001, it's an early mk2, on an M reg 1974. Being an early car it's still got mk1 rear axle and single acting type rear brake set up aswell as a few other minor differences from later cars just to use up remaining mk1 parts.
It started life here in the Portsmouth area and doesn't seem to have ventured far since.
Originally a stardust silver 1.6 L poverty model, which means virtually sod all regarding luxuries. Basic 2 pod dash with black 'crackle' finish facia, no radio, no sun roof or vinyl roof, not even a centre console!
When I got to it unfortunately it had suffered severely from serious rust and latterly a vandal attack, having it's door and rear quarter panel booted in.
Over the next couple of years I got it sorted and a cheap re paint into roman bronze, which was a favourite colour of mine at the time. For the first year or two it seemed fine but since then things have deteriorated.
The respray wasn't good! It's thin in places and started to micro blister in various places, worst of which is all over the bonnet. The same bodyshop also did a bit of the bodywork I hadn't finished which was also pretty poor in some places.
It's always been a great driver and never struggles at mot time so I just kept on using it and doing nothing more than collecting parts now and again with a view to sort it one day.
It's also gained a few non original extras over the years like a higher spec wood effect 2 pod dash facia (which I like more than the original), a short console, brown interior instead of the utterly fucked black original, 'laser' 4 spoke alloys and a few other things.
Anyway, fast forward to last weekend, when I dusted it off after winter and noticed various areas of new rust coming through or older rust that's gotten worse. So the decision was made to go for a professional resto job now before I end up finding something else to distract me (like big american cars with knackered engines!).
1974 Ford Capri BBK244M by Dan Clark, on Flickr
Here it is as it currently stands. Looks ok from a distance but the reality is very rough around the edges and the paint is so bad in places it's becoming embarrassing!
IMG_0509 by Dan Clark, on Flickr
And the interior which I'll be re trimming into black leather at some point after the body works done.
It's been taken to the same place that did my Mercury's engine rebuild, since they did such a good job and they seem a good professional bunch.
I dropped it off Monday afternoon for a thorough check over to build up a list of work and get a rough quote.
Today I heard back from them.
Good news so far, I suppose. It is as solid where it counts as I thought it was. Chassis is fine, original strut tops fine, most of the back end is solid and just needs a few repairs here and there.
The worst is the bottom of the windscreen surround due to the wrong seal being used and then fitted badly causing leaks. Inner sill to A post bottom corner very scabby, front wings pretty crap, and various paint defects etc.
The engine is fine, compression all in tolerances. Suspension needs work, and some brake pipes are getting quite rusty. So far so good and no surprises!
There's still more checking to do over the next few days but it sounds alright so far.
This work should be made a bit easier by having a lot of panels and parts to fix things already. The big find being a new unused pair of front wings. Very hard to find mk2 items now, though I did have to pay for them!
The plan here is to make the car solid, reliable and good looking. I'm not making a show car or going too mad as that stuffs not my thing and if it was I'd start with a better more original car.
Some of the later add ons will be ditched like the mk3 boot spoiler that I hate! And return it to more standard looking mk2 as it should be. No go faster mods or anything like that.
The main priority is to get the body sorted and painted properly (engine out job and everything) then maybe a bit of mechanical work as needed.
The original idea was to re paint back into original stardust silver, but having thought about it I'm leaning more towards another favourite Ford colour of the era, Miami blue metallic, which is a lovely colour! Any opinions?
This will be another expensive project but not one I think I could do at home on the drive and do justice to, so I'd prefer to farm it out and get it right this time. It also means I can carry on working on my Transit and Granada at home without another distraction!
For anyone whose interested I'll try to update this now and then as things progress. I'll also try to get the old pics of the car from when I got it so you can see how rusty it was! Bear in mind though that I paid Â£100 for this car in 2001 with MOT and tax! Try doing that now.
I'm sure this is going to be worth the expense, not that I'm even considering selling it of course but I've had it so long I kind of feel obligated to do right by the car in a weird way!
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!