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Zel's Motoring Adventures...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes & AC Model 70 - 23/10 - De-Rattling Doors...


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Only had an hour or so today to allocate to car stuff, but did manage to give the Skoda a bit of a pre-MOT once-over.  Most importantly I had a crawl around underneath...

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...and am happy to report that there doesn't appear to have been any material degradation since the last MOT.  Still plenty of surface rust, especially on the suspension components, but nothing that a wire brush and treatment shouldn't put stop to.  A few nasty looking areas on the sills revealed some peeling underseal, but nothing horrible underneath - I'll be going back and treating that in the next couple of days.  Most importantly though, despite being quite firm with the screwdriver I use for testing for nasty rust, I didn't poke holes in anything!

 

I'm also going to get a set of brake hoses ordered in because these are the originals and I don't trust them (once I ascertain exactly which set I need), and I've already got a new thermostat on the way to replace the current one which appears to be sticking occasionally.

 

Really do need to figure out a better way of securing the ramps...getting on and off them is a royal pain.  Both of these launched themselves into the garage the moment I started driving off them. 

 

I never realised before how ridiculously long the rear suspension springs on these cars are...they must be a foot and a half even when fitted to the car...No wonder the ride's quite soft...

 

Hopefully getting quite close to being ready to move on to her new home now.

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So today I went to do some work on the Skoda, my intention being to replace the suspect thermostat and to refit the original water pump given that it's now been proven to be nothing to do with the overheating problem.  The fact that the aftermarket one on there (which came on my original 130GL) lacks the grease cup and that being missing bothers my sense of OCD.

Difference between the original pump (left) and the aftermarket one (attached to engine) below...

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I wound up giving up on that today...Turns out that the tiny smear of gasket sealant I put on the seal when I fitted it apparently forms a *really bloody strong* bond after a couple of years, so it really didn't want to come off.  So have filed that under "come back to later."  Likely with the engine still warm too as that will hopefully soften the sealant a bit.

Only took me half an hour to get that horrible little 2" bit of hose between the water pump and the rigid line to the heater return line back on after one of the hose clips fell to bits.  Third rear engined Skoda, and that bit of pipe has been an equal pain in the proverbial rear on every one of them when I've had to disturb it.

Anyhow, got back to the main tasks of the day - to flush the system out and to change the 'stat.  Glad to report that the coolant that came out both when initially drained down and when reverse flushed was spotlessly clean - so guess I did a good job last time.

The thermostat which came out is a Mahle one, so has been changed at some point before.

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Certainly not the worst looking one I've ever seen, wasn't obviously clogged up or collapsed...I'll test it tomorrow to see whether it opens/closes properly.  If so I'll keep it as a spare.  Annoyingly it didn't come with a replacement gasket, so I had to bodge things back together with the old one - I've ordered a new one though (all of GBP1.69), so will get that tidied up as soon as that turns up.

 

Then just had to wait an eternity while the thing warmed up after refilling the system.  Takes a fair while to heat up 11 litres of coolant to full operating temperature when you can't actually take the car out the driveway!  Heater nice and hot though (orders of magnitude better than that on either of the previous Estelles I've had), and about as much air as I'd expect bled out and it seems to be sitting right where it should on the gauge...Guess we'll find out once booked in for the MOT whether it behaves itself on the way there!  Will ring the garage up and book it in tomorrow.

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Okay, booked in for an MOT tomorrow.  Had a quick additional look over this afternoon, fluid check etc and gave the washer motor the obligatory once-a-year thwack with the screwdriver to get it to work again.  Also checked all the lights over and stuff so I don't wind up with a fail for something daft like that.  Nearside numberplate lamp, I'm looking at you.

 

Will need to stick a fresh set of wiper blades on in the morning (have them here, just need to clip them on - it's tipping it down outside just now though) as one of the blades is falling to bits, and stick a bit of air in the tyres, then we'll be off.  Fingers crossed, ending up with a fresh test an hour later - not breaking down in a cloud of steam half way to the test station.

 

As soon as that's done I'll also be taking the Activa in for its test - will be the first time I'll have ever even sat in the car, so quite looking forward to that.  Not expecting any drama on that for the test given the attention to detail that's gone into the work done on the car by the previous owner.

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Sorry for the delay, been a manic day!


Skoda needs two patches to the offside inner sill but otherwise went through fine - and celebrated by bursting the hydraulic line for the clutch as I backed out of the test centre.  Was only slightly embarrassing...


The Activa unsurprisingly flew straight through the test with a clean sheet, unsurprisingly to me given the attention to detail of her previous owner.  Drove home like a new car too.  Doesn't half feel quick...

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No photo of any fuel stop en route as the tank is full.

The only brief failure to proceed is the fact that I now need to wait a bit for the DVLA to get their act together before I can tax it... hopefully won't take them too long.

More to follow soon.

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It is a very nice place to be.  Having previously owned an S2 Xantia it's quite an interesting game spotting all the detail differences.  Most obvious so far being the lack of the clever door pockets and a comically tiny glove box.  Other differences are the mechanical rather than digital odometer, thermometer in the rev counter rather than by the clock, slightly different typeface on the instruments, the rear window heater having its own switch rather than a button on the wiper stalk an IR rather than RF remote for the central locking and of course the numeric keypad for the immobiliser.

 

The aux in socket on the stereo will be a bonus, and from what I recall it's not a bad sounding system.

 

Just a shame that cruise wasn't offered on the Activa, despite pretty much all of the other toys (including a rear windscreen sun shade) being ticked by default.

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The Lada appears to have a vacuum leak again.  It's idling about 500rpm fast and missing like a Mini on a wet morning at idle.  Seems fine when driving, just at idle it's sounding like a sack of spanners.  I'll investigate that shortly.

 

Haven't had a chance to drive the Xantia yet thanks to the DVLA having got themselves tied in a knot (now sorted we hope), but having had a poke around I've unsurprisingly not come up with a particularly large to do list.  Just an exterior good clean to shift some green gunk from around window seals etc and to get some wax on the paint before the weather gets too much worse.

 

The battery sounds like it's struggling a bit on a cold start, but I know she's not been driven properly in a while so probably just needs a proper charge.  Likewise the cold idle stumbled a bit for a few minutes - again I'm not going to even bat an eyelid at that until she's had a proper run and an Italian Tuneup.

 

The interior really is a lovely place to be...

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The bodywork is in a lot better order than I was expecting given I've heard stories of rampant laquer peel.  The door tops and one B pillar are the only really bad bits.  The bootlid is probably the most mangled bit, but it's actually pretty well hidden by the spoiler.  That bit actually looks like the paint has reacted with the base coat or something.  Reckon the roof and bonnet have been resprayed at some point...

 

I think everything on the car will welcome a bit of a spirited shuffle along a nice twisty road.  Brakes need a bit of work to get them bedded in properly aside from anything else as they currently are a little lacking in bite.  In a "new pads that need bedding in" sort of way rather than "something's wrong" sort of way if you know what I mean.

 

Long term, if I bond with the car as well as the four or so miles from the test station back home suggest, I'll need to think about the cosmetics.  Realistically, she wants (and deserves) a proper respray to get back to really A1 condition...though that then raises the thorny old question of colour.  I actually really like the original Dante Red, though a proper Ferrari red would suit the car very well (especially I think with the more aggressive stance of the V6/Activa)...though I also can't get that orangey-yellow colour that used to be seen on Saxos, or possibly that deep coppery gold Peugeot used on the 306 out of my head...big car for it, but I think it would show up the lines well.  I'm pretty set that it really should be a PSA colour though.  Anyone got a Xantia brochure?  Would be interesting to see the original colour choices.

 

This car is *not* getting modified into something that looks like it's been driven at high speed down the tacky accessories aisle at Halfords...Plus to my eyes the Xantia has always been a very handsomely designed car.

 

Probably got a couple of years to figure that out though, as it will take a while to save up for a proper professional respray.

 

In the short term though it's going tonne seeing a LOT of underbody sealant and cavity wax.

 

Right now though I'm looking forward to driving it!

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I think you will enjoy giving her an Italian tune up. There’s surprisingly little difference in the handling of Gabby with wider tyres on and an activa, apart from the lack of body roll on the activa. It’s all in the tyres I think. When I got my activa it was on new nexen on the front and old Pirelli on the back, and the nexens were hopeless for grip. They were changed to 17” uniroyal rain experts all round and the difference was immense. These are the wheels and tyres currently on Gabby. I also tried a different set of 17” alloys and tyres, can’t remember the make but they were not as good as the uniroyal but better than the nexen/Pirelli mix. And the 17” wheels did not harm the ride much, very slightly firmer and they improve steering feel. However that’s the uniroyal, them on the standard 15” size may also be good.

 

As you know the activa you have had not had a lot of use lately, and will be none the worse for a decent run with spirited driving. If you find a “runway” to try it out, my one with the same boost controller yours had clocked 145 on the runway! So they are not slow lol. Mind you mine was driven as intended by me, and its previous owner to me for most of the time.

 

I also have lacquer peel, I am going to do the bonnet and roof in a satin black, probably a wrap but possibly paint. I was going to do the whole car, but the sides are all ok and have a good shine when cleaned.

 

 

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Actually had a surprisingly productive day around the house today. However does mean that I didn't really have much time to do anything car related.

I did however get two tasks done. Firstly to plug the Saab into the battery charger as it's rather flat and I really don't want to kill a year old battery.

Second was to attack the Activa with the pressure washer. Now...How do you go about pressure washing a Dante Red Citroen? VERY CAREFULLY...That's how. Luckily I've been playing this game long enough to be pretty good at that.

The car in general wasn't actually too grubby to be honest, save for a couple of fingerprints on the wings that were the inevitable result of the recent work on the front brakes and driveshafts. What there was however was a lot of green gunk growing in all the window seals, the roof gutters, around all the bumper/door trims and around the sunroof.

Easy enough to deal with though!

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Then a quick skim over with the microfibre wash mitt and this stuff...

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(I've been using that for about two and a half years now - that should give you an idea how long it lasts)


...Which overall made more of a difference than I was really expecting.

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If time and weather permit I'm hoping to give it a quick skim over with the polish and wax tomorrow.

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Well didn't really get a chance to do much as we've had a friend staying with us who's having some health problems so I've been helping keep an eye on them.

I couldn't resist sneaking out for half an hour though and seeing how things would come up...This should give an idea how well a lot of the paintwork is going to shine up I think...

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Should look pretty good when I'm done I reckon.

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Aaaaaand we have a V5.  Less than a week's turnaround including complications in the middle due to an odd situation, hats off to the DVLA for actually being efficient...I have to admit I was quite ready for them to have been really helpful on the phone and for the V5 to then never appear!

 

£1300 a year between the Activa and the 107...Adrian Flux are having a laugh.  Will be shopping around come renewal time this time!  Didn't have the opportunity last year because the world was ending and saving a few quid on insurance was utterly at the bottom of the priority list at the time.  Likewise the year before, so they seem to think that they can just get away with charging me the earth.  That's social/pleasure use only as well, no business or commuting etc even on it...

 

The Lada is now officially off the road until spring time rolls around.  Quite well timed as I've got quite a few new bits on the way for it - and I need to figure out why it's idling like crap again - Vacuum leak most likely, usually is!

 

Edit: only had chance to take it out for a quick run round the block this evening, will go out for a proper run tomorrow.  

 

One thing is immediately very difficult to my old TD - that's the sheer magnitude of the torque surge when the turbo spools up.  The Activa really is properly fast.  There's a tricky to define line between "quick" and "fast" for me.  This is definitely in the latter category.

 

Going to go for a run over to see a mate in Banbury tomorrow I think...and see if I can avoid those cursed 50mph bits as far as possible.

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Just a really quick update today...

The only real mark on the interior was a bit of a scuff on the usual bit of the seat bolster on the driver's seat.

Bit of black leather dye on there quickly sorted that out.  It's still there obviously, but now you really wouldn't see it unless you were specifically looking for it.

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Not much else been going on really other than driving the thing, still hoping to get out for a proper longer run at some point...

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  • 5 weeks later...

Given there's a show over at Stoney Stratford on New Year's Day I'd hoped to get some cleaning/polishing done today.  However by the time I'd dispatched my various tasks for the day and walked the dog I had about 30 minutes worth of useful daylight left.

So instead I contented myself with doing the usual weekly walkround checks.  While I was at it, I finally gave in to my OCD and tidied up the additional wiring around the battery for the headlights and gave the top of the LHM tank a wipe down.

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I also noticed that the front indicators had turned a distinctly pastel shade of orange, so stuck a fresh set of lamps in there.

Much better...

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Did discover though that I appear to have one S1 indicator and one S2 indicator...

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Aha! Now I realise that is Jim's old Activa! It's a fabulous car and was a regular at Citroen Car Club events. In case you didn't know, the annual Citroen DS and 'Chevrons' (all models) weekend rallies are held at Little Horwood, about 6 miles from MK. In 2018, the DS rally is June 9th/10th and the Chevrons Rally is September 8th/9th. Xantias are welcomed at both, of course!

 

IIRC, the Dante Red was unique to the Activa, along with the charcoal/black headlining. There is some interesting information about the make-up of the Dante Red colour here:

https://frenchcarforum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27691

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Will hopefully get along to both of those events!

 

It is indeed Jim's one, not a car I'd been looking for nor ever expected to have a chance to own, but it was one of those situations where the pieces just fell into place perfectly!

 

Didn't realise that Dante Red (on the S1 at least) was an Activa exclusive.

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Loving that Xantia and the plate just finishes it off nicely. I'd love to have a go in an Activa sometime - I've been watching videos of them and they confuse my brain. I can hear the tyres squeal but with no body roll they just don't seem to be going very fast even when flat out.

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The body control is uncanny, the best test I find is the way you can chuck it into and off a roundabout.  There's no lurching or pitching during the weight transfer.  It really does make anything else - even stiffly sprung cars like modern Audis - feel utterly under damped.

 

Can definitely see how it could get you into trouble though, I doubt there's a huge amount of warning when you get to the limit of grip.  I'd really like to have a chance to find out where that is somewhere with plenty of room - appears to be well beyond the realms of commonsense on the road though!

 

Always welcome to take a look at this one if you're in the area, that's half the fun of owning rare cars, getting to share the experience with others.

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The only downside (aside from its thirst!) is that I have a distinct suspicion that it's not going to be a kind car to tyres!

 

It's the ultimate jack of all trades I think.  You can trundle around town, paste it round a track, load it to the roof with shopping or waft along the motorway, it just doesn't care.

 

Shame Citroen have chosen to kill the system off.

 

I've long believed that the Xantia in general is a massively underrated car in any form.

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I totally agree with your last sentence Zel. Activas are hard on front tyres, I found running 17” wheels with 215/45/17 tyres improved the steering feel and the grip a bit more and did not upset the ride too much. Uniroyal rain expert was my tyre of choice. Those wheels are currently on your old td, uniroyal on the back and vredestien winters on the front and she never loses grip. I actually rate the 1.9td higher than the activa. That’s perhaps because of the leather interior in her now. It’s the comfiest car I have ever had, and she has done over 5000 miles in 3 months on mostly veg without missing a beat. Utterly brilliant cars.

 

 

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes & AC Model 70 - 23/10 - De-Rattling Doors...

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      1989 Volvo 340 DL. G67 AVN. I bought this for £80. Unbelievable. It was utterly bloody perfect. I wanted to do a banger rally which is why the guy gave it to me so cheap. I'm still yet to do that rally, but no longer have the car. I sold it for about £300 to a family who were clearly down on their luck who, I hope, still have the car.

      1996 Toyota Granvia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1996 Toyota Granvia. N775 JEV. My wife and I decided to increase our numbers further and, with our 4th son on the way, larger transport was required. We quickly realised you can either have 4 children and no apparel, or apparel and no children. After trying a very tired Mercedes Viano, the Granvia was found for 1/4 of the price and it's still here 2 years later. I can safely say that we'll never sell it - it really is another member of the family.

      1993 Mercedes 190e by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1993 Mercedes 190e. L795 COJ. I've admired these cars since I was a child. In fact, one of the very few toy cars I still have from my childhood is a Mercedes 190e. Regular readers of "Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder" will know what a PITA this car has been since day 1, but I get the feeling it's a keeper. We'll see!

      1983 Ford Sierra Base 1.6 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1983 Ford Sierra Base. GVG 510Y. Not explicitly my car, but it should be documented here for reference. Oh - and the V5 is in my name. The story is online for all to read as to how five of us acquired what is believed to be the only remaining Ford Sierra Base. Make a brew and read it, it's a fantastic story.

      1982 Ford Sierra L by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1982 Ford Sierra L. LCR 503Y. I accidentally won this on ebay for £520. Upon reflection, I shouldn't have sold it - but short stop of saying I regret it. I could never get truly comfortable driving it and, in fairness, I could scratch my Sierra itch with the base if I wanted. Sold it at a stupid profit of £1250. It is believed to be the oldest remaining Ford Sierra in the UK.

      1979 Volvo 343 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1979 Volvo 343 DL. DBY 466T As you'll see above, I'd had a 360GLT as a younger lad and fancied one of these earlier cars. The variomatic is, frankly, terrible but amusing. This car has just 8000 miles on the clock and inside was absolutely timewarp. Sadly, the huge bill for the Mercedes 190e cylinder head rebuild meant I had to sell this car shortly after acquiring it. Since then I've had a bit of money luck, and now realise I didn't need to sell it after all. Typical.

      I think that's it. My arthritis is playing up even more now. I've left out a few cars that were actually my wife's, but if I find pictures will add them in at a later date. I'll run this as an ongoing thread on cars and what's happening.

      Current SitRep:

      Purple Avensis: Just about to click over 185,000. Minor drama this week when an HT lead split but otherwise utterly fantastic, fantastically boring and boringly reliable.

      Granvia: Just done 1000 miles in a month around Norfolk, 6 up with suitcases. 31mpg achieved on the way up which is good for an old tub with a 3.0 Turbo Diesel on board. ODO displaying 175,000 which is a mix of miles and kilometers. Say 130,000 miles for argument's sake.

      Mercedes: Being a PITA. It's had the top end completely rebuilt after the chain came off. Now needs welding to pass another MOT and the gearbox bearings are on strike. It's about to go into the garage for winter until I can stomach it again. 151,000 miles on the clock.

      Sierra bASe: Still on sabbatical with AngryDicky who only took it bloody camping in cornwall! Legend.
    • By captain_70s
      Hullo,
       
      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 £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 £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 £1400 (about £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 £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.
    • By danthecapriman
      As many of you might have read on the grin thread and my thread about yank headlights on Volvo 740's, I should have acquired myself this one. I've just got a few pics of said Volvo pre rescue as it sits.
       
      For those who don't know, it's an 88 740 estate in 2.3 auto GLE spec (my favourite!) which was owned by my sisters boyfriends grandad. He passed away this year and the cars just been sat unused since mid 2015.
      The family are clearing the property and I was told the Volvo and others were going to most likely go for scrap. I said I'd take the Volvo and asked for a price only to be told I could have it!
       
      The Wolseley 1300 apparently is already spoken for so hopefully that will be saved or at least donate some parts. The Volvo should become mine at some point but the caravan and Omega will probably get weighed in.
       
      So here are the few pics I have to go on.
       
      IMG_0331 by Dan Clark, on Flickr
       
      IMG_0332 by Dan Clark, on Flickr
       
      IMG_0329 by Dan Clark, on Flickr
       
      IMG_0333 by Dan Clark, on Flickr
       
      The Volvo looks ok from the little I can see and having run an MOT history check it seems a good one. It's a low miler at 90k and seems to of only done a couple of thousand miles between tests. Most of the fails seem to be for stupid stuff.
       
      So the plan at the moment will be to try to get it running and moving then try to get it back home. At the moment it's a 100 miles or so away.
       
      To be continued...
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