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Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 24/01 - Renault Steering Column Change...


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8 hours ago, Tommyboy12 said:

I spotted the Renault at the show while wandering round too. Im pretty certain the jet engine on that trike was plumbed up to actually do some spinning.

It definitely looked like it was.  Only obvious thing I could see that was missing if my plumbing deciphering is right was the fuel feed line to the afterburner - though that absolutely wouldn't be needed for it to actually run so long as the control was suitably locked out and the feed blanked at the pump side.

Do have to wonder how much that cost to build...and how many hours went into it.

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Missfire update: Drove around for about an hour today and it seemed to have been resolved.  Aside from one moment just after starting up after stopping at a shop.  Though it never did it again...so not saying it's fixed but it's definitely better. 

If it's still doing it when the distributor cap, rotor arm, HT leads and plugs have been swapped when they arrive then I'll start actually worrying and thinking about more in depth diagnostics.  I reckon more than anything the HT leads are just wrecked.  I might go out now it's dark and see if I can see any tracking anywhere.

It's going into a garage tomorrow morning to hopefully get the clonks and bangs from the front end sorted out.  I'll feel much more comfortable driving it once that's been done.  

I only did the bonnet, but I wanted to see how the paint would take the a polish/wax.  Still feels quite rough to the touch as there's so much ingrained crap still in there - really wants a good machine polish/clay treatment, but that doesn't surprise me in the slightest given how absolutely disgustingly filthy it was.

Does look better in the rain now though!


Have to wonder how many years it is since water actually ran off it like that.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 03/01 - Waiting for parts...
On 12/31/2022 at 9:17 PM, Zelandeth said:

Noted for next time I'm doing a job like this...never thought about that before.   Little bit of vacuum hose would probably work perfectly...

I use a bit of the outer insulation of a 3A 3 core cable to remove the bulb.  It usually fits over the bulb and inside the switch. Pull the bulb out, put the new one in the insulation, then insert into the switch,  and gently wiggle it off the bulb. 20230103_183748.thumb.jpg.5eeac7cf7b0b5aa5db2de6c7b53fc83e.jpg20230103_183958.thumb.jpg.5cf73a24256a85be99fc3ca50eb40a82.jpg

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Renault is at the garage hopefully being seen to.  All I can do at this point is wait patiently.

I've in the meantime finally got around to getting the chip in the windscreen on the Caddy repaired.  You can still see it but it's a thousand times less obtrusive than it was and as the screen is now smooth it will stop it wearing a nick in the wiper blade after a couple of months which was always annoying.

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Hmm...exactly the same spot I parked it in... hopefully they will have a chance to look at it soon.

As predicted the bumpers have gone all streaky again - have got some proper stuff to put on them once it's back.

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A parcel arrived this afternoon with something which I think will be quite useful.


Which hopefully in conjunction with the newly made stud in the background will hopefully be an opportunity to put the wheel stud issues I've had with TPA behind me.  Will see if I can get the new hub at least cleaned up and stud fitted to it at the weekend - not really expecting to have time to get it fitted to the car, but we'll see.

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The Bronze Barge is back home again.  

Good news: It's a thousand times better than it was.

Bad news: The drop links and anti roll bar bushes I had sourced are wrong.

Drop links are about an inch too long and the wrong shape.  Anti roll bar bushes are for a 22mm ARB, the one on the car is 24mm it looks like.  

Can't say I'm massively surprised.  I knew finding parts for this car was going to be a bit of a trial and error game going in.  

They replaced both of the lower ball joints and one baggy track rod end and reset the tracking.  There is still a very light knock/rattle there but it's very minor.  Plus I know where it's coming from now so it's a minor "that wants sorting" issue rather than being worried the whole front end was about to come apart.  Something must have had a bunch of play taken out anyway as the really heavy knock that you could feel through the whole car has gone.

I'm not actually nervous of driving it now.

A box arrived for it this morning too.


Quite a few things in there, but most notably at the moment are a new set of HT leads, new rotor arm, spark plugs and distributor cap.  That will hopefully evict our occasional miss (which never appeared again today).

The HT leads are notable for having ends which are actually compliant...I actually thought the outer boots were plastic on those currently on the car.


The crankshaft position sensor and the tools necessary to change it will be living permanently in the car as I've had those fail without warning before.  As it's easily accessible on this car for a change just keeping a spare on hand seems like easy insurance there.

The belts just look pretty tired so I figured for the sake of a couple of quid I'd just change them.  One of them squeaks at idle too.

The driver's door has decided to be a pain about latching again today...I'm just going to need to dismantle them all to be cleaned and properly re-greased.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 09/01 - Renault Suspension Refresh...

Spot the difference?


Not really obvious I know.  There's a new set of HT leads, new distributor cap and rotor arm installed.


New cap and rotor are both Ducellier branded - ones on there bear no maker markings whatsoever which never exactly gives a great deal of confidence.

This looks like it's been in there for a day or two.


I rather get the impression that's been on there for more than a couple of thousand miles.

The leads definitely have seen better days...I'm pretty sure these are meant to be flexible...


Given I know the insulation on these is compromised (I've managed to get a right belt off them while in the vicinity) there's only one place for these and that will be the bin.


Haven't found an obvious date code yet, but I suspect they may well be the originals.

My next challenge is to track down the correct drop links.

This is what Autodoc sent, and what a few places seem to be trying to send.


These are 152mm and have a little bend to them.

These do not match the car.


Which someone helpfully gave me the original Renault part number for over on the French Car Forums: 7700766869.  Which has allowed me to find that they should in fact be 131mm.  Found plenty of places listing them...nowhere with stock.  Well not quite true.  Found three places so far which have.  One in Italy, one in Turkey neither of which ship to the UK.  Last one is in Russia, which obviously isn't much use right now.

If anyone knows of someone who might have a couple sitting on a shelf somewhere feel free to let me know.  I suspect that re-bushing the originals may well wind up being the way forward though.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 10/01 - Anyone got any drop links?
3 hours ago, Dobloseven said:

Any way the bushes out the new ones could be fitted in the old ones?If they're not bonded in, might be a possibility. Or cut a bit out the rod and join it back together, welded inside some thin tubing for reinforcement. 

I need to double check they're the right size first.  Most places seem to think the ARB itself is 22mm diameter rather than 24mm which is actually on the car.  Plus I've no idea if the outer diameters match.

Regarding making a cut and shut link...don't know.  I don't want to fall foul of it being declared an unsafe modification at MOT time.  I'd be more inclined to re-bush the originals if it's possible.  Even if the original bushes are bonded in I'm sure that can be dealt with, and you'd think that out of the squillions of polyurethane bushes that are made these days we'd be able to find something with the correct dimensions to get pressed in there with enough digging.

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Only had about ten minutes to spare today between other jobs but threw the new spark plugs in.  I hadn't seen until I started the job that they're taper seat plugs, so very glad they came out fine.

Obviously haven't been in there very long at all, but checking shows the ones which came out are the wrong heat range, so I'm glad to have replaced them.


Haven't had a chance to take the car out for a run since the ignition system has been gone through yet.

Noticed this afternoon that unnoticed by me the Caddy ticked over 10K miles since I picked it up while we were out yesterday.


It was something like 50 miles shy of 100K when I got home from collecting it as memory serves.

Have oil and a filter here waiting to go in, just waiting for an afternoon that's not horrible or where I'm busy using the thing to get a service done!  Once the weather dries up a bit the poor thing really needs another good deep clean too.

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Somewhat of an occasion today in that the Renault was used as An Car and actually got driven out of town for the first time since I picked it up.


Knowing the front suspension was no longer about to fall to pieces played a part in being willing to actually drive it more than a couple of miles from home!  About 45 miles covered today.

Glad to report that the ignition system overhaul does seem to have got rid of our miss.  She's still slightly lumpy on very light throttle, but I've not even looked at the state of the throttle body/idle air control etc yet - so that's probably all gummed up something rotten.  Speedometer remained operational for the whole trip too.

The door issue however I think will be this weekend's job.  The driver's door decided not to latch again when I parked up there - and it took me a good 15 minutes of fiddling around with it before it decided to behave.  That needs to be properly fixed before the car goes out again as it's something which absolutely has the ability to get me stranded somewhere.  I don't think there's actually anything mechanically wrong with the latch, I think it's just either the original grease having dried out after 34 years, or even more likely the horrible waxy spray grease that seems to have been liberally used on any part that's vaguely meant to move on this car, presumably when it was put back on the road.  The throttle cable linkage is covered in it and you can pick chunks of it off like dried candle wax.  The locks have clearly also been doused in it - and it wouldn't surprise me if that was entirely to blame for the issue.

Watch this space I guess!  Hopefully I don't wind up having to try to source replacement latches as I don't imagine that would be particularly fun these days.

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Had to run out for a few things today.  Given the debacle with the driver's door on the Renault yesterday the sensible thing to do of course was to take the Caddy.


Yeah, we all knew that wasn't going to end up happening didn't we?

Door behaved itself perfectly today, though the speedometer only joined the party about 3/4 of the way through the trip.  Investigation of that is already on the to do list though.  Pretty sure it's a connection issue in the panel as the odometer and trip meter both keep working normally, so I don't think it's losing the speed signal from the pickup on the gearbox.

This is the horrible stuff I was talking about that's been slathered all over pretty much anything that's meant to move on this car, including the door locks.


I'm sure at some point it had lubricating properties, but it's like fully set candle wax now and can be removed in chunks with a screwdriver.  Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that if this is removed and replaced with something with actual lubricating properties that the door locks started working normally again.

I don't *think* getting the latches out is too difficult on this car.  Hoping that's the case, after which point I'll probably pretend they're a carburettor and dump them in the ultrasonic cleaner to cook for an hour or so to get rid of the old grease.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 13/01 - Door locks and electronics...

Here's a sight you're not going to see very often given that there are only two of them left on the road. A lovely slab of brown (I don't care if the brochure and the DVLA say it's bronze, it still looks brown to me) to brighten a dull day.


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7 hours ago, quicksilver said:

Here's a sight you're not going to see very often given that there are only two of them left on the road. A lovely slab of brown (I don't care if the brochure and the DVLA say it's bronze, it still looks brown to me) to brighten a dull day.


Car has only been that far from home once so far too!

Today has been moderately frustrating.  The weather very much hasn't helped.  When I started out it was a bit chilly, but skies were clear, it wasn't windy and weather forecast said I had a good four hours until there was a 30% chance of rain.  Yeah, 40 minutes in heavy rain arrived which then turned into sleet.  Right at the point where I couldn't abort the job I'd started so just had to put up with it.  I was soaked through and frozen to the core by the time I got back into the house.

Today's target was the driver's door on the Renault.  Having it deciding randomly whether to latch or not depending on mood was less than ideal.

Someone had at least had a go at getting into the door before.  Evidenced by two screws being missing - one here visible and one other down at the bottom of the door pocket.


Evidently they didn't get fully in, apparently being flummoxed by this little plastic nut.


Annoyingly they managed to crack the plastic.  The only really awkward bit was getting that blasted mirror adjuster out of the control panel, that's a right faff.

Once that's out it's pretty easy to get into.  The trim clips are even a pretty sensible type that pop out pretty easily.

Sadly there was evidence of someone having tried to use brute force to get in without having removed the armrest, having broken the backing of the trim panel in a few places.



This will need addressing at some point, probably with some fibreglass resin, but that's not a job for today.

Whoever had tried to get in had also managed to smash a bit of the waterproofing panel.


That's an easy fix though.

The panel was held in with a mastic type compound which is still compliant and sticky.  This is helpful as it meant that I could just pull the panel partly back to get to the lock and shove it back in place afterwards.

Getting into the lock itself and getting it out was actually very simple.  There's plenty of room to get in to remove the linkages, and they're secured by little clips that just need to be turned through about a quarter turn then the rods can be pulled out.


Here's the access you have to work through in the vicinity of the lock...which is so much better than any other car I've tried to get to anything inside the door on.


The three T30 Torx screws actually holding the lock in were wicked tight.  I was getting seriously worried that they were going to strip out before they cracked off.

This is the point at which the sleet arrived so there are no more photos.

Basically I took the lock out, emptied about two cans of carb cleaner through it to flush out as much of the old crusty grease and crud out, the re-greased it.

The action was definitely better than it started, though the latch pin still seemed to have a lot of drag on it.  Though when reassembled... it's worse than when we started.  The door now needs a wicked strong slam to fully latch.  Well it's kinda worse...in that you need to slam it silly hard to fully latch, but it does now consistently latch the first safety position rather than just bouncing open.

...So I need to pull the whole lot apart again and try again.  I reckon I need to get the latch itself more thoroughly cleaned to see if I can get it to move more freely.

There is no adjustment on the latch or striker, so it's one of those "it works or it doesn't" arrangements.

Given the weather forecast I suspect this might not be happening for a little while.

I'm going to have to take the door apart again anyway as in my haste to get things back together I forgot to plug the central locking actuator back in.  Oops.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 16/01 - Rebuilding Locks in the sleet...

Well that's moderately concerning.


That coolant level hasn't moved a millimetre in the last 12 and a half months and 11K miles...yet has dropped a good 2" in the week.  I can't see any obvious leaks, and there's no mayo/signs of oil level increase which might suggest head gasket issues.  I'll need to have a more detailed dig around the engine bay at the weekend.

Speaking of things I'll need to do at the weekend, I'll be needing to pull the nearside headlight on the van apart as it's apparently letting water in.


Really want that sorted now as headlights for these don't grow on trees these days so I don't want the reflector tarnishing.

I did manage to get the tax disc holder to stick to the windscreen in the Renault though.


Took it out for a quick run while the roads were dry before the gritters appeared.  Nothing to report there really, just don't want to have it sitting around too long without a run.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 20/01 - Where's my coolant going?

A substantial looking box arrived this afternoon.


Which somewhat usually in my experience for a box from a car dismantler turned out to contain a couple of items that were exceptionally well packed.


After nearly an entire recycling bag of unwrapping later the contents were revealed.


The steering rack was a bit of a shot in the dark as they were listed specifically as LHD - though visually I couldn't see any obvious differences - and at €35 I was willing to take a gamble.

The tail light on the car had a pretty substantial crack in the top so obviously needed replacement.


What I hadn't realised was quite how knackered it was!

Yeah, that had seen better days.  New one looks far better.


There is a tiny chip out of the one corner but it's not massively obvious once on the car and is definitely a huge step forward compared to what was on there.


It wasn't in the photo the seller listed though, so I'll give them the opportunity to replace it if they wish.  I'm not particularly worried either way.  This is far better!


Next task... steering column.

The one this car came with had been damaged by a previous (as far as I can tell eventually unsuccessful) attempt to steal the car.  The take away message from that seems to be that Renault steering locks are formidable adversaries if you don't have the keys.

I meant to take more photos, but the process is basically:

[] Remove steering column top and bottom cowl (two screws - one in my case as the offside one wouldn't go in because the ignition barrel was the best part of an inch too far forward).

[] Remove lower dash cover.  Two screws in the top edge then it unclips downwards.

[] Unplug and remove the indicator and wiper stalks, two screws on the underside of each.

[] Remove the ignition barrel.  There's a position between the accessory and ignition positions marked by an arrow at which the retaining pins can be pushed in allowing it to just be drawn out of the housing.  


If you're smart (unlike me) you realise that the wiring connector is actually a few inches down the wire and don't waste ten minutes trying to work out how to separate it from the barrel for no reason.  It's these two beefy looking connectors down here.


Renault even have helpfully staggered them in such a way that they don't try to bind up on each other during feeding through the housing.

With the ignition barrel out precisely how much of a go at taking it out someone had had before.  What a mess.


[] The sensible next step (I missed this initially) would be to undo and remove the pinch bolt holding the upper and lower column together.  Note the body of the bolt also acts as a safety device locking the two together as well as the tension - so it does need to be totally removed.

I forgot about this step so wound up having to do it while the whole lot was hanging off the car.  Oops.


This also shows you a glimpse of the violence this column has been subject to.

Note the bracket that the rear column mounting bolts (well...they're studs that nuts attach to actually).  This should be LEVEL and FLAT.


Yeah.  Though given that they had managed to bend the actual STEERING SHAFT ITSELF that doesn't really surprise me.  This is relatively thin sheet metal, and likely is designed to deform in the case of an impact.

[] Once that pinch bolt is out, then the four 13mm nuts holding the column on can be removed.  At which point the whole assembly should just drop out.  There was one little plastic clip guiding a cable over the top of the column, but that was the only other thing I found that needed to come off.

[] I actually chose to leave the steering wheel attached to the column as it gave me something to get hold of to manhandle the assembly by.  It's quite awkward to hold onto otherwise.  

Though it would normally be important to crack the steering wheel to shaft join before removing it from the car as it can be a bit of a struggle.  Except here it isn't!

Renault have been really considerate here - in the block that secures it, they have provided two threaded holes into which you screw the mounting bolts to act as a puller.  I like that.


What I didn't like was that I then utterly failed to get that bloody circlip off.  A set of circlip pliers is something I lacked, and I couldn't get by this time.  I decided to just come back to that later - putting the wheel back on could be left to literally the very last step without causing any problems.

So, column off, let's take a look at things.

New next to old.  Aside from some slightly more flexible looking mounting holes (the donor is off an earlier car), they look to be identical.


This is good, as the replacement was specifically listed as for LHD cars (I've not seen a RHD one listed since I got the car).  

While the sheet metal I'd seen bent in the car wasn't massively substantial (and I was able to more or less bend it back into shape with my much abused Saab toolkit pliers), the column itself is quite beefy.  Nevertheless, it's taken a heck of a beating.  


Looking up the column from the base makes the scale of the damage really obvious.


The top of that column should be level.

Yeah, there's only one place for this, and that's the scrap bin.


The metalwork under the dash has been more or less bent back into shape.  It's never going to be perfect, but it's a lot better than it was.


To to more with that would require at least the instrument panel to come out.

Reassembly is as the Haynes manual loves to say, reverse of disassembly. 

Only thing I'll say though is to reattach the lower column pinch bolt before anything else.  As you need to get things lined up right, laterally and obviously you can't really move things once the column is bolted in.

With everything bolted/screwed back together this was the result.


First thing that's obvious is that the ignition barrel is actually in the cutout in the cowl, whereas it used to be displaced about an inch forward and down.

It is still clocked very slightly anticlockwise, but only a tiny bit.


"Before" photo for reference.


Now it should have been a simple matter to swap the wheel over, I just needed to grab a set of circlip pliers.  As I was passing by Halfords while running other errands in the afternoon I thought I'd grab some there.  This turned out to be a mistake...the only ones they had were cheap and nasty in the extreme.  I wasn't exactly filled with confidence by the packaging!


Yes, that is a Halfords tag stapled to a nameless OEM card package...and the tool in it broke the first time I tried to use it.  So my steering wheel is still in the boot, which is frustrating!

Hopefully get this finished off tomorrow afternoon though.  Will be nice to have a steering wheel which actually rotates around the centre and doesn't press itself into my left knee at one point in each rotation.  I'm also no longer slightly worried that the wheel is about to snap off in my hands due to the trauma the steering shaft has been subject to.

Edited by Zelandeth
Fixed video embedding
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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 23/01 - Renault Improvements...
23 minutes ago, jonathan_dyane said:

Aye, off and never to be seen again, or maybe embedded in your eyeball 😅

Precisely the point.  I didn't have another one of these and was working outside.  So I didn't want to either lose it or damage it.  I've also stabbed myself in the finger doing this before which is an experience I don't wish to repeat.

With a set of actually working set of circlip pliers picked up from Toolstation - which were cheaper than the ones from Halfords - we got the clip off and the wheel transferred over.

Doesn't that look better?


Notable from the driver's seat is that I can actually see the switches to the right of the steering wheel now.


These were always totally obscured behind the windscreen wiper stalk before.

Getting the wheel actually straight was a right faff.  It's still clocked very slightly off centre, but I can tweak that when it's convincingly above freezing.

How badly bent was the actual steering shaft?  Well about this badly.

That was recorded in landscape...thanks YouTube.

I don't want to know how much force that took...well actually that's a complete lie.  The engineer in me is really curious to know how much force that took.

Here's the state of the keyway the steering lock locates in.


Having the steering wheel actually rotate around its own centre and only moving in one plane rather than two really does make driving the car rather more pleasant.

Have to admit, I was kind of dreading this job.  These cars seem to have a bit of a reputation for being difficult to work on, but this job at least really couldn't have been easier.  The only holdups were caused by either errors in sequencing on my part or not having tools on hand.  I reckon you could easily do this in an hour if you were organised.

The puller built into the steering wheel boss in particular was a really nice thing to find.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Renault, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 24/01 - Renault Steering Column Change...

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      Collection of this scooter involved a fucked Transit, and a day trip to Stoke from sunny Cornwall. Breathing in diesel exhaust fumes which permeated the van through the rusty gaps under the back doors was becoming tiresome by the twelfth hour of driving. We managed it though, and the scooter was well worth the journey. It’s an Italian 1967 SX150, with a 186 Imola kit, plus various other trick bits. It was originally Verde Mela - a rare Innocenti colour - which is basically apple green. Unfortunately the previous owner stripped every last trace of it from the frame, and repainted it in a Peugeot metallic. Not something I could ever bring myself to do, but it looks good all the same.
      I had plenty of fun with the scooter, and even made it to the Isle of Wight rally on it (I’ve done this a few times on previous scooters). However, as with many of us, life and house got in the way, and it’s sat in the garage under a cover for way too long.
      I hadn’t fired it up for well over 12 months, so decided to drag the old dear out into the sunshine, fire her up, and give her a blast around the estate. I did a quick video of getting the scooter started - no sound because time lapse - startup was a bitch as the fuel was really stale, half evaporated and leaving the oil/ratio mix completely oil heavy. You can make out when it eventually fires up in the video - wait for the smoke around the back end!
      I’ll end by adding the startup video. I’ve got a load more photos somewhere on the external HDD, including some of my previous Lambrettas. I'll have to dig them out when I get chance.
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