I have an increasingly rare night off tonight, so I went out to have a prod around the 205 to remind myself what needs doing. It stills amazes me how utterly rust free it is, certainly the bits I can get at with it on the ground anyway. Minor grump about discovering the rear drivers side wheel has been rubbing on the inside, but I'll see to that in time.
There's not much else to say right now, so have a photo of it before it was off the road!
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.
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.