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Harrison's Garage - 440/A4/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5 - double collection day


rob88h

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2 hours ago, Crackers said:

Jesus. That looks awful. Good work.

It drives exactly as you’d expect a 380,000 mile vehicle to drive. 

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It’s decommissioned, and I don’t have the right license or insurance to take fares - which is lucky because these two don’t have money  

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They do like the intercom though, it baffles them. 

So yeah, 100 miles in and loving the black (ish) cab. I know nothing about them, but what could possibly go wrong, right?

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16 minutes ago, rob88h said:

It drives exactly as you’d expect a 380,000 mile vehicle to drive. 

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It’s decommissioned, and I don’t have the right license or insurance to take fares - which is lucky because these two don’t have money  

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They do like the intercom though, it baffles them. 

So yeah, 100 miles in and loving the black (ish) cab. I know nothing about them, but what could possibly go wrong, right?

Do they pay their fare in bones or dog treats? 😂

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Taxi - LGOS - Back in Black

For the sake of neighbourly relations I made the Taxi a bit less of an eyesore at twenty yards with materials and method befitting to its station in life.

Two tins of black that predate my birth and a fine texture foam roller and voila. 

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Painting outside in October with ancient paint is not conducive to a good finish (I had to smash through the solidified surface of the gloss in the tin), some of it managed to go off before the condensation set in, but what I’m left with is still an improvement-factor-12 job. 

The pictures do it a credit. 

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I knew I’d kept these (and my dad before me) all these years for a reason 😂

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - 440/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5/TXII

Fiesta KKC - Gone already.... Next!

The Fiesta has been a hoot. It's firmly on the "would buy again" list, but alas it has driven off into the night to it's new life; with a fresh full 13 months MOT and an £11 Ultra Shield carwash wash. There was basically nothing I've had to do with this car other than enjoy it as much as possible for the 10 days or so I've ended up having it. I didn't even get round to advertising it yet, it sold to a friend of a friend who was in need of something like this, so I was glad I could help in the end. With my third October purchase coming shortly I needed to get it gone pretty quick to prevent me having to take out yet another insurance policy 🙄

It came into my collection because of a scrappage risk looming over it, which is amazing to consider as it's been great and just flew through an MOT. The sensible choice in our household would have been to run the Focus and the Fiesta (especially over winter with it's heated front screen) and be rid of all the rest of the shite, but then that's not why I'm on here...

I only took the initial photo's with it and as I like to provide a picture in each post you'll have to have this one again:

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In other news, having completed all the prefix registration letters, happenchance has now been working on the regional area codes of the new* style registrations. October purchase #3 is another Essex reg, but so far this month I got EO and LG which isn't bad. I'm approaching 50% complete. The Jury is out on J (private only?) and X (import?) as one's I'll probably not be bothered with if I can't get them, much like Q-prefix in my first challenge. I think T is going to be a hard one as it's a rare Scotland reg, I think. There's a few more random purchases left in me and then I'll have to start getting targeted, haha.

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Black Cab - LGOS - what to do 🤨?

I’ve been chugging around in the Taxi a bit more now the Fiesta has gone. It’s a pretty hateful thing and the V5 has now arrived in my name.., (time to sell it?) but unsurprisingly, after only 10 days the novelty has not yet worn off. I am often left with the feeling of “why have I got this thing” when I look out the window, yet after a quick drive I’m always left happy despite it’s clear and forthcoming shortcomings.

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Today I visited a red phone box just because I had no-where to go in it and it’s evoking a sort of Churchillean Brunellish British patriotism in me. If I’m ever to be dispatched for Fish & Chips, this is the car I’m taking. If a car could vote, this one is pro-[redacted political stance].

I’d never planned on getting a Black Cab, but I feel like I need to do something to mark the occasion of having it before I can give it up. My thinking so far is either too small, like phone boxes, postboxes or chippies, or too big, like retiring it to the south of Spain. They only middle ground I’ve got so far is a full A1 slog from Islington to wherever in Edinburgh the A1 ends, or indeed wherever the car “ends”.

 

 

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Black Cab - Top Tier Bodgery

Wherever the Black cab ends up going, I need to fix the moaning power steering pump...

Step 1: Improve the ability to ignore said power steering fault by fitting a radio. Like many others around here I'm sure I'm not alone in having a box of miscellaneous radios hanging around in the garage. Often they're too good to throw away but not worth the hassle of selling, so it's always nice to occasionally get a car with no radio so I have a reason to use one up. 

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It wasn't quite plug and play mind. My radio stock are all a jumble of different harness types and first one wouldn't power on... - unknown if it's the car or the radio at this point so I try another with a different harness adapter and that comes on! Only no sound. 🙄 Trying a spare speaker in the drivers door elicits tunes from the mystery CD that was left in this player the best part of a decade ago, so I know the wiring to that side is good. Same test on the passenger side with no success. The passenger speaker then goes in the drivers door (working speaker + working wiring) and the passenger door gets a re-wire and a random speaker I've had for nearly 20 years sitting in with the miscellaneous stereos. This cab is eating up all my old tat I've kept for far to long which is great. Some artful bodgery sees the smaller speaker fit inside the dead OEM speaker casing after a bit of grinding. Now it all mounts up in the door as good as before.

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I can still hear the power steering pump crying for help over the radio.

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Black Cab – 877 miles in 24 hours

My wife was away this weekend and I was bored. I made a snap decision that I really should take the Black Cab into Central London for the experience, so at precisely 13:17 I threw my responsibilities into the back of the cab with half a plan, tried to fathom what charges I’d have to pay for and set my Sat Nav for St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I’m from rural Nottinghamshire originally; driving in cities isn’t my idea of fun, but I try not to let fear grip me because it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be – and I’ve driven around Marakesh in a Ford Galaxy and in central Istanbul with no Sat Nav in a rental with less than 50 miles on the clock from new. L-town. was. a. doddle. Actually, when you get into the inner ULEZ bit the roads actually get pretty quiet. I think the worst bits were all the people, bikes and e-scooters around Highbury Island (what’s the point of that bit of road?!) and down Goswell road down to Barbican (but Ken can’t, bad joke that’s an instinct of hearing Barbican, sorry). I regret not getting out and taking any pictures, but a Black Cab in London is not really much to see – and also I was focused on getting in and out as quickly as possible. Box ticked.

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Why St. Pauls? Well, it allowed me to pick up the root of the A1 at that weird roundabout with a building on it – apparently the Museum of London. A fitting start for a journey of such British icons; the A1, Britain’s longest road and arguably one of the most historic and iconic in the UK, a Black Cab, not the finest example by a long way but an icon nonetheless, two English Springer Spaniels in the back and a large supply of Tizer and Wotsits. Icons.

The A1 is pretty meaningful for me, I grew up on it (I can remember playing football on the A1 during the petrol driver strikes in about the year 2000). I hail from Blyth, Notts nots Northumberland, which people only seem to know as a way-marker along the A1, so in conversations it becomes part of the identity of where you’re from. There used to be a brutal roundabout there, frequently nailed by flying BMW’s, whose folklore among the local kids had cruise control sticking issues and burnt-out brakes – I swear we had more than one of those. When I left home at 18 I was in Lancashire, so got to know the stretch of A1 from Blyth to the M62 pretty well, and after that Essex, so I’ve also got comfortable with the bit from Blyth to the A14. Like really comfortable. Between the A14 and the M62 I’m going to name a few landmarks, past and present if they evoke anything in fellow A1-ers (that’s who we identify as): the 4 lane section before Peterborogh to speed test, The Harrier at RAF Wittering, the scrap Lockheed Lightning on top of a portacabin, of course the Hyperbolic Paraboloid roofed Little Chef, the Elkesley accident reduction scheme, Harworth Colliery winding gear, Ferrybridge power station and recently all the naff “Flat Earth” graffiti.

This year my family all moved away from the area and with it goes my final ties. It’s sad to think my A1 tripping in the future will be merely transactional to get from point A to B rather than it being point A or B.

Back to my ode to the A1, I’m at the source, in a Black Cab and about to attempt to take it all in – in its entirety – in A oner.

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Black Cab – A1 or bust

From Barbican (but Ken can’t) I retraced my steps up the A1 along Holoway Road and Archway, over the North Circular and out through Borehamwood towards South Mimms. The Black Cab is in its element here. Even at 16 years old it’s not out of place due to the visual evolution of the TX3 and TX4. Even the new all-electric one’s are clearly a descendant. There’s an unwritten code of courtesy between the other cabs and busses it seems, although that could be because I’m by default quite a defensive friendly driver. Acceleration is punchy sufficient, thanks to the gearing, turning is tight and the roads are so knackered the vagueness of the steering isn’t really noticeable. Even on the dual carriageways you don’t really get over 45mph and all is well.

After the M25 the route speeds up a lot and that puts this cab (and maybe others) out of its comfort zone. A good 15 degrees of steering wheel angle has no effect on the wheels, and in fact the wheels are also largely free to do what they want within that play, leading to me gripping the steering wheel extra hard resulting with no improvement other than stiff arms. The wind noise gets up predominantly around the front screen and whistling in at the Taxi light on the roof, presumably where it’s open for wiring. It also runs out of legs in a fairly big way. There is an overdrive thankfully, but even with that engaged you get to only about 60mph before you really start going into rpms where you feel like no diesel should go.

With driving into London and out again time had passed and I needed to give my passengers a comfort break, so I took a random exit at one of the roundabouts on southern stretch of A1. A series of random lefts and rights found me at this nice surprise Nature Reserve. Walking, craps and dinner were had. (also, first picture of the trip!)

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I retraced my steps and got back on to the A1 and started to encounter my next Black Cab limitations. By now I was coming up towards Peterborough and the fuel gauge was hopefully telling me lies. I’d done 150 miles from full and ¼ tank was showing. Ignoring that kinetic energy is a function of speed squared, I sped up to get to the services (plus, I’m on the 4 lane speed test section of the A1 so let’s se what this baby can do) and at 65pm, a new PB, the whole vehicle went into a massive resonant shake. Ok, speed up to 70mph to get past the resonance. Nope, the shaking just got more violent. Speed up to 75mph to really get past this resonance. Nope, can’t get there, I just can’t do it cap’ain, I’m giving her all she’s got. Ok ok, slow back down to 60mph and tend to my bleeding ears and white knuckles.

At the fuel stop, only 20 Litres fits in, the gauge is maybe a bellend or the tank is tiny for a car that did 34mpg.

The next MANY hours are pretty uneventful with the following exceptions: loss of daylight and the below:

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60mph is more than 10 miles in an hour less than 70mph I’m sure! The passengers have been asleep for a good while, hopefully not monoxide poisoned. I too am not in 100% condition anymore either. Regardless, it’s the last push into Edinburgh. It’s more remote up here, the dual carriageways are gone and owing to it being midnight by now I can melt road signs with my main beams due to a distinct lack of other road users. The main-beams are insane.

Finally, in Edinburgh and after all the monotony of several hours of A1-ing in the dark it’s nice to be in a city again. It’s approaching 1am now and the pubs are kicking out where I get my first hailing. This immediately puts me into a panic as I clearly look like a cab and I’d not thought about this situation. The light is off, but they are drunk and I’m petrified someone is going to open the back door releasing two coiled Springer Spaniels who are also up, alert and feeding off my nervous energy. I searched around for a door lock switch for when I’m stationary at lights or in traffic, but you can’t arbitrarily lock people in your cab it seems. Anyway, staring people down and shaking my head vigorously keeps the scots at bay and the Spaniels in the car and we make it to the End of the A1! On the final approach to the junction that ends the A1 – and I’m not making this up with artistic license – it ticks over to 1am and BBC Radio 4 hand over to the BBC World Service, and before they go the National Anthem is played. I don’t know if they do that every night or whether I was just super lucky. Either way the timing is impeccable. It makes me swell with patriotism, 12 hours driving the London Black Cab up the UK’s premier road, played in by the National Anthem.

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410 Miles, mostly at 60mph and about 4500 rpm, ha. Now to go home…

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Black Cab – The Long Way Home.

I say the long way home, but it’s been 12 hours of constant travels by now, save a few dog walks and a petrol stop every 150 miles and I just want to take a B-line straight to Essex. Guess what, it’s the A1 all the way down to Cambridgeshire. Love the A1.

I made it about as far back down as Morpeth before the Tizer ran out and I pulled off the A1 to find the most remote, hidden location I could so I could have a little sleep.

On my way into Scotland on the Matrix Boards, and on the radio, was news of an incoming storm overnight with yellow weather warnings for rain, heading from west to east. I didn’t think much of the rain warning in the past hours because I was so focused on keeping the slabsided monstrosity in its lane with the crazy coastline gusts trying to blow me of bridges or into oncoming trucks. The rain warning came back into my mind in sharp focus when at 5am I woke up to heavy rain drumming down on the big tin Taxi roof. I guess that’s the end of my sleep. The dogs enjoy running round in the rain and really enjoy the treat of early breakfast (even in the rain) because I want to try and get ahead of the storm rather than stop in an hour and a half for their normal feed time.

Sleeping in the Taxi was good but not great. It’s partitioned in such a way that I can’t lay straight in it in any way, even with the back seats folded up. I think I’d have slept better if I wasn’t in there with two dogs, one of which proceeded to stand there with its face one inch from mine just staring at me. To be fair I was using its dog bed as a mattress.

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A few hours later below Scotch Corner and I’m ahead of the rain and the Sun starts to rouse my circadian rhythm and I’m back in the zone.

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I’ve learned how to tour in the cab better by now, 600 miles in, the seat, although containing 380,000 miles of fart is pretty comfortable, the position is quite trucker like. The radio is pretty clear and I’m so so glad I fitted it. I’d brought some CD’s with me, but the ride is so poor that every crease, crack, pothole and repair in the road seems to smash through the body and the CD skips so much I gave up on the CD’s pretty quickly. Visibility is great. After 20 hours you get used to the cackle of the Ford diesel and whistle of the Taxi sign. Overtaking is an art too. You have to creep up behind a truck, wait for a flat section of dual carriage way (this is where aforementioned eidetic knowledge of sections of the A1 is helpful) and then the trick is to apply enough pressure to the accelerator to elicit some more speed, but not too much accelerator otherwise it’ll shift down and stick you in an rpm range where all torque is gone, and the engine is trying to detonate to put itself out of its misery. If you encounter a hill, abort the overtake, the truck can maintain it’s power up the hill, the Taxi cannot. So, if there is no hill and you’ve not shifted down then you just need to endure the 65mph death shake until you are past your obstacle (truck). Then, in relief, you can back off to comfort and immediately get overtaken by the truck again on the next hill.

As a last treat for the dogs for enduring my adventure with me I took them to Clumber Park for a few hours – a place I used to frequent when I lived local.

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Back in Essex, the Black Cab is exactly as it was 870 miles before we’d set off. It was in an awful state already but these things really are automotive cockroaches. Great in the city, not so good over distances, largely disgusting but hard to kill.

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48 minutes ago, Dan302 said:

What an adventure! Really enjoyed that 🙂

Thanks. Are you familiar with the concept of type-2 fun?

  • Type-1 fun = Fun at the time, fun to look back on.
  • Type-2 fun = Boring/arduous/not fun at the time, but fun to look back on
  • Type-3 fun = Not fun at the time, not fun to look back on.

Quite often road trips are predominantly Type-2 fun with occasional moments of Type-1. Many hours spent cruising at 60mph, pretty bored, but on the whole fun to look back on and a nice story to have. I like doing things  like this.

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wow thats awesome stuff! a fair old jaunt in any car!

could only have been better if it was in an FX4 :) (that would of made it stand out even in London as there are non left in revenue service here sadly)

its awesome to see the TX2 out and about, its weird seeing you mention place names in London which are very familiar to me, but not something I often see mentioned here as most people are not trapped in Central London like I am!

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9 hours ago, rob88h said:

Thanks. Are you familiar with the concept of type-2 fun?

  • Type-1 fun = Fun at the time, fun to look back on.
  • Type-2 fun = Boring/arduous/not fun at the time, but fun to look back on
  • Type-3 fun = Not fun at the time, not fun to look back on.

Quite often road trips are predominantly Type-2 fun with occasional moments of Type-1. Many hours spent cruising at 60mph, pretty bored, but on the whole fun to look back on and a nice story to have. I like doing things  like this.

Type-2 fun is definitely how I would predominantly describe the Lands End to JohnO trip in the Montego. Multiple lashings of Type-1, quite a few actually. But the M4/M6 combo from Bristol to Glasgow is just killer and I would lump that as Type-3.

Road trips are great though. I love getting to know a car rapidly in that way

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12 hours ago, Tommyboy12 said:

I would predominantly describe the Lands End to JohnO trip in the Montego

Somewhere in here (page 10 and 11) there is a bit of Le Jog stuff. I do it every couple of years for no real reason other than it's now a holiday tradition and good for some type-2 build up. Much like your Montego endeavour, it started with a breakdown, unfinished business and now is a protected biennial birth right that the family have no say in stopping me. 

21 hours ago, High Jetter said:

Was the meter running?

Unfortunately the meter is missing - I presume they take it out as part of the decommissioning, along with the Taxi sign light. It'd have been ace to know how much the fare would have been 🤣

21 hours ago, LightBulbFun said:

most people are not trapped in Central London like I am!

 Yeah, not a great place to car hoard. This was my first time into proper Central Central London by car - into the as of today "old" ULEZ zone. Not to bad to drive actually, but to have to pay £27.50 just to be there left a sour feeling. I could imagine piloting a certain brand of Invalid Carriage around there would be quite an awesome experience though! 

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1 hour ago, Skcat said:

How big a mistake would it be buying the merc back?

OMG I’ve dreamed of this moment - but in all reality it would need a very thorough look at the corrosion situation. In Person. 
I truely loved this car, probably more than any of my others - but I sold it for £850 because it was hanging on to life even then. The bill for road worthyness was not even calculated by my much trusted garage and I was counselled, like therapy, in the merits of letting it go. No way am I giving £3k to get it back - but that said I think the guy I sold it to did go deep into some quite substantial repair work, so you never know 🤔

Thanks, shan’t sleep for days now. 
 

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29 minutes ago, rob88h said:

OMG I’ve dreamed of this moment - but in all reality it would need a very thorough look at the corrosion situation. In Person. 
I truely loved this car, probably more than any of my others - but I sold it for £850 because it was hanging on to life even then. The bill for road worthyness was not even calculated by my much trusted garage and I was counselled, like therapy, in the merits of letting it go. No way am I giving £3k to get it back - but that said I think the guy I sold it to did go deep into some quite substantial repair work, so you never know 🤔

Thanks, shan’t sleep for days now. 
 

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I really want a 300D however I fancy a auto saloon. It still tempts me a lot but things like empty beer cans and the messy interior don't make it any more attractive. It's not a £400 KA 

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Interesting spec...leather but no wood. 

I never understood people who put cars like that up for sale without even the cheapest of petrol station hand car was go-overs. 

No photos of any of the usual rot spots, nothing if the engine bay...yeah...a solid 1 out of 10 for effort there.

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3 hours ago, Skcat said:

I really want a 300D however I fancy a auto saloon.

KHM 73W was the ultimate spec for me. 300D, manual estate in the most amazing shade of beige 😍

 

1 hour ago, Zelandeth said:

No photos of any of the usual rot spots, nothing if the engine bay...yeah...a solid 1 out of 10 for effort there.

I got in touch to see what I could find out... When I gave it up the inner-wings, scuttle, bulkhead and chassis rails were all toast. The only passable structure was that the engine had leaked oil on over the years. 🤣 Like I say though, the guy I sold it to sent me updates every now and again and was a car body welder from memory so for £3k (and that it passed MOTs) it must've been fixed or patched up in some capacity.

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Thankfully it's already sold! I was seriously considering going back in for round 3 on KHM 73W. I've asked for the details of the guy he's sold it to who supposedly is fixing it up so that I can offer support and encouragement (and general internet stranger weirdness). I hope it is true and work doesn't stall. I'd better start saving up for when this one is concourse and for sale at £manyThouands. 

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1 hour ago, Zelandeth said:

Interesting spec...leather but no wood. 

I never understood people who put cars like that up for sale without even the cheapest of petrol station hand car was go-overs. 

No photos of any of the usual rot spots, nothing if the engine bay...yeah...a solid 1 out of 10 for effort there.

It is odd too see a 300D with a Manual transmission from what I've seen of them.

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14 hours ago, rob88h said:

Unfortunately the meter is missing - I presume they take it out as part of the decommissioning, along with the Taxi sign light. It'd have been ace to know how much the fare would have been 🤣

You need one, for shits n giggles at least. Doesn't have to be calibrated...

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Black Cab - new fare

It was a short but eventful stewardship with the Black Cab. Having completed my mission with it and being satisfied I’d had my fun I sold it on while it still had decent MOT and I could get a healthy chunk of my insurance rebated. It sold to a lovely local-ish guy from Gumtree who is planning to keep it running, do some paint repairs (undo my heinous paint crimes) and maybe convert it to the veg. He’s in the bodywork trade by day and certainly has the skills to give FGOS what it needs. He even mentioned adorning the roof with a Union Jack. I wish home all the best with it and maybe we’ll hear from him as I left an AutoShite dealer sticker in the back window. 

I’m summary, I’m 100% glad I got the opportunity on this Cab, but not sure I’d take another TX. FX maybe, never say never. 

Next!

Next up is my final October purchase… and hopefully my last for a bit as I’m spread quite thin and want to prep my other cars for winter/make actual progress with them. I’m still negotiating collection on this latest one, it’s a Battersea ULEZ dogs home vehicle I’m rehoming. 

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - 440/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5
  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - 440/A4/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5 - double collection day

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