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Ben's Adventures In Tat - Further* Education Edition


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Well quite a bit has happened since last I updated my thread.

So the vehicle assessor came round and I think declared the Volvo as a Cat S, however he upped its pre crash value to £3750, meaning my payout was more sizeable than I expected. 

Next it was a question of getting time in the bodyshop, but a couple of weeks ago they were able to get it in:


And after a day it was looking like this:


Now all I am awaiting is some final parts from the 480 club and we should be good to go.


On the Audi front I have finally managed to get at least the engine oil changed, the stuff that was in there was horrific. The unholy shaking that it does when idle seems to be the cooling fan being imbalanced, which as I am due to take it to the South of France in the coming weeks could be a source of great amusement*

The state of the boot floor however was ghastly, someone should be stoned (and chipped?) for thinking that spraying black underseal over the drainage plugs - on both sides - was a commendable idea! No wonder the boot was regularly becoming a pond. However we have now unplugged them and drilled some extra holes, and Cavity wax was applied with alacrity. 

I was also able to fit a new aerial, and get my hands on one of my dream Radio Cassette units, the Blaupunkt Memphis SQR 88. We do have a problem in that we can't find a proper earth as the wiring behind the unit is an orgy of untidiness, however the aerial does act as a back up earth, though it isn't recommended. It works for now though. 


The biggest issue that is preventing the car from being 'complete' is the fact that the Sunroof is still broken, and I have no idea why. One of the rails is clearly a replacement part, and my 6th sense is telling me it is from a B4 generation car, but the design looks the same. Either way it is getting jammed somewhere in the mechanism and so it will not tilt like it is meant to - has anyone had any experience with these going wrong?


All this aside, I was also able to have a great time with my good friend @Skizzer going around the NEC resto show and for once seeing real cars under the limelight, a pale yellow Cavalier coupe (complete with actual paint fade) and a Rover V8-S (thankfully not Triton Green - I didn't take any spare underwear with me) were the highlights for me, although there was my ideal spec Renault Megane 225 in the auction, thankfully it had very low miles so I didn't want to buy it. 


Finally managed to attempt to pretend to imagine being Sam Tyler...





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  • MisterH changed the title to Ben's Adventures In Tat - A Shite-iot Abroad Edition

It has been quite quiet on my page for a while, this might offer some explanation...

Chapter 1: The Run du Soleil 

Due to a family event in the South of France where my guardians live, I felt it would be a good idea to make a trip out of it and get some experience driving on the continent. Given the Volvo's predicament, my only choice of transport was my still relatively new (to me) 1986 Audi 80 Sport, with 150k miles under it's belt and possibly some faults hiding, probably not.  My parents had to get there and back, as they couldn't stay, so they took the Nissan 370Z Nismo bought as a bit of fun (without* the asterisk) last year. Before departure I was fastidious in my checks, far more than normal. The fluids had been recently changed, but they were topped up and the tyres inflated to slightly over their recommended pressures to give better fuel economy on the motorways. Finally, the cars were cleaned, and I spent the best part of a day polishing the Audi with zeal. Yeah...




The morning came and to say it was pissing it down was an understatement. In the dark on the M25, there was a lot o

f spray, putting paid to all my armwork the day before. To make matters worse, due to a huge geopolitical shift that shall go unnamed, the M20 was closed to park lorries all down it, so it was almost impossible to actually access the Channel Tunnel. Eventually following his nose, my father carved out a route taking us through the Kentish country lanes and we were able to sneak on to the motorway for the last stretch to get us where we needed to be. Once we had been through customs we were ready for the adventure to really begin. 



Our route was pretty simple: Head around 800 miles south, at 80 mph, going through the automotive intestine that is Lyon. With my father leading in the Nismo, I duly followed, and quickly found the Audi to be far more capable than I had bargained for. My father was dawdling around at 70, which actually began to really hinder my concentration. So much so, that I had to goad him to speed up to the legal limit of 130kph. There was some good reasoning behind his actions though, as for about 600 miles, the motorway was covered in standing water and with crosswinds for large parts. This was going to be a fight. 

Passing lorries with zero visibility. Crosswinds really knocking you for 6. The famously smooth French roads, so often the envy of British drivers, became akin to an ice rink, but with lorries whose spray always blew exactly where you had to go to pass. Keeping the car in a straight line was a battle, mile after mile. I found myself wishing I had got a quattro instead, before reminding myself that 4WD cannot cheat the wind. But the only thing that was faltering in the equation was me. The car was astoundingly good at long distance, high speed blasts. The engine was willing and had plenty of go in it whenever I was at the limit, and it cruised at 80 all day with little fuss. Halfway in however, I had to take a break. My father was, quite annoyingly, totally relaxed in the Nismo, the tuning shop Sportscar GT proving more comfortable than the family saloon, even if you couldn't get as much in it. I had to give a series of flashes denoting whether I needed a break, or the car needed fuel (spoiler alert, the latter was only needed twice), as he would just plod on through. We certainly made an interesting combo though, and the continental drivers were quite perturbed to see a 36 year old saloon overtaking them in the outside lane. Just doing what it was designed to do.



But 3/4 of the way to Lyon, the weather dried up a bit, and the roads opened out, and we could have some fine cruising. Many cassettes were played, from the likes of Duran Duran to a-ha, even a bit of Roxy Music, and of course I had the cassette adapter for my phone. Then we hit Lyon. 

For those who do not know, Lyon is like the small intestine, but of roads. Lots of congestion, lots of illogical layouts. A world of shit if you are a driver. A Huge tunnel with about 5 different entrances and exits, and we had to get the one that would take us to Provence. And we hit it as rush hour. N'ertheless, we waded through, and feeling extremely thankful I drove to Somerset a couple of days before to fit a new cooling fan. Then, after getting past an accident, we were able to get close to our goal. But in spite of how close they may appear on the map, Lyon is still 4 hours from Toulon, our target. France is Very Big. 

As night fell we went on, my concentration buckling under the strain. The French lack of cat's eyes really playing with my mind. But we went on. If I hadn't been exerting myself so hard earlier in the trip, I might have been better off. But then given my age, and this being my first automarathon, I shouldn't have really been surprised. Still, I flipped cassettes, kept the fan at full, and tried to focus on my IAM skills*

Not long before our destination, in the dark at around 21:30, I put the special magic cassette in. This allows me to play music from my phone through the cassette player. And next on my playlist was that anthem by The Sisters of Mercy, The Temple of Love (1994). This song seems to be the music equivalent of caffeine, and keep me awake far longer than other songs do. When I heard the opening I turned the volume up and prepared for the power. Shame the cassette wasn't prepared for it though, as it promptly gave up the ghost a minute in and left me in silence. It simply couldn't handle it. 

But by this time, I was close. So I decided to forgo anything else and try to concentrate. Though not before some questionable in car attempts to salvage the music.

The last few miles went by, and by the time I arrived in the picturesque walled village of Le Castellet, I had been going for 18 hours, and the odometer had climbed by almost 900 miles. 



And in the back of my mind I could hear echoes of Craig Armstrong's Ruthless Gravity, as featured in the 2003 Top Gear race to the South of France...  



Tune in next time to find out how through my trying to explain why a Renault 20 was a good idea, my godfather bought an Innocenti 1100S. And my first EV experience *gasp* 

But there can be no more tonight, I have just had to navigate the M25...



...And drive 3/4 of France

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As a small aside, during the event with my guardians, I got talking to a relation of theirs who was into cars. He told me of a mythical version of the Citroen GS called the GSi (Or GSI, GS I, GS i) which was basically a Citroen GS "hot hatch" for the UK market. I thought he might have been referring to the X2 and X3, but I don't know as he said they were the epitome of rare. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he may have been referring to? 


Chapter 2: From Tat to Tatty

During my first week of staying with my guardian, who is himself an enthusiast of classic cars, though mostly not of the sort we are about, tasked me with finding him a classic while I was down here. For some context, he cut his teeth working as a salesman in the BL dealership in Soton from around 1979-83, and was really quite good at it. Although he still thinks that buying and selling Triumph Heralds are the key to financial success in the classic car world, something he hasn't been able to reasonably explain to me yet. 

Anyway, the first car I found was a tasty looking Renault 20TS. I explained that while in France these were two a penny, in the UK, even in LHD form, it would probably drum up interest, especially with FOTU getting dangerously close to almost being fashionable. However, even though it was a 1 owner car, he wasn't convinced. He wanted something pretty, a soft top. Then he wanted a Mehari, then a Renault 4, then a Toyota Celica. I was getting to the bottom of Leboncoin at this point,  when suddenly a Triumph GT6 came up for sale in the same town as us. It was a runner (just) but it was so close it would be rude not to go and see it. So off we went. 


The Triumph was a Canadian import. The paint was flaking, it leaked, and the doors didn't open or shut properly. There were age related issues too. The interior was knackered, there was no clutch pretty much, and there was a bit of rust, though the car was solid. It was a sorry sight, as in the boot there was a picture of it taken way back when, in a time when it was clearly loved. It was a dog, but surprisingly, after a jump off the Audi, it ran!


But it was far too much for what we wanted, so the search continued. 

Obsessed as he was with Meharis, I drove him down to Toulon to go and look at the cheapest one he could find. It wasn't actually that bad, but the plastic around the tailgate hinge was cracked and there was blue smoke coming out of the exhaust. He decided to think on that one, but at the price it was, it didn't hang around for long.

Wracking my brains, on a total chance, I typed in Innocenti into the Leboncoin search bar, and found a pretty soft top known as an 1100S. Now this was a car I knew about anyway because I really don't have much else to do with my life   my father had once seen 3 strange Fr registered convertibles on the M27 and he tasked me with finding out what they were, as he had no idea. Eventually we settled that the little Innocenti 950/1100S was the likely culprit.

1968 Innocenti spider

After seeing this red one for sale, my godfather was immediately smitten. Only he had no idea what it was. Ironically, given that he had told me he didn't want anything unusual, he was considering buying it over the phone. His son suggested it was probably the picnic basket on the back*. However, sense prevailed, and we soon found ourselves on the TGV up to Lyon to go and see it. The guy selling the car was the honest sort, he was a trader, but he could tell within minutes that we weren't messing around (I think he might have been more than a little relieved). 

The car itself was presentable, but tatty. There was a hole in the roof, it had the strangest paint job I had ever seen, but it was straight. The paint could only have been done outside in a dusty environment, as it was orange peeling but only in specific random places. It wasn't uniform at all. But importantly for an (Anglo) Italian car, it had no rust. The indicators didn't work, nor did the handbrake, and the head gasket may, or may not, have been iffy. But the seller was good and we decided to think on it.


It was up for 14k, but it needed at least 3k taken off that to be viable given their values. After thinking on it, my godfather decided to low ball it. 3k off the asking price. Somehow, he got it. AND with an agreement to get it registered, all faults fixed, and ready to go. I do not know how he does it, but he has that touch. I need to learn.

I had made it very clear that it would NEED a respray to have any long term viability, but he was smitten. And to be honest, just looking at it was enough to start Matt Monro singing in my head, so I could see why. On Days Like These Indeed...

*In a move that made me laugh, the seller (who normally imports 500s from Italy) said that every time he advertises a car with a picnic basket on it, the phone falls off the hook. Except in this case, well until my godfather saw it!

I think that wraps up this leg of the trip, more capers to come...


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5 minutes ago, MisterH said:

my godfather

He made an offer they couldn't refuse. :D

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  • 2 months later...

Well it has been some months since I last updated this thread, for a variety of reasons. To summarise what the remainder of the French Trip entailed, here is the rest in 6 pictures and a couple of GIFs: IMG_2656.thumb.JPG.fb3e965b69dd3b5f25a1020375d40339.JPG

Revelation as I discovered the CD jack in my newly fitted Blaupunkt Memphis could plug straight in to my phone allowing me to play music and render Bluetooth completely unnecessary, of course, when the phone wasn't overheating, which it was often doing...


A dear friend of mine who lives locally decided to guide me up the route des Crêtes from La Ciotat to Cassis, a mesmerising trip which allowed me to take what many have said is my best car picture ever, and with a bit of touching up could have come straight out of a CAR magazine test feature 


After a few more days it was off to Lyon, by the long way. Heading north via Sisteron and Grenoble, I tackled the most spectacular roads I had ever come across in my limited driving career. Though the Audi really didn't like switchbacks (some of it was my cack-handedness in fairness) the sweeping valley roads were a dream, mixed with some a-ha cassettes, the atmosphere was incredible. Even if the traffic build up did prevent total enjoyment...


Lyon was beautiful, a city I had never really considered before as it as the traffic equivalent of the Small Intestine. However taking a couple of days to explore a small part of it was really refreshing, pipped by this sublime Citroen C6 that was wafting around the centre. 


After a couple of days, it was time to hit the road. While it was my original plan to explore more of Europe, it didn't work out like that. However that doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy the run. The Audi lapped up the miles, effortlessly cruising at 80mph, this time with no rain or crosswind to test my biceps. Many cassettes were spooled from end to end, Simple Minds, Duran Duran, a-ha, Roxy Music and Fleetwood Mac all gracing the speakers. Oddly, the only thing that actually needed resting was my phone, which got biblically hot running the navigation software. After 8 hours though, I arrived at the Eurotunnel. There I followed two lost BMWs into the  brexit theme park   Freight terminal, and after being chucked out, managed to get into the car terminal. There I was intercepted by HM BORDER FORCE as I had ignored an inspection order. After being threaded back to the inspection pit my interceptors were chastised for getting me and not the silver BMW convertible they had been told to find 🙄. I made my way back and then missed the flexi+ queue I had paid for, but at least I was there. 

The UK

Now All I needed to do was navigate the M25 at rush hour...

.Movies I enjoy re-watching - Album on Imgur

After 8 hours driving non stop in France, this was the biggest challenge of all. Compared to France, I felt as if I had taken a wrong turn, gone forward through technology, crossed the world, and ended up on the set of the next Mad Max film. Whether it was 130mph drug dealers, or people who had BMWs on Finance and wanted to pretend they were 130mph drug dealers, it was a melee 

 You listen bronze. I am the Nightrider. I'm a fuel injected suicide  machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller! I'm  the Nightrider - Album on Imgur

However I was able to get through and on to the relative sanity of the M3. A short blast and I was back in Hampshire, having completed what wasn't the most ambitious trip of my life thus far, but certainly the longest and most complex...








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2 hours ago, mk2_craig said:

FIXT!! Mind me asking what the bodyshop bill to sort out the Volvo was?

Well after they had brought in a wiring specialist to jerry rig the DRL cluster (missing a connector) it came in to a shade under 3.5k, but the insurance payout was 2990, so I wasn't hugely out of pocket, even if I was unnerved at seeing such a large outgoing. Still need to do the tracking, but it passed its MOT on Monday (even tho I returned home in May, I forgot the MOT ran out in Feb, tho I wasn't actually using the car) 

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  • 2 months later...

So what has been going on these past few months? 

Well, the last couple months of summer saw me become a monthly contributor to Classic.Retro.Modern. magazine, acting as a correspondent/columnist on the plight of the young classic car enthusiast. This was quite timely, as it more or less coincided with my passing of the IAM Roadsmart test, for which I learned just what they don't teach you for your driving test, and being flatly denied by any insurance company I turned to for a better quote - turns out classic insurers don't like their cars doing more than 5k miles a year, and mainstream insurers are sketchy when it comes to 36 year old Audis. Oh and if you are young, you're lucky if your quote is anything under £2k, even for an Austin Allegro (which I don't have, just wanted to test them with).  

HereComesTheSummer - Twitter Search / Twitter

But, what of the cars? The Volvo has been slowly been getting back into shape, although I am still convinced it pulls to the left despite being set up professionally. But it has been really nice to get the wedge back on track, even treating it to my dream radio head unit, the Philips DC954, as featured in The Living Daylights.


Also totally by chance turned up at the Fuel Power Party as it was literally 10 minutes down the road from me, so that was a great afternoon meeting people with some great conversations had

 May be an image of car and outdoors

But, the ever reliable (save for the starter motor going when we first got it) Audi suffered its first breakdown in my ownership. I was taking my Gran and Father to the Romsey show, sitting in near stationary traffic (a lot of which was at a steep downhill angle) when all of a sudden the revs dropped to the floor and the engine cut out, unable to be restarted. Luckily we could just park it on the verge while we awaited recovery, which we had to pay for because apparently the car wasn't taxed (I was shocked as I was adamant I had done it, but the computer said no). After 2 hours, the truck turned up, just for the Audi to start again. Not wanting to take a chance, the very nice R D Avery man agreed to follow us the mile or so home. Halfway there, the engine cut out sure enough and we were carried the rest of the way back. 

Our problem was that we needed a way to get the car to our garage as we had no idea what the fault would be. Luckily, we thought of a very...AS...way of doing things (well, relatively, as we don't have access to a beige Toyota Tercel, so had to use a 1943 Willys Jeep as a stand-in) 


The first time I had ever been towed, but with hindsight it is probably good experience for driving an old car with no brake servo. It was an unnerving, yet very heroic sensation that I  felt on the 8-minute journey to our preferred village garage (yes, they are still  a thing), although I should have been less cautious with the brake, as my dad's Jeep was finding it a bit more strenuous than it needed to. 

But we got it there, and within a couple of days the fault was traced to a burnt out ignition coil, which was duly replaced and the car was fine again. 

Next up was the move to University, a process which has seen me taking on the West country. Due to difficulties getting the Audi's V5 into my name, then taxed and insured, the Volvo had to cover the move and the first week there. I was very pleased with the amount of stuff I was able to get in the back, with my parents smoky Mk5 Golf Dizzler not having to carry too much stuff up the A36.


The Volvo proved itself very adept in the tight city streets, but the 4 individual chairs and 3dr coupe configuration meant that it wasn't the best for hauling people about in. That and the fragile nature of the interior...


During my first week at university, there was a treat in store. Ian Robertson, my colleague at CRM, had invited me to the SMMT Test Day, an event dangerously close to Bas Vegas. This saw me up at the crack of dawn and cruising across Salisbury plain, even managing to go past Stone'enge at a speed greater than 31mph. The event was great. Even though I wasn't covered on any of the manufacturers fleet insurance polices (of course) I still had a great time networking, and meeting fellow young people in the industry, which included my friends Jake and Genevieve of the Fuel Power team, whom it was a pleasant surprise to see. While I went there with eyes on the Citroen C5X (for just being a Citroen shaped middle finger to the idea of the crossover) I left the event lusting after the DS 4 that was parked next to it, such a lovely bit of design work 1e53a490-ea14-4d0c-8e02-011908373a33.thumb.jpg.ed9d5311ebc3fd513bf3994444c2a21d.jpg

That weekend, my parents ran the Audi over to me, meaning that the Volvo (which didn't have an onsite parking permit) could go and sleep in the garage. After not driving it for nearly a month, it was great to have the Audi back. The separation meant I was able to get the full hit of the 1980s Volkswagen-Audi Group Interior Scent(c) that the 80 Sport has in spades, and reminds me so much of my granddad's Ur-quattro (still having the engine rebuilt). Unfortunately, the Audi is still lumpy low down, but it seems to drive happy enough. 

The plan now is to keep the car onsite, in case I need an escape from the mental health grindstone, get back home quickly, or just help out if people are in need. In the week it has been here, the Audi has received more looks and attention than the Volvo ever did, which is strange given how extraordinary the latter looks, but then the Audi does look decidedly 'old-world' that contrasts much more with modern fare.


So lets see just what Further Education has to offer...

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  • MisterH changed the title to Ben's Adventures In Tat - Further* Education Edition

Thanks for the update was wondering how things were going since you have been quiet for a while.  And now you are the only one with one of these Audis here as I had to sell mine.  So glad there is still one of these here they are great cars. And great news about the writing job for those car magazines!

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32 minutes ago, Dyslexic Viking said:

Thanks for the update was wondering how things were going since you have been quiet for a while.  And now you are the only one with one of these Audis here as I had to sell mine.  So glad there is still one of these here they are great cars. And great news about the writing job for those car magazines!

Cheers! Sorry to hear you had to sell it, it has been quite a hectic few months over here hence AS has only had the occasional check in, hope things are going ok :) 

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3 minutes ago, MisterH said:

Cheers! Sorry to hear you had to sell it, it has been quite a hectic few months over here hence AS has only had the occasional check in, hope things are going ok :) 

I understand that life is often like this. And i had the opportunity to buy one of my dream cars, if you haven't seen it, that's why I had to sell it. So even though I didn't want to sell it, it was worth it. 

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7 minutes ago, Dyslexic Viking said:

I understand that life is often like this. And i had the opportunity to buy one of my dream cars, if you haven't seen it, that's why I had to sell it. So even though I didn't want to sell it, it was worth it. 

Your new Mercedes is very nice, I spotted this one recently near me!



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  • 1 month later...

Well it has been one year since the Audi appeared on the eBay tat thread and I snapped it up, driving it home exactly one year ago. 

This car has weaselled its way into my identity, especially with the quattro out for the count until the engine can be rebuilt properly. 

This has been the car to take me on my first foreign adventure, has underpinned a real broadening of my horizons and prospects, from my admission to Classic.Retro.Modern, to passing my IAM advanced driving test, to university. 

It has broken down a couple of times, it has even been pranged by an errant Skoda, but it has never let me down - as it has always either been at low speed, or easily fixable. 

So with 10,000 miles done in 12 months, adding to a total of just under 160k miles, it truly is a daily classic. People seem to love it, even with self confessed non-car types at uni appreciating its unique presence. 

So where to next? I haven't got the funds or space to take on another classic, but this car and the Volvo I don't want to let go of really, so I guess it will be a case of continuing to improve their health and enjoying them...



...And hoping no one with money decides they really like the idea of a Colt Galant GTO, Isuzu Piazza, Celica ST165, Allegro 1750SS or Saab 99 EMS...


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