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My New Zealand Shite - Yet Another Car Added

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Despite buying the spares 205 GTi months ago, I did very little with it until last week, when I finally pulled my finger out and (with my Dad's assistance) picked the shell clean of pretty much anything of use. The engine's been put on a dolly, which makes in great for trundling round the garage but almost too convenient; I've a feeling this may never make its way to the Visa, so may well punt it on.


Shortly after the victory of ending up with a rolling shell (rear 'axle' still attached), Mrs_Jon arrived home in a quite poorly sounding 205. My super-mechanical mind based internet research on diagnosing that the rear beam was to blame, as I've been aware of an unwanted camber to the rear wheels, very little suspension travel and moans and groans from the over undulating surfaces in the past. There's the weekend's activities sorted, then.....


Here's a 'before' shot of how our 205 looked, which doesn't really demonstrate the camber issues I'm going on about. Nice one.




And here's the spares 205, ready to make its journey down to our volunteer fire station, where I'm a member. We'll use the shell for practising with our cutting gear (don't worry, it's waaay worse than it looks), which we have to use in anger more than I'd like. 







And here's a bonus shot of it tipped on its side, having just been relieved of its rear axle gubbins. Reminds me of a depressing Ebay Tat image, only with sunshine.




It was later on that day that the real fun started. This being a country which doesn't salt the roads in winter time, everything unbolted easily enough and progress was good; I didn't even encounter any problems with the single line brake set-up of the drum axle and the dual line effort on our disc one, as the brake flexis were located in the same place. However, on locating the drum axle back in place, I thought it'd be best to get under the rear of the car (fully supported) and try and coerce it to fit by lifting it. This went well until I made a mistake, undid a bolt at one end then moved the other end, resulting in the beam pivoting and clonking me hard on the head. A quick trip to A&E confirmed I'd live (no concussion, thankfully) but half my head sports bruises that make me look like Ziggy stardust.


Still, job's a good'un and it's all back together. If nothing else, it was worth it just to be able to flush the brake lines of its old fluid (bleed nipples on old rear discs were both snapped), which came out looking like cloudy maple syrup. Pedal feel is a bit crap still but braking performance is much better, the ride improved and noise levels much reduced. I swear that the camber is much improved too but you'll just have to take my word for it. No doubt a before and after shot would just look like this:



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Not updated this in a while but things have had a little bit of a change around recently. I posted a while back about our trip to the south island over Easter. We took our Hiace but had wanted to add a bit of luxury* to things, as it was a bit basic inside. A lot of people who visit NZ for a long time tend to buy a ratty van and put a very half-arsed camper interior in it, which mostly consists of a foam mattress on stilts for a bed, with plastic box storage underneath and a ledge to put one of those single burner portable stoves that comes in a little plastic case (and which consume the little butane canisters at an alarming rate). Here's a picture of what our set-up looked like before we started fiddling:




Pretty much borderline depressing stock backpacker van, though notice that we have not one but TWO little butane-munching burners (one in the black box), as the van came with one and we already had one. HIGH ROLLERS! Anyway, the van isn't our dream spec or anything and was bought purely on price alone, so we weren't going to deviate too far from the basic idea. One thing led to another however, and we hadn't progressed much before our trip, though we had plenty of ideas and had bought some supplies and ripped out the old interior in readiness. Here's the van doing a little wood gathering 5 days before we set off, towing our incredibly cheap Wood&Meccano trailer :




Note bonus photobomb by Mrs_Jon. Anyway, I was working nights that week, so had a bit more time than a usual working week, since I don't sleep so long in the daytime as I do at night, due to not being nocturnal. However, it all managed to get put together in the end but I must admit that the last couple of days were a bit fraught and saw virtually no sleep. The bonus was that we'd managed to get it certified as self contained, demonstrating that we can supply ourselves with water and sanitation for 3 days and keep the lot contained until it can be dumped at waste disposal sites, whilst jumping through various hoops to keep within their regs. The bonus of this is that you can pretty much set up camp in any public areas, so long as there's no sign saying otherwise. Here's a couple of pics of us enjoying it on holiday:




Enjoying a picturesque Makita torch-lit barbecue in a layby in the rain before bedding down for the night. The regulator on the bbq is very restrictive, so it cooks things very slowly, hence cooking way more than we needed, as I couldn't be bothered going through all this for the sake of a couple of sausages.





Penned in to a dull part of an otherwise pleasant camp site at Franz Josef did at lease give us some nice views of the glacier there. My Uncle had recently made a 10a hook-up lead for us, so we could take advantage of the powered sites every few days and charge up all our batteries for mingebag torch-lit freedom camp sites.





Camping at Lake Wanaka. Feral kitten befriended us and rested beneath the van.




Sliding side windows in the back allowed me to nab this shot of a very laid back seal as we ate cheese and biscuits for lunch in a car park in Kaikoura.


Anyway, since it's been winter over here recently, we hadn't actually used it as a camper van since our Easter trip, so decided to put it up for sale. Here's the Trademe link, if anyone's interested - there's also some pics of the final set-up:




It's already attracted a bid at the $2000 start price (about £1000), which is a bit of a bargain over here, when you consider the inflated prices cars command. Have had an offer of $3000 which would see us just about break even on purchase price and materials, so am hopeful that it will go. In fact, we could do with the space now that we've replaced Mrs_Jon's 205 (which I'm keeping, as the Visa's now very much a project car) with a Clio 172. Five cars is a little bit silly for the two of us but four s absolutely fine.




His & Hers.

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I had the privilege of a ride in the Clio last week, I hung on whilst Jon used his right boot --- like :mrgreen:  :-D

You really need to post a photo of the two 4" exhausts that occupy the rear end ! They look like Mrs Jon is a boy


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Funnily enough, I've not taken a photo of the rear and only a couple from other angles, taken on the day we brought it home. Here's a 3/4 view:




It was sold as part of a Renault Galerie dealer effort over here, whereby you could opt for a selection of add-ons: ours came with different wheels, V6 spoiler, aforementioned stainless pipes and a bit of a re-chip and some cold air technology air filter wotsit, all of which are pleasant bonuses (or not, depending how you see it) but nothing to pay extra for. We went on condition, rather than toys and it is rather grin-inducing giving the throttle a good stab!





EDIT: Here's a picture from a cliosport.net forum member, who seems to have the same pipes as ours. As you can see, they're really rather silly, make it sound like a chav chariot at tick over but admittedly do sound good on full beans. Either way, I can't be too disparaging, since Mrs_Jon is absolutely over the moon with it. We may well change things in the future, as I'm not a great fan of those particular wheels and a more subdued exhaust would be a bit more stealthy for rapid motoring. What's more important is that my daily driver is the 205, so it's win win all round!

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Oh, and another thing. Driving the Clio has highlighted what an utter crock of shite our whole fleet is, really. All noisy, draughty, slow (some of them) and very tinny in comparison (the Clio's doors look like they should open a bank vault in comparison to the 205 and Visa's), so no wonder it's gone down so well. I'm very impressed, to say that it's 11 years old. Naturally, it's got loads of useless stuff like auto headlights and wipers but it has a feeling of solidity. 


Did you ever think you'd hear that said about a Clio?! That said, I'm still happy to drive shite.

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In the latest news, we've gained a temporary addition to the fleet, in the form of a 1989 U12 Nissan Bluebird, a la Nigel Bickle. It's a 2 litre manual, with working air con, electric windows and mirrors, central locking and even cruise control! It's been bank rolled by my folks who come each year to stay with us for a few weeks, now that they've retired. For £600 with T&T, it's cheaper than hiring a car and should see them hopefully break even at the end, as I've already had a couple of solid offers to buy it at that price. Here it is being put to good use, as it has a tow bar.





What's in the back? A present for the Commodore in the form of a much more socially acceptable motor to replace the Nissan diesel it currently runs (or doesn't, since the gearbox gained a seriously terrible noise in fifth).




A V8 out of a 1984 Holden Calais, aka a posh Commodore. It's a 308 cubic inch motor, which in clinical modern speak equates to about 5 litres, so I'm hoping it'll make quite a difference to the performance. The axle is from a VN Commodore but was thrown with the engine deal, amongst other useful bits. The plan is to use my existing diff and convert it to disc brakes using these bits. To the left is Trimatic gearbox of unknown condition but that's OK, as I won't be using it.





Instead, I'll be sticking in the Celica 5 speed box, which has had a once over by a reputable company in Auckland. Attached is a bell housing which mates to a 308. The shifter was a natty gift in the engine bundle and along with the Trimatic, should net a few dollars back to go towards other bits. I also got a starter motor, distributor and also a broken instrument cluster from the Calais, which should net me some bulbs I'm missing in my current dials at the very least.


Anyway, my little trailer proved its worth by pulling the lot home 200+kms with no trouble, despite ludicrously small 8" wheels the OS bearing losing a bit of grease. Probably time to take a look at replacing those tyres, though.





Then, after unsuccessfully attempting to palm off the motor to a local mechanic for a bit of a spruce up, I had to work out where the hell it and the other bits would go. Then I remembered how practical estate cars can be.




Jacking up the trailer so the bed was level with the boot floor certainly saved a lot of potentially back breaking heaving but dragging the motor across to the car proved pretty difficult without any help. Then Mrs_Jon arrived home from work, so I roped her in to assist with her 7.5st bulk but the stumbling block was the gap between the boot floor and trailer bed, due to the dip at the bumper. Fortunately, I had a plastic cover which lines the boot floor and lifting the engine up using a length of wood for timber saw the gap covered. Then we congratulated our hoarding tendencies by utilising our old shower curtain by slipping it under the tyre and dragging the whole lot across, which was so easy I managed it on my own. It a similar practise used by nurses to help turn incapacitated patients around on hospital beds, so what's good for a person is good for a 210kg engine, it seems.





Here's the lot (bar the diff) stored safely away until work can commence on the engine. Pushing it back in to the garage is a little more difficult with the extra weight but I don't plan on having to do this too often. In the meantime, it was naturally sat very low at the back, so I've propped it up on axle stands on its beefy tow bar mounts.




Can't wait for the whole lot to come together!

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No more news on the Commodore front but you may as well have a few extra shots of the absolutely hanging interior the Bluebird came with when bought. How we managed to discount that on test drive, I'll never know. It was for sale rurally and had been owned by an old fella who lived on a lifestyle block, which is essentially where someone from the city buys a patch of lands and plays farmers on it, raising a few animals as follies and perhaps leasing out a bit of land to neighbouring actual working farmers as run-off pasture. All very idyllic (yet also very contraining to your time, hence the 'lifestyle' bit I guess) but these conditions don't bode well for the interiors of cars, as this one proved. Here's some gratuitous dirty bits:





Not bad from the outside.







A bit messy but fortunately images do not denote smells - this was an owner who obviously let his short haired dog roam freely about the place.





See what I mean?






I included this shot only for the level of despair I'd unwittingly created. Visa looks on wondering why it's not been touched for so long. Thankfully, it's been a long hot summer, so I was able to attack everything liberally with own brand washing powder and liquid, along with stain remover powder, all scrubbed in vigorously with a pressure washer. Here's what the carpet looked like on removal.




Using this method, I was happy to find that the carpet returned to its proper colour throughout, though you'll have to believe me, as I don't seem to have taken any after shots.





Actually, I think this may be an after shot but I'm not quite sure, tbh. Prior to dousing with cleaning stuff, I vacuumed the seats and gave them a good whacking with the nozzle, which immediately brought up a load of dust, turning the seats a deep brown all over. Nice. Anyway, it's a much more pleasant place to be now that everything's been reinstated, all removable trim was washed up and the rest of the interior given what I'd imagine to be about 40% of a Vulgalour effort clean. The smell still isn't great but it much better and is improving with use. Here's a handy tip: if like me you find that your garage door is not shutting properly due to a rampantly growing rosemary bush, by all accounts hack away at it but don't be tempted to throw the off cuts in your car for a few days to freshen up the smell. The result is that the smell actually gets worse, since your car will now smell like an inedible pizza.


On buying this, I took Mrs_Jon out for a nice Sunday jaunt which coincided with a test drive of a dirty 25 year old car but she didn't protest too much, especially as we got to visit a previously unknown lagoon on the same road:



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After not a lot of action in fleet recently and with the numbers swelling to 7 cars, drastic measures had to be taken this week. The mighty STUNO has been stoic with the situation of having two of these unwittingly stowed in his back garden for far too long, so Trademe was beckoning for the Bluebird and the Camira, as unfortunately with the latter, I was quite literally unable to give it away to anyone who wouldn't just weigh it in, as I could do that myself, frankly.


Monday saw the 205 in for a new windscreen (under insurance), its second replacement in our ownership, due to stone chips being thrown up by trucks. Once fitted, it was off for a WOF and so with time to kill waiting for both to get done, me and STUNO talked toot over a couple of coffees and then took some photos of the superfluous cars for their upcoming auctions. On the way out to a scenic reserve in the Bluebird, we dropped in to the WOF garage to show it to the tester (who ridicules most of the cars I own) and let him know it was available if he knew of anyone wanting it. Of course, after taking photos he naturally found a buyer but here's a final picture of it anyway:





Then back to see the Camira for some snaps of that, too.










I think it's safe to say that this was probably the worst frontal styling derivative of the original J cars; in fact, things only got worse for the later Camiras, which is really saying something.





The dash is also pretty tragic, too. I guess the first FWD Holden was perhaps aimed at the female market, judging by the heater symbols. Nice addition by GMH there to have A/C marked and then a depressing little blanking plate to really drive home your stinginess.



Anyway, once again, someone local sniffed it out and so another car has left the fold. Looking back at the photos, it's undeniably solid in all other areas except the foot wells but almost five years of ownership and no effort whatsoever by me to rectify this is a sign that I didn't need it. Mrs_Jon never met it, she's not overly keen on the Visa either and it serves no purpose that the Commodore doesn't already achieve, so it's now in the hands of someone who apparently is keen to get it back on the road and supposedly can weld. I'm inclined think it's just a lost cause still but I'd love to be proven wrong.....



On to the Visa now. I've been an absolute bastard to this and just parked it up over a year ago when it showed signs of HGF. I've found a garage that's actually willing to work on it (this proved a little more difficult than I'd hoped) and is a Citroen specialist to boot, so since work has actually gone pretty well for me this year, I might as well throw a bit of cash at it and get it back on the road. This should bring me one step closer to getting the 2006 Mondeo wagon I've bought as a stop gap commuter car sold, as it's bloody boring and is a waste of a large chunk of driveway real estate and also quite a bit of money, such is the skewed used car market over here. Despite being rolled up and down the driveway and having a wash once in a blue moon, it was looking very sorry for itself:





All the black dots are remnants of a white crayon which came with a car polish that my dad applied to the paint chips 3 years ago; GR8 4 highlighting imperfections and attracting dirt. The eagle-eyed may detect a hint of wob in the rear door....





Rumours are that Pebble Beach entrants are shitting themselves over this interior.






After STUNO exercised his left leg with a bit of vigorous foot pumping on the nsf tyre, we chucked a bucket of car wash stuff at it (only the second bottle of it I've bought since moving here - I'm a very lazy car washer), which had a good result on the paint work but almost no effect on the plastic bits, which were heavily ingrained with muck. 


However, a bit of drastic pressure washing shifted almost all of it, though it's very apparent that this is not something that can be done that regularly, as it's pretty tough on the mouldings, which have suffered the brunt of 29 UV-intense kiwi summers. Indeed, most of the surfaces are no longer mottled and have been worn smooth - the pencil setting of the lance was actually engraving parts of the front bumper - but nevertheless, it does look loads better and cheered me up no end!




In spite of it not being started in over a year, it turned over on the third crank and idled away happily on 4 cylinders after a minute or two. Still showing signs of HGF sadly, so it hasn't sorted out its issues after all this resting; that's the lazy French for you. Rather like a few of us on here, I happen to have a convenient private test road a few kilometres long which helped to prove that everything is pretty much how it was when laid up - i.e. it bowls along well but the electrics are still buggered. 




All being well, it should be holding water sufficiently within the next couple of weeks but the electrical niggles may take a bit longer. Still, I really enjoyed my 5 minutes behind the wheel today, so it can't come soon enough!



Lastly, the gash 16" wheels on the Clio are a thing of the past, replaced with a new set of 15" Ronal Turbo's which came from the UK and proved to be an utter shit fight to get shipped, mostly because they were being sent to a business address. Anyway, they now wear a set of Michelin PS3s as do the 205 ($$high roller$$) and most importantly, Mrs_Jon is very happy with the results! 




I'm still in denial about the crippling costs involved but like to think that a similar amount of money can now be legitimately spent on my tat. Apologies for dull Mondeo content there; so far, the above photo is as close as I've got to taking a snap of it.

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Great read as always Jon.



On to the Visa now. I've been an absolute bastard to this and just parked it up over a year ago when it showed signs of HGF. I've found a garage that's actually willing to work on it (this proved a little more difficult than I'd hoped) and is a Citroen specialist to boot, so since work has actually gone pretty well for me this year, I might as well throw a bit of cash at it and get it back on the road.

All this makes me nearly as happy as I imagine it makes you.

As has been mentioned by others before, MOAR VISA PICS AND STUFF PLS.


Also slightly completely OT but is it true that Jammy Dodgers are called Shrewsburys over in NZ?

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I actually had to google shrewsbury biscuits and it appears so!




I say that I had to check the internet, as I'm almost in denial about the existence of biscuits on supermarket shelves; it appears that I possess no self control with such snacks and they've been known to completely vanish within hours of buying. So glad that chocolate digestives aren't readily available here for pennies, like those massive own brand tubes most supermarkets sold in Britain. That said, a personal favourite are own brand versions of these:




Still, the equivalent of £1 for 12 small own brand biscuits on special offer does not appeal to my inner-Yorkshire tendencies that often, thankfully.

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This week has been a good one for the Visa. I'd been toying with the idea of getting the HGF sorted for ages, as mentioned previously. One sticking point was the issues of a trailer, as the only garage I could find that was interested in working on it were 180 km away, though they've been working on Citroens since the 1920's and aren't at all snobbish towards non-hydro models; in fact, they deal with anything French and probably anything else, too. A guy I know locally revealed he had a VL Commodore racing car I'd previously known nothing about and was willing to lend me his car trailer, so the Mondeo was pressed in to towing duties, dropping it off on Tuesday and picking it up on Friday. No pics sadly but STUNO came along for the ride and will probably post some up.


So, two days, 720km, a bit of fuel (but not as much as I'd expected - probably about £60 worth), a bit more cash and some beers for trailer lend-age and then a rather eye watering bill for head skim, head bolts, gasket, cam belt, water pump and numerous other stuff and I'm now much closer to Visa road worthiness. Now it's just the electric gremlins to sort and then it'll be in for a WOF.


But the news doesn't end there. Today was the AGM for the local branch of the Citroen Car Club and it was conveniently being held at the end of my street, so I nipped down to say hello after votes had been cast for new regalia secretary or whatever.




The high beam lamp was rather wobbly, so I took it out for trailering but I may leave it out for that TRACK DAY SERIOUS AIR FLOW look. 


Anyway, STUNO gathered the masses with the tag line of coming to look at a Citroen which they'd probably never seen before. I was rather overwhelmed as about 20 people amassed round my very work in progress hatchback as it struggled to keep ticking over after only minutes of operation over the last 15 months. Bizarrely, they all seemed to have something good to say about it but STUNO obviously needs to brush up on his knowledge, as the guy with the other white Visa GTi was in attendance! He'd heard of mine on the grape vine and had been wanting to meet me, as had I wanted to meet him. Anyway, he has a photo of mine in attendance as some exhibit, so will post me a copy which I'll be sure to upload here. 




But things got better when I met another guy who used to own my car!! Well, he seems to think he did but I'm sure he must have, as mine is a 115 bhp model (115 cheveux, hence the door decals) and the other white one is an earlier, 1985 105 bhp model but he thought the number plate was familiar and his was a 1986 one, owned some time in the mid-1990's. Again, he has photos and offered what he could find too, so I guess I'll have to join the club now as thanks! 


Apologies but I didn't stop to take any more photos of the other Citroens, as I thought it best to get my unroadworthy car back home but saw a 2cv, CX and numerous Xantias and BXs, so pretty much the Autoshite fodder. A couple of hours later, EssexV6 text, saying he'd just passed a red Visa GTi, so collectively, that's a reference to all the surviving NZ Visa Gtis I know of. This week has been pleasingly Visa-ry.

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Yeah, I'm going to make a wild stab in the dark guess and assume that the UK was one of the biggest foreign markets for them, though the Netherlands seem to have a few healthy looking survivors, going by internet searches. I'd have to say that I reckon NZ market ones must be one of the rarest, particularly as they are RHD with km/h speedometers. Unless of course they were sold in Japan, as that wouldn't surprise me. Our 205 GTI is a Japanese import, though thankfully not the lame 105 bhp auto spec they exclusively recieved. Lucky Japanese, eh?

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The photos, firstly on Tuesday in what could only be described as really shit / cold weather to take the Visa for repair. Then a return to collect it on Friday, in absolutely perfect weather but very cold.



The whole thing at Bombay for a need a pee stop



Very  tidy Rover



More traffic



Midday !




A 1970's Holden getting restored



A used car


End of journey



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A couple of days later it was time to do the trip again. The weather had taken a turn for the perfect but cold (-5 at my place)



A drive in the country



Half a Cortina



Stopping on the way!



What's that ?



A very base model mustang driven by an elderly couple



Glad we were going the other way



Mt Tearoha



Scruffy but 4WD



Home to the fire !











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That City Hyper Shift is awesome and a great spot Stuno.


Love the Visa update Jon. Happy, happy days.

As a confirmed (car) arse man, I don't think there's a sexier rear end than the Visa GTI. Baggsy a stroke, grope and fondle if and when I visit NZ.

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hen not good

That City Hyper Shift is awesome and a great spot Stuno.


Love the Visa update Jon. Happy, happy days.

As a confirmed (car) arse man, I don't think there's a sexier rear end than the Visa GTI. Baggsy a stroke, grope and fondle if and when I visit NZ.


I had a good look at the Honda to see what the "hypershift" was, but it seemed to be a regular 4 speed manual 'box. If and when not good enough, when is the appropriate thing to say ! 

Also the rogue red sporty car was a sprite/midget.

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Ahhh, there is a car called a Visa.  So you're not emigrating then.


Nah, I emigrated here almost 5 years ago from the UK and it's bloody brilliant, no regrets whatsoever.



That City Hyper Shift is awesome and a great spot Stuno.


Love the Visa update Jon. Happy, happy days.

As a confirmed (car) arse man, I don't think there's a sexier rear end than the Visa GTI. Baggsy a stroke, grope and fondle if and when I visit NZ.


Better than that, you may well be able to borrow it a while to see this fine country if you come over. Just don't crash it, as I'll never find the parts to fix it! I agree that it's a pert little rear and the light clusters brushing against the bumper top, thick strip of decal and the duck's arse spoiler all work really well together but I think the spoiler really does it for me, as it really sets it apart from standard Visas. Nice to see a bit more of the rear wheels, too.


Anyway, I've found an excellent example of 1980's video production techniques demonstrating the virtues of a Honda City Hyper Shift, here:




Nice that it features a Hyper Shift in the same colour as that spotted. I think it's pretty much a 4 speed 'box with overdrive on 2, 3&4, albeit one which looks to engage automatically. 


And that Mustang we spotted is to date by far the most desirable one I've laid eyes on over here, surely a 1.3 Capri for the US market and quite obviously long term owned by the sedate couple. It's certainly been in the country 40+ years judging by the plates and I'm sure no Mustang ever came with dog dish hub caps like that. It's definitely no show queen and was so much the better for it.

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OK, a couple of things to update on this of late. A few weeks back I wanted to get to the bottom of the non-working driver's electric window, as it had worked previously, albeit unevenly, sending the front of the window down further than the rear. The mechanism is a little worn, meaning that the winder actually sends the window down a fraction further than it should, resulting in the motor locking up. A truly bodge fix of taping a bit of matchstick to the end of the rail as a buffer halted all those shenanigans but this wasn't helping it run very smoothly:



Note most practical use of Haynes manual. Of course, storing on the driveway, even temporarily almost caused me to step on the glass and smash it. But where to find a window runner for a Visa in NZ? 


Remembering I had almost all of a spares 205 in bits still as I'd managed to make use of precisely 0% of it so far, I raided the rafters and borrowed a spare runner, thinking PSA products may share the same bits. Which they don't, the Peugeot runner being much wider in the track. So I took a trip down to the fire station to see if the Micra we had in would be of any help.





Here it is and what a state, having had a tree fall on it whilst parked, thankfully with no-one in at the time.




And here's one of the channels I got, conveniently accessible thanks to an errant pine tree. I've put a wanky fuzzy filter on the surrounding bits to further enhance the channel, just because I could.



Then a quick shot of the Clio as it looked quite nice parked there and I still bloody love these wheels.





Then back to my mega organised work bench cunningly disguised as a bit of untidy peachy carpet to marry said bits together after a bit of hacking about. It's probably not very obvious but I've made a hybrid channel consisting of a cut down 205 unit with the Micra bits stuffed in, so the nylon wheels on the mechanism don't derail.




Strangely enough for one of my creations, it actually seems to work! It goes down nice and smoothly but is a little slower when going against gravity. Still, I previously drove round at all times with the windows up which in NZ isn't always ideal, so at least this is an improvement. One last mod/bodge had to be done, as the new bits weren't quite in alignment with the motor and it really wasn't happy at first putting the window back up.




So a bit of office filing cabinet came to the rescue to pull the motor away from the door a mm or two and it's much better. Note the gaping speaker hole at the bottom of the door that some retard previous owner hacked in, resulting in a speaker in the door pocket which doesn't let the window wind down the last 4". Great* idea. Speaker hoiked out and the grille reinstated to cover the hole but replacement door cards would be amazing.


Then I found this sitting on the dash, presumably as a gift from the Citroen specialist for all the cash I've put their way in the last year. Sadly, Visa GTi's didn't come with these badges, so it'll remain as a memento. I'd love a scruffy one to make a key ring out of, though.








Then park it up again and marvel at how a strategic winter sunset can make anything look great.

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So after being laid up a few weeks, during which we've had quite a bit of rain at times, it was apparent from all the water in the inside of the windows that the Visa is not watertight. Donning my best Autoshite hat, I surmised that the lakes in the foot wells were signs of a solid floor if nothing else but the mould on everything showed how bad it was when left unattended and not driven. The only thing to do was take the interior out to dry and see what I could find.




Here's most of it done but I clearly went overboard on getting every last bit of trim out the boot on the nearside C pillar whether it needed it or not with and as a result, the thread the inertia reel bolts to has now disappeared, so I'll just have to bury my head in the sand and forget about it for now. The rubber tubes channel rain water down from the sun roof but the off side one was blocked and no amount of blowing water down it would clear it.


So what about the rust? How bad is it?




Actually, this is one of the worst bits (if you ignore the doors....), so despite this being visible, I was quite happy. I really need to learn to weld though, as it'll still need to be fixed at some point.



The Commodore acts as a shelf for dodgy French plastic bits. I really need to pull my finger out with this one as I really miss driving it and I reckon it'll be transformed with its V8.





Sun roofs can be a bugger but look at this one, nice and solid. I couldn't work out why the twist handle to lift the roof glass was full of water, though. Guess that's where the leaks were coming from.


















Bugger. Then I found out why that drain tube was blocked when I pulled off the swollen pipe (oo-er).




Thankfully, there's just enough solid tube still left to reattach the pipe to and then hold in place with a jubilee clip, so at least that'll be one job (sort of) sorted after a bit of rust treatment. 



Anyway, it's obviously been leaking long term, which is probably why the head lining's so saggy.




Donning my silver lining/complacent/lazy hat, I'd been quite happy living with the saggy lining up to date, as I hardly ever carry rear passengers (or indeed any passengers, as Mrs_Jon is hardly its number 1 fan) and it had the added bonus of blocking out twats who drive behind you at night with main beams on. However, the roof was soaked, so off it came, thankfully in one piece.




Nice collection of mould. The backing is fibreglass reinforced cardboard or some such twaddle, so the idea at the moment is to re-strengthen the back in localised areas, recover with new material and then perhaps see if the whole lot would reattach to the roof with copious amounts of velcro, as pragmatically I'm going to have to bodge the sunroof holes up again, then fix properly when time and cash permits, otherwise this thing will never see the road again.


At least it's not a front line car, so I can relax a bit and not lash everything up as quickly as possible.

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Yeah, it can be quite strange cutting up solid cars for practise - we've got an early Primera in at the moment which is up for the chop next and I've taken a look at bits I'd like from it, as it's really solid bar some panel dents. The interior is immaculate and the seats are really supportive and unworn, if a little mucky; luckily someone else has earmarked them for something, as I'd have had to find a use for them just to save them.


I'd be a really shit scrap dealer, that's for sure.

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So, due to a shat out 5th gear, I'd parked up the Commodore late last year as it's no fun really driving around at a maximum of 80km/h or thereabouts. So that's when the plan to convert to V8 came about. 


Cut to last week and someone asks how it's doing, as they're involved in a little project which may like to feature the Commodore, if it was up and running. Sensing that it may actually be able to earn me a couple of bucks, I thought it best to pull it out of long term hibernation, dust it off and see if it ran, taking it for a quick drive on the conveniently located private test track.


Here it is looking resplendent, I must admit:





However, the interior, though cleaned previously, is looking quite scruffy again and I've never been able to shift a certain smell its always had.




Can't do much about the tear in the driver's bolster right now but even though I'd hired a rug doctor and cleaned the carpets and all the fabric bits of the seats, I'd never touched the vinyl bits for some bizarre (read: lazy) reason. So the other day I rectified this and whipped out the seats and gave the vinyl a good scrub down.




Here they are drying off in the sun, which fortunately has been quite present of late. The centre console is a black one with a rubber/vinyl coating applied at the factory to make it fit in with the rest of the interior and add yet another shade of blue to the mix. Please spare a moment's thought for the fallen miniature Dalek - they obviously can't cope with the lack of ozone layer in these parts.



Here's a mind-numbingly blue scene (albeit the wrong colour) though note how grimy the seat back is here.





Here it is mid-clean. I generated 3 buckets full of Vulgalour maximum spec grime that day but you'll just have to imagine that, I'm afraid.




I also managed to clean off the rest of the interior in situ and the door cards and head lining are noticeably improved, though there's not much I can do with the carpeted bits really, as I reckon I'll have to start again with those at some point. Nevertheless, they look better for a vacuum and the whole interior now looks and smells better, though that could just be the lingering whiff of Totally Awesome Bang or whatever it was called, masking the odours.


STUNO came round the other day and we bled the brakes again and took off the stainless side skirts, as had been requested by those offering cash for its usage. I'm 50:50 whether they'll go back on, as it does look a little high at the moment, especially since it's riding on 8-ply van tyres. Have a differing shade of blue and see for yourselves:



It went for a warrant yesterday and passed, so is all ready to hit the road and slow people down with its new snails pace. Quite a fitting date to pass (the 15th), as that was the date stamped on the seat bases, so Happy Birthday Commodore, parts of you are now 36 years old. In fact, the rest of it probably is too, as it was built in October '79.

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