I would like to make an apology. Contrary to what I have written in the past, classic cars are actually rubbish.
After waiting four years for my Mini Cooper to be returned to the road, I actually took to the road in adverse weather conditions last week to bring it home.
In four years I’ve clearly grown soft and stupid. The noise I was expecting. My Mini doesn’t have anything resembling sound proofing, but I really should have taken ear plugs. The vibration, however, was more of a surprise. I hadn’t realised that the entire bulkhead was such a brilliant conductor of complete bedlam.
The rebuilt gearbox just needed to be treated gently and it snicked around pretty slickly. Less acceptable was the temperature gauge that swung right towards the part marked ‘H’. I have experience of these situations and waited for the appearance of steam whilst I looked for a suitable place to pull in.
Well, the steam never happened and then I stopped to let things cool for a bit, then with suitable protection in place removed the radiator cap. It was brimming with coolant, which was nice.
The engine has been rebuilt, so if it is tight and needs 600 miles to loosen up that would explain the high temperature. Trouble is, there are not many dials to look at and that one really grabs the attention.
Oh, and I almost forgot, there was a silent comedy moment when the bonnet stay detached itself from the bonnet and flew across the road as I tried and failed to pack it away.
Never mind. Fuel consumption is up - so much so I have to stop at a service station - where oddly there is an MGB at the next pump - and brim the tank. I get home without overheating, but feel slightly heady. That would be the massive fuel leak then. It has already made a mess of my drive and actually I think I was pretty lucky not to become somewhat alight. Good job it was raining.
Carburettors are a really bad idea aren’t they? Fuel injection is far less messy. So I’ll have to strip the float chamber down, or at least have a poke around. In the past I have de-carbed cars and that now seems like a very good idea. Plus there’s a few parts that have gone missing and some other bits to find and fit.
You either love this sort of fiddling about or you don’t. I’m not sure I do anymore. So have I fallen out of love with really old cars? I think I have. Are classics really rubbish then?
Postscript: Since I wrote this I did take the float chambers apart, reassemble them and tighten up all the jubilee clips. No more leaks. Instead of using my head to hold up the bonnet I reinstated the stay and clips. Also a mishandled screwdriver took a chunk of fresh paint out of the wing. Boat hooks, but at least it’s been christened.