Thursday, 4 March 2010

My god, where have I been!

Umm, been abit quiet!

Not alot has been happening on the old car front, lots happening on the Focus front though-anyrate no one wants to read that!

The GT6 has been out just the once when I had a drive out in early Feb. Amazing to say that I forgot what a great little car she is- 26.5 years and I seemed to have become forgetful!

A few little problems to sort out, these being plumbing in a better screen washing system. Looking through my collection of spare Triumph parts I found a mk1 saloon washer bottle coupled with an electric pump, this used in conjunction with a small switch I have found will make a simple system for directing high presssure water onto the screen. I will also stop using the worn out 2 position wiper switch and use a simple toggle switch I have to energise the wiper motor. The original switches are difficult to find and expensive to buy, the toggle switch is another item from my parts collection.

The other impending job is to rebuild the seats, I will need new foams and covers. When I bought the car she was fitted with early mk3 seats, these were subsequently re-built in 1989 with late mk3 cloth covers supplied by Newton Commercial. I see no reason to change as I have always found the seats comfortable, being slim has been an advantage! One of my major hates is the fitment of Maxda MX5 seats into early GT6 cars, why do this when the originals are fine and look the part? Looking at the price of new covers, I see James Paddock are selling them at £125.00, I think I will have a go at cleaning my existing trim! However I def. need new foams, so will buy from Park Lane.

These jobs will be the only work I will do to the car before the October RBRR.

The 2.5 has been used a bit since Xmas, this has mainly consisted of local driving and the occasional drive to The Plough when on Club business. The car is going very well, I went to the recent CT Annual Dinner in her and as usual marvelled at her ability to just soak up mileage. Nothing is planned apart from hopefully fitting the modded cyl. head I have, will I ever do this? I will take this car up to Stoneleigh, useful as I will be picking up some TR6 steels from Chris Allen, these will be blasted and powder coated black and will probably find their way onto the car-think its time to get some lower profile rubber onto her and make her look abit meaner?

The Herald will hope fully hit the road this year. The head is more or less done so once I have collected this I hope to put the new engine and gearbox into the car-reckoning on late April, early May for that activity?

I have been thinking about the events that I hope to do this year, these should be as follows:

March 22nd: MGoT Track Day at Silverstone: 2.5
April 11th: CSMA Autosolo at Bovingdon Airfield: GT6
April 24/25th: Club Triumph HCR: 2.5
May 23rd: Std. Triumph Forum, Prescott: GT6
June 5/6th: IAE, Scotland: 2.5 (This will be a real test as immediately after this event I have to be back in London for a CT meeting:Inverness to London in 10hrs)
June 14th: MGoT Track Day at Castle Combe: GT6
July 18th: CT Autosolo: GT6
1/3rd October: CT RBRR: GT6
25th October: MGoT Track Day at Goodwood: 2.5

As most people in the UK are finding at present, my budget for fun is smaller than last year, so I have to restrict myself. I have decided not to tackle part in any rally type events as I rather speed type stuff like Autosolos and TDs. Of course, the exception to this being the HCR, IAE and the RBRR.

The other night I discussed the TR Register series of sprints and hillclimbs and would love to attempt a limited number of these during 2011, just hope that a few other CT types might be interested? I would stick to sprint events held at circuit as less risk of damage than when one goes up the hills! For these the GT6 or even the Herald would be suitable.

This weekend sees the annual Triumph year curtain raiser at Stoneleigh, I hope to see lots of Triumph friends there. I may well stay in Leamington Spa on the Saturday night and hope to enjoy a few drinks with a few friends.

I mentioned the Focus ST I use at the top, well what can I say about this car. THis car has totally exceeded my expectations, it has been a blast to use, totally reliable, just the best modern car I have ever used. I have now done 80,000 miles in 3 years, the biggest bug bear has been the economy, this being approx. 28.5mpg. The handling is very good, good turn in and fairly neutral handling despite the heavy 5 pot up front. I do wonder if the front springs have gone off as the ride does seem harsher now, but the damping is fine. Best two things about these cars are a) the steering, one can really feel where the wheels are pointing/going and b)the lairey induction noise that starts to come in at 3K, after 4k it really starts to bellow-real fun.
The Focus RS seems very popular , but I wonder if it is a bit too extreme for normal use, I have no doubt that they must be fun, but it ain't actually that discreet!
If I had to run a modern out of my own pocket I would seriously consider a ST, a marvellous car. Just hope the 2011 Focus is as good!
I have to replace the ST soon and have my eye on the new Alfa Romeo Guilletta that is due here in June, looks very exciting. I went to my local Alfa dealership the other day and they are all revved up over this new Focus/Golf competitor. The styling does seem to echo the looks of the successful MiTo, however the pics I have seen of the red coloured Guillettas make the car look abit bug eyed-reckon white or silver would be best in a attempt to diminish the size of the headlights? Road tests are due soon as the Guilletta is released in Europe this month, so I shall see what Autocar, EVO and others think.

On the subject of car magazines, I have always bought car mags. The present fave raves are Classic and Sportscar. EVO, Autocar, Motor Sport and Octane. All these offer great writing that is both sharp and fun. Fave writers being John Simester and Henry Catchpole who both write in EVO, Steve Copley in Autocar and Nigel Roebuck (Roebuck's F1 column in MS always hits the spot with incisive comment and thoughts, coupled with a complete lack of bullshit) who writes in Motor Sport. I find it hugely encouraging that both Autocar and Motor Sport are still being published, rare for such quality to be appreciated over so many years! All these mags completely trounce Top Gear magazine, not to say that James May is bad, his Daily Telegraph column on a Saturday is excellent. The DT Motoring paper is top draw, maybe I am biased as one of their writers Peter Hall does drive a mk2 GT6! Also of course James Elliott, Editor of C&SC owns 'The Beast', a 2.5Pi mk1 that is well known in CT circles as James has done two RBRRs in her. A top and inspirational car!

Jeez, I have been rabbiting on and on, better finish now!

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