The bearable lightness of being!!!
16th June 2013
Last month I managed to sneak some time off to pop up to Canleys to return the old calipers as replacement for the new ones I had bought for the saloon. It is always a fascinating place to visit and there are always many an interesting Triumph car to look/gawp at in the workshop. I can not mention specific vehicles, but at present at least 4 ex-works Triumph competition cars are being restored, as well as a famous Triumph racing car. I for one cannot wait to see them. Dave Pearson is a top bloke who has re-invested some of the money that he has made into buying interesting Triumph cars, full marks Dave! Club Triumph has a nice relationship with Dave, the Club used to hold the Northern/Midland RBRR Drivers Meeting at his premises and started a number of Historic County Run's from there as well.
I took the saloon out on Drive It day for its first drive since the RBRR last October, a shocking admission that it has been so long since I drove the car. The GT6 is currently at Dave Picton's establishment having the front bumpers retro fitted to the car. Dave's is another good place to visit, whilst there I spied 2 round tail Spitfires, 3 round tail GT6s, 2 E-Type Jags, a sidescreen TR, a Austin Healey 100/4 (bloomin love those cars, even if they are the one with the 4 pot engine) and a Mini, marvellous stuff. Hope Dave speeds up as I am looking forward to driving the GT6 soon, this being the 30th year of ownership for me. Its weird for me to think that I bought the car back in 1983 and as I have mentioned before I enjoy the ownership of the car more these days. The GT6 is a compromised car, but owing to the lovely noise of the roaring six and the good lines I love them!
Went up to the STAR90 show at Gaydon, bit disappointed at the number of cars that were present, however the standard and presentation of them all certainly made up for the lack of numbers. I remember the 75 year celebration at Gaydon and the fact that the place was teeming with Triumph cars. Still reckon about 300no cars were there last Sunday. Umm, it does rather beg the question of where are the cars, are the numbers of Triumph enthusiasts in decline or are owners bored of static shows? Club Triumph had their National Day at the Show, well done to Bob King on his efforts, the guy worked all weekend for the good of the event and CT. A trooper of the first order.
Right, whats the title above about? At present owing to the rather weird arrangement at my place of work we are now not running cars on a lease deal, but hiring them for 3 months at a time. They do not want to spend money on assets, yep, a construction company that does'nt renew its plant!!! So I have now lost the old ST and have passed through a succession of 5 cars in the last 8 months! (Yep, the Inland Revenue love me) These being a Hyundai saloon (So dull that I cannot remember its type and in my opinion still no match for European cars. Is the steering wheel connected to the front wheels? So specc'ed up that it had a reversing camera(Sod the camera, get a suspension designer on board)), two Mondeo 2.0 TDCI cars (Excellent, still Ford's so must be good), a Focus 1.0 Ecoboost and at present a Focus 1600TDCi. The Focus 1.0L Ecoboost is a special car and one that thoroughly enjoyed. Its little turbocharged petrol engine that has the plan dimensions of a A4 sheet of paper, it is a cracker, lovely and revvy. It doesn't seem to lack any go and turbo lag is not an issue. However the best thing about the car is not the engine and gearbox, its the handling, turn in being crisp, enabling one to commit to corners with no worries about understeer, the bane of modern cars. Also, the ride is brilliant, taking the awful potholed roads that we now endure in the UK in its stride. All these attributes are simply the product of the low weight engine. Best thing about this car was that I looked forward to a drive, something I always did in the Focus ST, that car is something like a 66% ST!
Now you may ask why is the old fart banging on about this engine, surely its simple, is this the engine for a Spitfire special? This all depends on the hope that a Ford Type 9 gearbox will fit onto the engine, but I like to think that this is possible as all Fords have shared the same pattern for the bellhousing to block fitment. These engines come in two states of tune, 100 BHP or 123 BHP and will start to filter through to the salvage market soon. Ford are that bullish about this engine as they intend to fit it to the forthcoming new model of the Mondeo, and I believe a 1.5L version will be released soon. Makes one think about the purchase of a mk4 Spitfire (Or, even better a T6 model) and then getting stuck in. Oh yes, two other things I like, these small 3 cylinder engines make a gorgeous intake noise, almost 6 cylinder like at about 3,000rpm and are extremely smooth throughout the rev range. Must admit I am tempted to get the hire car into the garage and pull the engine out to weigh the thing and jot down the dimensions of it! A Spitfire with the aforementioned combo would be some car, bet and hope that a few start appearing soon. I wonder if Caterham will introduce a Seven with this engine, hope so as it will solve the gearbox question (Since writing this I see Caterham are about to produce a smaller engined Seven, go on Mr Hernandez, stick the this engine in one)?
I have always banged on about Ford cars in this blog, but I think they are superb, offering reliability with a good dose of handling and fun. I get fed up with friends and colleagues who rave on about German cars, especially VW ones. Surely Ford offer better reliability and cheaper costs? I did 400,000 mile in my last 3 Ford cars without any real issues. The only faults being the result of ineptitude by a main dealer, no names though.
Last night was spent over at Clive and Gill Senior's enjoying a night of car and chat and of course a lovely dinner. Their daughters were present and it was great to talk to a family that is so enthusiastic about cars. Lucy, their oldest has a lovely little Mini that she is whizzing around Brighton in. Can't think of a more apt car for Brighton than a Mini. Clive's Zetec Spitfire is taking shape and will be some car when done. Come on Clive, I want to see that car at the start of the 2014 RBRR!
Being a member of Club Triumph has been an excellent decision, made so many great friends, is the Club about the cars or the people in it?
I am still working through the final details of the (conventional) engine change on the Spitfire and I hope to fire her up soon, need a few parts that will be purchased soon.
Also, must do some work on the 2.5 as the MOT beckons.
Right off to the garage, must finish the Spitfire as its getting close to the time of firing up the new engine-exciting!
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