Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Will these mods mean your car is no longer a classic?

Things have finally settled into some form of normality back in the workshop with the Club Triumph Ten Countries Run having taken place and Maude having conducted herself perfectly except for getting a piece of crud stuck in the front carb needle valve nearing the summit of the Fluelapass necessitating a quick pit stop to clear the problem – hardly the car’s fault though.

Of more concern is the Department for Transport’s recent announcement that they will be extending the MoT exemption to all 40 year old cars on a rolling basis from May 2018 and the underlying issue which this carries with it, of the definition and possible certification of cars as Vehicles of Historic Interest – or not!
Whether or not your car qualifies for MoT exemption then depends on whether it is a VHI or not and if it is considered to be ‘Significantly Changed’ from the original spec which it left the factory with, then it is not. It seems that DfT are likely to use the ‘8 point rule’ including “has it got a power to weight increase of 15% or more”, to establish if a car is substantially changed and one of the main problems with that is that most cars have now had very sensible upgrades to safety related systems such as brakes, lighting, suspension and sometimes steering to make them easier and safer to drive in modern traffic. This obviously means that by making your car safer to drive you may well stop it from being considered a ‘Classic Car’ – what then?

The ramifications of this are likely to be considerable and rumble on for some time, we can only hope that by the time this comes into action – if it does – that the government have sorted out the mess they have now created, albeit possibly unwittingly.

Monday, 26 June 2017

June 2017

It hardly seems two weeks since the last blog never mind two months. Things have escalated to full on whirlwind status now with pretty much everyone having got the cars out of the garages, run around a bit and started breaking them all over again! We’re also into pre – 10CR checks and upgrades now with loads of brake work, cooling system work and all the stuff you’re likely to need to have working perfectly for all those Alpine passes. I hope I have enough time to get Maude’s power steering fitted – I’m definitely too old and my shoulders too knackered to go flinging the tiller over 57 times on the way up and another 57 times on the way down over every mountain. I also need to get the additional 13” high power electric cooling fan and in-hose controller fitted in case we get stuck in traffic too.

We have had a few rear suspension and driveshaft rebuilds in lately – you know how it is, rather like buses you go ages without seeing one and then three come along together. The third one is due in next Tuesday in the form of Triumph World editor Simon Goldsworthy’s lovely little Herald 1200 convertible which is due to be having new driveshafts with all the bearings, bushes and UJs being changed too, not to mention the brake cylinders, pipes, hoses and fittings.

We’ve also had quite a few injected cars with fuelling issues to sort out and two of them were Vitesses, one with a tuned 2.5 L engine into the bargain. Luckily the brakes and suspension have been suitably beefed up to cope with it so it’s not quite 0 to death in under 10 seconds although you can feel the chassis protesting a bit when put under pressure. Still, what’s life without a bit of excitement?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Almost Easter

With Easter fast approaching the anticipated change from a steady flow of spring servicing, MoTs and general recommissioning to a minor flood has begun with the usual “You know that thing you said would need doing by the time the car went back on the road? Well, can you do that too please?” requests being made too. It’s a good job we write all these things down as I for one would stand no chance of remembering them all from one year to the next, I can hardly remember what I did last week!

Apart from these jobs getting customers cars out of hibernation, all the usual stuff is going on too. I have just been chatting to a couple who have decided to have their Stag put back on the road after 30 years in a garage – that won’t be a five minute job especially as we’re still ploughing through no fewer than three similar jobs and can’t take that one until at least one of the three is done and back out there gracing the highways and byways. I am now well into stripping and rebuilding the engine on one of those three cars, a very unusual car indeed being a sort of TR250 but with a very significant difference and quite a story attached, but more on that later.

For anyone attending the Practical Classics Restoration Show, I will be on the Club Triumph stand rebuilding the suspension on a Stag, so pop along and say hello if you’d like to. For those who might want to know a little more about some of our own cars and history with the marque, Triumph World magazine will shortly be featuring an article on just that subject. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Spring is almost here

With spring now upon us many people are starting to get their Triumphs out of hibernation and on the road for this year’s activities. We have just completed an engine rebuild on a Mk1 2000 with upgrades to fast road spec to the owners requirements and two unleaded cylinder head conversions, one for a Spitfire 1500 and one for a Vitesse Mk2. We have also had a few gearbox rebuilds this winter with extra work on one running to an overdrive rebuild and clutch replacement, crankshaft seal renewal and clutch crosshaft modifications on two others. 
Those few jobs along with a few suspension rebuilds, a couple of brake overhauls and the usual running repairs, tuning and servicing work for those who continue to use their Triumphs over the winter period have kept us busy during the winter months. Now we seem to be encountering a glut of water sealing problems, either trying to stop coolant leaking out or rain water leaking in! I can only hope that as the year progresses and the weather improves, we don’t get too much of the latter and that we get to see the sun a bit more this year. Oh yes and did I mention that we had recently fitted new hoods to a TR5 and a Herald?
We are preparing ourselves for the rush of annual servicing, tuning and MoTing which inevitably starts during March (it already has) and will probably reach torrent proportions next month, though hopefully not full ‘flash flood’ status. More next time.