Saturday, 6 April 2013

Time for a garage sort out

Some years ago, when I was suffering from delusions of adequacy, I bought this set of ramps to lift the cars up into the air a little to work on them.

Over the years, I have learned my limits and discovered it is cheaper to get all but the most basic of things done by professionals as it costs me less in the long term.  Coupled with the fact that we will be moving to a smaller house soon, it is a good time to sell the ramps.  They are really rather clever and you can see how they will work in the images. I've advertised them on various forums where I lurk and hope that they will go to a good caring home.

It was quite amazing how much more junk was hiding in the garage.  I think Ebay is going to come in useful over the next few days!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Do you fancy a job?

Some will know that I was lucky enough to escape form the world of the wage slave some years ago at a young age and fall into the less secure world of self employment and freelancing. The problem has always been that most of my freelance self employment is either voluntary or doesn't generate much in the way of income.

As well as editing two classic car magazines, one for the Triumph 2000 Register ("SIXappeal" - be careful how you spell it) and the other for the TR Register ("TR Action"), I've been involved with the bus museum in Portsmouth for many years as a volunteer doing restoration work (allegedly) and the odd spot of driving, being a master of the crash gearbox.

Time pressures being what they are and wishing to actually have some of the time to myself that people seem to think I have plenty of, I managed to offload the committee responsibilities from the bus museum by coming last in an election.  Planning one's exit is always the most difficult thing about these societies.

Anyway....  a few weeks ago, I received an email out of the blue from a news stand (ie paid for) magazine. From the editor, no less.  The gist of it being "would I be interested in becoming an occasional contributor for them?"

So if you read the classic car press, look out in the future as my stuff may be appearing

Y Viva Espana

Two posts in the same day!

Ann & I decided that we would clear off to Spain for February and rented a very nice apartment in Estepona, Costa del Sol. you can see details of it here Costa del Sol Apartment

We took the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in the worst winter storms for some time. Cap Finistere is a great ship and the deluxe cabins are very comfortable - even in a Force 10 gale!

So we just had 4 weeks at the apartment travelling around and chilling out. Our route took us via Segovia, Toledo and Cordoba - a few "en route pictures" below:

 The Roman aqueduct in Segovia



Estepona lies to the southwest of Marbella and is famous as being in the Costa del Golf.  Courses everywhere you look!  It was February when we were there, so rather quiet, but even so, there was still stuff happening and the place was still alive.  The weather was mostly good, too.  18 Celsius on average most days, although a few chilly days and a high of 23 degrees on the day we went to Gibraltar
The whole area lies in the region of the pueblos blancos - the white towns.  Traditional Andalusian villages dating back hundreds of years where life appears to go on in the same old way. Actually, not quite because many are modern "urbanisaciones" - they just blend in so well you wouldn't know...

This is the beach area at Marbella.  Developed with US funds in the 60's by Franco's Government, it features much of the worst of Spanish Costa over development. The old town is quite nice to walk around, once you actually find it!  Probably very different at night in high season!  And why did the US fund it? A deal put together to allow US forward bases to be located in Spain.

Much more traditional is Cadiz. Apparently  not much visited by tourists - probably because it isn't that easy to get to, the modern city, virtually just a single main road, is like driving through Manhatten. Suddenly you come across the old town, just as it would have been when Columbus sailed off in 1492 and home to the merchants who made their fortune from trade with the New World.  Interesting concept - "trade". I suppose it isn't good for the national ego to use a word like "plunder"??? Not that us English were any better, I hasten to add.
Then we have the famous little town of Ronda. Up in the mountains and cleft in two by a huge gorge that runs through the town.  We went there twice.  The first time was bitterly cold with snow threatening.  The second time, the sun was out as you can see.  This is the "new bridge", joining the new and old towns together across the gorge. Ronda is also the home to modern bullfighting and has a bullring that has a particular claim to fame.  We were impressed for such a small place, but then found everywhere has a bullring that has the largest / widest / tallest / smallest / oldest / newest something or other. All we know is that Birmingham's has the most shops

We couldn't be this close and not go to Gibraltar for a day trip. Entry is slow, as Gibraltar is not part of the EU and is a tax haven, passport and customs formalities are required at the border. And the road crosses over the main runway of the airport, so everything grinds to a halt whenever a plane arrives or takes off.  Other than the fact that we were still driving on the "wrong side" of the road, we could have been back in England.  Policemen in traditional uniform with tall hats, red phone boxes and English style street furniture 
And of course, lots of apes running about all over the place.  They are a thieving bunch, too. So don't leave anything around or they will pinch it. Coming down from the Rock, the main street is like any English High Street with plenty of familiar names.  Prices are good too - no duty and no VAT, so a bottle of brand name spirit is around £8. Pity you are limited to just one bottle to bring back...
The queue to get out wasn't quite as tedious, but still took maybe 45 minutes.

We had a weekend in Seville while we were there.  In my very humble opinion, Spain has three Premier "must see" cities; in order Barcelona, Seville and Madrid. There are plenty of others, but these are the ones to visit.  The guide book reckons in a week you can just about take in all of Seville - we managed the Alcazar, the Giralda (Cathedral) and a pony & trap ride and were there for 2 days. Fantastic city; well worth a long weekend!

And finally somewhere that people usually rush through en route to or from the airport - Malaga. Birthplace of Picasso, who is the subject of several museums and an amazing Roman castle / Moorish Alcazar, plus a modern shopping district and a green urban environment. Green as in lots of parks.

And that, as they say, is your lot for this time

We'll get back onto the subject of cars soon

Not been here for a while!

It has been a little while since the last post. So lets bring things up to date a little.  In September, we went to France in the TR for the "Circuit des Remparts" event at Angouleme, followed by a few days touring around the Dordogne. Here's the trusty little car parked outside our hotel close to Angouleme.   The event at Angouleme is based on a street circuit, with the vintage cars being the prime attraction - Bugattis, MGs and various others hairing around a tight street with not much more than straw bales for protection.  Here's a Riley... 

The event also includes a very well organised touring assembly. We caught these as they returned and snapped off a few (hundred) pictures.  Here's a few.  You can work out for yourselves what the cars are - they aren't difficult!

and finally to finish this section, a view of the city centre in Angouleme

The next few are around the Dordogne


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Simply Classics - another day at Beaulieu

Another excuse for a day at Beaulieu! This time, it didn't rain. We had arranged a large display of Triumph TRs at Beaulieu on August Bank Holiday Sunday as part of the "Simply Classics" event. The TR Register office very kindly allowed us the use of two significant cars - TS2, the first right hand drive TR to be built and the "Coke Car", one of 3 TR7s given away as prizes in the late 1970's. These cars were totally mad - fixed head 7s, repainted in Coca Cola red with white stripes and the interior refitted in blue denim in the style of a pair of Levi Jeans, complete with back pocket patches.  Originally fitted with air con and a fridge in the boot to keep your bottle of coke cool.

Anyway...  here's a picture of TS2 at Beaulieu

And the Coke car with me sat in the driving seat
There were a few other nice cars to be seen - thanks to everyone who came from all over the South-West of England (and Wales) to join us
First, we have a very good example of a TR6 - and a model close to the end of production

and then a couple of shots (above) of just a few of the cars on show

Monday, 13 August 2012

Stars of stage and screen (well, almost!)

Having a connection with the local bus museum collection sometimes brings up some interesting opportunities.

A few weeks ago, we had an enquiry from a TV production company who were interested in finding a classic bus of the type that would have been in service at the end of the War. 

It so happens we have a genuine 1941 Bedford OWB "utility" bus, but it's off the road for some engine repairs at the moment.  The story required a typical "country bus" and as it turned out, one of the other vehicles was suitable as it is of a type that was in use in the period.
Ann and I found ourselves roped in as extras and last Monday set out with Clive driving and Brian "conducting" for a day's TV production work at Manor Farm in Hampshire.

The finished results can be seen on BBC2 later in September and we will be in the final episode. But don't blink, or you'll miss us!
Ann shows off her 1940's Country Lady look

Chatting between takes
Ann looks quite the part in the tweed jacket and hair done up in a scarf!

However, the star of the show has to be "Henry", the border collie. We thought he was a stage dog, but he's the sound recordist's pet!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Classic Silverstone

After the "comforts" of Classic Le Mans, we thought we'd do Silverstone in a bit of comfort, particularly as the forecast was for a bit of mud. Hence the new "komfy kamping" tent...
Proper sewn in groundsheet, under groundsheet and rugs on the floor! Plus a king size airbed

Here's a few pictures from the 700 plus taken at the event: (clicking on any picture will open them all up full size in a gallery format)
Practice session on Friday
Aston Martin DB6 (I think - it could be a 5)

I'm pretty sure the red and blue cars are Marcos GT's

We know what this is! TR4 attempting to pass an Aston

Classic Formula 1

Friday afternoon shift change at Dagenham, circa 1965

...and we thought the idea was to drive on the circuit!

Cortinas, Alfa and BMW 1800s round CLub corner

....hotly pursued by Mini Coopers

A very pretty Alfa Giulietta, I think?

Jaguar, C type I think, but could be a Lister


Could only be a Jaguar D type


On Saturday, we were treated to a wing walking display. Not totally sure why it is called wing walking as they appear to be securely attached

Followed by a few more pictures of cars

Big Healey

TR4 again

Escort. I had one of these, once - but mine was a humble 1100 deluxe

Aston and 250 GTO racing for real

Another 250, this time racing an E type

Alfa Romeo

and ANOTHER! 250

and another. We stopped counting the car values in this race at £50 million

Aston Martin DB2

Here's a rare one (foreground) - a Jensen
Finally,  we see the parade of Ferrari F40's to celebrate 25 years of the model's introduction. You can have any colour you like as long as it is red! Breakdown services for the weekend were provided by the AA in conjunction with Trotters Independent Traders