Saturday, 19 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
- The front arches were from two sets and, as the rest of the bodywork was changing from green to black, the green one had to go.
- The scuttle area under the bonnet was just a bit of a mess and difficult to work on. The header tank was from an unknown production car and was precariously balanced/mounted in such a way that it obscured the fuse box and throttle-pedal pivot. The battery was also mounted upright in the general area and could have done with being moved away from the tank overflow.
- The GRP scuttle itself had so many holes in it (from old mirrors and pull-cables) that it looked perfect for draining boiled veg.
- The extinguisher was out of compliance and needed to be serviced and refilled.
- The seat was a GRP item which sat far too far back for me and was mounted using timber! It also wasn’t very comfortable.
- The passenger compartment contained lead ballast and some aluminium framework to support a passenger seat. Being a stone-plus heavier than Tony this wasn’t needed.
- The rear arches were in a terrible state; broken and full of filler.
- The back panel was aluminium and caved-in. It also looked like it had been welded back together.
I started by removing everything that I didn’t need or was replacing. Ballast, bodywork, seats, battery etc were all soon removed. I should have guessed that things were not going to go terribly smoothly when the terminal snapped off the expensive ‘Red Top 20’ battery as I tried to disconnect the cable. Thankfully a mate was able to sell me a spare and with the help of a posh aluminium tray bought from eBay, the new battery was moved to its new location.
Monday, 14 December 2009
On returning home I put the Striker up for sale. It was a short but pleasurable period of ownership. The low-point was when the accessory belt snapped one evening and I had to send Kate into M&S to buy tights to get the thing back to shelter; at least I have a tale to tell. Anyway, I priced the car at a level where I knew it would sell. I couldn’t afford to wait very long. Two guys from the Southampton area bought it (they’ve since sold it again) and, aside from them costing me a whole day’s work waiting for them to collect, the transaction went smoothly.
But what now? What was I going to race in? In my mind there were three options. I was certain that I wanted to race a kit car but I could do this in the 750MC Locost Championship, the 750MC RGB Championship or the WRDA Welsh Saloons and Sports Cars. The deciding factor in the end was cost, or ‘financial exposure.’ Given my work situation, I wanted to have as little funds tied-up in a car as possible. So, I looked around. There wasn’t a proven RGB car or WSSC-suited racer available for less than £7500 but there were three Locosts advertised between £4000 and £5200. My decision was made. One of the cars was less than an hour from home so I went to see Steve Kirby one evening. I’ve seen plenty of club-level racers and this one was in fantastic cosmetic order. I sat in the car and started it. I was pretty sold on it but decided that I should see another car. I spoke to someone I respected, Matt at http://www.procomp.co.uk/ and he informed me that a good friend of his, Dave Black was nearing completion of a rebuild of his old car to then sell. I spoke to Dave and the price was okay but, rightly or wrongly, the fact that it wasn’t ready and didn’t include a transponder was enough for me to look elsewhere. So, the following Saturday I travelled to Silverstone to see the cheapest of the three cars. Tony Jones had completed four races in 2007 and the car had sat idle since. It was the polar opposite of the first car in terms of appearance but it came with a huge amount of spares, including replacement bodywork.
Monday, 16 November 2009
On the subject of poor weather, we also spent a weekend on Anglesey watching the 750MC racing; at least that’s what I think it was. It was so wet it could have been powerboat racing! I hadn’t visited Anglesey Circuit before and was keen to. Despite the weather and one or two bizarre locals (yes, I’m talking to you Restaurant Manager-lady!) we met along the way we had a good time. Problem was, I felt that racing itch again. Big Time.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
- These things take time. Think very carefully about whether or not you will have the time to complete such a project. I'd have been okay, I think - but once I was offered sponsorship for my MBA things inevitably became impossible.
- These things take patience. At times I surprised myself with how calm I was. At times I scared myself with how angry/upset I could get.
- It helps to have skilled and willing friends around you. In particular, I'd like to thank Lyn, the other Lyn and Steve. I couldn't have got as far as I did without you. I'd also like to thank Julia. While we have separated since, I could not have asked for a more patient partner as I wandered off into the garage and returned a number of hours later; sometimes happy, occasionally fuming!
I have no idea how many have read my ramblings over the past couple of years, but if you have, thank you. I hope that some of you have looked at my efforts and thought, "I can do better than that" and have been right and succeeded.
I'm conscious that this final post seems quite morose. In reality when I looked over the car for the last time yesterday, the overwhelming emotion that I felt was pride. I've looked at a lot of kit-cars over the past few years and some of what I'd achieved was way above average. Dan (the new owner) appeared to hold the same view, so I drove away happy, not just that I'd taken a step towards financial security given my impending joblessness, but also because I'd done a decent job.
There's no real news on the employment front, but when things pick-up I do hope I'll return to kit-car ownership. That said, I don't think that I'd build another myself. Perhaps a rebuild would be better...
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
My employer has gone into administration and less than 20% of the staff remain. Details can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7872725.stm
The future looks bleak for those of us that remain. I fully expect to be unemployed very soon. So, 'Gulfie' is up For Sale at the bargain price of £6500.00.
The advert can be found on Pistonheads: http://www.pistonheads.co.uk/sales/891532.htm
Also for sale is my 1998 BMW Alpina B10 3.2.