Morris Minor, Filling Some Of The Gaps.

 

Spares to a daily.

From buying the Morris Minor to driving to the Northeast, a jump worthy of any postmodern film or book.  When I studied creative writing 10 years ago, we were taught show don’t tell.  Yet how did Mog and I go from oh my god to being able to do a round a trip of 1200 miles?   Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.

The simple answer would be with a lot of hard work and many breakdowns. Perhaps not the most descriptive or in depth blog post especially for one that is theoretically about cars. This post is a less detailed overview of experience Mog and I shared during those months.

After Getting The  Morris Minor Home. 

After towing Mog back behind Tug from Exeter I was allowed to borrow a driveway to work on her. 15 years before and 3 weeks after buying my Triumph Spitfire this was the same place I changed the gearbox.  I said a week then and I did it.  Again, I said a week and 6 days after I started welding Mog was solid enough to drive down.   Buying a Morris Minor.

During that time, I didn’t just weld but also had to fit a new thermostat, water pump and a few other parts. But we made it, sadly the dynamo stopped working, but thankfully Jess had a spare so we swapped them over. If at that point I thought it was over, and it would be possible to enjoy the pleasure a new car how wrong was I?  

 

Ignition Issues. Road Side Solutions. 

I spent the day doing little jobs and just as it was getting to late evening was about 6 miles away from home Mog died.  Her ignition switched fell apart. In fading light and with my phone battery low I had to find a solution. This was made far harder due to inexperience with Morris Minors. What would be easy a few months later was a struggle.  
 

An older car needs fuel and ignition. If I could get those working there was still time for us to get back safely before it got dark.  Thankfully the Morris Minor design came to my aid. The bulkhead has the fuel pump on the left, battery in the middle and coil on the right. Even with my lack of electrical knowledge it was a simple question of running a live feed to both the pump and coil.  We made it back. The following day I made the repair a little more permanent.  It held until last few miles of my return from the North.   

The Muppet Factor. 

Nigel popped down the following weekend. Quickly getting the indicators working and one or two other little issues.  We then settled into a two-week cycle, something would break. I’d fix it  then two weeks later something else would.  https://youtu.be/VaRNZn4OYh4

The next major thing was down to my own muppet factor… With Sheldon from Classic Britain I showed how good the brakes were. In the Process breaking the engine mounts. Not only was this caught on film, but also it meant Mog had to get recovered. With no local specialist parts were ordered and the wait began, the combination of parcel farce 24 and Cornwall meaning that it could take up to 5 days for anything to arrive.  The job itself not difficult. Repairing the radiator taking longer, as the steel fan had clipped the top.  

Cylinder Head

Having repaired her and after a few days, she started to run badly and misfire whilst in Falmouth. Managing to make it back safely and after few days I took the cylinder head off. There was a crack between the combustion chambers of number 3 and 4.  Once again Jess came to my aid. After upgrading his engine last year from a 948 to a 1275 he let me have his old engine for a good price.  The swap was soon complete and Mog was running once again.   

Lack Of Preparation, More Problems. 

A simple job of changing the rear leaf springs became far harder to a combination of my lack of preparation and the parts supplier mixing nuts of the same diameter but different threads together.  Again, once bitten, twice shy.   This sums up those months, simple jobs often made far harder due to previous repairs, (bodges,) my lack of Morris Minor knowledge and the main parts suppliers being a long wait away with parcel farce.  

Axle Issues. 

I mentioned during the introduction of Morris Minor Road Trip Part One the axle was changed.  The day before I was due to go to Liskeard and Bridgewater to pick up some spares.  I decided to change the driver’s side oil seal.  This was a mistake, after tapping the locking washer flat the nut holding the half shaft on was loose. Praying the threads were worn on the nut and not the axle casing, of course the casing was worn. I spoke with gent at Liskeard and he did have an axle for sale as well at a good price.  A few days later I spot welded the nut to the casing.  Something which I wish I’d thought of on the Saturday.  

The axle change wasn’t easy, likewise the week after almost cutting my finger off the gearbox went. Mog’s mismatched combination of early and later parts meaning that was far harder than it should have been. 

So? 

Reading through this there is an intentional dryness to the post. I’ve not written about my emotional experience of owning and driving a Morris Minor, an early one at that.  Now that is real story and will be saved for another post.  

Importance of Gut Instinct.

May… Wow…

Classicaraddict did meet Classic Britain, more than once… The last time resulting in a 350 mile drive in Tug towing a trailer. Classicaraddict Meets Classic Britain.

 

Crossing the Devon Border.

Bel went to Devon 3 times in 2 days at the end June.  The last time was accidental when it appeared that my wallet was dropped at Ashburton petrol.

Both last Sunday and Tuesday previously there was a sense something is not right…

After picking the Maxi from South Devon we made our way down the A38 and back into Cornwall and headed towards my dear friend’s house at Trevelmond near Dobwells.  Just as I pulled past him to so he could follow me the final couple of miles of course we stopped…

 

Something Wrong

There is a rule of thumb when it comes to helping people get cars is that. As soon as you can smell the kettle, or think that you might get to the chip shop before it closes the gremlins pick their moment to strike.

In this case, he turned the wipers on and one fell off… Having retrieved that it and almost reaching insight of the steam off the kettle, we pull over again. The front brake was sticking…Something that did not surprise me. We did make it and spent the next hour sorting the brake caliper. We then left to head home.

As my brother followed me down the 1-mile single lane road towards the main road my internal radar started to ping. Where was my wallet?  As my heart started to race, a frantic search of the car soon revealed that it wasn’t there.   I sent my brother west, telling him once again to drive very carefully. I then when to the two places we stopped on the bypass to check to if my wallet had fallen out. (It hadn’t)

Drive Back to Devon, Quickly

Then I played the memory game, ringing petrol stations that we had stopped at, until I rang the nice people at Ashburton petrol station, the time was 8.05 pm.

They asked for my name, yes we have it here, here being 45 miles away. They also said I’d never make it. All I can say is that clearly, they never have driven an MX5.  They are not fastest cars outright, but for covering ground quickly and safely, they are amazing.

I did make it with shall I say a little time to spare…

Finally Mug of Tea

After popping in to see my friend Jude who lives close by I then headed home down the A30 with the roof down. The stars only being interrupted by the occasional fog bank. The last of which the car following me at safe distance turned out to be a police one.

Gut Instinct

I’m not sure what gut instinct is, or that sense of something is not right. When it strikes, I’ve learned to pay attention. For instance, Sheldon from Classic Britain wanted to take his Rover P6 to get some parts the following Sunday. Despite the extra fuel expense, we used Tug my little Suzuki Vitara.  I knew that we would make it, with his car I could not be sure.

There will be another blog post on that after Sheldon edits the footage he took of the day. https://youtu.be/BdnQ7tLcOPk

 

Part of gut instinct is to think about what you want to achieve and then look to see what can go wrong and try to eliminate as many as possible. Like carrying a spare fan belt….Oh, bugger….

Classicaraddict Meets Classic Britain.

 

Classicaraddict met Classic Britain…

Before Christmas, I stumbled upon a Youtube Channel called Classic Britain. First what attracted me was the content, the presenter, Sheldon was clearly a grade A Petrolhead and his scruffy Rover P6 (Kismet) is a really interesting car. After a little while, I also worked out they are based in West Cornwall.

The Mentor… 

Oddly we never get to see Sheldon, but we do get to see Lucas,  his friend, and Mentor.  Their friendship is clear to see, and infectious.  Lucas, smart, funny and has lived a life. He gives no shit’s about what others think. Yet, and having met him and his charming wife, what is clear, they are both good people.  Caring about those who are privileged to enter their world.
He also knows his stuff when it comes to old cars.

 

Man Behind the Camera.

Now I will admit that on air, Sheldon comes across as far older than he is. From his voice, I’d of said he was late 20’s or early 30’s… Right up until the point he got in  Bel and I suddenly realised he was in his early 20’s.  Sheldon is one of those characters who have a power to them, a good-natured force of nature. Others become attracted, his passion infectious. They start chatting, remembering times past. More than once, someone came up and spoke to us as we worked on Kismet, the Rover. In this way, he reminds me of my friend Jess, who at 20 decided that a 1957 Morris Minor was his ideal first car. They share a strange magnetism that makes others want to help, and perhaps remind us of who were or could be once more.

Sheldon and those around him have an old-fashioned sense of decency that is sadly passing into another time. Perhaps being based in West Cornwall, helps, for time does more slowly down here. We have a different culture and the rules that go along with it.

Classicaraddict met Classic Britain, not for the last time…