Wreck of the Week

My search for a wreck of the week brings up this week the hard cash that underpins a lot of the nostalgia boom we have seen recently:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560739/Now-thats-fixer-upper-Wrecks-classic-cars-selling-MORE-new-models-prices-rusting-roof.html

“Barn Find” vehicles fetching equal to or more than fully restored vehicles; frenetic bidding over dusty relics; a craze for originality between buyers with infeasibly deep pockets.

This is a world that I can’t even tessellate with. The cars described would have been beyond my reach ten years ago and are beyond my reach today.

However, as we have seen with anything carrying a blue oval, the effects of this are not just confined to the rarefied heights of hedge manager salaries.

It has become (and looks likely to continue for a while to be) very difficult for a person of moderate to modest means to get involved in the classic car hobby.

However I remember a similar time in the 1980s where classic cars started to look a great investment. People bought crumbly wrecks gave them a cheap respray and flogged them for serious money.

Then there was a downturn: several people who bought cars as an “investment” got burned. The upside being that the guy who wanted to tinker in his shed got a look in once again.

We can hope that cars will start to return to sensible in the near future. However, sadly the keys to that E-Type I’ve always dreamed off are likely to remain in someone else’s hands in perpetuity.

“Rust in peace” searches this week bring me to this article https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2092341/stunning-pictures-show-how-nature-has-reclaimed-cars-left-abandoned-across-europe/ featuring the work of Roman Robroek who loves to take pictures of abandoned cars. I took a chance that the name was unusual and believe that I have found the photography site that the article is about:

https://romanrobroek.nl/#transport

It is a fascinating site which causes me to regret the fact that I cannot operate a camera (even if given instructions designed for a five year old).

Some of the pictures are truly beautiful. In the case of the cars I do wonder where they are and if anyone will step up and try to save them.

Even better I have been in touch with Roman and he is happy for me to use some of his pictures in my blog. So I am very happy about that and grateful thanks to Roman. (The featured image in the blog this week is one of his).

This week’s YouTube video is a light hearted effort from Pathé set in Reading.

This shows a very different attitude in 1963 to today – cars having no value at all when they got to a certain age. As a result cars were dumped – quite literally anywhere that a person could find to dump them.

The announcer refers to the introduction of testing, which leads me to suspect that the MOT is not as venerable as I once thought.

It appears the MOT was introduced in 1960 so just 3 years prior to the film. A very large number of vehicles initially failed and so the requirements for testing were enhanced. (Presumably this was because the roads had many unsafe vehicles on them).

Initially cars older than 10 years were tested (many failed). In 1961 this became 7 years, in 1967 it became 3 years. Since then the requirements for the age of vehicles haven’t changed but the items being tested have increased with time.

The film takes a comedic approach which includes a very strange episode at the end involving explosives. This is more akin to something you might have seen a circus clown performing.

Many of the cars in the film would be very desirable today so it is sad to see that they were just discarded.

However the vehicles would have been merely 10 or so years old at that stage and 10 year old vehicles today have limited value. Little has changed.

I checked the example of LJ2393 (the smoking vehicle in the latter part of the film). It is not on the DVLA database. So it did not survive. No wonder that vehicles of this age are valued – precious few seem to have made it this far. The exploding vehicle has registration HH – TR645 which is an odd plate. Being the suspicious type I checked it. It is invalid and so almost certainly the vehicle isn’t a vehicle at all but merely a film prop.

This week I was sent details of some marvellous BBC sound effects which include some early car sounds and car-related sounds. http://bbcsfx.acropolis.org.uk/

This is listed as “Cars: 1.6 GL (Manual) 1982 model Ford Cortina. Exterior, tickover recorded near exhaust”. Which for anyone who is wondering what a car of the 1980s would sound like is pretty close to how I remember.

Ford Cortina 1982 Tickover Download audio

Back to Wreck of the Week proper and another ruster drawn from the nation’s favourite auction site.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/192460868689?ul_noapp=true

This one struck my eye because it is just up the road from me and very close to where my partner is working currently.

I say is, however the listing has been ended because the vehicle is “no longer available” so we have to assume it found a buyer, eager or otherwise.

 

Originally listed at £2,300.00 sadly there is no automotive equivalent of the land registry to determine what it actually made in the end. (Even if there was – the absence of any registration details makes such a search impossible).

We’re treated to 5, yup 5 gleaming pictures of marvelousness to sate our nostalgia demons. The text doesn’t do much more to convey anything:

“1966 FORD MUSTANG

SOLID SHELL

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

THERE IS NO PAPERWORK WITH THIS CAR

I CAN DELIVER FOR £1.50 PER MILE

CAR LOCATED NEAR ROYSTON HERFORDSHIRE

CASH ON COLLECTION

PLEASE NOTE THE ANGLIA AND FAST BACK ARE NOT FOR SALE”

I’ve left the shouty text in place this time to convey the full-on nature of modern auction site listings. If someone was speaking like this I would rather be at the other end of a very long room.

Now Royston is a big place but for those not of the United Kingdom (or maybe those of its further flung elements of this nation) here is the approximate location of said vehicle:

So what are we getting in this “What you see is what you get” auction.

Shame it is not for sale that Anglia looks much more my cup of tea to be honest. I can’t see enough of the vehicle beyond it to make out what it is, but what a marvellous place with all these pieces of automotive history lined up just ripe for the restorer to feast his eyes upon.

In any case from the text we can ascertain that the car for sale is in the foreground, none of those in the background are so hands off sonny.

All we know about it is that it is 1966. There are no registration details and given there is no paperwork it is easily feasible that the car was never registered in the UK – we’ve covered the niceties of the NOVA system before.

However some comments on the impact where you have no documentation at all are here:

http://www.nsra.org.uk/newforum/showthread.php?61208-NEW-IMPORTATION-RULES-NOVA-(Notification-of-Vehicle-Arrivals)

Put it this way I am not certain I would want to wind my way through the various departments to satisfy them that the vehicle has been properly imported and that all relevant taxes have been paid. It is not clear what happens if you don’t satisfy them but an unregistered car is without value (unless you want to limit it to the race track) and unpaid tax can become an expensive problem…

So apart from the soft-porn focusing (we’re kind of used to that now I think ) what have we. No engine, no gearbox, no front wings, no ancilliaries, no suspension, little or no braking system, no front panels. In fact it appears more like the before in a banger race.

As it stands though what can be seen does not look excessively rusty. So it is possible that this could be used to reshell a car that was completely gone bodywise but had most of the parts.

Unlike a previous Wreck of the Week featuring a Mustang this one has a windscreen and so perhaps there is some hope for the interior.

To be fair, if you’ve been following Wreck of the Week for any period of time then you will have seen much rustier prospects but potentially not cars that have less included with them. (Even the windscreen wipers are absent from this one).

What surprises me from the pictures is that you can fit a stonking V8 between those suspension turrets but scale is something that photographs may not convey well.

Ok, the interior is not quite (but almost) a pond. Heavy moss growth indicates that starting on the car now before it gets much worse is probably an astute plan. The algae covered item may well be the front offside wing although there is no sign of the normal use of car-as-shed approach. This means that there doesn’t appear to be the usual smorgasbord of spares that some of these adverts entice us with.

Not a particularly easy view of much of the interior but apart from the previously noted no gearbox problem, there are no carpets, no seats, no dashboard, a steering wheel which is missing some parts.

On the upside it does look relatively intact metalwise – not much call for Joe le welder here. (Those fans of the welding art form can groan now).

I’m unclear why the rear footwell is a storage vessel for odd fastenings – perhaps it had visions of becoming a shed and never got that far.

Perhaps a better focused version of one we’ve seen before. So no clues about the rear, the boot area, the underside (other than what we can glean from the interior shot), the rear wheelarches – other glass in the car and so on and so fifth.

Well that’s it, no more images to enthral us.

So necessarily a brief one this week. You’ll have to go and do some real work now.

Next week lets hope someone who was a true David Bailey. Preferably one with laryngitis of the advertising text as well.

 

If you took this one home please let us know what you did with her, it would be fascinating to discover what kind of future she has..

 

 

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Image source Roman Robroek http://www.romanrobroek.nl

 

Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Whilst that site looks at crumbly ruins this one looks at crumbly panels).

 

Car Ownership Guide

An idea which might appeal to owners of cars out there if you have a car which you are interested in and are knowledgeable about then I am happy to write an article about it and post it on this blog.

The work for you is that (unless you are located very close to me) I will need you to answer a questionnaire (and possibly some follow-on questions) and I will need you to have reasonable ability with a digital camera – the blog is going to need pictures as well.

Although I compiled the following article from an interview in the old fashioned – turn up ask questions – manner. It seems feasible that I could compile a questionnaire from this which I could despatch to whoever was interested.

I am hoping that the idea has appeal and will encourage people to submit cars. If you are reading this blog and you’re aware of someone else who will fit the bill by all means pass along details so that they can profit from it.

A considerable number of years ago, when it was easier to dream, I had in mind that I would like to write for a classic car magazine. At that time one of the magazines was featuring a “Best of the Web” article. I was working in IT and loved old cars and so this suited me well.

For a short while I researched and wrote these articles and fitted it in around the day job.

Sadly there was a change at the magazine and it was determined (probably correctly) that the “Best of the Web” article was as boring as a lengthy parliamentary speech. So it was pulled.

A person less given to dreaming would probably have seen the writing on the wall. I hadn’t yet let go of that writing dream however and so I tried to come up with some ideas of articles that I could do.

I was approaching the very limits of expertise. I had no background in engineering or in journalism but I wasn’t going to let this stop me.

I realised that once in a while a very knowledgeable person drawn from a classic car club would lay out what it was like to own a specific kind of car. Such accounts were no doubt rose-tinted and that suited my somewhat romantically idealised view of ancient machines.

So I set about contacting owners clubs but I was aware that I could not use the cachet of any magazine’s name as strictly speaking I didn’t work for any of them.

Unsurprisingly for a very long time I didn’t get any takers.

Eventually however I had a response from Tom Lucas who was the owner of a Lomax. For those uninitiated to this car it is a vehicle that you could assemble yourself based upon a 2CV.

It turns out that I had been very lucky to find Tom. Not only was he knowledgeable and keen, he was also willing to help someone who quite obviously was no journalist.

I have subsequently discovered that Tom Lucas (surely the same man) published a book called “Lomax the First Ten Years” bookfinder.

The car YSU191 has also been the recipient of prizes.

It is also apparently still taxed and MOTd to this date according to the DVLA.

Tom, if you are reading this, thank-you for your help.

I returned to the magazine in the hope of a new venture but it turned out I was not as good at this writing business as I had hoped. There was certainly no suggestion of the article being used.

As a result I am free to use the article on this blog all these years later and hopefully Tom will get to see it here.

This was the article:

 

Ownership Guide

Engine

This is usually removed from a 2CV, the engine can be taken from an Ami 8, Dyane or from the rarer Ami Super.

Most Lomax are built with a standard 602cc 2CV, Dyane or Ami 8 engine (these are essentially the same being an air-cooled flat twin of 30 BHP).

The older 435cc engine (not found in donor cars after the 1970s) will fit but is rarely used.

Useful power improvements can be obtained by fitting the Ami Super engine (1015cc). This is a flat-four air-cooled engine and requires the 4-speed gearbox from the same car.

Alternatively the later Citroen GS (1299cc) unit is a simple exchange.

The Citroen Visa power plant (652cc) provides a more complex challenge. This 38 BHP motor had electronic ignition requiring sensors on the gearbox bell housing which do not easily fit the 2CV. One method in use is to utilise motorcycle electronic ignition from a BMW on the front of the engine.

Officially any 2CV engine from 1985 will run on unleaded; however engines from the 1960s are currently running on unleaded without detrimental effects.

The exception is the Visa 9 ½:1 compression engine, which requires super-unleaded.

The standard engine is “bullet proof,” even modified engines tend to have a standard bottom-end, as it is very tough.

Valve and seats are very hard and recession tends not to be a problem. Valve clearances are checked then checked again after the first 6000 miles. If no recession is detectable no further checks are necessary.

Oil Changes

It is worthwhile doing regular oil changes at 3000 miles – maintaining this interval gives increased engine life expectancy of 150,000 miles with 300,000 miles a possibility.

10/40 oil is recommended for the 2CV but the Lomax has different requirements due to the absence of the cooling fan from the front of the engine. This means that the engine runs hotter than in the 2CV a 20/50 oil should therefore be used.

Use of synthetic (or semi-synthetic) oil is not required.

The oil filter should be changed at the same time as the oil. This is easily accessible as the bonnet can be removed in one piece. It is therefore considerably easier to access than in the 2CV donor.

Parts are available from ECAS (Eastwood Continental AutoSpares) of Stafford (01785) 282882.

Carburettor

The standard 2CV is fitted with a single carburettor positioned in the middle of the engine over the crankcase (a downdraft Solex).

This requires a long manifold to each cylinder.

Post 1982 2CVs, Dyanes and Amis were fitted with a twin choke version – this yields 2-3 BHP extra.

A common modification is to fit 2 motorbike carbs on short manifolds (for example the flat slide Dellortos from a Moto Guzzi). This modification yields significant performance advantages.

Ignition

There is no standard distributor; instead there is a points box rather like that on a motorcycle engine.

This has a 2-lobe cam producing a spark to both cylinders at every engine revolution via a double-ended coil.

The cylinder that is on the compression stroke is able to use the spark to fire. The cylinder on the exhaust stroke gets a ‘wasted spark’.

Modifications include electronic ignition kits from Lumenition – this replaces the points and box lid with a sensor (£115). An alternative “123” Dutch-made kit is available through ECAS. This replaces the point’s box and the advance/retard mechanism (£112).

Gearbox

All gearboxes fitted since the start of production are the same in that they are all 4 speed.

The internal ratios differ slightly, the Dyane having a slightly higher ratio in top gear.

The gearbox is behind the engine and drive is transmitted via drive shafts incorporating disc or drum brakes.

The low weight of the Lomax and its relatively small frontal area (compared to the 2CV) make the gearing a handicap.

Top gear limits performance to around 80mph, as higher speeds would cause the engine to rev excessively (no taller final-drive ratios are available).

Gearbox rebuilds are very rarely required, as they are very durable. For instance large, quality, bearings were used in the gearbox manufacture. Regular gearbox oil changes at 12,000-mile intervals are recommended to prolong gearbox life. Reconditioned gearboxes are available from ECAS (£220).

Brakes

The brakes are inboard – either drums or discs dependent upon the age of the donor (cars prior to 1982 having drum brakes). Changing pads is easy; changing shoes requires removal of the driveshaft first.

Drum braked cars tend to have a more effective hand brake as the disk-braked cars have separate (small) pads for the handbrake. The lightweight of the Lomax however, means that this handbrake system is still adequate in disk-braked cars.

No flexible brake pipes are employed. The solid brake pipes are coiled to take up any suspension movement. Despite this unusual arrangement no brake pipe fractures take place.

The gearbox from a Citroen GS comes with 11” disc brakes which would seem a useful modification. However, the Lomax is already significantly lighter than the donor car so no changes to the brakes are necessary.

Later Citroens with disc brakes do not use standard brake fluid but LHM mineral oil. The seals on these cars are a different material to those on drum-braked models (which use standard brake fluid). This means that the correct fluid must be used. In addition when replacing the rear-wheel brake cylinder it is critical to select the right one (the LHM version is painted green).

Rust

The body of the Lomax is GRP and hence does not suffer from rust problems; however the chassis is of steel and from the donor car.

Earlier cars had better chassis (those built in the late 1960s) particularly the Ami – these are therefore better donors.

The chassis from an Ami Super is a good choice as it is made from 1.2mm steel. The 2CV chassis is made from 0.8mm steel.

Cars manufactured between 1987 and 1990 tend to be more prone to rust and should be avoided.

Alternatives include a galvanised square section tubular steel chassis produced by The Lomax Motor Company.

Alternatively ECAS sell a galvanised replacement 2CV chassis for £430.

Preservation of the chassis when constructing the car is recommended. To do this, prop the framework against a wall so that it is close to vertical. Pour in Waxoyl from the top and allow it to drain through.

The exhausts rot out regularly due to the small engine and long exhaust, the rear of which remains relatively cool even with prolonged use. This means that acids tend to condense causing deterioration of the back box.

It is common to use a motorcycle silencer on the Lomax, but in this application a stainless one is recommended.

Body

The body is all GRP and the floor is of plywood.

The GRP gelcoat is a popular finish to leave the car in when first assembled.

The colours available include British Racing Green, Pillar-Box Red and Anchusia Blue.

However the finish tends to fade in UV light (i.e. in the sun) dark shades particularly becoming unattractive after a number of years. The car can then be sprayed conventionally to disguise this.

Crazing of the GRP can occur at stress points over extended periods of time. Replacement panels are available or if the body tub is affected it is cheaper to grind away the gelcoat and fill with fibreglass resin.

Suspension

Most Lomax cars are assembled using the 3-wheeler format– this entails removal of one of the rear suspension arms. The remaining arm is modified at the Lomax factory allowing it to be turned through 1800 to be inboard of the rear chassis arm (which is removed).

The suspension is totally derived from the 2CV with horizontal canisters containing the road springs.

The kingpins tend to wear if they are not greased at 500-mile intervals. To replace these, the driveshafts have to be removed and the bushes replaced with a press or a sledgehammer and a drift can be employed for similar results. After 2 or 3 sets of kingpins have been fitted the arm is too worn to accept another set and must be replaced (£95).

The suspension arms turn on taper-roller bearings which can show signs of wear at 100,000 miles (£24.50 each – 2 of per unit) – they are sealed for life so once fitted need no maintenance.

Genuine Citroen telescopic shock absorbers are required (£65) as they are designed to work on their side – conventional shock absorbers would wear out very swiftly if employed.

The Lomax suspension is lowered when compared with the donor 2CV. The suspension arms have tie rods, which are threaded. Releasing these rods a few threads lowers the suspension. This increases the kingpin castor angle improving the self-centring of the steering with a slight increase in kingpin wear as a penalty.

The lowered suspension can “bottom-out” and so modifications have been developed to use both suspension canisters.

Lomax has chosen to use a “rear anti-roll bar.” An alternative is to use the arrangement originally designed for a competing kit car (the Falcon). A front anti-roll bar on the three-wheeler is a requirement to prevent the car banking hard into corners.

The anti-roll bar from a Citroen Ami 8 or Ami Super can be used to make cornering safer (these are now scarce). The Lomax Motor Company now manufactures its own version. Alternatives are available from other kit-car manufacturers e.g. Black Jack in Helston.

Performance Improvements

The air filter is a bulky item which can be improved with a low restriction type, such as that manufactured by K&N.

Removing the front cooling fan and ducting is good for 2 BHP.

Carburettor improvements include use of the later twin-choke version (2-3 BHP over the standard item) or use of twin motorcycle carbs.

Performance cams are now available due to the popularity of 2CV racing.

Modifications include boring out a standard 2CV engine to fit a Citroen Visa piston – this raises capacity to 650cc whilst retaining the same stroke as the 602cc. The downside is that the cylinder side wall is made very thin by this modification and the engine can seize whilst running in.

Swapping the 602cc engine for the 650cc engine from the Citroen Visa is workable (the camshaft in the Visa engine is “hotter” than standard) but this is not an easy modification.

Driving

3 wheeled driving is a very different experience. The car has a sports car stance being close to the ground and alighting requires climbing down into the seats.

The suspension retains the donor’s ability to soak up potholes – only finding difficulty with the taller “sleeping policemen”. If the rear wheel hits a diesel patch or wet manhole cover then the rear can step out, but will swiftly regain traction.

The insurance is very low due to the small engine size.

There is lots of capacity in the boot for shopping or even continental touring.

The car is relatively safe in accidents due to built-in weak points in the Citroen chassis– a built in “crumple-zone”. These fold in the event of accident protecting the cockpit from serious damage.

The performance is better than the 2CV donor with good acceleration and 80mph normal. It will cruise at 70mph easily.

It is equally manoeuvrable handling twisty back roads faster than a number of conventional vehicles.

The controls are conventional apart from the gear change pattern where 1st is opposite reverse. The handbrake is an umbrella version (from 2CV donor) although some builders have opted for a more conventional handbrake layout.

 

 

With thanks to Tom Lucas for advice and information. Tom is the author of “Lomax the First Ten Years” (£10 from most bookstores).

 

 

 

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Wreck of the Week

This week’s Wreck of the Week pulls up an article on the loss of an old friend.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/11/land-rover-emerges-cornish-beach-30-years-sinking/

Ronnie Hanney drove his family onto the sands at Gwithian Towans Beach Cornwall on January 13th 1990. Completely misjudging the nature of the sands he was unable to extract the vehicle and was forced to leave it as the tide returned. The vehicle was said to be 22 years old at the time (so 1968). It was buried roof down in the sand and remains so to this day only the chassis re-emerging at intervals.

Please someone go extricate it and get it back to roadworthiness. (Mr Hanney is no longer with us and so is unlikely to be doing the work himself.)

My continual searches for new “rust in peace” items brings me once again to Ireland (Ireland was the location of the video in the last rust in peace).

This time a forum with several pictures of cars left to rust away. Despite enquiries no one seemed to be aware where any of the cars actually were. Rather like the YouTube videos that we’ve been watching no chance at all of dragging them out of a hedge and rebuilding them.

Talking of YouTube videos:

This is not the world’s greatest collection and very oddly arranged a very sorry sight indeed. The Americans do seem to be doing this kind of stuff in greater volume than anyone else as far as I can tell. This time there is barely a spare part worth saving as far as I can see. Mostly they are ghosts of former cars just two steps away from compost.

It’s very sad, especially as some of them look like such interesting vehicles.

This week I was sent an article on classic nostalgia abroad. This was obviously something to tempt me to use a travel company’s services. However to me it is fantastic to discover that all around the world people are in love with their cars. Long may that remain the case.

And so to the main subject of this week’s Wreck of the Week.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302635020119

I’ve no idea what it sold for, it’s concluding label being “This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available”. I take it that the car was listed elsewhere and someone made an offer that couldn’t be refused.

The text states: “Morris Minor

All glass

Gear box

Back axle

Lots of parts on the shell

Comes with v5

Good back wings

For more info call me on

07766542098

Can assist with loading”

In the (now standard for auction site listings) shouty text – I’ve muted it to save your ears.

It was located in Hereford but that’s a large place and there are no other details for me to give you a better map of location than this:

As a classified ad there is no bid history and so no clues as to the keenness of people to have an ingot of automotive history.

(It was originally listed at £250.00).

As far as I can tell it looks good only for parts – and a lot of those were missing. Let’s have a look at her to see what I mean.

There’s a measly 5 images with this listing I’m afraid which is little for us barn-find adherents to hold onto.

So the now standard – (probably has an ISO number) approach to car listings:

1) missing paint – tick,

2) interior used as a shed – tick

3) items resting on roof – tick.

On the face of it much of the car is sat inside it, if you were looking to perform a restoration then you would want some kind of assurances that all – or at least most of the parts were there.

As someone remarked on a classic car programme recently – “all of the parts are never there”.

As you will see later, this shot is beautifully framed and does not in any way prepare you for the quantity of work that is inevitably going to be required.

And now it becomes plain, what there is of the car does not look that bad. The downside being that you only have half of the car.

Given the inner wing on the driver’s side has been sawn off – getting it true and level to the original specification is going to be work taking not a little skill.

Whoever bought it must have felt themselves equal to the challenge. More likely though the buyer had a Morris Minor in better shape but requiring a few parts that this one could supply.

So front end rebuild, new inner wing, valance, outer wings, bonnet, engine, headlights, engine ancillaries and no doubt a whole gamut of items I haven’t given thought to. Sheesh.

Still as we have seen on a previous Wreck of the Week the value of these Morris’s is down in the weeds and it is a brave person who will take one on. The cost of restoring will soon gobble through any differential between its price and the price of buying a good one.

I suppose that there are less outcries of “sacrilege” should someone wish to improve the performance with an engine swap; update the brakes or install a supercharger for example.

I’m rather in favour of people being able to make their cars just how they want them, so maybe the low price of entry is a passport and not a barrier.

I recently met a man who had restored a MKI Escort and sold it to pay for his daughter’s path through university. Another man spent hours of his life restoring a Capri and then sold it – to the shock of his friends.

Whilst the high price of the blue badge ensures that many more are recovered. It also ensures that several people are unable to get a historic Ford due to the high cost of entry now.

And some who have cherished cars find that they now need to sell them to fund other life events because there is now so much money tied up in them. It’s like the story of the elderly people who now have to sell their house (even if to an equity release scheme) because the one thing of value they have left is their house.

Perhaps Morris will become the unsung heroes of the classic world, cars the average man can still buy, tinker with, modify, and ultimately sell without the kind of fear that wallet-breaking prices can engender.

Looking at this I have a sense that whoever bought it might have wanted spares. There are a fair number of spares in that car, including the odd panel; it probably means that this one is not going to see the highway again.

In many ways if it had not been laid about with the plasma cutter it might have been rescuable. There have been some shocking cars we’ve seen in Wreck of the Week which optimistic sellers believe are recoverable.

Assuming that belief is sound – with only a little more attached steel someone might have made a go of this one.

Perhaps someone finished cutting the front off this one and made an interesting trailer of it. (Others have done this before  http://www.mmoc.org.uk/Messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=29444&start=15)

Well at least the claims that the rear wings are in good condition seems to be a valid one. Makes me wonder why it is chopped about so much; another Minor in need of those bits that have been excised maybe?

Well if you bought this car please share what it is that you intend to do with her.

 

 

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(What that site is to buildings this site is to Bonnets).

Wreck of the Week

I followed up last week’s “rust in peace” search in the hope of finding something from the UK.

Instead I found another American site (It seems they are so much better at rust in peace than we are currently). Or more prolific with it in any case:

http://apexautomag.com/2015/06/rust-in-peace/

The above article explains some of the author’s nostalgia for cars. He misses something for me. There is something about a car designed to do a job sitting instead slowly mouldering which is very sad and at the same time interesting.

So I decided to follow-up with another YouTube video:

This one wasn’t quite as fetching as last week’s predominantly because of the pace with which it shifts through the cars. It is too Speedy Gonzalez  for me.

However the list of cars is interesting:

Grey Ferguson

Fordson Major with cat tracks.

Peugeot 405 MI16X4 with registration

Hillman Imp

Ford Capri MK3 (Once xpack kitted)

Ford Cortina with registration OOF 752X

VW Scirocco with registration H749 LJB

Morris 8 with registration BDE 133

Austin Metro with registrion BUY 1W

Honda motorbike with registration NNA 392W

VW Scirocco

Triumph Spitfire

Morris Minor with registration LCM 607G

Ford Escort MK5 with registration J422 FFM

Peugeot 309 GTI with registration F160 GSO

Ford Escort MK4 with registration E873 EMY

Ford Sierra with registration F731 SHW

BMW CSI 635 AUTO with registration D723 DAA

This is the list given in the video’s notes. However there must be some missing. I definitely spotted a Jag. I thought I also saw what looked like a Bedford HA van with a camper roof. There are probably more.

There is no clue as to where any of these cars are, (we have to content ourselves with a “Shropshire salvage yard”). Some of them look sufficiently interesting that they might be tempting to a restorer, for the right price anyway.

Delving once again into the overpriced world of historic rust auctions – this week is an odd one. The car does not appear to have sold, despite being relisted at least once.

Compared to some of the auctions we have seen this did not seem overpriced.

For some reason it appears that Morris Minor Saloons are not in demand for restoration now.

In their day the car was no more mundane than a Ford. But we have seen the high prices that classics with a Ford badge now command.

It is sad that apparently Morris does not seem to have the same cachet.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1966-Morris-Minor-Project-/183061294007.

£1000 (roughly $1380 or €1120) was the starting bid and apparently the reserve was not met.

I can find no trace of it being listed again. So it looks like the seller gave up due to lack of interest, or decided to sell it elsewhere.

This gives the sale value for a good one at £4600: https://www.hagertyinsurance.co.uk/price-guide/1966-Morris-Minor (roughly $6348 or €5152).

So they are not immensely valuable, and restoring a bad one can soon absorb all that money. (Think of the time to weld, fill, prime, and ultimately spray a car for example).

It appears that the desirable Morris Minor models are the convertible, van, and pickup. Sadly this is not one of those.

On the upside the seller seems to have a large list of parts (only some of which were listed in the advert).

He states that “everything needed to finish the project” is included. This encompasses “over £1300 worth of new parts” (approx. $1794 or €1456). This includes a complete clutch, brakes with all new pipes, and the original 1048 engine (in bits). There is also a choice of 2 other engines a 948 and a 1048.

I seem to remember that these cars are not about to tear the tarmac up at Santa Pod. So the bigger engine the better is probably the answer.

Given the similarity with a Mini engine I wonder whether a 1.3 from a Metro might not be a better choice in fact.

The seller also mentions that there is “2 maybe 3 radiators, a few front grills, spare fibre glass wings, original interior, steel exhaust”. There are some other parts which he hasn’t described here. (Further details are available on request).

So let’s look at her then

Morris 1

Sadly this is the maximum size image (of the complete car) available. I take it this is from sometime in the past in any case as later pictures seem to indicate that it is now in pieces.

Morris 2

The advert refers to a chassis rebuild being needed. I’m guessing by the brake junction in the foreground that we are looking at the engine bay. As these things go it isn’t as bad as it could be. But it does indicate why the car will need to be “trailered away”.

I’m no Morris genius but there appears to be fairly substantial holes where I’m sure metal should be. So I think a deal of time with a welding set would have been in someone’s future (had there been any interest).

Morris 3

This looks like another close up on a section of chassis with behind it, I’m guessing, a box with engine parts. It looks like an oil pickup pipe from the sump (presumably of this car).

I’m not convinced much of this steel is recoverable looking at it. One hopes that spare chassis sections can be obtained (unless any prospective buyer is also a genius at metal-fabrication work).

Morris 4

I suppose on the upside there is no evidence of previous bodges. (That is probably fairly remarkable in a 52 year old car). But there is a fair amount to make or find when you have holes that size to fix.

Morris 5

I assume this is also engine bay. In the foreground – washer bottle at the rear – gearbox bellhousing. Some of these sections look like they might not be perforated. They might stand cleaning up (unless that is my habitual over-optimism with rusty things).

Morris 6

Given the presence of a battery terminal connector this is also engine bay and by the looks of it a close up shot of the chassis leg. This doesn’t look too bad as these things go. It may even tolerate cleaning up.

Morris 7

It looks like we are now starting to look at spares. This looks like a grill surround with a wing visible behind it.

Morris 8

And here are those wings looking very intact in fact. Given he describes the wings as “fibreglass” this could well be why.

Morris 9

This looks like one of the engines he mentions.

Morris 10

This looks like the other engine. (Although I’m not sure how to tell which engine is the higher capacity of the two).

Morris 11

The only real shot of the actual car in its current state. There are some quite visible signs of rust through the window. Potentially much of the floor is also missing here.

There’s no doubting the work involved. However it does not look in the league of some of the cars we’ve seen. The difference here being the low values that these cars obviously attract in comparison to other cars of the same age.

I’m concerned that the seller states “I have tried to be as honest as I can”.

Surely as honest as feasible is absolutely honest? However he doesn’t pull any punches over his description: “it is a brave but very doable restoration”.

I guess anything is doable if you have the time, patience, skills and above all money to invest in it.

Sadly he is not well enough to complete the restoration himself having contracted throat cancer. I can imagine that an experience that difficult will be a life changing one. It is unlikely that when struck with cancer restoring a rusting car is at the forefront of your mind. We can hope that he has a full and successful recovery.

(We can also hope there is a brave Morris-orientated restorer out there. A restorer who has bought this car via a route that doesn’t involve the nation’s favourite auction site).

He states “I just don’t want to scrap it and resell all the parts”. This is laudable given that normally the parts are worth more than a car would sell for.

It doesn’t look like it has much history. He states that “I also have an original front section of a V5 when it was sold to another owner from 1995, but no other service history.”

That’s a shame I really love those stories of the years carefully cossetted (followed by the years of minimal cossetting).

Perhaps he got his way. He does state he would like to swap it for a motorhome. Still my experience of motorhomes is that they are quite good at holding their price.

This for example: https://www.marquisleisure.co.uk/motorhomes/stock-item/autocruise-starfire-el-37607 at £23,995 (approx $33113 or €26874).

That’s quite a lot of cash adjustment on a £1000 (roughly $1380 or €1120) car…

The car may have sold elsewhere. In which case if the buyer does read this blog in the future please let us know how you got on.

Let’s hope that the seller is doing well and that somewhere this car has a restorer humming away in his/her workshop of choice.

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Unlike that site, which is about houses, this series of blogs is and will be all about corrosion).

Wreck of the Week

This week I was musing on the title “Rust in Peace”. (I think some classic car magazines have used this as a title for photographs of nostalgic/rusty collections they feature).

This led me to find the following Facebook page (via a well-known search engine):

https://www.facebook.com/Kevins-Rust-in-Peace-1518931078411009/

This might be of interest if you love American automotive history.

If anyone finds anything similar for British cars (or even European cars) please share (and I will put it into a future post).

Recently my Uncle sent me the following YouTube video. It must belong here even if it doesn’t feature one wreck of the week but many:

This is 7 minutes of heart-break. For I have known so many of these cars and there seems no way to contact the current owners to ask if they will sell one of them to me.

The first scene opens at MacLeod Limited of Skye; this seems a great lead until I find that Skye is the home of the clan MacLeod, so there must be many – many MacLeod limited of Skye.

Here we find not just lost cars but lost makes of cars. Hillman for example – at one stage a well-loved brand but no more, similarly Austin, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam…

The cars highlighted are:

Nissan 300ZX 1983

1979 Nissan 280ZX

1961 Austin A40 Farina MKII (I have a friend with a 1966 version)

1970 Wolseley 1300 (for years I drove past a garden that had one of these permanently parked as it gradually corroded away)

1964 Humber Sceptre MKI

1966 Humber Sceptre MKII

1971 Humber Sceptre MKIII

1965 Singer Vogue Estate (which must be a very rare car indeed)

1964 Singer Gazelle V

1960 Sunbeam Rapier Series III

1961 Hillman Super Minx MK IV (my Dad had one)

1960 Hillman Husky Series II

1969 Hillman Imp

1966 Hillman Imp (my sister had one)

1972 Hillman Hunter GL

1973 Hillman Hunter GL Estate

1966 Ford Thames 307E (I haven’t seen one of these anywhere else)

1954 Ford Consul MKI

1962 Ford Anglia

1964 Ford Consul Capri (this is quite a valuable car now)

1964 Ford Cortina MKI

1963 Ford Cortina MKI

1966 Ford Cortina MKII

1970 Ford Cortina MKIII

1979 Ford Escort MKII

1955 Vauxhall Cresta EIP

1962 Vauxhall Victor FB Estate

1961 Vauxhall Victor FB Estate

1962 Vauxhall FX 4-90 FB

1957 Vauxhall Velox EOPV

1958 Vauxhall Velox PA S Saloon

1959 Vauxhall Velox

1962 Vauxhall Velox PA SX

1959 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1960 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1962 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1968 Volkswagen Beetle

1967 Volkswagen Beetle 1500

1970 Morris Minor 1000 Van (a van which judging by the nation’s favourite auction site is in high demand right now)

1967 Morris Minor 1000 pickup (I’d love one)

1961 Morris Minor 1000

1953 Morris Minor 1000

1953 Morris Minor 1000 series I tourer

1979 Morris Marina (as so loathed by Jeremy Clarkson)

1967 Morris Mini (a Morris Mini no less before Mini was a brand in itself)

1969 British Leyland Mini

1968 Morris 1100 MKII

I wanted to gather them all up (like some abandoned puppies) and take them all home with me.

But mostly I was tearful for times lost that can never be again.

However, as my uncle pointed out, people really want a car that you can start and run with lowest cost and maintenance. A 1969 car is not going to offer you that. Even in a 1976 car – starting was something of an art. Roadside repairs were also not unknown.

These mostly look very restorable. But given the video was posted in September 2017 there is every chance they have gone the way of many other unearthed collections. (In that they are now the raw materials for a Chinese fridge).

If anyone reading this knows of their fate I would be interested to know.

However this is Wreck of the Week. Whilst nostalgia is great for the soul we are here to examine corrosion. And outlandish prices paid for the steel carriages of yesteryear.

Some American muscle this week, or some parts of it in any case. (What is a part of a muscle? – meat perhaps.)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-MUSTANG-67-V8/192428828718

£2550 seems a very sensible bid and well below the kinds of prices I’ve seen cars of this type fetching.

This one for example is asking $45,000: https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1067958/1967-ford-mustang-for-sale-in-mesa-arizona-85204 (roughly £33582 or €36585).

The devil as always with these things is in the detail; what did our lucky purchaser get for his 2 ½ thousand pounds (roughly $3417 or €2882).

The upsides are it’s a coupé (which is desirable as a body style). The seller vouches for the solidity of the “body tub” (whatever that is worth). And some of the seats remain.

The downsides are it’s an automatic (manual is preferred – at least in the UK). It has no dashboard. Some of the seats are missing. There is no V5; no NOVA; no title; no import paperwork. (It sounds like a nightmare to register with the DVLA).

Of course you also need to deal with a car that recently emerged from the swamp. Carrying swamp detritus like some creature in a Scooby Doo cartoon.

I’m not the seller but unless the moss is performing some structural function I think I might have power washed that off before listing it:

Mustang 1

I suppose this is now what is described as an “honest” listing. i.e. nothing has been made of the car and there are no attempts to spruce it up, including clean it evidently.

All the tyres are flat, but those alloys are not the most in keeping with the character (unless you want to race it). Look again at the expensive one for an example of what I mean https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1067958/1967-ford-mustang-for-sale-in-mesa-arizona-85204

Mustang 2

In its favour all of the rust looks to be surface-rust. So it may not require the intercession of a man with knowledge of the arcane art of sticking two bits of metal together.

If the original colour was that blue then it seems a charming choice, but given the range of shades visible who knows.

The front wing arch lip has a split in it. Miraculously the rear arch seems to have escaped so rescue might come just in time.

Mustang 3

Well I’ve got to say if I were being followed by something looking like that along the M5 I would be tempted to make like Shaggy and Scooby. (And not after the Scooby snacks).

It is in fact barely more than a shell. It looks like it has been raced – holes for bonnet pins are in evidence. (Unless these were drilled there by someone for the effect only).

The screen surround looks remarkably intact given its overall appearance. I think I might have been tempted (but then my thinking is on the romantic side of sensible).

Mustang 4

The rear wheel arch has corroded through here. It’s hard to tell at this magnification but the front wheel arch possibly as well.

Given the state of the rest of the car it is surprising that the rear lamp clusters seem all present and correct. Whether the internals have survived corrosion is anybody’s guess.

The rear screen is present and as we saw passenger door glass is present. It is odd that the driver’s door glass and the windscreen did not survive then.

Mustang 5

The drilling on the driver’s side wing – not replicated on the passenger side wing – seems to mark a long-lost aerial. I thought perhaps a wing mirror but the door mirrors survive. Usually holes of this type are where the crusting starts so this one is pleasingly intact.

The roof thus far seems to be subject just to surface rust. Parts of the rain gutter though could be getting a bit close. There also seems to be sill damage just ahead of the driver’s side door.

On the face of it I would have limited confidence that much could be rescued except for the metalwork.

Mustang 6

In fact the front wing on this side is in better condition than on the other side. This wing (barring possibly welding up the old aerial hole) might be saveable. (They might both have to be saveable – dependent upon availability of parts for these cars. Fifty years is a long time in parts sales).

Mustang 7

A V8 engine employing that well known corrosion inhibitor – a damp old pink towel. Thank goodness someone thought of that. Either that or it is the latest in free flowing air filter design and I’m revealing my (no doubt massive) ignorance on the subject.

This engine seems to have received much more recent attention than the rest of the vehicle. Aside from the distributor – it appears in great condition. This reinforces the idea that the engine was the most important part of the car.

This is what you would see in a race car. A body made of Papier-mâché, an engine made of volcano.

The oil filter canister corrosion says it’s been stood for a while. But perhaps not so long that a refresh of the internals (a rebore/regrind so-on) might not see it run again.

Mustang 8

Wow that looks like it’s made a permanent home in the forest floor. But I believe what we are seeing is a sorry-looking gearbox in the interior of the car. This was home to Squirrel Nutkin more recently than to the bum of a keen driver I’m thinking.

One hopes that the oil is still in the interior of the gearbox and that water isn’t. Outside appearances seem to indicate an expensive rebuild could be on the cards.

No sign I notice of the seats or the state of any other part of the interior.

Probably safe to assume they are all completely wrecked then.

Mustang 9

Well wow, I would not have expected that. This looks like an intact underside. Some consistent elbow grease, a DA and a quantity of sanding disks might just be able to resurrect it. It’s quite awe inspiring when you have seen the rest of it.

(Conceivably I’ve been overcome by appearances. If you are more Eagle-eyed do point out the crumbling bits which I have missed.)

Mustang 10

This is presumably the chassis number which confirms that this is a genuine V8 (at least to those in the know).

What I can’t get over is how primitive it looks, to be honest. If you had knowledge of chassis number sequences and a set of number punches. It looks like you could rig up a facsimile of this in an afternoon on a spare sheet of steel and stitch it in.

No doubt no one is doing that, but it does make you think.

Well given how little is there I hope that parts availability is top-notch for a 1967 Mustang. In the interests of the brave soul who purchased it I also hope that parts prices are on the inexpensive side (you’re going to need a lot of them).

Well my hat off to the man, woman or child who has taken this on. Should you have meandered across this blog do leave a comment about what you intend to/have done to the car.

If you liked this article why not follow this blog

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Unlike that house-orientated site, this series of blogs is about elderly vehicles).

Photo by jamie r. mink on Unsplash

Do It

What You Waiting For.

I was reflecting today that older people keep trying to tell younger people things are a certain way and younger people don’t listen.

This seems to have been an issue for many generations.

I remember that there was a saying when I was a child “he has to learn the hard way”.

In which the hard way was to insist on learning by experience when someone had already told you what the outcome would be.

When you have twenty years or so left to exist it comes to mind that learning the hard way is too time-consuming and painful.

It is clear that spending a lot of life relearning lessons that others already know, which they have learned already and are trying to show you is a waste.

It took until my fifth decade before I began to get a picture of what other people were trying to tell me. In many respects when it is too late.

One of these is nicely documented in the song Time by Pink Floyd “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.

I found that I waited and then kept on waiting for someone to tell me when was the proper time to begin.

For example since I can remember I have wanted to write a book, there seems no reason that makes sense.

Perhaps once it was an escape from a 9-5 job or something that seemed better than dealing with members of the public or whatever was right for the time.

But as boring jobs ended, and life improved the ambition remained.

It is now plain that I gave myself excuses: no punctuation or grammar background; gradual loss of imagination; daunted by the task and so on.

But mainly I was waiting, waiting for a time to start.

If there was ever a way of passing a message to someone four decades younger. Then it would be: do not wait, do what you want to do – now.

There may not be a tomorrow for you to try to do it in…

Wreck of the Week

I love crumbling old things.

Show me something pristine and I‘m impressed no doubt.

But the thing that captures my imagination is some romantic old ruin – one awaiting the care and attention of the dedicated.

People who can bring a ruin back to life are my heroes.

However at heart I love things when they are showing their age. Shabby, crumbling, worn are all aspects that interest me.

I have been following a site called Wreck of the Week for a year or more:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

in which Sue lists out the most intriguing old ruins she has found recently – often with land or to-die-for features.

I love this website.

Whilst I have spent way too long in my life looking at crumbling old ruins my first love is for things mechanical.

Every week I spend a daft amount of time perusing classic car sites and auction sites looking at heaps of rust – those which someone with enormous resources might just restore to working order.

Sometimes I even see some post restoration.

I now think that a wreck of the week based on cars, vans, trucks and so on would be an idea.

Like Wreck of the Week it won’t exactly be weekly. I am considering that I’m only going to look at it if it causes me some interest.

With luck it will be of interest to others too.

So for this week I thought that we’d start with:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ford-Cortina-MK1-Pre-Air-Flow-1964-2-Door-1500cc-/112728034430

I find it awe-inspiring how much anything with the Ford badge attracts now.

I started out with a profound love of everything with a griffin on the nose (Vauxhall). It seems I chose unwisely based upon the values that Ford cars now attract.

This one is a 1964 so 54 years old at present and with the appealing CND rear light arrangement.

There is a large amount to do with this one.

wreck1

The seller states that he has only the shell.

Such that although it is declared as a 1500cc this is largely moot – someone will be supplying a suitable engine from elsewhere.

wreck2

The car was last on the road in 1984.

But given there is no running gear – a seized engine or rusted on brakes are not going to concern you.

wreck3

The shell, does not look as doily-fied as many such vehicles.

If you stick around to read probably many I shall feature on this blog.

But the seller does state that the front panel needs replacing. Whether such things are still obtainable after all this time I do not know.

wreck4

Thankfully it has a V5 – so you would not have to wrestle with registering it.

However availability of spares for a 54-year old car may not be optimal in my experience. Especially items like front wings and interior for example.

The registration number is listed as historic, 4 numbers and 2 letters, xxxx NU. But it is hard to know if this is sufficient to justify the final bid which was £2,050.00 after 43 bids.

This in anyone’s book is very healthy interest.

It would be interesting to see if the car pops up again post restoration. Firstly to know how long it took to restore (surely measured in years rather than months). In addition to know how much a restored one of these would fetch.

At least you can say that it would be something that was nearly entirely of your own building. There is so little left of it.