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BS: British Cars!

Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 12:24 PM
Rapparee 11 Jan 13 - 12:29 PM
Pete Jennings 11 Jan 13 - 12:50 PM
Newport Boy 11 Jan 13 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 13 - 12:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM
Wolfhound person 11 Jan 13 - 01:06 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM
Georgiansilver 11 Jan 13 - 01:41 PM
Rapparee 11 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 13 - 02:33 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 13 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer) 11 Jan 13 - 02:38 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 11 Jan 13 - 04:20 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 11 Jan 13 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,JohnB 11 Jan 13 - 05:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Jan 13 - 05:38 PM
Ed T 11 Jan 13 - 05:42 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 05:55 PM
Bobert 11 Jan 13 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 11 Jan 13 - 06:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 06:25 PM
Ed T 11 Jan 13 - 06:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jan 13 - 06:29 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Jan 13 - 07:27 PM
gnomad 12 Jan 13 - 05:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 13 - 05:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 13 - 06:15 AM
theleveller 12 Jan 13 - 06:30 AM
Newport Boy 12 Jan 13 - 06:56 AM
kendall 12 Jan 13 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Peter 12 Jan 13 - 09:47 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jan 13 - 11:02 AM
Edthefolkie 12 Jan 13 - 11:43 AM
Rog Peek 12 Jan 13 - 12:20 PM
kendall 12 Jan 13 - 12:53 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jan 13 - 07:21 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jan 13 - 07:23 PM
Bobert 12 Jan 13 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 12 Jan 13 - 07:52 PM
kendall 13 Jan 13 - 07:55 AM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 13 - 08:47 AM
Bat Goddess 13 Jan 13 - 09:20 AM
EBarnacle 13 Jan 13 - 12:55 PM
EBarnacle 13 Jan 13 - 02:05 PM
Rusty Dobro 13 Jan 13 - 02:43 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Jan 13 - 03:40 PM
JHW 13 Jan 13 - 04:02 PM
Joe_F 13 Jan 13 - 05:37 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jan 13 - 07:13 PM
Pete Jennings 14 Jan 13 - 05:55 AM
GRex 14 Jan 13 - 06:33 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 09:08 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 09:10 AM
Bobert 14 Jan 13 - 09:11 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 09:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 Jan 13 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Kendall 14 Jan 13 - 10:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 Jan 13 - 11:03 AM
Pete Jennings 14 Jan 13 - 12:39 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 12:50 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 12:52 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 13 - 01:49 PM
Bobert 14 Jan 13 - 04:17 PM
redhorse 14 Jan 13 - 06:12 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Jan 13 - 06:18 PM
Bobert 14 Jan 13 - 06:45 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Jan 13 - 07:44 PM
Bobert 14 Jan 13 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,kendall 14 Jan 13 - 08:08 PM
Bobert 14 Jan 13 - 08:23 PM
catspaw49 14 Jan 13 - 09:26 PM
EBarnacle 15 Jan 13 - 02:21 AM
Pete Jennings 15 Jan 13 - 06:47 AM
banjoman 15 Jan 13 - 07:21 AM
Edthefolkie 15 Jan 13 - 08:08 AM
Edthefolkie 15 Jan 13 - 08:27 AM
Bobert 15 Jan 13 - 08:44 AM
catspaw49 15 Jan 13 - 10:05 AM
Bobert 15 Jan 13 - 10:57 AM
Pete Jennings 15 Jan 13 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 15 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 15 Jan 13 - 01:25 PM
catspaw49 15 Jan 13 - 01:29 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jan 13 - 02:58 PM
Paul Reade 15 Jan 13 - 05:41 PM
Bobert 15 Jan 13 - 05:46 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 13 - 05:48 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jan 13 - 06:36 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 16 Jan 13 - 06:13 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 13 - 10:16 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Jan 13 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,BobL 16 Jan 13 - 01:47 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 16 Jan 13 - 06:18 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 13 - 06:30 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jan 13 - 07:45 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 17 Jan 13 - 12:18 PM
Pete Jennings 17 Jan 13 - 01:12 PM
Ed T 17 Jan 13 - 01:35 PM
catspaw49 17 Jan 13 - 05:02 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Jan 13 - 06:30 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Jan 13 - 06:43 PM
catspaw49 18 Jan 13 - 02:24 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 18 Jan 13 - 09:32 AM
EBarnacle 18 Jan 13 - 10:15 AM
Pete Jennings 18 Jan 13 - 11:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 13 - 12:03 PM
Bobert 18 Jan 13 - 01:01 PM
Pete Jennings 18 Jan 13 - 01:10 PM
EBarnacle 18 Jan 13 - 01:29 PM
HuwG 18 Jan 13 - 01:52 PM
Bobert 18 Jan 13 - 02:10 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 13 - 05:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 13 - 06:08 PM
Ed T 27 Jan 13 - 12:04 PM
Pete Jennings 27 Jan 13 - 12:10 PM
Bobert 27 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM
Dave the Gnome 27 Jan 13 - 07:15 PM
oldhippie 27 Jan 13 - 08:31 PM
EBarnacle 27 Jan 13 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 28 Jan 13 - 06:36 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Jan 13 - 07:22 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Jan 13 - 07:27 AM
Pete Jennings 28 Jan 13 - 07:31 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Jan 13 - 07:44 AM
oldhippie 28 Jan 13 - 05:11 PM
Ed T 28 Jan 13 - 05:54 PM
framus 28 Jan 13 - 06:37 PM
Stanron 28 Jan 13 - 07:46 PM
Ed T 28 Jan 13 - 09:08 PM
Bobert 28 Jan 13 - 09:15 PM
Ed T 28 Jan 13 - 09:23 PM
Ed T 28 Jan 13 - 09:32 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 29 Jan 13 - 02:14 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Jan 13 - 02:32 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 29 Jan 13 - 06:03 PM
catspaw49 29 Jan 13 - 06:54 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Jan 13 - 07:02 PM
Ed T 29 Jan 13 - 07:18 PM
catspaw49 29 Jan 13 - 08:54 PM
Bobert 29 Jan 13 - 08:58 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Jan 13 - 10:10 PM
Allen in Oz 30 Jan 13 - 03:42 AM
Ed T 30 Jan 13 - 05:42 AM
Bobert 30 Jan 13 - 09:20 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Jan 13 - 09:50 AM
Pete Jennings 30 Jan 13 - 11:20 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Jan 13 - 11:22 AM
Pete Jennings 30 Jan 13 - 01:02 PM
banjoman 31 Jan 13 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,giovanni 31 Jan 13 - 03:13 PM
EBarnacle 31 Jan 13 - 11:39 PM
banjoman 01 Feb 13 - 06:37 AM
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Subject: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:24 PM

I feel left out with the spate of American car threads! I'll have you know that us Brits can have cars that are just as bad as your US ones :-)

I am sure that some of the petrol heads here will add to the list (C'mon Richard, you know you want to :-) ) but I can start off with the ones that I have personal experience of -

Austin Allegro (When the wheel falls off, A leg grows...)

MG Maestro (Brilliant 1.6 normaly aspirated twin-carb engine but rusted like hell and talked nonsense to me all the time!)

Hillman Imp (Imitation Mini with a rear engine. Used to frighten the life out of me thinking about head on collisions!)

and the ultimate...
Reliant Supervan III. Yep, the original Del boy one but in turquoise rather than yellow. I remember having to get the kids to pee in a jug so I could top the coolant up on the way back from Whitby one year. Surprised they made it through childhood unscathed both mentally and physically after having to sit on a make-do seat with no restraints in the back of a three-wheeled death trap!

Eeeeeh. Then were the days...

Cheers

DtG

...and I wont mention the European ones I had like the numerous Ladas, the Peugeot 505 and the Datsun Cherry!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:29 PM

How about the German Ford? Ever try to get parts for one in Ft. Madison, Iowa? Or that thing from the Isle of Man -- the Peel?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:50 PM

Well, I used to have an MGB GT back in the seventies. Great car to look at then, and easy to work on (huge engine bay, plenty of room). Four speed box with overdrive on 3rd and 4th.

Great on the open road, but the bloody gear ratios for 2nd and 3rd were about a mile apart so driving it in town was a real pain. And let's not mention the clutch...I always said it was the car that put the strain back into driving (and no, there's was nothing wrong with the clutch).

Mind you, as Dave hints at, it wasn't a patch on the All-agro. I drove my mate's down to Paignton one time (from Wednesbury). Simply awful. The square steering wheel didn't help...worst car I ever drove by a long chalk.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Newport Boy
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:52 PM

My worst two cars were both Fords. A 3-gear 100E Anglia with vacuum wipers which I hired about 1959. With 4 adults, it wouldn't pull up the hills on the A30 in top, and quickly ran out of revs in 2nd. In either gear, the wipers stopped after about a minute of full throttle, which meant frequent slowdowns to clear the screen. At least there wasn't much traffic then.

The other was a 105E Anglia (with the cut-back rear window) which I had as a works car in March 1967. The handling was lethal - wouldn't hold a line in a corner, and the back end would hop if it hit a matchstick. I managed to improve it a bit by bolting a 100 lb paving slab down in the boot, but it still wasn't good. I put up with it until August, when I managed to exchange with an office guy. The soft-top SWB Land Rover with a 2-litre engine was a much more civilised car!

The most fun was a Citroen 2CV in which I did 60,000 miles in 3 years. It worked well as a site vehicle in the earthworks stage of the M4 - kept up with the foreman's land rover. I can also vouch for Citroen's advertised "70mph maximum, 70mph cruising", if cruising is the right word. With 4 adults into a strong headwind on the M4, I held the throttle hard against the floor from Almondsbury to Heston Services on the M4 - 100 miles flat out. Downhill, it just reached 72, uphill it slowed to below 60. I can also confirm that the 2CV will go all round a roundabout on 3 wheels!

Phil


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:54 PM

Oh, sorry - Peugeot 504 - But I said I wouldn't mention it!

We were on our way to the Lakes - Fully loaded and with a trailer. Just got on the M61 and saw a wheel overtake me. Just before the car fell over to the right... Probably a good job I had the trailer to keep it in a straight line. Known fault apparantly - Used to sheer the rear stub axles as soon as look at them!

D.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM

Me above, sans biscuit and not making a good job of explaining it was the Allegro that lost wheels. Not the 504, which I won't mention, that lost brake fluid...

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 01:06 PM

Morris Marina c. early 1970s.
Dreadful thing - only had it a year.

Also drove it with 2 loose kids in the back. Now they're parents of small children themselves stories of it are a good way of giving them cold shudders.

Paws


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM

In road racing circles, the line used to be: "Everyhing that falls off a British car is of the finest craftsmanship"


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 01:41 PM

I guess if you want to talk about British cars it has to be historical... how many actual British cars are made today?...........


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM

Well, Tata of India bought the Jaguar franchise from Ford....


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM

All pretty specialist, Geogiansilver -

Arial
BAC Mono
Caterham
Mogan
Noble
Westfield

And probably some I have missed! But aside from that I think you will find that very few manufacturers world-wide can now say that they are the product of one country!

Cheers

DtG

BTW - Also had 5 motorbikes - 3 Japanese, I Italian and 1 British. Only the Japs were worth keeping! But having said that I am going to try the new Enfield when I get chance. Even if it is Indian...


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:33 PM

My mother drove a Morris Minor back in the 50s. It was a tough little car. I think that's the only British car we ever owned, and I remember it fondly. We had a Volkswagen bug for awhile too.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:37 PM

Allegro - my first car. head gasket, 5 clutches, several gear lever linkages, coolant explodable caps, split drivers door - it just cracked across one day, numerous sixpenny sized knuckle joints, steering rack - no way I'd remember it all, 5 wheel bearings and when I first heard one screaming I radioed my garage who said if it hasn't fallen off it'll be ok to drive in screaming as the later models fitted a big washer to stop the wheel falling off when the bearing goes
Never bought another British car


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer)
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 02:38 PM

That was JHWs Allegro


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 04:20 PM

I once owned a 66 Vauxhall Viva that was a fun little car to drive. It only had about 50 horses but it stuck to the road like glue and would leave those VW bugs in the dust. I traded it for a sibling car, a new 69 Envoy Epic. That was the worst piece of shit that I ever owned! It burned exhaust valves and blew head gaskets like you wouldn't believe and started knocking (wrist pin) before 30,000 miles. It would cross-fire if it would start at all in damp weather and I used about a can of ignition spraw a month. In the end I traded the damn thing in on a Datsun.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 04:22 PM

Typo "spray"


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 05:06 PM

Mk1 Cortina Estate, it was a state, never pushed a car so much and so often to start it. Eventually rebuilt the engine.
Triumph Vitesse convertible, nice car, GREAT engine, lousy gear box rear diff, distributor and rotten body. All except the body rebuilt and/or replaced. Really liked the front hinged hood though, you could sit on the front tires to play with the engine.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 05:38 PM

I'm American, but there were always Ford Anglias in my family when I was young. I had a couple of grease-monkey uncles who were very fond of them. They always had a couple of Anglias that ran and a couple more for parts. Prior to the Toyota Corolla popping onto the scene around 1970, the Anglia was probably the second most popular imported compact in the US, behind that beetlish looking thing from Germany.

As far as I know, the Anglia was the only model made by one of Detroit's British or European divisions that had much impact on the US market. GM had some success selling Opels through Buick dealerships, but it didn't last long. Most of the sales were of the late '60s/early '70s Opel GT that looked like a mini-Corvette. Most Americans have never even seen a Vauxhall except on a movie screen, and Ford Prefect is only Arthur Dent's pal, not a car.

But what we're seeing a lot of nowadays are Ford Transit Connect microvans. Neither of Detroit's Big Three are currently producing a cargo/delivery van smaller than the Ford Econoline or Chevy Express. When Detroit's automotive soothsayers announced the death of the minivan, they killed of the workingman's versions right along with the passenger versions. That left tradesmen who need a van, but don't necessarily need a full-sized van with nothing to drive. So, Ford started importing the Transit Connects from their European division. They're cuter than the defunct Aerostars, but they don't hold as much.

Ironically, though the Transit Connects are only sold on the US market in their stripped-down cargo version, they're actually imported as the passenger version with seats. That's to avoid 25%higher US tarrifs on imported trucks than on imported passenger cars. When they get here, the seats are removed and, presumably, shipped back to Europe where they're reinstalled in another batch.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 05:42 PM

My dad had a small Hillman car. Does that count? He repaired it alot.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 05:55 PM

Just remembered that my mate Ged wrote a song about a Hillman Hunter. The only bit I remember is -

The horn of my Hunter is silent
It's tappets will rattle no more

:D tG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 06:05 PM

I had an Anglia when I went off to college... It was a late 50;s model and ver simple car to work on and keep running half ass-ed which is about as well as this car was capable of running...

My buddy had an MG-A in the 50s... Nice little car indeed... Crappy Lucas electrics...

If I ever find about $15K-$20K that I don't need I would love to own an old Rolls Silver Cloud I with the big single headlights...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 06:07 PM

Dave the Gnome wrote: "Hillman Imp (Imitation Mini with a rear engine. Used to frighten the life out of me thinking about head on collisions!)"

Dave, it was your British preconceptions that caused the problem. When the engine is at the rear, you still drive the car forwards, just like an ordinary car, the Vauxhall Cresta or the Jowett Javelin for example. It's sad nobody told you this at the time. Of course, crumple zones had not been invented then.

You could have chosen a better example of the British car's eccentricities. The Bond 250 for example. With a two cylinder, two stroke engine, it could carry a family, the camping gear and the dog, on holiday from Yorkshire to Cornwall (that's nearly 400 miles), on its three wheels- provided you could get it going: to start it, if the electric starter failed (as it usually did), Father opened the bonnet (hood), put his foot in, and used the kickstart.

This was luxury compared to the motorbike and sidecar that so many families used for Marcopolian explorations.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 06:25 PM

Hey Jack - That is exactly the point I was making in case it eluded you. No crumple zones. Nothing between you and a front end collision and the weight of the engine (little as it was) coming up behind you! Now, what was your point or was it one of those odd things; like a joke but without the funny bit at the end? :-P

The Bond 250 with electric start was a luxury car! The earlier version (Yes, we did have one) had a 197cc Villiers engine and you could kick start it as you describe or ours had the added luxury of a pull start on the dash - Rather like a motor boat. 3 people could also pick it up to park it or turn it round BTW - Useful seeing as it had no reverse. I think I liked our BSA gold flash and Panther double adult sidecar better anyway.

They went quite upmarket later and I really did quite fancy a Bond Bug. In later years I had a work colleague who had a collection of about 5 of them. He took me for a spin in one and it was quite the white knuckle experience :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 06:26 PM

How about the Zephyr and the Zodiac.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 06:29 PM

'Z cars' - Now you are talking :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Jan 13 - 07:27 PM

Early Vauxhall Victor, the one with the wraparound windscreen with backward sloping pillars to improve visibility as you spun like a top if someone spat on the pavement (sidewalk) nearby.

I used to carry a hundredweight of sand in the boot in a futile attempt to keep the rear tyres in contact with the road.

It wasn't like the average US model, not designed for cornering. It would corner beautifully without reference to where the road might be heading.

Eventually it took me on a side trip one damp morning and wrapped itself U-shaped round a telegraph pole. Thanks to the innovative windscreen, I had a perfect view of the whole affair.

I was actually pleased that it was a write off.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: gnomad
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 05:19 AM

I had an Imp as my first car, it had some interesting quirks. Never did find out where the burning steel wool came from that shot out of the exhaust from time to time (I would see it in the rear view mirror at night) but it never seemed to affect anything, though I imagine it disconcerted a few following drivers. Like EdT's dad, I spent a fair bit of time 'repairing' it.

It did demonstrate a tremendous ability to spin one winter's night as I exited a roundabout on the A1 near Stevenage, I think it was 2.5 turns before backwards onto the central reservation. I was lucky there was very little traffic, so got away with just a scare.

Its biggest surprise for me was just after getting it, I couldn't find the fuel filler, which turned out to be under the boot (trunk for USA viewers) lid, ie just above and between the headlights. I don't recall the exact placement of the fuel tank itself, on reflection it may have been the forward crumple zone. Engineering genius.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 05:31 AM

I'd forgotton all about the fuel cap - I remember now, Thannks gnomad.

For those wondering wat we are on about - The Hillman Imp.

Didn't a few other manufacturers jump on the bandwagon with a mini car as well? I know the afore mentioned Reliant brought out a 4 wheel version of the Robin called the Kitten. I am sure there were others too.

Oh - I remeber my first, and only, 2 company cars were a Ford Sierra and an Austin Montgo. Both awful things but the Montego at least had the redeeming feature of being an Estate with an extra pair of seats in the back to accomodate all the kids!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 06:15 AM

Ah - Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet are two I just remembered.

D.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 06:30 AM

My first car was a 1934 Lagonda Rapier Abbot-bodied tourer followed by a 1947 MGTC - great cars but hardly everyday motoring, although I wish I had them now.

Worst cars were a Volvo 480 with a complicated computerised system that simply didn't work and which kept breaking clutch cables, and a TR7 drophead with automatic transmission, which was so slow I was once overtaken by a milk float.

I loved my Saab 90 Turbo (the old shape) but went through 3 turbos and a gearbox in 2 years, and never got more than 15K miles from a set of front tyres (maybe it's the way I drive). My Mercedes E Class estate went on for years despite being used to carry large quantities of horse manure from field to garden.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Newport Boy
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 06:56 AM

Ah - the Bond 250. When I was 13, a guy in our street bought one (the 5th car in our estate of 350 houses). We had very small front gardens with a 2 foot wall around and just a pedestrian gate. Obvious, isn't it - 8 of us lifted the Bond over the wall and 'parked' it in the garden. He knew who the culprits were, but we stck together and pleaded innocence.

I have fond memories of a Montego 2-litre turbo-diesel Estate - one of the last, so it had all the extras thrown in. The best of these was the self-levelling rear suspension. I bought it 9 months old and did 95,000 miles in it, a large part of which was transporting materials for my barn conversion. Two trips stick in my mind.

Our walking group did a 2-day walk and we needed to get back to the start - the Montego carried 7 adults with full kit for 25 miles. The exhaust scraped a bit as we started, but the suspension soon pumped up.

The best was a trip to the south of France to a friend's old mill. Four adults, everything for a 10-day holiday plus 400 lb of toolboxes in the boot. I did Saint-Malo to Avignon (about 1000kms) in one hop each way, cruising at 90mph most of the time. When we got back to Exeter and I filled up, the average fuel consumption was 50.2 mpg.

Phil


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: kendall
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 07:56 AM

I've always liked the look of the Morris Minor, but never owned one.

I've probably driven almost every car you could name and the greatest of all was a new Rolls Royce in 1960. Most impressive car ever. Belonged to the Father of a friend.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 09:47 AM

My father always insisted on buying "British" cars. He was a little embarassed when delivery of my mother's new fiesta was held up by a Spanish dock strike.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 11:02 AM

British Leyland shot themselves in the foot SO often , bringin new models out before they had finished Developement ! The Marina was crap , and by the time it was adjusted (renamed the Ital) it was totally out of date , as was the Maxi . The Mk4 Maxi was OK , but again , twenty years out of date .


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 11:43 AM

Well, I have owned and/or driven quite a few.

The Wolseley 1500/Riley 1.5. Designed as the Morris Minor replacement - instead BMC stuck in a 1498cc B series engine and applied Wolseley or Riley grilles to the front. I had a Wolseley which was very comfy inside, all leather and tree wood, but it did break halfshafts and the standard suspension was a bit iffy. However, a lot of Riley 1.5s were raced so maybe it was me.

The Triumph Spitfire mk II. Oh my gawd. Herald underpinnings and a souped up engine. All too easy to put one in somebody's front garden.

The Land Crab. (Wolseley 18/85 in my case). Amazingly sturdy car, as big as a 2 bedroom flat inside. Umbrella handbrake within millimetres of right knee, right rear Hydrolastic hose rubbed on rear subframe causing fluid to disappear! Pinhole in brake servo caused car to make smoke like the Bismarck trying to escape its pursuers. The power steering pump was driven off the back of the dynamo, overloading its bearings. On auto box versions, the slush pump was driven by a chain - which stretched. Strangely enough I still thought mine excellent.

The Davrian. A plastic kit car with an Imp engine - aaargh! The one I knew had a nice Singer Chamois instrument panel on the driver's side and 2 spear-like lumps of metal on the passenger side, pointing at the hapless passenger's crotch.

The Lotus Cortina mk II (no independent rear suspension, just as well given the Mk 1's propensity to leave differentials etc in the road). Went like the proverbial off a shovel, but the 1500 block and twin cam head leaked like a sieve.

Then there were the Mini Coopers. Oh God.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Rog Peek
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 12:20 PM

Worst car I ever owned was a 6 volt VW beetle, (4th on chronological list) nothing but trouble from start to finish. Other cars until a couple of years ago all Bitish, and all gave good service: split-screen Morris Minor, Triumph TR2, Hillman Minx, Morris 1100, Vauxhall Viva Estate, Austin Maxi 1750, Reliant Scimitar GTE, Reliant Robin, Morris 1000 tourer. Always second hand, swore I'd never buy car on HP, and always did my own repairs. Last five or six years have run a couple of Citroen Picassos, convenient but boring. Bought the Scimitar in 1981 and still have that one for fun.

Would have to agree that the Allegro and Marina were particularly poor models. Donald Stokes was to oversee the final demise of the British mass production car industry.

Rog


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: kendall
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 12:53 PM

I had a 1958 Karmman Ghia. Fun car, no trouble at all.The nose was very vulnerable though.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 07:21 PM

I had a Simca 1100 for a year.

Aptly named, it cost me just over £1100 in repairs and steadfastly refused to go more than forty miles at a time.

If you didn't stop every forty miles (less on hot summer days) and let it cool right down, it blew a core plug and a gallon of hot water across the road, and cooked the mains and big ends.

Back then £1100 was about six months wages. A very tough year!

Best car I've had is my current one.

Rover 75 Club CDT 116 Diesel automatic, first registered April 2002.

As reliable as next Wednesday, and comfortable as well.

55 per gallon at 60mph, 43 per gallon pulling my heavy steel chassis 1970s Sprite Alpine.

Holds the road like you had wheels on your elbows.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 07:23 PM

P.S. It does have the two litre BMW diesel, so only a bit British.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 07:25 PM

Morris Minors were cute...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 12 Jan 13 - 07:52 PM

and had kingpins most of the time


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: kendall
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 07:55 AM

I bought a new Simca when they first hit the market. Won a trophy at the drag strip.I was in the same class as an old woman with a wheelbarrow. No, it was a VW bug. The track was wet and we were going for top eliminator. He beat me by a fraction of a second.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 08:47 AM

My Dad's first car, in the 50s, was one of those Ford Anglia biscuit tins, gear lever a yard long, three speeds, double de-clutch from 2nd to 1st. I learned to drive in his '65 Vauxhall Viva. I loved that. Our first car was a Morris Minor. I had to keep changing the radiator when stones shot through the grille, and the differential casing cracked open. Otherwise we loved it. There was so much room under the bonnet that you could almost get in there and stand next to the engine, and you could do the head gasket, tappets and valves with a cheap socket set on a Saturday afternoon. We had a lovely holiday in Ireland in it in 1977, where the starter handle came in handy after the starter motor decided it was going to jam at frequent intervals, and we had three punctures in four weeks. There was always the danger that the suspension top joint would come adrift, leaving you with one front wheel sitting at a 45-degree angle. Next was a Triumph Dolomite 1850. The nuts holding the exhaust manifold always worked loose and you couldn't get at them without taking off the starter motor. The front brake pads lasted 4000 miles if you never braked, less if you did. There were drilled-out recesses on top of the engine into which oil slowly leaked, which just sat there harmlessly - until you went up a very steep hill or drove on to a ramp, in which case the oil flowed backwards into the clutch bell-housing, resulting in a badly-slipping clutch for the next 200 miles. The rustiest car I ever had was an early 80s VW Polo. Brakes and a floor appeared to be optional extras. My mate next door came home one day with a brand-new Morris Marina and was proudly showing it off to me in his front drive. Less than 50 miles on the clock it had. I spotted rust in the seams (didn't want to hurt his feelings so kept shtum). Next I had a Cavalier estate. For 18 months it would mysteriously just stop, just like that, completely at random, and refuse to start again for anything between ten minutes and 24 hours, then all was completely normal again. Sometimes it went weeks without doing it, other times it would happen every other day. I was friendly with every AA relay bloke in the country. Oddly, a replacement distributor from a junk yard solved the problem. For a year we borrowed our friend's Maestro while she went on a long holiday. It would take a whole chapter to list what was bad about that car. You were thrown about like loose marbles in a biscuit tin when you cornered, you could never get more than 26 to the gallon and you could, almost literally, stand there and watch it rust. Not ordinary rust either. Sinister great cancerous tumescences under the paint, inches across, like huge cold sores that then erupted within days into flaky brown holes that you could poke your finger right through to fresh air underneath. After that, and a brief flirtation with a shit-brown coloured Vauxhall Nova (which I loved, until the driver's seat disintegrated), I very unwisely invested in a dirt-cheap Daewoo Nexia with only 22000 miles on the clock. It went like shit off a shovel but was incredibly uncomfortable and did 28 to the gallon at best. It underwent premature death when the cam-belt broke 17000 miles before it was due to be replaced.

That brought me into the modern era of the last 10 years. My cars have all been great in that time. Reliable and un-rusty. Open the bonnet and all you see is acres of plastic covers. Not my territory any more. But aren't modern cars so boring! No entertainment value, not like in the good old days!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 09:20 AM

Hey, Pete, my first husband and I also had a MGB-GT (1967) in the early '70s. AND a 1954 MG-TF and a 1962 MGA 1600 Mark II. Just so any one of them might be drivable at any given time.

Best driving was the TF, but you should have seen me all dressed up to go out cutting a new valve cover gasket without getting a drop of oil on me.

Redid the electrics in (I think) all of them. Made the windscreen wipers in the TF electric, too, so they would actually work. My ex was handy that way.

Miss those cars... Biggest mistake of my life. Sold the cars and kept the not yet "wasband" for another seven years... Sigh.

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 12:55 PM

Nearly owned two Britcars. When my parents were out buying an Olds in the late 60's there were two on the lot that the salesman offered to throw in to sweeten the deal. One was a Goliath [even then an orphan] and the other was a Bugeye Sprite. He got out of it by telling them that neither of them was very reliable, so they did not go for the sweetner. Just one of many dumb "favors" they did me. Shortly after that, I got an Alfa 2000 droptop. Would have been better off with either of the Brits. At least they ran sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 02:05 PM

By the way, the Ford Transit van is available with several different passenger and cargo configurations here in the US. I would be happy to see a somewhat less bulbous top, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 02:43 PM

Don't blame the Goliath on the Brits! It was part of the Borgward family of Germany. We have enough to be ashamed of without that.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 03:40 PM

Never had personal experience with a British car.

A few friends who acquired one bragged for about a week about their great accomplishment, but then sort of quit talking about it so the rest of us never got much of a briefing.

I have had a fair amount of experience with a couple of British airplanes ...

... ... ...

... ... ...


But on reflection I don't think I care to talk much about that experience ... ... sort of like if I'd owned one.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: JHW
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 04:02 PM

Ref Hillman Imps above. Freind who very kindly gave me lifts to college esp on days too snowy for my scooter had the Singer one.
If only the factory had thought to put a label under the (rear) bonnet 'The engine is supposed to be at the back' as on snowy bends the car would keep forgettting


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 05:37 PM

A rather old joke:
Why is there no British computer industry?
They haven't figured out how to make them leak oil.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 07:13 PM

HC Viva good. Magnum 2300 Estate and Sportshatch very nice. Chevette bad (except 2300HS). Imp fantastic if you knew how to drive. Mini fantastic if you know which bits to waterproof. Giant Land Crab many virtues (including torsional ridigity better than some tanks) but I preferred the 2200 Wedges (although they did eat half-shafts).    Wolsely 1500 and Riley 1.5 halfshafts were considerably tougher than Minor. Wolsely 4/44 did eat halfshafts. Riley Pathfinder and 2.6 (and WOlsely brothers) nice. Anglebox could be made to go like shit off a shovel - I had a mate with one with a 2-litre BDA in it. Minor I liked. I had a mate with one with an MGB engine in and another with a formula 2 engine. Zodiac servos in them probably overdoing it. Every Vauxhall VIctor was shit, shit, shit (and one series had 102 different exhaust systems which used to keep the parts depot busy). Davrian - brilliant. GInetta - Brilliant. I've temporarily forgotten teh name of the rear engined mini special - looked like a mini-ferrari - lovely. Mini Marcos, Marcos 1800, Marcos Mantis - lovely. Peerless - brilliant. Gordon Keeble - brilliant. Swallow DOretti, nice. BIg Healeys from the pre-BMC through to the 3,000 (and teh revivals) -nice. MGA nice, twin-cam lovely, B nearly as nice, C much better than people thought if you had enough balls to get the arse out early. Bv8 - jungle juice! ROver 2000 2200, 3500 and 3500S - lovely. I liked the 3-litre and 3.5 and even the 105, 110, and 110 too. The Rover great whales nice too (but did rust). Lotus Cortinas, twin cam escorts, 2-litre pinto Escorts - nice. Not a fan of the Granadas and stuff but some love them. Tornado cars - smashing. Talbot Tagora 2.6 went like shit off a shovel (but not for long). Horizon and Simca 1100 you could swap gearbox (out and in) in 20 minutes. 2CV and Ami 6 and 8 the inboard disc brakes were not man enough. I cooked them into oblivion from over 90 MPH (yes it was downhill) more than once and it did get exciting. Jag XK and Mk12 and 2 and 340/80 and S-type and XJ6 and Mk 10 all nice. Mk 7/8/9 lovely but too slow. Alvis TA14/20/21 - all lovely (but slow). Daimler SP250 and Majestic Major LOVELY. Must go to bed.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 05:55 AM

Hey, Bat Goddess, I also had a couple of version of the successor to the TF: MG Midgets.

First was a MKII, 1098cc, second was a MKIII (rounded rear wheel arch model) with a 1275cc Mini Cooper S engine (initially factory de-tuned, but we soon sorted that out!).

Both back-end happy, needing a big bag of sand in the boot to balance them out. Both mega fun - could be chucked into bends and opposite-locked at will if you were brave enough (like the C, as Richard said, but without the power-sliding cabability of the V8).

Happy days, but I wouldn't swap my 325 for either of them now.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GRex
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 06:33 AM

Bought a Ford Fiesta in !990, very basic but ran vitually trouble free for 22 years. Now run a Kia Picanto LX, nice car but very small. The boot (trunk) isn't large enough to hold the weekly shopping.

    GRex


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 09:08 AM

The rear engined thingy I forgot the name of was the Unipower GT. Fabulous. If I had one now I'd put a K-series turbo engine in it with one of the very special 5-speed boxes (or a VERY high custom final drive) and a fardling great lump of concrete somewhere near the front spoiler (if it's good enough for Porsche it's good enough for me).


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 09:10 AM

PS - C was not far off the straight line poke of a BV8, and you could put the 3 litre lump out of a Healey in if you wanted (custom sump needed).   I had one over 135 still going faster on the A2 once but a bloody Beemer would not get out of the way. I reckon I could have got 140. It was approaching the Black Prince from the south.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 09:11 AM

I almost forgot the Austin Princess... Nice looking... Not too sure about dependability but seein' as lots of them were used as taxi cabs they must have been pretty reliable...

I guess if I can't have a Rolls Cloud I then a Princess would be my next choice...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 09:27 AM

Lots of different Princesses. Upright limo shaped thingy - I think a 4 litre very unsophisticated inline 6 (but P100 or similar headlights), then one like that with faired in headlights, then the 3 litre Vanden Plas Princess (similar to the Austin Westminster - which was an almost unknown car in the USA) then the Vanden Plas 4-litre R which used an only slightly demilitarised version of the Austin Champ engine, then the one I reckon you mean, Bobster, the wedge shaped one with variously the 1800 B series engine transversely, the O series 1700 engine transversely and the 2200 6-potter transversely. Of the latter the auto was not too bad but the manual was a tyre-squeal special and the uneven length front propshafts tended to mangle the box/diff/each other/UJs if driven by leadfooted oafs like me!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 10:14 AM

Did you hear about the (insert your own non-PC race or description) who tried to shag a Princess. Burned his balls on the exhaust...

Now we have the level :-)

Must admit you are right about the Imp's performance, Richard. I was on my way to Chester Zoo with the family in ours when a furrin lorry who didn't understand roundabouts decided he wanted to wipe us all out. The only was was forward and, fortunately, I was in second anyway. Put my foot down and it shot off like shit off a shovel, leaving us well out of the way of the truck. Surprised me how well it stuck to the roundabout under heavy acceleration too!

I was quite sorry when it had to go. But my dad did embed it in the side of police car one icy evening. Luckily it was someone we knew and he heard no-more about it! Lucky car indeed.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,Kendall
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 10:24 AM

Bobert, I'd gladly settle for a Bentley.

What was the name of that Spanish car with the Chrysler engine?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 11:03 AM

Bentley are VW nowadays, Kendall but their Continental GT really is something to behold! I believe they have done a 'family' version of it but the GT is bling so good it goes in and out of the good taste bracket at least 4 times. Depends on your own POV as to where it ends up but I wouldn't turn one away on a rainy night :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 12:39 PM

Unipower GT. Never heard of it Richard, but it's a lovely looking car.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 12:50 PM

Do you mean French car with Chrysler enginge - Facel Vega HK500? Over 140 on the Jabekke autoroute - but drum brakes! Not me personally. Or was there a Pegaso (they were Spanish) with the Chrysler engine?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 12:52 PM

Another sexy British small volume car was the Piper GTT. From the same period - Fairthorpe, Turner, Diva, Terrier, Malloch U2, some TVRs, Elva, Heron Europa - - - so many great cars and so many loose nuts!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 01:49 PM

Then of course there was the great God Sydney Allard. HOW I lusted after a J2, a J2x, or a J2r - all US engined hybrids.

Oh, and did I mention Tornado Cars? I have been passengered in one of their little FIAT 500 with a big engine up the arse machines (start in 2nd, change directly into top, beat an E-type to 100) and it was truly "Light blue touch paper" territory. They also did a rather exciteable version of their Tornado Talisman GT toys - designed for the Ford 1600 engine (and round about 200bhp/ton with that - huge for those days) - endowed with the SP250 2500cc V8. That put it quite close to 300bhp/ton. Principal problem was the Triumph Herald swing axle rear suspension, which got a bit overwhelmed, but with the rear end lowered they were manageable.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 04:17 PM

Bentleys are Rolls Royces, too... Just different hood ornaments and minor trim... I'd take a Bently if it was the same body style as the Silver Cloud I with the single headlights... I hated them after they went with dual headlights... Ruined the car entirely...

As for the Austin Princess??? The one I like looks like all them London taxi-cabs... I know where one is but I'm not sure if there is enough left to restore... Plus, I'd prefer a right hand driver and this one had been converted...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: redhorse
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 06:12 PM

Bentleys are no longer Rolls Royces, Bobert. Last common model was Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph/Bentley Arnage 1998-2002. Current
Bentley Mulsanne is a direct descendant of Arnage,still built here in Crewe, and still using the 6.75litre pushrod V8; the current Rolls-Royces are new cars based on BMW 7-series.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 06:18 PM

""I almost forgot the Austin Princess... Nice looking... Not too sure about dependability but seein' as lots of them were used as taxi cabs they must have been pretty reliable...""

They were too bloody thirsty for most cabbies in the UK. Even the 1700cc ran at 20-23mpg average.

Their advantage was that they had immensely wide rear seats, which enabled private hire companies to get HMP contracts (H.M. Prisons), transporting individual prisoners to the Old Bailey or the Appeal Courts.

I did quite a lot of those jobs in the 70s and 80s, and drove a Princess.

The point was that you could get two hefty warders with a prisoner handcuffed between them into that back seat. Granadas were also popular for the same reason.

The only trip that stands out in my memory is the one when the clutch suddenly resigned, pumping clouds of blue smoke into the car. I pulled up and hurriedly alighted, then looked back to see two warders getting out of opposite rear doors in a blind panic, while the poor little sod shackled between them gave the most amazingly good impression of a Royal Navy Destroyer entering harbour. "Whhoooop, whhhooooooooop, whhhhhoooooooooop........

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 06:45 PM

Thanks, Don... Good info...

And thanks, redhorse... I haven't kept up with Rolls for many years... I once was a Rolls "service adviser" but, as you can see, not of late...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 07:44 PM

I drove a '52 R-type Bentley once (not in 1952 - I'm not that bloody old!), round Bury. About 1969 I should think. It was the scariest driving experience I've ever had. Apart from the fact that the biggest thing I'd ever driven up to that point was a '64 Viva, and that I wasn't exactly insured, the bloody brakes hardly worked, a fact I only became apprised of as I steamed out of control into a T-junction just behind The Rock. I pulled the bloody thing up with the handbrake and gears and let the car's owner drive it home. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 07:57 PM

I once had to drive an early 50's Wrath, Steve, and it was like driving something from the 20's... The interior was real nice but, yeah, the brakes sucked and the gears had no synchronizers so ya' had to double clutch to shift... Plus the thing weighed close to 6000 pounds...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 08:08 PM

Facel Vega, yes. thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 08:23 PM

The Facel Vega was Italian, wasn't it???


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 13 - 09:26 PM

British cars? Yeah, I worked on a few.....(snicker).....I know they provide more laughs for me nowadays as I look back. And why you ask? Let's start with Girling brakes.

Oh let's not. They weren't completely at fault on this one as the Bendix and Dunlop folks had a hand in it. Customer with 64 E-Type coupe is smelling something. I take the car down the road and as soon as I hit the brakes I knew the rears were gone. The guy smells asbestos but doesn't notice the brakes barely work? Even though you could also HEAR the scraping? I turned around and had to brake hard twice on the way back just to interest the damn thing in stopping at all....caliper froze up. It was late evening and as I pulled onto the drive my partner dropped his cigarette and turned quickly around the corner returning with a extinguisher before I stopped. He didn't have to tell me to get out. We looked underneath and there was no fire yet but the rotor was glowing and those onboard rotors were mounted right next to the gas tank. Obviously not all a brake problem as the fuel tank could have been elsewhere and the owner was about unobservant as all hell. However, that simpleass Girling caliper design combined with the cheap crap they made them from were always a problem. Not everything was so dramatic..................


Smith instrumentation! My word, what fine devices to measure speed, rpm, oil pressure, water temperature, and the like.. The only problem was they had a prevarication problem. What they read often did not reflect reality or even a close approximation thereof. Sometimes they opted to read nothing at all until you began to check them when they all worked perfectly. The one thing they did reflect was sunlight and if there had been sunlight at night this would have been useful when you opted for turning on the Lucas supplied electrics.

"Joe Lucas says don't go out after dark." This was their slogan and good advice it was. You never knew what, where, or when, but there was no if about it. When you left Point A, something supplied by Lucas would break before Point B (Coil?), and another before Point C(voltage regulator?). It could have been the ignition switch or the wiring itself though. Can't blame Lucas for all the wiring problems. Evidently British car workers felt it was okay to stretch a foot of wire to 18 inches or in another case bury 5 foot of excess wiring behind the headlight. Before Point D though you'd have a mysterious fuel problem supplied to you by those fine SU carbs.

S-U.....Stands for Sorta' Useless. As carbs go, they were. Carbs are interesting devices relying on laws of physics and a few bits and pieces of brass and pot metal to supply a perfect fuel mixture under all speeds and driving conditions. They really can't do this which made Fuel Injection such a godsend (except Lucas Injection of course). The SU is a side draft carb relying on "constant depression" which they give to many owners and a lot of mechanics. Generally the simplistic design was okay til you tried to make two of them work together. This was quite achievable but somewhere before Point D things would go to hell and one of them would have to come apart and get generally fucked with til it worked. You never could tell much about what went wrong because you'd reassemble them just as they were most times. The temptation was to simply smash them to bits with any hammer available. I know a guy who succumbed to the temptation. Wasn't me but I knew the feeling.

I love British cars and especially those gems from my era of wrenching them. They provide me with more tales per car than any other country. Wanna' hear Lotus tales? Or the about the Jag that got even? No.....you don't....


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 02:21 AM

Mine Oncle had a Britcar once. A Minx I thinks. Had SUs and didn't work for squat until someone took pity on him and told him that the dshpots had to be filled with oil. Worked fine after that but that's what happens when plumbers design automotive components.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 06:47 AM

My brother-in-law had a Lotues Esprit (S2, I think), Spaw. Spent more time coming home on a breakdown truck than actually being driven.

I drove it once - a country run of about 8 miles. Geeziz, I could hardly turn the steering wheel or depress the clutch pedal and don't get me started about the gearchange...I've had more fun cutting my toenails.

My MG's had twin SU's. Had to balance them about once a month, using a short length of hosepipe as a stethoscope...


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: banjoman
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 07:21 AM

First car - Armstrong Siddley Hearse bought for £20 of an undertaker. Took the whole gang camping but we took turns to lie down in the back.
Worst car - Marina which randomly went sideways -a lethal rust bucket
Best car(s) - Mazda 929 - Herald which was intensively modified, and 1939 MG WA Saloon which did about 7 miles to the gallon but boy did it go.
Currently usinga Zafira (supplied by Motability) which drives great and has plenty of room for my scooter.
I have also owned countless motor bikes / cars and most in between (Reliant)but would like to find a Triumph Bonneville to restore some day


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 08:08 AM

Bobert, Richard and especially Spaw seem to have had most of the horrendous experiences I've had!

The Austin 1300GT. Bought from a friend (well, he came to my wedding) who ran a small garage and did a bit of ducking and diving on the side. He was the son of a police sergeant. Moral there somewhere. This car went just like a Cooper but did not have a Cooper crankshaft to match. I spent a lot of time looking over so-called friends' shoulders at the tachometer while they were driving as I had visions of the crank popping its clogs. I also spent quite a lot of time smelling of five star; one SU carburettor persistently went off song (see Spaw's memories).

One nearly lethal experience with the 1300GT - rear engine mounting. The rubber bit had disintegrated, causing embarrassing noises and violent to-ing and fro-ing. My workmate offered to fix it; he was a Mini racer and a bit of a character - married to a lady who had been one of Mike Hawthorn's harem.

I took the 1300 round & he started to extract the engine mounting and replace it with a new one. I suddenly realised a wisp of smoke was curling up from the steering wheel area; this turned to a little flame, then a bigger one. I bleated "Andy – FIRE!" and tried to beat out the now serious flames with my hands. Big mistake – a burning gob of plastic stuck to my right hand, causing a scar which is still there thirty odd years later. Never did three people move so fast; I recoiled from the car, shaking the burning plastic off – Andy shot out from under the car like a rocket and removed the battery leads – and Andy's wife rushed out of the kitchen and poured saucepans full of water over me, Andy and the car.

I sold it soon after to a lad who took one week to break the crankshaft!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 08:27 AM

The Worst Mini Van in the History of the World. Green, red oxide touch up, rust. "Owned" by a friend but parked on our front lawn (rented house in London shared by 6 lads). Driven by anybody who would put a quid's worth of petrol in it. Insurance? !!!!

Sans speedo, sans wipers, sans dampers, sans everything except terminal rust in the floorpan. Handbrake fixed to the floor with pop rivets, which didn't prevent somebody ripping the lever from the floor wholesale. The ventilator on the van roof had been moved through 180 degrees, creating a refreshing gale which may have also aided downforce.

It accommodated three or four people crouching in the back, several barrels of beer and motor spares as necessary. The rear shock absorbers were both loose – as a result the interior of the vehicle sounded like a box of scrap iron – which of course it was.

Even with all the faults, you couldn't argue with the logic of its £15 purchase price, plenty of space, easy parking and the ability to remove an engine/gearbox unit by placing a ladder across the front wings (don't ask).

It avoided prosecution because its previous owner had been the police sergeant mentioned in my last post. The local Plod assumed he was still driving it and didn't pull the van over. Another reason is that the friend who owned this horror has always resembled a figure of authority, sometimes wearing plod-type blue shirts with epaulettes.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 08:44 AM

I gotta agree with Spawzer's opinion of the S-U carburetors... I briefly owned a 1953 120-S Jag with them... It had been sitting in a garage for a couple years without being started and after charging the battery and cranking on it it would only fire on the starting fluid so I pulled the carbs, disassembled, cooked the chunks in carb cleaner, blew them out with compressed air and put 'um back together with all the new stuff that came in the kit... It ran but not right... Had to have a buddy come over and mess with 'um for about 15 minutes...

The entire time I was thinkin', "Why not just cast an intake manifold for it and stick a 650 Holley on the sucker???"

Oh well...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 10:05 AM

LOL@Bobertz........Ain't that the truth.......or sorta'......

You're thinkking Holley because you're more of a Ford guy (and they never could make a carb that worth a tiny turd) and gawd knows Holley sold the shit to the aftermarket but the most notable performance carb in our days you found on Chrysler products and was rarely replaced by Holley by those who knew how to tune it....the Carter AFB. Today Edelbrock markets the AFB in a polished version to use with their manifolds and it still does the job.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 10:57 AM

Carbs are a lot like womenz, Spawzer... I mean, they all kinda same but they all kinda different at the same time... I understand Holley carbs... Yeah, you sometimes have to tinker with them but, hey, you sometimes gotta tinker with the womenz, too...

I used to run a big Holley on my VW race car... Looked like the ones that we used to stick up top flathead Fords back then... Some guys liked 'um so much they would stick three of them on top the flathead... Anyway, I carried several sized air-correction jets with me and had it down to about 10 minutes swappin' them out to run for various conditions... Them was the good old days...

Back when I was in my teens this friend's uncle had an about a '54 Pontiac or Oldsmobile that had a Stromberg carb (might have been a Rodchester?) and he asked me to help him rebuild that carb... What a joke... Don't think that car ever ran again...lol... Oh well, it wasn't running before the overhaul attempt so all that was lost was the $4 for the kit...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 11:12 AM

Over here, Weber was the bees' knees in those days...twin-choke sidedraught with manifold adaptor. Made a big difference.

Pete


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 11:24 AM

It`a a funny old world. Honda`s British manufacturing plant has just announced redundancies due to the collapse of the Europian market and doesn`t expect improvements for three years. Jaguar/Land Rover, RR and Bentley can sell everything they make. J/LR are putting a new body shop in the Midlands and are considering building a plant in China.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 01:25 PM

I had a real liking for Weber carbs, and drove in club races for two years in an Austin A 40, with a two litre race tuned engine and twin Webers.

Went like a two bob rocket off the start, and, lowered to a ride height of four and a half inches, held the road as if it were on rails.

In the second year we actually made more in prize money than it cost.

Then marriage intervened, probably just as well because the cost of going up a grade was well out of reach.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 01:29 PM

Weber was about equally loved and hated here in the US. They did have their share of problems but for performance tuning they were, to me, far superior.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 02:58 PM

(a) How the hell did you get a 2-litre into an A40 (I assume it was the A40 Farina) Don? The standard engine was the 1098 BMC A series and in the very similar Minor even the B engine needed a split rad and/or the fan outside the radiator.

(b) Bobster - XK120 a 6. Holley would only flow evenly in multiples of 4. Fucked if I know how you balanced 6 of them on an 8.

(c) Terminal Stromberg troubles were usually one of the rubber diaphragms with an invisible pinhole in.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Paul Reade
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 05:41 PM

My son, who has had a lot of large, old Mercedes (E, M and even S class) hit the nail on the head:-

If you drive a German car, it's been designed by engineers
If you drive a British car, it's been designed by accountants


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 05:46 PM

Webbers are the carb of choice for all VW drag racers... I never quite had the extra $500 for a pair but had the $25 for the used Holley "Bug Spray" and plenum...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 05:48 PM

First thing I ever did with a succession of Lada's (usualy 1500 estates) was replace the Russian imitation Webber with a proper Webber. Usually cost about £10 down the scrap yard and solved a whole host of performance, reliability and economy issues. The other thing was to replace the ignition switch at least every couple of years. Dunno why they wore out so quick :-S Anyway - Not British but could well have been :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 06:36 PM

The 1500 Lada engine could be made to produce a lot of poke, and MOST bits were tough and reliable. But the best bet was to stuff in a 2 litre Fiat twincam and learn how to change the gearbox which did not like it for long. Kim Conway the Welsh wizard specialised in Lada Nivas (the mini-rangerover) with such engines sometimes prepared by the legendary Guy Croft and sometimes puffed and 6 inch lifts and they were pretty well untouchable on the Welsh byways. His maintenance was obsessive. You could sit under one of his machines and damn nearly shave (if I shaved) in the reflection from the 10 coats of Hammerite across the entire floorpan.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 06:13 AM

""(a) How the hell did you get a 2-litre into an A40 (I assume it was the A40 Farina) Don? The standard engine was the 1098 BMC A series and in the very similar Minor even the B engine needed a split rad and/or the fan outside the radiator""

The guy who did that shoehorn job went on to work for Rod "spinner" Chapman of Rallycross fame and was responsible for Rod's winning Escort Twincam.

The modified A40 Mk II with the slightly longer (about 4 inches) wheelbase made it just possible to fit the two litre by moving the bulkhead to the rear, modifying the propshaft tunnel, shifting the driver's seat back almost eight inches, extending the steering column and (you are right) fan in front of rad.
Pop in a roll cage, beefed up brakes and lowered (almost solid) suspension and you are in business.

It would see off just about anything around from the start to 70 mph, when the larger specials (the class I had to enter it in) would start to catch up. As Murray Walker was fond of saying "It's one thing to catch up, quite another to pass". The little beast had the advantage over larger cars when cornering, so we managed to win quite often.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 10:16 AM

Ford lump, or stretched B?

Riley 1.5 drums, or front discs from a Midget on Midget uprights?

MGB or Riley 1.5 halfshafts I presume.   

And yes it would have been a special. It would have been fun to see it up against Mike Chittenden's Morris Minor - V8 out of an SP250 with the SP250 box, disc brakes attached to the Minor uprights by cutting off the old stub axles and welding on Sprite stubs (at a negative camber) with the disc carriers - I often wondered how that passed scrutineering - and basically a ladder frame (huge anti-tramp bars flexibly linked together) added to the rear cart springs.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 01:38 PM

I rememeber a guy called Pip Higham, son of the local Motorcycle dealer, putting a riduclous sized engine into a Ford Capri (Cricket for you USers) It was something like a 5.2 litre V8 if I rememeber rightly and he had to make drastic modifications like putting the front seats in the back seat position so the engine would fit! He also had 2 x radiators in the boot to cool it. Not sure if it ever actualy made the road!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 01:47 PM

My highlights of 40 years of motoring include:

A 6-year old Minivan given to me after the scrap man refused to take it. I replaced the missing dizzy and 4th wheel, and got it through the MoT on the third try, learning a lot about car repairs in the process. It went on to give good service, eventually becoming one of the donors for the Scamp (see below).

A Ford Anglia, bought cheaply and in deperation. So goddam awful in every respect, we named it "Watney". A SCUF (self-correcting unidentifiable fault) in the brakes was its eventual downfall...

One of the last Austin Maxis with a cable-operated bran tub of a gearbox with 13 gears, 7 of which were neutral...

A Citroen 2CV which was actually a handy little beast, with IMO the best remote gearchange ever invented...

A self-built Mini Scamp kit car which had a lot to do with the breakdown of my marriage, and was my main means of transport for a surprising length of time afterwards. Still going strong after nearly 40 years, on its 8th or 9th engine and with 130K on the clock, it comes out now mainly for club events.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 06:18 PM

Ford lump. He liked the torque curve better than the B. He prepped the engine from the bottom up, and if memory (it's a long time ago) serves, we were told that the bhp figures were impossible, except he proved they weren't.

Front discs and uprights from a midget, and AFAIK halfshafts and rear drums from MGB.

Propshaft was custom built, solid and balanced.

Competition diff he got from somewhere (can't remember where).

It took one full season to get it running properly. It was a bastard to steer, needing considerable strength at low speed, and the clutch required about 50lb pressure. I never knew for sure whether it was going to brake in a straight line, and did quite a bit of unintentional drifting.

Second season it was tamed and I had twenty percent thicker thigh and biceps. That season we won eight races out of sixteen and finished up with about twenty quid more than the season's cost, which went on a celebratory booze up on the last night.

Start to finish, it was bloody hard work, and the very greatest fun. Back then, winning was the icing on the cake, finishing in one piece was the main objective.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 06:30 PM

That's rational. Shame those classes have vanished on the track. It would be fun to put a Volvo turbo and M90 box (I can have that engine got out to well over 500bhp) into say a Terrier (if you remember those). Nowadays it's all Ford Fuckarses on track days and rolling Japanese drifters.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 07:45 PM

So goddam awful in every respect, we named it "Watney"

Heheh. Brilliant!!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 12:18 PM

""Nowadays it's all Ford Fuckarses on track days and rolling Japanese drifters.""

Speaking of drifting, as I said, my mechanic partner went on to work with Rod Chapman's team on the Twincam Escort he used in rallycross, and it was Rod who perfected the art of drifting years ahead of its time.

He customarily took the bend at the top of Hairy Hill (Lydden Hill Track) in third, full throttle, 90 degrees to the direction of travel and came off it like a slingshot. That won him many races and at least four trophies.

Another regular, Nick Whiting, tried to imitate him and performed four sequential 360s on the downhill, missing the right turn onto the dirt and winding up with his front end buried in tyres.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 01:12 PM

I once saw Tom Pryce go round Druids like that, Don, (Goodyear tyre test at Brands Hatch, 1975 I think) but I'm not sure it was intentional!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 01:35 PM

100 British cars on the shelf, 100 British cars....


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 05:02 PM

Ya' know, we been "drifting" for years over here but we just called it racing. I know it seems so stupid and uncultured to those of you into road racing and across the pond, but the real racers here have had a saying for years............

Dirt is for racing. Asphalt is for getting there.

Even the truly great Jackie Stewart was thrilled watching it. Plus it has gained favor all over the world most especially down under. The winged sprinters in this video clip have a power to weight ratio close to an F1 car and are lapping the 1/2 mile dirt track in close quarters in about 13+ seconds. The track here is the greatest dirt track in the world, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Winged Sprinters at Eldora

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 06:30 PM

That is pretty cool, Spaw. I haven't seen it before, which is odd because as a lad I was really into Motorcycle Speedway and a big fan of our local team - The Belle Vue Aces. Good to see that in the car version the people stood at the corners still get showered with dirt, cinders, shale or whatever happens to lay on the track. Yes, I did make that mistake the first time I went :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 06:43 PM

You got the ol' memory box working too, Spaw - thanks. I well remember the smell of 'dope' which was either the fuel or something mixed with it to make the bikes go like a rocket. Got to thinking about the bikes, which in my day were 500cc single cylinder JAP engined machine (JAP being the make - not nationality!) and guess what - By today's rules they are still 500cc, single cylinder, single carb, single spark pug jobs! Nice to see it is still about the riders skill, not the machine. Mind you - from what I remember most of that skill involved not falling off :-)

I even looked up this you tube clip and it took me back 40-odd years! Must try and get to a live meeting again some day.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:24 AM

I love watching Speedway Dave.....ALways fun to watch but oddly it never really caught on over here except in California and out there it has done pretty well. I always thought it would catch on more but it didn't. After all, we have Barn Racing and ice racing in the winter. Ice Racing uses the same techniques and Speedway equipment but it never caught on much either. and the barn racing was almost perfect for Speedway bikes. But the most of our bike racing all over the US is done on horse tracks at fairgrounds and almost every county has one. Generally those are half miles or milers and the guys do a lot of sliding but the bikes are pretty "normal" and can be street ridden.It goes by the name of Flat Track racing. Flat Track used to be huge but sadly it too is dying out.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 09:32 AM

""I once saw Tom Pryce go round Druids like that, Don, (Goodyear tyre test at Brands Hatch, 1975 I think) but I'm not sure it was intentional!""

There were a number of rallycross types who eventually got, but Rod was the first to make it pay.

One rainy Saturday afternoon there was a bunch of bikers right on the peak, just inside the safety fence. They'd been giving Rod some stick during practice, because he had some problem with the car.

Come the first race, he overshot the turn in point by about ten yards, going sideways with his back wheels just on the edge of the grass. Wheels spinning in third on full throttle, he must have delivered a couple of hundredweight of wet mud and grass right over the fence.

They must have heard the cheers as far away as Canterbury.

The method largely disappeared when the Group Bs were banned from rallies, and picked up by the Rallycross boys.

Once the contenders such as Will Gollop changed to the Metro 6r4s,drifting was neither easy nor desireable.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 10:15 AM

Spaw, that ain't ice racing. NEIRA, the New England Ice Racing Association used to [and still may] go out on the frozen lakes all winter long, using the accumulated snow for banks and barriers. When I was involved, studs were not allowed. All the heats were enduros of about 50 miles and the cars regularly got up to speeds of well over 100mph on the straights.

The lack of studs acted as a safety factor, alowing the cars to bounce off each other rather than doing major structural damage and keep on going.

At least that was the theory. I don't recall many cars being retired for major damage. Some of 'em looked pretty rough, though. They did roar, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 11:06 AM

Them sprint cars look like real fun, Spaw!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 12:03 PM

Looks spectacular, EB! Still going on and found a clip here. Can't tell if studs are in use or not.

Never been a big fan of F1 but this stuff all looks great - And the kind of racing that these old British cars would have been good in. Well, some of them... :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 01:01 PM

Speaking of racing, there's one kinda race that is real fun... It's called Enduro... They go it on a 1/2 mile dirt track in Hagerstown, Md and use "grocery getters"... It used to pay like $5000 for 1st place...

Here's how it works... You get about 50 or so knuckle-heads who have bought old hoopties for a $100 or so, give them a two page rule book on how to set the car up and let 'um go at it for 500 laps... No caution flags unless a car is on fire or the driver is critically injured... When there are wrecks the cars have to stay on the track right where they wrecked so each lap becomes a memory quiz 'cause the track becomes more and more an obstacle course as the day goes on... By the end of the race there are only a few places where folks can try to get around the guy ahead of them before its single file between wrecks... BTW, if and when you wreck yer can you stay in it until the race is over...

Now that's what I call fun...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 01:10 PM

Hey Bobz, over here we call it banger racing, but I don't think it goes on for 500 laps!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 01:29 PM

From the look of the video, those are modern machines, so they have studded tires. It appears that they are doing oval racing rather than Grand Prix style, with 20 or more cars on the track.

While we had mostly SAABs out there, there were a goodly scattering of Corvairs, Porsches minis and others out there. The engines were all modded to allow higher speeds and the exhausts were also modded.

My personal vehicle began life as a '65 SAAB Monte Carlo, with an 850 cc oil injected two stroke. After blowing the engine for the third time, I converted to a 1500 cc SAAB/Ford Taunus engine which was moderately breathed on: 3/4 race cam, enlarged intake and exhaust ports, heavy duty valve springs, custom exhaust, steel balance shaft gear, high capacity oil pump, Weber carb, balanced pistons, etc. We also played with the suspension. It was roadable because it was pre-'72, when the emission standards came in. The inspection techs kept looking for a leak in the exhaust, but there wasn't one.

This car came in second in class in the '72 Monte Carlo Rallye, with me at the wheel.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: HuwG
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 01:52 PM

For some unknown reason, I have always bought British, starting with a Ford Escort (Mk 2) Popular Plus, winding up with the present Rover 25 (OK, that's Japanese to all intents and puposes, apart from the steering wheel badge).

Favourite: the Triumph Acclaim. Remarkable performance, mainly because the chassis and bodywork were very light gauge, which eventually became its downfall. Once corrosion set in, I could not grind away the rusty bits fast enought to keep up with the rot. On one of its last trips, I could see a shower of rusty fragments from the disintegrating passenger door in the rear view mirror.

Least favourite: a Rover 216S. This had a HIF carburettor, with a potentially lethal "feature". It did not like trips to the seaside. Every time I returned from visiting my parents in Pembrokeshire, the float would stick in the chamber. Pulling away from lights was a progression of stutters and rabbit hops. I thought that was the worst of it until I tried pulling off the M6. On the slip road, I took my foot off the throttle and the car accelerated, with a full-rich gurgle from the exhaust. I didn't have much time to hit clutch and brakes, and turn the ignition off to prevent the engine revving itself out of the bonnet (also dangerous; if I had turned the ignition key all the way round in panic, it would have locked the steering).

Someone I once worked for bought a Turbo Montego. He had no idea of economical driving, constantly pressing and releasing the throttle, releasing burps of unburned hydrocarbons from the turbo with every change, and in the process jerking my head back and forth to give a very tiring trip. After a journey down the A1 in which he recorded 20 miles per gallon he went back to a gigantic Mercedes.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:10 PM

That's more like what we call "demolition derby" here, Pete... Enduro is more like racing... The wrecks are not on purpose and no one purposely hits anyone... It just happens...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 05:55 PM

Funny Huw - One of my best cars was a Rover 218 SLD. Diesel of course so no Carb issues like on yours. I did have one huge stroke of luck - I had it just short of 2 years when the cam belt went and wrecked the engine. Very fortunately it was covered under warranty and I got a new engine, well, top end anyway, in a 4 year old car :-) Lovely car that, apart from the incident mentioned, never let me down.

I mentioned that I had a Montego - 2 litre petrol engine I think. Anyway, every time it was cold it would not start. I mean really cold - less than 0 - After the first time of calling out the AA I found out what to do. There was a bell shaped thingummy atop the engine - A something pot the mechanic called it. Just unscrewed a cap from the top of that and screwed it back again and it stared fine. Unblocked some sort of vacuum apparently. What was that all about? Why just in the cold? Anyway - As someone said earlier. they don't have engines now. Just plastic covers and ports to plug in diagnostic computers!


Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 06:08 PM

In case I gave the impression I know nothing about mechanics - I do know a bit. I just can't remember what the something pot was or what it's purpose in life was.

I did most of my own maintenance on my Ladas - Including setting the timing with a strobe and using a dwell meter to set the points! It was all easy stuff on those engines. They would never have had the timing belt issue - They had a chain that was adjusted by slackening the tensioner, turning the engine round 1.5 times with the crank handle and then re-tightening the adjuster. There was also an adjuster on the distributor in case you used different grades of petrol. Take it up to 50KPH and then floor it. Depending on the result you either advainced or retarded the timing with the vernier adjuster. Brilliantly simple.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 12:04 PM

The new Bentley


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 12:10 PM

Rebecca's back!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 12:57 PM

Not too wild about the paint color but the new Bentley looks mighty fine...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 07:15 PM

Like I said earlier - Bling on steroids but somehow managing to make a grand job of it.

Anyone want to buy me one so I can check if I really love it?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: oldhippie
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 08:31 PM

'59 Berkeley - 492 cc motorcycle engine, chain drive, often came home on the end of a rope til we figured out how to put a chain guard on it to keep it from throwing it.

My favorites however were the Bugeye Sprite, and the Morgan.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 10:18 PM

Three wheeler or +4?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 06:36 AM

Well I'll be blowed. Such a lot of motoring knowledge from Folk fans! There's no reason why there shouldn't be of course, but I've always kept a bit quiet about my motoring obsession - you know, rural idylls, bucolic scenes, horses and carts, oxen even...now I can 'come out'. Richard's earlier list is hugely comprehensive and his namechecking of one of the most underrated British cars of all time, the Daimler Majestic Major, is proof of his appreciation. Now an engine from one of those in the Daimler Dart would have given it 'E'-type performance. We're split in our family between support for British and French manufacturers, with Alvis and Morgan being the Brit representatives....


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:22 AM

In the mid sixties, a friend gave me a 1939 Standard 9 h.p. because it had packed up and he couldn't get it going again.

Two quid for an ignition switch and a new 6 volt battery, and it was a perfectly good little runner.

Of course the 6 volt system was woefully inadequate, and the dynamo (remember them?) took 20 miles to put back the charge used in starting it. The lights enabled others to see me at night, while leaving me in complete ignorance as to what might be lurking beyond their 20 yard range.

It would take between ten and fifteen seconds to reach its top speed of 55 mph, but would then cruise happily at that speed until it ran out of fuel.

Under the side lift bonnet was an engine which looked like a small suitcase with four spark plugs sticking out of it, and there was enough room to step in and work on it.

The brakes were abysmal, with a 30mph stopping distance of "maybe" (not maybe fifty or sixty feet, just "maybe").

This was balanced by spring steel bumpers front and rear, which were quite capable of completely removing the front end of the currnt models, which I proved when somebody travelling in the opposite direction made a sudden right turn in front of me. He had a three inch wide, six inch deep groove right across the front. Took out both headlights and his radiator, a total write off.

I had to polish out a small scratch in the curled offside end of my front bumper.

Sad to say, I was dumb enough to put it in as part exchange for a Wolseley 6/60 (posh Aistin Cambridge).

Probably worth a lot of money today!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:27 AM

Austin Cambridge!!!!

One thing it did have. A swift single pull on the starting handle would get it going on the coldest morning.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:31 AM

Back in the seventies a mate of mine had a land rover fitted with steel bumbers. If anyone cut him up he never bothered to take evasive action...


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:44 AM

Shows what tricks memory can play. I've just checked and it was a 1935 two door with 12 volt electrics. The 6 volt monster was an earlier possession.

All else is essentially correct.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: oldhippie
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 05:11 PM

to EBarnicle: It was a 4/4


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 05:54 PM

Auto history timelines


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: framus
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 06:37 PM

Great thread which I've just found! Need time to read it all, then I'll come back and blether.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Stanron
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:46 PM

Got to say I love this thread too. My first car is later than some of the classics here. Mid 70s I bought an old Ford Anglia for £30. Two months later it cost over £100 to get it legal. Just about everyone saw me coming. Including the 'friend' who persuaded me to swap it for a Ford Zephyr. But I loved that car as well. I look back fondly to the days when a Haynes manual and a simple socket set was all you needed for trouble free motoring.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:08 PM

Ford Consul


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:15 PM

Someone brought up the Morgan... I liked them... Back in my day there was a Morgan club that sponsored an auto-cross and so I went to participate in my VW Karmann Ghia and there were at least 20 of these beautiful cars... I don't know much about them other than they have/had a belt holding the hood down and that they seemed to have a certain frame flex to them when raced...

Very nice lookin' cars, tho...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:23 PM

Maybe not fair, but funny:)

The Laws for British Sports Cars


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:32 PM

From the last site I linked to:

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
John Ruskin (1819-1900)


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 02:14 PM

""Maybe not fair, but funny:)

The Laws for British Sports Cars
""

He missed the most important law of all. I'm not sure of the precise wording, but it went (and most likely still does) somewhat as follows:

Every British sports car shall be manufactured with not less than four, and not more than six, leaks, such that every person in the vehicle shall have wet knees, ankles, or feet immediately upon some careless passer by spitting on the pavement (sidewalk). The extra leaks shall allow ingress of water to the spark plug leads, ignition coil, or distributor cap, causing frequent stops to lift the bonnet (hood) and apply dry cloths.

This shall collectively be passed off with a shrug, a smile and a comment about the joys of open air motoring.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 02:32 PM

I should point out that the correct name of the "XKE" was "the E-Type Jaguar" and that the name "MGB GT" is full of meaning (unlike "Ferrari GTO" which was a printer's error and did NOT mean "Gran Turismo Omologato") - which did not stop Pontiac promptly copying it.

True, however, it is that the "33" part of the "MG 8/33" did not refer to the BHP (which would then have been stupendous for a fiscal 8 hp car) but to the oil pressure at revs when hot and new.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 06:03 PM

""Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T - PM
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:08 PM

Ford Consul
""

How one forgets some of the best times!

The third car in on that page is a Ford Consul Capri of 1961 - 1964 vintage.

In 1973, I bought a Hooper GT Capri second hand and owned it for nearly five years. It was the Ford of Britain GT tweaked by Hooper, who specialised in motor sport

From Wiki:- In February 1963 a GT version (also 116E) was announced. The new GT engine, developed by Cosworth, featured a raised compression ratio to 9:1, a modified head with larger exhaust valves, an aluminium inlet manifold, a four branch exhaust manifold and, most noticeably, a twin-choke Weber carburettor - this being the first use of this make on a British production car. The same engine was announced for use in the Ford Cortina in April 1963.

It had bright orange high gloss bodywork, with a matt black roof, which meant that I was pulled over by most of the traffic cops in Kent on a twice weekly basis. The only visible sign of its unique nature was that the five stars of the 1500GT Ford were replaced by a solid chrome bar in the centre of the grill. It had high lift cams and polished ports and two twin choke Webers, all of which lifted the rather meagre 78 mph top speed to a more respectable 91mph, as well as considerably reducing the 0-60mph time. It also had highly capable 9" disc brakes on the front.

It was written off, while parked, by some (probably drunk) idiot early in 1978, who mistook it for a clear road, then buggered off.

Ah well!

I would have had to get rid of it anyway, as my kids were getting too large for a back seat suitable only for toddlers and legless dwarves.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 06:54 PM

Ferrari GTO? Pontiac copied? Damn right they did!

And when Pontiac copied it there was a great furor sent up by the sports car set as if the name was sancrosanct or something. A few years later the only GTO that the average guy knew was from Pontiac. In the great unwashed United States, we didn't care what it meant, where it came from, or any printer's error. Matter of fact, we didn't even use GTO.....it became the "Goat."

"Geeziz man, did you see Zudo's Goat? He put in a new Crane roller.....Wait'll ya' hear that fucker!"

And the Goat became the force that led to the real muscle car era that filled our lives and roads with ground pounding, roaring, unrefined, Detroit Iron..........Big Rats, Hemis, Bosses, 440 6-packs, 455-SHO's, the 396 thrashing machine..........Engines that created huge amounts of power and drank gas in monstrrous gulps. They passed everything else on the road but gas stations.   They were found coupled to solid transmissions that coped with the power and transferred it thru Posi and Detroit Locker rear ends. Much of the factory equipment was better than aftermarket and often even more bulletproof.

For a car guy, it was a high point of the creation and never matched before or since. Most certainly the cars today are more refined, handle better, are far more fuel efficient, and extremely reliable but not a one, not even the most powerful, will give you the same thrill and heart pounding pleasure that the Muscle Cars did.

Ferrari GTO? We didn't care. We had the Goat and it was America......not just American made. It was America......and we loved it.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 07:02 PM

While the rest of the world, in countries that had bends in the roads, roared with laughter.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 07:18 PM

Wasn't the Pontiac GTO actually a LeMans, or Tempest package Model in the beginning?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 08:54 PM

Most all the muscle cars were models of the brand crudely packed with go fast shit.

Pontiac: Tempest-LeMans-GTO
Chevrolet: Chevelle-Malibu-SS
Buick: Special-Skylark-GS
Olds: F-85 -Cutlass- 442
Ford: Fairlane- GTA
Mercury: Comet-Cyclone

And of course the Camaros, Firebirds, Mustangs, plus a proliferation of Mopar badges and models.


And Richard.....No one here gave two shits about handling in a muscle car. Beat me thru the corners? Sure. Pound your ass down the straights............Truthfully I loved road racing but the cost/reward in this country was never there. Believe me though, a lot of us were and still are fans. But sports car racing in the midwest never went anywhere. Like we say, Dirt is for Racing....Asphalt is for getting there.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 08:58 PM

The Cyclone was a baddest of the bad...

427 c.i./425 h.p. Put slicks on the rear and turn low 11s right off the showroom floor... That is bad, bad, bad...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 10:10 PM

IMHO the only time the yank tanks had any cred in the UK was when Jack Sears brought his 7 litre Galaxy over and was beating the 3.8 Mk II Jags round the faster circuits. He couldn't do it on the Brands short circuit though.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Allen in Oz
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 03:42 AM

My worst car...a Morris 1100. If it even looked like rain, it would not go . The distributor was located at the front of the East West engine and subject to rain water coming straight through the grille! Aaaaargh

I used to say that it was no wonder the British lost an empire, they had forgotten even how to make a car

Still, I love the dear old country

AD


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Ed T
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:42 AM

Some say the Austin Marina (British Leyland, with quite a few MGB mechanical parts shared) was one of the worst British cars sold in North America.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 09:20 AM

The Morris was cute, tho...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 09:50 AM

Some people wondered why others could not work out how to put a sort of wellington boot on the mini/1100/1300 distributors. Worked fine.

Not a lot of B in the Marina. The 1800TC had what was largely a B engine but the box wasn't. Front suspenders were more Minor. Rear, Minor-like but single-leaf.


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 11:20 AM

I did a DIY mod on my two MG Midgets and the MGB GT: Got a coffee jar, quarter filled with water/anti-freeze, drilled a small hole in the lid, strapped it securely inside the engine bay and fed a tube from the radiator overflow to it, tube taped tightly into top of jar. Hardly ever had to top up the radiator as was normally the case (beacause the overflow pipe discharged onto the ground!).

Interesting times.

PS. Suspenders, Richard?!!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 11:22 AM

We always used to say that. Didn't you?


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:02 PM

Nope. Springs (and shockers).


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: banjoman
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 06:56 AM

When I worked for the AA many years ago, we had names for our favourite?cars which we attended to on a regular basis such as
The Vauxhall Shove It (Chevette
The Hillman Jinx
The Daimler Holts (Half Daimler half Holts Filler)
The Rolls Canardley ( Can hardly get up the slightest hills)


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: GUEST,giovanni
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 03:13 PM

One of my Ginetta G4s crossed the Atlantic to a guy who raced it in California. I would guess it's still racing and should be winning.

Am I sad I sold it? - yes probably, but I now own a wholly English Chevron, many of which are winning races all over the world, so all is not lost.

You can still buy a new, wholly English, Chevron and it will win races straight out of the box.

Also a new Ginetta, wholly English. The rights to their best known models (G4 and G12) were sold to Japan, but the cars are still made in England under licence.

But I still think that for a car to be really, really good, it needs a 3 pointed star on the front.

g


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 11:39 PM

Banjoman, you left out the Thrashwell Snailby!


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Subject: RE: BS: British Cars!
From: banjoman
Date: 01 Feb 13 - 06:37 AM

|and of course the RR Silver Spoon - a 3 wheeler with loads of mod cons - heating direct from the exhaust pipe


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