ITV's Granchester

ITV's Granchester

For all Morris J type Vans, Morris JB vans and (BMC 50's vehicles)Torque! e-mail fiftiesvehicles@mail.com. The copyright of any photograph on this blog-site will remain with its owner. No infringement intended.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

2nd part of the co-authors story. More to follow..


Hi All, again,

Dave Barker, after collecting the engine from Pateley, spent a load of his spare time stripping everything down and then delivered the head to Nev Holmes (6/80 & MO Club Technical Advisor and current Vice Chairman) for crack and pressure testing, which was done by Ron Woods, an engineer friend who is also related to Nev I believe. Nev also fine honed the bores as the broken piston had left slight scoring on the walls of cylinder No5. The head had already had some sort of valve inserts fitted in the past and was not only a bit chewed up but was also cracked in one or two places and although it held up okay under pressure whilst cold, it couldn’t be guaranteed to hold when hot, so we ummed and aaahed for a bit not quite sure what to do, series 1 VC22 heads being rarer than rocking horse manure in the UK.

Dave eventually came up with a solution. He had a good series 2 head fitted with stainless steel valves with oversized stems (which meant that the original exhaust valve guides could be reamed and re-used), that he’d acquired from someone who’d given up on a project, and as he had the relevant manifolds and bits, he was willing to sell me the whole lot and get Nev to fit it all together. Dave rebuilt the bottom end for me (don’t forget that I live and work in Italy so there wasn’t anything I could do from here) and fitted a full set of Hepolite + 30thou pistons (as it had been rebored a while ago) and new con rods, a matching single piston and rod weren’t available to replace the smashed and bent one so it had to be a whole set unfortunately, new main and big end bearings, new seals etc. reconditioned oil pump, and he also modified the sump to take the AC Delco filters that cost far less than the usual ones and work just as well as the originals.
Nev was a bit busy and didn’t have so much time on his hands so the rebuilding of the bottom end was left to Dave. The bottom end and head were delivered to Nev in the end and he finally timed it all up and completed the assembly (at least, that’s how I understand it to have been). The next question was, how to get the engine back in. Pateley or Harby? It was finally decided that as Ron would be trailering Dave’s Police 6/80 to Andy’s at Pateley in order to do the A posts, he would pick up the Six for the return journey and drop it back at Nev’s. Dave and I shared the cost and killed the two birds with a single stone. I think that’s when Nev had a laughing fit as his words to me when we met were “I honestly don’t know what possessed you to buy it…..” and then burst out laughing, as he is apt to do quite frequently.

Dave and Nev got the engine in and running but there was a lot to do, the series two exhaust manifold is different from the series 1, it’s a different shape to start with and the outlet is lower so the exhaust down pipe had to be shortened otherwise it would have hit the ground over bumps and dips, the carb was leaking like a sieve, the distributor had all the wrong bits in it, all the brakes were either seized or leaking at the cylinders and the handbrake cables were chock a block. The gearbox had hardly any oil in it and neither had the steering box, which was probably why it was so stiff. Andy had probably taken the fuel pump and battery off when he took the engine out, but, he’d “forgotten” to put the bits in the boot so Nev had to put another pump and battery on. There had been a FULL tank of petrol too! The tank doesn’t leak and so I can only assume that he drained it for transit when he moved premises from Ripon to Pateley. It was empty anyway. I was a bit annoyed about that! The fuel pump and battery I can forgive but all that lovely “go juice”.
Nev greased everything up, filled up where needed and then took her for a spin. “Ah got down the road an put me foot on’t brakes an it frightened the bloody life outa me, there weren’t none, ah thought ah were gonna hit ‘t bloody wall!” those were his words. So he replaced most of the wheel cylinders and seals, put me some new-ish brake shoes on, I can’t remember how many, he did say, he also replaced one handbrake cable and freed the other one off, tightened up the rear hubs and then it was ready to go.
"Dad"
This all happened whilst I was making my way there, which in itself is a story and a half………. I’d planned to start out on Weds 23rd Nov 2005 and fortunately everything went according to plan. I have some really lovely friends in Nottingham who have frequented my bar quite regularly whilst on their holidays and are the folks that rescued me the previous year when I was stuck on the A1 near Doncaster. Flying in to Stanstead from Verona/Brescia with Tryingair was the cheapest option and also the easiest for me under normal circumstances, but Easyjet go to East Midlands from Venice/Marco Polo airport, so I booked that, as the journey from Stanstead to Nottingham takes longer than the trip from Malcesine to Mestre. (The mainland part of Venice) I took a bus to Peschiera at the south of Lake Garda, where there’s a railway station, and caught the train to Mestre.
The train was an hour late (who says Italian trains run on time?) and by the time I got there, as it kept stopping for no apparent reason- the driver must have been taking lessons from BR- it was getting desperately close to the end of check-in time. Thank goodness for Italian taxi drivers. My driver had a VW Passat turbo diesel automatic. Shift? My goodness. I’ve drunk Guinness and prune juice before now and that shifted pretty quick, but nothing compared to this. The driver would have put Schumacher to shame, and he was safe too! I’m an ex driving instructor myself and I know when I feel safe with someone. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had I not been in a rush I’d havehappily paid a bit extra for another ride!
I made the check-in okay, sat down for a couple of well needed sandwiches and a drink and then we loaded up and off we went.. Good flight, nice staff. My mate Bob met me at the airport (another Bob) and asked me what I felt like eating as Susie his wife was working until 21.30. “I’d love some fish and chips” I said. So he took me to Harry Ramsdens. Forgive me, I couldn’t resist it, I beat the Harry Ramsdens challenge! I ate the lot! I’ve got the certificate to prove it too! Pig or what?! Long live fatguts! Bob, as he has an office at home (he worked at the time for Infineon which is a division of Siemens, he designs computer chips, a clever bloke) only had to work from home for a couple of days and so he offered to take me to Harby to meet Nev.
We left at about 07.30 on Thursday morning (24th Nov) and were just five miles from Harby when the turbo charger on his car, an X Type Jaguar diesel estate, packed it in. He’d had the turbo replaced a couple of weeks back as it had been sluggish, but this time the bearings bit the dust, we could hear them screeching, and clouds of smoke poured out of the exhaust. We had no choice but to limp along slowly, trying to find a position where we could get a mobile phone signal in order to call for help and finally made it into Harby by the time we got one. Bob switched off quickly and we sat waiting for the smoke screen to disperse.
I phoned Nev, who was only about 50 yards from where we had stopped, so Bob left another smoke screen and we limped into Nev’s yard. When Bob switched off, it wouldn’t, it went faster and faster running on the engine oil it was sucking up from the sump through the turbo bearings. By the time I’d got him to put it in 3rd gear and stall it, the big end bearings had clattered themselves to bits and Nev appeared like a phantom in the fog wearing a huge grin. “A bit buggered up that is!” he said, bursting out laughing and wafting the smoke from his face with a huge hand.
 “I reckon you’ll need a breakdown truck, the phones this way, you can’t get a good mobile signal out here. Come in an we’ll have a cup of tea”.
So this was the famous Nev. What a nice bloke. I met Helen too, she’s a lovely lady. Ron Woods was there as well, what can I say, all of them, really nice folk. I can’t think of any more superlatives. Fortunately for Bob his car is a company car and was under a two year warranty so it was just a question of calling the Jaguar service agent, who then called the RAC to tow him away. Why is it that the RAC always send a
bloke with a van first, who arrives in about an hour, scratches his head and sucks his teeth, then calls for the tow truck which takes another hour? Why can’t they turn up with the low loader in the first place? We did after all tell them the engine had seized and blown the big ends! Why don’t they listen?
Bob got a courtesy car from Jaguar the same afternoon, a lovely new grey saloon. The Jaguar diesel engine at the time was basically a refined version of a Ford Mondeo engine so no shortage of spare parts there, it was definitely a new engine job in this case however as the one in his had really had it! Shuffled off its mortal coil and gone to meet its maker. Snuffed it! Good job for him it is a company car otherwise it would have been an expensive favour taking me to Nevs.

Back to the Six….
Nev told me in no uncertain terms that I’d bought a crate. Martin Howey (Martin Howey classics. E-bay dealer name rosedalerip) basically bought it as it was, had a few things sorted out, MOT’d it and sold it on so he wasn’t to blame for the bodges on it in any way. You may wonder why I keep defending him but he’d been really good about things and went well out of his way to help, especially as the documents had got lost (I found them in the end) and he really pulled his finger out to help in whichever way was possible so I have nothing but praise for him. Basically it was the biggest bodge up job Nev (and I- now I have experience with these vehicles) had ever seen, “However” he said, “take your time with it and undo the bodges and it’ll be a decent car if you work at it” so that’s what I set out to do. He said that if I’d contacted the club before buying it they’d have had a look at it first and told me not to bother. I appreciate this of course, and it’s an age old story, but…. I didn’t know what a Morris Six was until I saw one (mine) and when I did see it, I wanted it. Martin could have just re-advertised it and I’d have had to have taken my chance on the auction again so getting someone to look at it first wasn’t really an option. Well, you live and learn I suppose but to tell the truth, I’m not a bit sorry. A bit out of pocket maybe, perhaps more than I needed to be, but never mind, you can’t take it with you when you go can you? I wanted THAT car, and I got it. End of story. Yer pays yer money, yer takes yer choice. Or what?

We went down into Nev’s yard (what an emporium!) to the old chap. Nev just had to tighten up the rear hubs and check the back axle oil level and he’d be ready to go, more or less. There was a trailer hitch fitted, and because of this I’d bought a trailer on e-bay from a chap in Leeds, which was to be my next port of call. Only problem was, no lighting socket or wiring. I could have sworn it was there when I first took possession of the car but obviously my memory failed me on that one as there was no evidence of it ever having been fitted or having been removed, the tow ball was there though, so Nev took me to Saxilby to a mates place where they sell caravan fittings, in order for him to get a piece of angle iron with which to make a battery clamp and where I could buy the relevant socket and wiring.
This all being sorted I took her for a spin to a local filling station to put some petrol in it. It was then that I noticed that the dynamo wasn’t charging. Nev’s a great mechanic and body shop man, but on his own admission, no electrician. So we adjourned to the local pub with Helen for a nice lunch and a couple of beers. Thanks Nev. After this we fiddled about for a few hours and in the end it got too dark to continue. I’d spoken earlier in the day to Dave Barker, for the first time actually, as he’d phoned Nev to see if I was there. I have a hearing problem and so I try to communicate by e-mail wherever possible as I tend to rely quite a lot on lip reading when I’m chatting. Phone conversations can sometimes go over my head a bit. I have bad tinnitus, plus I’m 80% deaf in one ear so one thing coupled with the other on a bad day can be a real problem. Especially on the phone.
Dave however was intending to come down to Nev’s on the following Saturday morning, so leaving things in Nev’s hands to call Dave again and tell him to bring a spare regulator with him, I got Nev to drop me at Newark station where I took the train back to Nottingham and spent the night, and the next day with my friends and returned on the Saturday morning. Dave in the meantime had e-mailed me again and suggested that as he was coming down, and he had a tow hitch, if I were to give him the address of the chap in Leeds he’d pick up the trailer for me and bring it to Nev’s in order to save me some time. Nice of him, or what?

So, Saturday came and I met Dave the Bark for the first time. Very appropriate surname. The guy’s “Barkin’” alright “Barkin’ mad!” What a lovely man, he’s as crazy as me! No wonder people call him “Crazy Dave”. I took to him straight away. A real “Anorak”. Meaning, to those not familiar with the term, one who is so fanatical about a petsubject that he/she can quote technical details from memory all day long and is quite happy to talk shop all night/day/week, usually applied to train spotters who can be seen shivering on railway bridges in the snow, wearing an Anorak with the hood up and with a manic gleam in the eye. (I hope you’re laughing as you read this Dave, if not I’m in trouble).
 Well, get me talking about old cars, wrestling (real wrestling, Clive Myers, Steve Grey, Johhny Saint etc, not this American show biz stuff) or guitars ( I make them ) or a whole host of other things and you’ll soon get fed up with me, I’m an Anorak too! Dave’s my sort of guy, I could sit and talk to him infinitely and not get bored. He’s maybe not everybody’s cup of tea, and, admittedly nor am I, but we got on very well and we’ve since spent a lot of time together. His intelligence is phenomenal and to underestimate him is a big mistake.
I’ve been a member of many car clubs in the past but have never before come across the high level of support and camaraderie that I’ve found in this one. With a chap like Dave (who co-founded the club along with Roger Tennyson) at the top, with his never ending enthusiasm and apparently obsessive love for his hobby it’s not a surprise that the club is a success. I’d certainly never have got this project off the ground if it weren’t for his help and the car would probably still be sitting and rotting in Pateley waiting for someone to source engine parts for me. I had a great laugh with Dave and what with Nev’s caustic comments and my mad (Milliganistic- Spike Milligan was my hero) sense of the ridiculous we had a bit of fun together.
Dave decided to get stressed out a bit and (unusually for him) some choice words flew around but in the end, and after a bit of fiddling, he put a different regulator on the car, started it up and a great cheer was raised, as we had a charging circuit! Dave then wired my trailer lights up; I hooked it up, and off we went for a spin. I was taking it easy and treating the old car with kid gloves.
“I’d like to drive it” said Dave, so we swapped. He put his foot straight down, “No problems” he said it’ll do 60 without doing any harm”. The pistons were/are still slapping quite a lot as although the engine block had been re-bored, this must have been some time ago and Dave had been reluctant to do another re-bore out to + 60 thou as this would have added another £300-400 to the bill which was already approaching the four figure stage considering what I had to pay to Nev as well, and a set of + 60 thou pistons weren’t available. Nev did me a favour and didn’t charge me anywhere near what he should have done, nor did Dave that’s for sure. 
Dave and Nev assured me that the noise would settle down after a bit and although the slap wouldn’t go away, it would run a bit quieter after a few thousand miles which would give me time to save up for a re-bore to +60. So, I shook hands all round and drove back to Nottingham. No chance of falling asleep in this car. What with transmission whine from the diff and the gearbox, piston slap (louder under load) plus the fact that most of the sound deadening material had been stripped out by previous owners, deaf or not, no chance of dropping off, at all!. Admittedly, when it gets really warmed up and I’m cruising along at about 55mph it’s reasonably quiet-ish but I’ll have to do something about the diff whine one day.
On Sunday at 11.30 I set off for Eastbourne, my home town. I was actually going to stay about 15 miles north of Eastbourne, where the “Merrydown” winery is situated, at a friend’s place in Horam. Everything went just fine until I passed over the Queen Elizabeth bridge over the Thames on the M25. I began to smell a strong niff of petrol and, pulling over, found that the “Banjo union” where the petrol pipe goes into the carburettor float chamber had loosened and petrol was shooting all over the shop, all over the exhaust manifold too. A right Niagara of nafta. (nafta is Italian dialect for fuel-usually meaning diesel though ) I was lucky, I could have had a major fire on my hands.
I tightened it up with a mole grip that I’d relieved Nev of, and then continued noticed that the regulator had packed up again. I shot off onto the A22, and as luck would have it I ended up behind a National Express coach which was going to Eastbourne (I saw the destination on the front as I gave way to it at a roundabout) so I followed it fairly closely and was able to get to my mate’s place on side lights alone. Once there I put the battery on charge overnight and the next morning went to see my dad who lives locally. He’s had countless Morris Minors and Oxford series 2’s and, like me, has spent a lot of time being skint and having to cobble things together in order to keep them running. If anyone knew how to sort it, he probably would. Give me an alternator and I’m fine, give me a dynamo and regulator and I haven’t a clue. I’m learning okay?
Dad swore a bit and fiddled for a couple of hours, like you do, and then phoned a mate who runs a garage in Ticehurst. They couldn’t help us but suggested the Morris Minor centre at Stonegate. We drove there and begged help. The owner uhmmed and aaaaahed a bit, scratched his head, sucked his teeth (why do they always do that?) then found a new one in its box, off the shelf. Fitted it on. Perfect! £131.90 Exchange! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX heck! Still, problem solved and peace of mind gained. Phew!
Next problem was the mixture. It’d been running very rich and so I leaned it off a bit. I never learn…. shouldn’t have touched it really, after this I wasn’t able to get it to run right at all until I finally got it to Italy and rebuilt the carb with a refurb kit from Burlen fuel systems, £70! Then the fuel pump started hammering away like a machine gun and neither dad nor I could work out why. The smell of petrol coming into the car was traced to a loose float chamber cover, duly tightened and sealed but the pump continued to hammer away.

Dave B. phoned me at my mates place to see how things were going and after I’d explained the problem he said it was probably the non-return disc valve in the pump outlet, which I duly took out the next morning and de-gunked. This had a marked effect but I still couldn’t get it to tick over without pulling the choke out. I tried making the mixture a bit richer again but this didn’t help either. I eventually set the tick over a bit high and left it at that for the time being as time was tight and I had to get to Folkestone for the tunnel train that very evening.
It was now Thursday afternoon and I departed from Horam at 14.00 hrs. I was in two minds whether to go via the coast road for a bit of nostalgia, or head up towards London and on to a more direct route.
When will I ever learn? I went the pretty way and got held up in Hastings at road works. I had to pull the choke out to keep it going when my foot was off the gas pedal, and then sat and watched the temperature gauge climbing up to 90, then 95 (Dave had kindly fitted a sender to the header tank and a capillary type gauge inside). At last I got clear of the road works and she began to cool off a bit, then I got stuck in a huge queue at some traffic lights. I’d just made it through on amber and got a quarter of the way up a steep hill when it cut out!
Fuel vaporisation! Four letter words flew, plus a few fives and sixes too. When I get a bit …… annoyed…. I tend to swear very loudly in Italian. I’m not being egoistic by saying this, it just comes naturally to me as I’ve lived in Italy for the past 22 years, 15 years at that time, and Italian is the language I spend most of my time speaking as all my close friends are Italians. I only really speak English with Jeanie my wife and even then some of the time we speak Danish as she’s from Copenhagen. I’m not as fluent with it as with Italian but I usually understand what she’s saying to me even if I don’t have sufficient vocabulary to reply every time. Danish is handy as although quite a lot of the Italians speak English, not too many of them speak Danish so if we want to speak privately and not be eavesdropped upon, we use that.
 Italian however is a great language for swearing in, it has a good ring to it and the advantage at that particular moment in time was that not too many Italians were likely to be wandering around on the streets of Hastings so I wouldn’t have offended anyone with my vehement accusations and speculations of the parental lineage of the designers of an engine that gets so hot so easily. A young woman passing by pushing her infant in a buggy said to her friend “he sounds like my granddad, he swears just like that”. Fortunately for me she apparently didn’t speak Italian (I asked her) so she didn’t know what I’d said, I think she’d have been a bit shocked if she had.
So, I poured cold water over the petrol pump body and disconnected the fuel hose from the carb, switched on and ran half a gallon of fuel into a plastic bottle to help cool it off, poured the fuel back into the tank, reattached it all and tried to start it again, only to have all the lights go down, accompanied by a burning smell when I tried to operate the starter, which stubbornly refused to budge. I put a spanner on the commutator shaft and it turned freely but wouldn’t budge when I pressed the solenoid button. The fuel pump still battered away like a jackhammer but being stranded at the side of the bloody road again was getting to be too much of a familiar habit so I grabbed the starting handle and wound it up. After several exhaustive attempts it coughed and roared, and we were off again! Phew!
I finally arrived at Folkestone and was put into the queue, next train 15 minutes. I unscrewed the petrol pump outlet union and was just in the process of cleaning the disc valve again when I dropped the spring clip down inside the chassis rail and couldn’t get it back out. Bother, or words to that effect. Dave, in his wisdom, had given me a spare petrol pump so although it meant I’d miss a train, I changed it. The trains are every 35 mins anyway so there wasn’t a problem. As I had starting problems we let everyone else load on before me so that I wouldn’t hold anyone up if I couldn’t start up straight away at the other end but in fact it cranked over really easily and went on the first or second pull when warm every time.
What a lovely experience going through the channel tunnel! We loaded up, I listened to the announcements, stayed in the car reading the service manual for the Morris Six, and then noticed that we were actually moving. I nipped out to the boot, grabbed a pork pie from my shopping bag, a bottle of ginger beer, consumed them and next thing I knew, we were in France! The whole passage can’t have been twenty minutes. Smooth too. Funny thing, when I booked the trip, a one way ticket to France with a camping trailer cost £125.00, even off peak. A return journey “shopping trip” cost £75.00. Does that make sense to anyone? I naturally booked the return trip and just didn’t return. 

Here in Italy it’s, for example, EU:6.00 to go to Verona on the bus, that’s 65km away from my town,  and it costs EU: 6.00 to come back. Not like with British Rail, £14.50 one way and £15.50 return. In that case it should be £7.75 each way! I never did understand the philosophy of it all. The way the Italians do it makes far more sense.
Off I went from Calais and stopped just before Liege in Belgium, it was about 23.30. I’ve slept in a few cars in my time but I must say, there are few as uncomfortable to sleep in the back of as a Six. I’m 6ft and fat, so I was very cramped. I managed somehow to sleep until 07.30 and was back on the road by 8.00. I’d had a check up on the internet before I left England and had discovered that from Lyons southward all across France and into Italy it was very bad with snow so I went via Germany and Austria instead. It’s roughly 300 km more but I didn’t mind as I’d be avoiding thesnow.
All went well until I arrived at Frankfurt where I encountered a sudden traffic jam and everything came to a halt. I must have miss-timed something because I managed to stall the old thing and couldn’t start it on the handle again. I quickly pushed it to the side of the motorway (again) and opened the bonnet to see what was up. Loadsa petrol! Flooded. The cops suddenly appeared like mushrooms (one minute nothing, next, there they are) and sat behind me with their lights flashing and were actually very intrigued by the car as they’d never seen one of these before. They were even more surprised when I told them how old it was. The younger of the two policemen said “It’s beautiful, I do so love old cars” They offered to give me a push but I declined, not because I didn’t want the help but because I’ve pushed it a bit myself and know how bloomin’ heavy it is! “No” I said, “it’s okay, I’ll just dry the plugs off and he’ll probably go again” the cops sat there for ten or fifteen minutes whilst I fiddled around and then they were replaced by another unit.
By this time I was getting exhausted trying to crank it and had just asked the police if they could phone someone to tow me off the motorway, to a hill maybe where I could run it down and bump start it, when I gave it a last try. It caught, coughed, let out a huge cloud of black smoke, and then we were off! The police escorted me out into the traffic and then followed me for a good bit before passing by and waving goodbye. Nice folks. This was another reason I’d decided to go via Germany as the Germans are usually far more sympathetic towards old cars and the drivers thereof. The French are sort of okay too but out of personal experience the Germans are far more helpful and far more likely in the event of a problem to tow you off to their house/garage, call a few mates round, and try to get you fixed up whereas in France they’re more likely to give a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and turn away. I was a HGV1 international driver for a few years and I’m speaking from experience.

Anyway, after this small mishap things seemed to settle down a bit and although the mixture was still not spot on at least it didn’t stall anymore, I finally (when I rebuilt things) found the mixture problem was being caused by the fact that the vacuum advance system wasn’t working, mainly because the diaphragm had disintegrated and was causing a massive air leak into the induction manifold, causing it to run weak, no wonder it did an average of 29mpg!
The rest of my journey was relatively uneventful. The temperature behaved itself, even up the hills to the Europabrucke at Innsbruck. I had good weather all the way until I was 10km before the Brenner pass. From there on, into Italy and down to Bressanone it was very bad, heavy snow. From there to Bolzano it was clear and from Bolzano to Rovereto it was bad again. After that it just rained. If you take the Rovereto South/Lago di Garda Nord turning from the A22 Brennero motorway, I live about 20 minutes’ drive from there, at Malcesine sul Garda. I arrived home at 02.00 on the Saturday morning. All in all I averaged about 29 miles per gallon which led me to think it was running lean. For the size of the car and the weight, plus a trailer full of goodies (shopping and spares) I know that’s very good as they usually only do about 22mpg, maybe 25 on a run if you’re lucky.

Was it worth it? Well, considering the nice new friends I made, Ron, Nev Helen and especially Dave Barker (at the time, of course, many more now), plus all the kind help and support I’ve been given, despite the dosh I forked out (which wasn’t a lot considering what it really should and could have been) I’d say an emphatic YES!
I love the car and so does the missus.
Next day, (Sat 3rd Dec) at about midday, a young chap who helps out behind the bar “Maxi” came in for a few hours and so Jeanie and I walked down the road to where I’d parked. I still had the trailer locked on so I’d had to park a bit out of the town, just a few hundred metres out as it’s only a small place. Before she saw the car I said “Bear in mind he’s an old chap and isn’t posh and shiny, he’s like a poor old scruffy dog that nobody loves that’s been left out in the rain and needs tender love and care” It’s best to be like this with my missus as she just loves animals (me too) and if she can relate to things as if they have personalities, like animals that need help, then it’s not so hard to win her over. Oh the wiles trials and lengths we men folk go to, to gain approval from the “little woman” the word of whom is FINAL and can spell the end of a project in one fell swoop huh? 

Jeanie caught sight of the old boy and her eyes lit up,(relief) she walked round to the front and said “aaaaaw!” which is her way of saying “ooooh or ohhhhh” as you would when seeing something you really like. “Is this our next Susy car?” We’ve always had names for our cars, my 1972 Mercedes was called Mr Merc, my old Austin Metro was Min and my London Taxi (awful thing to drive long distances in) was called Mr T. Our little Fiat 127 was Phyllis, or SY-Phyllis when she broke down, which wasn’t often actually, but all the cars that we’ve had that were special to us have been called Susy. This one however was definitely a male, so I said “No, but we’ll think of a name”. It’s so nice to have the female of the species approve. This means she won’t mind me spending time (and money) on the old thing or get jealous.
I sat Jeanie inside, and cranked it up and then we went for a short purr around the town. There really is nothing like the sound of a six. (Apart from the sound of a V12) As we rumbled along, Jeanie sat there smiling from ear to ear and waved like the queen at everybody as all heads and eyes turned in our direction. I then stopped outside our bar and everyone inside came out to goggle! Felt like a king I did!
Yeah, it was worth it. I had lots of things to do, some niggly little jobs and a couple of big ones too. The A posts needed doing but Dave B. and Andy in Pateley were apparently working on that one to try and produce a pattern part as this would also be of interest to MO owners as it’s basically the same body shell. The suspension bushes were in need of replacement; they were sort of okay for the moment but needed doing soon. The starter needed sorting out sort out. I took it off and gave it to a local chap (retired) who took it to an auto electrician he knows, who skimmed the commutator where the carbon brushes contact, it had worn concave, and checked all the wiring, it cost me €65,00, just over £30 at the time, and has never given any trouble since.
Eventually, after running it for a year, I came into possession of a Wolseley 6/80, and the MS was taken to Germany to see what could be done to it, if at all. This is all for another time as it’s a long and involved tale, but quite an eventful story. I’ve still not got the MS back, after almost 6 years, but it won’t be long now-I hope. Next time I’ll talk about something technical for a change.
Cheers. Bobbo.

A list of chassis number and registration dates.

J/R 010 10/1949--J/R 649 1949--J/R 755 1/1950--J/R 1061 12/1949--J/R 1102 12/1949--J/L 1518 1950--J/R 1612 03/1950--J/L 2935 1951--J/R 4491 11/1950--J/R 6050 12/1950--J/R 6187 1/1951--J/R 10916 12/1951--J/R 10972 1/1952--J/R 14776 12/1952--J/R 145931/1953--J/R 15455 1/1953--J/R 16261 03/1953--J/R 18124 1952--J/R 19902 12/1953--J/R 20658 02/1954--J/R 21720 12/1953--J/R 23555 1954--J/R 24274 1954--J/R 25618 12/1954--J/R 25079 1/1955--J/R 25741 05/1955--J/R 29869 11/1955--J/R 30963 11/1955--J/R 3183110/1955--J/R 32465 11/1955--J/R 33340 1/1956--J/R 35466 1/1957--J/R 35671 12/1956--JB/MR 37200 06/1957--JB/MR 39547 12/1957--JB/MR 39012 1/1958--JB/MR 39648 1/1958--JB/MR 42533 1/1959--JB/MR 42677 12/1958--JB/MR 43367 1959--JB/MR 45648 1/1960--JB/MR 45693 12/1959--JB/MR 46009 02/1960--JB/MR 47648 12/1960--JB/MR 47907 12/1960--JB/MR 48069 01/1961--JB/MR 48219 01/1961
Approximate Production data for each year.
1949 750 vehicles -1950 5347 -1951 5051 -19524098 -1953 5027 -1954 6000 -1955 6894 -19563169 -1957 3284 -1958 3131 -1959 2965 -19602516 -1961 362
Total produced 48620


Ardingly Vehicle Show 12/7/09. Picture taken by Clive Barker.