Bacon Sarnies & Aston Martins

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Bicester Scramble, Sunday 7th October, 2019…..The forecast was rain, and a lot of people had decided not to go, but still the tickets had sold out. This event is getting better & better, but also busier & busier. Whereas it was just petrolheads turning uo, and parking within the grounds of the old RAF Station, the audience has now widened and it seems everyone wants to go to Bicester !! – I do hope this does not go the same way as the Goodwood Breakfast Club , where you’re now parking two fields away from the circuit !

Peronally, I’ve been heading to a lot of the cars&coffee/breakfast meets that have been coming up in the past few years, and they have a very diverse range of cars, plus they are not too busy , and you can get a bacon sarnie and a coffee easily.

Anyway, back to Bicester. I had left early, and was driving Solo, as Mrs W had found out the nearby Bicester Shopping Outlet only opened at midday. I’d taken the M4/A404 route , quite a boring , but fast route, and was listening to the radio when a 911 CSR and GT3 hammered past me, followed by 3 more cars (You get a feel for people who are heading to the same show you are !!!). Another 911 and an Audi RS 6 came past , and I tacked onto our random convoy. “I hope these guys are going to the same place as me !!!” I thought. A great spirited drive ensued, and as we got a few miles from Bicester, ther cacophony of sound as we accelerated hard away from each roundabout as intoxicating…..and I hadn’t even arrived yet………!

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The Scramble itself did not disappoint, with literally almost EVERYTHING that’s going on ‘in the moment’ in the car world seemed to be  there.

Ian Callum , designer of all of the latest Jaguars, arrived in his custom Vanquish 25, the demo car for his new Design Consultancy. The Vanquish was a car he originally designed, this one is his personal transport – It’s how he wanted to design it originally, and has a modern interpretation of the Callum Scottish Tartan on the interior , grilles and tyres, and if you have a few hundred-grand spare , yours for (cough) 500,000 !!!! (WTF!!!!)

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More info on the car on Pistonheads here.

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Fuzz Townsend has an oil business at Bicester and is usually on hand for a chat.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Absolutely Awful Axles …Part DEUX !

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Stratospherically high temperatures forced innovative solutions to working outside  !!!!

FFS !….I’m now on my THIRD half-shaft, with the last two being slightly bent, so as to make the right-rear wheel look like it’s buckled when the car is moving.

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Slide-hammer attachment on , making dis-assembly MUCH easier !!!

So, off to Andy Robinson Race Cars I go. For those not in the know , Andy has been the winning Pro-Mod drag racing champion of the UK for most of the past 15 years, and has a substantial workshop on the A33 between Reading and Basingstoke where he builds hot-rods, dragsters, classics and everything in between.

Good video of Andy launching his 3000 HP dragster at Santa Pod – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt3WqPzr0jw

This guy is a proper engineer, and upon looking at my axle, rightly proclaimed it ‘puny’ !, but said he’d do what he could with the bits I’d supplied ….which were literally everything I had left that wasn’t bent !! IF this didn’t fix it, Andy could build me a real man’s axle complete with limited slip diff – which may well be my next course of action if this doesn’t work.

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My wife thinks it’s time to buy a new Caterham , maybe a 270R, but this has a bit of history in it , with the Crossflow Engine, which is almost Formula Ford Spec, and shoots great exhaust-flames !

Diff Came out and new one went back in OK, and apparently , this is how you do a gasket these days, personally I think it’s a bodge !

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About to fail the MOT !!!!

After two axle dis and re-assemblies, and an MOT failure Went really well ,passed on everything else, right up until he said “Is your wheel buckled , mate ?

So 2019 has passed with about 60 miles driven.

IMG_1372Hopefully i’ll be back on the road soon !, but having bought another car in the meantime, it may take a little longer !

 

A very British affair

Having attended the first Stonor Breakfast Club a couple of months back, it was a great ‘for petrolheads’ meet, and this one did not disappoint !

Lambo accessories included a vintage bottle of Brut 33 and a triple-jointed spanner for those tight-to-reach spark plugs !!!!

Highlights were the Lamborghini Silhouette featured in this months Octane, Lotus 6 AND 7 , Bullitt Mustang , and no less than a very new McLaren Senna.

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Having had 50 cars last meet, they had catered with 60 bacon rolls, so the staff had the remaining 10….this time about 120 cars must have turned up , and bacon sarnies were in high demand as the word had got out , and this is going to become a very busy meet in future.

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A Hawker Hurricane even overflew us, banking hard to get a view of the gleaming metalwork below.

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I was just waiting for a rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ to fire up to complete the morning of  British-ness !

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Great plate !!!!

Absolutely brilliant place. Top Tip- to beat the queues in the cafe, head over to the stately home, where there is an awesome cafe in the central atrium, great for lunch. Plus have a walk round the most epic garden.

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Ace Porsches !

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An invite from a mate with a lovely 80’s Targa 911 to the Bank Holiday Porsche Meet (Cheers NeilH) at the Ace Cafe could not be ignored, and on a 31 degree evening we blasted towards that mecca of motoring on the North Circular, the awesome Ace Cafe.

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On arrival the car park was beyond full so we were relegated to the bus stop opposite (not entirely sure parking there is even legal !!!)

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Strolling across the road where the Ton-up boys used to test their motorcycles top speed , we walked into possibly the best Porsche Car Park in the UK !

Some very nice, and very expensive metalwork was packed in so tight that the cars at the back were blocked in for the evening !!….914’s , 930’s , GT2’s, GT3’s, special editions, customs….but no 964’s , not sure why.

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at 9pm , on the dot, there was a rumble as six ‘slammed’ & ‘stanced’ late-model golfs literally bullied their way into the car park, leaving stunned Porsche owners no choice but to move their machines to somewhere else in the car park….then , strangely, the car park turned into some sort of Tarantino-esque warped version of reality, as the bikers rightfully reclaimed empty parts of the car park, and others seemed to be going for a 0-60 time ACROSS THE CAR PARK !

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We decided to leave, just in case we became the sacrifice in some sort of Wicker Man type ceremony.

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This sorry sight has been sitting in the corner for years, please somebody , rescue it !!!!

Pink Floyd on the Hi-Fi, we trundled along the motorway homeward bound. An interesting evening at the Ace !

En route we passed the Yamaha MotoGP Truck ….”Forza Rossi !!!”

They always have something interesting on the nearby Vanguard Storage building (I wonder if they landed it there !!!)

The Right Crowd…..and no crowding !

….an old by-line for Brooklands Race Track , back in the day !!!!

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Where else would you find wine AND Castrol on the same shelf !!!!

, and today was no different….after all WE were attending !!!

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it’s 2019 , and with an old friend I used to play hockey with, we arrived for a new event, Brooklands Relived. Arriving at 10am , we parked right outside the museum complex ! – How good is this !. We even convinced the wives to come too !
On Arrival, the Aston Martin Razor Blade, an awesome pre-war hillclimber, was warming up !

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Brooklands is a magical place, and the birth of motorsport in Britain, and this was the first time I’d been since they moved the entire main hangar off the main straight , where they can now do trials , mini races and race-starts – Nice to see some serious machinery being used in anger, including the two fastest cars on the circuit, the Napier Railton and Barnato-Hassan Special (Wolf Barnato being one of the famous ‘Bentley Boys’), both being driven with gusto. The action then moved to the test hill with a variety of cars and bikes trying, and in some cases failing to make it up !!!!!

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Brooklands is always a good day out, and combining it with running cars was great fun. The atmospheric chamber shed is absolutely awesome, and amazing it’s even still here , after being scrapped many decades ago, plus it also houses the 22,000lbb Earthquake and bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Combine that with the Concorde, some interesting old aircraft, and the new hangar , full of interesting Brooklands history.
Great day out, but with the wives tiring of shed-upon-shed of ‘interesting’ (to us) cars, planes , buses and trucks , we headed off , stopping at a great pub for dinner. A brilliant way to finish they day !

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Typical !….. you wait for a bus ….then TWO turn up at once !!!!

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Barnato-Hassan Special – the 2nd Fastest car in Brooklands history, after the Napier-Railton

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The Railton – An epic piece of kit !!!

 

…If Carlsberg did Garden parties…..

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Set in the heart of rural Wiltshire, with it’s own grounds, and woods is Middlewick House…….home to none other than rock-god Nick Mason , Pink Floyd Drummer, and , more importantly a petrolhead with some serious money !!! (where is the ‘envy’ button !!!!)

Once you get into the county roads of Wiltshire, you realise you’re far from the drudge of working life, and a calm sets in as you marvel at the surrounding scenery.

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I was taking a last long drive in the Z4 Roadster before the replacement arrives (more on this in a later blog post !) , so, ‘Sport Mode’ enagaged, the twisting lanes take on a life of their own as you wind your way into a more and more rural setting.

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Eventually we get very close, so close in fact, that my satnav proclaims e have in fact “Reached our destination” , but th Mason residence is nowhere to be scene, and by the look of another two bewildered drivers, both out of their cars they are also lost ! So we fire up Google Maps, they’re never wrong are they ??? 5 miles later, we reach the dame spot !!!, but catch a glimpse of a friends Caterham flashing past a junction ahead, followed by a very nice 50’s kit Ferrari…We’re on the right track …..FOLLOW THAT CAR !

The house is down a narrow lane that a few widebody cars were having some issues getting down, but that is the price of a perfect setting for a house,and we soon arrive in a field where , later , a record 2000 cars would arrive in …..Let that sink in for a moment…..He can park TWO THOUSAND CARS at his house !!!! (The envy meter is in the red now !)

The day was all in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, an the 7 puind entrance was going to a great cause.

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On the drive is littered with multi-million pound metalwork, and Nick has a very eclectic collection including IndyCars , GT Racers, CanAm, and a great collection of old & new Ferraris (F40, 250GTO, F12 TFD, LaFerrari (in Blue !) …..I’m going to stop now as I’m drooling all over my keyboard.

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This is the life !, with an very relaxed atmosphere, stalls selling interesting garden ornaments and arts and crafts, music, a great BBQ, it’s a bit like a stately home with a Goodwood Revival/Festival of speed vibe….very relaxed, with an open all areas feel.

The car park had some nice metalwork on show, and around 2000 cars turned up – Who has a drive that big theses days !

Thanks to Nick for Opening up his sizeable gardens and letting us mere mortals glimpse the ‘real life’ behind a Floydian Rockster !

Cheers !

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Absolutely Awful Axles !

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I don’t normally mention this, but my 7 is a live axle model…….sounds cool so far…….but wait….the axle is from a MORRIS ITAL (Marina) !!!…. plus, instead of  fitting the bearing against a metal collar, those geniuses just put it on a taper !

Adding super-sticky tyres and a fair bit more power than the Ital combines to give you quite a bit of sideways axle movement after you’ve flung your car round a few B-Roads !!

…and eventually they do just snap, so over the last few weeks , I pulled my finger out, bought a new axle from a guy who races Caterhams, and put it all back together.

However, on the way back from a test-run, I hear a voice from two lanes away while I’m waiting at the lights ‘You’re rear wheel is wobbling , mate !” …..”Oh, FFS!”, I mutter under my breathe as I very slowly make my way back home. The axle I bought from the racer must have been in a collision, so here we go again, Deja Vu !, but at least I’m getting good at disassembling the axle now , AND it has lasted me over 10 years so I can’t complain.

Crusty Ital Axle

I have a second axle from the racer, plus another VERY RUSTY one from eBay that looked like it has been at the bottom of the ocean !, but the actual half-shaft , which I’m going to use, looks good, AND it has only been on a road car , NOT a Caterham, so a good chance it could actually be straight !

Just need to get it off (Lump hammer) , and down to James Whiting , who does a brilliant modification using some sprung washers that automatically adjust any gaps that come up due to the British Leyland dubious taper !

Back on the road soon , I hope !