2005 - Pre-Season Testing!
car had been bought in November. It was collected on a transporter and
brought down from Carlisle. What an exciting moment. My ace mechanic had
managed to get the car running for my pre-Christmas deadline. My thoughts
were with my first ‘M’ Coupe and the ‘races’ I used to have with a Healey
3000 and a TR2. We used to hammer the eight miles between Malvern and
Upton-on-Severn, and the eight miles back. Sometimes I won, but I was rarely
left behind. I was nineteen.
now, as I sat behind the wheel, all thoughts were on how the trip would go,
all these years later. My wife Jen and I had planned a short trip to start
with. Across the Rodborough and Minchinhampton commons on the flattish A419
for two miles to the Ragged Cot Pub. Not a big trip, but far enough to
engine started at the first touch of the button. I was at once pleased with
the satisfying gurgle of the V8 and the healthy-looking exhaust gases
emanating from the twin pipes. Faced with the uncommon column change, I
moved it towards me and upwards. As I gingerly lifted my foot on the clutch
we eased backwards. Shame really, as I was hoping to go forwards. However;
no problem. Having correctly selected first gear, off we went.
changed into second at about 10mph, and it was then that it became apparent
that there was a slight ‘body’ rattle. Nothing mechanical, just a sort of
shuddering, shattering bashing and banging from the doors and windows.
Snicking into top, doing at least 25mph, the glass in the windows was
vibrating to such a pitch that any form of conversation was virtually
precluded. However, over the terrible noise of the windows, now joined by a
cacophony of sound from the juddering doors, I heard Jen shout “Let’s sell
I thought. I’m made of sterner stuff. On we went, now heading a queue of
some twenty cars, each eager to get to Cirencester. It was a mile from home,
at the blind left hander at Blue Boys Dairy, that the engine cut out
completely and we coasted to what must have been, the most awkward place to
stop in the whole of Gloucestershire.
opened my “suicide” door and leapt out (actually eased out) into the
traffic. I opened the bonnet and a small selection of people started to
congregate on the pavement. I noticed that the electric SU pump was ticking
very, very slowly, so I diagnosed fuel starvation. Sure enough, after a few
minutes, and now with a mile-long tailback to the outskirts of Stroud, a
touch of the button started the motor. Amidst a small round of applause from
the now generously sized crowd, we juddered off, thankfully to get back home
with only a further three stoppages and an oil haze rising from the bonnetal
was quite obvious to me that something important had to be done. I opened a
bottle of Champagne immediately. The problems of the Allard started to fade
and by the time lunch was over, they were in the dim distant past.
Christmas morning, I decided to address the situation. As the car had been
stored and standing for over twenty years, there were substantial ‘flats’ on
each tyre. However, the car had been moved now and again, which meant there
were more flats on my Dunlops than on the East Cliff of Bournemouth! My
second discovery was that the hole which was the outlet for the oil haze was
in fact, meant to have a mechanical petrol pump over it. Apparently, the
electric pump is only to prime the mechanical pump!
perhaps the replacement of the octagonal tyres and the fitting of a proper
petrol pump will improve matters. I’ll let you know in due course ……
MORE NEWS SOON ......