Spring Lows & Highs ; M3 Ownership Part 3

December M3 (3 of 7)

Looks good?  Appearances can be deceptive

It is fair to say that there were undercurrents of bad vibes in the last blog about my old M3. After all, it was beginning to falter and start to empty my wallet out, leaving me feeling more dejected about the car. The car did seem like it was trying to win me back however. With all of the repairs and servicing carried out it pulled a lot better than before and generally drove more like I expected an M3 to and not a large 330i. It also sounded superb with all of the noises that engine made really getting me excited.

The first way I decided to reward the car was to get the SMG CSL software update done. What this does is to change the SMG’s working to becoming similar to that of an M3 CSL. I was apprehensive about how bad this would be. After all, I didn’t find the SMG that bad at all and got to work or master its quirks. I even managed to heel and toe with the SMG as well; yes really! But many spoke about this modification being a gamer changer. After I bought the software I did not realised just by how much.

M3 SMG CSL Software update (1 of 1)

The Software I did not bank on changing the character of the car!  Many thanks to ECUWorx/Martyn Thomas

The gearbox now worked as it should have done from the factory, and really opened up another dimension to the car! Was I regretting not buying a manual? Not a chance! The ‘drivers’ could keep their ‘porridge stirrers’ as another friend put it! I really loved driving the car again and was gelling with it more.

Another treat I had in store for the car was to book it in with ETA Motorsport for the Rear Axle Carrier Panel (RACP) reinforcement to get around a problem area ; the boot floor or RACP from cracking too much. With some poly bushes ordered you would have thought the car would behave. If only it stayed like that.

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SuperPro were used for the subframe bushes.  Previously on other cars these have been spot on.

Upon coming to top the screenwash up one day I noticed an oily damp patch on the undertray near the pulleys. I initially thought the power steering pipe was seeping. It was dirty after all. However, it was the oil cooler. Damn! At £300+ they were hardly cheap either! After the cooler saga I had with the Triumph Stag I was through taking chances on coolers. The cooler seemed to have become porous which is why it was not leaking too much.

Leaking Oil Cooler

Blood from the enigne.  Not what anyone likes to see

That said the day came a few days later where I took it into ETA for Mike to work his magic. 2 days after dropping the car off the plates were fitted, the subframe bushes replaced and the car was ready. Wow this thing drove differently! It felt tauter than it ever had done. While the reinforcement may have helped I suspect the poly bushes aided things massively.  If you guys own an E46 3-Series this is definitely an area I consider looking at, even if using stock bushes:

 

 

 

With me getting slightly soft towards the car I decided to change the front two tyres, something my MOT tester reluctantly passed ; I felt he was being harsh personally.  So off I went to the great BT Tyres (www.rugbytyres.co.uk) where I picked up a set of newly released Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Ss at a great price and superb service from Ross as always. These tyres were very impressive from the moment I saw the first roundabout! They certainly get a massive thumbs up from me! The joy however would be short lived

 

 

Why? The oil cooler saga was far from over. Seeing that Mister Auto were selling an OE branded oil cooler I decided to take the risk and buy one from them. A week after placing the order I was greeted with a faulty oil cooler, complete with wayward fins but worst of all a large chip present in one of the cooler pipes. Attempting to source a replacement from Mister Auto seemed fruitless ; they were only interested in refunding me. As was attempting to get a new cooler sent over from them within a week with extra money offered for faster postage. It was strange how they managed to restock another oil cooler on eBay once I had returned my faulty item. Would I use them again? No chance. The lesson had been learned. But I had an iffy cooler and I needed another cooler fast with less than a week left until the weekend.

 

 

Why did I need the car that soon? I had organised a weekend months beforehand to take our cars to the famous Evo Triangle in North Wales. With that in mind I begrudgingly ordered an oil cooler from Rybrook BMW after begging them to give me some discount. Within the next day it arrived. Great!  With the two coolers side by side things were looking to be on the up! Or so I thought.

 

 

Upon removing the old oil cooler I came across a problem ; the oil cooler connections had corroded onto the cooler along with the bolt joining the two together doing the same.   This was not what I needed 2 days prior to travelling to the Evo triangle. After seeing the prices of poorly ended oil cooler pipes on Ebay I went once again to BMW to beg and borrow once more! Being at work with no possibility to get the time off I was left with the Friday night and Saturday morning to fit them. Pleased was not a mood I was in!

M3 Oil Cooler April 2017 (3 of 5)

Where the car would rest for a day  Or rather a week.

Oil Cooler Issues (4 of 5)

The silver bit on the end?  That’s mean to be on the oil cooler, not on the cooler pipes!

Instead of going down for a beer with the usual friends on the Friday I was on my driveway messing around with the oil cooler. It is fair to say that my language was colourful at that point in time. With the cooler put into place as well as me giving the car an oil and filter change while I was there it was time to fire the car up. Hallelujah! The car was now leak free for the first time ever! Suddenly it looked like I might be able to make the Evo triangle trip.

Oil Cooler Changes (4 of 6)

The moment the BMW could leave the ramps.

Of course, Saturday morning was spent doing the same thing as Friday night. Somehow, by 11am I had an assembled and running car again. My friend’s ambitious start time of 11am from Hopwood services was never going to happen. Despite the car now running better than ever and being leak free the atmosphere was very sour around me. After all, I had thrown £1800 at the car in the space of a few weeks with a lot of hassle around it! You can hire a quick car for less than that over a month with a warranty!  While I was asked to clean it I really did not have the time or even the heart to do so.  It had been needy, and far too much so.  It was time the car to stop bleeding me dry and give me something back!

M3 Oil Cooler April 2017 (4 of 5)

This is never a good look.  Never for an M3

The bad mood did soon begin to ebb away however. The more miles that I piled onto the M3 the more I began to enjoy it again. After all, it was now a sorted car with it now driving better than it ever had done. With some good company, great weather and roads that looked like they had been crafted by God himself things were certainly looking up! The car even managed a respectable 31MPG over the trip! OK, that figure did drop around the roads in Wales but still!

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But enough of that.  It was time to enjoy what the M3 was built for ; enjoying the roads.  With the SMG gearbox update, the subframe bushes and decent tyres this now felt like the M3 it should have been!  The gearchanges were spot on (way better than a manual now), the chassis felt like it was part of the car and it felt like it wanted to be driven.  Hard!  It finally became the part time grand tourer and part time out and out backroad machine!

So, I changed the rear subframe bushes, reinforced the RACP and fitted new tyres. The former bits probably did not need to be done. But why was I doing this? Simple. I was heading to Germany in May.

An E46 M3 is just for Christmas, Not for Life

It was fair to say that I enjoyed the Silverstone Sunday Service back in October 2016. It certainly looked like the car was earning its keep!

This is why it was surprising to hear that BMW were recalling BMW 3-Series cars of the E46 vintage for the driver’s side airbag recall. When it came back the car came back with good news. The car was given the green light for the best part including the subframe. I say the best part as the car was flagged up for having 2 tyres on the limit of being legal in addition to the 2 rear not being much better. Furthermore, the intermittent driver’s side headlamp decided not to work either when at the dealership. Not a bad result overall.  At least the steering wheel looked a little nicer:

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Since the car looked to be earning its keep I decided to treat the front to a front end respray.  Suffice to say it did look alot better afterwards!  Enough for me to consider taking the car to the superb Pistonheads Sunday Service at Prodrive, Banbury in the future!

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Another annoying issue had been the rear view mirror.  Like most E46 M3s the mirror had started to look a little funny, like it didn’t know what shade it wanted to be.  Thanks to a man in the trade known as ‘MirrorJohn’ (no, really!), the mirror was fixed and as good as new again.

 

This is where it seemed I had started to become complacent. Come December and the car lost a cylinder, misfiring badly driving back from work. With all of the M3 horror stories on the internet I began to fear the worst. This was not helped upon me plugging in my el cheapo code reader into the car which claimed all was fine too! It was only when I plugged in the known INPA software that the car that the issue became apparent; there was a misfire on cylinder no.6. Off I went to order another coilpack from Euro Car Parts of the Bosch flavour. All of a sudden the car looked like it was going to be a reliable runner. It was wishful thinking to think it would stay like that.

M3 Issues Xmas 2016 (4 of 4)

Yup, that coil was a little sick!

Since I required an estate for a day or two my father and I switched cars. When it came to switching the cars back I was informed that the car had an intermittent alternator light. Driving the car proved seemed that he wasn’t lying; The battery light was one for a few second and then off again. Putting the voltmeter across the battery terminals also confirmed that the alternator was charging intermittently. With the battery and earth connections it did look like the alternator. When I initially tried to source a regulator for the alternator I was greeted by £100+ regulators, the same as what BMW wanted. With this in mind I grit my teeth and splashed out a little more for a new alternator. Like the valve clearances I ended up taking off a fair few parts just to get to the alternator. At least I now had a rhythm for removing them quickly mind you. Since the front of the engine was sounding rattly I also checked the auxiliary belt tensioners and pulleys. Two of the tensioners were in a bad way so these were also changed for new items which soon silenced the noises.

 

But at least on Christmas day on a quiet drive back from Birmingham Airport it was frugal.  In M terms!

M3 XMas Economy Run (1 of 1)

It was fair to say that the M3 landing me these bills over Christmas was not appreciated. At least one of us got to enjoy Christmas. But I knew the car needed another niggle sorting ; the pesky driver’s side headlight! It was like playing headlight bingo every time I turned them on. There was nothing for it but to take the headlight apart.

 

I changed the bulbs when I first bought the car which seemed to fix the problem intermittently but I had a strong suspicion that it was the headlamp ignitor that was at fault. With that in mind I bought a spare ballast and ignitor so as to plan for this. Upon changing the externally mounted ballast I still had no headlamp! There was nothing else for it but to completely disassemble the headlamp assembly, simply to change one part! Seeing as I was taking the headlamp apart I also took the opportunity to change the headlight lenses. It was fair to say that it was not a job I was looking forward to. However, I was then rewarded with headlights that were finally reliable for my efforts as well as a brand new looking front end.

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Old vs. New

For the next few months all seemed well. So well that I decided to treat the car, and a minor issue ; the rear Rear Axle Carrier Panel/Rear Subframe also known as the RACP. It’s a known issue that the subframe mounts and the RACP can crack and break away from their spot welds irrespective of age or modifications with an E46 3 Series. To be honest my car also could have felt tighther despite driving well. With that in mind I booked the car into ETA Motorsport for the reinforcement work. This was despite the car being given the all clear from BMW.  In short, despite what BMW said my car had cracked on further inspection ; things that are only apparent when the subframe is dropped:

For a few months it seemed the car appreciated the car it was getting some needed TLC. That would stop a fortnight before I dropped it in. I initially saw a wet mark on the undertray. I assumed that it was the power steering pipe ; this has dried on dirt possibly from oil on it:

Leaking Oil Cooler

 

Little did I know not only was Christmas an awkward time for the car but I had another awkward time coming, and this time for Easter!  Would my festive cheer begin to wane?

The Second Coming. Part of 12 Month M3 Ownership.

It is about time I picked up this dormant blog.  After all, I did get a little sidetracked with the French wine tour blog for a while.  With that, it’s time to come back to the Land of the Living.

I left the last blog see what would happen regarding the exhaust mounts ; I knew they were gone when I bought the car.  Despite the exhaust wobbling about more than a pair of wobbly knockers and sagging just as much I knew those mounts were begging to be changed.  All of the tales of sheared mounting studs put me off.  There was nothing for it.  Off I went to order the exhaust mounts.  I was tempted by cheaper mounts but seeing as there was big question marks over their longevity lasting months I bit the bullet and went with genuine items.  After all, the car still had the original mounts on going by the date stamps.

Coming to August 2016 I soaked them 2 weeks prior to working on them in WD40.  It was then time to tackle the inevitable.  Removing the exhaust mounts.  Amazingly I did not break a single stud.  It is just as well as the exhaust mounts were hanging.  Quite literally!

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Spot the difference ; Old vs. New

However, it seemed that my perseverance paid off.  However, I did not want to struggle with these again.  With that in mind I order some new hardware from BMW including the all important copper washers.  It also seemed rude to not paint the mount brackets either.  It’s a shame to have something so small ruin the details!

 

For the first time ever I had an exhaust which now sat correctly against the bumper.  There was no time to waste however ; I had an Inspection I approaching and truth be told I was not looking forward to tackling the job.  Over time I got the ball rolling by acquiring more and more of the parts necessary to complete the job.  That is the gaskets, the special tools as well as the usual oil and filter etc.

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Ooooh, look, service parts!

So, how did I start the job?  That’s simple.  I initially started by going to the superb Southampton Boat show.  What a wonderful place that is.  You can almost lose yourself in that place!  There were so many boats about the place ; it’s easy to see why some people become water gypsies!

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With that in mind I then had a great offer I couldn’t refuse made to me.  I had the opportunity to go to one of Darren Langeveld’s fantastic events as part of his Destination Nurburgring outfit.  DN16.  Being a double weekend this was a special one.  It was even more special with it being Darren’s Birthday as well!  This would be mega!  With a Rent-a-Race-Car Renault Clio 220EDC prepped specifically for the Nurburgring it seemed things couldn’t get better.  We had the car, we had the people, and most importantly, we had the post driver’s briefing with beer :).

It was fair to say that procrastination was treating me well!  But I could put it off no longer.  I’d have to do the Inspection I.  So, what is the big deal about the Inspection I?  Honestly?  Most of it is simple.  I started the ball rolling by changing the oil, and also checking the brake pads, adjusting the handbrake as well as briefly checking the spark plugs.  At the same time I noticed that the auxiliary belts were not in their first flush of youth, so they also got added to the list.

 

Then I would hit the small matter of checking the valve clearances.  Checking them is a simple after and a small task.  Changing the small little blighters was a more arduous process.  Removing the shims was not much of a problem.  But ensuring that they did not fling out when I removed them was trickier than I expected.  I certainly held my breath a few times it has to be said!  No shims “almost” dropped into the engine.  I did however end up with a situation.  Since I did not buy the shims I had an issue of where the shims that I required were on backorder from BMW with a 7-10 working day lead time.  Not what you need when you need the car running within the week.  Thanks to PistonHeads a fellow E46er came to the rescue and got me out of a sticky situation.  I managed to obtain my hands on a set of Wiseco shims.  With days before I required the car it was ready to go.

So why did I need the shims so badly?  That is simple ; I had put myself down for attending the PistonHeads Sunday Service at Silverstone.  To be fair all of the effort did seem worthwhile from the moment I hit the track.

Chas M3 Silverstone 3

With that in mind it was time to call it a day.  But would the remainder of my first year of ownership be plain sailing?

Then Came the Return, Back to England

With the end of the holiday coming up we knew the drill. Wake up, clean up, followed by your typical continental breakfast before starting on the final leg. Oh, and admiring the receptionist while you are at it. The routine will sound familiar to many of you. Of course, it would have been nice if this was the case. It would be a case of being so close but so far.

Before we left however, I did come across this rarity!  You have to love the old Renaults:

 

But there was no time to waste.  We had to get a move on!  The train would not wait for us after all!

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After travelling over 900 miles in the superb Citroen the stress of being dormant for so long was beginning to show. Yup, that clonking from the driveshafts off load was showing no signs of getting quieter. Although the car was actually fine at motorway speeds on the smooth French toll roads.   If you ask me you wonder if the car didn’t want to leave France! After all, this example had been imported to the UK in 2012 with it now being back on home soil.  However, it didn’t stop the car getting plenty of attention.

It certainly was getting a lot of attention in France! At petrol stations the car was a superstar. If people were not looking at it they were videoing the car! I was only hoping to go on a wine trip in an old French car, not to feel like some Z-list celebrity!  However, one bloke did admire our car quite a bit.  A Belgian.  It’s fair to say that we admired his motor too.  Seeing as it was a Jaguar Mk2 it’s not hard to see why.  With some great modifications made including better brakes and larger wheels it was lovely to admire the car.  With him speaking a little bit of English and us a little bit of French we somehow managed to chat for ages and ages.  I guess old cars do that, they have their own language!  It certainly was a great time!

Citroen French Wine Tour (25 of 34)

 

But we were not foolish.  With the car begging not to be coasted the return journey was going to be interesting.    Somehow we managed to make the boat back to the UK.  Hurrah, we could relax.

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Upon leaving Felixstowe and heading onto the M20 all was looking well. We could keep the speed up to motorway speeds and the traffic was minimal. Unsurprisingly this would all change as soon as we hit the M25, heading towards the Dartford tunnel. The traffic went from being minimal to being surrounded by slow cars everywhere! It’s not an ideal situation in a car that you can’t coast in. With the car knocking more than Katie Price’s assets on a binge fuelled night it was getting tense. We attempted to coast the car but as we failed more and more to do it in the traffic the knocking simply got worse and worse. Eventually we were driving so erratically that motorists behind us must have hated us.

Citroen French Wine Tour (30 of 34)

Despite stopping at two services the traffic showed no signs of slowing down. The car decided it would protest even more. Pulling into South Mimms we heard a metallic banging sound followed by the wheel trim overtaking us. As soon as it hit the kerb we heard a gong! While the car was trying to humour us we were far from impressed. The car was having enough, we were having enough and at this point an RAC truck was not yet an option ; with the traffic we would have been waiting hours for the truck to arrive.   Not what you want after a drive from Cambrai.

 

As the knocking got worse I soon had visions of us ending up in the Herts Tribune, with imagery of the wheel falling off and us going under a truck. Going past Daventry things got worse on the A-roads. The interior of the car got very hot, ideal in a car without a temperature gauge. What’s more, it looked like the Chinese Voltage regulator was having enough with the voltage slow dropping closer and closer to 12V.

 

By some miracle we arrived back home. A feeling of relief, joy and accomplishment all culminated into banter towards the car, towards us and towards future trips with such brilliant planning.  When we got back we soon had an idea of why the car was getting so hot.  The answer stared us in the face when we opened the bonnet:

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Yup, those belts were destroyed!  But let’s be honest, the breakdown was part of the trip!  It made it different, it made it tense.  Dare I say it the trip was possibly a bit more fun!  It’s something to talk about down the pub after all!

So, here is to the next trip!

And so the Final Curtain ; the Last Leg of the Wine Tour

 

You have to love a bit of a cliffhanger eh? There are you folk eagerly awaiting the presence of wine and wine fields!  What have I been delivering?  Pictures of drunk folk in France as well as a questionable Citroen!  But I guess as they say “Whatever floats your boat”  But wait no more.  There is some wine involved I am glad to say. Vinyards too!

For the final leg of the trip we made it to Beaune, Burgundy.  In this quiet French town we had an Ace up our sleeve ; to book a wine tasting session on a bike!  Were we initially aprehensive?  You bet!  OK.  Most of us were.  I was secretly looking forward to it.  After all I love biking and I like the odd tipple now and again ;).

 

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And so we hit the bikes, provided as part of the wine tour.  This shot is of one of the wine enclosures in the region of Burgundy.  With a relaxed and banter loving French wine tour guide we lapped up the information he gave us.  I never thought I would know so much about wine!  The trick to getting a good bottle of wine besides looking at the punt of the bottle?  See if it originates from a town or an enclosure.  But most of all, use your taste.

It was joyous going around the vinyards.  So lovely that a friend of mine soon forgot he was a Brit and started acting like a Frenchman!

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Although it must be said at least he was cheerier than me!  I was pleased to be there, despite my facial expressions!

 

Before we knew it we had cycled quite a few miles, looked at quite a few vine stalks and crossed over some busy roads!  It was then time to relax.  What better scenery to relax in Burgundy other than the sacred wine fields?

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With the rest period in place it was finally time to cheer to some lovely white wine and to simply lap up the fantastic surroundings.

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It’s fair to say that I choose my place to drink carefully, even with inquisitive Americans about the shop.  But I must say they were great company for the wine tour!  But where was my glass.  And my comrades glasses?  Fear not, we all have a glass eventually!

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But there was no time like the present.  After a quick taste of some OKish “Application” wine we went on and hit the road.  Or rather the cycle path.  The next bit I did not get any photos of.  What the next path entailed was stopping at a winery.  My God the wine was good there and cheap!  Why can’t we get that stuff at similar prices over here?  If I knew I’d probably have started selling the stuff over here!  So good was the stuff that we all ended up bringing back a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir and a ‘Ville’ wine ; A Pommard for those wondering what bottle of Red I returned from France with.

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It was fair to say that the car was doing great! Not so fast!  The next day we drove from Beaune to Cambrai.  Even with no AC we were loving sitting in the old Citroen with the engine lapping up the miles with ease and the suspension absorbing every little bump.  Even a whiff of petrol now and again could not break that illusion!  That would all change when we came off the motorway when we decided to visit Laon, where the superb Laon Historique event is held (http://www.circuit-historique-laon.com/en/).  It seemed the car however was not too keen to go to Laon, or should I say to not leave France again.

Yup, as soon as I pulled off the motorway I heard clunk clunk clunk coming from the offside wheel while coasting.  Going slower and thus coasting more seemed to make it worse!  Bad enough for me to consider left foot braking while I wasn’t on the accelerator!  With the noise and feeling of it getting no there was nothing for it except to pull over.

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With this in mind we let the car rest for a bit and gingerly pushed onto Cambrai.  It was time for a well earned beer but also to see how we would make it back to the UK.

 

 

Another Step into France : The French Wine Tour Continued

A few of you have been wondering where all of the vinyards have been.  It has to be said that considering this was meant to be a wine tour there were not many vinyards until we hit Burgundy.  Then we were surrounded by them for as far as the eye could see.  But something else would also come to surround us for a few hours.

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It would be the wonderful Chateau de Sauvigny-Les Beaune ; more can be found out above this place from their website (https://www.chateau-savigny.com).  Upon first going through the gates it looked like an old and slightly collapsing Chateau with a few statues around the place.  This perception would soon go as we went towards the back of the place.

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Yup, there were planes about.  Quite admiral things too. However, there were more than just a few out.  The plane section was almost like a plane graveyard!  There were so many old planes to see!

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Sure, a few of them, well, many of them needed a like of paint but it was great to see so many about!  But truth be told we could have spent all day admiring the aircraft.  It was time to see the meat and potatoes of this place ; the cars.  You could see any car than you liked, as long as it was a Fiat.  Open Garage Sessions (75 of 106)

Yup, there were a few archetypal Fiat 500s present.  But it was not just about the smaller stuff.  A lot more Italian metal was present with quite a few cars having some racing heritage about them.  Some of the Italian cars I did not know even existed!

 

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Will you just look at that carpet?  Sure it was worn, well used and looking a little threadbare.  But I really wanted to take a piece of that back!  I mean, that would look superb in your house! But it was not to be.  As always it was great to see some engines in the mix.  In this case unsurprisingly the well renowned Fiat Twin-Cam amongst some of the more specialist exhibits:

 

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However, there was another element to which it seemed the Chateau’s owner was drawn to; Motorbikes.  How many?  Loads!  If you thought you saw enough planes the number of bikes overshadowed both of them!

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I will be honest, I have not been the biggest biker fan but I can appreciate decent bits of machinery.  And wow, it’s great see the development of the motorbike as time went on by.

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But in the searing heat I had spent more than enough time in this outbuilding.  Or rather my friends had in the 30+ degrees Celsius temperatures.  With than in mind it was time to head over to the dilapidated, but charming Chateau itself.  What a picture.  What a masterpiece:

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But then it was time to venture into the castle.  There were a few rooms downstairs showing where the maids were and where people wined and dined.  It was great to see all of this, and to imagine what life might have been like back all those years ago:

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However, it was then time to look elsewhere.  As great as the brickwork was it was time to head upstairs to many more bikes and and to several modern aeroplanes.  The very same you would see in the airports for promoting the airlines:

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One of the bikes which caught my attention was this Wankel engined marvel.  In many ways you think a Wankel engine would have been the right combination for a bike.  After all, they are lightweight and have a high specific output if you go with the weight figure.  It’s fair to say that this idea did not take off

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That said it was enjoyable walking around the place.  Not all of the stuff was gleaming either.  Amongst the abundance of shiny metal there was plenty of metal requiring a bit of love.  But the tired old stuff did also have a tale of its own.  A tale of what it was subjected.  It had history embedded into bodywork.  It had take the worst of what France could throw and it and still just about live to tell the tale.  You have to love patina.

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Yup, I was smitten with this place!  But there was no time like the present.  As great as the scenery was we were best to follow the title of Queen “This Show Must Go On”.  So in the wonderful DS we left this wonderful place.

 

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Well, I say wonderful DS, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.  It did after all have a way of making itself known by smell.  How?  By spitting fuel out of the breather.  So what if you brimmed the tank to the top?  A splash came out of the vent pipe. But surely it would be fine if you took a right hand corner?  You wish!  The smell of choice what would be L’eau de Sans-Plomb, of the 98 octane flavour.  Somehow despite this the old girl still managed to get 24MPG.  Yes.  A 70s car with troublesome injection system and leaking all over the shop still managed 24MPG.  You can’t really complain eh?

So what would be the next step?  That’s easy.  More vineyards!  What do they say? Onwards and upwards.

 

Bike Tour Burgendy (8 of 13)

Further Into the Wine Region! Avec une DS!

I left the tale with my friends and I staying in Reims.  Honestly?  There is not alot to report.  Out we went for a meal and a couple of glasses of wine.  After a couple of glasses along with a few more and a few more beers the night became quite a long one!  Somehow I do remember getting back to the hotel.  The next morning however would prove to be interesting.  While I was not too hungover for reasons unknown my friends were in a horrendous state!  All I shall say is that it is the good job that the DS has bench seats up front!

 

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It is fair to say that Reims took its toll

That said I could not think of a comfier way to relax during midday in Reims!  But there was no time for napping!  After grabbing a few snacks and drinks it was time to venture into the rest of Reims.  The first thing to mark off the list was a bit of cathedral spotting.  Sad I know but somebody has to do it.  It’s also a nice way to pass the time on by.  However, like all cathedrals it was decorated with scaffolding.  What on earth is it with the eternal scaffolding in place?  Sure, I know they are larger buildings but could there not be one day when they are free of the dreaded poles and clamps?

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A Cathedral!

That said, the reason we had come to Reims was not just because of a cathedral.  Oh no.  It was a place we picked as a break for the Citroen.  The old girl would now have a chance to put its legs up after its longest journey in 3 years.  While the car put its legs up we could check out the great Museé de Reims Automobile, a stone’s throw away from the city centre.  However, we would need a rest in the museum as well ; it was like a greenhouse inside there.  It did not however spoil us from looking at a few rare French fancies.

I for one never realised a sporty Citroen BX was made.  OK, we all know about the GTI, but what about this 4×4?  It’s certainly one way to add alot of appeal to an 80s Citroen!

Citroen French Wine Tour (8 of 34)With its quad lights, bonnet bulge and quad driving lights up front complimented by the CX Prestige wheels it is certainly one way to imagine what a BX would look like on steriods.  That said, there was enough French metal there for everyone.  A CX Prestige had us all going weak at the knees as did the much coveted Renault Alpine A110.  It was a truly great place to wonder about in.

 

Before we knew it 5pm had arrived, and we had to press on to our next destination, Villeferry.  This very quite town is situated just outside of Dijon and until driving into it I would not have given it a second look.

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But with such stunning scenery surrounding us in addition to the great roads leading up to it just had us lapping up the scenery with ease.  The Citroen itself also proved to be the perfect car for such a trip.

That however was not all.  We all enjoyed a superb dinner with what must be one of the best bits of scenery I have ever enjoyed while eating in addition to a truly superb steak.  It literally fell apart in your knife and fork.  The Pistonklause in Nurburg? Take note.

But even in a place as picturesque and remote as this there was still some old tin to admire.  I managed to stumble across what only looked like an old wrecker’s yard.  Where cars were laid to rest, maybe to provide spares for other cars or to be revived one day in the distant future.  That said, there was still some unfamiliar tin present there.

 

After a great night’s sleep we noticed that there was a distinct lack of vinyards about.  But with all of the scenery as well as passing the Source of the River Seine we were simply soaking up the scenery like a sponge.

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But eventually we could come to what we came looking for.  Vinyards.  Yup, we were finally in Burgundy.

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