Yes, You Can Have Part-Worn Tyres on Your Car! How? With the Following Steps

For the last blog I suggested that Part-Worn tyres could be worth a shot under certain circumstances. Whether it is bad advice or simply making people more aware of what to look for is up to you. In this article I will explain how to consider the above points:

  • What damage does the tyre have?

If you see tyres like the above being sold by a vendor run a mile from them!  No ifs or buts.

This is a serious one.  Having punctures in the centre tread pattern of the tyre that have been repaired correctly are fine.  However, if:

-There is loose rubber on the inside of the tyre
-Deep cuts to the sidewall (potentially an MOT failure)
-Perishing of the rubber
-Puncture or puncture repairs beyond 75% of the centreline of the tread.
-Bulges and deformations anywhere on the tyre

Walk away.  It’s that simple.  The tyres in the above will are likely to have been weakened and make your car a liability.

  • How much tread does the tyre have?

You should never buy a tyre with this much tread! Kojak had more hair on his head than this tyre had tread!

This question is a case of “How long is a piece of string?” If you are a low mileage user you may think “Aha! That cheap 3mm tyre looks like a bargain! But consider this. The minimum legal limit for a tyre in the UK is 1.6mm. What does this mean? Your 3mm tyre isn’t the bargain you think. After all:

3-1.6=1.4mm (of usable tread)

Will 1.4mm of tread last you quite some time? I doubt it. Can you really be bothered to be at a tyre fitters all of the time? I doubt it.

With the above in mind it pays to see what the level of tread is worth. If you have an idea of how your brand of tyre (or others) wear down you could obtain a figure for the true cost as follows:

True Cost per Milimetre = Cost of the Tyre /mm of tread left

In a number of cases when you check those figures the value is not as good as it initially seems.

Bear this in mind. New tyres have between 7 to 9mm of tread on depending on the tyre so anyway between 5.4 to 7.4mm worth of tread.

  1. How old are they ; are they newer than 5 years old?

The 3 or 4 digit code that says it all! This tyre? Built on the 26th week of 2015

This point is often overlooked with people mainly going on the visual condition of tyres. To many people tread on the tyre equates to how much grip the tyre has.  It is an easy one to read too!

Look out for where it says DOT on the tyre.  At the very end of the string of numbers and letters as follows:

DOT DA08 JM1R >518

It’s the numbers in bold that you want.  If it has a triangle as above the tyre was made after 1990 but before 2000.  If there are just 3 digits and no triangle the tyre was made before 1990.  In either case you should not fit such a tyre to a car.  The first two numbers are the week the tyre was made.  The last digit is the year it was made  In the above case the tyre was made in the 51st week of 1998.

Now for tyres made after 2000:

DOT DA08 JM1R 2514

These tyres have 4 digit codes.  In this case the tyre was made in the 25th week of 2014.

You may think “Oh, but I only have a classic car, the old tyres will be fine” or “My (or your wife’s etc.) car isn’t that fast. There is no point in shelling out for new or good rubber” No, not that kind of rubber folks….

The fact of the matter is as rubber gets older it does not grip as well as when it was fresh. It’s one reason why you won’t see many people selling tyres older than 3 years old, and generally, they tend to discount the tyres at this age.

While I’ve had some interesting experiences on old tyres, including a wayward Frenchie and a Triumph Stag that just wanted to go sideways here is an interesting thought.

A post shared by Charanjeet Randhawa (@chasr85) on Mar 23, 2017 at 10:51am PDT

 

Classic Car Weekly did an article on new tyres vs. old. The car? An MGB GT. Hardly the first word in performance. The tyres? The first set were Pirellis that were 10 years old but still with plenty of tread left on them and crack free. The other tyres I think may have been middle of the road tyres.

The results were surprising. With the Pirellis on the car took 30% longer to come to a halt from 30MPH compared to the modern rubber? Do you still think old and cheap rubber is the way forward? 30% is a lot no matter how you look at it.  If someone hit someone you knew in town below the speed limit with old tyres would you still be thinking the same?

  1. Have they worn correctly?

Barely legal (stop it!) and worn unevenly. Even with more tread this would cause strange issues on the car.
This made the car very interesting on the handling front even in the dry!

This question is always an interesting one.

In two cases I bought wheels with tyres. Until I changed the tyres the car had odd characteristics ; On a Peugeot 106 GTi it was a near death experience driving it back and on a Clio 172 it just wanted to go left until I switched the tyres.

The reason. They had worn due to poor alignment on the previous car. If the tyre has not worn perfectly even do not be surprised if you have issues.

Evenly worn part-worns are out there but you’ll have to be patient.

  1. Are they actually worth buying compared to a new tyre?

It looks legal! With 3.5mm is it really worth buying? It barely has 2mm of usable tread left!

With all of the above factors you’ll be in a position to gauge if they are worth buying. Bear in mind you will need to pay to get the tyres fitted unless they are bought from a tyre dealer. That’s on top of petrol or delivery money too. It all adds up.

Don’t just try your local large tyre chain either. Do some searching online. Asda Tyres, Formula 1 and Black Circles all give competitive prices online and allow you to establish a ballpark.   New tyres may be cheaper than you think!

  1. Are they stamped ‘PART-WORN’ if bought from a garage?

It’s not stamped before you buy it? Don’t accept it.

This is an interesting one. Over half the of the part-worn tyres being sold by tyre traders are illegal. Why? It is all down to a simple stamp. The stamp confirms that they meet the minimum standards set by the UK for being a part-worn tyre. That is that they have over 1.6mm of tread within 75% central region of the tyre tread in addition to being repaired correctly and with no other adverse deflects. These defects could include cuts and bulging.

If they haven’t been stamped part-worn have they even been inspected well.

Finally…

We hopefully have a better idea of what we need from a tyre, and what to look out for. Finding the right part-worn tyre can be hard and it can be worth just jacking it in and buying a new tyre.

Hopefully you are not scared of buying part-worns but are more informed of what to look out for and not top be duped into buying what may initially look like a cheap option on the face of things.

Now, time to grab that value beer that has been sat at the bar for a few hours….

BMW Searching Part 2

There was me leaving you folks on a pleasant ending. I had around 7 cars to evaluate. If I had been told correctly this should have been a dead easy! After all the adverts are always truthful right?

Enter exhibit A:

  • 2003 128,000 mile Manual in Silver/Black; £6750 being sold by a trader.
hearsall-2

Looks lovely eh?  Looks can be deceiving

Despite this car being at a local trader’s it was the cheapest car for sale. It was also the first car I saw.   You know the drill here. Give the seller a call and see what they say.   Sure enough I was told “it was in good condition for the year” and with no real rust to speak of. It did look nice in the photos too.

Upon going to see the car I knew it was a pup, even with it being one of the wettest days in May 2016! The shotblasted looking bumper that was going black complete with appalling front panel alignment, the rusty arches all round as well as the tatty and scratched interior all showed that! With the wheels being CSL replicas they looked great from a distance even they were kerbed a bit!

Hearsall 3

The number plate screws may be rusty but that is only half of the story

Surely inside it would be nicer. Not a chance! Besides having an interesting smell as well as a sticky floor the interior looked very tired inside. What’s more the plastics were scratched to Kingdom Come. Had a cat lived inside this car or had one too many adventures being happening inside it?

Mechanically I thought “Maybe it won’t be that bad”. I was in for a disappointment. Shot discs were present all round! It even had aftermarket ballast packs. That’s before I get to the dash bathing me with error lights present. All would be forgotten as soon as I turned the key.

Hearsall car

Why not take a shot of the good corner?

Well, I say that, but it would take the assistance of a battery pack to fire up the old girl. My God it sounded lovely! All of the faults were forgotten! But you should never buy the first car you see, or the wise men tell you.

It did however have a nice stash of receipts to show the maintenance done.

However, stepping back into my clean Clio 172 which was a mint car in comparison had me asking myself “What the hell am I doing? Going from a good car to a wreck?”.  This car however did sell within two weeks of being put for sale.  I was not even going to offer him anything like £6k for the car!

It was time to move onto the second car. Maybe my luck would change.

  1. 2003 ’53’ reg Mystic Blue SMG, 111,000 miles £8500

This was the first car I saw for sale from a private seller. After seeing the silver shit hours beforehand it was easy for me to like this car! On first impressions it looked a lot better! It would also be the first time I drove an SMG ‘boxed car as well and see if the truth was as bad as people made out.  It also had a sunroof which oddly enough I wanted!

In short, it didn’t disappoint. The car did not knock at at all from anywhere and it held the road very nicely! The gearbox wasn’t as bad as I thought either. It didn’t pull as well as I expect but maybe I was expecting too much ; after all they have a very high revving engine and I didn’t quite take it to the redline!

But closer inspection of the car soon began to reveal the flaws. While the rear of the interior looked immaculate the front didn’t.

Further flaws became apparent on closer inspection.  Every panel had quite a bit of scratching on.  Despite the car being advertised as damage free the front bumper didn’t suggest that.  It clearly had a cheap blowover at some point (complete with concealed stone chips beneath the orange peel paint) as well a repair Stevie Wonder could have done better while drunk!  The discs also were as bad as the silver car’s and an advisory to bootTo top it off there was no service history (it was lost) and only 1 key.  All of a sudden this car didn’t look to be worth £1.2k more than the Silver manual.

But then I would come across what is said to be the daddy of all specs:

  • Laguna Seca Blue and Black Manual Coupe. 112,000 miles £7950.

I do wonder if I was harsh about this car or that maybe I was simply a timewaster!

On the face of it the car looked superb in the advert. It had clearly been detailed to the hilt. With new discs, backbox and subframe reinforcement it looked like the ticket!

A phonecall would change that. Despite being described as immaculate the owner spoke of rust on the front wings that you had to get onto your hands and knees to see, and that the interior was more tired than the photos made out on closer inspection. What’s more he had a couple of warning lights come on now and again due to the wrong profile tyres being on the front. Oh, they were Marangoni Zetas. Seeing that it failed an MOT on the boot floor cracking badly also put me off ; maybe it needed a complete floor in reality if it was bad enough to fail an MOT.

That and he was not open to any offers even before I raised the question. When he declined to send me further WhatsApp photos of the interior and exterior regarding the areas he mentioned I decided that the trip to Northern Ireland may not have been worth it after all to be disappointed.

It did however sell after a price drop to £7500.  Funny, he was saying he wouldn’t lower his price.  If he was willing to negotiate we may have talked a deal.  NI is quite a way to go just in case the car is a pup.  After all I had just seen two and was dissapointed!

  1. 3. Phoenix Yellow & Black Nappa Manual Cabriolet with 75,000 miles.  £9,000.

To most people this should have been the car I should have bought.  It had to most people the driver’s gearbox and sensible colours along with less miles by quite a way.  I was going to view it but unaware at the time a friend bought it.  it was owned by an ex-BMW mechanic and it had 4 good tyres and new discs.  When I initially saw it I thought happy days!  That impression would not last.

Firstly, the bodywork.  It was not shiny at all, but that can be corrected easily.  Despite having the least amount of miles the front seats had not worn as well as you would expect. Dare I say it, the seats in the 111k Blue/Grey SMG car were better bar a bolster being collapsed in a strange position (right at the top, as if someone was pushing on it)).  While I know it’s a convertible the AC can be handy during the rain or winter, espeically in a convertible.  It didn’t work.  All you got was alarmingly loud hiss from inside the car.  Then I came to drive it.

The way people speak of the manual is that it is amazing and not comparable to the SMG.  They were not kidding on the last part!  The manual has a long throw, is not the most precise thing and at times reluctant to go into gear.  If you read online you’d think it’s as good as an MX-5 with gear changes.  Are you feeling the love?  Me neither!

It later turned out that his back box was held on with zip ties (I am not joking!) and that his engine had a few leaks all round from the rocker cover gasket, CPV and a couple of other areas.  Sure it was not a bad car but it was not perfect and not for me!   It was not for him either, seeing as it was sold 2 months after he bought it…

I also almost saw and bought the car below

  • 2001 Silver & Black Manual Coupe.  88,000 miles, £8900 from a trader

On paper this car looked good.  But the seller was surprisingly honest over the phone and even sent some shots over of the car to me.  It was good to see this and I almost went for it!

He was honest enough to say that there was rust on the car but he had performed Smart repairs on them.  After having rusty cars before I decided it was too big a risk to risk Smart repairs not rusting again.  That and the interior was as tired as the higher milers as were the discs from his vague description and more than the car that I would buy.  I was tempted but not at that price.

The others were fairly similar to the above.  While I didn’t settle on the best car IMO it was a good one overall.

Other candidates included the following:

  • Carbon Black & Red SMG Cabrio, 101,000 miles £7200.

This was tidier than most of the cars but it wanted discs, tyres, mirrors repainting, rust sorting in various areas.  It also had the the dreaded SMG cog light appear.  Interior was surprisingly good, probably the best I saw out of all of the cars.  The owner spent a fortune on servicing it, polybushing it as well as new arms, but he ran out of steam.

It seems I wasn’t alone in the struggle going by someone else’s search

Anyway, I digress. I started looking at the lower end of the market – after all it was meant to be a stop gap car, not something that I wanted permanently in my collection. Well, anything below £8k is an absolute dog – have seen 4 cars and all have rusty arches, tyres not fit to be drifted out, let alone be driven on, shagged and doddgy carbon fiber interiors, dubious mileage histories once the MOT history and service history was consulted. All had the subframes checked – funny, how it is not the subframe, but the boot floor which actually tears apart, and had SMG pumps giving “nice, long primes”….

One of the cars was actually a diamond in the rough, but I just could not bring myself to pay the full asking considering the amount of time needed to bring it up to scratch. Hence, unless you are prepared to DIY a lot, there are hardly any bargains left…

  • 2003 Mystic Blue & Grey Nappa Leather SMG Coupe.  122,000 miles, Private seller

By this point I was getting ready to sack off my search.  I came very close to throwing in the towel.  Maybe my Clio was that good a car!

The advert seemed honest mind you.  He said the car was good overrall but that the interior could use a clean.  Furthermore, it had 4 newish Falken tyres and a full service history.

The owner of this M3 was a pain to contact.  All of my voice messages went straight to his answerphone.  After contacting him through WhatsApp Voice calling (no I am not joking here!) I finally had a chat with him.  It sounded promising.  He said the bodywork had scratches on it, the interior was grubby and that the brakes were all new with genuine BMW parts.  It also had a full service done by Mobile Tune BMW in Birmingham.  Furthermore the AC system had been checked over and regassed in addition to the gearbox being checked over from top to bottom regarding the sensors where the stuff was taken apart etc.  I agreed to go and take a look.

It was refreshingly good in the flesh!  The bodywork had a real honesty about it despite being tidy.  Sure it had the odd touchup and and there but it was clean!  The interior at the front could have been better but it was good overrall.  The seats despite needing TLC were better than the other cars I saw bar possibly the 75k Phoenix Yellow car.  It drove well too but it could pull harder.  I noted that it wanted a replacement viscous coupling in addition to some next exhaust mounts.  It did seem to have some wedge thrown at it mind you!  The rear dampers were relatively new as were odd little bits around the car.  After some talking a deal was struck

After a while we came to a deal.  My fate was sealed.  I was now the owner of an E46 M3! But had I chosen a good car?  Time will tell.

index

Finally part of the club!  But would I be smiling later on?

Yeah Mate, You can bag a Good M3 for £8,000. Really?

Don’t you just love people who claim you can own an object of desire for a pittance?  That the world is wrong and they just don’t know where to look?  This certainly seemed to be the case for me and my search of a car I have wanted for quite some time ; the BMW E46 M3.

With its individual throttle bodies, great looks and lovely handling it had me written over it.  Sure there is the question of image but who cares when you are having so much fun?

So, the budget.  What would it be?  If eBay is to be believed and other people down the pub this should have been dead easy  Oh, and the internet is always right, right?.  After all, back in 2014 M3s had dropped to an all time low in value!  So off I went in my search in May 2016, with a budget of £9,000 but hoping to stay around the £6,000.  After all I don’t mind getting my hands too dirty but I also hate a money pit!  We all know have a £6,000 car can quickly become an £11,000+ car, still with its faults.  But we all cannot resist a bargain:

I don’t think that I was too picky with my specification.  I wanted the following if I could help it:

Any car except Titan Silver
Preferably a manual
Evidence of good maintenance over the years, be it specialists or simply receipts to show what work the car has had done
Good service history from when it was new
New Discs ; I was wise enough to check the price of these!
New but good Tyres ; I was also wise enough to check the price up!
A half decent drive
With the latter two my jaw almost hit the floor when I saw the prices of them

With me previously owning a Clio 172 and a Mondeo V6 with 250,000 miles I thought the above should have been easy.

I had a few contenders to go and see.  These included the following:

  1. A Titan Silver Car with a black leather interior.  It was a manual coupe with 128,000 miles on the clock.  Oddly it was the only one I saw being sold by a trader and also it was the cheapest.  £6750 to be exact.
  2. A Mystic Blue with Grey Leather SMG model.  This would be the first SMG coupe car I saw.  It had 112,000 miles on the clock, a new clutch and only 2 owners.  This car? £8,100
  3. A Laguna Seca Blue and black leather M3.  Also a manual this had 111,000 miles.  It did have many new parts including discs and an exhaust put on.  This was on for £8,000.  It was however in Northern Ireland
  4. A Phoenix Yellow and black leather Cabrio.  As another manual this had 75,000 miles on the clock and was owned by a retired BMW technician.  The price?  £9,000.
  5. A Carbon Black and red leather Cabrio.  This was another SMG.  It had a bit of work done to it including new lower arms etc. and so on.  This was one of the cheaper cars for sale at £7,000.
  6. Another Titan Silver and Black manual entered the scene.  This was an 84,000 mile car being sold by a dealer.  It had 12 months MOT and was ready to go.  This one was £8,900.
  7. This is almost like Deja vu!  I found an almost identical car to the above!  Another Mystic Blue car with Grey leather!  It had more miles on at 122,000 miles and also had been owned for just over a year with plenty of MOT left.

All were claimed to be in great condition upon the first glance of the advert and the pictures.  After all a picture can speak 1,000 words.  So with that respect, surely 8 pictures can speak 8,000 words combined together?

While I did not expect perfection I wanted a clean and tidy car.  I figured with my then 2003 Clio 172 being very tidy for its age this should have been a walk in the park.  With plenty of tools at my disposal like My Car Buying Guide it should have given me an idea of what I was about to see!  Surely they would pass the mark with flying colours.

Little did I know, I had no idea what I was about to let myself in for.

 

Car buying

Part-Worn Tyres? To be Avoided like The Plague?

Cash. Let’s make no mistake, we don’t all mind having a bit of it! Spending it however, is a different scenario. It doesn’t matter if it is food, clothes, a pint down the pub, most people will keep an eye on expenditure.

And so I come onto part-worn tyres. On the face of it they look like a no brainer. You can get legal tyres for as little as £15 fitted for something like a generic 15” tyre. Why pay £40+ for a tyre when part worn will do the trick? Besides that, you are also helping the environment since you are helping the recycling culture. You are effectively giving the product a new lease of life!

Turini Wheel (14 of 25).jpg

Just about legal, but would you fit them?

But there is always a flipside to the coin. That is with the many people who will say anything other than a new tyre will kill nuns and kittens, and that they are a waste of money.

eBay January 2017 (31 of 32).jpg

Legal, and cheap at £15.  But does it make monetary sense?  This had 3.5mm left on it

The truth of the matter however lies between the two arguments. Yes, part-worn tyres can be risky business, but otherwise on a car that is cheap to run they can bring monetary benefits. This guide will hopefully set you straight. Buying the right part-worns comes down to checking a few key things:

  1. How much tread do they have? Is it more than 5mm
    1. With the amount of tread they have are they actually worth it?
  2. How old are they ; are they newer than 5 years old?
  3. Have they worn correctly?
  4. Have they been repaired? If so has it been done correctly?
  5. Are they actually worth buying compared to a new tyre?
  6. Are they stamped ‘PART-WORN’ if bought from a garage?

In short, if the answer to those is “Yes” you are generally OK but as always it pays to do your research. The finer points for that shall be coming around soon.

No Timewasters, Dreamers or Test Pilots

Car buying
TV Shopping.  No one really likes shopping but we do it anyway.  Your current TV is OK but it is getting a bit long in the tooth.  Or you’ve moved house and now the TV that was OK for your flat looks a little lost in your more spacious house.  So begins the journey of getting a TV.

 

You do your research, look into what the TVs do and then you are set to go and get one.  At this point you walk into an electronics shop like Currys or Richer Sounds and see what is about.  After all, reviews and comments are all good and well but the reality can be different for all of us.  After all, we see things in different ways and interpret comments differently too.  As you stand over the TV that is in your shortlist to buy a salesman comes over.  While you are committed to buying the TV you wonder if the salesman is trying to push you into wanting to buy the TV right here and right now.  Suddenly you almost feel like a bit of a timewaster, and are willing to not buy the TV you wanted.  Maybe it wasn’t what you expected, or another one caught your eye there.  Did the reviews not pick up on a horrendously awkward menu structure on the TV?  And so I come onto car adverts.

“No timewasters, canvassers or test pilots”  It is a common sight on many adverts out there.  Reading such adverts you would think that car buyers have nothing better to do than just aimlessy wonder over to a car and never buy it.  Or do they?
Of course, such people exist but over the many cars I have sold I would beg to differ.  Is it the buyers who are at fault or is it the sellers?  The truth?  It’s a bit of both.
Take Exhibit A.  Roughly a year ago when I realised that owning two cars as near enough dailies on the go would not work I decided to buy a car which do hopefully do all that I wanted for the price point.  In this case it was a BMW M3, of the E46 shape for the nerds wondering which one.  This according to many sources out there should have been an absolute doddle.  “Yeah, £7k will get you a good ‘un mate, innit”?  Looking at a variety of adverts and their descriptions this certainly appeared to be the case.
hearsall-2

It looked so good in the pictures. I guess a photo can only speak a thousand words

With a list of 4 or 5 cars identified around the area I decided to go M3 hunting.  That’s looking to buy, not trying to race them.
“When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks better than an Audi with a third of the mileage you know that you are looking at a pup”
In short, many of the cars were tired out wrecks.  Despite all having no crash damage or finance history most looked like war victims, with rust brewing from wheelarches, brakes which would require replacement as well as patchy service history.  Oh, with them dashboards that illuminated the tatty interiors like a Christmas tree.  Of course, the sellers were more than happy to point out the faults once you got to the car and omit some obvious ones prior to you arrived.  A good car?  These were money pits that would cost thousands, not hundreds to get right!
It the same story two years ago when I was looking to buy an Audi TT.  I got sick of looking at so many wrecks I eventually decided to call off the search.  When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks and drives better than an Audi with a third of that mileage you know that you are looking at a pup, not a car which is in “very good condition, and taken car of”.
I did eventually find the right car, but it took almost 5 cars to get to it.  Whether that made me a timewaster or not I don’t know.  That is not to say that I have ever sold a perfect car either!
That said, I have been on the receiving end of it when I have sold cars.
With my Triumph Stag it had become a bit of a moneypit after being a bad purchase.  And so I tentatively put it up for a price for quite a bit less than what it owed me.  It was strong was the pricing, make no mistake.  Suffice to say I had my share of “timewasters” too.  I have glossed over a few bits because I was just getting sick of the car.  Every month I was putting hundreds into fixing the car.  I guess I was running out of steam with the venture.  That said, the car was a massive improvement from when I bought it.
The first bloke who came to see it wasn’t too impressed.  To be honest some of the offers were dreamworthy ; £3500 for a Stag with MOT and Tax from an asking price of £7000 is taking the Michael a little.  Eventually a good buyer, or fool depending on your outlook, took the car off my hands.  It’s fair to say it’s a better car now than it was before.
But with the above I guess I was partly to blame.  If I had been a little more honest maybe the buyers would have been more forthcoming.  But on the otherhand how many honestly described cars have you seen?  I know for me it is not that many.
The issue for both the buyers and sellers is interpretation of things.  If someone says a car has worn well for its age and mileage they are referring to if they had a car that they kept, not me.  Of course that creates an issue, naturally.  I will tend to change things as they wear out, not relying on an MOT to make me aware of it.  Many others don’t follow that philosophy it would seem.
This naturally leaves the car buyers and sellers of the world with a final question.  Throughout all of the searching are we simply human in having different expectations, or are we timewasters?

Still at Genesis

I left the last blog by leaving a few ideas in my head.  A great idea was to upgrade parts of the car but to keep it looking original.  While this was a project between my dad and I he had tinkered with cars previously.  Forgive me if this tale sounds familiar!

Like any retro this MGB was not without its faults.  The car may as well have been a boat for the video of the Hues Corperation “Rock the Boat” with the amount it swayed from side to side on the motorway.  Is that the “charm” of a classic car that many talk about or just bad design?  The other issue?  The overdrive would not stop slipping once the clutch was disengaged.  And what would a classic car be if there was no welding required on a sub £1000 purchase, even back in 2002?

Like all great intentions, thing seemed to go well.  I went away and ordered the following:

-Spax Rear Damper kit
-Falcon Single Exhaust ‘Box system
-Replacement Overdrive from an Ex-Laycock fitter.

From being a foldout chair mechanic (that is part way between someone who has a vague clue of what they are doing, and someone who simply watches a car restoration show and thinks he can do it all)  I went away and read some manuals on the procedure.  It was clear that the exhaust would have to come out to change the overdrive.  With that in mind I figured the overdrive may as well be changed as those jobs could be combined into one. So began the search for a suitable mechanic to do the job.  After all, I didn’t even really have a trolley jack back then!  I was silly enough to depend on car jacks.  Yes, I know.  Fortune favours the brave, I think

Like any wannabe mechanic I rang around for the cheapest price, considering many avenues.  It’s fair to say that the prices varied.  The garages quoted us around £300 back in 2002, even with specialists being around that ballpark.  Out of the blue a specialist on my doorstep quoted me £200. What?  Was this real?  I’m biting his hand off!  With that price it was not worth quibbling!

So off I went to go and took the car to him. After which I ended up fitting the damper kit!

Ooooh, nice dampers eh?

Ooooh, nice dampers eh?

Finally?  I had a car that drove spot on and actually did what it was meant to do!  Be driven!

But as always there is always a sting in the tail.  On further inspection the steering rack was found to have excessive play.  Not a problem we thought.  Just get another one fitted!  To be fair it had a bit of play in it after fitting the rear dampers and seeing how things were!  What we did not bank on was the bill.   We were quoted £120.  Not for long it wasn’t.

Almost every car owner comes across this.  This ended up becoming £220.  The issue?  The bolts had become seized in the rack.  Thus he ended up cutting the steering rack apart just to change it.  It was either that or the crossmember according to him.  He also said it was one of the worst steering racks he had ever taken off a car.  It is fair to say that the conversation was not a pleasant one!  But at least the car drove well once more eh?

With the car kitty looking battered and not much bodywork required it should have been rosy right?  We shall see.

Coventry & Cars? It can’t be – A review of Coventry MotoFest 2016

Coventry.  Thinking about Coventry hardly gets your juices going.  Neither is it a destination that you think of being related to the automotive industry for well over 5 decades.  For those who are not aware of Coventry links to motoring however, it seems that the Coventry MotoFest set out to address that.  From its humble beginnings back in 2014 it has continued to grow and flourish as the years go on.  This year did not dissapoint either.

With well over 200 classic cars in attendance there was certainly plenty of retro material for the locals of Coventry as well as the enthusiasts to enjoy.

Replica or not, I fancy a D Type:

It seemed that the Coventry spirit was present with a couple of cars suffering the usual niggles:

 

As a matter of fact there were three area in which to view the cars at the MotoFest, including outside the Transport museum:

It was not just old cars however.  Right by the Coventry Train station was a showcase of a variety of cars, both new and old.  These included Jaguar Heritage:

Aston Martin, where there would be another treat for us later:

 

But this was no arcetypical “Look, but don’t touch” car festival.  Oh no ; there was more in store than that.  That started with the Stock cars doing the rounds on the Moat Street Car park, right by the Skydome:

 

But, this show gave a little more than that.  Enter Stage Left:

Yes, the drifting boys were in town:

OK, so there was a small active display, big deal I hear some of you say?  Who said anything about small?  Right on the Ring Road of Coventry were a variety of cars driven the best way they could be, with plenty of stick!:

There is something lovely about seeing a Palmer driven at pace:

That said, the icing on the cake had to be the Aston Martin Vulcan,  which made its premier public debut right on the Ring Road of Coventry with all of us able to revel in the howl of that angry V12.  Who was saying the Supercars of old were dead?

All in, it was a great show and with something for everyone, espeically given that the event is free!

It was a sterling performance put on by the MotoFest crew, with @ringweekends certainly managing the track very well.  However, the lucky bloke did manage to get a go in something more unique than the Vulcan.  This would be Rover’s BRM jet engined car.

And on that note, bring on Coventry MotoFest 2017 and whatever surprises are in store for us