Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 25 year old car!

Subj: 1989 - Getting to know 'The Beast'

The Beast took us to East Anglia and back at the weekend (round trip over 300 miles) and didn't miss a beat all the time (grins!).

The speedo was still not working, but it took us 2 and a quarter hours to get there (150 miles) which works out at a pretty good average round the M25 and with a few slow bits to work out where we were!

Handling was fine and the fuel consumption was surprisingly good (I thought) using about 15 worth of fuel. The car felt quite happy except when we crossed a bridge on the A45 which was experiencing very high cross winds! You can imagine what a light fibreglass car feels like in a wind which had Audis slowing down!

In fact the car actually seemed to get better as we went along and it certainly seems as if the car needed a good long blast to clear out the cobwebs. The noise was unbelievable though, with our ears feeling like we'd been in the front row at a Motorhead concert! Definitely time to invest in some earplugs, but a decent air filter may cut a lot of noise down, the current one only has wire mesh in it and so basically just stops stones being swallowed by the carb, it doesn't filter out dust and the like. The door trims were also rattling and they need some attention along with the roof lining and the rest of the trim.

The car gets a rest next week as I didn't fancy risking it on a trip to Le Mans (although it went further this weekend) but after that I will make a concerted effort to get the speedo sorted out.

Later in the year, I spent a Saturday on the Club Marcos International stand at the Wembley Classic car show and had a thoroughly good time.

On the stand were two very nice 60's cars. One was a 1966 1500 model with a wooden chassis. The other was an H-reg steel chassised 3 litre V6 like mine, except that it had been completely restored and looked like a new car.

The wooden chassised 1500 was an interesting car as the current owner is only the second and the first owner had given him the receipts for the car. You could actually see the varnished wood in the engine bay when you lifted the bonnet and the whole car was nicely restored.

The V6 was probably a bit over-restored for the purist as it had an all leather interior and a modified engine bay, but it did look very good and the standard of the work was excellent.

The sight of these cars left me in a state of confusion, partly inspired to get working on my car and partly depressed at the amount of work mine will need to reach the standard of them. Still, I found out that you can get a bit more adjustment from the pedals by adjusting the pedal-master cylinder linkage and this now means I can comfortably reach the pedals (in fact they're slightly TOO close now), and I've decided to have the wheels off and too strip them of all the corrosion and paint and re-paint them, which should be a fairly easy job once I find somewhere that will take off and refit the tyres for me.

A colleague, Billy Mulqueen, turned up for a look and spent a little time chatting about the cars and squeezing his fairly lofty frame into the car. Many people came to the stand and it was suprising (to me) how many people spoke of the cars as their 'all time favourites' or 'dream' cars. Obviously in the 60's the cars caused quite a stir.

We did have one smart-a** who came and told us that in 1969 we could have bought an Elan for less money, but he went away with his tail between his legs when we all (honestly) told him we wouldn't want to swap even now.

The show itself was pretty good with many classic cars (with a distinct leaning towards sports cars) represented through the owners clubs and also a healthy number of stands of both the autojumble style and the more professional trade stands. I didn't pay to get in, but I don't think the 5 entrance fee would have been wasted for anyone really interested in cars. One thing I sadly didn't get time to go and see was the free film show of classic races and rallies.


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