Tuesday, 20 November 2018


When I ended my last post, I said "no breakdowns or mishaps". That was not quiet true because my electric aerial, which someone had already twanged and bent, so that it wouldn't retract, must have got snagged by foliage on the very narrow road to Alum Bay so much so that it was laying horizontal along side the boot lid when we arrived. The problem was that the up and down of the aerial was controlled by a switch under the dash, which I invariable forgot to operate. Some gaffer tape secured it for the return journey from the IOW

My new £22 replacement aerial, could either be operated by the ignition switch or by switching the radio on, I opted for that method, which entailed detaching the wires from the switch and reattaching to the appropriate wires at the back of the radio. I then reconnected the original cables, including the aerial lead to the new aerial and job done. Switch on radio and up goes the aerial and switch off radio and down it goes.

I can't remember exactly when, but soon after I got Stella up and running after last winters work, I realised that the heater control wasn't working when I went to shut off the heat. Fortunately the heater control valve is just about accessible behind the carpet in the drivers foot well, when I tried to work the leaver directly it wouldn't move, it had obviously seized whilst the engine was drained of coolant over the winter. After continuous wriggling the little leaver, it freed up and I could set the required temperature at the valve, but the controlling leaver on the dash just moved from side to side with no effect. The fuzzy photo below shows the valve and it also shows the type of green spring clip mentioned in next paragraph.

It was time to sort this out, checking on the forum told me that the green spring clip that secured the outer cable of the heater control would have come off and that it was a pig of a job to put back on unless you had the hands the size of a five year old. Undaunted I started by removing the radio, the fascia to the heater control and the ashtray and there lay the green clip.  I could see were the clip had to go by using my mirror on a stick and a torch looking up into the aperture that the ashtray had occupied, but although I could just get my hand into this small void I couldn't turn it to place the clip in position.

The whole of the centre console would have to be removed which would give me about an extra 1/2 inch for my hand. So window and interior light switches, choke, heater fan controls plus cigarette lighter etc., all had to be disconnected, before I could try and wriggle the console out of the. Reluctant is the word, but eventually it gave up the battle and I was able to get the console moved out of the way.

I won't go into detail, but it took many attempts to get this clip located, but eventually I was successful. I sprayed WD40 over all of the linkages and yes! all of the controls now worked properly, time for coffee.

I was surprised at how quickly I got the console back into place and all the controls and switches reattached. Another job ticked off and looking forward to controllable warmth in the car this winter.

Thursday, 27 September 2018


The weather for this years Goodwood Revival was dry and fine, last year it was very wet, but we didn't go to that one. Six of us went this time, our usual Revival chums plus our classic car touring friends, who this time chose their MG RV8 over and above their beautiful but drafty Triumph TR3A.

We all dressed appropriately for the occasion and looked very lovely/dapper. We enjoyed every aspect of the day, the food, the racing, people watching and all the other attractions, including a full size steam engine, borrowed from the Watercress Line. Finally there was the Retail therapy, a vintage fur coat, hats and spectacles just to mention a few of the items purchased.

The day passed all to soon and we paused for a final photo as the sun started to set over Goodwood.

There were a couple of jobs I did on Stella. The first was to replace the small O rings in the tops of the Stromberg carbs. Any oil I put in the dashpots instantly leaked away and new O ring would prevent this. The theory is the dampening effect that oil in the dashpots has is to temporally richen the mixture for instant acceleration. The oil now stays were it should,but I cant say that I have noticed any difference. The other job completed, which did make a substantial change for the better, was to re time the ignition. I bought a timing light at the Silverstone Classic meet as I thought Stella was pinking under load and my suspicion was correct as we powered back up the Stokenchurch Cutting on the way back from Silverstone. The timing light proved that Stella was indeed too advanced and it was a simple matter to set it correctly by twisting the distributor a tad after loosening the two securing bolts.

We have just returned from a fantastic, extended weekend on the Isle of Wight, the trip was organised by Chris of The South Eastern  Area of the Stag Owners Club and five Stags and one TR4A IRS met up at Cobham Services on a drizzling Saturday morning, with first stop at the Beaulieu Motor Museum. It was pouring with rain by then, so those who hadn't already put their hoods up, certainly did now. It continued to rain for our arrival on the island and through to the next morning. Osbourne House was our Sunday detstination, as at the very least it would be dry inside and by the time we had seen all that Queen Victoria's favourite home could offer, including her bathing machine on the beach, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

The next morning the Stags lined up for a photo shoot before heading off to Alum Bay and the Needles. The wind had dropped from the previous day and the chair lift took us down to the beach where we were able to get a close up of the 21 different coloured sands, amazing that there is still any left  considering the amount that has been packed into glass lighthouses by now.

A boat trip on the Rambling Rose took us out to the lighthouse at the end of the famous Needles.

That day was rounded off by a great trip along the coast again pausing for a photo call at a disused National Petrol Station.

The sun still shone for our last day and we headed to Carisbrook Castle before heading to the pretty ferry terminal at Fishbourne for the return journey to the mainland.

Despite the early rain it was a great trip, no breakdowns or mishaps and enjoyed by all, plans are afoot for a Devon/Dorset trip in the Spring of next year.

Friday, 3 August 2018


Jacquie continually tells me that Stella's cracked and wrinkled back end doesn't do her any favours,  Stella that is. When Jacquie told me she was going to visit a chum up in Cambridgeshire for a few days and I had no other plans for Stella I decided to make a start on tidying up her rear.


It looked like the previous owner had probably backed into something whilst reversing into his garage as there were three dents under the rear bumper, Underseal had previously been applied up to and under the bumper, before the body colour white paint had been sprayed and the fairly minor dents had caused the white paint to split and peel off revealing the black underseal.

I removed the bumper and lowered the exhaust as much as I could by releasing the rubber hangers, With flap wheel fitted to my angle grinder I removed the paint and underseal right round to the rear wheel arches. It was very dirty work, eventually with 80 grade rubbing paper on my electric sander and then on a block I feathered in the layers of paint to the bare metal.

 I filled the dents with Isopon filler, which sets in 20 minutes. The electric sander and sanding block soon shows up the highs and the lows and it took three more fills and sandings before I felt it was ready for primer.

I masked up and gave three coats of primer again leaving 20 minutes between coats, but in the high temperatures the paint was going off almost as It hit the metal. I left the paint to harden overnight and in the morning wet rubbed it down with 600 grade wet and dry paper. Again all the highs and lows were very apparent and it took 4 more increasingly thin layers of filler, before I was satisfied that the lumps and dumps had all but disappeared. I gave the newly filled area 3 more coats of primer and called it a day.

As the day time temperatures were so high, I was up at 6am and out at the garage lightly rubbing down the primer with 1000 grade wet & dry paper. Everything wiped clean and dry, the top coat went on very quickly with good coverage, the lower air temperature was paying off. Within the hour three coats had been applied and it was time  for breakfast and to take Duggie for a walk.

The nest morning I stripped all the masking paper and tape off and rubbed down the whole area including the over spray with very fine 2000 grade paper. Done wet I was left with a very smooth but flat surface. I then got my foam pad on my electric polisher, No.1 polishing liquid dribbled onto the pad and then smeared all over the area and I started buffing away. The new paint has to be kept wet whilst buffing, but when I had finished I couldn't see the difference where the new paint overlaid the original and all now nice and shiny. I think I have almost cracked this spraying lark.

A new stainless rear bumper is on order from Harrington's in Vietnam of all places, but arrival not scheduled until November, so the old one has had to go back on temporally.

In regards to the title of this post, this comment was called out to a friend of mine, many years ago, whilst she was bent over loading the boot of her car in Dalston. She is still happy to remember the compliment.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018


We have just returned from a great time with friends at their home in East Bridgeford, near Nottingham. Stella transported us there and back in comfort and style, she more than held her own on the M11 and A1 and returned 29.8 miles to the gallon. On the return journey it took over an hour to do the last four miles up to the Dartford Crossing, a vehicle fire had reduced the motorway to one lane, but the temperature gauge stayed absolutely steady at 90 albeit with the Kenlowe fan running, but absolutely no sign of the Stags infamous overheating problems.

One of our outing was to the Papplewick Victorian pumping station which happened to be in steam that weekend, exciting and spectacular enough on it's own, but this weekend there was a Steam Punk theme. didn't really know what to expect, but it was huge fun. The costumes and machinery were amazing, I should have taken many more photos. There was Tea Duelling (don't ask) and facial hair competition amongst other activities, in all a very enjoyable time was being had by all.

I even went as far as trying on a hat, but evidently my ego isn't up to it.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


With all the current mechanical work done on Stella it is time to get out and about as much as possible and to my pleasure Jacquie actually suggests opportunities to go for runs out.

Early in June we drove to a local park and as it was my birthday Duggie enjoyed a tub of doggy ice cream.

In the middle of the month it was the Bromley Pageant,  Stella  I were present as part of the South East Area Stag Owners Club presentation. About 30 Stags turned up and by the end of a rather chilly day I had got to know the first names of many of the members. Duggie was elected as Club Mascot and lost no time in getting petted by as many people at once as was possible.

At the end of June we had intended to have a trip to North Wales, but one of our travelling companions had been under the weather for a while, so we decided to base ourselves closer to home in the Cotswold's. As everybody knows the weather has been superb and we had four fab days following our chums in their bright red Triumph TR3a, down beautiful lane, through lovely villages, stopping off at various gardens and places of interest.

 Stella literally didn't miss a beat, never showed any sign of overheating, the only thing that went wrong was that a glass 35amp fuse for the courtesy lights/cigar lighter blew. There was several packages of spare fuses that came with the car, which I had neatly stowed away, but when I came to deploy them, everyone except the 2amp fuses were already blown and it took a trip to Halfords in Cirencester to buy a selection of replacement fuses. Strange, why would the previous owner carefully put back into the original packaging blown fuses.

The TR3a was a lusty, snorting 2 litre and  for the first time I saw the needle of my rev counter touching the 4 thousand mark as I kept pace with her and the sound of the two cars accelerating hard was magnicient. Fuel consumption was 26 miles to the gallon and I was very pleased with that.

My confidence in Stella is confirmed and we are ready for our next big trip to visit friend in Nottingham.

Thursday, 7 June 2018


I mentioned in my last post that the temperature gauge had stopped working on the Stag, so just before the end of our long holiday in the South of France I ordered a replacement one to arrive by the time we got home, so that I would loose no time in getting it fitted.

Whilst in France I like to keep my fingers busy so I built a model of my 'Born Again' motorbike, a Yahama Virago. I got busy with the glue and airbrush and you could be forgiven for thinking it was the  real deal.

Back to the temperature gauge, I got straight to work on Stella. I drained the coolant and unscrewed the sensor bulb from the rear of the left hand cylinder head. I released the instrument panel and eased it forward to allow me to free the gauge and then withdraw the capillary tube back through the bulkhead and under the dash and and out through the gauge aperture.

There did not appear to be anything wrong with the old gauge or the long capillary tube, but I put the sensor of the old and the new one in a mug of boiling water and quite obviously, for whatever reason, it was no longer working.

When I was ordering the replacement gauge I initially checked out the company who provided the original one, but they wanted £128, a bit steep I thought, so I searched on EBay and found one from an MG spares supplier for just under £80, that will do, but when I came to fit it I realised that I would need a different adaptor for where the bulb screws into the head.

A couple of days later the adaptor and washer arrived and soon it was all back into place. I started the engine and ran it up to temperature, checking for coolant leaks, there were none and I now had a fully functional gauge.

Next job is to find out why the heater control lever has stopped working the heater water valve, good thing that I can get to the valve and close it by hand as Jacquie was complaining that her feet were beginning to melt, there is always something, not complaining, that's the way I like it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018


What a glorious day for a trip to Glorious Goodwood. The sky was clear blue, but we started off with the hood up as it had poured with rain over night and the hood needed to dry out before I could lower it. I don't usually leave the car out of its garage, but we were been baby sitting overnight in Reigate and planned to drive directly to Denbies Vineyard in Dorking from Reigate.

The Croydon Rotary Club were organising this run and check in to Denbies was from 9am allowing time to collect the excellent route guide to Goodwood and for coffee and a bacon butty. With the roof lowered, we left at about 10.20, with stewards reminding us to zero our trip meter. Jacquie was a super navigator as she read out the instructions, automatically adjusting the distances as I occasionally mentioned the difference between the trip meter and the instructions. point four of a mile was the total run out after the 63 mile route.

We didn't miss a turn, plenty of other cars did, but we turned into Levant Corner at Goodwood a little over two hours from the start, having driven through some lovely Surrey and Sussex villages and waving to many other classic cars coming towards us heading to unknown destinations.

On our two previous visits to Goodwood for the Revival, the place had been rammed, so it was a little strange to wander onto the empty race track and around the paddocks, it was a little ghostly. We had a light lunch, watched a few planes take off and land and headed back to Stella for an equally enjoyable and fortunately uneventful drive back. I did have to anchor up sharply, at one point though, as a Sunday driver, not a classic driver, decided to pull out in front of me, but a satisfying squeal of rubber brought a sheepish wave of apology from the driver and a complimentary comment from Jacquie, "Stops well doesn't she". The only issue is that the temperature gauge stopped working, but that is only a gauge issue as Stella showed no sign of overheating.

All bodes well for our next big outing in Stella, which will be a five day trip to North Wales at the end of June, fingers crossed that the weather is as good as it was last year when we toured Mid Wales.

Sadly no pictures of Stella as my phone ran out of battery just as I started to zoom in, sorry!