Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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van ordinaire
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by van ordinaire » 09 May 2019, 23:09

Never known likes of TRE's not yield to a big hammer (especially if you can get another behind the point of impact to act as an anvil); did treat myself to a splitter once though -& bent it!
In the early days I did split a couple of boots, so learned to keep decent ones, although, of course, since they became an MoT fail they've become fairly readily available - & in polyurethane! (although,of course, on some newer cars they're not replaceable).
If you're replacing whole TRE/ball joint/swivel/whatever don't faff about with the split pins - just hammer a socket over the nut & wind it off! Classic case of brute force & ignorance (not an approach I'd often advocate) being the way to go.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 10 May 2019, 00:56

I had a spare hour (ish) this afternoon so made another pass at the "clean the secondary pulley game" on the Invacar.

A metre of threaded rod was all of £1.85 from Toolstation. That, a couple of bolts and a few washers allowed me to create this potentially lethal contraption out of my poor innocent workbench and even more horribly abused (yet apparently indestructible) power drill.

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It's actually infinitely less terrifying than it looks courtesy of the pulley (as you would expect) being really insanely well balanced. It wobbles a bit at around 500rpm, but then smooths out totally up to the free running speed of the drill. What is scary is that *stopping* from that speed takes the best part of a minute thanks to the rotational inertia involved...

I only did that once though, more out of curiousity as to how well balanced stuff was, while being ready to leg it at a moment's notice.

For reference this is the pulley surface we started with following my first pass at cleaning it with the polycarbide mop on the grinder last week.

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An hour or so of working at it with a combination of a chisel (ooooh...sparks!) and several grades of Emery cloth resulted in the surface looking like this. 

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While there's still a lot of visible tarnish there the pulleys surface is now smooth to the touch across the full running surface. Whether this will help things or not I will hopefully find out tomorrow. It's hard to express quite how much smoother that pulley face feels than it looks in the photo.

Realistically, this is as good as the pulley surface is going to get without being able to throw it onto an actual lathe with a suitable cutter to reface the running surfaces properly. It just ain't going to get any better in my hands...so if it still eats belts I'll probably need to get a machine shop involved.

The last thing I did before packing up this evening was throw (not literally of course) a load of filler at the bodywork.

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The area behind the nearside wheelarch should benefit a lot from this (remember, there was a huge crack there). I'll hit it with the sander and some paint tomorrow (or another coat of filler if needed - I'm going for presentable from twenty paces here) to tidy things up a bit. Obviously will be a fair amount more needed, but it's the first time I've used this exact stuff so I wanted to start simple. Plus to be brutally honest I'm more interested in driving this car right now than making it pretty... 

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 » 10 May 2019, 08:17

To get a presentable level with that, filler spread it on then cover it with polythene sheet (a 5p carrier bag) and flatten it out with the wife's iron, cold of course, before it sets. :)

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 10 May 2019, 12:16

Gibbo2286 wrote:
10 May 2019, 08:17
To get a presentable level with that, filler spread it on then cover it with polythene sheet (a 5p carrier bag) and flatten it out with the wife's iron, cold of course, before it sets. :)


That's what I love about this place...random tips and tricks that can be real timesavers.

That's definitely something I'll keep in mind - especially when I come to do the "bonnet" as it's quite a large flat panel.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by daviemck2006 » 10 May 2019, 17:01

Gibbo2286 wrote:
10 May 2019, 08:17
To get a presentable level with that, filler spread it on then cover it with polythene sheet (a 5p carrier bag) and flatten it out with the wife's iron, cold of course, before it sets. :)

I’ve not got a wife so I will use the smallest pan she left me

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 11 May 2019, 00:47

Having had a think about it further this morning I went to confirm the identification of my brake master cylinder so I could get either a service kit or new cylinder ordered.

Nice to see that the fluid level hasn't moved in the slightest since I've started driving it, I know there's no reason it should have, but it's still nice to see the fluid staying where it should be.
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Brake Master Cylinder
Yep, there's the number which I couldn't remember or find written down anywhere.
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Let's write this down this time
Doing a bit of digging around on the internet to see what I could find. When did the search function on everything become so utterly useless? Why when I type in "Girling 625 master cylinder service kit" are the first five items for Lockheed cylinders or totally different complete cylinders before anything starts to turn up that's useful?

Anyhow...eventually managed to track down some rebuild kits. They're a good bit more expensive than I'd expected...not far off the same price that genuine Girling cylinders seem to go for (£60 or thereabouts). Though there are a plethora of off brand ones for £20-30 out there. Though quite what sort of quality to expect at that point I'm not sure.

I did however decide to grab one. Basically because A: I've had gift money sitting in my Amazon account for about two years now so it's essentially free. B: Because it will at least let me prove the rest of the system behaves or not. If it does behave perfectly then I at least know that the MC is the issue...if I can't then make one good cylinder out of the two or am actually satisfied with the one from Amazon that turns up, I'll get a proper new Girling one ordered up. As the one I've ordered is essentially free it seemed worth a shot though.

Bodywork wise I've given things over the back a sand down (man I'd forgotten how much dust that creates!) and blew a quick bit of paint over it.
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Bodywork progressing
Definitely heading in the right direction... here's the same panel when the car arrived on my driveway.
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How things looked back in July 2018
Will want another coat or three of filler, but we're definitely making progress. I'll make sure I actually have enough on hand next time!
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Bodywork progressing
She's never going to be a concourse show winner, but hoping that a finish that's presentable from ten or twenty paces should be doable.

What I was really interested in seeing though was whether my messing about with the CVT secondary pulley yesterday had actually done anything useful.

The answer is a definite yes. While I've only been able to do testing up to 30mph today courtesy of rush hour, things have obviously improved. The pickup from a standing start is smoother and changes to throttle setting are far more quickly responded to now. It's also way quieter.

Have a *really* shaky video showing how things are behaving now. I'll hopefully make a run out onto a faster road tomorrow to see how it behaves.

While I was on Amazon earlier this afternoon a better phone mount was also ordered...so hopefully any future footage recorded on that will be something resembling stable. I can only apologise for how awful the footage here is.



Feels like we're getting quite close to a car which is actually usable now.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 13 May 2019, 01:58

First task for this afternoon was to get again replace the throttle cable on the Lada. Out of everything to do with the injection conversion the throttle linkage has been by far the biggest recurring headache. Today involved quite a significant re-engineering of things. It's not 100% perfect (foot down is about 90% open at the throttle body) but far better, and for the first time since I started the conversion it no longer sticks about 1% open when returning to idle. Has made it way more pleasant to drive. Have to wonder how long it will take me to remember that I don't need to tap the pedal back fully up whenever I come to rest...

Bit of a milestone passed while on the test run.
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20K in 26 years
(Ignore the check engine light. It's a wiring issue to the vehicle speed sensor and doesn't actually affect anything in the real world, just tends to ping the light up if you coast for more than a few seconds).

Feeling optimistic having got that sorted out I thought I'd look into seeing if I could do something about the clutch on the Xantia.

This has been a bit of an issue as long as I've had the car. The clutch works just fine, no judder, no slip no snatching. However the bite point is about an inch from the floor, which gets quite tiresome around town.

Not knowing for certain if there was any way to adjust the cable I figured it would just make sense to find it and have a poke around. I've managed to convince supposedly self adjusting cables to tension up better with a bit of violence before. Now, the engine bay in the Activa is somewhat "busy" to be honest. Nothing obvious there, but I figured it would likely be easy enough if I pulled the air cleaner out.
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This engine bay gets an award for the sheer number of layers of stuff it has
Hmm...nope. Still can't find it. Let's pull the rest of the air intake elbow and look closer.
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So much stuff...
Plenty of obvious cables for the gear change...no obvious clutch gubbins. How about taking a look underneath?
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Going to need to sort that LHM leak
Nothing (aside from a minor LHM leak - one of the return line weeps slightly at the reservoir). It looks horrendous in the photo but she's never used a drop of oil, water or LHM and doesn't mark her territory.

Turns out I'm an utter idiot. The Activa in 2.0T form (all we got in the UK) has the ML5 gearbox...which means hydraulic clutch! That had never even crossed my mind...once that gem of information crossed my mind the fact that there must be a fluid reservoir for it (unless it uses LHM...though apparently not) also joined the party. A tip from a fellow Citroen enthusiast on here has me now knowing where to look. Turns out I'd looked at it a hundred times and never given it a second thought.
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Don't I feel an idiot now...
I'd always assumed that was the interia switch as that's what it looks like.

So I'll check it there's fluid in it in the morning and see about bleeding it. Fingers crossed that might help a bit as there's no adjustment possible and it's been bugging me this last week (it's the van's fault as the clutch in that is lovely now).

Invacar has been seeing a bit more cosmetic work continue. Bit more filler has been thrown into the equation to help smooth things down before I throw some more paint at it.

Small (but to my mind disproportionately annoying) chunk missing from the offside door.
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Tiny repair to offside door
Top of the nearside front wing where it's had a knock at some point. I'd already applied matting and resin from behind the panel.
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Horrible great crack repaired
Worst panel on the car though was the front service cover, so we'll see how that looks after some sanding action.
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Front service cover repaired
Will just be a quick sand and splash tomorrow morning which will make things look a little bit more presentable.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren » 13 May 2019, 04:52

Somewhere? Jim has an involved description of clutch bleeding on a Xantia. It could even have been yours.
There is no bleed procedure as there is no bleed nipple. Jim fitted one to the slave cylinder but as I recall it still isn't an easy thing to do.
I did wonder at the time if it would be possible to fit a C5 slave cylinder as they do have a bleed nipple, I noticed that when I changes my reversing light switch.

My sinker had an hydraulic clutch. I was mystified as to why there were two master cylinders but the one on the right turned out to be the alarm kill switch :roll:

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 13 May 2019, 23:33

Had a bit of a special day today as the owner of TWC was due to pay me a visit. His rescue from a field and restoration of TWC was responsible for me discovering what an Invacar was. I'd never heard of them until then. Shortly after wound up with one which was missing a large portion of the bodywork but was generally sound mechanically...then once TWC was back on the road, I bought TPA, the original spares car for the restoration of TWC. She was missing her entire drivetrain by this point...but I had essentially precisely what I needed to make one working car out of the two by fitting the drivetrain from my original car. We did get a couple of photos of them together back last summer, but TPA was still a fair ways from roadworthy back then.

This was going to be the first time they'd been in one spot while both were roadworthy, so obviously we wanted to get a few photos of them together, have a little drive out in convoy etc.

In preparation for that I wanted to finish off the cosmetic work I'd been doing yesterday. Quick splash of paint first.
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Bonnet now in paint.
Still going to need a little more filler, but a LOT better than it was.
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Still needs work, but better
While I had the paint out I gave the fan shroud a quick splash as well. The original paint was flaking off and it was bugging me.
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That tidies things up a bit
Then gave the interior a quick clean as it was covered in filler dust and rust powder which the heater is still shedding despite my best efforts to clean it out.
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Interior vacuumed for the 38273728th time
Really need to get a wet and dry vacuum on the driver's seat as it is quite grubby (sitting in the back of the garage for two years will do that, not to mention the 200K miles in the donor vehicle).

Soon after I was done with that my guest arrived and we went out for our little drive, stopping at a local from park which has some nice greenery in the background so is a good place to take car photos.
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Invacars reunited
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Invacars reunited
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Invacars reunited
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Invacars reunited
That was quite a fun afternoon. Yes, we did get some properly confused looks when we were out driving in convoy.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 15 May 2019, 01:10

Had a pretty full day today so didn't have much time for cars. 

One thing which I'm rather paranoid about both in the home and cars is fire. There were a couple of things around the fridge which were bothering me. Simple really in that it chucks out a LOT of heat, especially from the area right by the burner when on gas and around the rectifier/water separator. 

The proximity of that to a plywood wall covering polystyrene insulation bothered me. When I first got it the wiring was melted into the water separator too. In addition to fire hazards the fact that the water lines to the kitchen run within a couple of inches of the burner and that makes me uncomfortable. 

Some of that is unavoidable to some extent, but I could do something to improve matters a bit with a bit of insulation and rerouting of wiring. I want to do this now as before too long the compartment it lives in will be getting closed in, so there will no longer be a whopping great hole in the wall of the living area. Need to fit a vent in the floor so we can get some decent airflow through the heat exchanger too.

First up was some foil attached to the wall that's nearest to the hottest areas. 
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Hopefully that will help stop the wall from baking
Not pretty but it doesn't have to be...it'll be behind the fridge. 

Also wrapped the wiring which has to run up behind it and tethered them to keep them from actually sitting on the water separator. 
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...and this to stop the wiring from being cooked.
Will get the gas hooked back up, do a leak and CO escape check then get the thing boxed back in as it should be. Once that's done I can button up the gas locker...once that's done I can do the cupboards. Just need to do stuff in a very specific order for the sake of access. 

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 15 May 2019, 21:21

Watching "Find it, Fix it, Drive it", and (if you can find one at a decent price) this could be right up your street!;

http://www.caroholic.com/62_centaur.htm

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 16 May 2019, 01:15

Hell Razor5543 wrote:
15 May 2019, 21:21
Watching "Find it, Fix it, Drive it", and (if you can find one at a decent price) this could be right up your street!;

http://www.caroholic.com/62_centaur.htm


Oh yes please...I want one. Have absolutely zero use for it...but I want one.

-- -- --

Wound up digging around in the locker under the sofa in the van so took the opportunity to install the battery gauge which has been rattling around for months.
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Battery condition meter close up
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Battery condition meter showing installed location
The reason I really wanted this installed was because the one in the main control panel appears to have issues. This photo was taken about twenty seconds after the one above. 
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You very rarely see this showing anything other than low
Hopefully at some point I'll be able to get that sorted. It's a ways down the priority list though.

I had it in my head that there was a local classic car get together here this afternoon...however when I got there it became apparent that I'm utterly useless and had the wrong day - that's actually tomorrow.

So I suddenly found myself with a couple of hours to kill. Figured it was time to throw some more filler at TPA. 

Still a bunch more sanding to do, but we're getting somewhere. 
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OSF Quarter
Nearside quarter looking almost smooth. 
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Nose tidied - bumper still in progress
The huge gouges on the nose have been smoothed out. I felt this was quite important given how prominent the area is. 
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Bonnet hinge area
Bonnet hinge area is almost resembling flat again and I've built up the corner of the bonnet which I'd clearly missed on the first pass. 
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NSF Roof
Finally got the hole in the roof filled. Meant the duct tape there can finally go.
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OSR Corner
This corner is actually starting to look passable. This is as far as I got with the sander. Even with the dust extraction set up the process still makes a godawful mess! 
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Rear end
The biggest pits around the rear of the car have been filled, though some further work will definitely be needed there - running out of filler meant I couldn't go much further today!
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OSR Wheelarch
The chunk taken out of this wheel arch has also been patched up.

Will spend a bit more time with the sander then throw some paint at it. May have a shot at remodelling my original work on the offside front corner first though as the state of that makes my skin crawl... 

At least matching the original level of finish on an Invacar isn't too strenuous compared to most vehicles, though even that's horribly time consuming! 

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by RichardW » 16 May 2019, 12:25

Zelandeth wrote:
13 May 2019, 01:58
Image
That brings back memories... our twin pot Visa had a fault with the alternator which meant the charging light didn't go out, however, it charged enough to keep the batt charged up enough to start it (we thought the battery was not that good on the 4 cyl we had at the time, so we swapped what we thought was the OK batt from the twin - not even enough oomph to turn the engine over, but back in the twin it cranked fine!). Then one day it decided not to charge, but first I knew was when the batt was really flat. New brush pack fitted for about £3.50 and away we went, but I decided a volt meter was required. So off to the scrappy, and only one I could find was out of a Lada - and it was identical to that! Would have been 1991 ish, so Lada early 80's vintage - why change something that works OK! :lol:

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 17 May 2019, 01:15

This morning I made an absolutely awful mess in the garage by attacking TP with the sander and some paint. I swear I will be finding filler dust for years...the stuff gets everywhere. 

Does look like we're moving in the right direction to me.

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The rear could do with a lot more sanding, though I was running out of both time and patience by the time I got there, so it will be revisited of course.

The reason I really wanted to get a basic skim of paint over there this afternoon was that there was a local show this afternoon which I wanted to get TP over to for her public debut at an event other than just driving around. Especially given I arrived yesterday to find I'd got the date wrong.

Did we make it? 

Of course we did! 

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Here's a few snaps of some of the other motors that were there.

I didn't snap anything like every car as I had made a critical wind chill calculation error and was freezing, so the order of the day was brief runs out to snap photos and talk to people between periods hiding in the car waiting for the feeling to return to my fingers.

Plethora of Astons. Not really surprising given the proximity of their factory and that one of the organisers is apparently in the owners club. 
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Don't recall seeing an MGB in this colour before, I like it.
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Normally a BMW wouldn't get a second glance from me (635 excepted), but seeing an i8 up close always feels special. They're still a gorgeous looking car I think.
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Oddest coloured car of the day award goes to this Ford Prefect.
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Lovely Jowett Javelin. These just look "right" to me, and I only discovered recently that they're really quite interesting mechanically speaking too.
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Hard not to like a Scimitar.
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I just love the degree of colour in this photo given we live in a world of silver, grey, white and slightly off white cars these days.
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While Astons are usually a bit rich for my blood, this thing is lovely.
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They really need to bring back tail fins...
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There were actually a few Austin 7s there, though this one is a really early example if I'm not mistaken.
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I still need to drive an actual Mini at some point!
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It would have been downright rude to not take a bunch of photos of this. There's no angle it doesn't look fantastic from.
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As usual I never actually took any close-ups of my own car.

Definitely need to make up an information sign to put with the car, as the number of questions I wound up answering was very surprising...and most people didn't even know that they had been rendered illegal and had mostly been scrapped.

Importantly TP ran perfectly both to and from the event, even managing an overtake on the dual carriageway on the way there - cue one very puzzled looking Zafira driver. Afraid I didn't have a camera running at that point to capture that moment...maybe next time (this is why I really need get a proper camera mount so recording video isn't such a pain). 

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by RichardW » 17 May 2019, 09:17

Zelandeth wrote:
17 May 2019, 01:15


There were actually a few Austin 7s there, though this one is a really early example if I'm not mistaken.
Image
BKO 4 appears to have been reg in 1935, so it's actually quite late, given production from 1922 - 1939....! Nice tidy looking car however.