So yesterday I took Martha alllllll the way to Worcester for her MOT (about a 50 mile round trip). It was a great drive – the weather was acceptable, if a little chilly, and it was excellent to be driving her again. You know, it’s easy to forget just how different it is to drive a classic car – noisy, different driving position, MASSIVE STEERING WHEEL, gearstick very different, and of course, you have the lack of a 5th gear (sorry about that, Martha), but it really was great to have her out on the road again.
We arrived a little early for the test, which was all good, as the appointment before me had cancelled, so Martha went straight in and onto the ramps, and off I went to wait out the result!
An hour later I returned, to find out she had failed 😦
Saying that though, it’s nowhere near as bad as I had thought it would be – Steering rack gaiter is split (I had a replacement in the boot), the brake switch needs replacing (had a spare one in the boot), she has European headlamps that kick up the wrong way, and the front brakes need adjusting.
So, there is nothing at all major, and probably nothing I wasn’t aware of, and best of all, nothing too expensive, so she will be going back for her re-test in a week or so, and will pass with flying colours, naturally 🙂
Martha has been off the road since 7th December 2011. Yes, it has broken my heart to hear how great these cars are in the winter and I have not been able to experience this, but we are on the way to getting her fixed.
I say ‘we’, I mean my hero, Ashley, came down yesterday (in the rain and hail) and got to work on getting the beast back in working order.
The halfshaft had broken as I was coming down a big hill full of potholes, leaving me stranded on a very busy roundabout (big thanks to the two police cars that drove past me by the way).
It was very interesting seeing the inner workings of the rear axle, which I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise (gee, thanks Martha! Educational or just plain annoying?!). The part in question had shirred off about an inch from the top, which was pretty impressive, in all honesty!
So, Ashley got out all the bits he needed to, and Martha is on the way to recovery!
Then it is the dreaded MOT which is a very scary prospect! EEP!!
I am astounded at the length of time it has been since the last post (again), however, the blog did seem to be turning into a ‘look what’s gone wrong now’ type thing, which although is part & parcel of owning a 43 year old car, it just seemed a bit of a downer.
So this post will be the ‘downer’ post, and the next few at least will be about the good times we have!
Perhaps I will start with a little picture…
That would be Martha without an engine.
Yes, on 24th September 2011, Martha pegged it. As yet, we aren’t sure of the (many) causes of the break down, but it was a MAJOR breakdown – un-drivable, new engine required breakdown. Just in case you wondered, the old engine is the one on the hoist.
I managed to acquire a refurbished engine from a local fella (known only as ‘The Engine Man’), and on 14th October, my lovely friend Matt Tomkins travelled up from Oxford to help me put the new engine in.
Matt worked so hard all weekend, the poor lad, and I did what women are best at, I scrubbed the engine bay, and painted it a lovely gloss black with Hammerite (it prevents rust, don’t you know).
As well as the engine being buggered (to put it politely!), the majority of the fittings had to be replaced too, so it ended up being rather expensive as you can imagine! Having just started university, it was important that Martha was back on the road as soon as we could manage so I could actually make it there! It was touch & go as to whether it would happen or not…! Being a 43 year old lady, as happens to us all, a lot of bits had siezed up on the poor old girl, making things take a little longer than they probably should have done!
After going on for 24 hours worth of work, the new engine was finally in!
Thank goodness! It was a hard weekend, I did my back in and could barely walk on the Monday, but I’ll tell you what, it was worth it to have the beast back on the road!
Matt, you’re my hero! xxx
So this is the heater out of the car and drying in the bath after the matrix being flushed (eat your heart out Neo!).
I spent the majority of the day trying to remove a badly corroded bolt from the exhaust strap, without success, so Martha is, once again, laid up on the drive. The rest of the exhaust replacement should be a doddle, but this bolt is currently pissing me RIGHT OFF!!!!
Today I picked up the new bits for Martha!
New exhaust and fitting kit, and while I was at it, I finally bought the new gearstick gaiter! This is something I have been wanting to sort out since I got her, so she will be happy (and I will stop getting a draught up my arm!)
I didn’t have chance to do any work on her today as I helped my mum move house (she has been living with me & Jones since April, so as you can imagine, I didn’t mind moving her out & not doing the car…!!!). Tomorrow, however, I am going to replace the exhaust, and hopefully get around to taking out & stripping the heater (finally) in preparation for winter! As well as replacing the gearstick gaiter, of course!!!!
Onto other news, Martha & I have been getting a little fame this past few weeks! We are featured in the September issue of Minor Monthly ! We have a whole page to ourselves, and it is quite a lovely little piece, I must say 🙂
Then this Monday just gone, we were on This Morning!!! The show had asked for people to send in pictures that summed up our summers, so I thought it would be fun to send in this pic:
Martha has made my summer, she has enabled me to meet some wonderful people, and of course, I learned to drive in her, so she will always mean a lot to me.
Anyway, they only bloody showed the picture!! I didn’t know until Steph Holloway called me to ask if I had been on TV!!! (Should you wish, it’s on the ITV Player, Monday 5th September, at around 1h 7m)…
Fame at last, eh?!