Saturday, 17 August, and the SLTOA faithful once again made the trek to It’s Alive Automotive for a tech session. Another good turn out, great information on the care and feeding of LBCs with plenty of back-and-forth between the participants…and, as always, a lot of meandering about, looking at It’s Alive’s remarkable assortment of vehicles, in various stages of repair and/or restoration. Thanks Jeff!
Six weeks later, figured I’d better post something/anything. As we’re well into summer, our initial offering is a couple of photos from SLTOA’s annual SweatFest backyard BBQ gathering, on 23 July (delayed one week due to massive thunderstorms the previous Tuesday).
We had good weather again this year – severe clear, not oppressively hot – a good turnout of people and a good turnout of cars. As always, our thanks to John Lamberg for allowing us to use his back yard.
The High-Speed Doorstop, having sustained the fuel pump failure (actually, it was an electrical glitch; the pump’s fine), getting loaded at Family Arena for the return to Baldwin.
Second, said HSD, now running flawlessly, at the Pacific Car Show, Saturday, 29 June. I provided one of two LBCs among, oh, 150 cars, the other being a ’53 MG TD. Great show and great hospitality by the residents and businesses of Pacific.
My apologies for the very long absence from the blog, but between a two week trip to the UK and some pop-up technical difficulties, time just kind of got away. On the plus side, during the run to England and Scotland, I did manage to see one TR6, three Spits (two running, one a work in progress up by Cambridge), one older XJ6 or XJ12 and two Minis, featured here. In fact, the only cars I managed to get photos of were the two Minis; everything else listed pretty much blew past before I could get a hold of my camera.
Otherwise, a few quick observations (and details should appear in an article in the July Exhaust Notes): there are now 26 million people in London and the immediate vicinity and despite restrictions and taxes/fees, a lot of them drive. Fortunately, the Underground and long-distance rail systems work great and are highly entertaining.
Two, the motorways are great, pretty much like our interstates over here in the Colonies and adjusting to driving on the left wasn’t that big a chore (I previously drove in Britain in 1984). Roundabouts/traffic circles? The learning curve on those was a tad more involved. Secondary roads, the “A” and “B” routes? Jeez…no shoulders, most of them had curbs…and when you’re tooling along in a large Alfa Romeo SUV and some big lorrie comes blasting around the corner going in the opposite direction, it tends to get sporting real quick.
Still, overall, a great time (even managed a day at RAF Lakenheath with a couple of my counterparts), might even be able to get back for another visit – with an emphasis on my Welsh ancestral homeland (cue “Men of Harlech”) – within another year or so.
And now, back to the local activities…which includes driving/autocrossing the TR8. Yes, we got the fuel pump electrical glitch corrected…
See Mark riding in the cab of a AAA wrecker.
See Mark mulling over the situation at the monthly Boeing Sports Car Club autocross, where the TR8 died before the first run, apparently due to an inoperative electric fuel pump.
See Mark hope the fix is fairly easy.
See Mark contemplate dumping the Triumph for something more reliable…like a Fiat.
About four months ago, while junior was out for a post-sunset patrol in the TR8, the alternator packed it in when one of the leads on the back of the device separated. I immediately ordered a replacement from Victoria British over in Kansas…and today, after much flailing around, purchase of replacement bolts/lock washers/washers/nuts and requisite confusion, we finally got the replacement in.
Yes, all fluids were carefully checked prior to the post-surgery fire-up although we were concerned the battery (which has a kill switch) was flat. Nope, the car started right up, roared mightily (ah, what a sound…left-side exhaust leak nothwithstanding)…and then burbled, missed and died. Aw jeez, now what….
Sooo, chief mechanic Creig H started at the fuel pump back aft and carefully checked connectivity forward, through the inertial switch on the left side of the firewall (thanks to Dave M for his phone consultation concerning the location of the switch). Pulled stuff here, cleaned components there, checked all the electrics..and it started again. With the second start, I got the car out for a quick lap around the neighborhood. It ran flawlessly and it would appear I will now be able to drive my TR in this next Saturday’s SLTOA event down to Washington.
My thanks to Creig, Dave and my stepson Christian for their assistance with this effort. As per usual when dealing with LBCs, it was most definitely a learning experience.
Ah, but so far, all I’ve seen on the road Brit-wise is this really nice Land Rover, on US 301 SB near Crofton, MD. Am heading out for Chesapeake Beach in a few minutes and tomorrow – weather permitting – I’ll be over on the Delmarva Peninsula. The search continues…
Business trip, back to greater DC-Baltimore and the search for LBCs continue. No surprise, this area is thick with Brit and other special interest car clubs; the leads in the Triumph category remain Triumphs Around the Chesapeake and Capital Triumph Register, both great groups.
As the saying goes, third time lucky…after two delays due to bad weather and worse road conditions, we finally got the annual Polar Bear Run out of the way on Sunday the 24th. Good thing we didn’t have to postpone another week; as I write this (Sunday 03 March), more snow’s coming down and the roads are treacherous (BIG pileup on I-255 down by Jefferson Barracks, plus similar at several other locations).
Anyway, the participants enjoyed a clear if quite chilly day, about 17 cars total including Triumphs, MGs, a single BMW and a brace of Miatas/MX-5s (glad to have ’em!). The route was clear and by all accounts, the participants had a fine time (said one MX-5 owner: “Thanks for setting this up!”) and among the pack, only one breakdown.
Next up? In and around other activities, I’m going to propose a run north along the Mississippi for 4 May. There’s a group up in Elsberry that holds a big car show every year; a few years back, while the Triumph faithful were on an “Italian Tune-up” drive courtesy of current president Andy, we stumbled across the show. Assuming I can convince the rest of the club to make this drive, we should have a good time parading a line of Brit cars through the proceedings. In the meantime, keep an eye on the SLTOA web page at www.sltoa.org for info on other events, including a Jaguar excursion scheduled for 16 March.
Yes, the HSD is still in the garage. However, what with the incredible increase in the temperature (compared to the past two weekends) and the sunny skies, one of my sons and I spent the better part of the afternoon finishing up the new alternator…and then ran into a work stoppage. The bolt we had for fastening the adjusting arm didn’t fit. Checked the shop manual, made three trips to Ace, still don’t have the right size and the sun’s gone down.
Soooo, we’ll have to see if I can get the alternator properly installed and the car running again next Saturday, in advance of SLTOA’s annual Polar Bear Run. And yes, I’m monitoring the weather…right now it looks pretty iffy, but hopefully we can pull it off.
More to follow…