Monday, 24 March 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Moronic...

Since I last blogged I have had one of those periods where good stuff has happened and bad stuff has cropped up, culminating the bad with the simply almost primaeval, no-necked, shaven headed, grunting excuse for an alleged homo-erectus that I have met in recent years.
I have owned my nice little Citroen AX for 18 months now.  In all that time it has never missed a beat, started first time every time, whatever the weather, given me a wonderfully smooth ride and a genuinely friendly motoring experience. Sit back in the comfy seat, switch on Radio 4, get up to around 56mph (why do cars so LOVE to do 56mph) and enjoy the ride.  It sailed through its last MoT, only needing the seat tightening up!
But that was with an old boy who, I think, couldn't give a damn if you passed  or not as long as he got his sandwich and got home early.  Previous to him was a friendly, helpful chap who let you look at your own car while he tested it.  THIS time, the concrete floor split and out poured a hunch-backed midget with a prehensile forehead denoting a complete lack of anything surgery would recognise as a brain, who didn't acknowledge my presence, snatched my keys and somehow, instinct maybe, race Gods, who knows?, managed to get the car on the ramp, rev its tits off for the overblown emissions test and bang the underside with a hammer for half an hour until his "meat" arrived n the form of a matchbox sized hole within a foot of a suspension pick up point.  On these last two points he pounced, along with a loose headlight (bollocks!), a tyre with too little tread (checked, bollocks) and NO PEDAL RUBBER!!  Jesus H. Tastyfreez, it's NEVER had any pedal rubbers.  It sailed through last year, so why didn't old Fatso fail it?
The upshot is that adding up all the costs for welding, a new catalytic air fouler (for that is what they do, being a Euro piece of absolute nonsense that is more harm to the atmosphere than help), a new tyre, blah blah, none of which I could get done for sure within the retest period, I realised my little chum would have to be replaced.  I would, in the past have got it tested somewhere else, but Big Brother is watching your every move and would know by pootah! that the car had already come under the slimy fist of Cromagnon Man of Walsoken MoTs Ltd.
It took two days of solid eye-aching searching to find, by chance, through our travelling son, a rather smart little Nissan Micra for £375 with a year's MoT ticket. We liked it, bought it and so far it looks like it will do us nicely.
I checked the AX yesterday. Leaned in, turned the key, started on the button, so to speak, just like it always has.  For someone with an ability to weld and a line on second hand cats, it would still be a cheap reliable car.  But take it to anywhere, but Walsoken MoTs Ltd. for its new MoT.  You'll never get the stench out of it.  £100 cash and it's your's.

Then, I looked into whether I could get oxy acetylene gas bottles so I could do aluminium welding to make my Airline Coupe body for the Baretta.  Yeah, sure, if you want to spend over £350 for deposits, gas, valves, anti flashback valves and worst of all, ally welding goggles!
So, I had to find some other way of making an interesting body on my car. My son suggested what he calls a woody.  This not something half timbered like an Alvis Shooting Brake (I wish!) or a Morris Traveller, but a boat shaped tail made of wood, like a Riva or a Chris Craft.  On considering this, I realised that I could make that, with an alloy bonnet and top to the tail, without the need for rip-off welding gear AND I wouldn't need the flowing wings that the Airline Coupe would have needed, thereby saving me a fair bit of dosh.  I can MAKE the cycle wings a pointy tailed car needs.
So now this is how it could look...I am a BIG Amilcar fan, btw.

HOW??  Why, on my new English wheel, of course, which arrives tomorrow.  My lovely wife has treated me to one all of my own.
We had a nice day out yesterday in the new car at the Sunday Market and I got an amazing haul of tools, modelmakers' and  panelbeaters' for an amazing £25.
THAT is where the Good bits come in......


  1. Good grief! I suppose that the welding is a fair point, but although I have never met you you don't come across as someone who'd take a car with a dodgy tyre for an MOT. As for dodgy Cats + pedal rubbers...
    I had a 1.4litre ZX estate for a few years and it was a great little car, even with a roof full of kayaks and a boot full of camping gear.

    Please keep us updated on your special's bodywork.

  2. The cat was only his guess, Paul. He didn't elaborate, couldn't more like!

    As to the English wheel...English made and the wrong colour AND the screw jack for the lower wheel won't even go in its thread. I now have to either send it back or tap the thread with an M20! Just the kind of thing a modelmaker has in his tobacco tins, eh?

  3. We used a garage like that for a while...he would stand there talking to folk for ages even though he knew I was waiting, and was monosyllabic when replying to my questions. Everything seemed to cost £240... We now use a local Toyota dealership in Harlech who are quite happy to service and repair my VW, charge reasonably, smile when I walk in, remember my name, give me coffee and supply a courtesy car, usually for less than £240...
    At the risk of seeming like a foolish loon, what's an "english wheel" ?

  4. Iain,
    We'll be looking elsewhere too now.
    The English wheel is an essential bit of kit for making car body parts and other smooth shaped curved things. It stretches the metal, allowing crowned shapes to be made and it smoothes out the marks from hammered work. It's a little piece of magic. Watch the next blog.