It was a jolly busy Christmas period, although I did manage 3 days off: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and NYE - everyone say "aah, bless!".

However we are now beginning to see a way forward...

  • Don's USA PV544 now has its 5 speed (Type9) gearbox all running nicely, replacing its failed M41 overdrive unit - Rob Kitchen did the transmission tunnel modification, and resolved the issue he discovered with an overfat Type9 friction disc, which caused a day's scratching of heads both up in Norfolk and down here in Suffolk!
    Rob's truly and excellent fabricator and very top end technical work, I can't recommend him highly enough.
  • Ludo's 205GTi now has new front suspension and sumpguard, and better crankcase breathing, so we hope he won't be consuming so much oil next week on the Winter Trial in Scandinavia.
    • The (standard) 185/60R14 tyres have been replaced with 145/80R13 winter tyres, since we expect snow on the rally...
  • Paul came late last week to fetch the Peking2Paris components for the Amazon they're building...
    • B20 engine, twin spring head
    • LSD axle: superb Gripper unit, infinitely superior to Quaife's ATB product
    • M40 gearbox, simple rebuild
    • Plus a host of other components to continue the build
  • Emma's old Amazon 121 was a neighbour's wedding car on Saturday, and behaved impeccably
  • Our PV544 "GAS 685" is with Brian Gue having some impending rot cut out and made good before it becomes an MoT issue
  • I had to spend Saturday in the Sud Tirrol (I think, Ulm anyway!) and Hertz upgraded my little Astra to a BMW X1 M-Sport, well...
    • Certainly it's luxurious and insulating, with pleasingly efficient heating after I had battled my way in the driving sleet to get to the car
    • I confess it took me 10' to work out how to get the gearbox out of Park, but I got there in the end.
    • Boy is it heavy!
      Unbelievable just how much middle executive superfluous weight that car is having to haul around, whilst everyone might be praising the engine's power output, I suspect the power/weight ratio is very little better than our 1960's rally cars - it is little surprise that manufacturing these new cars are costing us dear ecologically.
      Don't get me started!
  • Motorsport?
    • Amy was out with Niall in her MX5 on the Stanta Targa, and had a good run although we were all sorry to lose the huge 4mile section due to deceptively slippery patches
    • Gareth came down from Pwhelli in his Amazon to compete there with me also.
    • On Saturday Amy was on her first Carpetbagger in a very successful Mk2 Escort
      • Now I've never finished the 'bagger...
        First attempt was in my 142 with Eric, and the exhaust manifold broke up by 3am: on a snowy airfield, blisteringly cold!
        Then out with Isaac in his 205: "crossroads, straight on" called I, about 20s before we came to an abrupt halt into a T-juntion bank (it was in fact a staggered x-roads sadly); we lost all our coolant
      • Amy came in 14th just behind Lizzie Pope, on a very icy event
      • Niall sadly didn't finish, retiring with a broken fwd drive shaft
      • And very sadly Dan (in Niall's father's PV544 that he won the RAC Rally with) hit an unexpected patch of ice around 0530 and 5miles before the finish, badly damaging a front corner of the car.

Well, I have an early B18 Amazon on the ramps, the front drums are nastily scored (and unobtainable) so we're converting it to disc brakes...

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