car­port 1, hire van 0

Opel Monza fan faux pas sorted out, but John gets a les­son in ba­sic physics in the process

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - JOHN LAKEY CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Owned Since Au­gust 2004 Re­cenT Mileage 70ft TO­Tal Mileage 78,000 since 2004 re­build laT­eST cOSTS £600

Progress slowed on the Monza over early win­ter be­cause I wasn’t able to get to Ip­swich and mate Gra­ham Booty – who oc­ca­sion­ally al­lows me to come and mess up his tidy work­shop and who was busy sort­ing his blown-up Tran­sit tow ve­hi­cle. Fi­nally, a time win­dow opened and we made some good progress, even mak­ing it move un­der its own steam… a bit!

The first job was to fit the new front ABS sen­sor I’d stum­bled across on eBay, some­thing I’d been af­ter for six months be­cause I knew that it would be an MoT fail­ure. The rot­ten back­plate and strut were a pig to get off but some heat and swear­ing saw it all re­moved and re­built. We then fin­ished fit­ting the poly­bushes which we have been work­ing on with Su­perPro for three years or more, send­ing them scrap Monza sus­pen­sion to mea­sure. I can thus an­nounce a CCW first; we have achieved full kit. Ev­ery bush on a Monza can now be poly­bushed if needed, an im­por­tant thing for us Monza-ites, and achieved in the UK rather than Ger­many. I’m grate­ful to Su­perPro which has been su­per­pa­tient in a con­fus­ing task orig­i­nally started by other Au­to­bah­nS­torm­ers. With the Monza run­ning, the next job was cool­ing it. The larger vis­cous fan fit­ted to the Irmscher donor car was seized so I turned to Wil­liam Bartlett at Revotec. Wil­liam has helped us a lot on For The Love of Cars builds and was his usual log­i­cal self. He sent me a pa­per fan tem­plate and asked me to pho­to­graph and mea­sure the space we had. This I did, adding a note that the en­gine fan had to sit be­hind the ra­di­a­tor as there are two air­con fans in front. The re­sult a week or so later, was per­plex­ing. I’d es­tab­lished that the ra­di­a­tor fits the fan he rec­om­mended but that the wa­ter pump was in the way. We talked this over, and Wil­liam sug­gested cut­ting off the protru­sion, which was only there to mount the visco-fan no longer be­ing used. D’oh! Why hadn’t I thought of that?

That gave us three inches of clear­ance be­tween the block and the ra­di­a­tor – enough for a 15in fan. The ex­cel­lent Revotec brack­ets were se­cured and the tem­per­a­ture con­troller was cut into the top hose and wired to the fuse­box. I now have a car which ticks over well, switch­ing the fan on and off as re­quired.

Fit­ting a strut-brace to a Monza – es­pe­cially one like mine that’s fit­ted with ABS – is a good idea. A Google search re­vealed a Ger­man com­pany sell­ing them off cheaply. But it wasn’t un­til Gra­ham and I tried to fit it that the sheer stu­pid­ity of my bar­gain per­co­lated through to my Mon­za­ad­dled brain; it was for a left-hand drive car and didn’t fit. You could see that it would, if the brake master cylin­der wasn’t there, but re­mov­ing that seemed like a poor plan.

Gra­ham phoned me a day or two later with a brain­wave. ‘ Why don’t we cut the top off the master cylin­der and weld a flat top on to it?’

The job on the polypropy­lene master cylin­der was car­ried out by Joe at Stansa Plas­tic Fabri­ca­tions us­ing a heat polypropy­lene weld and the re­sult is im­pres­sive. The brake fluid reser­voir vol­ume is un­af­fected and the strut-brace fits a treat.

That is the dif­fer­ence be­tween an am­a­teur like me and trained ninja pro­fes­sional rac­ing en­gi­neer like Gra­ham; he wouldn’t have bought it as he would have re­alised that it was for a left-hooker, but that would have de­nied him the plea­sure of solv­ing the prob­lem I set for him.

I took a hire van back to Birm­ing­ham, weighed down with a Monza en­gine and sus­pen­sion. It backed un­der my car­port just fine, but when we’d fin­ished un­load­ing, I went to close the van’s door and re­alised that it was em­bed­ded in the roof. A wise man would have sim­ply let the tyres down, but it was mid­night, it was cold, and I’m not wise. So af­ter con­sult­ing with my mate (who has a doc­tor­ate, I might add) I care­fully drove the van for­ward. With a ter­ri­fy­ing scrunch the door re­leased but bent the frame­work of the van so badly that it was miles off shut­ting.

The hire com­pany has since writ­ten the six-month-old van off it was so badly twisted. I’m not sure whether to lament my stu­pid­ity or cel­e­brate my prow­ess as a con­struc­tor of strong car­ports.

Thanks to: Wil­liam Bartlett at Revotec (, Gra­ham Beck­er­son at Su­perpro (www. su­, Joe at Stansa Plas­tic Fabri­ca­tions (www.stansa. and, of course, Gra­ham Booty

and fam­ily.

Gra­ham and ryan Booty loading the Monza’s pre­vi­ous en­gine into the hire van. Un­load­ing it later wrote the van off! John works on the in­jec­tion rail. lHD strut­brace now fits nicely.

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