Swiss de­ca­latessen

Classic Cars (UK) - - Our Cars -

It’s been a busy few months, with a mul­ti­tude of work car­ried out. Hav­ing had a full en­gine re­build, John Law at JL En­gi­neer­ing gave the fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem a thor­ough see­ing to and that in­cluded a full sys­tem clean, fol­lowed by an over­haul with new in­jec­tors and ethanol-re­sis­tant fuel hoses sourced from KMI in Ip­swich (kmipetrolin­jec­tion.co.uk). Leav­ing it as was would’ve been like hav­ing a heart trans­plant but with atheroscle­rotic de­liv­ery sys­tem un­touched.

Al­loy wheels went to Lep­sons (lep­sons. com) for re­fur­bish­ment, but their spanky ‘as new’ con­di­tion on re­turn only high­lighted the unlovely salmon pink that the bumpers had faded to. With the doors al­ready due a re­paint fol­low­ing re­pair, these were done too – in­clud­ing the cor­rect black in­sert on the front bumper, of­ten miss­ing when it’s re­painted – by The Paint Shop Pros (the­p­aintshop­pros.co.uk), in Bucks. Fi­nally, we were able to del­i­cately ap­ply – in a hushed, al­most rev­er­en­tial cer­e­mony – the ‘Turbo’ de­cals we’d both been itch­ing to fit for over a year.

Up front, the light lenses had at some point lost their am­ber in­serts and sub­se­quently been painted with what looked like nail var­nish – Richard as­sures me this wasn’t from his per­sonal stash. It’s amaz­ing what you don’t no­tice un­til much later in an au­to­mo­tive re­la­tion­ship. Fo­rum blether re­vealed that they’re shared with the Re­nault 16 TX, and so we bought a set from a spe­cial­ist in Hol­land (re­nault16shop.com).

With the car now look­ing su­perla­tive, and run­ning with the bal­letic yet punchy grace of a Moulin Rouge can-can lassie, we put in an ap­pear­ance at the Good­wood Su­per­car Break­fast meet, where it re­ceived lash­ings of love, as well as start­ing the odd ar­gu­ment about it not be­ing ‘proper su­per­car’ enough to at­tend. Those over­cylin­dered in­di­vid­u­als are ob­vi­ously threat­ened by all 1.4 litres of tur­bonut­ter.

The re­al­i­ties of shar­ing a clas­sic have proven bet­ter than ex­pected – it gets reg­u­lar use from both of us, we share costs and make con­crete ar­range­ments to get it out and about. And to the de­light of our re­spec­tive wives, we’ve en­tered it in a con­cours event, in, ahem, Switzer­land…

The Con­cours d’ele­gance Suisse (con­cours­del­e­gance­su­isse.com) is the only one in the coun­try with a ‘fu­ture clas­sics’ 1975-1985 cat­e­gory, but there’ll be no trailer queen en­trance for the R5T. We’ll be blast­ing down, and giv­ing it a quick wash at a lo­cal garage be­fore rolling it on to the im­mac­u­late turf.

The or­gan­is­ers en­cour­age pe­riod at­tire, which has un­leashed that most dan­ger­ous of beasts – man in un­der­pants, drink­ing beer and surf­ing web late at night, all in the name of ap­pro­pri­ate (or not) Eight­ies gear. And that’s the worst bit about shar­ing a clas­sic – there’re two of us thus af­flicted, each egging the other on.

It’s been a year in the wait­ing – so no pres­sure Richard... Lurid­ity on wheels – quite lit­er­ally

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