Own­ing a Scim­i­tar]

Classic Cars (UK) - - Buying Guide -

John Parker, Bris­tol

A chance con­ver­sa­tion with my bar­ber in 2004 led me to buy this SE5A lo­cally for just £350. It was towed to my lo­cal garage which re­built the front sus­pen­sion and brakes. I fi­nally drove it in 2005. It was a man­ual, but I bought a scrap Scim­i­tar for £50 for the parts and con­verted it to au­to­matic.

I put it in for body re­pairs and a re­spray in 2009. It’s a glo­ri­ous yellow – the painter couldn’t match the orig­i­nal paint code but this is very close. I got the car back in July 2010 and spent the next three years work­ing through re­assem­bly, mak­ing my own car­pets and im­prov­ing all man­ner of de­tails.

I’m very happy driv­ing it. My MOT man spot­ted play in the lower steer­ing cou­pling last year so I fit­ted a new one from QRG and it trans­formed the han­dling. We’ve taken it to France for RSSOC in­ter­na­tion­als and up to Durham this year.

It flies up the mo­tor­way, though I pre­fer driv­ing it on wind­ing coun­try lanes. I’ve spent a lot on it and will never get that back, but I’m very happy with it.

Terry Rickard, Bris­tol

I bought my very early Ivory Beige, man­ual-plusover­drive, man­ual-steer­ing SE6A at the end of 1985 when it was only nine years old. Since then it has been used al­most con­tin­u­ously, some­times as my daily driver.

Ini­tially I con­cen­trated on me­chan­i­cal re­pairs and main­te­nance to get it run­ning well, then in 1993, at just over 100k miles, I did an in-situ en­gine re­build, chang­ing the big end and main bear­ing shells and the pis­ton rings. It has since had gas-flowed, un­leaded cylin­der heads, a high-torque camshaft and a steel tim­ing wheel fit­ted.

The car had been re­sprayed before I got it – badly; the paint was blis­tered and peel­ing off in places. It was re­sprayed with two-pack paint in 1996, still Ivory Beige.

By 2014 it was in need of se­ri­ous body and chas­sis work so was stripped out com­pletely, the body lifted off for glass­fi­bre re­pairs, and the chas­sis shot-blasted and weld-re­paired. The doors were split and the in­ter­nal steel-work, which had ex­panded with rust, was re­placed with stain­less steel and the in­ner and outer door halves were re-joined with glass­fi­bre.

I am still re­build­ing the car, which should be on the road next spring just in time for its tax-free historic reg­is­tra­tion.

Will An­der­son, Mo­ray

I bought my first SE5A in the late Seventies. I still have it, though it’s laid up now. I bought an­other 5a in 2002 which I’ve been do­ing up over the years, but I’d wanted a Mid­dle­bridge since they were be­ing built new.

I’m Mid­dle­bridge Reg­is­trar for the RSSOC. I bought my first in 2012. There are so few that you have to buy what­ever comes up – I’d wanted metal­lic blue, auto and leather, but ended buy­ing a red man­ual car with velour. I’ve changed it to leather but kept it red be­cause it grew on me.

It was over­hauled by Gra­ham Walker at 145,000 miles and given a new gear­box, but the en­gine is orig­i­nal. It’s now on 196,000 miles and has been fault­less. The en­gine’s never been touched but I’ve put on new springs and dampers all-round.

The Mid­dle­bridge is a great cruiser, with a more lux­u­ri­ous feel than the SE5A; that feels more sport­ing, but the Mid­dle­bridge is also fairly quick off the mark when it needs to be. It’s re­li­able, easy to look af­ter and cheap to keep.

I’ve thought about sell­ing the 5a but each time I get in it and drive it I think, ‘No, I know why I bought this car and I’m keep­ing it.’ It’s such an en­joy­able drive!

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