Owning a Scimitar]
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!