Our clas­sics

Classic Sports Car - - Contents -

For the second time as a clas­sic car owner my blood ran cold; climb­ing out of the Tri­umph, ready to tuck it away in the garage, I no­ticed the off­side rear wheel’s alarm­ing cam­ber – a prob­lem that had been cured just hours be­fore with the in­stal­la­tion of the new rear end.

I jacked it up and was stunned to see that the new studs had all but com­pletely pulled out of the old alu­minium trail­ing arm, with noth­ing but the hub nut sep­a­rat­ing me from dis­as­ter dur­ing the 70mph blat back from Thatcham. The car was to­tally un­drive­able and I’d had such a scare that I parked it and left it for two weeks.

Time, how­ever, wasn’t on my side, and I needed to get the car fit for a long-week­end get­away to Bruges. At­tempts to fix it in-situ were foiled by the age­ing lock­ing wheel nuts – the one on the dam­aged rear wheel re­fused to budge. Un­able to limp to a garage, I called the AA, who gamely tried (and failed) to free the wheel, in the process de­stroy­ing the nut and knack­er­ing the al­loy.

Will de la Rivière at Beech Hill Garage came to the rescue and I had the car trans­ported to Read­ing for fet­tling. Clas­sic Driv­ing De­vel­op­ment – sup­plier of the bril­liant CV drive­shafts – man­aged to send a re­place­ment hub stud overnight, and it took John Alexan­der at Beech Hill just minutes to drill it out. The sit­u­a­tion was worse than I thought: with so lit­tle metal sur­round­ing the stud holes, a new trail­ing arm was needed. My wife, Laura, saved the day this time, driv­ing from Lon­don to Wins In­ter­na­tional in East Grin­stead to col­lect the part, bring it to the garage and shut­tle me home. In­cred­i­bly, we’re still mar­ried.

By the fol­low­ing day the car was back to­gether and run­ning well, and the chaps at Beech Hill even had time to mend the ex­haust – it turns out it was an­other knock-on ef­fect from the in­cor­rect gear­box be­ing fit­ted, which sits lower than a J-type. The trip home was mer­ci­fully un­event­ful, and smoother than ever. All that was left was to get it home and pre­pare for our dash to the Dover-dunkirk ferry.

The trip per­haps sounded more of an ad­ven­ture on pa­per than it was in re­al­ity, given that the drive from Croy­don to Dover was longer than that from Dunkirk to Bruges, but once on the other side we ditched the mo­tor­way in search of scenery. The area is quite in­dus­trial and, with the ex­cep­tion of Veurne, the best ar­chi­tec­ture came when we ar­rived in Bruges.

Any­one who’s tried to find the Zand car park will no doubt be fa­mil­iar with the ac­ci­den­tal de­tour we took through the heart of the city, where the car got loads of at­ten­tion from tourists. Hope­lessly lost, I even­tu­ally saw a po­lice­man and turned down a road to ask for di­rec­tions, which proved a mis­take: the of­fi­cious toad stung us with a €58 on-the-spot shake­down, nearly re­duc­ing Laura to tears.

Dis­cre­tion be­ing the bet­ter part of val­our, we de­cided to leave the car in the un­der­ground car park for the rest of our stay, but couldn’t

‘Hope­lessly lost, I saw a po­lice­man and turned to ask for help – the of­fi­cious toad stung us with a €58 fine’

re­sist an early morn­ing sprint through the cen­tre on our fi­nal day (which turned out to be ‘No Car Sun­day’ – you couldn’t make it up).

The run to the ferry was easy, and I was chuffed to meet a group of Tri­umph own­ers wait­ing in the queue – even more so when I re­alised that the starter was play­ing up and we needed a bump-start.

Later, Dunkirk ‘Lit­tle Ship’ en­thu­si­asts Justin and Pete threw their weight be­hind us at the Dover end, and we had lots to chat about: it turns out ready­ing a boat to cross the Chan­nel is one of the few en­deav­ours more time-con­sum­ing than pre­par­ing a Tri­umph!

THANKS TO

Δ Beech Hill Garage: www.beech­hill­gar­age.com Δ Clas­sic Driv­ing De­vel­op­ment: clas­sic­driv­ingde­vel­op­ment.co.uk

Big sa­loon poses by the canal, minutes be­fore Bruges was closed to traf­fic. Above right: by Nieuwe Pape­gaai mill on the city ram­parts

Clockwise, from left: on the ramps at Beech Hill Garage; both the nut and stud were de­stroyed; orig­i­nal trail­ing arm was too thin to he­li­coil

TRI­UMPH 2500TC RUN BY Greg Ma­cle­man OWNED SINCE June 2017 PRE­VI­OUS RE­PORT Au­gust

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