I’m embarrassed to confess that, what with racing TR4S, Gasser station wagons and ’32 Ford hot rods, I have rather ignored Wooly Bully recently. Since the 2016 staging of the Flywheel Festival, it had been in residence at Bicester Heritage. The purchase earlier this year of a Dynamator (something I’d promised the car ever since it was rebuilt in ’91, when the organisers of La Carrera Panamericana recommended that we fitted a modern alternator) meant the Lincoln was finally disinterred from Historit, and moved the 100 yards to Classic Performance Engineering to have it fitted. At last the engine bay looks correct.
Having bragged of the car’s reliability, it was only natural I should be caught out by a series of mishaps – the first on the way back from The Classic & Sports Car Show with Simon Taylor, whose car had also been struck by mechanical maladies. It didn’t help that I’d left the handbrake on – an item I rarely use – but part of the linkage had seized while in hibernation. Colin Mullan did the necessary, along with a brief inspection prior to our departure for the Le Mans Classic.
The French trip marked the rare treat of putting the original band – Wooly, Mick Walsh and me – back together. Glorious weather accompanied our drive south until a lunch stop brought about the unexpected use of the car’s minimal toolkit. The nut holding the main feed to the Dynamator had worked loose and fallen by the wayside, causing the battery to run flat. As is always the way with Wooly, it soon attracted a crowd – one of whom, Christian Sillaunie, felt compelled to heroically dive in and help, burning his arm on the still-hot exhaust in the process. The rest of the trip went without incident, though with high ambient temperatures the car was running hotter than usual.
It seemed appropriate to drive the Lincoln, a three-time veteran of the St Mary’s Trophy, to the Goodwood Revival and again it was faultless – not something the driver could be accused of. In the excitement of the day, I managed to drop the battery cutout key somewhere around the circuit. We managed to bypass the switch by connecting the cables together, thus avoiding an unplanned camp. How many entries from this year’s race could have made the same journey?
An autumn run passed without any issues other than a blown fuse, but again the car was running warm. Putting my hand on the radiator I noticed that the top was far hotter than the bottom, so before using it again I’m tempted to whip out the rad and have it flushed – if nothing else to prove I’m not neglecting the ‘magic car’.
Failure to proceed in France with (l-r) helper Sillaunie, Balme, plus Hank Hankins and mate
New key fitted after cutout bypass bodge