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Tim's tales of Triumph heaven

Tim's tales of Triumph heaven (2)!

Tim's tales of Triumph heaven (2)!
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Been a long time, long time, its been a long time!

Times passes slowly... er, no it does'nt!

It was never gonna turn out bad, and it did'nt!

Blimey, its all getting a tadge exciting!

Another one nearly gone!

Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run and all that! Part One

27 years!

Here comes the weekend!

Er, Scotland here we come?

Another long weekend

CSMA Autosolo and other mumblings!

HCR and all that!

HCR: A hard days night!

Where does the time go?


Next Year and Ford Focus ST

Spitfire mk2: Plans

Movin' on up!

June mumblings

Blimey, a part of a TR7 that is useful!!!!

Been a long time, long time, its been a long time!

Jeez, two years since I last wrote anything on this Blog.

I do not know where to start, all the cars have enjoyed constant work and use. So lets start on the one that has been off the road for years, yep, the Spitfire.

Spitfire mk2
Its back on the road and going very well. I realised that I was not going to get around to finishing her off, so I employed my good friend James Cooper to complete all the tasks. This was a wise decision as the work he has done has been off a high quality:
Engine: This engine, that has never been run, was originally built by Dave Pearson of Canley Classics, it then went to another chap in the Midlands called Roy Burrell who did some serious cylinder head works to the head including lovely big valves and bronze guides. As the engine had just sat around in the Spitty, we (James and I) decided to strip her down to ensure no corrosion had formed. luckily, we found nothing of any great shake, so she was put back together. James then connected up the oil cooler, the re-built Andrew Turner SU HS4s, the 123 Dizzy (Bought this for the Herald!) and the various other components I had knocking around in the shed. James also painted the engine an off white colour paint that I had sourced. We used Mini Spares head nuts as these offer remarkable value compared to those offered by Moss.
Gearbox: Overdrive unit wired up, new Clutch fitted and the box filled with oil.
Suspension: Rear suspension which is a swing spring set up was treated to Bastuck's adjustable radius arms, a Canley lowering block and a new set of Koni shockers (Larkspeed: £97 a pop). The front suspension was all fine for the present, but will soon be re-furbished with poly bushes, Konis and a John Wolfe rose jointed arb joint set (again found in the shed). I have also bought a new steering rack for the car plus grease nippled TREs and UBJs. This will all be done soon.
Interior: Fitted new glove boxes and re-built the H frame to include an oil pressure gauge (yep, an old Mini 850 Smiths 52mm unit-scrapyard pilfering from the early 80s) and an oil light, this being a Spitfire mk2 front indicator light. I have started to re-trim some GT6 mk3 seats that I have, bought a shadow blue recovering kit from Newton Commercial and a new foam kit from Park Lane, both the foam and seat covers being top quality, so I have no hesitation in recommending their products.

An MOT was obtained and off I went to put some mileage into the car. A few snags have been found: Leaking oil pressure pipe Y piece, this being replaced by LMA supplied components. (LMA from Wellingborough are another good company for specialist parts such as oil control products, Mini spares and the like)
New tyres are needed as the Yokohama 185/60/13s have gone hard, these will be replaced by Uniroyal 175/70/13s.
The carpet set has been eaten by various wildlife that broke into the car whilst she was stored in my car port, a shame as the carpet fits very well and apart from some sun bleaching is in good nick. Not sure what to do, I will probably speak to Newton Commercial and buy one of their moulded carpet sets, again in dark blue. Whilst at the Triumph Show at Stoneleigh, I purchased a massive roll of car carpet underlay, this will be used to produce some noise and heat insulation, attempting to civilise the car, er, not a chance (Spitfires are rough and ready, my god ain't they noisy).
So, after owning the Spitfire for sometime, I have finally been able to drive her, amazing! All the mileage has been done with a running in maximum engine speed of 3000 rpm, so I have been unable to drive her hard, but I must say she feels that she has some power, I look forward to putting more mileage into the car and seeing how it goes.
I have found the engine build sheet, which states the following:
Cubic Capacity: 1350cc
Compression Ratio: 9.75:1
County Pistons: Decked to be inline with the engine block.
Con Rods: Standard, balanced to be equal in weight
Camshaft: Kingston Sportscars 2R 35/75/75/35 310'': Timing 108.5 degrees
Valves: Triumph Tune 1434 (Inlet) 1.475'' dia and 1435 (Exhaust) 1.3'' dia.
Valve Springs: TT1307 Doubles: 1.39'' Fitted length.
Crankshaft: Standard balanced
Flywheel: Standard but lightened and balanced
Timing Gear: Vernier Duplex
Head: Ported, TT bronze guides
SU HS4s, Matched to ported inlet manifold, ITG panel filter with Calver Tune ram pipes.
Mocal oil 13 row oil cooler with thermostat.
Huco electric low pressure fuel pump with Rover Group inertia fuel cut off switch.
123 Dizzy with very old (1984) NGK plug leads-why oh why, do they not make these anymore!
Phoenix 4>2>1 stainless steel manifold and sports exhaust system: Too loud!

The front suspension is too low at present and bump steers, so it will be raised to a similar height as my GT6, I will also slightly raise the steering rack height (cheers, Clive). This is something that can be done to Spitties, unlike the GT6 as it would foul the engine block.
Got to say that the car is a pretty one!

I must pay tribute to James Cooper for his diligent work on the car, without his cajoling the car would still sitting under its cover in the drive. Cheers matey! By the way, James has now put some very good Triumph cars back onto the road: James Carruther's rapid Spitfire mk3 (Mega jolted and Dellorto'd), Ben Hutching's fabulous GT6 mk1, James Carruther's glorious 2000 mk1 as well as his own 2.5Pi mk1 and his current project TR6. He is presently fettling Jason Chinn's TR6, then he is going to do some welding to my GT6! He is open for business!

The Saloon and the GT6 are presently being used and seem fine.

Saloon: I have just fitted a new radiator, this being a spare that I had (again, found in the shed-its a big shed), it was re-built by Lee at GT Radiators at Shepperton, Middlesex 01932 568 816. Lee fitted a nice big core to the rad, he also fitted a 22mm boss for the rad switch and brackets to mount the Pacet fan onto the frame.

GT6 Mk2: The differential is knackered, so I have just changed for a spare 3.63:1 unit I had on a shelf in the shed, I also took the opportunity to wrap the spring in waxed canvas cloth-very 1930s eh! I have also started to finally get parts together for the impending engine re-build, these include Duplex timing gear, a ShackTune blueprinted oil pump, lightened cam followers, a full ARP nut set and a very nice ShackTune lightened flywheel. Parts to be bought include a new camshaft and getting the HS6s re-furbished. However, yesterday I went out with James Cooper in his mk4 Spitfire that is running bike carbs, umm, these seem a good idea!
Also, as mentioned earlier, the car needs some welding. The battery tray is rotten so this will be replaced and whilst at it, the bulkhead will be stripped and painted. Its has looked skanky for far too long!

Weirdly enough, for the first time since buying the Spitfire, all three of my Triumph cars are on the road! Far out!

Here are some pics:
1. The Spitfire: Cop the rot by the front OS sidelight. (Bit of warranty work for Mr Picton)?
2. Spitfire engine bay: Thanks to Craig Gingell for the SAH rocker cover-jeez, ain't they alot to buy secondhand!
3. Engine bay detail work

posted by Tim Bancroft 02nd May 2017 1:03pm gmt

May 2015
You turn around and realise that a year has gone!

Just looked at my blog and see that I have not published anything for over a year! Where the hell does the time go?
Below is a blog entry that I started but did not finish last April, so I have just tidied it up and here it is:

'Easter 2014
I have been a busy chap over the winter as I have built a double length car port to house the Spitfire and Saloon, plus re-roofed the garage.
The car port was built using 4 x 4'' timber sections as uprights, and 2 x 4'' timbers as roof joists, these being attached to the frame by joist hangers.  For the roof I used corrugated bitumenised sheets with corrugated acrylic clear sheets at various centres to provide light. The port was built onto the side of my precast concrete garage, a large timber batten being attached using lengths of studding and locking nuts, all very simple. I have not finished yet as I need to concrete a section of the floor, at present I am using thick paving slabs that I got from a Waitrose site that we at work were re-surfacing, these were going to the scrap so I took 20no, blooming heavy units though! I have fenced the other side as it adjoins the property next door, one of the reasons for fitting this car port was that next doors fence came crashing down in the high winds before Xmas as it was rotten. I was lucky to get fence panels as the awful wet weather and winds of January resulted in a high demand for fence panels. There is still a backlog of panels, I have heard that one can wait a month for them even now. I still have to attach a gutter system and would like to fit some lighting,  I hope to do this over the summer.
The old garage roof was tricky as it had asbestos corrugated sheets, these were extremely old and very brittle, making face masks essential. I have still got to get rid of the old panels, these will have to be bagged and taken to an amenity tip that takes them, I believe the local Runnymede BC one at Lyne does take asbestos. Again, I used bitumenised corrugated sheeting again for the roof. Once I had fitted the roof I cleared out the garage and in an attempt to brighten the place up I painted the internal walls white, make the place cheerier as well. I had previously bought some racking units from 'Big Ted', umm, not too strong but sufficient for storing parts and tools etc. And whilst having a splurge, I bought a work bench. Made one last year for the wooden shed (old kitchen worktop and a few old battens), but decided that it would be a good idea to have one in the garage.
I bought all the timber for the car port from Beaumont Timber at Ascot, Berkshire all delivered on time and the timber is good quality. The roofing sections came an online company called Roofing Superstore, again all top quality (I used roofing sections made by Coroline) and delivered when I expected. Odds and sods came from Wickes, I was impressed by the fastenings that they sell, I used loads of 4'' screws, all inserted using my trusty Makita!!! I must thank my work colleague and sometime RBRR co-driver Howard Riddell, a true friend, we bicker like a pair of old woman but did the job very quickly together.

Since doing the above, I have done lots of work to the GT6 as follows:
Installed re-built gearbox: This was done by a friend of Clive Senior's, what a great job.
Rebuilt the front suspension: When I had the car re-built by David Picton, I bought a couple of old GT6 suspension units off him. Got all the parts blasted and powder coated and then fitted them with red polybushes. I also fitted new 440lb springs, the old ones were looking very shabby and it seemed cost effective to replace with new, rather than have them blasted and powder coated. I also cleaned up the vertical links and fitted greasable TREs and top ball joints. I had a devil off a job taking the steering column UJ off, ended up getting the trusty 4'' grinder out!!! This meant a new UJ, bought one from Canleys, all ok, however I am a bit concerned as I have heard that these recon ones do not last very long, time will tell! I also changed the brake flexi-hoses for some new braided SS ones I had in the shed, the old ones which were of the braided type looked a bit tired. Whilst at it I stripped the alloy hub and Canley Caterham stub axles down and found no discernible wear, all good news that gives the lie to the claim by some that I have problems with wheel bearings! So the front suspension is looking good again, I last re-built this section of the car in 1988, so she has done well. Back then it was not possible to buy polyurethane bushes, so I used TriumphTune's shore 70 harder rubber bushes, 26 years later they are still in good condition!!! It will be interesting to see how the red bushes last! The ARB link is a rose jointed type that I bought from Jon Wolfe years ago, this is still fine so no need to replace, much better than the standard rubber/monkey metal crap that most traders (have to) sell. So now I have to get the suspension 4 wheel aligned, this will be done next weekend as I have entered the TR Register track day at Castle Combe on the following Tuesday.

Whenever I do anything to the car I find lots of other jobs come up, this time I have had an issue with the alloy water pump housing, a bolt has sheared, so a little job tomorrow. Also, I have to change the bottom hose as this is perished. I also need to paint the underside of the floor, she is looking a bit rusty under there, see lots of silly little jobs!

Whilst underneath I was horrified to find that my oil radiator was battered and looked to be on its last legs, this needed to be changed so I took the one of the Spitfire ('er not a lot of progress so far with that car) that I fitted a couple of months ago and fitted that once I had straightened the radiator mounts. Something fairly heavy must have clouted the car as the bottom tank on the water radiator is dented as well, I cannot remember anything untoward happening, so I am mystified when the damage happened.

Next up, I must re-build the seats, the covers are looking decidely worn out. This will cost but it will be worth it as I am a fan of GT6/Spitfire seats, no MX5 seats for this car! I have a set of vinyl mk3 seats that I can use in the car whilst I re-furbish mine. My GT6 is one of the last mk2 cars and has always had the mk3 seats fitted to the car, years ago I changed the seat material to cloth as the late mk3 covers, will do again as I find them more comfortable and less sweaty. After this I must repaint the bulkhead panel that the master cylinders and solenoid sit upon, it is looking very crusty and spoils the look of the engine bay. When Dave Picton fitted the replacement bonnet, we found that the cross-tube bonnet support fouled the brake servo, so I had to take that unit out of the car. It's been weird driving the car without a servo, but not really an issue. The replacement bonnets all seem to be a different shape, not bad at a £1000.00 each!!

Then it will be time to fit a different engine, I picked up a Vitesse mk2 engine last year, so this will be used  as the basis for a fast road engine. My existing cylinder head has nice valves and has been ported so this unit will be used on the engine. Plans are to use fairly standard parts but lightened with a new camshaft and then get the engine fully balanced. Lots of advice is being taken from people in the know!

I have been discussing the quality of parts for the small chassis range recently with other Triumph enthusiasts. The small chassis cars definitely suffer with poor quality parts, wheras the TR, Stag and saloon owners enjoy better quality parts. I do think that problem partly lies with the owners of the small chassis range, the cars are looked upon as being budget type classics and they will not pay for quality parts, therefore traders have had to look overseas to get parts manufactured, as a consequence quality has suffered. However one or two traders who exist in the Herald/Vitesse/Spitfire/GT6 world have struck out to offer good parts, these being Canley Classics and Rarebits, many others are not so careful or caring! Just recently I have been reading on the CT forum that fellow round tail Spitfire owner has just had a vertical link failure, much comments have been made following this incident. I have a set of Canley Classics 'trunnion less' vertical links on the GT6 and will now be fitting a set of these to the Spitfire, at present they cost £329.00, but it does seem to be an obvious and safer choice.
That's all for now.'

posted by Tim Bancroft 03rd May 2015 01:30am gmt

Ocean Rain!

Blimey, ain't it rained alot-title should read  'Oceans of rain'! Thought I'd post that title as it from one of my fave lps!

Not alot happening here, the Spitfire is coming back to life. I have been so slow with the Spittie, I hope to fire her up at some point soon. I have a few things to source for the car, mainly fasteners and clamps. Then it will be time to 'time' the dizzy, a 123 item I bought for the Herald project when I had spare money, adjust the valve clearances, top up the carb dashpots, stick some fuel into the tank and turn the ignition switch! Must get a wriggle on!

However, before that I have another project to do, that being the construction of a car port to house the Spitfire and the Saloon. I am just about to order the timber and hope next weekend to start to build the frame. These will be the conventional method of using 100 x 100mm tanalised timber sections using 24'' Metposts to locate the posts into the ground, these being held in place using concrete. The roof will be corrugated bitumen sheeting with occasional clear PVC sections let in to provide light. I also intend to build in some electrical strip lighting as security/task lighting. Site clearance has been fun, quite a few trips to the dump have been undertaken taking the tree I have had to cut down and an old decked area that was in the way. One of my pet hates has always been frogs and toads, and my god do I have a lot of those slimey perishers living at the end of my garden-ugh!!! Just something about the way they move, so naturally they have stopped play whilst I waited for them to vacate my premises! It'll be great to dry store the cars as last winters rather harsh conditions affected the cars, the saloon really suffered. I intend to fence the port to reduce the rain getting onto them.

The Saloon has been used abit recently, went to Wales in her with some other Triumph owning friends and my old mates Diz and Darren. A good weekend was spent hooning around some Welsh roads with an overnight stay in Aberystwyth,  a real cool time all in all. We went to Pendine Sands, I was amazed at the number of people there, a real seaside beach atmosphere. We went inside the 'Museum of Speed' to view the 'Babs' land speed record car, an  interesting vehicle that struck me as being almost lorry like in its construction, Parry-Thomas was a brave man.
A few of the chaps along with us were about to use their cars on the CT 10CR event and basically used the trip to shake out any gremlins, no car really suffering from any maladies.
For the Saturday night as is the way, a rather nice curry was enjoyed in Aberystwyth and a few beers, but it must be said that most of use were knackered as we had all started at an early time, meeting in Ross on Wye at 08.00hrs, meaning that we left from Surrey, Nottinghamshire and Essex at godforsaken times!
 Left to right, Diz, Darren, Jason and Carl (Carl was gagging to get going as he was thirsty for a beer), photo taken somewhere in Wales

The Sunday morning was spent enjoying a leisurely drive up to drive the Evo Triangle. This section of road being made famous by Evo magazine as they use it for some of their road testing. Whilst the roads were fun, not sure it was worth the trip. Still we did find a nice cafe in the vicinity where cake and teas were enjoyed. Then it was time to get going home, all going our seperate ways. I must thank James Cooper for the welding he did to the car to get an MOT, two nights of welding and grinding needed to build in some solid steel, the car needs new sills!

Carl Shakepeare's lovely Dolomite Sprint and Tom Key's rejuvenated TR6

The GT6 is still with Dave P, it being agreed that he took his time as he inundated with work. I hope to pick her up this coming Tuesday, can't wait. Then I must get her ready for a trip to Cornwall in December, this being used to celebrate the 30th year of ownership since buying the car!

Otherwise car related stuff has been the CT Historic Autosolo at Bovingdon the other Saturday and the start  of planning for the CT Round Britain Reliability Run for October 2014. I entered the 'Solo using the 2.5 and had a complete nightmare, coming third in class, beaten by some wonderful driving by the two James, Shackford and Carruthers, James S coming second overall, my word how good was that. I was keeping up with him, but my third test was horrendous as I wrong tested on one run and then hit a cone on the third run, this decimated my times and pushed me well down the running. James C's megajolted car was fantastic and sounded so pure. Other stand out drives, were Matt Shannon in his BMW 2002, Gill Senior in hubby Clive's Toledo and of course, Mike Helm who won the event in his TR6 rally car. I made a solemn promise to myself  that I must use the Spitfire next year!

The 2014 RBRR opens for entry with publication of the November issue of Club Torque, please see the CT RBRR blog for news!

Last time I posted this blog, I was moaning about the company cars I have had since saying goodbye to the Focus ST. Well, my employers have since decided that the company car scheme should be revised. Therefore, I was lucky to be able to order a Mini Cooper Clubman SD, the 2.0litre diesel version. Not a bad vehicle, but she does have a flaw, that being the ride, gawd, are the dampers working? Otherwise everything else is good, the car has now done 2000 miles and she is starting to loosen up, the engine does develop lots of torque. Bit of a vibration is present at about 2500 rpm, I wonder if that is due to the engine mounts though as my mate has BMW with the same engine and his does not suffer from thee vibes. I could have ordered a Focus Zetec S with the 1.0 ecoboost engine, probably should have done, but the Mini was decided upon as I wanted a car that was made in the UK. I realise that all profits will go to Germany, but at least UK input is present. Hers's a pic!
The Spitfire

Rather lovely Alfa Romeo Giulia in Goodwood Revival car park

Really nice Cortina GT, this was a stunner, the 5.5J steels really looking good-sorry missed from the photograph.

The 250SWB of Vincent Gay, paddock at Goodwood-what a car! This car featured in my best memory of CLM ,the sound of this car at about 6500 rpm going up the start finish straight at Le Mans has to be one of the best things in life!

posted by Tim Bancroft 03rd November 2013 02:13am gmt

The bearable lightness of being!!!
16th June 2013

Last month I managed to sneak some time off to pop up to Canleys to return the old calipers as replacement for the new ones I had bought for the saloon. It is always a fascinating place to visit and there are always many an interesting Triumph car to look/gawp at in the workshop. I can not mention specific vehicles, but at present at least 4 ex-works Triumph competition cars are being restored, as well as a famous Triumph racing car. I for one cannot wait to see them. Dave Pearson is a top bloke who has re-invested some of the money that he has made into buying interesting Triumph cars, full marks Dave! Club Triumph has a nice relationship with Dave, the Club used to hold the Northern/Midland RBRR Drivers Meeting at his premises and started a number of Historic County Run's from there as well.

I took the saloon out on Drive It day for its first drive since the RBRR last October, a shocking admission that it has been so long since I drove the car. The GT6 is currently at Dave Picton's establishment having the front bumpers retro fitted to the car. Dave's is another good place to visit, whilst there I spied 2 round tail Spitfires, 3 round tail GT6s, 2 E-Type Jags, a sidescreen TR, a Austin Healey 100/4 (bloomin love those cars, even if they are the one with the 4 pot engine) and a Mini, marvellous stuff. Hope Dave speeds up as I am looking forward to driving the GT6 soon, this being the 30th year of ownership for me. Its weird for me to think that I bought the car back in 1983 and as I have mentioned before I enjoy the ownership of the car more these days. The GT6 is a compromised car, but owing to the lovely noise of the roaring six and the good lines I love them!

Went up to the STAR90 show at Gaydon, bit disappointed at the number of cars that were present, however the standard and presentation of them all certainly made up for the lack of numbers. I remember the 75 year celebration at Gaydon and the fact that the place was teeming with Triumph cars. Still reckon about 300no cars were there last Sunday. Umm, it does rather beg the question of where are the cars, are the numbers of Triumph enthusiasts in decline or are owners bored of static shows? Club Triumph had their National Day at the Show, well done to Bob King on his efforts, the guy worked all weekend for the good of the event and CT. A trooper of the first order.

Right, whats the title above about? At present owing to the rather weird arrangement at my place of work we are now not running cars on a lease deal, but hiring them for 3 months at a time. They do not want to spend money on assets, yep, a construction company that does'nt renew its plant!!! So I have now lost the old ST and have passed through a succession of 5 cars in the last 8 months! (Yep, the Inland Revenue love me) These being a Hyundai saloon (So dull that I cannot remember its type and in my opinion still no match for European cars. Is the steering wheel connected to the front wheels? So specc'ed up that it had a reversing camera(Sod the camera, get a suspension designer on board)), two Mondeo 2.0 TDCI cars (Excellent, still  Ford's so must be good), a Focus 1.0 Ecoboost and at present a Focus 1600TDCi. The Focus 1.0L Ecoboost  is a special car and one that thoroughly enjoyed. Its little turbocharged petrol engine that has the plan dimensions of a A4 sheet of paper, it is a cracker, lovely and revvy. It doesn't seem to lack any go and turbo lag is not an issue. However the best thing about the car is not the engine and gearbox, its the handling, turn in being crisp, enabling one to commit to corners with no worries about understeer, the bane of modern cars. Also, the ride is brilliant, taking the awful potholed roads that we now endure in the UK in its stride. All these attributes are simply the product of the low weight engine. Best thing about this car was that I looked forward to a drive, something I always did in the Focus ST, that car is something like a 66% ST!

Now you may ask why is the old fart banging on about this engine, surely its simple, is this the engine for a Spitfire special? This all depends on the hope that a Ford Type 9 gearbox will fit onto the engine, but I like to think that this is possible as all Fords have shared the same pattern for the bellhousing to block fitment. These engines come in two states of tune, 100 BHP or 123 BHP and will start to filter through to the salvage market soon. Ford are that bullish about this engine as they intend to fit it to the forthcoming new model of the Mondeo, and I believe a 1.5L version will be released soon. Makes one think about the purchase of a mk4 Spitfire (Or, even better a T6 model) and then getting stuck in. Oh yes, two other things I like, these small 3 cylinder engines make a gorgeous intake noise, almost 6 cylinder like at about 3,000rpm and are extremely smooth throughout the rev range. Must admit I am tempted to get the hire car into the garage and pull the engine out to weigh the thing and jot down the dimensions of it! A Spitfire with the aforementioned combo would be some car, bet and hope that a few start appearing soon. I wonder if Caterham will introduce a Seven with this engine, hope so as it will solve the gearbox question (Since writing this I see Caterham are about to produce a smaller engined Seven, go on Mr Hernandez, stick the this engine in one)?

I have always banged on about Ford cars in this blog, but I think they are superb, offering reliability with a good dose of handling and fun. I get fed up with friends and colleagues who rave on about German cars, especially VW ones. Surely Ford offer better reliability and cheaper costs? I did 400,000 mile in my last 3 Ford cars without any real issues. The only faults being the result of ineptitude by a main dealer, no names though.

Last night was spent over at Clive and Gill Senior's enjoying a night of car and chat and of course a lovely dinner. Their daughters were present and it was great to talk to a family that is so enthusiastic about cars. Lucy, their oldest has a lovely little Mini that she is whizzing around Brighton in. Can't think of a more apt car for Brighton than a Mini. Clive's Zetec Spitfire is taking shape and will be some car when done. Come on Clive, I want to see that car at the start of the 2014 RBRR!

Being a member of Club Triumph has been an excellent decision, made so many great friends, is the Club about the cars or the people in it?

I am still working through the final details of the (conventional) engine change on the Spitfire and I hope to fire her up soon, need a few parts that will be purchased soon.

Also, must do some work on the 2.5 as the MOT beckons.

Right off to the garage, must finish the Spitfire as its getting close to the time of firing up the new engine-exciting!

posted by Tim Bancroft 16th June 2013 00:28am gmt

No Jam today, or in fact the whole weekend! 
20th June 2012

As last year, my Triumph activities are not as intense as they have been in previous years. Since my last posting I have only entered the International Auto Ecosse, that event taking place over the Jubilee Weekend in June.

I had a great time enjoying some spirited driving in the GT6 in the company of my old mate Darren Reynolds. We spent the whole weekend driving the event with Dave Langrick and his friend Gary in Dave’s infamous Spitfire 2000pi called the ‘Maiden’, Tomk Key and Tom Bamford in the first Tom’s Golf GT1 mk1 and Jason Chinn and Carl Shakespeare in Jason’s mk1 2.5Pi saloon. Tom was using the Golf following his accident in his lovely old TR6, that is now being re-built. That VW is a beast, it has a Corrado engine up front and flys, making a gorgeous noise over 4K revs. Tom does drive the car with a certain verve, the car makes light of those who like the more established traditional motor cars in the UK old car movement and mock the more modern designs. Surely the Golf GTi is a landmark vehicle in the history of motoring and certainly proved that VW could make exciting transcendental cars after years of making the rather awful Beetle which has the vehicle dynamics of a snail. It is still beyond my comprehension why the Beetle and its awful derivatives are so popular?

The first day started with a loose ground test on some ground at the back of a local garage, followed by some atmospheric driving through the Scottish borders. Darren and I did the test in 32 seconds a competitive time that I hoped we could build upon to use to win the event! We then crossed the Fourth Road Bridge, only the second time I have crossed that road in daylight, all previous crossings being on the RBRR, and set off for the 2ndtest venue at an Amazon delivery centre car park near Glenrothes. This test looked to be fun as it consisted of a serious slalom and 360 degree manoeuvrability examination where the driver would rely upon his co-driver to guide him round a complicated course. We were the first car/crew to line up and I think did very well, Darren guiding me with the authority that a good co driver should exhibit, firm instructions making it difficult for me to go wrong. Our time was competitive and I drove away thinking that we were on the right track (literally).

Then it was onto St Andrews and up to Perth for the Saturday night. We stayed at a Travelodge just down the road from the nominated Travelodge venue and subsequently had to drive a couple of miles to meet up with the above motley crew in a pub. After a very nice dinner a few beers were consumed and the banter started to fly. Tom K came up with a gem of a comment following my statement that driving a ‘modern’ car like his that this event must be simple, his reply being that it was like driving an electric chair. Gary followed this up with a line about the car being a ‘Death Row Ride’. Maybe you had to be there, but all of us fell around laughing at the spontaneity of this comment. The beer started to flow and it must be said we all had a great evening talking Triumph BS!

The next morning dawned bright and very blue, amazing considering that London seemed to be under low cloud cover for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Surely there cannot be many better places in the UK than Scotland when the sun is shining, the skies are dark blue and the daylight is long! Actually, we had been surprised by the number of Union Jacks we had encountered throughout the route, we thought that the Scots would show complete disdain for the celebration of the Queen’s 60 years reign, how wrong were we! By the way if staying at a Travelodge, the £4.50 breakfast that is delivered to your door is a tadge disappointing, umm that is being mild, it was a disgrace! The night before we had gloated that we had sorted breakfast for the morning, I noticed that Jason did not say much at that point. Him, being a frequent UK traveller and well versed in the UK’s cheap hotel chains made me question our decision and on receipt of the breakfast packages I realised he was correct! I made a mental note, only use B&Bs in the future!

The first section of the morning consisted of a great B road that enabled fast flowing driving, something I have always felt the GT6 excels at with its torquey engine and handling that promotes progressive inputs. It was real fun, especially as we had the ominous presence of the two Toms in the Golf behind us, sometimes sticking to the posterior of the GT6, sometimes backing off, sometimes just well, roaring past!

We then set off down a very bumpy road that ran alongside Loch Earn, this must be a keen fishing hang out as the whole road was populated by camper vans, tents and slowly ebbing fires. I was worried that we might spoil the fishing with the loudness of the cars, however most of the people around the area seemed pleased to see us. After a bit of duck and diving we ended up on the A84 a road familiar to RBRR regulars, unfortunately this was full of slow moving traffic, a shame as the flowing bends make it a real pleasure to drive. We then dived down the A821 which is an interesting road that eventually leads into the tourist town of Aberfoyle. I have driven these roads before and must say that they remind me of roads in the Alps. One of the cars in our group started to encounter running problems, this resulted in us getting to the Loch Lomond tests too late to enable us to have a go. Therefore we were out of the event, to say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. I was annoyed as no timings for the Tests were present within the Road Book, if we had known we could have got there a bit earlier and completed the Test.

After this we had a good look at the Road Book and decided to cross the Clyde over the Erskine Bridge and get out of the Glasgow district as quickly as possible by using motorways and dual carriageways. This took some time as the traffic was quiet heavy, but we got down and back on the route in the vicinity of Ayr and then followed the A713 until we got to Patna. Here we decided to pull over and decide if we should get back on route or just ‘boot’ it back to Longtown. We decided to take the B road through the Carick Forest and boy that was the right decision. What a marvellous road coupled with stunning scenery, so good that we decided to pull over and have a look around. This was a mistake as two days later I started to erupt with midge bites, gawd! After this was a fun and fast drive back to Longtown, via a minor excursion into a lay by. There was a test laid on in Longtown, as we had not completed all the tests we all decided to give them a miss, the reasoning being that the cars needed a breather!

After this it was back to the Graham Arms for a nice meal and the awards. Big downer, the only ale on sale being John Smith’s, why is mass produced UK so rubbish! This years IAE being won by a couple of Cumbrian lads in a wild Hillman Imp. There was a mistake by the timing judges and Steve Thompson and Gary Sneddon were given the main award, however Steve himself realised that the Imp lads should get the award and very sportingly gave the prize to them. Well done Steve, what a sport (Now, loose the bizarre clothing and start to dress like an Englishman)!

So that ended the IAE and whilst the eight of us had a great time driving around Scotland it must be said that the IAE was not as much fun as I had in previous years. I must say thanks to all the lads (The Mild Bunch)I spent time with, great spirit, banter and fun coupled with a few drinks in the evenings, marvellous!

Not a great pic this, but there they are, yep a mild bunch!
The GT6 went really well, not sure who started the rumour that I had wheel bearing issues, apart from adjustment of the fan belt I did not put a spanner on the car. I did check a wheel bearing by putting her up on the screw jack, but all I could detect was a minor bit of movement.

By the time we got back we reckoned we had covered some 1350miles, and it’s a great pleasure to state that we did not encounter one traffic jam, hence the total of this blog entry!

Massive thanks to Jason for sorting our B&B accommodation near to Longtown, he found a most suitable place for us for the Friday and Saturday. Nice work Mr Accommodation Officer!

I must also thank Dave Pearson of Canley Classics for finding a new CV pot two weeks before the event, without that our entry into the IAE was looking doubtful.

One final pic from the IAE, Matt Roughly's very nice BMW 2002, nice and standard!!!

One interesting aspect of driving the GT6 for its first major run since the crash re-build is that the lack of front bumper definitely reduces the water temperature, I think the car runs at 5 degrees C cooler. However, this does not make me think of continuing driving the car without a front bumper. I sold my crashed bonnet to Richard Brake and since I made the decision to stick the bumper back on, he very kindly gave back the bonnet support tubes to me so that I could use them. I will also stick the rear quarter bumpers back onto the car, these have been off her since 1984!!! To help reduce the water temprature I may well look to get a radiator built for the car similar to the one shown in Kas Kastner’s GT6 Competition manual of the late sixties.

I have nearly finished the Spitfire’s new engine and gearbox installation and will now have to run her in, this will consist of an over night run to the west country one Saturday night. I last did this in 1992 when I built a new engine for the GT6, seems a great way to get varied driving under the car’s belt and explore the rev range gradually.

Next up are Classic Le Mans and the CT Autosolo at Bovingdon. James Cooper is coming with me to CLM and I hope to take the 2.5 mk1 to Le Mans, the car will make mincemeat of the mileages involved and will enable us to travel in comfort and of course not limit the amount of stuff we can take. Today I got the old car MOT’d and must say that on the drive back she went very well, truly a superb car. I am looking forward to taking her to Le Mans, should be a blast. I have now sorted the overdrive, simple fault, a contact withing the column switch had become loose. A present I have used a 5 amp Lucas toggle switch, this will be replaced in due course by either the correct switch or a toggle switch with a LED in the end. Some jobs need to be addressed before CLM, the most important items to sort are the rear tyres, I will have to purchase some new 185/65/15 rubber, hope to be able to source either Continentals or Michelin tyres at a good price. The Revolution wheels are starting to corrode, so I will have to get the rims polished, bet that will be expensive, this may have to wait until the eve of the RBRR.

On the net the other week and I found this car for sale, in fact I believe it has now been sold. What a nice looking mk2 GT6, hope whoever has bought her uses the wee car. Apart from the 5.5J Dunlop holed steels, she looks very original and certainly makes me question the lack of bumpers on mine! Without being a GT6 anorak, the car also features an original mk2 steering wheel, very rare!

posted by Tim Bancroft 20th June 2012 12:42am gmt

Times passes slowly... er, no it does'nt!

29th April 2012

Sitting around today looking out of the window at the torrential rain of the last two days and thought I’d better write something for this blog.

Not a lot to report on the saloon, its MOT has expired and I need to put her through it soon. At present it will fail as I think it needs some welding on the underneath, also I’d like to fit another speedo and new speedo cable. Looking at the Chris Witor website, I see that he does mk1 Pi speedos, good news and not an unreasonable price of £25. Otherwise I think the car would be fine. The aim is now to use her for the forthcoming Classic Le Mans trip at the beginning of July, she is so dependable and cruises so well that it is an obvious choice. After that it will be the RBRR, another event the car is ideally suited too. I used the car on the 08 RBRR and it must be said the car made the event relatively easy (RBRR easy, yeah, right!), hammering the fast motorway sections and with the nice handling compromise that these cars exhibit make the fast A road sections good fun. The route that we will be using is similar to that used in 2010 and will enable one to have fun in Scotland and Wales.

The Spitfire is progressing along again after a period of apathy. I have entered the forthcoming Bocardo Autosolo at a Silverstone car park and hope to use the Spitfire. I entered a 7Oaks event last year and came second in my class so I hope to do better this time in the light blue car. I will be in the same class as Matt Helm and James Cooper, so I expect some serious competition. Matt is nearly untouchable in his 1500 Spitfire, however James using his m4 Spitfire may be catchable. However, he has improved so much that I think this may be a problem.

At the present time a number of jobs need to be completed, these being:
1. Alternator and water pump installation
2. Carburettor and air filter installation
3. Re-fit the interior including wiring up the J type overdrive
4. Re-fit the exhaust

After this I will then have run the car in, this leaves two weeks, so it could be a ‘touch and go’ scenerio. After that, I hope to install new brakes to the front of the car these include Hi Spec alloy callipers I have in the storage shed. I have little bit of corrosion to deal with around the front indicator sidelight area of the bonnet. I will get this repaired over the winter. All in all, I am looking forward to driving the Spittie again.

Preparation for the June International Auto Ecosse continues for the GT6, the only snags being a MOT needed in May and the rear end vibration that is still plaguing the car. I have fitted the diff and driveshafts that I got Canley Classics to have a look at in March. One of the snags I encountered was that the rear chassis fixing for the differential had distorted quite badly, the outer sections of chassis closing in hard against the diff. This meant that I had to lever the diff out. I called up James Cooper who very kindly came over with his welder and stuck in some new reinforcement sections, these have done the job and made really hold the diff to the car. I replaced the rear bushes with red polybushes, this lead me to think that I might have solved the rear end vibration issue. Not a chance, what a bummer! Dave Pearson at Canleys found one of the inner CV pots to be badly corroded, as he did not have any in stock he replaced the bearings and fitted the pot to the driveshaft. On driving the car I found the vibration had diminished, sadly the vibe returned after the Autosolo event I did at North Weald aerodrome, in fact it is now worse than ever. I hope to collect a new inner pot soon and fit it before the IAE.

Got to say I am looking forward to the IAE, it will be nice to take part in the event again, many friends are taking part including some who have not before: Dale Barker, Tom Key and Carl Shakespeare. The mixture of great roads, tests and socialising make the event great fun. The only shame being that Dave Pearson, Joe and Frank Welling and Craig Gingell are not coming along this year, their prescence will be missed. Last years event had some stand out moments, the weirdest being standing in a bus shelter eating dodgy pie and chips with a lot of Triumphists while rain fell as if it had never rained before, er, yeah, you had to be there! Once again my old mate, Darren Reynolds is coming up with me. Darren should really drive the tests as he is a better driver then me. I am a bit pissed off with him at the moment as he has just sold his superb Subaru Impreza, a special factory one full of alloy panels and trick suspension parts. Possibly the fastest car I have driven, this at a time that the car was suffering from serious clutch slip! He's had some superb cars over the years, these include a couple of Kent engined Caterhams, Cosworth Sierra 3 door, BMW M3, Mini 1275GT, Elan Series 3, Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 and some MGs: MGB GT and Midget.

At present the GT6 is going well, in fact it seems relatively fast for a GT6. On Friday evening I went over to James Cooper’s to collect some parts from him and afterwards decided to go for a drive in the late evening sunshine over on the country roads that are around the Cobham Common area of Surrey. The car still seems to handle well for a GT6 and will rev out in all lower gears, in fact most of the performance seems to come in at over 4K revs. She still turns in well and seems to ride poorly surfaced roads quite well. In fact its an exciting little car to drive fast, the most excitement being the exhaust noise over 3K, fair makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up! 

Got to say I think I will replace the front bumper over the winter. To help with this Richard Brake has kindly let me have the old bonnet tubes that were on my old dented bonnet when I sold it to him last August. I still have the rear quarter bumpers that I took off the car back in 1984, these will go back on at the same time. 

I still have not delivered the suspension parts to my brother in law to get them powder coated, I will have to get my finger out on that one as I would like to have the new suspension on for the CT Autosolo in July.

This summer/autumn offers some great events for me to enter:

20/05: Oxford MC Bocardo Autosolo at Silverstone: Spitfire
2 & 3/06: International Auto Ecosse: Scotland: GT6
15/07: CT Autosolo, Bovingdon: GT6
5,6 & 7/10: CT RBRR: 2.5 SU
12/10: HERO Throckmorton Challenge: Spitfire

All seem quite affordable, that is apart from the HERO event, £250 is the cost of that single day event consisting of 17 Tests and a few regularities, a bit pricey!!! Maybe I should save my money and enter LeJog one year?
Depending upon how the Spitfire goes and what money I have available I would love to start Sprinting the car next year, however I think I may have to defer that idea for another year. The event that really attracts me is the 7Oaks Motor Club ‘Motorsport at the Palace’ sprint that is held at Crystal Palace park. The company I work for re-surfaced a section of the course in 2010, so I got to meet a few of the organisers and I must say the Club is staffed by some true club motor sport enthusiasts. The event seems geared towards historic motoring and I am sure would be really good fun. I think Matt Helm hopes to enter the event one year, if he does I am sure he will do very well as he is a talented driver.

I mentioned above that I used the GT6 in the recent CSMA North Weald Autosolo, it was good driving the little car again but must admit I found it hard work. The course used a large test area, however the tests were deceptively intricate and not really suited to the GT6. I won the over 2000cc Historic Class, but as Mike Helm (TR6) and Andy Martin (Vitesse) had retired I did not really have to struggle. Richard Brake was in my class using his mk1 saloon, Richard did well considering the bulk of the vehicle, but I am sure he would admit that he would never challenge me, howver using his Spitfire/GT6 hybrid and I am sure the story would have been different. I came 3rd of the Triumph owners, being beaten by Matt and James Cooper in Spitfires. 

James is really starting to mount a challenge towards Matt and I think could well start to equal his times when his new Spitfire is ready. This car will feature a Subaru final drive coupled with CV driveshafts and lower wishbones, a tuned 1500 engine running on Weber sidedraught carbs and a fibreglass bonnet so I imagine he will be very competitive. I’d love to do similar mods to my mk2, however I think that would de-value the car, my reasoning being that I need to sympathetically modify the car in a 60s manner!

I have been reviewing this Blog recently and must apologise for the lack of photos, I will have to start to take the camera out into the garage when working on the vehicles.

posted by Tim Bancroft 03rd May 2012 2:00pm gmt

It was never gonna turn out bad, and it did'nt!

Sitting here at the PC when I should be out in the garage, however it’s a tadge parky for any spanner action!

Having got the GT6 back from Dave Picton’s establishment I am overjoyed by the work that he and his team have done. However this has had one major downside, the engine bay now looks crap! With this in mind I have stripped out the engine bay valances down all the wiring and cleaned the cables with whites spirits and will bind them using expandable braided sleeving. At present a lot of the bullet connectors for that connect the bonnet wiring are those awful insulated blue bullets, once I can afford the proper crimping tool, I will replace those with the correct OE bullet connectors.

For many years the car has had alloy engine bay valances, these are now in an awful state, so I will clean these down and paint to attempt to make them more presentable. On the subject of engine bay valances, I see that a chap on e-bay sells new units that look to be very good. Two types are available, one set with louvres and one set without, both sets look very jazzy and at £60 a set not a bad price! One or two GT6 owning friends think I should not fit the valances as they deflect the heat from the engine and radiator into the gearbox tunnel and then of course into the cockpit, I can see the logic of this argument, but the majority of the heat that enters comes from the exhaust so I will continue to use the valances as they do keep the engine bay cleaner.

I have now stripped down the front suspension units that I bought from Dave down, I will be taking these to my brother in laws powder coating establishment next weekend to get them painted. Hit a snag though as the OS lower wishbone is not useable, but as usual the CT jungle drums have resolved that problem and Clive Senior will let me have one, ta, Clive! Once back from being painted, they will be polybushed and put onto the car. The turrets I have will look good when painted, of course, the snag when fitting the OS turret is that the steering column has to be dismantled, still a good time to check over the steering system.

Once this has been done, I will turn my attention to the bulkhead area around the master cylinders, battery etc. This whole area looks very shabby and needs some serious attention from the spray can. So it’ll be out with the wire brush and get stuck in cleaning and then paint it, thinking about satin black or maybe grey. On the CT forum, I see lots of people rave about Por paint, I am not so sure and will probably go for rattle cans! Richard Brake has just told me that Halfords mix up Triumph colours, blimey!

Then, it is time to get stuck into the interior of the car. A layer of sound insulation needs to be fitted under the carpet and then I need to clean up the luggage bay side trim panels and fit them. Unfortunately the luggage boards were damaged in the accident, I have a new OS board for the petrol tank side so will cut and fit a 8mm mdf board over the spare wheel. These will be bolted to the long bridging bracket that fits between the wheelarches. Once done, I will re-fit the roll over bar.

The drive back from Dave’s place at Waltham Cross, was very instructive. I still have the rear end vibration, so I will have to tear down the rear suspension and get that looked at before June as I desperately want to take the car to Scotland for the IAE. However the car drove straightly and seemed so solid, this all bodes well for some fast road action!

One of the snags of driving the car back from Waltham Cross was that I spent a lot of time looking in the rear view mirror with the dread that some plum was going to hit the car up the arse again, gawd, I was nervous! The rear of the car has been hit twice in the last 3 years and I half expect to be going through the whole accident process again!

I have attached two photos that show the car as she now looks. I must admit that at present I am in two minds about the bumperless look that I opted for, I think it makes the car look like a mk1. However it will cost a fair bit to change back to the original look, this cost would include the new bumper, from what I have seen these are dead pricey, £200? Of course, one attribute to the lack of bumper is that I have got rid of some front end weight, little less understeer? I do like the stick on number plate and this will stay, of course this means no front bonnet badge, but hey, more weight saving!

Once this chunk of work has been done I will then just use the car!

Overall I am really pleased with the outcome of the accident shenanigans. I must use this space to publicly thank Dave Picton, he guided me though the repair process and I think has done a great job on the car. Of course, one could say that Dave (hopefully) made some money out of the job, but it was a risky job as the car was very badly damaged. As we both discussed, the car is well known within CT circles and does seem to have a degree of notoriety, therefore anything other than a great job will be sniffed at by some of the experts within the Club. One or two who have seen her think she looks better than ever and I must agree, check out the gaps! Therefore, I would not hesitate in recommending Dave and his business.

All I need now is some good weather to enable me to go out into the garage and get stuck in!

Here are a couple of pics of the Spittie!

posted by Tim Bancroft 04th February 2012 08:43am gmt

Blimey, its all getting a tadge exciting!

Just spent two days over with Dave Picton working on the GT6, amazed at how little we managed to do!

Anyway, thought it might be an idea to record the various conditions of the 3 cars:

Well its mostly painted, the exterior side of the new bonnet gets done tomorrow morning. Dave and Corry (Dave's painter) have had to do a lot of shaping and bashing to get the new bonnet into the correct shape. In primer, it does look superb and once painted will look very nice. The body tub looks superb, the paint finish that they have acheived looks very nice. Dave built up two new doors and fitted new exterior sills, by doing this he has acheived very nice gaps around the crucial door/sill area, this aspect of the car has always been disappointing. Shockingly Dave found that the previous company to have done sill work to the car did'nt bother completely welding up the various panels around the A post part of the cars structure. I am furious about this, a nasty side impact would have meant the car would have folded up and meant damage to me around the leg area, nice eh! I will not state who did the work as that could be libellous, however the guy who did the work used to be a friend of mine!
Most of the car is now back together, just needing the rear indicators, sunroof, door weatherstrips, door cards, number plates and the front lights fitted. Dave will also 'waxoyl' the car before I take her home. I have just laid the carpets into the car and fitted the seats over these at pres. as I wish to lay some sound insulation material into the car.
The car looks superb just sitting on axle stands at Dave's premises, the royal blue paint looks nice and deep and has polished up very well. The small amounts of chrome on the car look really good, I reckon it will look better than at any other point that I have owned her in the last 28 years!

When home I intend to strip down the front and rear suspension. I have just bought some GT6 front suspension units from Dave. These will be cleaned and powder coated, polybushed and installed. I will also take apart the rear suspension and re-bush that set up. As the CV shafts were one of the first Canley Classics units I will take these up to Dave Pearson (So many Daves in the Triumph world) and get those examined.

Spitfire mk2
I am slowly (Umm, that's a total understatement, 'shockingly slowly' is more apt) working through the new engine installation. I just need to bolt on all the ancillaries and source a few parts: bigger rad, pacet electric fan, water pump, air filter system. Also on for fitting 480lb front springs, need to get the car to handle better!

2.5Pi mk1 (SU)
This old cars just keeps going, however will need some localised repair welding works for the next MOT. Also the overdrive is playing up, I have a spare solenoid to try first, so will fit this after that? Still love driving the old car, getting on for 8 years of ownership now, ownership of the car been a total gas!

I should post some pics of the cars, will do when I remember to charge up the batteries for the camera!

Finally, the Focus ST has now done 127,000 miles, still going strong!

posted by Tim Bancroft 08th January 2012 02:45am gmt

Another one nearly gone!

Been thinking about this year and all in all its not been a bad year.

Obviously the biggest disaster was the smash up of the GT6. Dave Picton is now finishing the car, and is making a great job of her, it will definitely be better. I hope to see the car on the 28th.

Probably the worse moment was seeing all the CT crews start off for the 10CR, the first one I have missed and from what I have observed, the best one. Finance issues (GT6 repair money) meaning that I could not afford to go. Talking with Dave Kent who is my 10CR co-driver we will def. be on the next one.

The Little Spitfire goes from strength to strength and once I have the new engine running I look forward to driving that car, should be a giggle.

My Triumph plans for 2012 obviously include the RBRR. I will also take part in the HCR, hopefully with Doug and Katie again, I had a great time last time with them-laughing is so good for you! Then up to Scotland for the IAE, I hope to take the GT6 and really give it a go to win. Mike and Matt Helm have won the last two, time for a change! I will also take part in the CT Autosolo mini series using the Spittie. No money for a LSD this year, but I will look at other ways of making the car competitive-lightness? Of course as many have realised, honing one's driving always helps!!!

So far this Xmas the best thing was watching TOTP2 on BBC2 the other night. Simple reason for this was watching the retrieved footage of David Bowie performing 'The Jean Genie', a wonderment considering the tepid footage that TOTP has provided over the years. There has been a lot of interest in this Bowie performance on the news and within the press. What was really marked about the TOTP programme was how rubbish all the so called current music of today looked in comparison to Bowie (Mark Radcliffe who was doing the voice over, stated that the footage had 'Raw Power'- spot on Mark and a nice Iggy Pop link), the most derisible being the Maria Carey/Justin Beiber film they showed, excrement or what-Maria is so sexy-er yes she is if you are into synthetic baby dolls who look like they have had a bit of surgery. Talking of so called 'Singers', here's one who was talented-Amy Winehouse was shown from 2006 dueting with Paul Weller, total class and very sexy-Amy that is!
We could really do with some new product from Mr Bowie at present! Want some good music from 2011??-PJ Harvey's record 'Let England Shake', The Horrors 'Skying' (How good is that, all a bit shocking an English band (other than Radiohead), that actually has some 'space' within the music) and Magazine's 'No thyself'.

Biggest downer of the year, simple, the so called 'Riots'. That was'nt rioting, that was just violence and shoplifting, shame on those who took part. I hope that the people who did this act look at what is happening in places like Egypt and feel ashamed when they see what is like to be really downtrodden.

Also, how nice to see the Murdoch empire getting some severe grief at present, after years of The Sun and 'giving the people what they want', its brilliant to see how corrupt an organisation it seems-take them down! Does anyone miss 'The News of the World'?

So 2011, yeah not that bad!

posted by Tim Bancroft 25th December 2011 01:57am gmt

Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run and all that! Part One

On the eve of the RBRR announcement within the November edition of Club Triumph's bi-monthly magazine 'Club Torque' I thought it would be good to describe my antics on the 7no RBRR events that I have taken part in since 1998.

To say that the RBRR has been life changing is an understatement, through taking part I have met some of the nicest and most interesting people, many have gone on to become very good friends. Since 2004 I have been the main organiser of the event, a role that I feel honoured to undertake for Club Triumph. When entering in 2000 I mentioned to Derek Pollock, for years the main man behind the event that if he needed help I would be pleased to help, from this it was decided that I would help out in 2002 with a view to taking on the main role in 2004. Blimey, from this small acorn I become Club Triumph's Secretary in 2005, another role that I feel honoured to do. Now, I can say that CT and the RBRR have dominated my private life!

We expect the magazine which will contain the Announcement, Entry Form and event description to dropping through doorsteps this weekend. By writing about my experiences I hope to encourage some reading this to attempt an event that I consider to be the best on offer to Triumph car owners throughout the world.

I entered this my first RBRR at a late stage, the RBRR was not so popular in those days and one could enter right up to 2 weeks before the start. I managed to rope my good mate Diz Stoner in as a co-driver and started planning for the event, the first part being to attend the Drivers Meeting at The Plough pub in Crews Hill. This was an eye opener, especially getting to meet some of the regular RBRR entrants, many seeming to be very friendly one or two seeming to be a bit weird (this has not changed!!!!).
Come the event I had done a fair amount of preparation work to my GT6, the only concern being that the temperature gauge seemed to read that the car was running very hot, this proving to be bogus. Getting to the start was fun as the bottom hose started to weep (good prep eh!), luckily Six Spares (I wonder how Bill Livingstone is these days) used to be around then so a quick diversion was made to Twickenham to buy a set of hoses and then onto the start. On arrival the Car Park and Signing-In office all looked to be fun, a heady mix of good cheer and panic, something that is on show at every RBRR.
Leaving The Plough we got into the swing of the event and soon reached Blyth Services, driving into the services to be met with most of the entry already there, many cars did seem to have their bonnets up, a few up in the air with legs dangling out on the tarmac surface!
We signed in and got going both agreeing that the set speed limit should be 70mph, no need to speed as the event was a 'Reliability Run'. In life one has a few moments that can change the course of how its all going and I encountered one of those just as we went past the cooling towers beside the A1 at I think Wetherby. In the rear view mirror I became aware of the some yellow headlights with many a set of dim Lucas headlights tailing behind. This being a yellow a TR3A driven by Andy Flexney, he was being pursued by 5 or 6 big Saloons all doing speeds considerably higher that our paltry 70mph. This was a wonderful sight and sound, the exhausts of the cars echoing that marvellous noise that old cars especially six cylinder cars make at about 4000rpm, to say that I was entranced is an understatement and to show that a GT6 could match this speed we joined in, bloody good fun! Diz reminded me that the event was a Reliability Run and if we were not careful we would have problems, so I backed off at Scotch Corner.
The rest of the event was great fun, the car going well and no real issues apart from the need to replenish the oil every so often, I had rebuilt the engine back in 1991 and she was starting to use oil.
I recently read on the CT forum some advice given by Darren Sharp in that one should be careful in who they choose to be a Co-Driver, my 1998 experiences underline that fact. Diz is one of my best mates, we have been friends since 1983, he has owned two Triumph cars, a mk3 GT6 and a TR6, yet we fell out on the event. At a RBRR control we went our seperate ways for 15mins to reduce the tension that had been building for sometime and all was good after that, but it just goes to show how one should be careful about the choice of co-driver, probably the most important part of the planning before the event. Diz admitted after the event that he had not enjoyed the experience and would not attempt the RBRR again, he remains to this day one of my best friends and a real buddy, however the RBRR did test our friendship. I think this also cured him of a like for old cars, since then he seems to have bought moderns!
By the far the best aspects of the event were the scenery, the roads that we used and the biggest factor the camaderie amongst all crews, fantastic stuff!
So the 1998 RBRR was a real eye opener and considering the fact that before the event I was only going to do one RBRR I realised that I was hooked!. As soon as the event was over I was ready for the next one in 2000, the only downer being the 2 year interval!

1998 Control list
Blyth Services, A1
Bishops Garage, Corbridge
Edinburgh Airport
BP Garage, Perth
Thrumster Garage
Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
Macrae and Dick Garage, Inverness
Morrisons Garage, Stirling
Gordano Services, M5
Lands End Hotel, Lands End
Honda Garage, Dorchester
Fleet Services,M3

Total Mileage 1920.

As soon as the 2000 form came out I got my entry in fearing that an event that was so good would be quickly oversubscribed, strangely to my way of thinking not the case!
Once again, I was using the GT6 (At this point I only owned one road going Triumph) and for this one I had roped in another old friend Richard Arthers, another of my old mates who had Triumph experience having owned a mk1 Vitesse and a mk2 saloon.
The Drivers Meeting was attended and apart from a few Control changes and that the we were going to Wales, the event looked similar. By going to Wales, M5 use was reduced, for sure the worse part of the 1998 event.
Yet again, the start atmosphere was superb, in fact the whole event was brilliant and I found it much easier than the 1998 run, obviously down to the fact that I knew what to expect and we had prepared to a better standard.
Mechanically the only bad aspect of the RBRR was that we lost overdrive, later found to be a worn out inhibitor switch. The event was again dominated by big saloons dashing past quaking the GT6 in their wake, again impressive. We had pulled over in a lay-by on the Forest of Dean section, but found sleep was impossible as it seemed that most of the Triumphs were being knocked down a gear to increase the noise and wake us up, this is obviously not the case, but it felt so at the time! It must be pointed out that a good 15 min kip does wonders when the old eyes are shutting!
Best parts of the event were definately seeing 60 or so Triumph cars being used, the roads being dominated by the cars. I cannot describe how good this is to see, usually the only time one sees lots of them together is parked in a field, simply put, cars are meant to be used!

Blyth Services A1
Bishops Garage, Corbridge
Edinburgh Airport
BP Garage, Perth
Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
Conon Bridge Hotel, Conon Bridge
Morrison's Garage, Stirling
Oswestry Services, A5
Gordano Services, M5
Lands End Hotel, Lands End
Dartmoor Lodge, Ashburton
Fleet Services, M3

Total mileage 1906.

For this my 3rd RBRR I teamed up again with my old mate Richard, as previously done using the GT6. The whole event was once again superb, the car went very well and apart from the addtion of some fluids nothing was done to her. The driving was as usual spirited,especially in Scotland and Wales. Entry was larger than previous years, it seemed that many were starting to realise what a top event the RBRR is for Triumph cars.
Once again the event went through a nice section of Wales, using the glorious A466 from Monmouth to Chepstow.
Mention should be made of possibly two of the UKs best roads that has featured in nearly all the RBRRs, these are the B871 and the A836. Long sections of these are single tracked and one can see for some distance making it possible for one to get a good lick of speed up, its like driving a rally stage!!!! The drive along this road was memorable as I was harried by James Elliott and co. of Classic and Sportscar in his mk1 Pi, they made mincemeat of us.
Richard did a great job driving the GT6, in fact he drove more than me, I really enjoy being driven in my cars by someone who knows what they are doing. The GT6 really is a great car for the RBRR, its small and compact yet has gearing that makes long distance driving a piece of cake. Richard was at this time a really good driver and within the first 500 miles was handling the car with aplomb. One of the overlooked aspects of the RBRR is that one really does get so in tune with the car, its ironic that maybe some of the roads at the end are not as good was those encountered in Scotland, just as one can really drive the car the road quality peters out!

The 2002 event was entered by Martin Randle using his white TR7 after completing the event in 2000 in his mk1 Vitesse. He came to the conclusion that it was sad that we had to wait for 2 years for the next RBRR so came up with the basis of an event that morphed into the 10 Countries Run.

Same as 2000

Total mileage less at 1899?


Umm, a new co driver as Richard by this time had buggered off to Australia, so I managed to press gang a mate from work called Howard Riddell. Howard grew up driving Minis and Morris Minors so I felt he would be cool behind the wheel of the GT6. This he was, however as being a bit larger than me at 6ft 1in tall he did struggle, GT6s are really made for those of 5ft 8in and weighing 11 stone! Yet again the big saloon was dominating the event, however my GT6 seemed ok and it seemed that a number of other GT6 owners had decided to join the fray!
This was my first RBRR as the main man and boy did it seem different, the whole event being a bit nerve wracking. I can't really remember any of the driving other than the GT6 did very well. We had a number of new controls at Avon Heathh Country Park in Dorset and the race circuit at Goodwood. To get to Goodwood we used the old A30 from Salisbury to Stockbridge and beyond before dropping down to Winchester and taking the A272 towards Petersfield and the B2141 to Lavant. These roads were great and gave a last thrill before the end something I felt missing from the RBRR. However of course we then had to endure more of the M25, still a traffic jam is a great place to get some kip!
At this time I had bought the 2.5 so was well aware how cool and suitable for the RBRR that car would be, still can a saloon keep up with a well driven GT6, umm, the answer is probably yes!

Blythe Services, A1
Bishops Garage, Corbridge
Edinburgh Airport
Inveralmond Services, Perth
Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
Conon Bridge Hotel, Conon Bridge
Morrison's Garage, Stirling
Oswestry Services, A5
Gordano Services, M5
Lands End Hotel, Lands End
Dartmoor Lodge, Ashburton
Avon Heath Country Park, Ferndown
Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit

Total mileage 1931


Blimey I think I was starting to get the hang of this event. Basically get some sleep before the event and use a car that has been well used before, in the words of many a fool, simple stuff! Er no, the GT6 did not behave very well. the rocker gear was showing alot of wear and needed constant adjustment during the event, as the engine was always warm it was a bugger of a job, but hey hey we finished!
I'd roped my younger sister Judy in as my co driver, however as she had young kids at this point she was not sleeping that well and seemed to spend the whole event asleep! Judy being a respectful type was very concerned about how she drove the car, I told her not to worry she could rag the arse of the thing, she did not need a second invite! My main memory of the event was seeing Dave Langrick chatting her up at one of the stops: David, she is a married woman!!!
Yet again the RBRR proved to be a top event and Judy told me weeks later that she thoroughly enjoyed the event, this was marvellous as my family had started to worry about my urge to undertake the RBRR every two years, at last a family ally!
By this time we had started to use the Pimperne stop that was run by the Southern group of the Club and jeez did they do us proud, the cakes were superb. In fact, looking at a few of the CT regulars I am now worried about this as many seem to have carried on eating the cakes and are starting to show the results of this activity!
The biggest shame about the 2006 event was that we could not use Bishops Garage in Corbridge, the event had out grown this atmospheric place, a real pity. To make up for this we managed to get the owner of the pub next door to Bishops to use his car park. This was fine apart from the fact that the owner was celebrating his Birthday on the Fridaynight of the run, something he forgot to tell me and decided to go out on the drink, by the time we all rocked up he was shall we say inebriated, not a help! Anyway no one seemed to notice, however yet again we did block the whole road up again!!!
All in all a good event and some valuable lessons were learnt about organising an event such as the RBRR.

2006 Controls
Blyth Services A1
The Angel Inn, Corbridge
Edinburgh Airport
Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
Conon Bridge Hotel, Conon Bridge
Morrison's Garage. Stirling
Lancaster Services, M6
Gledrid Services,Chirk, near Oswestry
Gordano Services, M5
Lands End Hotel, Lands End
The Dartmoor Lodge, Ashburton
Pimperne Village Hall, Pimperne, near Blandford Forum
Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit

Total Mileage 1965

Part two in a day or so.

posted by Tim Bancroft 12th November 2011 01:58am gmt

Sometime since I last blogged, so as sitting at home recovering from a minor operation I thought I'd better type something!

The GT6 is at Dave Picton's establishment being repaired following the June incident. My word this whole episode has been an eye opener, no more driving of the old cars unless covered by an agreed value policy! Dave Picton was very helpful and helped to get my insurers to agree to a higher value than originally offered, however the salvage percentage of 30% was a bit strong.

Anyway enough of the boring stuff, the car has been nearly fully rebuilt, as well as the rear panels and wings and new bonnet the car has now received rebuilt doors and new outer sills in an attempt to tidy up the poor gaps that existed at the door/sill area of the car. I cannot state who did the previous work on the car in 2005 as the work they did was at the best poor, at the worse dangerous, some of the A panel works not actually being welded together!!! Dave has made this all good and the car will look better than before, probably ride better as well!!!

The car will feature a new bonnet from Fitchetts, after talks with Dave I decided it would be nice to do a similar mod that he has done to his mk2, that being changing the hinge design to attempt to make the car look sleeker. This will result in the car not having a front bumper, in my opinion this will make the car look better balanced as I took off the rear bumpers fitted to the car in 1984!

When I have the car back I intend to fully rebuild the front suspension, this will include refurbishing the suspension turrets and wishbones. I last did this in 1989 (!) and must admit I have been surprised how well the wishbone bushes have lasted, I used Triumph Tune Shore 90 rubber bushes, when I last looked they seemed fine. I will replace those with Superflex items.

Then its time to tear down the rear suspension, and clean that all up and maybe look to improve the interior of the car, fit a decent carpet set etc.

For the recent CT Historic Autosolo at Bovingdon I was forced to use the 2.5 and she did me proud. I won the Triumph saloon Class C, beating Steve Radley in his similar car. I was doing very well up until lunchtime, however the afternoon tests seemed a bit more intricate. Steve would have beaten me had we done a 5th and 6th Test.

I have just fitted a new head to that car, Roy Burrell cleaning up a 2500S head that I bought years ago from Andy Pearce, his porting work looks excellent. I made a mistake and supplied him with the wrong info concerning the compression ratio, so I will have to take the head off the car and get him to skim it a bit more to acheive the correct ratio of 9.5:1. However with this head in its incorrect staet the car does feel livelier, what a car it is!

I used her for the recent Oxford MC Autosolo at a Silverstone car park, however I did not do that well, coming 6th out of 7 in the Historic class. Andy Martin winning in his Vitesse, Joe Welling in his rapidly improving Spitfire 1500 coming 2nd. I think it is fair to say that the Triumphs did well impressing many of the other competitors. I did encounter a problem with the servo as the seal for the vacum pipe failed, this was remedied on the day using insulation tape. As the car is fitted with a Lockheed type 8 remote servo I fear that sourcing a seal will not be easy.

The only recent snag being that I have had to change the starter motor, this being made very difficult by the 631 exhaust manifold on the car, in fact it was a pig of a job! Next up for the car is sorting out some of the corrosion that is starting to come through and also fit the door furniture that I lazily have not fitted since the bodywork was done in 2007!!!! Next years plans are simple, use her and take part in the RBRR in the car, if ever a car was made for the RBRR it is this one, its 27mph/1000 4th gear in overdrive making the event seem relatively easy!

I am presently fitting the revvy 1300 engine and gearbox into the Spitfire, the old engine and box have gone to Dave Picton as part payment for the GT6 works. I am not a fan of the 1500 engines and hope that the 1300 engine will be more suited to the intended use of the car. Talking of the cars intended use, this years plans have been scuppered by the GT6 accident. So next year will be hopefully busier and I will get to use her in a number of Autosolos. One event I will enter is a HERO event called the Throckmorton Challenge, this being an single venue event featuring a number of tests, 19no I think and 3 or 4 regularities. This will mean that I will need to purchase a Brantz Tripmeter, the International Pro 2 's' pro looking to be the one to buy. Talking to fellow CT member Alan Petit who is an experienced Historic Rally man this event looks like it could be fun, be good to enter a Triumph team!

On the hope that the economic situation in the UK may one day improve I would also like to use the Spittie for some sprint events in the next couple of years. As with everything in life, money is the governing factor!

In early September I attended the start of the CT 10CR at The Plough, some of the cars taking part looked superb and everyone taking part looked to be full of beans and excited! To say I was upset not to be taking part would be understatement, that event being the first major CT event that I have missed in 13 years. Ellis Stokes and his team seemed to have organised and found the perfect scope for this overseas event that offered both challenging driving and a nice bit of social fun. I will be on the event in 2013. Talking of Ellis, I see that he has seen the light and bought a semi complete mk1 saloon that will take the running gear of his 2500TC ('The Red Bus' as christened by Andy Pearce), that poor car at the end of its use.

Looking around at the Triumph culture in the UK, I see that TR5s are still commanding high prices. One for sale at present that has been sympathetically modified by a northern TR expert is on the market for £35,000, blimey!!! Reckon having 3 useable Triumph cars like mine is a better bet, at todays prices I think I would make £18- 20K for them? Also, it looks like GT6s are being hyped up in price, the front of 'Classics' magazine having a nice mk3 on its cover and stating within the mag. that values are going up to over £8,000 for a decent example. Blimey, where will it all end, probably when oil runs out, in fact will all cars devalue overnight?

On that sombre thought, I'll bugger off!

posted by Tim Bancroft 02nd November 2011 02:23am gmt

27 years!

Well, what can I say. My GT6 is presently a shorter vehicle than it was. Last Sunday on the way to drop Herald parts off at Richard Brakes house, whilst in traffic light queue in Brookwood, Surrey I was hit at I think about 30mph by a young girl in her 2 year old Fiesta. This pushed me into a BMW 3 series. The resulting carnage being a very badly damaged rump, damaged wings, bent boot floor and a mangled bonnet. No panel at the rear end is salvagable. The picture of the bonnet does'nt show the damage very well, both the inner arches are damaged and the NS inner arch has sprung away from the bonnet and the whole top panle has dents. Both wings are kinked and the door gaps have closed up. Luckily the roof line is ok, damage there would almost certainly make the accident unrepairable. After the accident all I could say was '27 Years'!

The irony of this accident being that I was thinking that the little car seemed at its best since I bought the car in late 1983 just moments before it happened.

To say I am gutted is an understatement, this week has been particulary trying. I have done so much in the little car, been all over Europe in her and driven roads all over the UK, the car is such an integral part of my life. A few friends have stated that they consider the car to be a proper Club Triumph car, a massive compliment and a statement I cherish, to show this point, no GT6 has done more RBRRs: 6no.

I had the car taken home after the prang and she is currently sitting in the garage looking awful. Dave Picton of Picton Sportscars is popping over later today to have a look at her and will then provide a quotation to fix the little car.

I must thank so many who have contacted me with kind words, so thanks to James, Dave, Dave, Jason, Craig, Alex, Dale, Ellis, Tom and Dave. Also, James Cooper, Richard and Hilary Brake who came out to make sure I was ok, all within minutes of the accident. They really helped and were very kind.

Obviously my concerns are that I can get her fixed. I must admit when fixed (?) I will be very wary of driving her, this whole experience has really brought it home to me how much I value the car and how much I would hate a 'total loss' situation. Many people have said, well its only a car! Er, no it is'nt, it's far more important to me than that. I imagine many reading this will understand that point of view.

I hope that many reading this do not think I am attempting to glorify the prang in some ghoulish manner, its just that many have requested information. This blog is mainly about my Triumph motoring, this is obviously a low point.

posted by Tim Bancroft 25th June 2011 03:09am gmt

Here comes the weekend!

Umm, the last posting states 04/05/11, I overwrote a posting I had as a draft but decided was rubbish so wrote a new blurb. Therefore it should read 29/05/11.

Found this bit of Martin Randle (my co-driver for last year) and me in the GT6 from last year's event, car sounds good eh! (I think Mike Charlton filmed this footage-thanks Mike).

Right oh, Scotland here we come!

posted by Tim Bancroft 29th May 2011 11:53pm gmt

Er, Scotland here we come?

Spending sometime getting the GT6 ready for next weekend's International Auto Ecosse as organised by the Caledonian Classic Historic Motor Sport Club, must say that I am thoroughly looking forward to that event. For me last year's inaugural event ended in a disaster owing to wheel bearing failure and a 18 hour AA relay trip home. Very galling as I was very near the top of the event's placing.

The GT6 seems to be running fine, in fact that the other day I had a little tussle with a modern 911 on the Chertsey by pass, when the 911 inevitably went past at some speed, the driver gave me the thumbs up and seemed surprised by the pace of the little Triumph. The car really does seem to have a sweet spot at 5500rpm and makes a gorgeous noise at both the exhaust and at the carbs. Those stub stacks I fitted have made such a difference creating a nice bit of extra power.

MOT'd her the other day, a pass not being a problem with no advisories, so all good there! So hopefully the GT6 is ready to go to Scotland.

Other great news is that I have sold the Herald to Richard Brake's daughter Jessica. Jessica has just had a little incident in her Herald 'Mildred' and needs a car to replace her. The Coupe will fit that bill and I must say I think Jessica has a bargain.

I had hoped to go to Duxford today, but a number of things have conspired to make that awkward, so I will stay at home, fiddle with the GT6 and watch the Monaco GP. The GP season does feel abit phoney what with all the overtaking aids, however one real stand out has been the quality of Brundle and Coulthard's commentary, authoritive without being all nerdy!

Absolutely gutted to see that one of my favourite singers Gil Scott Heron has passed on, I just love some of his music: 'The Bottle', 'The revolution will not be televised', 'Home is where the hatred is' and 'Pieces of a man' having such strong lyrical messages. First got into his music back in the early 80s and have continued to enjoy, must admit I found last years 'I'm new here' a bit difficult, but still well worth a listen and just chuffed that he could still make music. Scott-Heron had been a frequent jailbird (drug busts) and had massive problems with drugs so the last 20 years for him cannot have been easy, hope he has now found some peace.

On the subject of music I have been thrilled by this year's releases by P J Harvey and Radiohead, nice that quality music is still being made. Been interesting to see that Adele has been such a hit in the States, her lyrics being so English. I like her and admire her stance on celebrity, just need reading that she will never use her music to sell products for corporations-refreshing in these days of sell out and the chasing of the dollar at any expense.

posted by Tim Bancroft 04th May 2011 1:56pm gmt

Another long weekend

Been nice enjoying another weekend of 4 days, and have done a few of the jobs that I want to do to the Spitfire before next Sunday's Oxford MC 'Bocardo' Autosolo that is once again being held at a Silverstone car park.

The biggest job being the fitment of the roll over bar that I bought from Dave Pearson, this being a hard used Aleybars Clubmans type bar with a fixed diagonal, exactly the same as the one fitted to the GT6. Aleybars were bought in the mid 80s by Safety Devices, the UKs largest roll over bar/cage manufacteur, the only problem with this bar (as the one in the GT6) is that the tubes are of a too small diameter for some types of competitive motorsport, however for 'solos, sprinting etc it would be ok. I was going to get the bar blasted and powder coated by my brother in laws company in Colnbrook, but decided that for now she will be fine in her slightly scratched matt black finish.

The other jobs I have done are fit some 330lb front springs and larger diameter wheel studs. Fitting these studs is a pain as one has to take the brake discs off the wheel hubs to get the things into place, obviously necessitating taking the whole hub assemby off the stub axles etc. The picture above shows the car before the 330 springs were fitted.

The car looks better as it sits nice and level now, however I am not too happy with the front handling as it feels light at speed. I aim to fit the Canley Classics tubular front wishbones I have in the shed, some 480lb springs and will polybush the bottom wishbones, hopefully this will tie the front end down. Using the top wishbones I hope to be able to dial in some negative camber, 1.5 degrees being a starting figure.

One of the other things I dislike about the car is the way the rear end can be deflected when a small pothole or road irregularity is hit. To this end I think a set of Jigsaw's adjustable radius arms fitted with some nylon bushes I have may cure this problem. These radius arms seem a good idea to enable me to get the suspension checked to see how straight the car is running, I am not sure about faffing about with the standard system of shim use at a wheel alignment garage. A better fix will be the use of some Canley CV driveshafts and lower wishbones , I have a set of rotoflex vertical links to go with these. This would necessitate the welding of the wishbone mount onto the chassis and the radius arm mount onto the heelboard. At present, this is outside my budget so I will have to wait until next year to implement these changes. Of course whilst at it I might as well fit a LSD diff!!!!

A first for this weekend was that I drove the car without the soft top on her, at first I must admit I felt a bit self concious, but after a bit I must admit I quite liked driving her like that.

Yesterday was spent at Prescott hillclimb track watching a round of the Paul Matty Sportscars hillclimb series. I went along with my old friend Jon Stevens in his recently purchased AMG Merc CLK, this being one of the fastest things I have been in as it develops about 350BHP, what a car! Some of the cars at Prescott were truely mouth-watering, lots of Gould single seat hillclimb cars that featured Hayabusa engines and some very nice old Lotus single seaters. As ever I was attracted to the historic saloons, a couple of very nice 105 series Alfas, Mini Coopers and Lotus Cortinas. Also 3 Frogeye Sprites were taking part, be interesting to see how the Spitfire would cope with them! All in all a good day. One of the stand out events at Prescott is the VSCC event that is usually held in August, this always features lots of excellent old cars, Bugattis, Bentleys, Rileys etc. I may have to wander on down to watch that event. Excuse the lack of photos, forgot the camera!

This week entails a day working on Sptfire next Saturday in preparation for Sundays 'solo. Also I must start getting the interior out of the GT6 ready to pull the gearbox so as to enable the fitment of the new clutch I have bought from Canleys. The IAE is coming up fast!

Nothing to report on the Saloon, head still with Roy.

posted by Tim Bancroft 02nd May 2011 09:19am gmt

CSMA Autosolo and other mumblings!

A busy Triumph time at present.

Last weekend was the first event in the Club Triumph Autosolo Mini Series, I entered using the GT6 and shared the car with James Carruthers.

I started well even with the timing being well out-something I could not work out as she ran perfectly well to Bovingdon from Chertsey? I had to advance the ignition by some 8 degrees, very strange. After the first Test I was leading the Class B Historics and all the Club Triumph cars. After that it all seemed to go awry and as I sort of expected, Mike Helm started to claw back the times and eventually acheived the best Triumph times. Paul Hughes showing some demon oversteer beat me to win Class B Historics.

All the Triumph drivers did very well, James Cooper, Joe Welling, Andy Martin and James Carruthers all showing that they are fast drivers and will be competitive this year in the series. I have decided that I must use the Spitfire, so will now attempt to get that ready for the forthcoming Oxford MC Bocardo Autosolo at Silverstone. At present only 5 Triumph cars are entered for that event, I hope we get a few more?

Anyway, well done to Mike Helm for beating us all, he's some driver!

Otherwise I have to change the Clutch on the GT6 for the June 'International Auto Ecosse' , I have ordered the parts from Canleys and hope that they will arrive tail end of next week. The car did disgrace itself at Bovingdon when the starter solenoid packed up, so I had to fit another one this week. I have stated this before, but I really enjoy driving the GT6, its such a good old thing, and after 27 years, driving her is second nature.

I have now taken the head off the 2.5, I need to measure the depth from the block surface to the top of each piston at TDC, these figures will be given to Roy Burrell who is preparing the 2.5S head I bought years ago from Andy Pearce. On stripping this head I found that it has Chris Witor 'penny on a stick' stainless steel valves, bronze guides and A series oil seals. Roy is going to do a minor bit of combustion chamber work and reduce the height of the head so I can run a 9.75:1 compression ratio. He will also fit hardened exhaust valve seats to prevent valve recession. The head I have taken off is showing up to 1.5mm on some valves, still not quite up to the 2.5mm that Craig Gingell's head has shown!!!

Then its back to some 10CR work for the car. I took James Cooper and Richard Brake up to The Plough the other night and they were laughing at the state of the door furniture all held in place with split pins and the like. Also the front passenger dear locking mechanism has failed, this results in the driver assuming Chauffeur duties and rushing around to open the door for the passenger!!! 10CR co-driver dave Kent has told me that he will pop over and help put the doors back together with me, he recklons I am a lazy sod, not wrong there Dave!!!

Also I have started to price up the cost of fitting the Lucas pi gear back on the car. I have decided that I do not want to use a Lucas pump, so will go the way of many a PI owner and fit a Bosch pump and gubbins!

By the way I love the photo at the top of this posting, James Carruthers took the photo, I like the way it is out of focus at the front and clear at the back.

posted by Tim Bancroft 22nd April 2011 12:22am gmt

HCR and all that!

Well that was interesting, had a fun night's driving with Doug and Katie. The old car went well, apart from running abit rich-well in fact very rich! Jeez, fuel is expensive eh!

The event seemed quite weird. It started at about 06.30 when I missed two calls from Doug and Katie that would have told me that Doug had blown his Passatt up near Manchester. Doug was driving down from JOG where he had dropped a nephew off who was undertaking a bike ride to Paris in aid of a charity that supports Hodgkinson's disease. So it was arranged that Katie and I would meet up with Andy Martin and Michael Stern at Andy's house and then we would go to pick Doug up at a motorway service area. This ended up being Hopwood services on the M42. Anyrate we made the start venue at the Old Stone Trough, poor Doug looked shattered after his antics-still these Foremans are hardy creatures!

Once up in Lancashire, Katie drove the car for the first time for a mile or two to get used to the car, as the first part of the HCR was a Test, and Katie was driving we thought she had better drive the old car. Considering that her only experience of a saloon was driving Fred Slezak's mk1, to come 4th in this Test was top stuff-well done Katie. The event then consisted of driving around the UK attempting to get to all the Counties and venues indicated upon the listing that Dale Barker had given us. We were shocked to see that from Barnoldswick we had to visit various reservoirs that serve Manchester and Lancashire, then go to Nottingham and Lincolnshire and end up in Shropshire at Telford-blimey!! Once we had visited the Reservoirs, time was short so we decided to skip Notts and Lincs and get to Telford, which the car did with ease, in fact we were the first car at Telford! the car was not pulling full revs, so I had taken off the restrictive aftermarket air filter, this released some air and gave us more power. Bloomin' nice to see Dave Kent up at Telford, he's good lad is Dave really keen on CT events. Also withn him was his faithful dog called Brandy, she looks abit older than when they took part in the HCR last, but is still going strongely.

Doug and Katie had alternated the sleep up to this point, however Doug was still knackered so it was decided that Katie would drive and I would nav. This next section was great fun, trailing down to A483, A470, A479 and A40 towards South Wales, we had to visit various Castles on the way, all accomplished with ease. Katie was throwing the old car around with verve and seemed to be having a laugh! Before leaving Wales we used a great RBRR road, the A466 from Monmouth to Chepstow, for my mind one of the great UK roads if driven in the middle of the night. So far it had all been a bit weird, Katie when not driving, she had been 'flat out' on her iphone and had bathed the car interior with blue light from the device, and Doug kept waking up and appearing like some spectral vision in the back (Doug as many know is a big unit and takes up alot of the rear seat space),I started to think the 2.5 was haunted! Also for most of the night we had been experiencing a methane problem, reckon Doug had been at the scotch pies when in Scotland. One of the issues with the car is that I had put new door window seals into her, this caused the front windows to fall out of their guiding mechanism, making it tough to push the windows up or down, gotta say I wish I had sorted this problem out. Sound affects were added using the squeaky passengerr seat belt reels, yep, we were aboard the 'Fart Express'! Next was the M4/M24/A12 section to finish through dusk.I fell asleep at this point and was surprised to find out that whilst asleep Katie and Doug had been having fun, the car had gone up to highly illegal 3 figure sum. This car is fitted with a 28% J type overdrive and 3.45:1 diff, this results in 112mph at 4K in overdrive top-mile eater eh!

When back at Woodbridge, Katie drove the car in the second test, she has obviously got these saloon cars worked out as she came second on the timed section, however for the distance part of the test she could not see the cone and slightly mis-judged the distance from the bumper to the cone resluting in a 5th or 6th place. It was fascinating to see the car being thrown about and I had no qualms about letting her drive the car like this, the car sounds good. So that was the 2011 HCR, I have now done all of them and must say I do enjoy the event. Back in 2005 I found out about a 70/80s CT event called the 20 County Challenge, so we decided to run the event in 2005. The HCR is a evolution of that event. Dale Barker has now organised the last 4 number and has decided that a rest is needed. Ellis Stokes, Mike Helm and Andy Martin will organise the 2012 event, be great to see more CT types taking part.

After this event I have decided that I must sort out the cronic valve seat recession the car is suffering from. With this in mind I have taken the 2.5S head I bought from Andy Pearce to Roy Burrell this morning and have asked him to stick in some hardened valve seats, reduce the depth of the head to raise the compression ratio and do some mild porting. The head has stainless steel valves, bronze guides and A series valve seals. Should give the car abit more go, this should help on the forthcoming 10CR.

One mistake I made for the HCR was to take too much stuff, the boot was full!!! 3 up with this load made the car feel sluggish, 'turn in' was affected by this mistake. I will attempt to do the 10CR with a lighter load-I hope Doug may try this next time!!! It was good fun doing this event with the Foremans, they are a funny pair, at various points it was difficult to drive and concentrate as we laughing so much! Next year, I imagine Katie and Doug will be using their mk1 saloon, I will miss their company. That car should be something!

Next up is the CSMA Autosolo, I have entered using the Spitfire, however I would like to use the GT6 so will spend tomorrow working on that car. A few jobs need to be done: 1. Rebuild the clutch master cylinder. 2. Change gearbox mounts 3. Fit new propshaft 4. Change diff mounts 5. Re-fit the interior. A busy day then, so reckon I need to get some sleep!!! This edition of my blog does not seem to like paragraphs-I will sort this out asap-sorry!

posted by Tim Bancroft 09th April 2011 1:02pm gmt

HCR: A hard days night!

This weekend sees the running of the Club Triumph Historic County Run (HCR), as organised by Dale Barker and Andrew Martin. This event improves every time it is run and I must say I am looking forward to the weekend.

For this year I have entered the event with Doug Foreman and Katie Foreman, obviously we will be using the 2.5 saloon. This is now running very nicely, James Cooper popped over and after scolding me about not tightening the link bar we managed to get the old thing running very nicely. I have reverted to the use of a mechanical fuel pump as I would like to use the HUCO electric pump on the Spitfire. It has been great fun using the Saloon, owing to its high gearing it is able to 'mix' it with moderns on the M25. I always get looked at weirdly by some as I go steaming past, its almost as if some think that one should not drive an old car at modern day driving speeds?

For the HCR Doug will be sharing the road driving with me, however Katie is to drive the 'Tests'. It will be interesting to see how Katie does, she is very experienced at competitive driving in Heralds and GT6s, however the big saloon is a larger machine and she may find it a bit bulky. However as I have found out at Autosolos, she has a talent that should enable her to make light of the saloons larger dimensions. Hope so, as Doug and me did the best time on last year's HCR test!

I have been driving the Spitfire recently and I must say I have enjoyed the experience. A new exhaust should be winging its way down to me soon, so I will hope to fit this before the forthcoming CSMA Concorde Autosolo at Bovingdon. James Carruthers is sharing the car and I welcome his opinion on the car. James is very good at being able to analysis a car's performance and identify improvements. Bit worried about using the present engine as it has a long stroke Triumph 4 pot at present, it would be prudent to fit a rev limiter! When taking part in these 'solo events, one's attention is fully taken by looking for the next cone position and thinking about the line one should drive. To worry about the engine speed is an unecessary problem and will result in slightly slower speeds. I understand that alot of CT members are taking part in this event and I look forward to meeting up with lots of friends and ultimately beating them!!!!! James has started work on his mk3 Spitfire which has the potential to be a fast car, he hopes to get her up to Scotland for the IAE.

I have also entered the Oxford MC 'Bocardo' Autosolo, this will be my 5th Bocardo and I hope to do well, looks like the main 'Historic' competition will be from Mike and Matt Helm as not too many CT members are entering. Oxford MC run a superb event, the whole event being well streamlined and easily understood by entrants new to the event.

Whilst talking about Autosolos, I cannot wait for the CT event to be held at Bovingdon, this will hopefully build upon the very successful 2009 and 2011 events. Its great to see so many CT members having a go at competitive Club motorsport.

So off we go, the next 7 months offer some superb chances for fun and fast driving in the old cars, excellent!

posted by Tim Bancroft 29th March 2011 12:39am gmt

Where does the time go?

A rather belated posting.

The last couple of weeks have been very busy, mainly getting stuck into work or work for the car club. Therefore the cars have suffered. I have done nothing to the GT6, she is still in the garage waiting the fitment of a new gearbox mount and other bits and pieces in the vain hope of curing the vibration that started just before the 2010 RBRR.

On the subject of the RBRR, bloomin' overjoyed that all the entrants have managed to scrape together a staggering £50K for MIND. Last Saturday was the CT Annual Dinner held at a Hilton at Milton Keynes, we presented the cheque to Rachael fom MIND and I think all had a great evening out. As is the way with CT social evenings, many seemed to enjoy having a drink, many matching the intoxication of Rolduc on the 10CR!!!! Mentioning Rolduc, I am really looking forward to the 10CR, talking with Ellis it looks like he will have done the usual high standard job and be able to offer us some superb driving roads. I have done all of the previous 3 official CT events and the inaugural event in 2003 and have enjoyed them all. However the last one was special, luckily I had teamed up with Dave Kent, if anyone wants to do an event with someone who knows the way to drive these long distance events, get Dave to co-drive. We were 'blessed' with dizzy problems and I am sure that without Dave's never say die attitude the 2.5 Pi (SU) would have been shipped home. I hope to have been able to prep. the car better this time, however finding time for the cars these days is getting increasingly difficult-Dave bring the spanners!

On the subject of the saloon, I am a bit down hearted at present, I cannot get the car to run that well. Underload she just does not want to 'rev out', quite happy when in neutral? I have decided to go back to basics with her and fully tune the car, starting with a compression test, valve clearances etc. I have just taken delivery of some new carb spindles and butterflies from Andrew Turner, the fitted butterflies have those awful anti-run on poppet valves fitted. Othewise the car is fine, she passed the MOT test the other day, this followed an evening of welding by James Cooper around the base of the 'B' post, James is a top bloke and bloody keen!

The Spitfire is proving to have been an inspired purchase, bloomin' fantastic little car that cannot help but bring a smile to one's mouth when being driven. I have yet to drive the car with the roof down, however I used to feel a little self concious when I used to drive my previous convertible with the roof down, this was my first car a Vitesse mk2, still older now and it does seem that as one gets older one starts to not give a toss! I have entered the forthcoming CSMA Autosolo at Bovingdon and will be sharing the car with James Carruthers, it will be interesting to see how we do-can I cope with a car that handles but is not as fast-a worry! The Autosolo events start to come thick and fast as the Oxford MC 'Bocardo' event at a Silverstone car parkis due in early May. I have taken part in the past 3 'Bocardos' and cannot wait for this event, always slickly organised and lots of superb machinery! I have number of jobs to do to her, these include fitting some nylon bushes to the radius arms and the roll over bar I purchased from Dave Pearson, I also need to drop the front of the car as she is a tadge high at the front. As previously written I bought the car from Dave Picton, boy oh boy I saw his latest creation at Stoneleigh. This is a gorgeous mk2 GT6 that has a 2.5Pi lump in her-fit a nicely tuned revvy 2000cc engine Dave-you don't need torque. Dave has fitted deep dished 6J wires and de-bumpered the front and rear, this coupled with strategically placed driving lights creates a mini Ferrari 250SWB look, this might sound crass, but the car is in my opinion the best GT6 I have yet to see. The stance is correct and some of the details such as cream writing for the number plate letters/numerals are inspired (These 'plates' coupled with the maroon paint give off a slight pre-war Alfa look), nice one Dave! I will take some snaps soon and post on here, she really is a beauty. I have always thought that the mk2 GT6 was Triumph's best looking car and this one re-iterates this opinion.

Here are a couple of poor pictures of the Spitfire!

posted by Tim Bancroft 18th March 2011 12:42am gmt


Jeez, how did this happen-2011, my fiftieth year on the planet! Some sage stated that time goes quicker and quicker as one gets older-he's not wrong!

Car stuff:
Just spent 3 sessions working on the cars and I have managed a few tasks as follows:

Stripped out the dashboard and gearbox tunnel to enable access so that I can change the gearbox mount and renew the seals on the speedo drive. All very simple work, I have stripped this part of the car alot of times over the last 27 years and I reckon I could do it with my eyes shut! Whilst working I noticed that the Clutch master cylinder had dropped all its fluid over the carpet, so I took that off and will re-new the seals once these have purchased from Canleys. I also took the opportunity of cleaning back the bulkhead around the base of the master cylinder and painted this with Finnegans No.1 and then some matt black paint I had on the shelf-not too worried about appearance at present. One day I will strip the bulkhead and paint properly.

Whilst working on the car, James Cooper popped over in his Mk1 GT6. He had just done a engine swap and was complaining that he had no real power, we firstly carried out a compression test (All ranging between 155-165psi), then suspecting carburation issues we did all the usuals, cleaned out the carbs and balanced them. Nothing seemed wrong. James had re-set the timing and the AC Delco dizzy seemed ok, must admit I did not rate the plug leads as they seemed loose. James has a spare set so will fit them and check the valve clearances once the engine cooled once he got home. Like many of us, James has too many Triumph cars and is spread too thin (Bit rich coming from me eh). However he is a man of discernment and owns a royal Blue mk1 Pi saloon, this used to be owned by Bob Maddocks and did the 98 and 2000 RBRRs. Since purchase, James has put sills on both sides of the car and made many other bodywork repairs and once re-painted it will look the bees knees. It was painted the other month, but was rushed by the paint shop that James chose, nice to report that they have agreed to paint the car again. Whilst chatting in the garage having a cuppa, we struck up a nice deal, James having the spare mk1 bonnet that I have and me getting a set of early mk3 GT6 seats. These will be used in the Spitfire-out of period, but alot better at holding me in place compared to the poor condition mk2 seats presently within the car.
It is nice knowing that James and Richard Brake are fairly local, both are resourceful people and always willing to help out when problems happen.

Spitfire mk2
Had a list of jobs to do on the little car, the main ones being:
A) Fit mocal oil cooler
B) Fit stick on number plates
C) Tale out the CD player
The first job seemed to be going well, I had bought a kit with pre-cut braided hoses and casually decided to fit the oil cooler where I fitted one to a Spitfire 1500 I worked on years ago-this was great until I attempted to attempted to fit the smaller hose, too blasted short. Therefore I moved the rad backwards towards the water radiator and upside down as this seemed to be the only way I could fit the kit-why are oil coolers always a pain? The GT6 has rubber hoses and I think I will go back to using those next time, never had a problem with rubber hoses in 25 years. Many will question the use of a oil cooler, I think they are essential and definitely help increase the longevity of an engine
Number plates: Blimey, this job went well! The car looks so much better with the regular sized plate stuck across the bonnet -'E-Type' style. Dave Picton had put a small stick on plate onto the car, in all the time I have known Dave I have not known him show such a lack of taste-I think I know why though!
CD Player: This had been put into the car by the guy who owned the car before Dave, god only knows why as it is impossible to hear the thing especially with the wheelbarrow exhaust that presently is under the car. Now I am partial to soul music and do like the strong vocals of the late 50s and early 60s singer Wilson Pickett, but someone had jammed a Pickett compilation CD into the machine and everytime I started the car I would get a blast of the first track, 'If you need me', I started to get really fatigued by this track. Also the CD player seemed to be controlled by some form of higher entity (Maybe, Wilson coming back to haunt me), everytime I hit a bump in the road the volume would go up, or worse still if switched off it would switch itself on, got to say I have started to loathe Wilson! I would not have minded but the CD player only wanted to play that one track-why? Listening to music has always been a major pleasure of mine and when driving the Focus, I always have my ipod connected to the stereo, however in the old cars I find it impossible to listen to music so none of the old cars have radios or the like.
Whilst under the dashboard I cleared out some extranous wiring, all old cars seems to have this stuff, reckons bodgers during the 70s using scotchlocks are to blame, reckon many a car hit an early death owing to these devilish pieces of plastic and metal.
I also changed the throttle cable as the old one did not seem that progressive, making it difficult to drive the car smoothly at low engine speeds.
I also had a good look at the carbs, paying particular attention to the float chambers, these had a fair amount of crap in them, so I will fit a small fuel filter.

I took the car down to the New Years Eve lunch that CT member Nick Jackson organises at a picturesque pub in Woodford, near Salisbury. I met up with James Carruthers in his megasquirted 2000 and James Cooper in his mk1 Pi saloon just of the M25 at Chertsey, and took them down one of my favourite roads the old A30 that runs from Popley to Stockbridge and onto Salisbury. I have a theory that Triumphs should always be driven down single carriageway A roads when one gets the chance, the A30 along this stretch really does hit the spot. Coming out of Stockbridge, there is a sharp right hand turn on a nice inclined bit of road, the little Spitfire went round the corner and up the hill very well and I think surprised both James in their faster saloons.
James' 2000 is turning into a real beastie, I helped him purchase this car and have always had a soft spot for the machine. Megasquirt seems to have transformed the car, I must get him to let me have a drive at some point. When he purchased the car the previous owner was worried that James was going to thrash the nuts of the thing, well I think it is fair to say that he has/is!
Its fascinating to see what lots of CT members do to their cars, all seem to be in a constant state of modification, some like James' 2000 turning into impressive machines.
Got to say the NYE lunch is always very pleasant, a great opportunity to have one final drive and meet up with CT friends before the end of the year. I was pleased to see Nick Jones and his family in his recently acquired 2.5Pi mk2 plus Alex Chandler in his 2000 mk1 and Mark Bland in his very nice early 2000 mk1. That was the first time I have seen Alex's car and it just goes to show what can be done with enthusiasm, a top car that needs to be used on next years RBRR-are you reading this Alex?
On the way back James, James and Alex seemed to enjoy chasing each other up the A303, what a great sight, 3 mk1 saloons being driven with verve! The little Spitfire's top end is not all that great, so I stayed back and cruised home, a nice relaxing way of ending a day out and about.

Back to the Spitfire, I like this car, reckon its a 'keeper'! The car is looking better sitting on its 5.5J solid steels and correct number plates. I will post some pics soon, just need to take the camera out with me!

posted by Tim Bancroft 04th January 2011 08:41am gmt

Next Year and Ford Focus ST

I am presently sitting at home and looking out of the window I see that we have approx. 5'' of snow-bloody horrid stuff. Snow always makes me laugh as it does seem to affect the speed of drivers on the UK roads, some people get so worried. Anyrate enough moaning!

I have been thinking about next years motoring plans and what events to have a go at in 2011. At present the following come to mind:
March: Oxford MC Bocardo Autosolo @ Silverstone (Spitfire)
April: Club Triumph HCR (2.5) and CSMA Autosolo (Spitfire)
June: International Auto Ecosse (GT6)
July: CT Historic Autosolo (GT6) and Warwick MC Autosolo (Spitfire)
August: 7oaks & DMC Autosolo @ North Weald (Spitfire)
September: Club Triumph 10 Countries Run (2.5)
October: Oxford MC Autumn Autosolo @ Silverstone (Spitfire)
Plus I also hope to have a go at the two MGoT Track Days that CT will be invited to participate in.

Regular readers of this Blog will know that my company car is a Ford Focus ST, a car that I can honestly say is possibly the best everyday vehicle I have ever used. The car is a 5 door model and has no extras at all, no tracction control nothing is a blast to drive. The car has now done 100,000 miles and apart from a one new driveshaft replaced under warranty has been extremely reliable. I am not sure how much longer I will have her as she was due to be replaced last March, luckily for me my employers have stopped leasing new cars and told me to stick with the Focus for another year until March 2011. I have been reading in the motoring press about the new ST that is due at the end of next year and I do hope that I can manage to get one of those. The only issue being that the new one will dispense with the characterful Volvo 5 pot lump and be fitted with a 4 pot Ford engine. This will mean no more 'Quatrroesque' 5 pot induction roar at engine speeds over 3,000rpm-not sure if I will be able to take that! All my work colleagues take the mikey out of the ST, but where else can you get 230BHP for such little money, it makes cars like Audi A3s, Golf GTis and the like seem over priced. I'd love a Focus RS, but these are outside my budget and only have 3 doors which is not acceptable to my employers.

So next year will be hopefully an interesting time, with lots of change in my motoring life.

The next use of my cars will be when I attend the informal New Year luch that CT member Nick Jackson puts together down near Amesbury in Wiltshire. This is always a nice little meeting and I hope that Nick's efforts are rewarded by a good number of people pitching up.

posted by Tim Bancroft 19th December 2010 02:08am gmt

Spitfire mk2: Plans

I took the new car out for a drive the other Sunday when I popped over to see fellow CT member, Richard Brake. An interesting drive in the car that brought about the following list of tasks, many that follow on from my thoughts that I stated within my last Blog posting:

1. Sort throttle cable, the action is not at all smooth.

2. Change the exhaust to a single pipe system. I will probably go for something like the Canleys Sports system, this type is fitted to my GT6 and whilst louder than the standard exhaust it does not 'boom' like the old SAH/TriumphTune twin box types.

3. Buy a hardtop. Had a long chat with Dave Pearson at Canleys about this and I have decided to order a Honeybourne Mouldings fibreglass example, the all in price of £395 is considerably cheaper than restoring a steel unit. Honeybourne do the hardtops in two colours, these being white or black, I think that black will look better. Mike Banks has a wedgewood blue steel hardtop on his car that certainly looks good, I have always thought that 'roundtails' look nice with 'bubble' hardtops.

4. Fit a rollcage: Luckily, Dave Pearson has one of these that needs repainting. Once I have it I will take this to my brother in laws place to get it powdered coated, probably light grey as not too intrusive. This cage is not the correct diameter for current racing regs., but as I will only be doing Club sport in the car, I am sure it will be fine.

5. Suspension:

Front: The front shock absorbers are Spax, that seem to have the very low bottom mount. I have some AVOs that will be put onto the car, I have found a company called Franklin Springs that sells coil springs of all types, so will fit a set 480lb items, hopefully by fitting these I will raise the front to give the car a better balanced look. I have also got a set of rose-jointed arb links and a set of tubular top wishbones, these will all be fitted to the car. I have fitted two of my 5.5J solid steels to the car at the back, once I have the front a bit higher I will fit the other pair to the front, I am worried about the wheel to wheelarch clearance and think I will have to have the wheelarch lips 'returned' to create sufficent space.

Rear: The rear units will also be changed for a set of AVOs, again I have these in my store. At the rear the car has a de-cambered rear spring, this will stay. I have been looking at Jigsaw Racing Services adjustable length radius arms, for Spits, these are based upon the GT6 mk2 items, so I will probably buy some. I have some solid nylon bushes which I will use with these, more control over toe -in/toe-out.

6. Change the steering wheel. I have a nice 13'' leather rimmed alloy wheel in the store, this will be fitted. I will also take the opportunity of changing the switch covers as those that are fitted are decidely rough looking. I am not that happy with the overdrive switch, this does not seem that positive, I will change this for the works replica toggle switch on a gear knob that I have in the stores-umm, I seem to have a lot of stuff in the shed! I have one of these fitted to the GT6 and have always found it to be a good mod.

7. Fit chrome over-riders to the front and back, this will involve re-siting the spot lamps.

8. Windscreen Wiper: Blimey, the existing is bloomin' lethargic, this will need to be looked at. Until done, I think I will have to break out the Rain-Ex!

9. Supplementary gauges: I think it would be advisable to fit a oil pressure gauge. The tacho has been converted to an electronic unit, this saves a job then! Whilst thinking about the oil system, I will fit a thermostatically controlled oil cooler, I will mount the rad. just inside the grille. The car has two lugs welded onto the chassis for a the rad to be mounted near the cross members, I have my GT6 oil rad mounted here, however it does seem vunerable to damage from road debris, so I will mount in front of the water radiator as the space exists.

10. Seats: The standard seats do not offer much in the way of lateral support, so I have two options: Mk4 Spit seats, I use these in the GT6 and they seem fine, however a set of Corbeau Classic seats may be the answer, however the price of these does seem quite dear. I do not want to fit modern race seats as these in my opinion will look garish and wrong. I think it is important to keep the car looking relatively in period.

11. Fit the Luke 4 point harness I bought for the GT6.

12. Fit alloy calipers, again these are in the shed! Also change the brake fluid to normal mineral type, at present silicon is fitted-ugh! Actually the brakes are bit soft at present, so I may look at rebuilding the brake master cylinder and fitting new wheel cylinders.

I have lots of other ideas about the car, however the above list will more or less spend my budget, but future plans are as follows:

1. LSD: Blimey this will cost, but I am sure will reduce Autosolo times considerably.

2. Fit the battery into the boot and fit an external isolator switch.

3. Look at modifying the front suspension so that more castor can be dialled in to aid 'turn in'. I have been talking to Mike Helm about this, this will be difficult to achieve as I do want to use the car on the road.

I'd love to post some snaps of the car, but the snow has made this difficult.

posted by Tim Bancroft 05th December 2010 03:19am gmt

Movin' on up!

Just realised that I have not posted a BLOG for sometime, thought I'd better get my finger out and get typing.
Update on the cars:

GT6 mk2

Last use was the 2010 Round Britain Reliability Run, the car went well, apart from an annoying driveshaft vibration that started at 3400rpm. I had spent sometime before the RBRR attempting to find the problem, including the fitment of a new propshaft. I have not as yet found the cause, but after talking with Dave Pearson and Joe Welling at Canleys, the problem might be the gearbox mount. The gearbox has been leaking oil out of the speedo take off for sometime, the big 'O' ring being the issue, the thinking is that this oil has softened the mount? I have exhausted all other options, so will be attempting to fix this over the forthcoming Xmas break, thats if it warms up!

Obviously being the main organiser of the RBRR, I am impartial, but I thought the event was very good this year. The best aspect being the route, Nigel Abdullah does a great job with this and personally thinking I now think we have a found better roads in Wales than those in Scotland. A brave statement considering the use of the A872/A836/B9176/A833/A82 in Scotland, but for my way of thinking the A483 in Wales is a great road for driving in the middle of a Saturday night in October. I followed Tom Key (TR6), James Shackford (2.5Pi mk1), Dave Langrick (GT6 conv) and the Thompson brothers (2.5Pi mk1) plus some other Triumphs through this section and had a real blast, I got out of the car at Sugar Loaf buzzing. The little GT6 turned in so well and had enough power to keep up with these guys driving cars all benefitting from Lucas Pi. The Welsh section also offered two of the best controls on the event, Gledrich was mad, jam packed with Triumph cars and a real buzz as entrants got to think about the Welsh roads that were to come. Thanks to Roy Lacey, Paul and Scott Hughes for their management of the control. Sugar Loaf was a simple passage control, stuck in the middle of nowhere, ably manned by Nigel Abdullah and Nigel Molineux. What a place, no artificial light apart from a couple of yellow building site lights running off a genny, a spooky place to be in the middle of the night! I absolutely loved this stop, well worth the trip to Wales last year when we recce'd the Welsh route.

CT's Vice President, Malcolm Warren ran a great control at Bude, having tea on a nice lawn was extremely civilised. Then onto Dartmoor to Badgers Holt, again a superb venue, great to see all the entrants mixing it with walkers and canoeists. Pimperne was as good as ever, the WI vibe being a nice antidote to the rush and frenzy of the RBRR.

It was sad news that we experienced a couple of prangs amongst the entered cars, Steve Needham's Dolly has been written off, however Pat Barber's GT6 is to be re-built. The owner of Haggerty Insurance is going to restore her-great news. It was on their stand at the NEC Classic Car Show, and did look very sad, I cannot wait to see the car when it is finished.
I was also downhearted that both Ellis Stokes in the 'Bus' and Dale Barker in his lovely Herald both retired, however Ellis re-joined at Lancaster in his TR7 Sprint-dedication!

As the RBRR buck does stop with me, I must admit I find the build up to the event a bit worrying, so many factors that can go wrong making the last week a bit busy! If I was being honest I would say that before this one, I was thinking that the RBRR was starting to lose abit of its attraction, can't say that now, its bloody top!

Since the RBRR, the GT6 has lived in her garage and is awaiting the prop/gearbox work. I hope to take her out for my traditional solitary Xmas day early morning drive! Now approaching my 27th year of ownership, I see no reason why the next 27 will not be as good, it will have to go some to be better!

2.5Pi mk1

I have not used her for sometime. I must get an MOT on to her, I have a two week break this Xmas, so this will be attempted then. I have a few jobs to do, the first one being the fitment of a HUCO fuel pump. I have been running one of these on the GT6 and I am very impressed. However I have been browbeaten into thinking that now is the time to fit the Pi gear, so that must happen during 2011.

I have entered the 2011 10CR and would like to get the PI system on her for that event, this will mean that I must carry this out in April/May. Despite certain peoples thoughts, I will use a Bosch fuel pump, I want to drive the car, not spend time sitting on the side of the road!

Luckily enough Dave Kent has again agreed to do the 10CR with me. We had a good time during the event in 2009 despite a dodgy dizzy, Dave is a dogged type of bloke who will not be beaten by car issues, we must have stopped 10 times on that event, but his spirit did not drop, however I suspect the thought of Dutch lagers on the last night at Rolduc were the incentive?

Ellis and his team have revised the route again and we will be spending more time in the French/Italian/Swiss Alps this time, a fantastic idea, just hope the PI system will be able to cope with altitude changes!

Herald Coupe
The engine is back, however owing to the purchase of a mk2 Spitfire yesterday I will now be sticking this engine into that car. I have therefore decided to sell the Herald, the car has not deterioated too much since I bought her, in fact I have improved her. I have a few jobs to do, these being: Connect the propshaft, fit some calipers and discs to the front, rebuild the rear brakes and fit an exhaust to the car. Not to onerous eh! I will then get a 'ticket' for the car and offer her for sale, hoping that a CT member buys the car. Shame to sell the car, but I am now on a Autosolo mission and the Herald will not be competitive to keep up with a certain father and son team!

Dolomite Sprint
Again, this car will now be sold, if interested give me a call.

Spitfire mk2
Bought this little car yesterday from Dave Picton, driven 50 miles in her on the crowded M25 and must report no issues, the car being exactly as Dave stated. I will change the tyres though, the only comment I can make about the present items is DIRE! I went around one roundabout and had a momentary sideways experience-nice! I will fit the 5.5 solid steels I have, these have Yokos on them so will offer some grip!
Jobs to do to the car before April:
Fit 1300 engine and box
Change shockers for the AVO units sitting in the shed.
Fit 480lb front springs.
Fit tubular top wishbones that were going to be fitted to the GT6, and dial in some negative camber.
Fit alloy Hi Spec calipers that are in the shed.
Buy and fit Canley ball joint vertical links.
Buy and fit steel hardtop: Already in hand.
Source a full roll cage.
Fit oil pressure gauge(After the fitment of the 1300 engine-the present engine is a stroked 1500, ignorance is bliss).
Fit oil cooler kit.
Sort out sticky throttle, it is difficult to drive the car smoothly at present. A smooth throttle is essential for quick progress on 'Tests'.

Buying this car is a nice way to end my 2010 motoring exploits, and as always I have had a great year. This is simply down to being in the best Triumph Club in the UK, my friends in the Club make the taking part in events a real blast.

The best moments were the whole RBRR experience, coming third overall and 1st in Class B in the CT Autosolo, winning the HCR Test using a Saloon whilst being encouraged by CT charger Doug Foreman (Cheers buddy) and the 1.5 days spent in Scotland on the International Auto Ecosse (My team of Martin Randle, the car and me were doing well in the tests until the bearing failure-a good co-driver is Martin). The funniest moments were listening to Doug doing his 'spot on' Welsh impersonation whilst on the HCR in Wales, bloody funny. It's great that Doug is now getting back to his old self following his terrible accident at the beginning of 2009.
The worst bit being the 13 hour relay trip back from that event following wheel bearing failure near Faslane-what a bummer!

Next year's events cannot come quick enough!

Anyone reading this Blog who is thinking about buying a Triumph, get your wallet out, spend some money, join CT and get out there amongst it.
I guarantee that you will join up with a group of people who are some of the best, very few CT members seem to be typical of old car enthusiasts, they just seem to be up for some fun using old cars.
Maybe Mr Cameron and his 'Happiness' survey should talk to some CT people!

posted by Tim Bancroft 28th November 2010 02:17am gmt

June mumblings

The following is the same as the Triumph Torque words that were printed within Club Torque for the July issue-better than nothing I suppose.

2.5Pi mk1:
Only one recent outing for the saloon, that being the HCR that I took part in with Doug Foreman as co-driver. Got to say I had a ball on this event, Doug being first class company. Doug is as mad as a bucket of frogs, whilst in Wales he spent the whole time talking to me mimicking a Welsh accent, whilst in Yorkshire a Yorkshire accent etc. The car took the mileages involved in its stride and we even won the test that was set up at Kelbrook, not bad considering we were the largest car! What joy to beat Mr Helm!
The car is suffering from a misfire at present, I will have a look at the ignition system to attempt to sus out the problem, of course having a 123 dizzy makes this a bit more intriguing! The car is not getting used much at present, in fact I am not sure when I will next drive her.

Herald Coupe:
Crikey, I have got the engine back, so now have to fit the head to it, source some push rods and start to think about fitting the lump into the Herald. The specification of the engine is not too extreme, it features a 9.75:1 compression ratio, a 35/75/75/35 camshaft, 1.475’’ inlet valves and 1.3’’ exhaust valves. Fuelling is by a set of HS4 carbs and exhaust by a 4>2>1 manifold into a Vitesse exhaust system. I am hoping for 85bhp? The gearbox is a normal Herald box that has a J type overdrive fitted, this coupled with a 3.89:1 differential should make for approx 19mph/1000 rpm in overdrive top. Braking will be standard at the back with a set of hi Spec alloy callipers on GT6 discs on the front. Suspension at the rear being a swing spring set, upfront having 1 degree of negative front camber attained by the use of shims and 330lb springs, both ends controlled by AVO shock absorbers. Following my experiences using 440lb front springs on the GT6, I may step up to those at some point. The trouble with a Herald being that it’s a fairly flexible car, therefore not a lot of point attempting to make it too stiff as the chassis and body will flex.
A bit of a push over the summer and maybe I will have her on the road in the autumn, hopefully after the RBRR.

GT6 mk2:
Had a busy time with her recently, took her to Silverstone for the 2010 Bocardo Autosolo run by Oxford MC, as usual I was beaten in the Historic Class by Mike and Matthew Helm in Mike’s sorted Spitfire 1500. This is starting to get silly, I can never get to the times of Mike, always about a second away! I hope to get my revenge in the forthcoming CT Autosolo.
Back at the beginning of the month I took the car up to Scotland for the International AutoEcoose, an event that replaced the La Carrera Caledonia. Luckily Martin Randle agreed to navigate for me. This event was great fun as it featured some driving tests and at the end of the first day were second to Mike and Gillian Helm (This Helm fellow is a pain in the rear), with Andy and Lisa Martin equal second. During some of the road sections I could feel a problem with the bearing and did indeed pull over and check the nearside unit just after the start, all seemed fine. However at the start of the second day, I was getting massive vibration under steering and braking. I pulled into a lay-by overlooking Faslane and under the audience of Dave Pearson, Jason Chinn, Dave Langrick, Andy and Lisa Martin pulled the front NS hub off the stub axle to find a totally shot bearing. The bearing that was badly pitted with evidence if the rollers breaking down was cleaned off with petrol and was re-packed with grease and we got on our way, however it felt worse than ever. At Arrochar Martin and I decided that he would be transported in Jason Chinn’s 2.5pi to meet up with Paul Darbyshire who was doing the event on his own and I would attempt to limp the car home, 440 miles being a big ask. I got as far as Loch Lomond but owing to the car now exhibiting dangerous braking I decided it was time to through the towel in and get her recovered home. Luckily as part of my car insurance I have AA recovery, after 4 different relay trucks and 14 hours I arrived back home. This journey was totally surreal, I experienced 4 different accents from the AA drivers: Scottish, Liverpudlian, Brummie and Mexican (Weird orwhat-the guy did not talk to me, in fact the mutha woke me up at some point playing 'Girls Aloud' music-jeez,the longest moments of my life-I mean the guy was supposed to be an adult yet seemed to enjoy trivial shite music-awful experience). After prompt service from Canley Classics with the supply of a new bearing kit and 30mins with the spanners, the car was as right as rain-moral of the story-keep a spare bearing with you!!!!! Massive thanks must be expressed to Martin for his help and patience!
The following Monday it was off to Castle Combe for a MGoT Track Day, and for the time I was there I had a ball, the little car driving very well and for a fairly conventional example seemed to be quite nippy. I enjoyed a great session chasing after Bruce Sellers and his mega jolted GT6 convertible and after a bit of time I was able to pull past and away from him. I must admit I was having to drive the car like I have never done before (After 27 years ownership!), real tail out stuff, but I must say that I do find the handling to be pretty good for a car with such a weight up front. These cars do not have the most communicative of chassis, but using well known suspension tuning practices can handle fairly well. All this fast driving put a strain on the already fragile gearbox, coming into the pits I could hear lots of bad noises emanating from the ‘box in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, meaning to my untrained ear layshaft problems. I then decided to get her home, realising that 4th gear would be fine, I had this fear of AA relay trucks! Therefore the next night was spent taking the gearbox out of the car and I took her up to Canleys a day or so later, Dave will strip the ‘box down and repair her. Got to say I am not that fussed about this, I always think of the transmission of these cars as being disposable and it must be 3 years since I last had the gearbox repaired! I reckon on being able to take a ‘box out of the GT6 in 1.5hrs, I must be slowing down as it took me 2hrs, it’s a terrible thing getting old! Back in 2003 before the inaugural 10CR I took the gearbox out of the car 3 times and got very practiced in the art, like the car I am getting rusty!
Bit disappointed about all this, but I must say the car is a terrific little thing, she still looks ok and drives and goes well. Next up is the Club Triumph Historic Autosolo, should be a fascinating day, up against all the usual Triumph Autosolo experts. I am really looking forward to seeing how the car compares to Katie Foreman’s similar example and the TRs that will be present.

After that it will be the RBRR, the 6th time I have entered the event using this car, I am dead proud of the fact that no other GT6 has done more RBRR’s.

posted by Tim Bancroft 23rd July 2010 3:14pm gmt

Blimey, a part of a TR7 that is useful!!!!

Talking with Keith Dandridge last week at the MGoT Silverstone TD, he told about his latest modification to his splendid GT6.

He has bought a TR7 circular water plastic expansion bottle that is fitted with a radiator cap. This bottle has an inlet towards the bottom of its body that is connected to the radiator overflow tube underneath the rad. filler neck, he has used fuel pipe and attached the pipe using fuel pipes clips, this pipe will be pressurised hence the need for secure fittings. All one then does is fit the old rad cap to the top of the expansion tank, the old overflow pipe to the overflow outlet on the rad cap fitting and a rocker cover oil filler cap onto the radiator. The joy of this is as it sealed water should be siphoned back and forward as Triumph originally wanted, but never happens as the old overflow bottle never seals correctly.

Keith tells me it does work and increases the amount of coolant available. Robsport sell secondhand bottles at a tenner, so the total cost of the mod should be £20ish including pipe and fittings. I have ordered 2 bottles and will be doing this to the GT6 and the saloon. The price of new bottles is £40 or so, obviously cheaper to go for secondhand items. Only snag with this is that a bit of TR7 will be fitted to the car!!!!!

Thanks, Mr Dandridge!

posted by Tim Bancroft 02nd April 2010 01:55am gmt

Views expressed here are personal are not necessarily endorsed by Club Triumph

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