About a week ago, the sun came out. Not just a bit of sun; a whole week of glorious, sweltering goodness. This unprecedented and confusing event sapped my enthusiasm for poking around under the old Rover, and so instead, I turned my attentions to its open-topped stable-mate – Kermit, a very green TVR Chimaera.
The TVR had spent most of April burbling around France, and true to 80breakdowns form, its brake master cylinder had been slowly failing as that trip had gone on. Since its return to the UK, it had been sat with virtually no brakes, patiently waiting for me to fix it. The sunny weather provided the impetus for me to get stuck in and complete this notoriously fiddly job.
In their wisdom TVR located the brake master cylinder inside one of the front wings, with only the smallest of hatches through which to access it. This means that to change it, you have to squirm into the driver’s footwell, unbolt the framework which the pedals – and the master cylinder – are attached to, disconnect the brake and clutch lines, shuffle it forward, then spend several frustrating hours poking around through the minute access hatch unbolting the old cylinder and fitting the new one. On completing this soul-sapping task, your reward is to spend another hour wedged lying in the drivers footwell, reconnecting the brake lines and bolting everything back together, before bleeding the brakes and clutch, ready for the road.
I now fully understand why changing the brake master cylinder is such a notorious job in TVR circles!
All the work was well worth it, however, as on Thursday, a road trip to Wales beckoned. A five-hour, roof down burble from Dartmoor to Pembrokeshire topped up my tan and was followed by four days of glorious weather, great company and an excessive number of BBQs. The TVR completed the 500 mile round trip without a hiccup, roof down all the way, and even made a rare visit to my work on the return journey, popping into both Newport and Bristol docks, and looking slightly out of place amid the heavy engineering:
And so, with less than two weeks to go before we leave for Morocco, thoughts return to the Rover. It’s not been completely neglected; the roof-tent platform has been finished and weatherproofed, and is now waiting to be fitted to the car, and we’ve cut out some rust we found on the sills and welded it up, so it’s now possible to actually jack the car up. Also, while the welder was out, my Morocco-partner-in-crime Ross decided it was extremely important that the exhaust’s first silencer was removed, so he did just that, cutting it out and replacing it with a straight-through pipe. The car now sounds like a beefy V8 should, burbling away grouchily, and growling with every prod of the accelerator. This week, we should be getting stuck into some more essential jobs on the car, as our departure is now only 12 days away.
Here’s a photo of the current exhaust setup; the repaired sill is the waxoiled area to the left of the photo.
And finally – a few bits of news about other road trips. Firstly, you may have noticed a countdown on the blog to ‘V8Nam – England to Vietnam with a V8’, claiming we’re leaving in August. This is now a lie, as for a variety of reasons, including job changes, snapped ACL ligaments and Chinese breaurocracy, we’ve had to knock the trip back to April next year.
On a more positive note, I can now officially say that ‘Survival of the Quickest’, the unoutdownable book about the African Porsche expedition, will be available on Kindle from mid-July, and as a paperback from the end of August. Exciting times!