Featured Post


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Not a Good Day

I've been in a funk most of the day. It started out good, with exciting plans, as some weekend days do. But, it went downhill rather quickly.

Today was the day for the British Wheels on the Green car show. This show is hosted by the Jaguar Club of Southern New England. If you remember the blog post from last year, it was the first British car show that I had been to and fueled my restoration fire about a month after purchasing my Spitfire.

Today, I got there early (around 10:15am) after dropping the oldest off at basketball camp. Not long after I arrived, the wife called to inform me that the family truckster would not start. Mind you, this is the Honda Odyssey that has graced these pages a few times before (headlights and rear disc brakes). Last week, I had a local shop replace the serpentine belt, the alternator (shot bearings) and battery. That was about $500. Not horrible, but I didn't want to, nor was I confident, in doing the job myself. This car is just over 100K and we are fighting over buying a newer car, or putting a couple of grand into this one for milestone maintenance (timing belt, water pump, etc) and trying for another 100K. Regardless, after the work done, I would expect the car to start especially since it not starting was the reason for bringing it in in the first place.

Since I was early to the show (it started at 10am), I made a bee-line for Ikea about 25 minutes away to get a new desk chair and was back to the show by noon. The car population hadn't really improved all that much and I was disappointed (again, too high expectations).

The car show was ok, but not as good as last year. While there were still several fine examples of Jags (being a Jag show and all) the "other" British cars were not as well represented. Two squaretail Spitfires and a GT6 and two TR6s were the only Triumphs that I saw. Oh, and a Herald, which was nice to see since I hadn't seen one in person before...left hand drive, even. Otherwise, some nice MGAs, a really nice Jag XK150 and the "usual" smattering of E-Types.

The dash of the nice MGA. Lots of orange peel...but who am I to judge?!
XK150. Picture doesn't do it justice.

Nice looking car!
That was about it for the show. I walked around and took some pictures and had a slice of pizza and a Coke from a local vendor but left by about 12:30 to voyage back home to do some work on the car before a dinner party at a friends house.

By the time I got back from the car show, a neighbor had charged the truckster's battery (it was at "75%" according to whatever charger he used) and the car was starting fine. Some basic troubleshooting told me that I have a good ground and no stray amps going where they shouldn't...???

For the Spitfire, my goal for today was to swap out the fuel tank and route a new fuel line borrowed from the '64. The new tank went in fine and lined up nicely with the fuel filler cap (unlike the "old" one). While I was under the car trying to route the fuel line that ended up being too short, I decided to dig around with a flathead screwdriver a bit. Probably should have done this before I bought the car, I guess, but I'm all in, now. The passenger's outrigger I knew was shot. The driver's, however, I did not know was also shot as bad as it was. The driver's sill is also in bad shape and I will assume the passenger's as well, though I didn't poke around. Of course, I should have expected this given the cancer that is obvious from the inside of the car...but today it was in my face and made me afraid that I wasn't up to the task...both financially and skill-level.

Remnants of digging around in driver's outrigger.

Digging done, though not complete. The bottom pipe is the too-short fuel line. Pic doesn't show cancer in the frame.

Bondo heaven. Those white marks in the upper center are Bondo as well. There was a pile of on the floor after this, too.
While all of this was a blow, I'll be damned if I'm defeated. After 23+ years of naval service, I am happy to be able to re-kindle the excitement of my youth in fixing up old cars. The more British, the better. This car is a fine example of automotive engineering that has all but disappeared from the landscape. My trips to large, British car shows only convinces me that the older Spitfire examples are growing more rare all the time. Even if I have to "store" the car for a few more years, I'll do it.

Still, a rough day. Like all of the other surprises, however, I'll come through this as well. Just may take a bit more creative thinking and creative storage solutions.


  1. Cheer up buddy. It's not that bad, really. Good thing you found it now.
    You can replace the outriggers with tub in place. Idea method, too. Although, they are about 80 bucks a pop. (I built my own-Honestly that was more fun than getting a package in the mail :) )
    But, in installing mine I didn't quite get my jig built correct and the captive nuts that the firewall mount to on the engine side are both off by maybe 1/4". It's not the end of the world, but lesson learned is replace them with the tub on the chassis so you know everything lines up.

    That said, I don't think the fuel line is short. AFAIK, it doesn't route through the outrigger, instead come up between the tub and the outrigger against the chassis, through that little open space the three make.

  2. Yes, I think you had mentioned to me before about replacing them with the tub in-place. I have a pair that Vic sent me when I first bought the car that are in very good shape and will replace nicely. I'll see what I can come up with.
    I'll take another look at the fuel line. Hard to find accurate pictures of that area.