Friday, 17 July 2015

Barcelona - initial thoughts

Attending a conference for work in Barcelona later in the year, so seriously thinking about driving down in the Zero.

The schedule will be something like: 3 days south, 3 days at the conference, 2.5 days north.

The Route through France pretty much decided, still thinking about the Pyrenees...
I'll probably work out some towns as waypoints and wing it in between.

And of course - a trip badge is a must have!

Pre trip to do list:

  1. Learn basic Spanish :)
  2. New more robust half hood
  3. Adjust headphone circuit
  4. Get tracking laser aligned
  5. ...

Friday, 3 July 2015

Passenger Foot Rest

Long runs, passenger side, while the seat is comfy you cant touch the end of the footwell and brace your feet against anything.

Modded an off the shelf rally co-driver foot rest to fit using a cardboard template for the floor space, to measure foot position, and another to work out the cutouts to miss footweel chassis tubes. A strip of velcro under the bottom front edge fastens it to the floor carpet and will leave it removable to adjust if need be.

Tidy, wife happy, job done.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Silencer bracket - padding

Since the build I had used exhaust wrap around the tailpipe to cushion it & the silencer against the rear bracket.
I have stock GBS silencer with Cat and the bracketry.

Heat wrap generally lasted about 500 miles or so before looking like the left of this picture - its not so much heat damage as the silencer needing to move and wearing through it.

I selected two materials for an oven test to gas mark 8/220Âșc (while my wife was out :) ). Rubber windscreen surround & an off-cut of silicone cooling system pipe.

The windscreen rubber bubbled and perished within about 30 seconds, the silicone pipe didn't seem to mind at all even after 5-10 minutes and maintained its rubber properties; some question over its abrasion proof properties though.

After some chat online, Paul recommended using an off-cut of fuel pipe.
I tried this for the run out to Castle Combe this weekend, approx. 300 miles round trip of mixed driving.

Looks like a contender, the picture is after 300 miles - mostly abrasion marks either side and some evidence of heat getting to it - but still in good condition - certainly better than using exhaust wrap; so this stays on until I find something better.

I just cut the length to sit over the bracket itself, over the top is the normal spring clip.

Update - Added a short length of exhaust wrap over the top, under the spring too, just stops excessive rattle when driving.

Castle Combe - Classic, Kit & Retro

Castle Combe was an excuse for a run out really, something to wander round at the far end and then a good starting point for some proper A road driving back again...


Run out was the 'get you there route' motorways and Friday evening traffic jams; But found a good pub in The Crown at Yatton Keynall, with slightly eccentric but friendly ways, for an overnight stop.

Castle Combe

Bob had already setup the day before, tea on tap too! 
Not a bad showing of 7 style kits; We weren't exactly in the centre of the display area, but none the less on a through route from one carpark, so a reasonable amount of passing visitors and interest.

My wife's head turned by a brand new Cobra replica, very impressive paintwork and finish:

Pictures look a little gloomy, but overall the weather was very hot, rain limited to literally a few drops around mid morning/lunchtime; and plenty of mad men in motors on the track: The old ford escorts (proper modern classics) were giving it some around the final corner; + this viewpoint you could see around half the entire circuit.

Watching was enough for me, your mixture on the track of those who knew what they were doing - smooth driving, less tyre squeal, and those either learning or just out for a laugh decidedly sideways around this fast corner, and/or nearly losing it trying to overtake on the inside...

There's the Cobra again, lovely grumbly low note engine...

Spied a few Lotus examples...


Left around lunchtime, stopped at the recommended Bell Inn in round the corner. Fantastic pub, huge food portions!

For some reason they had a Snow Trak in the yard? Owner said it was for sale too - but you wonder how many snowdrifts there are in this part of the world... ;)

Presumably its just as good put to use as a tractor on soft ground.

Meandered past StoneHenge, Winchester and towards my parents house in Surrey. The trick with satnav is give it the next waypoint then ask it for an alternative route - tends to stop it selecting the main roads; some great A roads across Salisbury plain.

Short sleeves weather all the way back!

Day before the Summer solstice; passed some nice looking bohemian/hippy hitch hikers part way presumably on their way to Stone Henge; no spare seats in the Zero so had to wave and pass them by.

Dropped in at my parents to break the journey and then the last leg from Chelsham to Maidstone very wet: stair rods wet. The second time only for the roof up on the car - we still go soaked and more than a few times the car felt a little squirrelly on the road.

A reminder to re-work the half hood; its not used much, but when it is it should work a little better.

Good weekends run out!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Tyre rotation & Castle Combe Prep


Seems tyre rotation is frowned upon nowadays, however; with the Zero I want all four to wear out roughly at the same time, so when I change them I can put a different make on as a set. 

Front are lowest tread on the inside edge; perhaps too much camber - My plan is to have the geometry set professionally when I change the tyres.

8.4k miles in I'm doing a standard Rear Wheel Drive rotation pattern.

Castle Combe next weekend

Excuse to give her a wash and repair the windscreen chip at the same time.

All set for Castle Combe Classic Kit and Retro Show next weekend - if nothing else a drive west rather than north: weekend away to meet up with some RhoCar members and, if the weather plays ball, a nice meander back.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

New 2.4 Quick Steering Rack

Steering rack upgrade; Intended to avoid me getting 'behind the car' on those fast/speed change corners which tighten mid way. The new rack is a 2.4 replacing the old 2.9.

At the same time I'm upgrading the mounts to billet alloy:

First trick, I didn't want to take the radiator out unless I had to and drain/refill the cooling system. The rack cannot be extracted or installed from the side - it doesn't fit through the panel openings - so instead a convoluted route, threaded down the side of the engine and then up and out at the front, new one went back in the same way:

New (foreground) and old, identical external appearance:

It could have been a simple bolt in job, but changing the mounts also meant some adjustment of mounting holes on the nearside chassis bracket - again not easy due to leaving the radiator in place - but the results are tidy:

The bonus - steering wheel now straight, I actually checked it while setting up the wheel alignment:

Excuse for a test run this evening around 70 miles towards Faversham, via some great country lanes near Norton and back along the A2; the 2.4 rack does make manoeuvring, especially reversing, a little heaver. At medium speed not a huge difference, but when accelerating or driving at speed the slightest nudge on the wheel has a dramatic impact - like it!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Tyre wear, wheel arch adjustment

Noted in Scotland, My rear tyres were sometimes wearing against the rear wheel arch; especially when the care was fully laden: driver, passenger & luggage.

I had softened the shocks to 10 clicks which gave the rear end a little more bounce; The red circled area on the tyre is worn - but only the surface detail - it is hitting against the inside edge marked green when the suspension is on full compression.

15 minutes with the dremel, I took the wheel arch return edge back about 5mm on both sides, from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock position & hardened up the rear shocks to +7 clicks in total. Combined this should mean the tyre just misses the arch - hopefully problem solved & invisible unless you crawl around on the ground and look for it:

Good excuse for a 50 mile test run around Kent; Maidstone, Bewl Water, Bedgebury and the scenic route back...

Monday, 4 May 2015


Weather looks promising, so opportunity for a run up to the Stoneleigh National Kit Car Motor Show near Warwick today.

Sunday was wet, but today, while cloudy had some bright warm spots too, perfect for a mooch around the stands and club cars & a hog roast sandwich for lunch!

RhoCar stand well attended & met up with some friends from the Scotland road trips as well as a few builders and blog readers.

...My motor still presentable after 8,000 miles and 2 years on the road:

Perhaps the next one? - Lotus Elite (I think) hiding discretely in a corner; or perhaps classic Lotus should only be appreciated from a distance and let others run the expense of keeping them on the road. Pretty Car...

My daydreaming about Lotus ownership shattered by Andy, flown down from Scotland with Stuart, trying to nick my ice-cream and startling the h*ll out of me! :)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

7 Days in Spring

RhoCar Scotland Tour 17th - 23rd April 2015

This years Scotland run trumps the already high bar set by 2014 with similar routes and some of the same drivers.

We enjoyed some stunning new drives through the Dales & Lakes, towards and on Skye, a longer run across the top from Applecross to Inverness & this time bright weather on the southward run through the Cairngorms to Dunfermline.

Great fun; great roads and great company/attitudes from the participants.
Hats off to the route planning - Keith & Andy

The car behaved impeccably & very comfortable; if a little blustery!

The trip badge reads Mallaig - which never actually happened/read Glenelg instead - the route changed here and there depending on time available and the group driving. The bottom line though was the best part of a thousand miles open top driving through some of the most awesome country and roads in the UK.

Blog entries
  Friday 17th Here we go, Goodbye to Kent
  Saturday 18th Heading north: M1 J29a to Helensburgh.html
  Sunday 19th Helensburgh to Skye: Glencoe and the ferry


Skye to Inverness 1: Skye
Skye to Inverness 2: Applecross and a breakdown
  Tuesday 21st Inverness to Dunfermline: Sunny Ski Resorts and Whisky
  Wednesday 22nd Heading south: Dunfermline to Boroughbridge
  Thursday 23rd Homeward to Maidstone

Cars - full run
  MK - Keith
  Robin Hoods - Derek, John, Simon, Stuart
  Sylva Riot  - Callum
  Roadrunner SR2 - Terry
  SSC Stylus - Dan
  GBS Zeros - Andy, Andrew, David, Paul, Me

Cars - met for part runs
  Tiger - ? @ Broadford
  Porsche - Andy's mates with deep pockets :)
  Ferrari - ?
  Robin Hoods - Alantoon & ? @ Keswick
  Zero - ZeroKnowledge
  Blue Seven - ? Waved to us heading north on the last day

Map milage:
  Fri    186  (To the start)
  Sat    351
  Sun   205
  Mon  Skye loop 121, Mainland 201
  Tue   220
  Wed  280
  Thur 173 (Finish to home)

Above are map miles; 1,833+- miles on the clock in 7 days

The trick with the chain hotels being to book when they lower prices 2-3 months before.
  Mansfield Premier Inn
  Travelodge Seafront Broadford
  Dunollie Broadford
  Inverness East Premier Inn
  Dunfermline Premier Inn
  Retford Travelodge

Fuel Stops
Order of the day is to top up when fuel is available, not wait for an empty tank.
  Newport Pagnell
  Fort william
  Broadford 1
  Broadford 2

Drinks of choice
  Cider (evening only)
  Orange Juice and lemonade (lunch stops)
  Tea/Coffee - Caffeine hits

Essential Kit
  Eye protection
  Motorcyclist neck warmer
  Windproof Fleece
  Thermal leggings
  Narrow shoes
  Sun tan lotion

Running repairs & issues (roughly in order occurred)
  David - start button circuit
  Dan - oil leak, timing, brake bleeding, 3 cylinders (on run home)
  Keith - overheating head/water rail union issues
  Andy - offside rear tyre puncture
  Terry - cylinder #1 big end - car retired at Torridon
  Me - cracked windscreen, car camera stopped working
  Simon - front mudguard shaken loose
  Stuart - 3 cylinders (on run home)

The Drivers:
Left to right: John, Callum, David, Andy, Paul, Derek, Andrew, Stuart, Dan, Me, Simon
(where are Keith & Terry? can't be far their cars are there...)

Everyone who started made it to the end!
Frayed nerves at times, but hopefully mostly just good memories from exhilarating drives...

What an incredible way to spend 7 days.

Its ALWAYS sunny [sic] in Scotland -  head north!

Addendum... of course - other weather patterns are available - turns out today, 5-6 days after we were there, The Quiraing looks like this:

(Some pictures courtesy other members of the trip)

Update - All embedded maps now images with links to Google mapping to help with page sizes & site performance

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Homeward to Maidstone

Thursday, The final leg

David is heading south west to Gloucester, and me south to Kent. 
We setoff reasonably early, but timed to miss the rush hour.

The road is now familiar, A1, M11 - from the journey north a week ago, trips to GBS and Kit Car Shows.

Helmet on now to make the miles,

Its strangely quiet, 

No more jostling for position in the convoy, 

No spectacular views, hairpins or rollercoaster roads,

A couple of times I looked in the mirrors and expected to see one or more little Seven style cars but they're all gone now; 

Just the road ahead...      an emotional drive.

I cross the Queen Elizabeth bridge around 16:30 and home not long after...  

Roughly 1,833 miles travelled - the car still in one piece, a great trip with a great group of people.

All done for another year.

Its so quiet... no engine noise, the ringing in my ears fading, no one home: kids are at school, Wife at work. Peace. Time for a long soak in the bath.