Early start yesterday morning, the car had been put on the trailer the night before and all that remained was to load up the tools , fuel ,water and other sundry bit and bobs and hit the road.Mangalore is about 60 miles north of Melbourne and it's freeway all the way , I picked up the Colonel and we were on the way...some of you will be pleased to note that we played Dwight Yoakam's "Guitars , Cadillacs" most of the way there....
On a trailer for the first time
We had a few friends and family who rolled up to watch , mostly I think they were there to confirm their own suspicions .......camera's abounded , my 80 year old mum was there telling all who'd listen stories about me as a kid and monitoring the "coarse talk". The Reverend's name is "Dik" , my mother steadfastly refuses to call him that , she calls him Richard..
There were about eight other cars there when we arrived as well as three bikes , the factory blown Vincent from Adelaide owned by the Penn's and Greg Watters with an R1 he just picked up still with grind marks on the tailpipe and lights from being flipped , Greg did a couple of runs around 250km/h(~158mph) .Spook had his Trumper there but wasn't entirely happy with the tune he had going and didn't get to wring it's neck but gee it looked a treat.Rod and Carol Hadfield were there with his new HAMBster
,Brian Nicholson and the Moe boys, David Partridge with his indescribably violent sounding RX7 which I have renamed ( unofficially) as "Swearing Around Children" because no-one wants to hear it.
Max Ellery was there with his Commodore he got in some runs around 120mph and was happy with what he's done with the car, there was a new streamliner sans bodywork with a Toyota twin cam 1600 that got a lot of attention owned by a Graeme who's surname I missed and a couple of cars with number plates on 'em.Graeme's streamliner was a little "wanting" in the electrical department , our Colonel , who's a Graham himself felt a kinship bond and got it sorted out , he's a genius. Sadly Norm Bradshaw who organised the booking of the airport and has run an early Mustang with a 499 that's gone about 210 til recently couldn't get his new car there due to engine management issues and a near disastrous fire the night before .Norm's new car is a late model Falcon dressed up as a taxi with a big block Ford and a turbo "big enough to put your head in " , still Norm had a good day and his booking didn't go to waste and I think the hat that got passed around covered him.
We got the tank off the trailer pretty quickly
and put some juice in it , made a few checks and fired it up ...it sounded a bit rough and then started shutting down, fuel?? I changed the fuel filter as the tank is new and it had had a crumby one in it previously...turns out the MAP sensor wasn't properly plugged in...try again ,still a bit rough, oops , two leads were mixed up!!!!!
, try again ...r,r,r,r,r...poop, is the battery flat? huh? we pull up PJQ's car next to it and get the jumpers out...this is embarrassing. The alternator is either dead or we've got a wiring problem...it takes the Colonel about three minutes to work out that there's a broken wire....it's sorted......now it starts , now it sounds good....we pushed it back to the start of the taxi-way that we're parked on
( on the way it runs over my foot and wrenches my hip....no-one noticed. ) and I jump in and give it a little test , it REALLY goes!!!!!....
roll it back and another little test. Right! , it's on. I get the suit on and we get ready , Greg Watters goes down and checks with the guys at the end of the taxi-way , we're on. I get it down there and start struggling with the gear shift , if you bend your wrist inwards and hold it up near the right side of your chest where it feels like it has no strength then it is where our gear stick is.....grind , screech , grind , clunk... my leg is already tired.......a hand signal and I turn left out onto the runway .Rod Hadfield had said " just take your time and have a few looks at it all and find the rough bits before you get into it"....I'm in third and I can't tell where I am on the track ...I can't see the line , I can't even tell the grass from the rougher tarmac at the edge ...F#%&* it I think and give it some throttle ...it takes off ...ahh ,there's the line over there , man it's rough but the car is great , it wants to go straight , and fast .I see some cones and get on the brakes , well at least that's what they're called...I manage to get it back into second and get off the clutch and put all my strength into the brake pedal ...it slows enough to be able to swing around the cones ...I'm ah kind of excited at this point and have a little trouble getting my s#%* together ....off again this time I get it into fourth as I go past the end of the taxiway though I'm probably around 2000rpm , it's just chugging , apparently the radar trap that has been set up registers 119km/h( about 70) I turn at the other end and two things hit me ...I can barely breathe as the fumes are so strong in the cab and my legs are nearly shot from being tense and trying to work the pedals........I overshoot the turn off and pull up and pop the canopy.
Back at the pit we work out the fume problem and cut a little "smile" vent in the nose to pressurize the cab ,further work will need to be done to seal the body against the frame.The gear shift will need to be sweeter and there will need to be changes to the geometry and hydraulic ratios of the brakes and clutch.....but apart from that IT'S FANTASTIC.......
The Rev suits up.
After noticing that the cable mount of the gearshift looks fatigued( turns out I tacked it in position when I was setting it up and never ever went back, oops)we decide to get him to run in third only.......he does six passes and returns completely buzzed . I got back in and gave it a bit of curry , I'm too far over for the speed trap to register but I'm in fourth and well over three grand the runway has several really sharp bumps that are jarring ... I overshoot at the end despite turning it off and getting both feet on the brake pedal, when I finally do swing it around I flick the switch and it blasts off again , I might get to like this .when I get back in the temp gauge reads 200 , when we take the cowl off we realize she's thrown the belt.....we deal with that and send the Reverend out for another run, he canes it and comes back with a grin from ear to ear ....we were both thrilled.
Apart from a water leak from a dodgily installed sender( me) a gearbox oil leak ( a breather will help) and the fume problem it went astoundingly well.