Drive it Day Disappointments

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rover216GSIman
Club Member
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:55 pm
Location: Kent

Drive it Day Disappointments

Post by rover216GSIman »

As the old adage goes, if things can go wrong, they will! And so with that it was on Drive it Day 2022. For a start I had made a meal of it before the sun had even risen. I’d accidentally double-booked the day, with a classic car meet in Headcorn in the morning followed by another classic car show at Chiddingstone Castle. While both being about an hour away logistically it shouldn’t have been too challenging getting from one to the other.

And, It would be safe to say that I’d been looking forward to Drive it Day for some time. I first spotted the event in the Classic Car Weekly paper last year in April 2021. After reading about the events occurring all over the country, it was what spurred me into action of actually buying a classic instead of reading about them. This came in the form of a lovely Tahiti Blue MGB GT which I paid the good sum of £2000. That was August 2021, and so since then quite a lot has changed.

Fast forward to Drive it Day 2022, and I unfortunately no longer own my blue BL sports car - yes I still had the 216GSI but after taking it to POL the day before and with the sun being out I'd decided it was time for my MX5 to be taken out. It had been given a good polish just days before, along with a new clutch master cylinder and a steep 20 litres of Tesco’s E5 Momentum I was ready to head over to the first show of the day down in Headcorn - an Aerodrome in Kent.

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The sun was shining, without a cloud in the sky, I lowered the roof and along with my dad in his Fiat Barchetta we convoyed down together The MX5 felt lively and the journey (despite us both running late due to a sandwich pit-stop) was very pleasant. Twisty windy A and B roads are what the MX5 was made for, and it is here where you come to appreciate the sharp handling and sprightly acceleration – something which I will be keen to compare in the Fiat Barchetta (if I can ask my dad to let me have a go in it that is)

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The show was spectacular. This was the first time I had been where there was just so much variety. It was hard to miss the big thundering American V8s in the form of a Ford Thunderbird and Mustang, long sleek elegant Jag X300s and Xj8s, as well as some interestingly modified cars; a Volvo 740 with what appeared to be a polished supercharger sticking out of the bonnet, and a cal style Vw Beetle which had a lovely exhaust rasp. The early 1990s Alfa Romeo Spider, did catch my eye, and when I had finished fantasising about owning one I did manage to snap a few pictures of it.

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Other treats included a lovely array of restored classic Austin and Rover Minis, a lovely mid 1990s banana yellow Saab 900 turbo convertible and a Toyota MR2 MK1. It was this that caught my eye. I t is always great to meet other drivers and understand their motivations for buying their classics and learn more about how they use their cars. The chap of the MR2 told me of his dream of owning one from a young age and how he had paid £800 for his example in late 2017 and has spend many hours since with his dad poly-bushing and powder coating many components of his MR2 along with fitting a 6 speed gearbox. The end result is a well fettled tidy, original MR2 which could be used as a long-distance economical classic or as a town racer. He swore by it and how well it handled,

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Some had all the signs of being driven daily, while others it seemed were clearly just out of their storage after many layers of wax and polish had been applied.

Leaving the aerodrome was a slight palaver, probably due to the coin on exit barrier system confusing us classic car drivers, along with what seemed everyone leaving at the same time. Heading back to Maidstone, I collected my girlfriend (one classic event was all that she could agree to!), and we headed over to Chiddingstone Castle for the next classic show – the sun still shone, and the Kent countryside looked spectacular from the drivers’ seat of the MX5. All seemed well despite running about an hour and a half late we were set to be at the next show for about 2pm. Rather than get worked up and try and make up time I accepted this new reality and enjoyed the open top motoring for what it was... until about 10 minutes into the journey.

On the motorway I became slightly alarmed to see my temperature gauge, which is well trained at sitting just below halfway no matter what the temperature is outside is, slowly creep up to the ¾ mark. I pulled back and slowed the car down to 55 while clicking on our heater to the max. The gauge slowly dropped back to halfway, but not slightly below as before. The rest of the journey continued like this, on and off heating of the car, and as we approached the entrance I did begin to noptice a burning oily greasy smell. Oh dear.

On arrival to Chiddingstone, I found a suitable spot, parked on the far side away from most of the other classic cars, to discreetly investigate my fault. Strangely streaks of fluid had appeared on the front bonnet by the headlights, fearing this to be coolant I opened it only to find… that the oil cap was not on, but left on top of the rocker cover! In my haste to top it up a few days prior I’d clearly forgotten to put it back on. As a result oil had found its way into every crevice of the MX5 engine, and everything looked well greased in a shiny gold colour. No wonder the burning oil smell. Feeling like a plonker, but also relieved that no other faults were identified, I checked the dipstick reading, and with still half of the 4 litres still in the 5 I popped the oil cap back on and cleaned up the engine bay as best as I could. We were kindly donated several tissues from the Audi GT driver next to us, and despite a few tuts from the girlfriend we were all good to go and explore the castle albeit with greasy hands – no amount of hand sanitiser can remove the smell of eau d’mx5.

Predictably of course, the journey home, while slightly less smelly, and much more sprightly now, the 5 continued to want to overheat on the motorway only! It performed faultlessly on the country A and B roads. I am beginning to suspect a blocked radiator, though – my Drive it Day plaque on the lower front grill air intake of the MX5 probably wasn’t helping matters, so it remains something to investigate further now that this has been removed.

So after nearly 2 years of looking forward to Drive it Day, and planning for it weeks in advance, I still somehow managed to make a meal of it. I met some wonderful people and saw some spectacular cars of all marques and that is what it is meant to be about, getting your classic car out and enjoying it. So roll on Drive it Day 2023,I hope to be able to do it without being covered in oil, overheating or rushing across the Kentish countryside, but then again, knowing me, that is probably wishful thinking.
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