Higham Ferrers Chichele Northants Classic Car Show

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What a glorious sunny Sunday we had today for the Rotary Club of Rushden Chichele Northants Classic Cars Show in Higham Ferrers. Its the first Sunday in quite a few weeks we have had a full day of great weather and it brought out the crowds!!

This years Classic Car Show was held to raise funds for Rotary Charities. There was a full turn out of Classic vehicles (generally pre 1990) on display to the general public at the towns Castle Fields.

We had a full stand of 7 Stags

Its quite a small show but very well organised with some lovely stalls to suit all tastes from hand made greeting cards, old toy cars and books, to car accessories (including classic car oils!!)

There were also plenty of stalls if you were a little peckish from the expected burger and chips to a very nice hog roast, with ice cream or cup cakes to finish you off!!

The stars of the show were the cars, wonderfully presented and such a wide array of classics some quite unusual to see out at an event like this.

My favourites of they day were these

Lovely MG V8 and rare to see Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond was not in need of it today!!)

And where ever you have classic cars you can always get some bonnet up action!!

IMG_0226And last but not least, a lovely XJS (with an admiring Stag owner – one day I would like one of these, perhaps put it on my Christmas List!!)

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Bromley Pageant of Motoring – 7th June 2015

We all had a fantastic day, with support from no fewer than 55 Stags from South East London, East & West Sussex, Kent, Surrey and as far afield as Bristol and of course not for getting Harry’s Darlek from the original Dr Who movie.

This was truly a Regional Event!

Now here’s the good news, considering that Bromley Pageant is billed as the largest one day Classic Car Show in the world, we managed to secure the top prize …….

Special Club Display ……. “WINNERS” …. Did I say winners, I certainly did, 2015.

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It was a true team effort from all that attend both in support for the Stag Owners Club and the efforts by everybody to promote both the Club and the fact that we are indeed  very SOCial Club.

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Martyn Smith passes on his thanks to all those who attended whom without, the winning of this award would not have been possible.  A special thanks also to Ian & Pat Saich (Deputy Co-ordinator South East London area), who were responsible for most of the planning/organisation of the day, Andy Potts, who on the day did such a great job in co-ordinating the stand and Russell Mortlake-Mees who gave endless technical advice to so many visitors to our stand.

Our area goes from strength to strength and we managed to secure several new members including some re-joins

Martyn Smith

ESM 2015 – Netherlands

The Stag Club Netherlands hosted the 33rd European Stag Meeting.  They organised a very full programme with routes of between 70 and 100 miles per day for the 125 cars from Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

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The detailed routes guided us through country lanes, around pretty harbours,  over dykes alongside canals and lock systems and along North Sea beaches and even through the narrow base of the Heimolen, a windmill dating from 1866. We visited the beautiful Basilica of Ooudenbosch,  built between 1865 and 1892 as a scaled replica  of St Peters in Rome,  the old Town Hall in Bergen-op-Zoom, the Markiezenhof, the Marquises Palace built in 1485 in Bergen op Zoom, the oldest in the Netherlands, Watersnoodmuseum (the Great Flood Museum).  It was a fabulous weekend visiting places we would not have found on our own.

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A great big thanks to The Stag Club Netherlands!!!

 

 

 

For more pictures visit our Facebook Page

Stags Go Boating

SOC Northants Area Sunday day out at Stoke Bruerne.

We started out on a bit of a grey morning and met up with the rest of the crew in the car park of a well known burger joint.

Then it was a short drive to get to Stoke Bruerne, a pretty little village where we were hiring a canal boat for a few hours for a trip on the Grand Union Canal.

All here and lined up – nice few stags out today.

Picnics and cameras at the ready we all got together for the groupie (much better than a selfie!!)

Except for Dave – thinks he got away with it… but no we got him too

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Time to make our way to the boat for the start of the trip – herding up the troops – once you can get them out from under the bonnet!!

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All Aboard!!

It was a short hop to the beginning of the tunnel. The Blisworh Tunnel at 3,076 yards (2,813m) long it is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel on the UK canal network, (and the ninth-longest canal tunnel in the world). At its deepest point it is approximatly 143 feet (43m) below ground level. There was some major rebuilding of the tunnel in the 1980s, with sections lined with pre-cast concrete rings. It was also used to test out the materials that were later used on the Channel Tunnel. One of the unused rings is on display just outside the south portal.

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Once in the tunnel its a 20 minute or so trip, quite interesting when another boat comes along, there is just enough room for the two to pass but not sure I would like to be steering one of them!! Our captain did a wonderful job!!

and then the light at the end of the tunnel….

Once through we enjoyed the peaceful pace that only a trip down the river (well canal) can give.

Around lunchtime we arrived at the locks, seventeen of them as the canal descends to join the navigable River Nene. Here we stopped for a short break, stretch of legs before return journey – didn’t fancy the all those locks today….

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We did spot a heron that had been stood on the side of the canal, think we may have disturbed it as we strolled along the tow path.

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Dave being caught on camera again!!

Back on board for the return journey… time for picnics to come out, a little quieter on board for a time.

Sam kept a watchful eye out just in case anything was dropped, well got to keep the boat clean and tidy!!

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It was a lovely day, thanks to the Co-ordinators of the Northampton SOC for organising the day, we may not have had the sunshine we had hoped, and it may have been a little chilly…..

But the hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows from the cafe really helped to warm us up!!

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The Names Bond, James Bond (this years NEC Classic)

This years NEC classic show had a theme of TV and Movies, so what else could we do but pay homage to that wonderful few minutes (or was it seconds) where a gorgeous Stag was driven by the very handsome Sean Connery in Diamonds are Forever!!! Various shades of yellow Stags were found and willing owners agreed to display their cars, props purchased and costumes organised.

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Set up day – cars placed, cutout arranged – and tested of course!

So stand ready next we have the cast…..
Dauphin Lundi (aka Baron Samedi)
Burnt Valve Bloback (aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld)
Odd Bod (aka Odd Job)
M 25 (aka M)
Q Likely (aka Q)
Miss Spendapenny (aka Miss Moneypenny)
Coldfinger (aka Goldfinger)
Boozy Galore (aka Pussy Galore)
Commandeer Blond (aka Commander Bond)
Dr Yes Please (aka Dr No)
And various James Bonds ranging from Premium Bond to Shaken Not Stirred Bond

So highlights of the show…….
This year we expanded on the family friendly theme too and as well as the popular colouring in area we also had a racing game for children young and old to challenge there friends and family to the fastest lap in various classic cars (no Stag unfortunately!!)

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This also drew in a couple of familiar faces to the stand, first we were joined by Sir Stirling Moss on Saturday

And on Sunday Ant Anstead and his kids visited for a quick go…

Here’s the standings as the show closed Sunday evening

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One of the other popular parts of the stand were the cut outs – so many people enjoyed posing with them…

And one very special couple Robin Abbott and Gill Roberts

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Robin popped the question on our Stand on Sunday and Gill said Yes – Congratulations to you both.

We were also visited by Alex Riley

and Gordon Birtwistle –  Triumphs High Speed Test Engineer

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Over all we had a really busy show, we hope that all our visitors enjoyed our stand as much as we did, I for one laughed all weekend.

Till next year……

Stag Meets Stag – or OKY to On Tow

Here’s Pete Dennis to tell you all about his Stag….

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Like many other classic car enthusiasts the Triumph Stag is the car I had always wanted. Of course there were – indeed are – others such as the iconic E-Type, Lotus Elan, Austin Healey 3000 and Aston Martin DB6 to name but a few. However the Stag just seemed to embody that combination of flair, style and power in a slightly understated way very few cars had done before or since. Being launched in 1970 it was the year I became 17 and was learning to drive. There was also a Triumph dealership close to where I lived at that time and walking past it on a regular basis over the years I used to stare in and admire the beautiful, shiny examples in the showroom – Heralds, Dolomites, 2000s, Spitfires, TRs and then the Stag. What a beauty! The Italian styling with every curve and angle in the right place, the V8 engine, the wooden dash and smart instrumentation – and a four seater!

I owned several Triumphs in the 1970s and 1980s including Dollies and Spitfires and finally an Acclaim CD and was disappointed when the name finally disappeared somewhere in the BL ‘possibly pending file’ and I bought a Ford! I had enjoyed being a Triumph owner over all of those years. From the Dolomite’s hint of luxury with a sporty edge to the Spitfire’s sporty edge but very little luxury! I worked in various parts of the country and in Germany so drove tens of thousands of miles in the UK and across Europe at that time and all models proved (generally!) reliable. But I still really wanted a Stag…..

Fast forward some 35 years and various moderns later and more laterally a Mk IV Spitfire 1300 as my classic for 6 years, a friend told me about a Stag that had been off the road for several years and would I be interested in buying it? I went down to the New Forest, just to take a look of course, and it was inevitably love at first sight and I agreed to purchase ‘OKY’ (OKY 235 R), a 1977 model in Pimento Red, automatic and with original V8 there and then.

That was 5 years ago now I have used her regularly throughout the year ever since. Sometimes just taking her to work or locally to visit friends and pubs. I have also attended numerous classic get togethers including those at Brooklands, Goodwood and Prescott as well as meetings and treasure hunts organised by the local Stag Owners Club. Despite some slight initial reservations about the Stag’s reliability and the usual comments about ‘I hope it’s got the Rover engine’ OKY has proved to be steadfast and trustworthy over the miles since ownership.

When my niece announced her wedding last year she asked if OKY could be the Bridesmaids car. Of course I was honoured and without any hesitation said ‘Yes’. Plans were put in place over the months and I received my brief to arrive at Oakley Court Hotel, near Windsor, on the Friday night and then to take the Bridesmaid, Maid of Honour and her mother to the Church and back afterwards on the Saturday.

Being the proud uncle that I am I spent several days making sure that OKY was all checked and checked over again – not that I had any doubt that she would let me down as it was only some 15 miles or so away. I cleaned her in and out and polished her and buffed up the chrome so she was glowing and gleaming. I hoovered the inside and cleaned the upholstery numerous times as I wanted to make sure new, smart dresses were not marked before the ceremony on the big day. The inside can get a little messy as Hattie, our Flatcoated Retriever, also loves going out in her! I measured ribbon to tie around the front and on to the wing mirrors and bows to make OKY look suitably festooned for the occasion.

One final check and I got my smart clothes on for a meal in the evening and suit and everything else packed and ready for the great occasion. The forecast was looking a little mixed for the Saturday, but I was hoping it would remain fine so we could arrive with the top down, slightly blown about but not too cramped on the inside! Despite it being a relatively mild evening on the Friday I put the hood up just to avoid getting any dust or leaves blown in on the way over.

On arrival at Oakley Court I noticed this amazing wooden sculpture of a Stag leaping. I parked directly outside the main entrance and jumped out of the car camera in hand and took several shots from various angles to capture that ‘Stag Meets Stag’ moment. Needless to say it caused quite a stir and numerous other guests came out – some also attending my niece’s wedding, others just curious to see what all the fuss was about. However, when they saw OKY there glistening in the evening sunshine next to the sculpture they also all rushed for their cameras and started to take snaps and asked me all about my Stag, with me responding in my usual proud way.

 

After several minutes I thought I’d better get parked up and checked in as I was one of the last to arrive. I turned the key and the Stag roared into action with that glorious burble form the V8. I gave a little wave to the crowd still mingling around the entrance when Tom, my nephew, called out, ‘Uncle Pete, did you know you’ve got an oil leak’!! I quickly jumped out of OKY and to my dismay on looking underneath, sure enough a steady spurt of oil was dripping onto the clean drive of Oakley Court. The cheery grin of the concierge soon turned to a scowl as he quickly waved me away into the main car park and he hurriedly got a bucket of sand and covered over the slippery slick of Millers Classic 20w50. Despite me being in my best casual attire I crawled underneath to see a steady drip coming down from the oil filter. I’d cleared the boot of my bag of tools and odd spares to make sure I had enough room for any wedding paraphernalia that might be needed, so no spares and no tools.

Over a hearty meal and several pints of ale I was ribbed mercilessly about my pride and joy breaking down on her big occasion. After a humble apology to the bride and her family we agreed not to try to make a quick fix ‘just in case’. I was also fairly sure Halfords in Maidenhead would no longer stock oil filters and seals for a Triumph Stag! A rapid change of plan and the ribbons that were going to adorn OKY were cut to shape to fit on to my brother in law’s Alfa Romeo – now who would ever have thought a modern Alfa would prove to be the car to replace a 37 year old Triumph Stag on such a special day?

The wedding went off without a (another!) hitch and apart from the disappointment of not being driven in Uncle Pete’s classic it was the most wonderful occasion. OKY was sadly and forlornly taken home on the back of a breakdown truck, so OKY became temporarily ON TOW! Fortunately it was just the seal that had ‘kinked’ causing the leak and she was soon back on the road and roaring around the roads of Berkshire once again.

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Note the flow of oil!!!

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For those who don’t know Oakley Court was where they filmed many of the Hammer House of Horror movies and I think this was Dracula’s way of having a bit of wicked fun at my expense!!

Stag Adventure to Spain

Many thanks to Roy Smith for his Stag Tales in Spain….

I thought that I would start by sharing a picture of my wife’s Boobies. She took the picture in March 2012 on Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (near the equator) when we were warming up on a break from my Civil Service job supporting the British Forces in the South Atlantic in the Falklands.

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It was later that day that – without any understanding of either the subsequent financial or social life changing consequences – she tossed me a 2008 copy of Classic Car magazine that she had found in the converted portakabin that we were staying in. As I browsed through, I came across an advert by Cherished Classics of Leicester who specialize in the Triumph Stag. I had admired the Stag since its launch – regrettably I am old enough to remember those days – but had never been in one or even had a close look. Heading for retirement, the following year I quite fancied the thought of something to enjoy after I left work and after discussing this with my wife Sandra we set about investigating the possibility of ownership then. Once a year, I was entitled to return to UK with my wife – the Ministry of Defence being all heart – and I wrote to Lee Court of Cherished Classics and explained that I would appreciate it if he would allow us to visit his showroom in May as he opened only “by appointment” on Saturdays – the day that the flight arrived at Brize Norton. I also explained that we were not in the market at the time but were interested. I am sure that he thought that we were just “time wasters” and initially put us off. I persevered and eventually he agreed to our visit. Sandra and I had done a little homework, looking at various websites and had concluded that we would particularly like a yellow or red Stag, one with solid rather than wire wheels as these are too difficult to keep clean. We didn’t want white.

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When the day came, after the 17 hours of flying we made our way to Leicester and Cherished Classics showroom. Lee pulled back the showroom door. There were maybe 6 cars in there but the very first, immediately behind the door was PKE 454L. White, wire wheels, love at first sight! Lee talked us through the cars in the show room and started two up. I still have the recording!!

We looked over the others but our hearts were set on the white one. She has been renovated – in 2006 but has covered – even now less than 5k miles. The interior is French blue leather with white piping. It’s funny, as we did not intend to buy for a year or so, we did not look in great detail at the condition of the body, although she looked immaculate but we did listen to what Lee told us about how to tell a good renovation.

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She was priced at a figure more than we could afford so we thanked Lee and left. We watched Lee’s website and over a period of a month the asking price dropped by £2k. We offered a little less again and this was accepted! However, we were back in the Falklands winter by then and couldn’t arrange another flight for a month or so.

Our home is in Spain, near Gibraltar so we made all the arrangements, flights, ferry, hotels etc and arrived back in UK towards the end of July 2012. We rented a car from Brize Norton, drove up to Leicester and there she was, sitting outside the show room. Beautiful!

Lee ran through putting the hood up and re-stowing it, told us a story about another Stag owner and a problem he had had with the Torquatrol unit – the noise it makes when the bearings fail. He gave us a free pack of all the fluids and also the various “insurance” items that I had bought in preparation for our long journey to Spain – spare fuel and water pump, service kits (2), rear wheel cylinders, etc, etc, plus the right hand drive headlights as the car was now fitted for continental driving. It was at the front of my mind that neither Sandra nor I had ever driven any Stag before. Buying a car on the internet with no knowledge of this particular example, but with plenty of not so good press about reliability, overheating, mashing cam chains was a gamble and with the bookings made for our journey, we were committed.

We stayed with friends for 3 nights in Melksham before setting off on Tuesday morning for the Portsmouth – Santander Brittany ferry. All the time we had been in England, I had been praying that it would not rain. I just did not want to get the car wet. I did not know if it would leak, affect the electrics; stop us getting to the ferry…. The weather was fine.

The sea voyage to Spain was lovely and a chance to relax a bit but we had the thought of the next challenge – getting to Salamanca and the hotel – a 4 hour drive from the ferry. But the ferry did not dock until 1830 and by the time we got off and cleared customs….. Off we went, assisted by TomTom. The skies darkened and not because it was getting late, but because there was a thunderstorm ahead. The rain in Spain falls mainly on my Stag! Well, it did that evening.

Salamanca

We made the Abba Hotel in Salamanca by 2300 that evening without incident with only a few drops of rain – which was pretty heavy at times, dripping through the firewall somewhere. The view from the hotel, of Salamanca at night was so wonderful that we went down to the front desk and booked a second night. The Stag was safely parked in the hotel garage as we explored the historic elements of the city and possibly exceeded our capacity for churches in the process. But I can thoroughly recommend the hotel and the city. The next day we set off bound for home, driving some of the excellent old “main” roads that have been replaced by the autovia’s funded by the EU.

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It was on one of these that the grinding began. Oh no! Cam chains!! In a bit of a flap, I phoned Lee Court and put the phone as close as I could to the front of the engine so that he could listen. “Oh, that’s the Torquatrol unit”, he said. “Get some oil on the bearing and it will be fine”. I don’t know if you have tried to drip oil onto the bearing here, on a hot engine but it is a bit inaccessible. Remembering a Bond movie where the villain dripped poison down a thread lowered from the ceiling into the victim’s mouth (Bond’s new wife I seem to recall), I used a small stick to drizzle the oil onto the bearing. It worked a treat. We had 300 miles to go but only had to do this once more before we arrived safely home in Los Barrios, Andalusia. Other than the minor problem that was nowhere near as bad as I had feared, the car had run perfectly. The car has a Kenlowe fan fitted and the temperature gauge never exceeded the 11 o’clock position. The outside temperatures had been up in the 30’s and all bar the thunderstorm had been done with the hood stowed. Many other motorists had peeped and given a friendly wave as they passed us or we passed them and it had been an adventure.

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We live only 13 miles from Gibraltar where our daughters live now so went over the border a few times but the queue of over 2hours (now sometimes exceeding 5 hours) made us decide not to risk sitting in traffic for such extended periods. When I got a chance to have a good look at the condition of the car in my garage, she is in better condition than I could have hoped. Great actually. I can recommend Cherished Classics of Leicester and Lee’s expertise. We flew back to UK and on to the Falklands a few days later.I retired at the end of last year and I have not yet managed to get the car back on the road due to Spanish red tape. But that is another story!

Gibraltar

 

Silverstone Classic 2014

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At last its that time of year again, time for 3 fantastic days of classic cars and top quality racing, and the great British weather decided to smile upon us and has given 3 days of hats, suncream and plenty of drinks!!!

SOC stand was well attended, we had over 30 Stags with us on Saturday

There were so many things going on this weekend, from the BMW wheel that gave fabulous views over the whole site, hot air balloons in the early morning and late in the eventing gave a spectacular start and end to the day. There was live music both Friday and Saturday evenings, the Paras also dropped in on Friday with a great display.

Of course the main attraction was the many varied races that took place over the whole weekend, from F1, touring cars, sports cars and GT’s. Here is jus a selection of some of the pics – see more on our Flickr Page.

On on Saturday during the lunch break, we were treated to a parade of Ford Mustang’s as they were celebrating there 50th anniversary. (Just for you One Man And His Mustang)

And heading up the pack was Wheeler Dealers Mike Brewer in his fully restored 1967 Mustang Fastback

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As all these beautiful cars were taking in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere of driving this wonderful circuit there name sake arrived to fill the sky’s

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Great weekend – looking forward to next year!!!

Aberdeen Stag Rebuild

With thanks to Anthony Davies for his story about his Stag……

I bought my second Triumph Stag in 1981 to use as my everyday vehicle and drove it daily for most of the next 8 years. Coming from an Engineering background, I tackled nearly all of the maintenance myself and got to know the car inside out. However, from the late 80’s to the mid-00’s, my occupation demanded that I worked away from home quite a lot – sometimes for very lengthy periods – before finally ‘coming home’ in 2005.

During this time the car was kept in reasonable order, living in a garage with essential maintenance performed, fluids topped up, oil and filters changed and so on but it had been gradually getting used less and less to the point of maybe a half dozen times a year, when I would take it out for a good run, get it up to temperature then return to storage for another few months. The thing is, older cars don’t really like this too much and in January 2006, on a sunny Sunday afternoon when out for one such run the inevitable happened and one of the Head gaskets blew.

The aluminium heads were removed but as I hadn’t really being considering the coolant composition too much over the years, the strength of the mixture had been getting weaker and weaker, resulting in severe corrosion which had reduced the internal waterways of the heads to a point where at best, they were well over 50% and at worst, totally blocked, rendering them utterly useless. And so the journey began…..

A reconditioned pair of heads was purchased, however another problem soon surfaced – the cylinder bores were fairly well worn and piston movement was also evident.

This was to become a turning point. Having owned the car for so long and knowing all of its history did I really want to start a full dismantling and refurbishing exercise on the original engine or would I be better to go along the exchange unit route? Electing the latter, I ordered up an exchange engine power unit and then very shortly after, a gearbox, overdrive unit, clutch assembly, diff and all the bits and pieces that go along with these.

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Danny with refurbished engine

It was by this time over a year since the car had been laid up and only really starting to move. This is where the local Triumph network kicked in, as one of the members kindly asked around for a mechanic who specialized in Stags and I was given the name of Danny Taylor at Victoria Garage, Maud. In October 2007 Danny had a look at the car and said ‘It needs a fair bit of work done but yes, I can do it!’ And off it went….

Of course, now I had access to a specialist to tackle the mechanics I could think about going the whole hog – did I really want to do that? – well, I’d gone so far now that there really was no going back.

So, the whole car was dismantled and everything was now up for renewal – suspension, chassis legs, brakes, steering rack, bushes, body panels, wings, doors, chrome, electrics etcetera etcetera – it was now into the full resto. Not a job for the faint-hearted..

As I said earlier, I thought that I had kept the car in reasonable condition throughout its life but was horrified at what was found during the restoration. These problems were not always evident – I remember that there were some small bits of corrosion on the bottom of the A-posts each side, which had been there for hmm..a while at least and were always meant to get sorted, the next time the car went in for some bodywork. These and other ‘small bits of corrosion’ were actually rotten all the way through! Holes and weak points in the chassis only surfaced with a good dig into the underseal. All of these nasty bits were inspected, assessed and corrected accordingly either with completely new or repair sections.

I could go on and on about what else was done, what was replaced and so on but won’t; the list is substantial to say the least. All that I will say is that, after 3 and a half years, having had a full refurbishment inside and out, I now have a stunning example of what a Stag should be like, thanks in the main to Danny for his relentless dedication and enthusiasm, Victoria Garage at Maud, the Stag Owners’ Club, various specialist providers of Stag bits, e-Bay for those ‘special items’ including a perfectly matching oil pressure gauge which are like hen’s teeth and re-chroming of all the shiny bits.

Finally, just as the rebuild was nearing completion, I saw a number plate for sale and thought to myself ‘well, you only live once and it would finish it off nicely’…….it does look good…!

 

Road Trip to France

Thanks to Jason and Michelle for sharing the tales of their family holiday….

Me. “I’m bored of Aeroplanes and Airports”

Michelle.   “Well, why don’t we look at taking the Stag to France? But I want to go to the South because the weather is better!”

Me “Err, OK, are you sure?”

So that’s how it all started. I didn’t think Michelle would go through with it but she kept “reminding” me to look at holiday places.

I had better introduce myself. My name is Jason (stagstan on the Forum) Michelle is my long suffering Wife, Luke is our eldest Boy (8) and Zak is our youngest (3) and “Staggy” is our Stag. (the boys named him that)

We settled on Port Grimaud, it has a nice little Marina, it’s close to St. Tropez (a place Michelle has always wanted to visit) and not too far from Monaco (where I’ve wanted to go for a long time) A route was planned- Home to Lille for our first overnight stop over, then, down to a town called Valence just south of Lyon, then onto Port Grimaud. Hotels booked for the trip down then it was just a case of waiting.

We decided on taking the Chunnel due to the ease of use. We also decided to have an extra stop over close to the tunnel because that’s nearly a 4 hour drive for us. So, July 23rd arrived, we collected Luke from school, a quick change and some tea then off to Kent, isn’t the M25 a wonderful Motor Way? On the drive down my speedo became quite erratic, so a phone call to Faversham Classics saw a spare one bought. We awoke to a damp day but that didn’t matter as it was now holiday time proper. The Chunnel terminal was busy but we were able to get an earlier crossing, but a point’s failure put us back 2 hours so we didn’t gain anything, and didn’t lose any time either! While waiting in the queue for the train a very nice German Gent came up to us to talk about my Stag, which he really liked. Turns out he was on his way home from the Aston Martin centenary and was in his 1978 V8 Volante!

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At our Hotel ready for the off!

Eventually we boarded the train and set off, 45 minutes later we leaving the train and heading off for the motorway and to our first stop. Lille was about an hour’s drive. Hotel found (satnavs are great) showers taken, all of us fed and watered and day 1 of the holiday was over.

Day 2. This was going to be a long day. Lille to Valence is almost 500 miles. We took plenty of stops along the way and the Stag performed perfectly. At some point a UK registered Aston Martin DB9 Volante came past us, the driver hooting his horn and punching the air as a sign of respect. They know a stylish car when they see one these Aston owners!!

The Hotel in Valence was very welcome, the further south we were travelling the warmer the weather. As we’re all used to air conditioning in our modern cars driving in 30 plus heat all day is very tiring. Again, showers drinks and food was required. A quick check on the Stag shows it still had a very slight leak into the “vee” from around the water pump area. The water pump having been rebuilt about a month before, the leak looks to be coming from the gasket, as it was using hardly any water (header tank fitted) I wasn’t too worried. Day 2 over.

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Luke. Bored!

Day 3. This saw us having a leisurely cruise down to Port Grimaud, just 200 miles. To get to the Port you have to drive through Grimaud Village, which means driving up a hillside pass, a very twisty road which me and the Kids loved, however Michelle didn’t like it at all because of the drops off the side so no photos taken as she was too scared to take her hands off the seat!

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Zak, enjoying sunny top down motoring.

Onto the Caravan site, not too big and a really nice Caravan complete with air con!

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Stags’ well-earned rest

I’ll not bore everyone with what we did on holiday, after all it’s about the car, but we did have a great time. One of the days saw us in St. Topez, which totally disappointed Michelle, she thought it was quite shabby and Torquay was better! I tried to park in the marina to get some photos of the Stag with boats in the background but the traffic was awful.

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St. Tropez Marina

The South of France is a very nice place to go for a Holiday, we loved it, a close town to Grimaud is St. Maxim, again another day spent there looking at the boats and just relaxing.

The day came to start our journey home, the route we planned was Monaco, Turin, Reims then home. We left Port Grimaud around 7am and set off for Monaco. 1 ½ hours later we were looking for somewhere to park. Never having been to Monanco before I didn’t know where to go so we settled on the first carpark we saw, Casino Square under gorund.

Now, Monaco is my kind of place, if only I was a millionaire!!

Having parked up we went looking for a coffee. Monaco doesn’t open until 10.00am!! Anyway, having found some breakfast we went and walked the F1 track. If any of you are familiar with the F1 track the hill from the pits is a lot steeper than it looks on T.V!

After having a little walk around we collected the car and drove the track (well, you have to don’t you?) We pulled up in Casino Square for some quick photos


Then, we made our way to Turin. The roads from Monaco to Turin are great, not a lot of traffic, lots of scenery.

Overnight stay in Turin then we make our way to Reims via the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Again great roads and great scenery. However, the Mont Blanc tunnel itself was like the blackwall tunnel only longer and cost 45 Euros to use!!

This photo is on the French side of the tunnel with the Alps in the background

As we got close to the middle of France the temperatures started to rise, however, the Stag temp needle stayed firmly in the middle of the gauge, cant say the same about the passengers though!

Jason-stag

Me and the Stag on one of our many stops

An overnight in Reims then off to Calais. About 40 miles from Calais we pulled in for fuel when we heard a noise from the engine, I (stupidly) put this down to the Viscous Coupling and decided to “nurse” the car home. The train was on time and a few hours later we were home. The next day I removed the right cam cover to find a very slack chain! The curved guide had worn through, if id have known this I wouldn’t ave driven home, live and learn. Anyway that was soon sorted.

We (well me) enjoyed the holiday so much we’re looking at doing the same next year but not to the south but more towards Switzerland, we’ll see.

If anyone is thinking of taking their Stag to France or anywhere in Europe, my advice is just do it. I took just a handful of spares, fuel pump, belts ect. And don’t forget your  breathallisers!