NEC Classic Car Show – here we come!!!

Its less than 2 weeks to the biggest show of the year here in the UK, there are as we write clubs, cars, enthusiasts all polishing, preparing and getting right excited!!!

Us lot here the SOC are no exception, we have 2 fabulous cars for you to come and see over the 3 days.

First we have “Rally Stag” – that marvellous machine that lead the Trans American endurance rally for 16 days. We will have for all 3 days the 2 fantastic guys that took her across just over 5800 miles – Phil and Kieron. The guys will be giving 3 talks each day, at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 (times subject to change of course but we will post them on the stand) to give you insights into

  • Preparing our Stag for a 6,000 mile endurance rally across America
  • Navigation and rally competition on Trans America coast to coast rally
  • Trans America Rally route, highlights and challenges

Also on Sunday the guys will be joined by Mick and John from EJ Ward, the Stag specialist that helped get the car ready for her journey.

Come along to the stand and have your photo taken with the car and the guys and we will print it for you to take away as a momento.

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While your with us why not decide on a name for “Rally Stag” – we are running a competition to give her a new name – pop your entry on one of the forms on the stand, at the end of the weekend Phil and Kieron will decide on their favourite.

So whats the second car I hear you say!! Well we have another treat for you. As “Rally Stag” was prepared especially for her amazing journey we have another Stag that has been lovingly finished just the way that her owners dreamed of. When you have a Stag you have a wonderful car, adding in you own personal touch then gives your car just that little bit more!!! Here’s a sneaky peak…..

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Once you’ve done all of that there will still be time to visit Mike and Edd at the Wheeler Dealers stage, see Ant Anstead and Fuzz Townsend on the live stage, visit the hundreds of car clubs and feast on the wonderful cars and of course do a bit of shopping  – there is always something to buy for your classic!!

See you there – Hall 3 Stand 492.

I am looking forward to meeting Mart – from One Man And his Mustang – a blog that I have been following for as long as our little blog has been going. He may not have a Stag (will forgive him because he has a beautiful car!!) but I have learned quite a few things from reading his blog, and his last post let me know that his long-awaited project is almost complete and will be on show at the NEC!! I’m excited to see it!!

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Da Da Daaaa – RALLY STAG!

Thanks to the guys at EJ Ward for telling their story……..

With the recent hubbub over a certain Blue Stag and its forthcoming appearance on the Stag Owners Club Stand at the NEC Classic Car Show – 13th to 15th November, we thought you might like to hear about how E J Ward Motor Engineers turned a run of the mill Stag (although some would say that a Stag is never run of the mill!) into a – Da Da Daaaa – RALLY STAG!

Rally car finish

We’ve known Phil Garratt and his Stag for many years.  We’ve also known for some time about Phil and his friend Kieron’s penchant for the adventurous sport of international classic rallying. We also knew they were pretty damn good at it, having won the Peking to Paris in their classic Chevy.  However, what we didn’t know, until they asked us to prepare the Stag for the 8000 mile, Nova Scotia to San Francisco, ERA TransAmerica Rally, was quite how far they were prepared to go to fulfill their Stag’s rallying ambitions.

I guess most logically, preparation started with the engine.  We completely rebuilt it to E J Ward spec with balanced components and a lightened flywheel, stainless valves, bronze guides with the addition of Phoenix Manifolds, coated by Zircotec in a silver thermal barrier coat to reduce the under bonnet temperatures.

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It was then onto the carburetors which were rebuilt with richer needles to complement the improved breathing produced by the K & N free flow air filters and exhaust manifolds.  We then fitted an overhauled Distributor with electronic ignition system.

We completely overhauled the suspension using new Superflex bushes throughout, with 25% upgrade on front springs and 50% upgrade on rears.  The length of the springs was increased by 25mm to give improved ground clearance over gravel roads. The GAZ adjustable shox were fitted with limiting straps on the rear to prevent over extension over deep pot holes, or in the event it becomes air born.  How thrilling! (I’m thinking in the style of the General Lee in the Dukes of Hazard!) The front drag struts were reinforced on anti-roll bar brackets and track control arm mounting points.  And even with the inclusion of 6 ply van tyres to reduce the risk of a blowout the road handling was still very impressive, even at speed.

The bodyshell was strengthened at the load points and stitch seam welded throughout the sills, chassis legs, inner wings, bulkhead, rear arches and shocker mounts.  The seat belt anchorages were made for 3 point harnesses and the boot floor and rear wings gusseted to protect the fuel tank in the event of a side swipe to the rear. We also fitted a boot floor towing eye and tie down point.  The sills were fitted with tubular jacking points braced across inner to outer sills to facilitate the use of a light weight, quick lift jack. The exhaust, engine and gearbox were protected with an alloy sump guard skid plate, mounted from the front chassis rails and cross members.  On the body we then finally tidied up the paint work and gave it a bit of spit and polish.

The manual gearbox overdrive and (although we didn’t know it as the time, what was eventually to be their nemesis) diff were entirely standard.  We rebuilt the gearbox with new bearings and the overdrive was bench tested.  The diff nose housing was also strengthened as this is a weak spot.

There was much discussion as to which driveshafts to use.  In the end we fitted the Proptech, Rilsan coated driveshafts with heavy duty UJ’s.  This eliminates the well know ‘Stag Twitch’.  A pair of Classic Driver Development splined hubs were also fitted as they are lighter weight, stronger hubs, with the advantage of better bearings.

On the cooling system we fitted a Kenlowe electric fan to the existing aluminium radiator, and also fitted one of our aluminium header tanks with a silicone T hose kit from Classic Silicone Hoses.

So that’s basically all you need to do to create a ‘Rally Stag’.  But actually all that gubbins is nothing if you haven’t got tenacity, the desire to win and a spirit of adventure.  Which luckily Phil and Kieron have in spades. We feel privileged to have been chosen to go on this journey with the guys and have enjoyed every bit of it.

You probably all know by now that Phil and Kieron lead the race for 16 days.  We all thought they were on for the win, but that was until the ‘standard’ diff expired.

Rally Car Idaho

Although they gallantly made it to the finish line they’d lost too much time during the diff replacement to make a good finishing position.  Damn and blast that diff!   However, by the time you read this we’ll have carried out our forensic examination of the offending item (and probably kicked and sworn at it a few times too) and discussed the new diff to be fitted.  Because not to be put off by a little thing like a failing diff, it’s looking very likely that this is just the first of many adventures for – Da, Da, Daaaa – ‘Rally Stag’!

Come along and meet John and Mick from EJ Ward at the NEC Classic Car Show on Sunday 15th November.

The Stag Owners Club Stand in Hall 3 Stand 492 will have the Rally Stag on their stand for the 3 days of the show. This is what we have in store for you at the show –

Meet Phil and Kieron, have your photo taken with the car and we will print and frame it for you as a memento of your visit.

Name the Car – Rally Stag needs a name, so come along and enter our name the Stag competition.

And finally saving the best to last – on all 3 days the guys will be giving talks about their fantastic achievement, so come along to the stand to hear about the preparation of the car and the rally. There will be 3 talks each day – check our Facebook page or the stand for times.

See you there!!!!

 

Fastback Stag Restoration

Hi, Firstly may I introduce myself. My name is Alan Wickes and back in the very early 1980s I ran a small body repair shop, accident repairs, resprays etc, and through one of my customers I was introduced to Alan Hart. His real enthusiasm at that time was for Triumph motor cars but had just purchased a Porsche 911rs lightweight which I went on to restore for him and our friendship grew from that.

Probably around twelve months later he told me of an opportunity he had of purchasing a Stag fastback that may require a little work! Well he couldn’t resist and duly brought it round for me to assess. Alan was such a nice guy I did not want to let him down. I worked as a one man band and had other work on the go so we agreed it would be on an ‘as and when’ basis. I explained to Alan that to make a proper assessment the paint must be removed to expose what was lurking beneath. He agreed and the paint was removed…… and what a can of worms!…..was I out of my depth here.?…poor me …what had I let myself in for. Little did I know that three years of anguish lay ahead. From then on piece by piece, panel by panel was cut away until a stripped out shell sat forlornly on axle stands in the corner of my workshop. I have to admit that without Alan’s undying enthusiasm and support I do not think I could have seen it through to the end.

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Accident repair work was my passion at that time, I always gained great satisfaction from looking at the end result knowing that you could not tell if it had ever been damaged, and all in a relatively short time. Now I was out of my comfort zone. Cutting away rust to find more rust just did not do it for me. I had made a deal with Alan and was determined to stick with it. Progress was painfully slow and I still had other obligations. Back on the Stag again and time to start on the doors. Having previously stripped all the paint off it was plain to see that both door lower corners had rotted clean through. Normal circumstances would dictate new door skins, but here again we wanted to keep to the original as much as possible. I cut triangular sections from both corners, fabricated matching pieces and with the help of my newly acquired state of the art flange tool  welded them in. Success, I was gaining in confidence by this time.

Unfortunately, just as I was getting back into it again other work called me away and it would be several weeks before I would be back on it again. Anyone who has ever been involved in body and paint will know how labour intensive it all can be. I wanted to be sure that any patches I welded in would last a good few years so lead loading would be called for. Fortunately I had done a little before!

I was taught how to lead load from a skilled hand who worked at Jaguar cars lead loading E types all day! I never got to match his skill level but what I learned got me by. Putting it on was OK but filing it down and sanding to a reasonable finish seemed to take forever. In the meantime Alan was busy behind the scenes sourcing various parts. A major problem was that the windscreen had a large crack in it and that none of the large glass manufacturers had any drawings or records of it ever being made. Never one to shy away from a problem he managed to persuade one of them to haul it through their stock to see if they could find one that matched the profile of the fastback screen, Well they did! A VW Variant 412 if my memory serves me well. All that was needed was a bit of trimming from the corners and it was perfect. After another few weeks away I was back on and determined to get the bodyshell ready for paint but I decided for some reason to deviate from that and started chiseling away at the old paint under the front footwells…….disaster, parts of the footwell on both sides just crumbled away. Another week fashioning and welding in repair panels. Now it was ready for its first coat of paint. One coat of etch primer followed by four coats of high build primer and finishing with a guide coat. Boy did it look good after so long.! I treated myself to a cup of tea and something stronger later……..a milestone had been reached. This was a time before low bake ovens, two pack enamels and lacquer, so at least a few days were needed for it to settle and harden before any wet-flatting could be done. It took a whole day to wet-flat the body and apply two coats of light primer surfacer. I left it to stand for another day before a final nib and spirit wipe. Now after all this time it was ready for its final colour coats.

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The paint I used back then was cellulose, ICI no less, the paint of the day. It took most of the day to apply three coats plus one final heavy coat giving a fairly nice gloss finish, nowhere near the finish you can get with basecoat and lacquers of today. You needed time between coats making it a lengthy process. All the mechanical parts Alan took away to be refurbished were, as if by magic, reappearing. Now was the time to get it back on its wheels. Everything was ready. All the parts had been shot blasted reconditioned and painted, it all looked new. The brand new stainless exhaust system looked stunning. After a few days it was  assembled and back standing on its wheels for the first time for over two years. A week or so later the engine that had been rebuilt by Geoff Poyner from Cheltenham was back and refitted over one weekend. I came back in on a Monday morning to find a note with some instructions asking me to finish off a few items and then fire it up!! Well with great trepidation I did. It sprang into life first time, it sounded wonderful. After it had warmed up there was just a small leak from a hose,this I duly tightened and that was it.  Alan was round in a flash and I am sure I saw a tear in his eye. Who could blame him!

Now I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Alan was now bringing parts back that I had not seen for over 18 months. He must have been storing them up and holding them back so as not to appear pushy. I am sure he sensed I had become a little stressed with it all. I remember the front and rear bumpers were in a sorry state, rusted through in places. He found someone to weld in plates and re-chrome them, they were just like new. Before I could rebuild with all the new and refurbished parts I had to de-nib the paint and polish using cutting paste and electric polisher with lambswool mop head. Cellulose paint requires a lot of work to attain a good gloss finish. A final wipe over with a damp cloth then a buff with a new lambswool mop to remove any swirl marks. This process took a whole day! One last determined effort was needed now to finish the job. No more interruptions, just press on. Fortunately during this period a lot of my other work dried up somewhat and so little by little it all started coming together. That windscreen by the way, fitted perfectly. I thought to myself, do not crack this one putting it in, but what a relief!

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The following four weeks were devoted entirely to  reassembly. Waxoil was sprayed in all the cavities before all the interior trims were fitted back. One more day of cleaning and a wax polish and for me it was over. I think we were both a little emotional the day he came to collect it . A friend of Alan came with him to take some pictures of the handover and I was presented with a bottle of bubbly. That was it, three years on and off to completion. The Stag Fastback was displayed at a classic car show at the N.E.C. and that was the last time I saw it in the flesh.

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It must be thirty years now. Alan came to me from time to time with various much smaller projects but not long after I ceased trading and took up employment with Aston Martin. I am now retired and reflect more on my past work I never grasped the significance of what I had done with the Stag at the time ,but having related my story to a friend, he persuaded me to come out of the shadows and relate it to you. So I actually feel quite proud to have played a part in saving a British icon,

I take my hat off to all you Stag owners out there doing the same, I sort of know what you are going through! Well I hope my story will be of some interest to you. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this so you will have to let me know what you think.

If you have anything you wish to ask about any other aspect of the restoration please do not hesitate to ask – just post a question on this blog.

Thanks, Alan Wickes

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!!)

kids corner

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

Leader board

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

proposal

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

Gordon Birtwistle

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……

NEC Classic Car Show – Round up

So all done for another year, and what a show it was!!! 3 days of car heaven, and slightly sore feet – legs – back, will be good to be back at work for a rest!!!

Sunday was only slightly quieter than Saturday but our stand was still buzzing with people. We ran out of “Pimp my Stag” and “Build my Stag” so sorry if you couldn’t be creative but never fear the templates will be on our Facebook page for any of you budding artists to get creative! All we ask is you take a piccie and post it back onto our page so we can show your talents to the world!!

We did see some wonderful cars at the show, it is fantastic that all the clubs and people get together to show off their pride and joy so that we can all get to take a look and for some Dream……

We took loads more pics – just nip over to our Flickr pages to see them all.

The boys from Wheeler Dealers and Practical Classics did indeed complete this years challenge again

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For us at the Stag Owners Club stand, it was fantastic to see so may familiar and new faces on the stand, we were also pleasantly surprised of the popularity of the little just for fun colouring competition that so may children took part in, there were lollies and fridge magnets on offer for completed ones!! We will be repeating the Pimp My Stag at next years Classic show and perhaps some extras too……

For me, what were the best bits…..

The cars….

Seeing so many smiling faces – crayon in hand

Seeing the boys from Wheeler Dealers again – always such a good show

Spending 3 days with great folks  – can’t wait till next year!!!

By the way the bad bits …….

Taking 40 Seconds to remove 4 spark plugs on the Carole Nash stand and not getting time to try again!!!!!

NEC Classic – Get Set (or the set up day)

Been a busy day today at the NEC, all the stands getting ready for the opening up tomorrow. Our guys and galls have been hard at it today getting everything ready to meet and greet you all….

The stand is taking shape…

Now bring on the Stags….

Almost ready for tomorrow??…

Time for a quick clean and polish

Time for a quick clean and polish

Nite nite all see you in the morning…..

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