A new arrival and an overdue update

It's been a very long time since anything was posted here but not because of a lack of Daffing. Back in November our new arrival finally arrived!

She's a 1966 Daf 32 Daffodil called Matilda who had been sitting in a garage since the mid 1970s after her owner died.  Less than 18000 miles on the clock and nothing but surface rust under the years of dust, grime and soot (from a garage fire next door)

Matilda the Daf 32


Her engine is (seriously) siezed and she needs general recommissioning work to her brakes plus some rust treatment and paint but, for the price (she was a freebie!) she's in remarkably good condition!

We've also had to get intimate with the DVLA system for reclaiming registration numbers because she was never transferred to the DVLA system from the old Local Authority ledgers.  That's now underway and we're waiting for a Club official to come and inspect her as part of the process.  Once we have a new V5 the full process will be posted here in the hope that it might help others who need to do the same.

One thing we're not sure about, and will be interested to find out, is whether the V5 will list us as her first registered owner (we will be the first as far as DVLA are concerned).  That would create the odd situation where I registered a car a year before I was born!

One seized engine!

Matilda has a problem.

After standing for nearly 40 years, her poor little engine is a little bit completely and utterly siezed.  It seems this has happened in the last 5 years or so, as she was started up fairly regularly until then.

Having got her engine out, I tried soaking:

Soaking a stuck piston in oil


and pulling:

Pulling bore


and pumping grease in under pressure:

Pumping greasde into a bore


All that effort has moved it, so the piston is now half out of the bore:

Piston still won't come right out!


but it still won't come out!!!!

The bore is (obviously) in poor condition, and I've succeeded in breaking off several cooling fins from the barrel, so the next stage is to cut & split the barrel.  Spares have been offered by a Daf Owners Club member and are awaiting delivery so, luckily, it's not a problem destroying what's on there.

That barrel has held me up for about a month now (ok, Christmas and New Year got in the way as well) but, once that barrel's off, the engine can be properly stripped and cleaned ready to go back in.

One more step towards returning Matilda to the road!

Is it time yet?

For the past couple of weeks I've been getting our trailer tent ready for its first outing of the year.

Next weekend is the Rotary Club of Lichfield's Cars in The Park 2010 event and, like last year, Betty and Sheila will be in attendance.  Unlike last year, Isabel will also be there (now that her owner has passed her test) and Sheila will be pulling our home behind us rather than having it wrapped up in her boot.

In addition to the kitchen sink the trailer now has plumbed in 12v and 240v electricity / lighting and a fridge.  Now all I need is confidence that poor old Sheila with her bodgeneered camshaft is up to the job of getting it there and back.

Putting that slight worry to one side, I can't help asking (about every 5 minutes)...


Is it time yet???

18 months and counting

It's now 18 months since Betty came back on the road and in tat time we've clocked up a total of about 16250 miles of classic motoring.  11500 of those have been in Betty, with Sheila doing the other 4750.


That gives enough of a basis to compare costs with the modern they've now replaced.  Over the 35000 miles we owned it our Mitsubishi Colt diesel had an overall cost of 35 pence per mile.  Betty, by contrats, is currently at 30 pence per mile (and dropping) and Sheila is lagging (again) at 41p per mile.  That's partly because of her relatively low mileage, which means that the costs of getting her to a reliable state haven't been spread as much.


Nonetheless, the overall costs averaged across the two cars works out at 33p per mile which represents a saving of £325 over the same mileage covered in the modern - with the convenience of having two cars available and the fun factor of them being classics.


Speaking of the fun factor, quite apart from being waved and smiled at on the road, they've introduced us to the joys of classic car shows.  Maybe not everyone's cup of tea on the face of it, but having an excuse to go and sit somewhere doing basically nothing all day except relax and forget the modern world has a lot to recommend it!


This year's events have already kicked off with the Anglesey Vintage show at Henblas a couple of weekends ago and we're now starting to get things ready for the Rotary Club of Lichfield's Cars in The Park event at the start of July.  That's a full weekend of camping, relaxing and general socialising for the grand cost of £10 plus fuel and food.


Cheap motoring and cheap holidays - we're starting to wonder why everyone isn't doing it!

A small and completely unscientific survey

After my camshaft bodgeneering on Sheila over the weekend I thought it might be interesting to see what other classic owners' attitude to such work might be.

So I posted a poll on the three main classics site I visit asking people to vote whether grinding a cam journal to fit a damaged block bearing was:

(a) A complete waste of time

(b) A bonzer job


(c) They'd kill me if I ever came near their cars


Although the polls were left open-ended, the results have now settled down and, overall across the three sites, are:

(a) 11.4%

(b) 72.9%

(c) 15.7%


Clearly, a large majority of owners on those sites (who expressed a preference) appreciate the need to, sometimes, use ingenuity in keeping our cars running.  That result is backed up by some of the exemplary bodgeneering of their own that some other members of Retro Rides admitted to in their answers to the poll.

From welding cam lobes (been there, done that, thought I was the only one) to filling holed pistons with countersunk screws and using a screenwash pump to pump petrol after a fuel pump failure (not sure I would have thought of either of those!!!), the art of bodgeneering is clearly alive and well!

Curiously, while the Triumph Dolomite Club were slightly less sympathetic to this sort of repair,  Daf Owners were actually 100% behind it.  Maybe the willingness to try alternative solutions is in inverse proportion to the availability of spares for a given marque?

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