Monday, June 30, 2008

Show far? - show Good!

Well we're back from a top time at Moffat, two days away in the Borders, including a night in the van with the kids. On the Saturday, there was a 40 mile road run in the gorgeous surrounding countryside.

Megan checks out a Roller

Gridlock Moffat style

Alternative way of dealing with the showers

Picnic break by the loch truly beautiful surroundings

French kissing

The really nice thing about this show is that outside the main events - the whole of the town in taken over by classic car enthusiasts, the every car park has an interesting car in it. Tucked up next to moderns, and it looks like the show is good for the town too. Every hotel and restaurant was booked up!

On the Sunday, we moved Jessica to the main field where we met Martin and his family. Martin is a veritable font of knowledge on Commers and currently has 12 of them - including some uber-rare examples such as the last known Commer TV detector van. He brought 2 really nice examples, a late 60's Autosleeper and Dodge Post office engineers van.

We joined the line up to make a total of 5 Commers (Jessica was the least tidy one!). It was really nice just chill in the van (keeping out of the rain) and chatting to the passers buy. Lots of people were keen to have a nosy inside and there where lots of stories about how they used to have vans when they were young.

One guy told me how he used to have a Bedford camper. He had it for 50 years - took it to Australia for 10 years, then came back to Scotland where it was burnt out in a fire at the garage he was using. He has never been able to bring himself to get another. He was showing a push bike - the one he used to deliver meat for a butcher when he was 14!

The marina club ere out in force as usual with a really nice line-up including the dukes of hazard coupe.

One of the earliest Morris Minors - circa 1948 (note the 4" fillet in the bumper)

Yummy sunbeam rapier - next purchase?

2.5% of the entire Hunter Tiger production - Rory not impresed

After all this I was inspired, after the last post, the phone lines have closed, the votes (vote) have (has) been counted and I can announce that ....

.... Molly will be thrown together for an MOT and finished off on the road! I would just like to than my loyal reader for making this competition such a winner. I couldn't have made the decision without you - Alex.

- so I've just been out and put Molly's last door back on - we're getting there!

All the door fittings need to go on, as do the catches etc. The doors also need a lot of tweaking, but they are both on which should avoid them getting damaged as they are moved around the garage. Will we be going to Moffat with Molly next year?

Lets hope so!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A little update

By way of inspiration (and a nod to Alex) here's Molly's todo list. I have a few days booked off work next month when DJ is off doing stuff, so I'm going to be at home looking after the kids, which may give me a chance to get some of this stuff done.

So if there is anyone out there - I value your opinion, should I get the paint spot on and do a proper restoration, or just bolt her back together as she is and enjoy whats left of the summer?

Press your buttons ....
.... NOW! (well at least hit the comment link at the bottom of the post) or email me

* lots and lots and lots of rustproofing - on its way
* carpets in
* seats in
* headlining in
* sort wiring
* screens in (almost forgot that one!)
* refit drivers door
* rebuild doors (winders etc)
* fit new wheels
* fit rear wing properly
* flat the paint - ongong
* install the towbar - LATER
* install towbar electrics - LATER
* paint the rear wing - LATER
* seal the guttering
* paint the guttering
* ..and the doors
* install the fuel tank
* dash bits in
* bonnet on
* replace the loom
* get the engine running
* stick the back bumper on
* fit the wings x2
* refit the rear door
* add lots and lots of soundproofing

Little Miss Moffat

This weekend is the annual classic car show at Moffat it is touted to be the biggest Rootes event in the country (if not the world). Its going to be big. The event includes a road run on Saturday (closing the main street for 1 1/2 hours) and a Ceilidh in the evening. The main show is on the Sunday with an anticipated 300 + cars.

The Mrs is going to be busy on Saturday, so I'm taking the kids on my own, and to be honest I'm really looking forward to it. I don't get much time alone with the kids as I'm usually working from early in the morning, and they are pretty much ready for bed by the time I get home.

I know parenting isn't all fun fun fun, but the kids are growing up super fast and I really want to give them things they remember for ever. This seems to be a recurring theme on CommerVanFan, people are buying vans to relive and rekindle the fun they had when kids. It just goes to show that this hobby isn't just about getting mucky and fixing stuff, its enjoying history making history and being part of life.

In other news, it was DJ's birthday this week and so she's going to be off learning to rollerskate while we're away!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The longest day

Last weekend saw the Morris Minor owner's club national rally - the 60th anniversary of the marque no less, so we decided to pop along. Now it was being held this year at Stanford Hall which is 350 miles from our home in Scotland.

So off we set - I couldn't get the day off work (big user meeting you see) so we began our big journey at 6:15 on the friday night. Our initial destination was my mum's house just outside Burton - on - Trent.

Our second stop (still in Scotland!) was at a services near the border. We found a really nice pair of vans, a mk1 Transit camper complete with graffiti/murals and a nice little splitty. One of which had a duff alternator and they were busily changing the batteries over.

Classic vans out in force

I discovered that the best technique for comfort, fuel consumption and my nerves was to find a lorry (with plenty to read on the back) and to sit behind it, all very good until....

... the lights went out. Or more correctly the little red light on the dashboard came on, then all the lights went out. We found ourselves at Charnock Richard services on the M6 at 11pm in the dark. A very nice man came, went and came back again to tow us to our destination.

Megan waits for the AA man

Dig that rake!

So as the sun came up, Jessica was unloaded and it was time for bed - at 4 am.
Early morning delivery

The next morning saw a frantic search for an alternator and thanks to the guys on CommerVanFan, lateral thinking and a big dollop of luck, we ended up with a new alternator (from Halfords of all places!).

By saturday afternoon we had completed the short hop to the rally - mission successful!

All worth it in the end

Saturday night saw the big celebration party lots of baloons and booze and a good time had by all!

Understandably we were rather tired so hit the sack tired and happy. Not before meeting up the MMOC webforum guys who seemed to be having a top time in Rodger_Rust's trailer tent

Sunday morning gave us just enough time for a quick trot round the cars, there was a very good turnout with some really interesting cars.

The kids enjoyed the very funny RapideBrothers whilst I had a quick autojumble.

... then back in the van for the return epic journey.

3 stops, too many gallons of petrol and we were finally home! A fun weekend all in all - very tired, but we'll give ourselves a bit longer next time!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Big weekender

This weekend we're off to the Morris Minor Owner's club National Rally. As a proud owner of a morris minor, I feel its my duty to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of my favourite car. Its a shame Molly won't be there, but we're taking Jessica instead so that should be fun.
Speaking of fun, I wonder how everyone will cope with the 300 mile trip on friday night from from just outside Edinburgh to the Midlands? I've been stressing about this for a few days, what if we break down? What if the fuel consumption is really high? etc. etc. We could just take the Skoda and the tent? Well thats just not the point is it? Its about being out and about in an old car. Seeing how well it goes and fixing it if goes wrong. Thats the hobby, not getting there in full comfort, like you have traveled half the distance.

Thats why I love old cars - whether it works or not its fun and I'm a winner!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brucy bonus

Today was the Robert the Bruce Festival in Dunfermline so we popped along with the Commer. This annual celebration of the fearsome Scottish king is a fun day out. Lots of battle re-enactment, people in medieval clothes, falconry demonstrations.

Scattered showers kinda spoilt the day, but it meant we could nip off early to my mate Gordon's house for a cup of tea and let the kids run off a little steam. Gordon used to have a camper van and kept a few bits when he scrapped it. Including the sink unit! Well its mine now ..

I won't use it as it, but I'll fit it where the original one isn't. The good thing is its really small, so shouldn't take up too much space.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do something new today

Getting to the ripe old age of 35 means that time kinda flies by without you noticing. Well occasionally I do notice and wonder what has been going on. A couple of kids and a beautiful wife are major milestones, as are a couple of classic cars; but what else has changed? Have I learned anything? Well today I did.
I've been into classic cars forever and enjoyed playing with them and learning how to fix them. Being brave enough to fix the brakes was a big moment. As was learning to weld. Well today the milestone was much smaller, but still a milestone.
I have been in the process of fixing up the rear corner to refit the bumper. I had ordered some fasteners from Pugh and Sanders but unfortunately I got the dimensions wrong. In order to rectify this, I bought a die from ebay, and learned how to use it. I've never had to do this before because of the family connection, so this is a new thing.

set up the die

screw in the bolt

hey presto - I don't know what all the fuss was about!

A nice new bumper - firmly fastened in place.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'it it wi' an 'ommer

When I was a kid doing work experience, I spent a week at my mate's dads company INA automation in Birmingham. Mostly I did filing and general office work, but I did get to look round the workshops where they created the most wonderful pieces of machinery, mainly for production lines. Ones of these things was destined for the Body Shop. It was a system for putting the lids on the special re-usable Body Shop bottles. As everyone knows these things only go on properly when the receive a short-sharp-shock to the top of the lid, so my suggestion was to 'it it wi' an 'ommer (Brummie for "Hit it with a hammer"). I don't know whether the final system used this method, but it has been a bit of a mantra for me in later life - especially when it comes to enjoying older cars.

Tonight I was mostly smacking a bit of metal to look a bit like a Commer

Best to paint the inside before hiding it away. I know lots of the paint will be burnt off when it gets welded in, but its better than nothing.
And Molly even got some attention - check out the new door!

And then the heavens opened...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hitchin a ride.

When at car shows, one must have transport. Now the VW kids like to do this with an old skool chopper or a bmx. I'm old and I'm not very scene so I just got a second hand halfords BMX off ebay. This is (like many things I do at the moment) intricately linked into things I had (or more precisely didn't have) when I was a kid. Yup the youth club discos, the local lads from the estate impressing the chicks with their Mongooses (Mongeese?) and I only had my Grifter...

Now those other kids will be laughing on the other side of their faces...

getting air - Grifter style

If I was 14 that would be my girlfriend on the back - I'm not so its my baby son

as my mother said - it will all end in tears

All pretty again...

Nearside rear quater looking all pretty again. (Note the not quite Commer van white - and the disturbing lack of a panel joint!)

A little bit of chopping on the other side while the neighbours were out.

Should I ebay these genuine Commer holes?

Applied a some magic stuff from BiltHamber - Hydrate 80. Looks blue, goes black and kills rust!

Rory wanted to help today, but Mummy wouldn't let him have the hammer.