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On the way back from yet another splendid Utrechtrit, in September 2009, the Wolseley's engine wasn't running too well. At irregular intervals there was some stammering and stuttering, independent of the revs. Fortunately, I managed to limp home and garage the car. After that, I either lacked the time or the courage (the weather turned very bad indeed with months of snow) to spend more than a few minutes in the garage. A new season is approaching so I finally came round to give the engine a closer look. After discarding my first thoughts (covering the most dramatic, then the most exotic, and finally the most improbable causes) I removed the distributor cap to check the rotor. The thing could be turned a full 360 degrees. Inspection showed that the notch that slides into a slot in de distributor shaft had almost completely vanished. It's still a mystery to me how that could have happened. Anyway, after an Internet search and making a few phone calls I could replace the defective rotor arm, and the engine resumed its usual smooth running. A spare rotor now has its fixed place in the car.
Rosmalen 2010, 21-03-2010
It was good to attend the British Cars & Lifestyle fair in Rosmalen again. Due to various circumstances I missed a few issues. A pity, as last weekend showed. Lots of Club members and even friends from Hamburg used the stand to discuss technical and non-technical stuff, many a visitor told Morris Minor related stories from years gone by, and we shared our passion with other club representatives. The Morris Oxford is hardly known in the Netherlands. Very often, when mentioning that model's name, I'm met with staring eyes. Amazingly two visitors of stand specifically made enquiries about the Oxford MO! Of course I strongly encouraged them to visit the website of the 6/80 & MO Club at www.680mo.org.uk.
A Wedding in Leerdam, 26-03-2010
The season has started well. We promised ourselves to take the cars for a spin on a far more regular basis than last year. Some time ago, Carina was approached by one of her colleagues with the request whether the Convertible would be available as a wedding car. Of course she agreed immediately, and last Friday was the big day. Unfortunately the weather forecast was terrible: lots of rain and a clouded sky. Not the ideal circumstances to drive a reliably but, let's face it, weekly powered vehicle, equipped with shallow wheels and tiny taillights, from Utrecht to Leerdam. So we decided on some backup. In the morning, I would follow her closely in the Mercedes, and in the afternoon I would drive down to the Glass City again, switch cars, and bring the MM back home well before the rush hour started. O joy! The rain stayed well South of us, and after a drive along fascinating secondary roads in a chilly morning, Carina was able to drive the happy couple with the hood down. They were thrilled with pleasure! Driving the car back was a real pleasure. Ok, it takes more than twice the time compared to taking the A2, but the B-roads along the river Lek offer stunning views, plus, of course, there is this ultimate feeling of driving this head-turning 1952 Morris Minor MM!
The last time I drove the saloon, was in August 2008. Of course the car has been on the road since, but driven by a friend. My own recollection of that 770 Miles drive is severely influenced by the terrible howl from somewhere near the differential. Usually, I enjoy a bit of gearbox or diff whine - a Wolsley 6/80 was once described by a motoring journalist as producing "the gearbox whine to end all gearbox whines" - but this was maddening. Having a differential refurbished is a costly affair: most garages stay clear of it, and the specialists know how to materialise their craftsmanship. Many phone calls and Internet searches resulted in a mild state of depression, until I mentioned my worries at a Committee meeting. The Club Secretary stared at me for a while, before he said that, of course, he still had a beautifully refurbished diff for a 948 engine, of no use to him. "Just say the word". So this Sunday was a remarkable day in two respects. It was my last AGM as a Committee member, standing down after 6 years, the statutory time. And Evert brought the differential. It looks stunning! My planning for the next few weeks prohibits any prolonged work on any car, so I'll have it fitted by my favourite garage. More to follow!
Lage Vuursche, 18-04-2010
Despite the fact that a volcanic eruption in Iceland has been making air traffic impossible for a few days, the weather was splendid. A real invitation to take the MM for a spin. So we decided to have lunch in Lage Vuursche, and we certainly weren't the only ones. Among the visitors was the owner of an impeccable Messerschmitt KR200. A pity I didn't meet the driver. On the other hand a well known phenomenon occurred once again: when leaving the car park, a man came over running towards the car and, all smiles, told us how pleased he was to see a Morris Minor: it was his first car in the early 70's!
The new diff is now in place, and fortunately the terrible howl has completely disappeared. These days I was afraid that the noise had a different cause, but spending a bundle on a new diff apparently payed off. But when the repair was being carried out, the exhaust showed some alarming holes. The thing was beyond repair so a new one was called for. I opted for the stainless steel version. The sound takes some getting used to, but if the stories about the longevity of these modern exhausts are true, I'll happily tune in to a different tone.