A Mostly British Obsession

Category: Rust Never Sleeps (Page 1 of 5)

My writing is as rusty as your sills

Clutch Finally Done on BSA

Well, after an adventure chasing parts, finding some NOS 70-year-old bits on shelves all over North America, and doing a bit of a bodge, the BSA is back together and (hopefully) ready for riding again. You can see the supervisor of this work is pretty unimpressed in the photo above, but what does he know? Inside are a bunch of parts pictures if you like that sort of thing!

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Mini Midas


My friend Jim showed up to the monthly south Whidbey car get-together in this Mini Midas, a car I’m not intimately familiar with. It’s an interesting period piece and definitely unusual.

Everett Luftwaffe

My friend Matt and I dropped by Paine Field on the 6th of August to watch the Flying Heritage Collection fly one of their Focke-Wulf FW-190s along with their Messerscmitt BF-109 for “Luftwaffe Day.” This video, in its short, shaky glory, was shot from my Canon S95 pocket camera, so keep that in mind when eyeballing it.

Odd Cheap Car Search is Fun

I’m looking around for a cheap car ($2500 or so) to share the driving duties with the F250 this winter–and I’m enjoying the search. The car will have to be just a little odd, of course, but I’m open to all sorts of machines. Here’s some cars I’ve been considering–I’ve been trying to be a bit more open than I normally am to non-British weirdness.

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2009 Kirkland Concours d’Elegance

Miss Bardahl Hydroplane

The cars on show at Carillon Point are there by invitation only–and the show tends to feature what the folks with real money would call “proper classics.” Truly a wonderful assortment of machinery, this year focusing on vintage Mercedes, “orphans,” classic hydroplanes and motorcycle/sidecar outfits. It was a treat to see these fantastic machines…I more or less took random photos, and there are a lot of them below.
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Biscayne Beached

1959 Chevrolet Biscayne

Most classic car enthusiasts have fantasies of finding a rare car while poking around the countryside–perhaps a Deusenberg sitting on four flat tires in a barn, or a “fuelie” Corvette waiting to be rescued in a carport. Heck, if we’re going to dream, maybe even finding one of the factory Jaguar E-Type Lightweight race cars in a suburban garage under a pile of boxes–but who am I kidding, that’s preposterous.

What I tend to find are cars like this decaying Biscayne, discovered in the woods on a piece of property we were considering a few years ago. (Needless to say, it’s still there.) The Biscayne was the bottom-of-the-line full-size sedan in Chevrolet’s 1959 line-up, though they aren’t often seen these days for that very reason. What struck me about this car was how very complete it is, glass aside. There are a couple of minor bits of trim missing, but otherwise it looks like it was driven to its current resting place–mind you, probably about 1979!

2009 Calendars: E-Type and XK Jaguars


xkedata.com (another of my empire of non-money-making web sites–a proud Roger tradition) is selling 2009 calendars featuring either XK120, XK140 and XK150 Jaguars or E-Type Jaguars. The monies raised (I get a slice off the top of the purchase price) help pay for hosting–I don’t typically sell many, but every one helps.

You can see all of the images selected (above is the January image on the XK calendar) on xkedata, or you can buy them from Cafe Press.

Photosynth of Flying Heritage Museum

Note: To see the item below, you have to have the photosynth plugin installed. You may be out of luck on a non-Windows machine, too, sorry about that–I’m just fooling around, here.

This was automagically stitched by photosynth, a Microsoft Live technology. I uploaded the photos from my visit to the flight museum, and it was able to put a few together. When it works it’s pretty neat, but some of the failures leave me scratching my head…not that software like this isn’t insanely complex, and it’s neat it’s available at all. But there are a few examples where the photos would seemingly be easy to stitch, and yet they’re not.

Anyway, if you can see it, enjoy.

The Amazing Mileage of Cars of Yore

Gas Pump by Flickr user cobalt123Being just a tad mental, I cruise craigslist almost every day to check out what might be for sale in their “ye olde English clunker” section. With gas prices what they are, copywriters are getting quite imaginative in their descriptions.

I have owned a number of MGBs, some good, some crummy, some with twin carbs, some with single Weber DGVs, and I have never, ever gotten much more than 27 MPG–on the highway. I’ll concede that a nicely tuned, overdrive-equipped car with a gentle driver could possible get somewhere in the low 30’s–again, on the highway. However, I now see ads touting 35, 40 and even 45 MPG from the Abingdon product, which is ridiculous. Heck, 40 MPG would be stretching it from a Mini 850 or an early Midget.

There’s an ad for a Jaguar XJR similar to the one I owned that suggests it’s “a powerful gas-saver.” Uh, sure. I got in the mid-teens from mine around town and no more than the low 20’s on the highway. I suppose compared to my F250 (about 10 MPG no matter what) that’s saving, but…c’mon. Are we all so used to driving giant SUVs that anything above 12 MPG is considered frugal?

Of course, the same folks who make up MPG figures like this also believe everything written in the laughable NADA Price Guides, which exist solely so state departments of licensing can rip you off when it’s time to transfer the title on your car. Hint: take the values in NADA and divide by two–that’s a good start; go down from there.

An older car whose surprising mileage claims you can believe (a little!) are 88-94 XJ6 (XJ40) sedans. They’re kinda crummy around town (17 MPG) but on the highway I achieved over 30 MPG on a very fast trip from Seattle to Eugene, Oregon. For a big, heavy luxury sedan, that’s pretty reasonable.

Thanks to cobalt123 for the use of the photo.

Most Ridiculous E-Type Advert?


What is the guy in the Jaguar doing? How many miles did he drive cross-country (with his five-inch ground clearance) to reach the lad he’s talking to? Did people really herd cattle in traditional dress through the 1960s? Where is this left-hand-drive car supposed to be? Africa? The Indian sub-continent? The Steppes? Argentina?

(If you look carefully at the car, it’s clear not all press cars were carefully vetted. The door fit is questionable, as is the bonnet. Makes it quite clear that most E-Types that are “show quality” are much better now than they were when new!)

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