Thursday, 17 September 2015

Riding the Mountains, getting her home ..

It's a funny thing.. you spend plenty of time preparing for an event and then it's all over so fast. Yesterday we returned home from what I can only describe as a truly epic event.. The Riley, 83yrs old, got us all the way down through France into Spain and over some very tricky mountains.. some 2500 miles! getting as high as up to 4700ft in the Pyrenees.

We certainly had our problems along the way, to include fuel tank holed (really can't prepare for that one!) blown fuses, suspension mods, fried wires, blown bulbs.. the usual and we took plenty of spares with us! .. mechanically she was just amazing, didn't miss a beat. She only over heated once, but we were up high! glad we fitted an electric fan with manual switch : )

tunnelling through the mountains in Spain

Most of the trip is was beautifully sunny, we did however his some torrential rain and thunder coming through France... Difficult driving with no windscreen! but again, proper preparation with wet weather gear is no different to riding a bike. The secret is to stay dry and keep dry.

Lots of other cars and bikes on the tour, to include Porsches, Morgan's and Jaguars..and some 50's bikes..

It's hard work navigating and driving, (and fixing stuff along the way) but that's the challenge. Would I do it again.. YES!!!  question is what car next?

Stay tuned.. the Riley gets a well earned rest and I get back to the Allard.. want to get this finished and fired up next! ..

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mountain men and technology

Over the weekend we drove the 700 miles down through France, Le Mans, Poitiers, Bordeaux and across the border to San high in the mountains touring some truly breathtaking scenery. 
Transmitting live data via Freescale equipment and IBM software, amazing technology in an 82yr old car!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Launch day! - Tour Begins..

One minute you have months ahead of you to plan, decide on jobs to do, modifications to make and how you would love the car to look and run.. The reality of it is, and I know full well from past experience, that things like (the other stuff in your life) and unforeseen issues with the car pop up and they intern create other unforeseen problems and issues that need resolving and reworking.

 ... if you haven't already done so, read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'  

Back in April when the car was purchased, we assessed was it a 'goer' for a 3k km tour? Basically we had a list of jobs to do and drew a line at a point where we knew our 'go point' .. We have managed to get well beyond the go point and so fingers crossed the car is in good shape and we are good to go!!

To amuse you these are some of the issues we had to deal with, most in the last week! No blaming, just sorting and shakedown..

- Flat inner tube on a brand new tyre and tube (faulty valve ripped)
- Tachometer cable snapped 
 -Indicators failed to flash correctly (incorrectly documented back to front Japanese LED flasher unit)
- wiring fry up to the back end, lost brake lights... Previous wire fire, rain shorted out circuit during 'wet testing'
Battery totally dry and failing , fitted new one (and taken spare)
Water temp gauge busted, fitted another one
Coil cooked, fitted a new one.

Carrying many, many spares, all sourced and working prior to storage. We have tried to get an much plug and play equipment as possible onboard. coil, distributor, belts, relays, fuses etc etc .. 

We have actually fitted carpet in the footwells! no not for any aesthetic reasons, purely to stop road grot and dust flying up through the wooden floor. You forget just how mucky roads are these days when in the confines of an everyday modern car.

Lots of Pics to follow as we get under way, heading for the cross channel ferry, Portsmouth to Le Havre.

wish us luck.. we will need it!!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fire up and running!

The past few weeks have seen more action on the car and we are now down to the last few 'easier' jobs ... This week we got the car running and out the barn, she sounded amazing and really is starting to look the part!

The front headlights proved to be a real pain and rather un-functional from a 'glow-worm' at best perspective. The hi-beam never worked properly also. What I did was rebuild the light clusters to accommodate very modern halogen bulbs (sorry purists, but safety in the mountains overrides originality!) .. and added a separate hi-beam switch to the dash. We now have amazing lights!

Bonnet straps - beautiful leather we've had custom made and we fitted them. We also made up some small 'stays' to stop the straps slipping down the bonnet. Side spares also fitted to the car : )

The larger 18" wheels fitted to the back, bit more chunky and look the part.

Next up, tonneau covers to be made and fitted to 'secure' the car, seats are now fitted and the floor bolted down! even looking at getting some carpet!.. more soon. testing on the road now begins...

Monday, 3 August 2015

Race to the finish/start

Only 4 weeks till the start of the Tour, and still plenty to do on the car. Just finished installing indicator lamps on the dash for fan, dynamo charge, hi beam and indicators. We all now have beautiful leather bonnet straps made at a local Horsey yard :) agricultural talent, all we need now are some horse brasses and a shire! 

We have also fitted the Aero screen which hopefully will give us a little more wind and bug in the face protection beyond flying goggles.

Next up, floor and seats go in, and a load of fiddly finishing jobs, then test it like mad for a few weeks and see how she runs!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Working like a loony!

This past month has been flat out working on the Riley ready for the tour in September.. Yesterday was quite an Epic day as we fired up the car and ran it for the first time, having made many mods, and additions to it.

We are feeling now like we may actually pull this off! This list of things done is amazing and still quite a bit to go, this shot showing is amazing newly painted wings, matching/restored wheels and beautiful Blockley tyres. Couple of spares to bolt on the side also..

Having got the car up on the lifter, we had a good going over under the car. I've practically rewired the whole thing, and cut out so much old burned rubbish wiring, I'm now feeling much more confident with what we now have onboard, to include... a battery cut off switch, 12v dash supply, Indicators!, and electric rad fan, hi-viz fog lamp, reversing lamp, etc.. at least everything works and works well : )

We have added, side mirrors, Aero screens and currently making a full size windscreen, the luxury! 
we made a rear lighting bar to mount the rear lamps onto. 

You can see here, indicators, reflectors, fog and reverse.. all side lights and brake lights etc all now work fine : )

on board, all the clocks now work!! fuel, temp, oil and Amps.. we even have a working rev counter! ... oven the horn now works!

Good lord, seats, and carpets .. coming up ...
Stay tuned, more to follow through August as we go for the final push to get her Tour ready... we leave on the 4th September for a 10 day tour right down through Spain....

Friday, 19 June 2015

Tour Graphics...

During the tour later this year I'll be posting updates as we hit the various stages and update via blog and twitter, so you can follow all the fun!

Meanwhile a ton of stuff arrived this week ready to fit to the car (some of it slightly modern) but we decided safety was a priority.. in an old car.. in foreign countries.. up the side of a cloudy hill with it hammering down with rain or snow! ... so ...

Indicators, Hazzard warning, 12v charger supply, fog lamp, hi-viz reverse lamp, reflectors.. you get the idea...

Earlier this week we whipped the front water system apart and replaced all the hoses and flushed the rad.. greased everything up featuring imperial and metric grease nipples.. never squeezed and imperial before!  

Front end looking good, wheels and tyres should be back this week and the wings all ready for a refit : )