Molly is a 1920s/30s BSA 3 speed stepthrough pushbike, she’s my main commuter at the moment.
Despite only having 1.5 functioning gears (she’ll sometimes give me second, depending on her mood), brakes that scare the beejeezes out of me when wet (or at least fill me with that ‘fuck, I’m not going to stop’ sensation), I adore her. She’s awesomely comfy, chatters away to me quietly, and is delightfully archaic.
We currently have Rebecca, my 1969 Morris Minor… the trans atlantic minor. When we emigrated, we shipped her over from the UK…
I’ve owned Rebecca a very long time. She’s been ruined by a garage once, then restored by Jonathon and Co of JLH Minors. There’s so much to say about her, and also not a lot. She’s just a Minor, but she’s my Minor and I very much enjoy driving her. Not to say she couldn’t be improved. Anyhow.
Gone, but not forgotten:
Having spent a lot of time debating and considering, and a very long time with a spreadsheet and all the bank statements, invoices, and receipts for work on the car, petrol, trains, other transport costs we came to the stunning realisation than running an EV would be so much cheaper than running the Volvo that it was unreal.
Hence we ended up being the first on our block to own an EV. Again.
Have to say, we love her. She gets us where we need to go quietly, smoothly and in comfort. And is so cheap to run it’s just insane.
Amy’s an Austin 1300 bought to cover transport while I convert Rebecca to an EV. She’s somewhat of a rarity, I think there’s around 400 of them left, or something sad like that. She’s also been tweaked to have the engine and autobox out of a 1982 Metro – creating something that never existed, I think, a 1300 Automatic. She needs some TLC, the previous owner having done hideous, hideous things like painting the rooflining with white paint, and using mastic to fill in the dash cracks. But she drives well and the hydrolastic suspension really does allow you to float on fluid :)
The bike, which I’m tempted to call Milly (but she’s not mine, so I can’t) is a similarly ancient Raleigh:
I bought this for my wife and discovered it was in much worse state than I’d expected. But I’m a woman of my word, so I paid the e-bay fee and brought her home and pondered how to fix her. A new front wheel, some careful lubrication, and a lot of hide feed, and gallons of green paint and she’s servicable if not particularly attractive. I just need to fix the shifter cable and she should be in service… and then I realized that the head was slightly bent. I ended up giving her away when we emigrated.
Hugo, a 1989 Yugo 45a. Parked upsidedown.
Nina, a 1983 Golf GL. Had an obscure and modified engine, went like stink. Given in lieu of rent to a friend who then abandoned her in a car-park after the battery died. Presumably scrapped.
Brick, a 1971 Vauxhall Viva. Hideously unreliable, broke down more often than he ran. Ended up being sold off to a Viva fan, hopefully treating them better’n he did me.
A pair of DAF 44s, who’s names currently escape me. Loved these, they were awesome. Sadly I could never get them to run right. One of them broke down in Belgium, which, it turned out was a mixture of the mixture being wrong and our local garage assembling the clutch incorrectly.
Chester, a 1989 Volvo 340 GL. Delightful car, but eventually hit that point where he’d require major TLC time, or would end in utter unreliability. Shame, because he was ace.
The Enfield 8000. This 1970’s EV wonder never ran when we had him. I got him from my mum after it was flooded out, which was a terrible shame because it was an awesome car. Now resurrected as The Flux Capacitor by Jonny.
The G-Wiz. Again a bit of a disaster, this was my mum’s after a transient period in my hands. The charger on it turned out to be duff and it killed the batteries. The new, expensive set of batteries. Quickly.
The Prius. A Gen 2 Prius with a *lot* of miles on the clock and a past life as a builder’s car. Did exactly what Toyota said it would, a lot of miles on not that much petrol (but rather a lot of oil).
The Bikes – currently all ex-fleet too :(
I’d wanted a GT550 forever. So I got one. A non-runner that had sat for a year in someone’s garden. With some help from John, some new wiring, a new battery, a service and a new clutch, a lush bike was born. She is a delight, unfortunately, she was a toy.
See, I now cycle to work. It takes me at worst the same amount of time, and at best less time to cycle to work than to take the motorbike or the car. It’s fairly reliably quicker to cycle. So the motorbike sat, and sat, and sat. And sadly with no excuse to keep her, she was gone via e-bay.
When I get money I’ll entirely replace her with a Zero or something similar. :)
Charlie was Charlotte, named after the pirate Charlotte De Berry – she had to be a pirate ‘cos her number plate ended ‘YAR!’. Well, perhaps there’s no exclamation mark. Charlie, being incomplete when I got her, was to be built from the remains of Claire (the evil), and Charlie, and a couple of other bikes along the way depending on what breaks. She was a spectacular disaster. I never got her to run very well, although I used her for commuting for a while. She left me stranded (as did the AA) for several hours in freezing cold temperatures (it was snowing). And then she got stolen-and-dumped. I retrieved her and gave her away…
Claire was and is the most evil and potentially the most unlucky of bikes. A J Reg ETZ 251, she was sold to my ex as a spares bike. She’d sat unloved in a garden for 3 years and siezed solid. She gave her to me when she bought an ER-5, for which an ETZ 251 was not terribly good at providing spares. By a careful process of tipping plusgas down the bore and rocking her back and forth she was unsized, the few stolen parts replaced and she took an MOT which she…failed. Then she attempted to dump me off on a corner. She passed the next MOT though, although she sounded ‘a bit rough’. The tyres were changed for non-rock-solid-Turkish ones, and I rode her about 12,000 miles. By this time, 3rd which had been absent at the beginning was feared permanently deceased; the engine sounded like it was filled with spanners, and 4th gear had started wandering off. Here’s an action shot…
Uh hu. Broken down. This is the way she spent most of her life. Electrics failed. Gearbox failed. Carb fell off. The alternator expired. She went off to have her engine rebuilt. The newly rebuilt engine siezed… on the motorway… in the rain. She was recovered, the engine was rebuilt again. The clutch came off the taper. I put the clutch back on the taper. The bottom of the frame rusted out and the footpegs fell off. Third gear’d wandered off somewhere dark and cool again, so the engine went off to be rebuilt and I got Charlie (in bits) to rebuild one *good* bike from two duff’un’s.
Rebecca mog was beginning to show the rather painful signs of being hideously abused (she’d racked up some incredible number of miles as I was bikeless). So, when I was offered a rattly-top-ended, 51k kms, Kanuni ETZ 251 for 45 quid, well… How could I say no? She’s been used up until a few months before I bought her, but when I got her home she sounded ratterlier than I thought when I looked at her. A new speedo drive, a new fork seal, a new speedo cable and new mirrors and she clattered through her MOT and for the next few kms until…well, it became apparent that she had a major oil problem. One of the engine seals had failed and lo, the engine was slowly wearing itself to death.