People are lovely, at least, the ones I know.

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So, this was going to be a whiny depressed post. A fed up rant at all things DAF shaped, at myself for my desire to run classic cars as daily drivers, at the world for frustrating me every time I think I’m wining. That kind of tedious thing.

Why is this? Well, because this weekend an awesome band of wonderful people descended on Slough to aid and abet me in my classic car and MZ fetish. Enablers, one might call them. They rock. Nikki and Kate and John I’ve known for many years and they are known lovely people. Kate has overlooked my initial poor first impression (If I’d’ve written to Points of View I’d’ve been ‘angry of Colerne’), and is incredibly patient for someone with no interest whatsoever in classic cars with her partner’s interest and my obsession and came to Slough for a day which would be both long and involve very little of interest to her (she was also awesome because she helped Kathryn out).

Nikki has been mentioned many times, respected EV advocate she may be, but there lurks deep in her soul a dark secret. She still likes classic cars, even if they’ve got an Internal Combustion Engine. And while she’s not quite into the quirky bizarritude of classics that I am (Is it Communist? Is it Obscure and impossible to get new bits for? I’m in!) – she gathered her cadre and brought forth a person who I’d only met once before who possibly wins in the awesome stakes, because he injured himself in the call of getting someone he barely knows mobile in a non-ev.

John, for long time journal readers is a known fine gent. I recall him ferrying me back home after I had my wisdom teeth removed and while I was still under the effects of a general anesthetic. Despite me living 45 minutes from Bristol by that time and the fact it was snowing, he took me home and looked after me for the afternoon. He came, he soldered, and he went. He rocks too.

But Adam, Adam perhaps wins for helpfulness beyond the call of duty. I met him once, and between him, Nikki, Kate and John I felt a pining for Bristol. They are all part of what makes Bristol such a good place to live, and his generosity is proof that good human nature is extant. He came and helped out for an entire day to assist in rebuilding someone’s car who he’d barely met.

Between them they bring ‘rocking’ to a whole new level.

So why the rant?

Well, while disassembling and reassembling the engine I discovered this:

cracked cylinder head

And the general response from the owner’s club was “you’d’ve noticed if it was a problem by now” – but let’s be honest, that relied on me actually doing my research properly, and I was slack. With the engine very hot it more or less runs on both cylinders, not well, but it does. Pulling the plug from either cylinder produced an engine that ran attrociously. I should, however, have done it when cold. Or looked at the plugs from both cylinders. When I stripped the engine I wasn’t certain how so much oil had ended up in the cylinder bore. I should have thought more about it.

We needed to move the Minor to extract the DAF from the drive. The minor wouldn’t start. I suspect that the fuel pump needs priming – two weeks of baking heat have presumably evaporated the fuel. That has never happened before, though, and was frustrating.

On reassembly of the DAF, on Saturday night, at around ten PM, the engine limped and dragged the car around at the speed of a sloath. It actually required people pushing the car to get it back up on the pavement. After the very unfortunate and expensive discovery that I was on an early shift yesterday, not, as I’d thought, a late (requiring in the end 2 taxis), I came back from work and looked at the car. John, from the club, suggested that the uneven running might be that it was still firing on one cylinder. It was.

Because the side with the cracked head? It’s full of oil. I can make the car run beautifully for about 30 seconds by cleaning the plug, after which the oil fouls it completely and that cylinder becomes a display only one. The car is not immobile, but not driveable. As I contemplated the rust that needs repairing, the miriad of problems it’s had (70k miles is not a huge amount, but I think the maintenance has left something to be desired) and my (perceived) manifold failures in decision making, I was feeling deeply frustrated.

I was feeling a little better today, having at least organised supply of a replacement head for not very much, but it wasn’t going to arrive for at least a week. I resigned myself to at least another week of hire cars, and prepared to go and collect the rental – and then couldn’t find my debit card. I swore and stomped around and cursed the world. Kathryn very sweetly put up with me, for reasons I can’t quite work out, rather than telling me to grow up, which is what I really should have done.

Having found it I went and collected the card, and came back to find an incredibly nice e-mail from another star of incredible proportions. A fine gent in Ireland offered to send me a spare 44 cylinder head, potentially such that it would arrive this week. Potentially enabling me to get the car back on the road at the end of the week. If I catch the colleague from work, the welding might be done, and lo, the DAF shall rise again. Hopefully I&A will ring soon with a “the car’s ready” message and all shall be right in the world. Ish.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.