Monthly Archives: June 2007

Soggy weekend with ROJ

Boy did it rain!

I was in the barn when it started on Saturday – taking the fuel pump out of the scrap car – within minutes I was up to my ankles in water, and had to stand on a bucket. Malcolm’s MGA had the water lapping round it’s wheels.

I got several small, but very necessary jobs done on ROJ. The beauty of having the body off is that fitting things like the new fuel system is so much easier.


Here’s the new fuel pump. New fuel hoses come from Holden.

I have ordered some very expensive water-resistant sound proofing from Woolies  to replace the jute felt that surrounded the fuel tank – the old stuff just soaks up water and then holds it next to the metal – resulting in large rusty holes in the old fuel tank.

Still haven’t fitted the rear bearings and universal joints.


I will complete that job once I’ve got the drift for the bearing seats and the new brake discs from Davron.

Roll on July, the nearest and dearest is away – so this mouse will certainly get plenty of playtime with his toy!!


Where there’s a will

Phew!  Have I been busy recently – and with the new PM set to announce his new bunch of camp followers on Wednesday and Thursday – I can see little let up.

We were all disappointed in the office when the demolition of the tumble-down building in Dean Farrer street didn’t happen – we were all waiting with baited breath and primed cameras – building must be stronger than the surveyors first thought.

Broken building

Here are a few bikes that got in the way of two storeys of building

Battered bikes

And all this in the neighbourhood where the Persuaders’ Lord Brett Sinclair had his London flat….

One sharp eyed member on the AMOC forum spotted this car for sale ad

The car is parked in Queen Annes Gate, just the other side of my office outside the building used on TV for Brett’s pad.

Going North

My trip to Finland was hard work. Three days of meetings with government and industry. The Finns do like their Powerpoint presentations, loads of stats, loads of graphs – half the time I had no idea what they were talking about! There was a great deal to learn – Finland is certainly well ahead in environmental technology and implementing environmental directives.  Not sure I’m too comfrtable with them building another nuclear powerstation though.  But as they said “Better on our soil and in our control than on Russian soil.”

Their Minister of Environment Paula Lehtomaki was very charming – but I was quite amazed that given their geographical position they are putting all their effort into climate change mitigation and ignoring adaptation… When all that ice melts Finland is in for a dunking.

Nigel Ellway and Paul Lehtomaki - Finnish Environment Minister

As well as all the heavy debate we also got to see some really cool stuff. There was a fellow who had developed a heat generating plant for small communities using forest waste as fuel – he would have dearly liked to generate power as well but the cost of new plant was prohibitive. We heard all about Neste Oils clean fuel technology and their second and third generation biofuels… Why can’t we do things like that in the UK? We went round a HUGE paper mill – full of lovely big machines, and we visited a washing machine company.

Washing machines…? Yes. For Jumbo jet engines. How brilliant is that. Finnsonic make sodding great machines for ‘a british manufacturer’ to dunk their plane motors in…

And lastly – my all time favourite. We got to play with a logging machine. The Finns have a very far sighted approach to logging their forests – they are their most important asset. This little machine trundles through the woods picking out individual trees and leaving most standing. It cuts, strims and chops the tree into logs while measuring and weighing them. the data is then sent by satelite to the office so that all timber can be tracked and traced from source to final usage.

Yes, yes., but what about CARS…?

– I managed to sort my travel arrangments to arrive in time to go to the Classic car show in Turku before all my meetings – and boy did I go in style

….but that’s a story for another day. I have a couple of neat video clips to load first. 


And now… The pro-blog!

Normally I wait until I have done interesting things (Well I think they’re interesting.) and then write about them here.

But the next couple of weeks are going to be so hectic I don’t know when I’ll get chance to write it up – so I’m going to tell you in advance.

 This weekend I was hoping to be able to fit the new Hardy Spicer universal joints that I’ve just bought from Davron (Hardy Spicer is in fact an Australian company – so our favourite cars are running around on Australian technology. Bonzer!). Instead I shall be flying to Helsinki for a series of meetings on energy production and climate change.

We are meeting the Finnish Minister for environment and the CEO and chair of Neste Oil (I always enjoy meeting Neste Oil – they have a Sauna off their boardroom, how very civilised.)

Frustratingly, this weekend is the biggest classic car event in Finland – but the logistics for getting there are a nighmare – it would mean flying early on Sunday morning to Turku, but the only flight I can find gets in at 2 pm when the whole thing finishes…

Before going to Helsinki I have to get several briefings written, draw up plans for ministerial engagement at the Royal Show, attend the CLA summer party this evening, take the nearest and dearest to a Cuban Caberet, visit the physio about the pains in my arms (see heart attack scare below), and generally get myself organised. Then I can think about planning my next trip to the Farm.

Ironing out the bumps 

And the next trip to the farm will involve fitting the new rear suspension dampers, fitting the new UJ’s and brake discs and having another go at the rear bearings.

We actually make things…!?

Interesting article in the FT this week – where do you think the UK comes in the top 100 manufacturing nations? Where do you think the USA sits? and China?

Are we at the bottom? middle perhaps? Is China number one?


USA is number one, China is at number three – and we… getting back up after falling off my perch… are at number six!

So I know Aston Martins are a key part of our manufacturing and exports, but we obviously make other stuff too. Cool! Swells with patriotic pride. 


From Venice to Whitby

It was our 20th wedding anniversary last week. As we had spent our honeymoon in Venice we decided to go somewhere equally romantic and exotic.


It were Grand!

We drove up the A1 for some way in convoy with a fabulous black 1920’s Tim Birkin style Bentley – couldn’t get a decent photo of it though.

Whitby Abbey the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was beautiful – and the day we visited there was a War of the Roses recreation – with knights in armour, bowmen and soldiers of foot, with all the associated train of wives and camp followers – marvelous stuff!

I got talking to a couple of chaps who actually make the armour and weapons – unfortunately the orginal method of making the armiour has been lost to history as it was never recorded – but they do their best – using forge welding in a far more artistic way than I handle a MIG welder.

not a mig weld anywhere

A week of fossil hunting, walking the moors, looking in shops, visiting Grand Houses and eating of Yorkshire teas then followed.

On our last day we stopped at a village called Thornton-le-Dale to visit a really superb private motor museum – The North Yorkshire Motor Museum owned and run by David Mathewson.

Old cars - my favourite!

Inside the museum is a real jumble of old cars and memorabilia – including an Aston Martin DB6 mk2

and one for Malcolm… A rather strangely coloured MGA.

In their shop they have a whole host of classic cars for sale, including this AMV8

The chassis number is only 16 away from ROJ – so they could well have both been on the factory floor at the same time. The museum vist neatly ended a splendid week – I can heartily recommend North Yorkshire during summer for some terrific top down motoring over the moors.