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January 2007

Got my DL-32 datalogger replaced under warranty as channel 1 was unusable with an external input due to a manufacturing fault (3.5mm jack socket).

March 2007

In preparation for a season of motoring I gave the car a once over today

First jobs were replacing the brake fluid and transmission oil, which should both be done at two yearly intervals. I was surprised how discoloured the transmission oil had become, but there was only a tiny mushroom of wear debris on the magnetic drain plug. In contrast the brake fluid was still clean, though to be fair this hadn't been in the car as long since upgrading the rear brakes led to a part-change of the fluid.

I also replaced the spark plugs which looked pretty reasonable colour and condition wise but the gaps had increased. I also replaced the cardboard oil cooler hose on the DTM with a high quality silver silicon duct hose which looks much more appropriate.

The webasto heater I fitted works well but is a tad noisy so i'd bought a silencer and an inlet snorkel to try to quieten it down a little; I fitted these, mounting the silencer off of the front beam. (I'll add a photo).

Finally i'd never been happy with the light given off by the headlights (admittedly cheap and cheerful "made in India" units that came with my USA clear glass headlight units) so I replaced the 7" H4 units with some Wipac Quadoptic halogen units. You can see just looking at them that they are infinitely better optically.

Had an enjoyable Speedsters - the Club APM (Annual Planning Meeting) weekend (10-11th March), covering 220 miles including the "Pose of a Thousand Lakes... well, six at least"; The convoy of seven speedsters certainly disrupted Cheddar Gorge on the Sunday afternoon..... and my exhaust sounded fantastic on the climb, wide open throttle in 2nd gear...

The car ran faultlessly, though I need to raise my new headlights as they aim much lower than the old ones.

I also have seat envy and plan to replace my seats with those from an MX-5 thanks to Leslie's fantastic "new" speedster.

April 2007

I've now sourced a pair of mx-5 seats (from breakers PH sportscars in Derby, though their "next day" delivery took the best part of two weeks) and two hides of muirhead's mushroom leather with which to have them covered to match the rest of my interior. Chesil wanted £1175 for these ready trimmed and i've saved a little getting them done myself (same seat supplier, leather supplier, and trimmer). Now to justify that expenditure:

  • The MX-5 seat bases are closer to the floor, placing you lower in the car. As i'm 6ft 1in I find myself shuffling down in the seat to get below the windscreen with my current seats (the Astra GSi "dockside" seats used by Chesil for several years as their modern seat).
  • The MX-5 seats look more in keeping with the car; they're compact, with a thin backrest, and are narrower at the top (which also means the roof frame won't rub on them unlike the Astra seats). Yet they are more comfortable.
  • The MX-5 seat back is much more supportive at the shoulder (the back of the Astra seats are a strange shape and curve away at the shoulders) and headrest.
  • The angle of the back adjusts with a lever giving a single action to flop the seat forward for access to the rear seat (the Astra seats have to be rotated upright, which is a bit tedious)

Good Friday was the Surrey Street Roders 33rd "Wheels Day" at Rushmore Arena in Aldershot. I'd never heard of the show until earlier this week when a post was made on DDK's forum about it. As the forecast was good and the show was local we thought we'd give it a go.

We decided to get their early and show our car in the arena; Apparantly that was a good decision as the roads around the show became gridlocked during the later morning and were even closed by the police. There was a great selection of cars on display - hot rods, VWs, Americana, Classics, ...

See my photos of the more unusual here

The MX-5 seats needed their front mounting brackets straightening out in order that they would mount in the car - easily achieved with a foot long steel bar levered through the front mounting holes. After extracting the heated seat pads from my old seats and making a template of the floor carpets, I took the new seats down to David @ Autotrim along with a couple of replacement sections of carpet to be edge bound (the old seats runners were a wider track than the new ones and the old mounting holes in the carpet would have been visible with the new seats).

I recently gave the car its first ever really major clean. I also finally got around to tidying up the top of the side window tracks with a rubber moulding cut from a 3mm sheet of rubber.

The aluminium hubs had particularly oxidized and needed a good polish to make them look like chrome again.....

I tried Meguars three stage polish for the first time and other it actually being a four stage process (you need to shampoo the car too) I was impressed. FInal result below:-

Don't worry - the reason for this sudden cleaning obsession will become clear in due course!!

May 2007

David @ Autotrim turned the seats around in about 10 days and the resulting seats look fabulous - As per my previous seats I had the seams top stitched rather than piped.

Fitting the new seats was reasonably straight-forward. A spacer is required under the front mounts to ensure that the seat doesn't rub on the carpet as there isn't much clearance beneath. Final result is much more satisfactory than my previous seats.

Got the seats in just in time for the major speedster club gathering at Stoneleigh Kitcar show May Bank holiday weekend.

Had an enjoyable Stoneleigh weekend, staying at The Old Mill at Baginton on the Sunday night with a bunch of Speedsters - The Club members. The weather was somewhat iffy so I didn't end up taking many photos. Had the honour of co-judging the club concourse which was a difficult task but Leslie's 356 and Richard's 550 were worthy winner and runner-up.

There was a lack of 356's in the halls with just Thruxston Sports Cars exhibiting a Beck; No Chesil (Company is no more - but Tygan have now obtained the assets); No Intermeccanica; No Speedster on the Pilgrim stand. In the club area we were joined by a PGO and an announcement that a UK distributor is planning to create RHD versions of this 356 with a twist. Personally I think that the PGO is a much better bet as a day-to-day car with its modern running gear than a true replica.... especially for people who are drawn to the shape of these cars not realising that they are even replicas of a 1957 Porsche.

I think when I changed the spark plugs earlier in the year i managed to get the throttle linkage out of alignment. How you ask? Well I dropped a piece of spark plug boot within the shroud and had to remove the linkage, fan, and alternator to retrieve it. It clearly didn't go back exactly as it was as I noticed a temperature differential between the two banks on the long drive to Stoneleigh. Trying to get the EGT level between the two banks again (EGT not bein level means one bank is running leaner than the other, as the linkage is causing one of the banks to lead by its throttle being on slightly more) is proving to be a complete pain in the neck with the EGT either being unbalanced at idle, cruise, or fast cruise (motorway speeds). All this is temporary anyway, as fuel injection is coming.... (especially after these issues).

June 2007

For the first time we attended the VW Show at Stonor Park at the beginning of June. What a great event (helped by fantastic weather), packed with an amazing array of VWs. There was a great Speedsters club turn out, having met at Pishill just before hand in order to cruise into the show together. We entered the concourse (Pride and Joy) to be able to park together in the main field... and I was amazed at the end of the day to get runners-up spot in this category.

Please go to the photo gallery for lots of other pictures, here.

On the Stonor journey the EGT's were unusually high on the left bank at dual carriageway speeds so more evening tweeking followed to get the car to the Classic & Sports Car (C&SC) Action Day at Castle Combe circuit the next weekend. The result of the tweeking was even temperatures (finally!) but some popping on the overun.

For Castle Combe, we met fellow club members at Membury Services on the M4, for a cruise to the circuit. Our convoy of 6 cars causing somewhat of a stir on the motorway. Numbers were down on the previous year, when we had had a bumper turn out, but built throughout the day.

The C&SC Classic Cruise (A Parade of all the clubs attending the Action Day around the circuit) had become more like a rush-hour journey on the m25 last year (stop start!) so we gave it a miss this year. Instead we paid £15 for Parade Laps which were taken behind a pace car so that helments and long sleeves were not required. I remember these being fairly slow in the past but this year they let us get up to 70 mph on the main straight which meant the cornering speeds unnerved :) my passenger. But that was gentle....

Prior to the Parade Lap I'd decided along with Richard Lamin, who has a very nice 550 spyder replica, to take to the track in a full session (albeit we picked what we thought would be the slowest session type - pre-80's cars). My car was conservatively rated @ 100dB (the limit for the day) at the noise test and given a pass sticker (a rear engine & its mechanical noise not helping here).

We'd decided to drive conservatively as there were some idiots on the track, plus we had to drive home! I was amazed with how well the car handled around the track, only needing to change between 3rd and 4th on most corners, and reaching 95mph on the straight - the fastest my car has been, with the engine pulling strongly.

I must have been driving reasonably hard though looking at my scrubbed tyres afterwards.....

More pictures of Castle Combe can be found in the gallery, here.

Now it's late June and i've taken a week off work to upgrade my car to fuel injection. See the Fuel Injection section of the site for what is going on there.

August 2007

I didn't make the Goodwood Breakfast Club in the car, but did get it up and running for the Hampshire Pageant of Motoring a few weeks later. Haven't missed much this last 8 weeks or so given the awful summer we have had.

We had a turnout of 7 speedsters for the Pageant, with 4 of us cruising down from the M3 Winchester Services.