Being still some years under 50 and taking my first car engine apart when 12 there was already at a young age interest in the automotive. Especially in the ‘old’. When I was 15 years old I restored my first moped and that was also the first introduction with sandblasting, 2 pack paint and rechroming. All what involves restoring. At that time the plastic scooters became popular but my daily transport had to be at least 25 years old and should have a metal chrome fueltank. Some more were restored and an old two stroke Suzuki motorbike. That first moped and that Suzuki I still have.
When I was 18 and a bit drunk on a girlfriend’s birthday party I bought my first car. I was planning to restore a Lancia Fulvia what my favorite was at that time. The family was going to move and the girlfriend’s brother had a project car in the garage and the new house had no garage so the car couldn’t move with them. With a beer in the hand looking at a yellow four door car with a wooden dash. Triumph Dolomite? Never heard of it. Triumph does only make those Spitfires?
People holding my beer and I sitting in that car and hearing the price and seeing what spares went with it it was a quick buy. The next morning I was remembered that I was the new owner of that yellow car and it should move quickly out of the garage so I did.
Half way during the restoration of the yellow car being 19 and already into Dolomites and knowing there were also 16v versions I started collecting. Towing all local Dolomites out of sheds, relieving a local Rover dealer of two Dolomites that he traded in 10 years ago. I’m not an Alun Nicholas but a good second I think. Then I realized I didn’t actually knew how such a Dolomite did drive. Maybe I was enthousiastic with something what I actually didn’t like driving at all.
Still at school and a friend at school did work on Saturday’s at a petrol station. He said every Saturday there’s an old guy filling up such a car you have I think. I said have his number so I maybe can arrange a meet and maybe have a drive so I do know what car I’m restoring. There was a meet, the man was an ex BL dealer, worked at a restoration company mainly restoring and maintaining Healey’s and other British cars. Me being very interested in all that the meet ofcourse was at that company, had a drive and an internship adress. Three years later I was already restoring cars and repairing Healey gearboxes and overdrives there and another two years later I was the workshop manager there.
The drunk car buy, a Dolomite had caused professionally a move upwards. But also the other way around. There was an unused part in the building what became Dolomite Paradise according my collegues there. A production line in restoring Dolomites. My own Dolomites, Dolomite friends’ Dolomites, club members etc. My boss was very British car minded ofcourse and didn’t mind. The more welding I did on Dolomites the better and more experienced I became also on ‘his side’ of the building. I believe on the Dolomite Facebook page is or was the main picture a yellow Dolomite with a black bonnet in a watersplash or something. That is a Dolomite still going strong what I did restore there about 25 years ago.
7 or 8 years later I was ready to move on. Smelling the whole day as a cutting disc or as a reardiff wasn’t my thing anymore. The Gallery Aaldering in Brummen was the new place. One of Europe’s largest classic car seller, about selling 350 classics a year. The first year as a mechanic and the next 9 year as the workshop manager. There were two of these, the planning one and the technical one and that was me. Deciding how to repair, which mechanic for what job and solving the interesting things. Solving, mechanical issue’s, electrical issues, taking exotic engines apart, made or have made parts. One day it was a Ferrari 250 with engine issue’s the next day a Ford from 1932 that wouldn’t shift gears and the other day a Beetle that wasn’t running properly. The whole day classics and exotics. Not changing pads and welding exhausts but the creative. Solving running issue’s running issue’s and running issue’s. Carbs and ignitions all day long. Finding parts all over the world. You see a lot of parts and know a lot of parts and for the creative that was also convenient. For me it was easy to identify and know part A from car B will maybe fit and work also in car C replacing unobtainable part D. Don’t tell any further but there are some Ferrari 250 engines running with Suzuki Alto piston pins… One of the other benefits was it was about 55km’s from my home. At that time I drove daily with a LPG injected 1850 and had managed almost 300.000km in those years. The other km’s were testdrives to and from home and those I do miss the most. Once or twice a week with a Ferrari to home or a DB5. You name it. Drove them all and for the kids at school it was totally normal mine were brought to school by dad in some loud old car sitting both on one seat as there were no rears. After half a year working there you didn’t realize anymore that the car where you are bending over a frontwing is 5 times the worth of the house you live in. It was fun to work there and also free for personal stuff. Saturday’s, evenings and even in Boss time when on the trip to work something fell off the Dolomite and had to be repaired before being able to drive home safely again. They had their own transport. Buying a Dolomite in the otherside of the country was no issue and was being picked up by the transport when in the area.
What was the plus side became the downside after 10 years. The drive home in traffic was alway’s around an hour or slightly longer. First one kid, then two kids, arriving home at almost kid bedtime wasn’t ideal so something closer to home. And it was. I was already renovating an old house and in the village I was going to live there was a new Supercar manufacturer. 5 minutes from my new home. When having the first contacts there they had a lot of problems with the prototype and were finding someone to solve. They were starting the production of the first production car but a lot of things weren’t solved yet. When I told wiring was a hobby of mine I instantly had the job. The prototype was a mix of all, losts solder tin, heatshrink and tape. The average kitcar using the donor’s harness was neater than that prototype.
The first thing was designing the harness. Finding all connectors and terminals fort he various parts. Deciding what parts had to go on. What fuel pump? Where do the brakelines go? How long will the flexihoses be? Where to fit? What heatermotor? What wipermotor? All the non designable parts on a car I was responsible off. Sometimes I hammered and welded a certain part or bracket and brought it to the engineers when you make a drawing of this part as it is now it can go in production. The prototype had for example some trouble with the brakes. It had EBC yellow stuff fitted. One engineer had found these by Google and it should be ok and special quality. My experience was/is that EBC are toy pads in any colour and after fitting decent Ferodo DS UNO pads the wheels could sqeek under the car when stopping and the engineer sitting next to me hitting his head against the windscreen for the first time. That practical thinking and knowing what part to use for what system they were missing there. Walking over scrapyards colecting a few wiper motors with linkages and electric window machanism’s for recent cars what might fit trying what did fit and was the most suitable. Day’s of testing at tracks and finally fort he type approval. I even managed to use Dolomite bonnet buffers as.. bonnet buffers. I was realy free in my doing there as problems had to solved and what I did think what would work I could try and test. All was new, a new car so no example to look at how something should be.
I was setting up the warehouse for parts. Boxes and bins and giving parts the numbers. The first production car was also finished in the meantime and I made a lot of pics during the build and was making a build manual so a future employee could make a car with a pile of parts and the manual.
Unfortunately I didn’t work there that long and left when the next two other cars had their start of build. The company had one problem and that was the owner. You can’t send him at home and after a lot of arguments I did quit. The main engineer had the same visions and went also. For example the owner couldn’t even drive properly on a track. We suggested a race course so he could show the capabilities of the car to future buyers but he thought that was nonsens. Not needed. A lot of these small issues became one big one. The main engineer was from Spyker so knew how things had to be done to design and produce a new car and all things around what were involved. One year later the company was stopped. There is still some guilty feel about that far away in my mind because me and the engineer leaving was the cause. The only two who exactly knew how and why of that car weren’t working there anymore. We left our notes but with mine I could understand as these were mainly reminders but not actual data. There was still a lot in our heads and not on paper yet. I had notes to produce a wiring harness and all connectors etc and wiring lenghts and colours to have me made the looms from that data but an actual total wiring diagram i didn’t made yet. For another person it was not possible to make a harness form these notes. It was a different job what I had done before but a lifetime experience.
So in all those years I did see it all and experienced it all. Seen other man’s bodges from all over the world at imported classic, lost wheels, drove cars on fire, teflon brakehose popping out of their unions at these home made goodridge stuff, no brakes, stuck throttles, loosing screens, you name it. Glad to be still alive.. I think half a year of the total of 10 years at The Gallery was driving the road agian after the test drive hoping to find most of the lost parts again.
After the supercar experience i was welcome at The Gallery again but the driving distance was even more from the new house and I decided not and started my own business. Making harnesses for classics, cars, motorcycles, all with wiring. Solving electrical and running issue’s and incidentally other jobs when I think what is fun to do. For the local dealers and workshops I’m the classic adress so sometimes it’s someting totally different to solve on one of their customers cars. For most modern workshops is 20 years old already a classic… Fuel injection systems of classics or cars from delaers that dont have an EOBD plug with electrical issue’s. A multimeter and reading a wiringdiagram is something from the past. Sometimes a modern with issue’s when diagnise computer say’s ok and the car say’s not okay. Next week an automatic gearbox overhaul form a Stag. There is one in need of a new harness with some mods and after a few day’s in the worshop the whole floor was red of the oil. The last gearbox was already half a year ago and once a while I like to do this. Not on a daily basis but this one I think is fun to do. That is the advantage of self employed. The agenda is alway’s full for the next 6 months and that give little pressure sometimes but this way you can choose the jobs also. Bodges or temporary fixes I don’t do. There’s only one way to do it. Alway’s happy customers. Most of the time the cars had already visited several garages or specialists and I am adress no. 6 but no car goes out not repaired. Car’s from specialists wit a new blue bosch coil fitted AND a ballast resistor. Most issue’s are caused by the specialists or made worse. The coil issue’s and HT leads on the forum are my daily job. The bad quality of the repro electrical parts, not only the Lucas ones, are the daily faillures I see. People restoring their car but don’t dare to touch the igniton key because not sure all is connected properly. After two years in the corner of their garage waiting and after a check at me it’s the first time they hear the starter running and see the wipers moving. It’s a very satisfying job as most come with problems with their beloved baby or after years of restoring and being able to help to drive or to drive agian without troubles with their classic is what I like to do the rest of my life. It’s different than repairing a car because it has to function otherwise the sale is off.
The help doesn’t stop at being physically in the workshop. On Facebook and forums it continues. Doesn’t bring any money but being able to help is enough. Through messenger I regularly have cars running on the other side of the world. Sending pics of parts, sending pics of multimeter readings and problems are most of the time easily solved this way. On Facebook the real knowledge is overruled by the ones shouting the loudest. A while ago a Stag owner on facebook had running issue’s. Half of the replies advises to fit a Holly carb to ‘repair’ the running issues and my thoughts were a too lean mixture. I explained the Stromberg that while accelerating the piston rises too fast, the mixture weakens. As a reaction some loud shouter, mechanic all his life in his 70’s said that that was bollocks. As the piston rises too fast, the mixture is too rich at that point so that was the overal conclusion after 78 replies from various. I’m not bothered as they can do and think what they like. I just do not mix in the discussion anymore but somtimes a topic starter sends a pm to ask after understanding a stromberg a bit more after some research. This loud shouting is the average of 90% of the posts. Mainly ending the loudest shouter saying I don’t understand carbs and he’s already 106 years a mechanic. Sending some weber pics so he looks very experienced also. All fine. Go ahead…
A recent discussion was about a lighter flywheel not giving more hp’s but only have the car feel quicker. I explained that when you feel a car feels quicker, it is at least 6 to 7 hp more. When on a dyno you have 1 hp more you don't feel it on the road but when you feel it, it was at least those extra hp’s measured. The reply was it wasn’t an increase of hp as it could not. Trying to explain that a faster accelerating car does actually does put more hp’s on the road as less losses of trying to swing a heavy flywheel is now used for hp’s at the wheels. But not true according the experts. The general rolling road discussions appear and after me suggesting it were some smurfs then that were helping push the car faster forwards all get quiet and no answers anymore. Ok I tried, maybe they do understand but don’t wan’t to give in as a lot of their Facebook friends just helped him by agreeing and he don’t want to make a fool of himself now he’s wrong. All fine. We all read these every day and asking a question on FB actually isn’t just a good idea to find a decent answer to your problem.
I have the urge to help and do mix regularly in several discussions but it gets less. A few years ago I did quit all the Dolomite FB pages as on those pages all knows best and everybody is wrong. I think within this year I will stop with another few FB pages as it’s no use as I do not not shout the loudest and not wan’t to. Take the advice or don’t. The most who know and have the right answer are within minutes lost in the nonsense.
That brings me to the forum. This forum. I did quit around ten years ago, maybe longer, for a few years here as for the same reasons as the current FB pages. A lot of the ‘old’ were gone or just not interested as I also lost interest. Topics or people I don’t remember exactly but the fun to help was gone. But how stupid as it sounds, me and my families life is around Dolomites. The start of the proffessional career, towing caravans to Italy on holiday with the heater on max en the kids soaking wet on the rearseat, 10 years of classic rallying with my wife in Dolomites, all the adventures and midnight breakdowns. Several friends you made because of Dolomites. It’s a part of the daily life. This morning I brought my 14 year old daughter to her appointment and on the way back we both were praying the battery would have enough voltage left to reach home as the alternator failed. Life would be boring without one.
A few years later I joined again with a new account and the last few months more actively. Being some help for some and not for some. This forum is more personal and intimate than a FB group and that is also the danger. Some here are too personal and the fun of helping is becoming less day by day. Me trying to help you is free and you don’t have to do something with it. All fine and I like a good discussion and when I’m wrong i’m wrong and no help needed then say no help needed.
I offered Toledoman help as for me it’s more frustrating to read what he’s up to do than himself I believe. His video actions on youtube replacing parts are more important than real help for him I guess so thats fine. No help needed to solve his problems all fine, carry on. The current voltage drop issue, is something what I see regularly in my workshop. A few measurements here and there and the cause is found. It’s not arrogance, it is just that easy for me to find and diagnose electrical problems. The obstacle is sometimes the distance and hope someone accepting help does measure correctly but most of the time it goes well. What for some look like random measurments does give me an overview what is actually going on with that car. For Graham it seemed a bit unlogical and that is fine but why have such a reaction in return that my way isn’t correct. Watch and see or contribute but do not please place a FB reaction because that’s a personal reaction here.
I have never asked a question here on this forum. Not the arrogance again but I don’t have the questions. In my work experience over the years had it all before, seen it before and the last 25 years of driving daily with Dolomites, broke it all and found solutions for all. The only thing I do here is genuinly trying to share and to help and when I see what looks wrong I warn or comment. Do with the info what you like but don’t attack.
The Murdo carburettor case is one step further. Seeing on his pics a very coarse finish makes all the alarm bells go on. A genuine warning as when someone does this with grit blasting they have no clue what they are doing. A lot of carb troubles with overhauled carbs here in NL do unfortunately start in the UK. Owners buying recon carbs in the UK but totally unusable. Advise from me buy some others or find another person to fit and tune because it won’t be a succes so I don’t even start on these. Burlen overhauling wasn’t that good also years ago. A company of a friend of mine in NL does restore carbs and was the first that fitted the bearings for the throttleshaft in the housings, maybe 30 -35 years ago he told me. As most of his parts came from Burlen and he visited regularly he showed if it was something for Burlen also but these were not interested. Years later they were, copied it and now the whole world fit’s these bushes originally developed in NL. The carbs with the zinc plated old throttlevalves refitted were a series of Rimmerbros. They had it done by a company that probably was a zinc plate company but not a carb restorer. Good quality carbs that were overhauled in the UK are rare here in NL.
So my doubts were genuine and from my experience these could be bad seeing the pics. It’s not my car but I’m worried for him. That his carbs are just shiny and not good. TonyB jumping in explaining and all looks fine. Looking on his page the carbs look correct but the ones of Murdo a lot coarsers than the pics of the website so my answer it could be carbs with a history.
As I was genuinely had my doubts Murdo did ask if I did see when something was not right and I answering a few post later I think it’s fine to fit is being made rediculess. The original question was edited and a new ‘funny’ answer is given.
What he probably does not understand that i read his post, see genuinely something what worries me, not on my car but his. Warn him, all looks oke again after explanation and then answering his question and the reply is well thank you for nothing you idiot.
Don’t turn the forum into a FB page. That doesn’t help people staying here to genuinly help. You don’t have to believe all, that up to you but my introduction was to show where I come from. The answers or warnings you get are not based of someone knows that someone had heard in the pub but real life own experiences, tests or faillures. Carb issue’s, ignition issue’s and Dolomite issue’s were and are a daily thing so my answers and advice are not based on one time experiences. Do what you like with the info given for free to help. Use it or not but don’t be a Murdo.
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