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They bring diamonds and rust....

Things have been pretty busy at Liskeard Classic Cars over the last few weeks; The Alfa 105 is finally at the stage where we are putting new panels on rather than removing poor repair after appalling repair and lumps of pigeon-poo welding that would have served Tolstoy as a paperweight.

Jack came in for a day to help line up and replace the rear screen finisher and it was great to see him and catch up on all that he is doing at university. He has gone off to read music at Chichester which makes me wonder how low entry requirements have become. How do you get to do a degree course in the subject if you can't already read music?

Over the next few days we will be repairing and upgrading the suspenders on this little brute:

I am always surprised at the relatively low second-hand values of these wonderful Maserati's. 4.7 litres of raw power, they handle like the proverbial go-kart and yet they are civilised enough to drive around town with no dramas.

Even my (second) ex-wife couldn't trash one and she had a penchant for sliding cars into dry-stone walls. She could never pick a nice cheap B&Q panel fence....always some piece of historically important architecture.

Last month I took what may be the last opportunity to drive a single-seater racing car around Goodwood. The place hasn't changed a bit in the 8 years since I was last there. It oozes nostalgia and takes you back to a time when Britain still had an air of optimism, we were governed and not ruled over and bureaucracy hadn't yet sucked the life blood from motoring enjoyment. Mithril Racing have lost the franchise due to new management and I very much doubt if whoever takes over will let loonies like me, thrash around what is a very tight and unforgiving track, in what is basically an engine on wheels.

Its a Royale Formula Ford 2000. Lots of fun and I behaved myself. I stayed on the black stuff, didn't get a bollocking from the Marshalls and it wasn't my fault that the clutch seized as I was coming back into the pits. Before I was let loose, I had an instructor take me round in a new Alfa Romeo Guilia and a couple of laps driving it myself. As you know dear reader I am an Alfaholic so the chance to drive one round Goodwood should have been an absolute thrill......It wasn't. I am sorry to upset my fellow "Alfisti" but it is soul-less. Yes, it sticks to the road, goes like a scalded cat and has enough toys to keep even a BMW driver happy......But, in my opinion , it is no Alfa. I want a car with character and"feel". I like being aware that I could break down at any minute, that the electrics are more wonky than a Council Planning Officer and that the paint will fade faster than an X-Factor winner.

I want a car that doesn't look like the same as every other mass produced Euro Box, produced on the same CAD/CAM software that delivers generic vehicles as well as home appliances. However if I am getting one for 'nowt, I'll have a Rosso Red one please.

Goodwood is a magical place and even though I have a family interest in Silverstone and its amazing history, if ever I was forced back "Up Country" it would have to be Chichester rather than Northants.

Like a small child holding it's breath, I am having trouble saving up all my rants for a Xmas Special. I know I stated that I would not be spleen-venting until the festive season but some things just have to be said;

I was driving a customers '67 Mini Cooper that was in for tuning and an odd rumble at 35 mph. The road had been patch-repaired 2 weeks beforehand by Cornwall CC so needless to say it was all starting to break up and I hit a pothole that had more in common with an archaeological dig than a public highway. The tyre was totalled and the wheel was quite badly dented. Try explaining to a clerk at the council (almost certainly "Agency Staff") that a genuine Minilite wheel is not only very rare but also stupidly expensive IF you can find one. Much like any communication with BT/EDF/Vodafone etc. you put the receiver down, feeling like you have just been in an argument with Jeremy Paxman whilst having the crap punched out of you by Mike Tyson.

Why do Cornwall CC employ a company that do such shoddy work and give employment to people that obviously have no interest or even basic knowledge in their role?

I wonder how long LCC would last if we applied the same customer care and efficacy;

"Yes sir, we have repaired the dent in your lovely classic car. We beat the worst of the dent out with a sledge hammer and filled the rest with daub and wattle. We couldn't get the paint to match exactly because we only had "Council Green" left. That will be £1600 please".

And finally.....

I would be ever so grateful if you could point my blog out to as many folk as possible. I bet Jack that I could get a thousand regular readers by Christmas. It is getting there and I am pleased to say we have achieved at least the first two figures......We now have 10 followers!!

'Til next time.

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