The last few weeks saw quite an unexpected change in Lucie as originally as I was supposed to be working in Dubai for three weeks though this was postponed. As a result on August 23rd Lucie went to her first Classic car show at Lupin Farm in Staffordshire and the amount of interest people showed was amazing. So many people commented that they had never seen a van version before and some stated that they used to have one many years ago. Perhaps one mistake Caroline and I made was to open the back doors and sit in the car using it as a bench to eat our lunch. It took us about 45 minutes to eat as people were constantly asking about the car.
The weekends that followed saw a lot of sanding down and filling in small cracks and pin holes in the body. The roof especially is one large maze of hundreds of tiny star cracks. I’ve also noticed that in certain areas there are circular grooves from a sanding disc. A lot of these have now been filled with body filler and the sanded smooth.
At the beginning of September, I decided to check the oil level and so lifted the bonnet looking for the dipstick, there wasn’t one anywhere .. and for that matter, no where to pour oil in either. Inside the vehicle I removed the engine cowling which presented fantastic access to the engine, especially when compared with later models and there was the dipstick and oil filler cap on the right hand side of the engine. Engine access is such that should I ever need to change the head gasket, I’m told I can just sit in the driver’s seat and do the job from there. A few people have told me that side-valve Reliant engines like blowing head gaskets and one chap told me he changed it seven times in a year when he used to have one. Having said that all these people admit that the were young and used to race around in them, their foot to the floor and the water level not topped up. Given that there is no water pump and that the engine uses a thermocycle, those who have side-valve Reliants tell me its essential the water is always topped right up.
Having done a few miles it is also apparent that the engine is leaking oil on the passenger side, it looks as though it is coming from the valve cover so I shall have to take that off and replace the gasket. Another thing I have done though is have a towbar fitted on my Jaguar. At the moment I need to borrow a towing dolly (Thanks Pete & Dee) though once I get my own I can then take Lucie to shows further afield without worrying about the distance.
I also discovered that the Reliant badges on side-valve Regals is different to that on OHV Regals. I had assumed they were the same until I discovered that the one on the passenger side was a late Reliant badge and the one on the driver’s side was an early one. Suddenly I needed a set of side-valve Reliant badges and Dave Eggett soon came to my rescue sending me not only a set of Reliant badges but also an old handbook for the Reliant Regal Mk VI car and 5 cwt van. (Thanks Dave).
One thing I never did with Ole Blue was take much video footage and so I have taken some more of Lucie and uploaded them to YouTube.
Go to Part 2