Despite the torrential rain and a few days spent visiting my sister at her new home in Cornwall (That means free holidays to the beach) I did manage to get a few things sorted on Lucie.
The first was the driver’s door handle that has been hanging on by one screw for some time now and that was loose. So I unscrewed it to be met by two wooden holes underneath that had worn rather large. So after packing them with matchsticks and then a rawlplug, I screwed the handle back on and it is quite sound now.
I also started to give the car a full service though didn’t quite manage to complete it as my brother, Geoff, came over to fit new lights, more on that in a moment. I did however change the plugs from the old Bosch ones to Champion. Changing the plugs in a Mk VI is such a simple task thanks to the superb access. It must be the last 3-wheeler that Reliant made where such a job was so quick as on later models plugs were sunk in recesses on OHV engines and accessed through tiny access panels. After fitting the plugs, I cleaned the jets in the carburettor and cleaned the air filter - the old fashioned way - rinsing it out in petrol and then once dry oiling the mesh gauze, leave to drip and then fit it back to the carburettor. I also checked the points and was going to change the condenser, oil filter and oil when Geoff came over and so I left it at that.
Originally the Mk VI Regal had combined side lights and indicators at the front which meant white indicators. I’ve though long and hard whether to keep it original or not and in the end went for the best of both worlds. that was, fitting new Wipac Crystal clear headlamps with a built in side light and Halogen H4 bulbs and also fitting the original white Lucas indicators.
So the original Lucas headlamps were removed and the new Halogen H4 Quad Optics headlamps fitted. The glass on them is actually clear though the reflector behind the bulb has a pattern in it so from a distance the headlamps look as though the glass has a pattern. We then removed the old Morris Minor headlamps, took the side light wire up to the headlamps for the side wire in there and fitted the original white Lucas indicators. Technically, as the car came with white indicators it should not be an issue though if it is, I can easily fit amber glass (of which I have spare lenses) or orange coloured indicator bulbs.
Darkness soon descends in November and so the headlights were fitted by torch light at the side of the road. That made passers by curious though equally more so as Geoff had come straight from work at the Black Country Living Museum and was still dressed in Victorian clothes.
When the job was done I took Lucie for a spin and the first thing noticeable was how much brighter these headlamps were compared with the original, they were amazingly bright. What was also apparent was the extra power I seemed to have up hills. Usually Lucie hates hills and I have to always drop into second yet these same hills she was tackling in third and fourth gear. A combination of fitting new plugs and cleaning out the carburettor and airfilter seems to have been quite beneficial.
Go to Part 2.