On one of the most miserable days you could think of (cold, windy, raining, roadworks, lots of traffic and slow wipers) I drove Moose from Guildford to Leamington Spa, England. It took me about 2 hours 'cruising' at near maximum speed of around 70MPH. This actually surprised me because the standard 1098cc engine had become increasingly unreliable over the past couple of months. The 60 mile round trip to work was costing about 250ml of dropped oil, and starting up generally involved coaxing the car to run on 2 cylinders for a few minutes whilst the other two woke up. Once woken up, driven for a little while, switched off and then switched on again (e.g. going to the shops), a HUGE cloud of smoke would billow out the exhaust for about 30 seconds. Very embarassing.
So, Moose has been taken to see the doctor, a.k.a. JLH Minor Restorations, for a little bit of love and attention. JLH's brief is to rip out all the old mechanicals and replace them with modern go-fast bits, fixing up any other problems found along the way, and follow this up with a complete respray.
With the car up on the hoist I had a chance to take my first good look underneath. We found a rusted out boot floor, rusted rear wheel arches, sills, cross member, and one badly patched chassis leg. The cross member was a surprise as the outer ends had been replaced with new repair sections only a few years ago. The new sections had rusted and spread even more than the untouched centre section!
So, we've discovered that the car needs about a week's worth of extra, un-planned and un-budgeted for welding. Murphy was right, damn it! It has to be done though. There's no point skimping here as it'll just come back and haunt us in another couple of years, just like the crossmember has already.