Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The classic cars over the years

1967 - 1969

[1965 Hillman Minx]
Ownership: 1967
The car in which I learnt to drive - mostly on the private road outside my parent's house!.
This was my mother’s Hillman Minx. Not strictly a classic in the true sense of the word, but Hillman produced their first car in 1907, and there is an active Hillman Owners Club in the UK - http://www.hillmanownersclub.co.uk/


[1966 MG1100]
Ownership: 1967
My first MG.
The MG1100 was a sporty version of the Morris 1100. It had a more powerful 55 bhp twin-carburettor version of the BMC A Series engine and a more luxurious interior.

[1963 Austin Mini 850]
Ownership: 1967
My first Mini – 5 years old. Paid £120 for it – roughly 2 months wages at the time.
Cost when new £560.
It started life as green but the wheels were soon painted yellow before it had a complete respray in orange.
It looked great.

[1964 Mini-Van]
Ownership: 1968
Used to transport my Aparila 125cc Racing GoKart around to meetings. The Kart raced at Dartford (Lakeside) and Kent (Buckmore Park) race circuits.


[1964 Ford Anglia 105E]
Ownership: 1968
Modified with a 1500cc Corsair engine and Weber carburettor, sports manifold, lowered and wide wheels.
It was extremely quick until I stacked it into a stationary car in fog – no seat belts (my first bingle!). The car was a write-off sadly.


[1965 Mini Cooper 998]
Ownership: 1969
Designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis in conjunction with John Cooper.
998cc motor with twin SU carburettors produced 55 bhp.
This car sounded great with a straight through exhaust.
It also sported a Cooper manual gear-shift extension and bucket seat ‘covers’.
I blew up the engine rushing to catch the train one morning!


[1964 Ford Anglia 1600]

Ownership: 1969
Lowered and modified with 1600cc Cortina engine, Weber DCOE carburettor and racing Dunlop wheels.
It went as well as it looked!


[1964 Jaguar Mk.II 3.8]
Ownership: 1969
The smartest and quietest car I have owned – it had everything.
Webasto sunroof, red leather seats, Motorola radio, wire wheels, limited slip diff and 0-60 in 8.5 secs.
The loudest noise was the ticking of the clock!
The back seat was a perfect place for some late night passion!


1970 - 1979
[1965 Morris Cooper ‘S’ 1275]
Ownership: 1970
One of the most expensive cars I have ever owned, it cost almost a years wages in 1970 – £500 – and insurance a further £100.
1275 cc version of the BMC A-series engine with 76 bhp, twin carbs and disc brakes. Modified with MiniLite wheels, and black interior with Recaro racing seats and John Cooper Steering Wheel etc - it was extremely quick.

[1965 Triumph Spitfire Mk.II] 
Ownership: 1971
My first sports car but a poor man’s MGB.
1147cc engine produced 67 bhp. Top speed was claimed to be 96 mph and its 0–60  time of 14.8 seconds was considered "lively".

[1970 Hillman Avenger DL]
Ownership: 1971
Four-door saloon with a 1250 cc engine. Since the DL was the basic model in the range, it featured little more than rubber mats and a very simple dashboard with a strip-style speedometer.
A novelty for the Avenger was the use of a plastic radiator grille, a first in the motor industry in Britain.
Parked outside my first house at 61 Stockwell Rd., East Grinstead, Sussex.



[1957 Ford Prefect 100E]
Ownership: 1972
The worst car I have ever owned. It used so much oil, I carried a couple of extra pints of oil in the boot wherever I went.
Getting married and buying a house forced such circumstances on me! At the wedding, someone tied a fresh fish on the exhaust manifold and we were none the wiser until we got 10 miles down the road! 


[1969 Ford Capri 1600 ‘Mark 1’]
Ownership: 1974
Stylish fastback coupé designed by American Philip T. Clark, one of the designers of the Ford Mustang.
Comfortable to drive, quick with 1600cc Cortina engine and Rostyle wheels to set it off 

 South Africa 1975 - 78

[1962 Volkswagon Beetle 1200]
Ownership: 1975 and 1977
This car was indestructible.
It went for 3 years without having a penny spent on it.

I sold it to buy the Mini Clubman and bought it back a year later from the guy I sold it to.


[1972 Mini Clubman GT]
Ownership: 1975-1977
1275cc engine with twin-carburettors.
Fun to drive.
It covered many trips in South Africa incl. Durban and Swaziland.
It was my 5th Mini

[1958 AH ‘frog-eye’ Sprite]
Ownership: 1976-1978
South Africa – restored from a box of bits.
Concours condition.
2nd in National AHCC Concours.
Beautiful car to drive with only a 998cc BMC A-series engine.
Red interior and hard-top included.

[Austin Healey Sprite Special]
Ownership: 1976
Basically an Austin Healey Sprite with a fibreglass Lenham GT bonnet.
It had an uprated engine and was designed to look sportier than the ‘frog-eye’ Sprite but in my opinion was a lot uglier.
It didn’t last long before I sold it.
[Austin Healey wrecking (for spares)]
Ownership: 1976
The car on the right was basically used for any spare parts that were missing from the (soon to be) Concours example on the left
[Honda 125cc motorbike]
Ownership: 1977-1978
Off road trail bike.
Used extensively in the bush veldt and mine dumps around Jo’burg

Rosie riding the bike at Tyrone
England 1978 - 79
[1968 VW Kombi - converted]
Ownership: 1978
Purchased outside Australia House, Fleet St., London for £1,000 for 15,000 mile trip around France, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Corfu and UK.
It had been converted with kitchen and sleeping arrangements.
Very comfortable and cheap accommodation – car parks, fields and beauty spots a speciality!
[1965 Morris Minor 1000]
Ownership: 1978
Owned for 3 months after I got back from touring Europe, until I left for Australia.
948cc engine. Single carburettor.
It blew up its engine on a steep hill on the daily commute to Croydon UK one day.


Australia 1979 - current
[1966 Holden HR]
Ownership: 1979-1980
First car in Australia.
Straight-six 161cu in motor (2.6L) with bench seats and 3-speed manual gearbox with column change on the ‘stick’.
It was full of rust – not a penny spent on it.

[1971 MG Midget ‘1275’ Mk 3]
Ownership: 1980-1981
My first sports car in Australia.
1275 cc detuned version of the Cooper S engine with 65 bhp made for a sporty performance.
Sills painted black, wire wheels, recessed black grille, and squared off taillights like the MGB.
This was our mode of transport when LeeAnne and I first started dating.
Again, the 6 year gap before buying my next classic was due to me getting married and buying our first house in Australia.
1980 - 1989
[1978 BMW 520i]
Ownership: 1985-1987
Smart and luxurious.
M20 6-cylinder engine with Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection and Getrag 4-speed manual transmission.
Sheepskin seat covers made for comfortable driving.
Joined BMW Club 1985
[1968 MGB MkII]
Ownership: 1987-1989
Classic English sports car. Indigo blue. 1800cc motor with twin SU carburettors.
Concours condition with aluminium rocker cover, wire wheels, overdrive and a beautiful exhaust note you could listen to all day.
Joined MG Car Club 1987
[1973 BMW 3.0S]
Ownership: 1987-1990
Classic BMW of the ‘70’s.
E3 sedan with the new M30 straight-6 engine. Twin Zenith 35/40 carburettors.
Toured Victoria from Merimbula to Apollo Bay and north to Echuca, in 1987, with Mum and Dad.
[1957 MGA 1500]
Ownership: 1989 ‘HGH 000’
Another classic. Also Concours condition. Purchased from MG Workshops in North Road.
Wire wheels, badge bar and luggage rack on the boot. Beautiful lines of an English sports car from the 50’s
1500 cc engine fitted with twin SU carburettors produced 72 bhp Lockheed drum brakes on all four wheels. Top speed of 97.8 mph and accelerated from 0–60 mph in 16.0 seconds
1990 - 1999
[1979 BMW 730i]
Ownership: 1990-1998
E23 sedan with M30 straight-6 engine and Bosch L-Jectronic fuel injection produced 181 bhp.
Comfortable German highway cruiser – top of range, cost $40,000 in 1980 (as much as a house). Top condition with sheepskin seat covers front and rear.
[1972 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 ‘2+2 Coupe’]
Ownership: 1990-1992
Stunning performance from 5.3 L V12 engine with 250 bhp and four Zenith carburettors.
Concours condition, with Webasto sunroof, chrome wire wheels, ‘fantail’ exhaust and genuine sheepskin seat covers.
Joined Jaguar Car Club 1990.
Raced at Phillip Island in car club meetings
Qtr-mile sprint in 15.2 secs at Calder racetrack.
Top speed 135 mph and 0-60 in 6.8 secs

[1954 Austin-Healey BN1 100/4]
Ownership: 1992-1995
Another classic English sports car. Developed by Donald Healey, based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanicals and bodies made by Jensen Motors.
2660 cc I4 engine and three-speed manual transmission with overdrive on second and top.
Top speed 106 mph and 0–60 in 11.2 secs.
Purchased from The Healey Factory in Clayton. Also Concours condition and it was sold to someone who exported it back to UK.
Raced at Phillip Island in car club meetings
[Cyclops Clipper Pedal cars]
Perfect little car for a future driver learning to drive.
Now a collector item

[1966 Ford XP Fairmont]
Ownership: 1995-2005
Australian Car of the Year in 1966.
It featured 200 cu in Super Pursuit engine, three-speed automatic transmission, bucket seats and a padded dash along with carpets, perforated, colour-matched headlining, heater, screen washers, chrome-plated interior mirror, interior door-operated lights, and vacuum-assisted disc brakes. Venetian blinds, whitewall tyres, individual reclining seats and fluffy dice.
A ‘Street Cruiser’ at home in Chapel Street, Prahan.


2000 - 2009
[1990 MX5 Series NA1]
Ownership: 2005-2008
My 8th sports car.
Lightweight two-seater roadster with a 1.6 L dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine, producing 115 bhp.
Electronic fuel injection with a vane-type air flow meter and electronic ignition system.
0-60 in 8.3 secs with a top speed of 126 mph.
It featured a 5-speed manual transmission, lightened crankshaft, flywheel, and aluminum sump with cooling fins. Independent double wishbone suspension on all four wheels, with an anti-roll bar at the front and rear, four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated at the front, on alloy wheels with 185/60HR14 tyres.
Reminiscent of the British sports cars of the 1950s & '60s, such as the Lotus Elan and MGA.
Mine also had MiniLite wheels with some negative camber. A very exciting car to drive, close to the road and with brilliant handling.
Joined MX5 Car Club 2006.
[1989 Mercedes 2.6 300E]
Ownership: 2008-2014  
Exceptional German engineering – with many advanced automotive features. It had multi-link rear suspension and one of the lowest coefficients of drag of any vehicle at the time, due to its aerodynamic body that included plastic molding for the undercarriage to streamline airflow beneath the car.
2.6L M103.940 IL6 overhead camshaft engine with 4-speed automatic transmission and semi-electronic fuel injection (Bosch KE-Jetronic) producing 168 bhp with a top speed of 134 mph.
Perfect condition. MBTex seats.
Remote c/locking, e/windows, cruise control, carphone, sunroof, ABS, alarmed.
Joined MB Car Club 2008.
Very comfortable luxury cruising.


[1988 Mercedes 300CE Coupe]
Ownership: 2014-onwards
Regn ‘DAH 1’
Finest German engineering from the 80’s – 30 years old and it drives like a new car.
3.0L M103 IL6 overhead camshaft engine with 4-speed automatic transmission and CIS-E semi-electronic fuel injection (Bosch KE-Jetronic) producing 185 bhp with a top speed of 140 mph.
Concours condition.
MBCCV Concours Class winner 2015.
Class Show award winner 2016.
Low mileage (165,000 kms), one owner car.
Top of range in 1988; cost when new $130,000.
Leather, electric memory seats, electric windows, cruise control, Becker radio, sunroof, ABS.

Interior of the 300CE.
Sportline steering wheel, Zebrano woodgrain dash and console, leather seats with memory function.
A very comfortable car.
Engine bay of the 300CE.
Rocker cover and exhaust manifold painted. Radiator polished.
Very clean car!





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  2. Hello from Brussels ! My first reaction to your website is : OMG, it took you 41 years to find a "real car " and a great one to start a new driving life ! Lol. The berline MB W124-300E-2.6-anno 1989 + the Coupe MB W124-300C/M103-anno 1988. Spendid ! Thks for sharing your passion for the Mercedes-Benz.
    ps: to be fair, I should add that your Jaguar MK II 3.8 -anno 1964 choice at that time was also a fantastic car I have been in in my youth. What a confort, indeed !
    Your VW Combi is the same as the one I drove when I was 9 years old before driving A MB Ponton -180 D !!! What memories ! Enjoy your Benz ! Enjoy driving like I enjoy my actual W124-250TD - 1992 - 526.000 kms !!! Bye.

  3. Good luck with your W124-250TD. 526,000kms sounds awesome!!

  4. Thks! A daily, though,not a collector. Btw, my nickname is Tchotto on the Net and an the MB forum Mercedes Damien - France - with 70.000 members (fortunately not there everyday, lol). A member is planning to transform and increase the power of a M104 engine by himself (did it with another engine already). Any technical documentation available for him on the Net ? Any help ? Thks in advance for him. Tchotto.

  5. I personally don't have any tips for your friend but there are a couple of Facebook groups here that seem to have members that do that sort of thing. Here is one called "Mercedes W124 Coupe Fans" https://www.facebook.com/groups/109875641634/ Good luck

  6. As I don't use any al all those FB, Twit & Co - lol - I'll send that link and hint to that member ! Thks a lot for him ! Ciao Tchotto


Introduction to My Classic Cars

I have been fortunate enough to own many classics, and just a few unfortunate choices of rubbish, over the past 50 years. So here they a...