Events : LEJoG in a Princess – day seven

Today, AROnline’s team should  have reached Gaydon…

Words and photography: Alexander Boucke


After watching the cavalcade of ADO16s drive past our B&B after a quite early start, we proceeded to have a good breakfast. Travelling with our children does require a little compromise, as it would seem quite unfair to them to simply usher them into the car and go for a ‘drive-only’ day. That’s why, instead of going South immediately, we headed for the ‘Harry Potter’ train station to see some steam trains in action. We should actually have spent a day there and booked some rides on this museum line but, in fact, we drove on to Hardwick Hall, a site containing two late 16th century houses, one of them in ruins.

However, the really entertaining part began as we went back to the car and tried to start the engine. Instead of the short turn of the starter followed by instant firing, all we heard was just a click from the solenoid. Really annoying after such a long trouble free journey…


Anyway, with the help from a friendly driver owning a jump start lead, we checked whether or not the battery at fault. A call to the ADAC, who relayed it to the AA,  was required…
I started to remove the starter motor from the engine while waiting for recovery but the lack of suitable tools meant it was a slow job. Finally, it came out, seemed to turn easy enough and would run when hooked up onto the battery. The rather worn toothed gear indicated that it might really have jammed and it could likely happen again. However, once fitted again, a quick flick with the key had the car running again. Just as the AA man arrived… We tried a couple of restarts, all successful – so he finally helped me out with some powerful wipes to get my fingers clean again.

We may just fit a new starter motor as a precaution tomorrow…

Alexander Boucke


  1. You could equally keep a little spanner in your glovebox (7/16?) as we (and our neighbours) used to do , to turn the starter back in mesh , till we finally replaced the starter pinion .

    • This was the first thing I tried – turning the starter with a tool. But none of all the sockets I had would grip it. At least I had enough tools to solve the problem, even if it took rather long.

  2. The one defect of the transverse engine design, no access for a starter handle.
    For six months I had to start my petrol V8 Range Rover with the handle, after mastering the prep cycle it was a single swing job, a great thief deterrent . I also once hand cranked it backwards into a tight parking space (don’t ask!) and that was not easy, mainly because of no power steering.
    I dream of a 1300 auto in perfect condition and search C&C every week. A great past, present and future classic.

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