It might be all smiles on the picture, but worries are beginning to creep in with the Staples2Naples plan. For one, the Allegro 1500 seems to have a gearbox problem: you drive along, change from third to fourth gear, and all is fine – then you change from fourth into fifth and it makes no difference. Yep, someone at Longbridge decided to put two fourth gear cogs in my ‘box back in 1975, and we’re now limited to little more than 70mph…
I joke of course. But it does pose the question – what were they thinking of when they mapped out those gear ratios? To have four-and-a-half gears is a little frustrating when you have enough torque to play with to run higher gearing. Perhaps when the Allegro (or more precisely, the Maxi) was being designed, five speed gearboxes were something of a novelty, and designers may have doubted that people wanted an overdriven top gear, and that the concept an ultra-high cruising gear was beyond the grasp of most customers.
That might have been the case then, but it is proving nothing if not frustrating now…
Actually, we do have one genuine problem right now. I suspect the CV joint or driveshaft might be knackered, as we’re now getting all sorts of wierd knocking and clonking noises coming at random intervals from the left-front of the car. That, I can live with, but the incurable shakiness over 65mph, I cannot… So with a mere eight days to go, we’re now looking at stripping down the front and seeing what the problem is.
Let’s hope it’s just a CV joint, as new driveshafts seem to be impossible to get hold of in my neck of the woods. If I can fix or replace it, I then have a very difficult decision to make… do we dump plans to take Molly, and throw our lot in with my newly acquired (and largely untested) Vanden Plas? It’s a tough call – because I’ve grown rather fond of ‘Molly’, and I suspect ‘Nigel’ might not be quite a charismatic.
We shall see.
I certainly hope we can sort Molly.
But if you know of anyone with a nearside front driveshaft and CV joint littering their garage, or have one yourself, get in touch. We might need it!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.