Well, finally, the time for remote updates and telling everyone how much I am looking forward to driving my SD1 in the future is over. As I write this, the car is sitting on my drive, the tinkling sound of gently cooling metal a reassurance that I’ve finally begun to live the dream by actually driving the car…
It’s been a long journey and, at times, it’s been a pain, but I really do think it was worth it.
I actually went to collect the car from MOTEST Farnham yesterday and, on the train journey down, had plenty of time to reflect on the drive back. The day was sunny, the skies blue and, for me, it looked like spring had finally come. There were niggles and doubts in my own mind – mainly over the fact the car hadn’t been run very far in a very long time – I accepted that it was likely I’d not make it home.
When I made it to Farnham, it was good to meet the guys who’d ensured the SD1’s return to legality. They’d literally sweated over getting things right for me, and the job list included a carburettor rebuild, new brakes all round and all manner of other little bits and pieces. They commented that it was great that everything they needed (including the smallest grommet or gaiter) was still available new from Rimmer Bros – something that they wouldn’t have thought possible for a car so old…
Anyway, after I’d had some pictures taken and chatted to the local press, it was time to drive home. I was confident that we’d do okay, although clearly, I’d be listening closely for any untoward noises or rattles. After firing it up and drinking in the soundtrack, we were underway – tentatively.
By the time I’d made it to the M3, I was wearing myself back into SD1 ownership. The driving position and visibility are first rate and the steering is phenomenally impressive – direct and full of feel and able to give the SD1 a wieldiness you’d not associate with a car of its size that’s almost 35 years old.
The engine pulled well and cleanly – there’s a satisfaction to be had from tooling along in the outside lane, while other drivers look, stare and smile. Obviously, the world’s moved on since my last SD1 a few years ago and they have now slipped comfortably into genuine classic car status.
For mile after mile, the SD1 rolled on. The M3 and M25 were taken in their stride. All gauges were reporting nothing abnormal, there were no unwelcome noises and all was good with the world. I was finally bonding with the car that I bought so rashly five years ago.
Heading north on the M1, I decided to take a quick breather and make a splash ‘n’ dash stop at Toddington. Once back in the car, I set back off… and, as I rejoined the M1, there was a cough, a splutter and it stopped dead. Ah, no. I had been expecting this, but had been seduced into thinking we might be okay.
To cut a long story short, it was Relayed back to Northamptonshire and, at lunch time today, we towed the car to Edward, Octane‘s unofficial tame local mechanic near the office. I left it with him and wondered whether I’m going to be buying a whole load more stuff.
As it happens, I needn’t have worried. He diagnosed the problem as a faulty oil pressure switch, and ended up replacing it. Job done.
And tonight, I’ve driven it home and think that it’s fantastic again. I guess there are going to be a few more teething problems that will need to be ironed out now the car’s being used again, but tonight’s drives have convinced me that the whole exercise has been worth every second of my time.
It’s going to be fun!
Before I sign off this one, I really must thank those who have made this possible: Andy Jones (for selling me the car), Brian Gunn (for working out my parts list), Alexander Boucke (for getting me set up in Poland), Rimmer Bros (for supplying the parts), Graham Rimmer (for the use of his Range Rover and trailer), John Ball at MOTEST (for getting it roadworthy) and, of course, Jerzy and Monica for making it all happen. Oh, and Mark Evans for egging me on to do it in the first place and setting me a deadline!
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.