Blog: Staples2Naples – we’re nearly ready

s2npboroJust before I went on holiday, Brian Gunn and Stuart Bishop managed to get some time to replace the GTi’s clutch. The job had been straightforward for the guys – plenty of tea and not too much swearing had the gearbox off, and the clutch in. ‘Box replaced and the suspension put back in, the job looked a good ‘un. Certainly, the boys did themselves proud…

Itching to have a go in the car, I was aware that the oil did resemble lumpy black porridge, and could we change it? Brian ducked under the car before I had even finished the sentence and was already removing the sump nut… Oil drained, filter replaced (not easy on the D16 engine thanks to its not-so-thoughtful filter location), Brian set about screwing the ‘nut back in. Just after making a comment about how well-engineered these Hondas are and, “isn’t it nice when things…. just work”, disaster struck. The sump nut wasn’t going in. It had been threaded. Arrgh!

It seems that someone earlier in the car’s life had stripped the nut, and decided that the best remedy would be to simply Loctite it back in…

Bitterly disappointed at the prospect of no drive, all sorts of plans involving violence and destruction formulated in my own mind. Brian on the hand, unperturbed by the whole affair, simply said… “I’ll go and get another sump”. Which he did. Yahoo, Brian!

So, the next day, and after the sump was replaced, I took the Rover for a spin.

…and it reminded me once again why I so love these little Rovers. Roomy, eager, a great driving position… and in the case of this GTi, it came with the added bonuses of a rorty and strong engine, and tweaked chassis. Excellent stuff. On the rutted backroads near where I live, the thing felt so composed, so planted, that I really began to feel good about our prospects of doing well in the Staples2Naples challenge.

Work will continue on our car in the following weeks, and I have done a few small jobs on it myself today. It now has a reasonable CD player in it (found at the back of my garage!) and a hole-less parcel shelf. In fact, it’s becoming such a nice car it almost seems a shame to thrash it to within an inch of its life. Almost.

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

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.
Keith Adams

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