28th January 2006
Tada! I went & collected my Mantis from Todmorden today, & took the opportunity to give its erstwhile custodian a lift down to Nottingham to deliver a supercharger for his soon-to-be-quite-scarey LM500 which is being fettled by Boost Performance. Ian is the co-conspirator in the Route 66 jaunt, & his new race wing & revved up engine has turned my thoughts to a little tweaking of my own, but where to start? Mechanical knowledge; nil point! However I have started scouring the internet etc & soliciting oodles of advice (all conflicting so far, of course!), so we chall see. A faultless journey & I am soooooo pleased to be driving the car again!

9th February 2006
Today I took the Mantis to RC Developments in Warrington who are the nearest Racelogic dealers. They had the car for three hours & confirmed that the TC kicked in regardless of external factors at anything over 2000rpm, that the mapping was crap & that the signal from the sensors was intermittent. So... it's shagged then. They will need it for a whole day to confirm that the hardware is OK & to remap the Racelogic box & check sensor wiring etc etc. However! About a mile from their place on the way back into work the engine started misfiring heavily, got worse then eventually cut out. Wouldn't restart. restarted then wouldn't idle. Normally I would point the finger at the TC but it was turned off! Called RC Developments anyway but they were (predictably) confident it was nothing that they had done. Now worried as engine was totally reliable before . Car died in several exciting places (across a T-junction, in front of some Traffic Police, etc etc) but nursed it back home to the garage. Que phone call to Eddie at Cross St garage!

10th February 2006
Get Mantis trailered to the garage from its home - do not want to think about cost. Desperate to get it sorted so I can get down to Topcats Racing on Monday for the suspension checkup. They are busy for weeks if I miss this slot & I don't have weeks before the car is due to ship to the US (mid March).

11th February 2006
Initally good news, as the garage have found a plug into the ECU with a bent pin. Drove the car round the M60 (quite quickly!) & around town for two hours without a problem, then it stalled a few hundred yards from home - just as I was about to phone the garage to congratulate them on having found the fault. Bummer. I have had to contact Warren at Topcats Racing to cancel my Monday booking - he sounds almost as unimpressed as I am!

18th February 2006
Well the car has been back into the garage for more investigation around the TC switch etc. Eddie has been talking to Racelogic & Guru Chivers about the problem; sadly RC Developments continue to fail to return phone calls from either myself or the garage, which isn't very helpful. I took the Mantis into Manchester this morning & once again it was fine for a couple of hours but then stalled at some lights feeding onto the Mancunian Way Oops! All rather public; I received a mixture of 'helpful' advice by the motorists who pulled past me! LOL Nevertheless this is getting a bit disheartening.

22nd February 2006
Got the car back from the garage, where I had it rewired to bypass the Traction Control completely (well actually I said "Take the thing out"! But I guess he thought I was joking...). The world's most expensive red LED now no longer even lights up when the TC is turned to 'Off'. The Mantis subsequently drove eight miles each way OK in heavy traffic, but then again it has failed on the last two occassions after a couple of hours of driving so that doesn't prove anything. I have grown to hate my TC of late & just want to see the back of it. Racelogic have been excellent I should add, it's their North West dealer RC Developments who haven't returned phone calls & have generally washed their hands of the whole thing as soon as I drove away from their premises Suffice to say that I won't be touching them with a barge pole. I guess all I can do is try & drive it as much as possible to see if the problem re-occurrs. Fingers crossed...

14th June 2006
Today has been... interesting. With a view to taking the Mantis to a paintshop (Whitehead Classics, Cheadle) today to get the stonechips on the bonnet sorted out before the Annual rally at the start of July (& the US trip), I collected the car around 0900 hours from it's garage, only to have a lady reverse into me at the lights in Altrincham by 0915 hours! Unfortunately the towbar on her Nissan Terrano has made a bit of a mess of the bonnet around the number plate The lady driver was quite distraught & simply hadn't seen me as the Marcos is low (not convinced she looked in her side mirrors mind you, 'cos it might be low but it's bloody wide!). A simple accident so hard to get annoyed at anyone; wish it hadn't happened though. So... insurance details were duely exchanged & the brief to the paintshop is now;

  • repair & respray bonnet (at least the stonechips should go!)
  • removal of stress crack around the nearside windscreen wiper pivot
  • polish out chips on offside door
  • remove & respray rear overspoiler (should remove a stress crack & the dint from when a lampost leapt out behind me as I was reversing! )
  • respray bootlid to remove flaking laquer around petrol cap
  • remove flaking laquer & relaquer around petrol cap on main bodyshell
  • touch up all remaining stonechips or wear marks (windscreen surround, door edges, bootlid edge)
  • and please please please can I have the car back for the Annual Rally 1st July!

This should all be achieved for under a grand. I have rejected the idea of a complete respray due to cost, but mainly because the car is far more likely to need one after driving 3500 miles along Route 66 in September! Of course, the word 'respray' has me thinking about that Candy Apple Brandy Wine paintjob I have always wanted (along with new straw leather with red piping)! Now, where's that lottery ticket again?

20th July 2006
I am... speechless. Anuus Horribilis & all that. My lovely, lovely car has been butchered by the incompetent buffoon at Whitehead Classics. I have been too angry to add anything here for the last few weeks, suffice to say that I have been unable to drive the car as it makes my blood pressure rocket. Having spent £160 for a superb valet, I was distraught to discover that the paint does not match the original colour, & that various patches are almost bereft of laquer. I just can't face getting in the car at the moment, despite the blazing sunshine. I missed the annual rally & let Isobel down as I was due to assist in the judging (I guess as the comedy act to Rory's straight man).

The car looks crap. I'm totally gutted. The fellow from Whitehead wants the car back to look at it again but over my dead body is he going anywhere near it. Rory from MHS happened to be in the North West delivering a car, & kindly agreed to meet up with me & give his opinion. It was so grim he voluntarily agreed to write it up (for free! And this is Rory we're talking about!), which was pretty decent of him. I am just relieved that I did not pay the invoice for the respray at the time, however, I need someone to do (another) respray, probably the whole car this time as the overspray seems to have touched most panels, & it does not seem right that I pay for that, so... don't know... small claims court? Never used it before but a few people have suggested that's the route to go. Got the Tatton Park show next month but I have accepted it's not going to have been sorted by then. Guess I'll take along a crappy looking car then - the more mud the better!


© 2005 BlackSpider. All rights reserved