... I see I haven't written anything since my July entry last year.
I haven't felt much like writing up the Mantis since then. The car has
been out a few times but it's still two-tone green, dammit. And I need
to win the bloody lottery to get it sprayed properly. Fat chance.
Task! What a bitter & twisted fellow I am in danger of becoming! I am
still lucky enough to have the car, so shouldn't be inflicting this hand-wringing
drivel on you. My next entry will be more upbeat.
3rd May 2007
Back from a trip to the garage where the nearside mirror was finally
re-attached (although the paint was stripped when the tape came off -
my fault for leaving it on for 10 months of course..). Battery output & voltmeter
also checked due to some odd readings whilst driving but all seems in order.
I am still paranoid about the car after the farce of a paint job last summer.
I shouldn't be letting it get to me still, but it does. However, Le Mans
24 Hour is about five weeks away so let the excitement begin! My chum Caz
is still having electrical/ECU problems with his supercharged LM500, but
he normally fixes these things in time! We have decided to get the ferry
from Hull to Zeebrugge & travel down through Belgium (& even Paris if we
are feeling brave!). Two, no three selling points for this course of actions;
firstly, less poorly maintained, over-populated speed camera infected UK
roads, secondly, the journey there & back is broken up with a bit of sleep,
& finally Caz managed to get one of the cars booked for £1! Very impressive,
& more beer money of course! It should be great fun & will make
a pleasant change from traipsing down to Folkstone for the Chunnel crossing.
I shall, of course, report back at a later date...
23 June 2007
Back from the Le Mans 24 hour. The itself race was... okay. Diesels
won & you can read enough to make your eyes bleed elsewhere on the
Net about whether this is a good thing, bad thing, next big thing &
so on. I have to say that the event seems to be getting increasingly
'Chavvy' & there were numerous 'organised' Stag parties present with
nobody interested in cars at all really (& that's coming from me!
lol). No problem there until this manifests itself as a lack of respect
for the cars & owners; emptying gallons of water into an open car is
criminal damage & wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere (I'd like to think).
Ditto kicking somone's car because they won't do a personal burn-out
for you. I'm tempted to say LM has got too accessible & that such
people should be priced out of the event, but realistically it's not
money but respect that is the issue. Besides, I can only just afford
to go myself ATM! Heh!
I really enjoyed myself, because the race was only a minor part of the
experience. The journey, the company, the accommodation, the food 'n'
booze & the 'incidents' are what define Le Mans for me, & 2007 was a
27 June 2007
Gorgeous baby daughter born yesterday! Glad I did not suffer any major
hold ups getting back from LM, or I'd be in big trouble indeed. Can't wait
to take her out in the Mantis, although that's a good while off yet. My
son absolutely loved it when we finally got around to going for a spin;
the "Faster Daddy, faster" raised a smile although I didn't have
much luck explaining 30mph zones to him. I got away with naming my son
'Marcos' (well, as a middle name at any rate) but no luck persuading the
other half that 'Mantis' is a well known girls name. Oh well... Mind you,
she drives a Honda CRV so maybe it's time we dismissed naming children
after cars completely!
13 August 2007
Yikes! The Mantis failed its MOT today, with a 6" crack in the windscreen
in driver line-of-sight. Bugger. I knew about the crack & have arranged
to go down to MHS to get the windscreen replaced on Thursday, but had hoped
it would scrape through the MOT.
17 August 2007
Back home from MHS two days earlier than planned, without the Mantis
& not sure whether I'm keeping the car or not. What a complete yesterday
was. Just totally un--believable.
I got down to MHS about 1000 hours, left the car with them & borrowed
the current courtesy car (the new Mini-Marcos! In 'can-be-seen-from-space'
yellow no less!). Thirty minutes later my mobile goes & although I ignore
it the first few times eventually I decided it must be urgent so I pull
over & take the call. It's Rory at MHS & he says... "I think you'd better
come & see this". So, I turn around & half an hour later I'm walking
towards the door to the MHS workshop with a sombre looking Rory. I am
perplexed. At least, I am until Rory walks up to the Mantis & puts his
finger through the siderail, then repeats this on the other side of the
car. Oh . "You've
got a problem". Yup - even I can see that & I know eff all about cars.
Rory then kindly points out that the floor panels have also corroded
& that the carpets can be seen from underneath the car. Fab.
"You need a new chassis & floor pans Oliver. This car shouldn't be driven
again in its current state."
"I can see that! Um... what's that going to cost, Rory?"
"£10K + VAT & it will be the first Mantis we've had to replace the chassis
on. It's like rebuilding the car"
Cue 3 nanosecond pause while I think if I have won the lottery recently.
"Haven't got £10K at the moment Rory. Can I leave it here?"
"Course you can."
"Thanks. Any chance of a lift to the station?"
... and that was it. (I got the lift!). The unexpected train journey
home was a pensive one. Wonder what the hell to do now.
19 August 2007
It was the second show of the year at Tatton Park today, and my second
show there without the Marcos. It was nice to see the other Marcos
cars & owners, as always. Guru Chivers had kindly agreed to attend Tatton
with the purple Mantis Coupe & was staying at the house, which was nice
as it gave me the opportunity to repay their hospitality from previous
occassions. Predictably the main topic of conversation was the dire straights
I found myself in with the corroded Mantis chassis. The weather held for
the show itself, but Dave & Mandy had a rather moist journey either side
I have a plan. A plan to keep the Marcos, and not have
to sell a kidney. So it's a good plan. I have been put in contact with
a chap called Lee Keller who is ex-Marcos factory & apparently a
dab hand with the old welder. The fact is that I can't afford a complete
new chassis however 'creative' I get with the numbers, so I need to get
the current one patched, & patched properly. After several discussions
with Guru Chivers it turns out that there has been another Mantis
with similar rust 'challenges' & that they were addressed by cutting
through the sills from the inside of
the body & accessing the chassis via that route, thus avoiding any
external damage & costly respray. Huzzah! I have bitten the bullet & told
Rory that the galvanised chassis solution he offered was (way) beyond
my means. Rory was pretty decent about the news, & was kind enough to
warn me to 'be careful'. The car is being picked up by Dave C/Lee & nursed
over to Warminster where Lee is based. It will be interesting to hear
what he thinks of it.
20th December 2007
Just got back from a trip to see the Old Man in Henley (filial duty
& all that), which I cunningly combined with a going to see the Mantis
at the workshop in Warminster. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been pining
for her these last few months (despite the grim weather), & of course it
was an opportunity to meet Lee in person. What a thoroughly nice chap!
He certainly knows what he's doing with the car, althought it was a bit
disconcerting to see it without any floorpans... He has done a splendid
job of welding new sections, & has even managed to use 3mm stainless sections,
rather than the 1.5mm mild steel sections used by the factory (Grrrrr...).
I guess this means some extra weight, but frankly who cares - I'm not racing
it, or even getting any track time in it. The main thing is I can put the
threat of rust at the back of my mind for a few years. Lee seems to be
uber thorough which is a delight to hear; he is planning to use 129 rivets
on each floorpan! We discussed what to do with the rest of chassis that
is sound, but requires some sort of protection, & has been looking pretty
scruffy for some time. Lee agreed to scrape down & paint the rst of the
chassis (bar removing the engine) for a reasonable sum, so I'm going with
that. I don't habitually pop the bonnet at car shows, but it will be nice
not to wince when I do!