An American Classic – Ian Hadley’s 1970 Chrysler 300

This week it has been a pleasure to receive a guest post from Ian Hadley, who took a leap of faith and purchased a 1970 Chrysler 300 from the States, relying only on photographs and a bit of courage to seal the deal. Read his personal account below:

“The car was a 1970 Chrysler 300, 2 door hardtop (Coupe), 440 Cubic Inches (7.2 Litres), 350 hp, 480 ft lbs of stump pulling torque. Near 20 ft long, 7 ft wide and weighs just north of 2 tons. Three speed automatic transmission (manual not available for this model). She had allegedly been a one family owned car and spent her entire life in and around the environs of Pasadena (a suburb of Los Angeles, California). Originally purchased new by the vendor’s great aunt. I guess that makes her the original “Little Old Lady from Pasadena”! There are two basic types of American car which every enthusiast finds desirable. The first I would term the “Daddy’s Girl Car”; usually a sporty model with upgraded brakes, handling package and all the toys but with the base engine. Just begging for an engine swap. The second I call the “Sunday Go To Meeting Car”; a personal luxury coupe or sedan, little used, low mileage.

With 56k genuine miles on the clock, this old girl of a Chrysler falls into the latter category. Whilst not my first rodeo concerning the importation of a car from The States, one never quite knows what to expect until the vehicle gets here. Relying entirely on photographs and the vendor’s description requires a great leap of faith and is not to be recommended to those faint of heart. In this case she lived up to expectations and I find myself well pleased with my purchase.

The car proved to be totally rust free, an advantage of importing from a dry State. Unusually for a 300, the car was not highly optioned having no Air Conditioning, no Power Windows, and just the basic Bench Seat interior. I managed to extract the Broadcast Sheet from it’s under seat hiding place and discovered the car came with the “fuel economy” rear axle, a fact I found hilarious! Having been maintained in an excellent mechanical state, she needed very little to pass her first MOT. The rear indicators required a rewire and colour change. The washer bottle was non existent. Old technology plastic bottles do not last and are virtually impossible to obtain NOS or used. The old sealed beam headlights needed improvement too. Now in the old days, when headlights came in standard sizes, one only needed to visit the local automotive factor for an off the shelf replacement. Not so easy in the 21st Century.

This is where Holden Vintage and Classic came to the rescue.

These fine folks carry a range of suitable replacements, enabling one to convert your classic to utilise more modern halogen lighting. Whilst I was shopping, I purchased a generic aftermarket washer kit too. Not being a matching numbers aficionado, the lack of originality does not bother me. Suffice to say, MOT passed first time! And finally, just to answer the often-asked questions; you can get four bodies in the trunk and it does 12 – 14 mpg on a run which falls to 5 – 6 mpg in stop start driving. If two litres did it for me, I’d have got me a Pepsi!”

If you’d like to share your classic car story, please email us today on charlotte@holden.co.uk.

Charging Bullet Update: Test Ride

A lot has happened at Spaven Engineering in the last few months and the Charging Bullet has progressed from a collection of parts to something vaguely resembling a motorcycle. The plan to convert an old 350cc Enfield Bullet to pure electric power and ride it from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s is coming together, slowly but surely.

Since we last spoke to Fred, he has finished welding up the main component; the subframe which bolts to the original Enfield engine mounts to hold the motor, batteries and all the electrical gubbins. This has now been mounted in the 1961 Enfield Bullet Frame, the motor and a small, tester battery pack was installed before wiring could begin and tangles of multicoloured spaghetti began pouring from the bike.

Finally, with the bike up on stands to keep the rear wheel off the ground the ‘ignition’ switch was flicked. The Battery Management System (BMS) went through it’s obligatory cell checks before turning on the main contactor (a giant relay) a half a second later. This satisfying clunk signalled that the battery power was ready to be unleashed and a gentle twist of the grip sent a swarm of electrons down the hefty 350 amp cable to the motor. With the bike still largely unpainted and still lacking (among quite a few other things) a front brake, it was time to wheel it outside for a spin around the yard.

The best way to describe the ride is: easy, the Enfield’s laid back handling works perfectly with the zero fuss electric drive. The clutchless operation doesn’t take much getting used to but I did keep feeling my toes reach for a gear lever that isn’t there! Handling was excellent and, at least up to 25mph or so in the yard, the bike felt stable and controllable just as it should. Of course brand new bearings, tyres, forks etc. help enormously and everything felt tight and new making for a very confident ride. It’s never going to win races but the easygoing feel and lack of fuss make the bullet a really user friendly machine and it should fit the bill as a daily commute down country lanes or city streets.

The bike is far from finished, however, and Fred’s still got a lot to do before the big Land’s End to John O’Groat’s run later in the year, from fabricating covers that will keep the Scottish rain away from the batteries to fitting the instruments: a speedo and State of Charge Meter, effectively the electronic ‘fuel’ gauge.

For more information and updates or to get in touch check out: www.charging-bullet.co.uk

Bringsty Grand Prix 2018 Roundup

 

It was a pleasure to see so many of you at Bringsty Grand Prix over the weekend. The event was an enormous success and we’d like to extend our gratitude to the organisers and supporters who helped bring this historic event back to Bromyard for the first time since 1947, including The Bromyard Speed Festival crew, Cotswold Youth MX and local land owners. You can see some videos and pictures of the day on our Facebook page.

As many of you already know from our previous blog updates, The Bringsty Grand Prix took place over two consecutive years in 1946 and 1947, with the latter being politically significant due to the large public rally that took place on the Common to protest the loss of the basic fuel ration for private motorists. The pressures of post war Britain were too much for the event to continue past this date, which is why it was so exciting to see it launch again in 2018 after last year’s pilot event to mark its 70th anniversary.

Participants on the day included David Weaver, Marcus Doughty, Andy Carter, Alastair Garness, Vincent Hale, William Holden Jon Britton and many more, as well as Richard Williams who won the event and who is pictured below winning the Bringsty Grand Prix cup. The event was a classic ‘grand old scramble’, with ledges, bog watersplashes and steep climbs and as well as enjoying glorious weather, several participants commented on how the 1 mile period circuit was one of the best they’d experienced in years.

We’d like to once again thank everyone who made this event possible, and very much look forward to seeing its return next year.

 

A big thank you to ESL Photography

The Restoration of ‘Sol’ The African Rally Morgan +4 (Chapter 3)

A year ago, we introduced you to ‘Sol’, a tired Plus 4 in desperate need of some restoration. Over the last 12 months, the team at Holden Morgan have been working tirelessly to restore sorry Sol in time for RallyRound’s Rally Africa. You can read more about the steps taken to this stage here and here.

Below, you’ll find a video of Jeremy and Adam demonstrating the latest project developments from the Holden Morgan workshop. We don’t have long to go and very much look forward to sharing with you this amazing car’s journey through Africa in October.

 

A customer’s restoration journey

This week we are honoured to have spoken to Peter Linn, a lifelong classic car enthusiast and owner from Essex who now lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Peter currently owns a selection of cars, including a 1955 Austin Healey 100, which was bought part restored in 2008, and a 1947 MG TC/Q type special, which was purchased as a basket case in 2016. These are the last of a string of British classics starting with a 1952 Series MM Morris Minor in 1966, through 1953 MG TD owned from 1970-1986 (in the UK), 1966 Daimler 2.5 litre V8 (1992-2003 in Australia), 1955 Special bodied Austin Healey 100 ‘the Ward Special’ (2003-2015) which is now in Holland, and an Ausca bodied Healey 100.

The current Healey was found in a paddock in NSW where it had sat for 20 odd years. Most of the mechanical bits were long gone, so it needed a replacement engine (3.8 litre Holden V6). The MG was bought from a friend as a project. The chassis is one from a car he owned in the ‘60s which he crashed. He then replaced the chassis and subsequently straightened the original one and collected bits to build another car. That’s what Peter bought. The body is a fibreglass Q type replica of which a handful were made in Melbourne.

A personal passion for restoration

Peter gets a particular kick from building something out of nothing (or very little) as well as resurrecting cars that very nearly cease to exist. That was the case with both the Healey and the MG, and also the Ausca bodied car, which was built from scratch after finding the body in Victoria.

Holden Vintage & Classic have helped Peter bring these cars back to life

Peter has used Holden Vintage & Classic products in many of his restorations. In the MG, he used an alloy rocker cover, sidelight innards, reflectors, halogen headlamp globes, electronic SU fuel pump, badge bar clips, cabling, spark plug caps, spring bonnet catches, and a pair of goggles and driving gloves!

In the Healey, he needed headlamp seals, Healey-specific rear indicators, headlamp stone guards, reflectors, lift the dot studs and decals.

And in the Ausca bodied car (now sold) he required complete headlamp units, MGA tail lights, reflectors, indicator lamp lenses and a few other small parts.  When asked about his experience, he said, “HVC is the first place I refer people too when they’re looking in particular for electrical and hardware bits”.

 

So how does Peter enjoy his projects once they’re finished? Well, as a member of GEAR (Golden Era Auto Racing), Peter told us he runs the Healey and the Ausca at the club’s two monthly track days at the 2 Queensland race tracks – Lakeside and Queensland Raceway. He also enjoys taking his classics to shows such as the annual All-British day. We are pleased that Peter has found the right hardware, electricals and accessories to help him enjoy his restored cars to their maximum potential and look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve in the near future!

If you’d like to share your restoration story, get in touch with us today!