A phone call I’d been waiting nearly a year for
Well, I finally got the call I thought was never going to come, Simon at Hillcrest to say my car was ready! Success for this stage of the project had rested with the fuel tank. The tank supplied on the car had rusted while standing for all those years, and leaked the first time it had a decent amount of fuel put in it. I bought a replacement but it was the wrong type, different breather system. While it meant a delay, I agreed with Simon that we’d take one out of a 924S parts car he had. It took a while to get to but in it went, then they put fuel in and it too leaked. At this point I think I spent most of my budget on my swear box. Finally, Simon said he’d refit the tank I’d bought and modifiy the breather system to make it fit. Job done.
On 22nd February 2012 I left work bang on 5:30pm and got home as quickly as [legally] possibly. I parked up and made a quick outfit change before heading off to meet a friend who kindly offered me a lift to collect the car. At this point I must confess that I’d put on my waterproof jacket and grippy shoes that would be favourable in pushing conditions.
Arriving at Hillcrest I could see my car parked up and ready to go. Under the MR2’s lights it looked slightly more dinged than I remember, but I didn’t care, it was coming home. My driver stuck around long enough to make sure the car worked okay and I could get under way – it started first time, and it sounded surprisingly good too! Well, relatively speaking. With pop-up headlights doing there thing I de-misted the inside of the car and was ready to roll.
The temptation was to go for a proper drive and blow the cobwebs out. But we weren’t quite there yet. The tyres, while legal, were in a bad way and I had two journeys in mind; home and to the tyre fitters. The 924 and I had plenty of time to get acquainted after then. Once home I locked the car up for the night and set about prepping for an early start the following morning. Needless to say I woke nice and early, partly due to excitement and partly so I could get out ahead of the traffic – I didn’t want to breakdown in rush hour traffic. Aside from the tyres not feeling great, slightly perished and no two matched, the car gave a very good account of itself. The main difference from the previous short drive was the steering, this was vastly improved after the universal joint had been replaced. I needed to wait for the the tyre fitters to open so parked up at the office. In early and with no one else around it was a good opportunity to take some photos.
Full gallery here: Office shoot
I had not been at work for too long when Elite Wheels & Tyres called to tell me my tyres were in. I had ordered some Hankook Ventus Prime2 on the back of good reviews. V rated rubber in the 924S sizes, 195/65 R15, didn’t give the greatest choice, but the Hankooks seemed to fit the bill. I dropped the car off at Elite mid morning and it was ready to collect on my lunch break.
It is all psychological of course, but I was convinced the car looked better on it’s new boots, even though it could only be appreciated close up. The other thing that became apparent, the relative condition of the wheels, they really are in rather good order.
Having had the tyre date markings explained to me by a friend earlier that day, I asked the guys at Elite how old my perished tyres really were; they were made in 2002! Ten years old. Small wonder that they hadn’t inspired much confidence. Unlike the A-B approach to my previous journeys my trip back to the office was the long way around. I was able to just get on and enjoy the car for the first time in my tenure and it was great. Despite needing to be scrubbed in the Hankooks already had the car feeling far more settled, and if they continue this way then they’re going to be very good indeed.
I was a very happy man. Right up to the point where the battery light flickered on as I was waiting in traffic. But that is for another post.