Four cars attended the 2014 Le Mans trip, a 1965 S Type Jag, my 1970 E Type Roadster, a 1965 MGB and the Ford. Not a very well matched range of cars for travelling at the same speed however. The trip was first to Beaulieu Motor Museum and then onto Kent to stay in an old coaching inn in Hythe. I dramatically under estimated the time it would take and it was very obvious that the Ford needed some major changes to its speed if we were to sensibly compete in 2016. At about 45 mph, the engine was estimated to be at about 4000 rpm, the brakes were rather concerning to say the least, and the slight wobble on the steering became quite frightening over 50 mph. Fuel consumption was high, the coolant water was hot, and the 2 added electrical fans were on most of the time. However she kept going, oil burning well for over 1000 miles. The first night at Hythe I realised that we could only average 35 mph. This meant that a big plan to visit the British memorial at the Somme and the Canadian memorial at Ypres had to be curtailed. We were staying at a grand chateau just to the south of Paris and driving the ford Nigel arrived around 9.00pm, just in time to enjoy dinner and a few glasses of G & T. We will need to fit a gin tank it seems to the car, and ice maker, and tonic holder……
The next day we drove along the Loire, had a great lunch in Orleans, and ended up in an amazing hotel overlooking the Loire and built into the caves, Les Hautes Roche. The Ford kept going and even in the warmer weather managed not to boil. The occupants however were finding it a little warm and the opening front window was in regular use. The cooling wind brought with it flies and other insects which certainly made you keep your mouth shut.
Le Mans Classic was excellent, but it rained and rained, which is never fun when camping! We found our way into an empty hospitality suite overlooking the start line and at last had a comfortable nights sleep. Amazingly the E type, which 2 years previously had disgraced itself and embarrassed its drivers by boiling in the old Mulsanne village (with plenty of spectators in vintage cars with no problems) stayed cool and positively hummed along.
Nigel decided to drive early to Roscoff on the Saturday night, during which he also discovered that the water leaked thorough the front valance and the headlights were useless, still at 35 mph is wasn’t that bad ( ? ) even if you couldn’t see and your legs were damp. Meeting again in Roscoff, all cars safely boarded the ferry and we were home on the Sunday night.
So we had a car that was slow, had worn rings, leaked water, had useless lights, dampened your trousers but on the plus side kept going and was easy to sort.
Now back home we made a list and started the big dismantle…………………………………………!
Written by: Richard