I like to think that classic car enthusiasts are an optimistic breed. They have a strong belief that they can restore any car that is made available to them, no matter how rusty or broken it is.
I remember my first classic car. She was a powder blue Triumph Spitfire MK3 (KVL 903H). She was in a very poor state. The engine would not run, there were holes as big as your hand in the floorpans and the interior trim consisted of two seats. To make it even more interesting she had been partially dismantled. Now, at this point most people would walk away with their money in their wallet. Naturally, I bought her and had her dragged home.
I can remember saying to myself that in a couple of months she would be on the road and I would enjoy a summer of open top motoring. My (now) brother in law, Chris, helped me to get the engine running. He cleaned the carburettors but they leaked petrol when we reinstalled them. My solution was to (temporarily) seal them with blu-tak. It worked a treat but when the engine fired up, it went straight to 5500rpm and we had quite a struggle to turn her off.
I decided it was now time to totally dismantle her and over the next few years I took her to pieces in various garages, due to house moves. Unfortunately this story does not have a happy ending. I did not have the time or resources to complete the work and if I am honest she was completely rotten.
I now have another optimistic restoration project. Poppy is a red Austin Mini (F55 CAW). I bought her so I could get to work in Derby. For the first few months she ran beautifully. Going round roundabouts had never been so much fun. Coming home in the rain one evening a windscreen wiper made a bid for freedom and as I was hurtling down the motorway at the time I decided to let it escape. It made the rest of the journey home very interesting! Another time I was leaving work and I drove over something quite solid. I jumped out to see what it was. Of course it was my front bumper, so with a wave to the grinning taxi driver behind me, I picked it up, threw it in the car and drove away rather quickly.