Friday, July 15, 2011

All of a Sudden ... Nothing Happened

When I first brought the Traveller home I didn't yet have a proper garage or anywhere to work, so I had to put it into a rented storage shed. That was in February 2007...and then life got in the way. Its boring but in a nutshell, my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary, sold a house, bought a house, had a child, finished a marathon 13 year renovation of another house, sold that house and another flat then renovated our new house (more on that later). That brings us up to late 2009. During most of this time the Traveller languished in storage. I spent a fair bit of time researching, planning and tracking down elusive parts on ebay, but I didn't do anything to the Traveller for over 2 1/2 years.

 In November 2009 there was going to be a big Mini show "MiniFest 2009", for the 50th anniversary. I decided that I wanted to have the Traveller there and that I was going to try to drive it. I had pieced together many of the missing parts I would need to get the car running. At that stage it had an engine, but that was just sitting in the engine bay, without any of its ancillaries fitted. The radiator and most of the cooling system was missing as were a number of smaller mechanical parts.
Mini Fans not Admiring Eddie

Over a period of several weeks I took my lunch break at the storage shed, which was just near my work. I bought an engine crane and used it to lift the engine out, I fitted a replacement radiator and cooling system, dropped it back in and connected everything up, using bits and pieces I already had plus some I borrowed and scrounged. Finally on the Friday before MiniFest I had it all re-assembled with a new battery fitted. I just needed to get it to start. It took a huge effort- there were at least half a dozen things preventing it from running, ranging from a wrongly aligned distributor drive, through to a cockroach egg blocking the fuel line. My lunch hour ran a bit over time that day - in fact I ended up spending nearly all afternoon lying on the floor in a pool of leaking petrol - but eventually it fired up, filling my storage shed with black smoke. It even settled down to a reasonable idle. Unfortunately the brakes were completely stuffed, and with no time to fix them, I had to trailer it to MiniFest.

Tasmania's answer to Monty Watkins

My Sister's old 1971 Mini K
MiniFest was a huge success, the Traveller got a lot of attention, particularly from the real mini aficionados. I was surprised, and very pleased, to be awarded a trophy for "The Car with the Most Potential", I'm glad the judges could see it the same way I do.

To cap it off I was asked to be lead car for the parade of Minis through town - only driving my Moke, not the Traveller. Unfortunately once the show was over, I still didn't have anywhere for the Traveller to live at my house, so back into storage it went for just a little longer.

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