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Classic Cars - Driving London to Edinburgh in Top Gear

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Morty13/07/2020 23:18:11
64 forum posts
83 photos

Hi there!

Slightly different slant here, but during a weekend away near Watchet in Somerset in the early '80's,the clutch master cylinder on my Mazda 929 estate gave up the ghost just before We headed back on the Sunday night and I needed to get home for work at 6 AM on the Monday morning!!

Solution:- bump started in fourth year and drove 170 miles without stopping or changing gear, judging speed to hit traffic lights on green,and made it back in time for work. Interesting!!

Same car, different time, driving home from the outskirts of London, noticed the lights getting dimmer when We got on the M1, kept going dare not stop for fear of not starting again and drove all the way back, fuel gauge laughing at Me (fuel filler cap locked with ignition key!) for the last 20 miles!

Pulled up at home,switched off,and tried the starter, flat as a pancake!

Cause:- alternator clamping bolt loose and fanbelt slipping!

No breakdown cover for Me in those days,had to buy petrol instead!!

Happy Days!

Cheers, Pete

Hopper14/07/2020 06:00:28
4653 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by Bill Pudney on 13/07/2020 12:20:40:

I used to have a Norton 650SS, which as their top of the line high performance model, had a magneto. The 650SS was made up until 1968/9. However like the previously mentioned BSA Gold Star, the advance/retard wasn't specified for slow speed, high gear use!! In the mid 70s I was stopped on the Andover By Pass for doing 126mph, and in 77 the same bike, two up with panniers and a tank bag, put over 90 miles into less than 60 minutes. Got to love magnetos!!



My 1967 Norton 750 Atlas has a maggie with a massve centrifugal auto advance unit attached to the maggie drive sprocket. Still vibrates more than any bike ive ever ridden, Harley Fergussons included. I reckon if I tried to do 90 miles in one hour there would be nothing left that had not shaken off. If i ever have to rebuild the engine i will sleeve it back to the more sensible and sweet running 650cc.

John Rutzen14/07/2020 08:39:24
227 forum posts
2 photos

I had a BSA Gold Star 500cc single many years ago. It would do 70mph in first, never mind top gear! Riding in traffic was a pain, slipping the clutch all the time. You had to knock it into neutral before you stopped or it would stick in gear sometimes. It had manual advance / retard and decompression lever. I wasn't heavy enough to kick start it really, sometimes it would start ok but if it was hot you sometimes just had to walk away and leave it to cool down. I could have ridden from London to Edinburgh in first. I sold it around 1968 for around £200, it was immaculate - often wonder who has it now. It would be worth a fortune.

Russell Eberhardt14/07/2020 08:57:20
2595 forum posts
85 photos
Posted by not done it yet on 11/07/2020 16:35:09:

These vehicles of pre WWI are classed as ‘veteran’, not ‘classic’,

The accepted terminology ( according to the VCC and VSCC) is:

Pre 1905 - Veteran

1905 to 1920 - Edwardian

1920 to 1930 - Vintage

Certain makes and models 1931 - 1939 - Post Vintage Thoroughbred

Classic - I don't know of any official designation.


john halfpenny14/07/2020 10:12:31
37 forum posts
9 photos

Russell has omitted to say that this classification applies to cars, but motorcycles are treated differently.

Neil Wyatt14/07/2020 10:49:14
17970 forum posts
709 photos
77 articles

In the 70s we had a Wolseley 6/110 with 3-speed box and overdrive. My mum basically drove it in 3rd all the time.


Russell Eberhardt14/07/2020 16:24:06
2595 forum posts
85 photos
Posted by john halfpenny on 14/07/2020 10:12:31:

Russell has omitted to say that this classification applies to cars, but motorcycles are treated differently.

and, of course, here in France vintage has a totally different meaning hic!

john halfpenny14/07/2020 16:37:29
37 forum posts
9 photos

But we have vintage cider. Snooze.......

Howard Lewis15/07/2020 03:21:58
3388 forum posts
2 photos

The only 5 speed Leylands that we had were Tiger Cubs with 1st gear as a crawler.. To engage this, you had to lift the gear lever, over a catch (Same for Reverse) We prided ourselves on being able to lift the gear lever with only one hand,. Crawler could be engaged on the move, if you were good and lucky.

All the other Leylands had 4 speed boxes, with Eaton two speed axles for single deckers and coaches.

The Bristol REs were handicapped by the then Chief Engineer choosing entirely the wrong axle ratio.

Starting in 2nd eventually failed the gearbox bearings, and often resulted in a cracked casing. There was an air assist on the clutch mechanism. It was needed!

Renault 5s had a design fault in the automatic clutch adjuster which caused the cable to bend at the same point rather than follow the radius. Mine failed as I left work in the evening rush hour. My wife's failed some 55 miles from home. Having had a lot of practice driving Leyland Leopards without being able to disengage the clutch; on both occasions I made it home. After a couple of angry letters, Renault eventually provided a field fix with new Pedal, and Adjuster assemblies, F O C.. Daughter also had a 5, but ignored my advice to buy the new fix for me to fit. But she did heed my advice on driving without a clutch. She managed to drive from The Hague to Peterborough with a broken cable!

Scammell lorries had a very heavy clutch, so once on the move, the clutch was not used!


Nick Clarke 315/07/2020 07:40:35
812 forum posts
28 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 15/07/2020 03:21:58:

Renault 5s had a design fault in the automatic clutch adjuster which caused the cable to bend at the same point rather than follow the radius.

Hillman Avengers were similarly handicapped by a badly designed scuttle/clutch cable arrangement where the clutch cable pulled through the bodywork.

The fix was a shaped reinforcing plate that took seconds to tack into place, but a whole morning to remove everything and reassemble afterwards, particularly if the cable had jammed in the torn hole.

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