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Summer 2021 round-up at 'Y Drive'
I thought I would do something a little different this time and have a quick round-up of recent events in my automotive world.
As you may know if you follow along, the Alfa GTV Twin Spark has moved on to pastures new. But I have been thoroughly enjoying my MK2 Polo Breadvan (name as yet undecided). I managed to attend two shows so far - the Arminghall Autojumble / Classic Car Show and the Classic Car Show at Star Wing Brewery.
Both events were a pleasingly casual format, not requiring the early start or advance booking of some and still well organised with plenty to enjoy. If these are the only two events I make it to this year I’ll be happy given the circumstances of the last couple of years. To be honest on a personal note I’ve found working up the motivation to attend events difficult, but very worthwhile. The casual nature of these events certainly helped to make attending more of a pleasure and less of a chore too.
Breadvan driving update
My 1990 VW Polo Breadvan has been a real joy to drive - a true ‘classic’ feeling practical little car. While to some it may still be a bit too modern, to me it really does feel of a different era and you can tell its design originated in the 70s. Step inside, lower yourself into the comfy cloth seats and slam shut the sturdy but uninsulated door and it gives you a sense of quality and robustness regardless.
Being an old recommissioned car with no driver aids, I’ve been gradually increasing the demands placed on the little Polo to safely test its limitations. In reality with its tiny ‘1.05’ litre petrol engine I’m unlikely to be wildly pushing any boundaries and it’s taken everything I’ve thrown at it calmly. The body rolls and the engine revs high when pushing on, but the steering feedback is great and the narrow tyres seem to happily grip the road. Even in heavy rain or with loose road surfaces I’ve felt confident it’s not going to surprise me.
That said I don’t think any drag racing or regular overtaking is on the cards in this car. And to be honest I’ve been happy enough to just keep up with the traffic without worrying about rushing to my destination at speed.
Breadvan mechanical update
All is well, but a few things have presented themselves to investigate and tackle over time.
Generally the car starts and drives with 100% vigour, but very occasional starting issues have appeared. It’s my suspicion the fuel filter is just getting clogged with the odd bit of scum picked up from the tank. I have changed the filter and if it continues to get blocked will investigate further.
Making sense of some of the modifications to the wiring will probably be a continual task. But I may make some headway when I install a cigarette lighter / 12v socket. I had the part knocking around from my old MG Midget that I never fitted and it would seem silly not to use it. Should be fairly straightforward once I can find a positive feed to tap into.
First thing to tackle here is a sticking speedo, it seems to free off after a few miles and could be the dial itself getting stuck or the cable and its connections. I’ll have to take a look soon.
While presentable, there is wear and tear that could definitely do with a tidy up, but I want to keep it original as possible and this will very much be on the back burner. Nevertheless I have made an important(!) modification to install a cheap and cheerful cupholder in the obvious place for it:
The Polo Breadvan will be getting a well earned rest. Soon it will have a thorough clean and be stored in the garage for at least a couple of weeks while we have some work done to our garden. As summer continues to fly by a few of the above issues will be looked at when I get a spare moment. By the time the car is ready to come out of hiding again, the weather might be starting to cool off. No bad thing for a car with no sun roof or air conditioning.
Beyond that, with the current uncertainty in the world who knows? Perhaps I’ll write a similar update in the Autumn to see where things have got to.
After a few years in the wilderness of car hobbyism where my motivation for my 1995 Rover 220 increasingly disappeared I have found my happy place again with the VW. It was (for me) an expensive purchase, which is something that I’ve shied away from when it comes to my car hobby in recent years. But I think I made a sound decision to follow the advice we all as car enthusiasts know and often ignore - to "buy the best you can afford". And this example has to be one of the best I’ve seen.
Above all else though it can be easy to get lost in your own little world, where your mental wellbeing is tied too strongly to any one thing (in our case as enthusiasts - a car). Sometimes it’s good to be reminded it’s the experiences and people that come along for the journey that really matter, and the material stuff is just a vehicle for that.
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