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Finally, a Collection of Cars! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Colin Brassington (aka Brash)   
Saturday, 22 October 2016 19:49

All my life I've wanted to have a massive car collection. For most of that time however, fate and logic have had other ideas. Then there was all those years of marriage where the promise of buying more cars was dangled carrot-like in the future provided certain other objectives were achieved first. But regular readers of these ramblings know how well those plans ended up. Oh well. 

180SX.UpOnStands.RearOut01

So we arrive at this, on the day I write this (from a forward facing seat on one of ComEng's finest 3000-class railcars - that's a lie, they aren't fine at all) the current collection stands at 5 cars between my partner and I. Although at the time of writing, only 2 of them pass the 'does my project car run' test. But I'll get back to that in a moment. 

I've been fortunate enough to have spent the last few years living with good people. The sort of people who would lend you anything to get you back on your feet. And somewhat conveniently, the sort of people who have a spare car. 

You see, when I was living in Sydney, my flatmates were top blokes who worked together. So they rarely needed one of the two cars they owned. Once the WRX was back on the road, the Aldi Q5 as I called it (Nissan XTrail) was just sitting there, and I was more than welcome to drive it to work. But living with likeminded car people also meant that occasionally I ended up taking the WRX to work, or elsewhere. And that was awesome. I still miss that car, even though it was never actually mine. And I can't thank J and Ash enough for everything that year.

Upon changing jobs and moving back to Adelaide, I decided that there was an S14 Silvia sized hole in both my heart and driveway, so I bought one. In the 18 months I owned that car, it was off the road for just short of 8 months (and not running properly for probably 4 of the months it was on the road). But during that period of time, new housemates SpeakerOfTheHouse and BoyWonder both had surplus cars for me to borrow as needed. The Sheep and the Lexus (Rest in Pieces), El Negro and HMAS Calais were often available for me to either take to work or to go visit my girlfriend. Again this supreme generosity saw me having the use of significant investments of others, in exchange for my maintaining the car. And again, I cannot thank the rightly honourable Speaker or BoyWonder enough.

Civic.1

Which brings us to my present living arrangement. Living in what is largely described by service providers as the county (despite being closer to the Adelaide CBD than many metropolitan Sydney suburbs are to Sydney) with my yet to be allocated a silly nickname girlfriend, once again I find myself borrowing a car to do things. With the blue Nissan known as Mako needing regular maintenance and regular time off the road for whatever reason, transport duties have been up to the borrowed KFury reasonably priced racecar Excel and Leanne's Mazda3 Lola. Lola could well be nicknamed the General Maintenance as that's all the attention she ever requires. Regular servicing, a set of tyres every couple years and some fuel every week. All she asks for in return for her duties and reliable service is the occasional wash.

So what if everything else? While Project Futility was purchased as a non-running project and doesn’t really count, the project has somewhat stalled and I'm waiting on a bodywork expert to come visit and advise on some rust repair. I could probably put it back together and re-wire the thing over a long weekend and get the engine it came with running in a few nights after work, but I would worry about longevity of that set up. Given that I want the car ready to help us move in a few months, and that will entail towing (among other things), I want a reasonably strong and reliable package. So we'll do things somewhat properly even if they do take more time. And in any case, the spare engine is apart, and it will be cleaned and inspected, before machining (if needed) and reassembly. 

IMG 7655

Maggie, the Prelude that I've owned since 2005 is still around, but in poor health. The ECU went into limp mode some time in December, and we've been so far unable to isolate the fault. Well that’s not quite correct – we know that the fault code is either 8 or 80; so either the Top Dead Centre Sensor or the Exhaust Gas Recirc system. I’ve replaced the EGR biz, but have yet to remove the fault from the ECU. So she drives, but is limited to 3000rpm. Not handy when all the roads to your home have a speed limit of 80 or higher, will make it a tad dangerous on the freeway. And at the time of writing she is a jumpstart away from actually running. But that’s probably about right, given that I drove it to the servo for the first time nearly 3 months ago, and since then have only driven to the train station a couple of times.

As I mentioned, Mako has recently been off the road for some attention. The newly installed differential (well, 5000km ago installed) has been making some noises that sound like its on the verge of locking up mid drive. Again this would not be ideal, so she had been parked for a few weeks while I sourced a replacement diff. Spare diff was sourced and installed, only to find that diff number 2 didn’t work either. Currently I’m in the process of removing diff number 2 so they can both be taken to a workshop for looking. Mainly because that’s way simpler than trailering the car somewhere and just pointing to it and telling them fix it mate. 

But what of the reasonably priced race car? Well KFury has been sidelined too. After being the between race day fallback transport solution since she arrived in our driveway toward the beginning of the year, she too had some trouble the past couple weeks. After starting to make some odd noises at a track day two weeks ago, I attempted to drive KFury to the shops a day or so after said track day. Unfortunately she never made it. The noise stopped and so did the engine, roughly 100m from the supermarket. So of course I did my shopping then walked home. In the rain. Upon later inspection a few days later, the 1.5L DOHC Alpha engine has suffered a timing belt failure. KFury's fate has yet to be determined, but some serious works are certainly in its future, and she is currently parked out of the way and very sad.

All my life I've wanted to own multiple cars, and I finally do. But this totally isn't what I expected. It is one thing to have that momentary thought of 'what car shall I take today' before heading out somewhere, but entirely another to pick up one set of keys because there aren't necessarily any other options - take that car or walk to the train station are the options currently.

I hope that one day in the very near future we are able to have the former thoughts, rather than the latter ones that we have at the moment. To weigh up the positives and negatives of each particular car, before deciding on which one gets driven today. Because I can say with some authority, that having four cars in various states of not running is not much fun at all.

 

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