Cedric saves the day

| 31 May 2011

The week didn’t start well. My ex-partner took the Mercedes 230TE I bought for her up to London and on the way back it comprehensively fried its poor engine. My instinct told me this car going to be problems but I ignored the tell-tale signs. And to think I swapped it for my lovely little W123 200 saloon. The garage says it’s got a knock, too, which I heard but tried to ignore. I can see it needing a replacement engine...

Anyway, because of this disaster, I loaned her the Nissan Cedric Estate which she hates. In fact she dislikes it so much that she pleaded with me to find her something else to drive. She is so embarrassed by this mid-pacific aberration that she parks it around the corner from where she works because she feels her colleagues think she must be mad or ‘a bit weird’ to be driving it.

Even so, the Cedric was the only option but at least the tax disc had finally arrived for it and, with a good valet and a set of matching hub caps (from a Honda), it looked quite good when I handed it over. It even came in useful yesterday when I had to take my now-enormous 6ft
son Sean into town with four pals for a birthday meal. Thanks to the extra fold-out seats in the back there was room to spare.

There was a moment of panic on Wednesday morning when the clutch stopped working but this was due only to a lack of fluid and was soon sorted. Trouble is the departure of the Cedric (which I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen driving, although I’m not saying exactly a spirit-lifting car) has left me with my much-loved but greedy Fiat 130 Coupé to use, which is costing me £30 a day in fuel commuting the 70 miles a day round trip between Swindon and Stroud.

Actually I’m enjoying the Fiat, but it is a bit too much of a good thing for everyday use really and it emits a number of moans and groans from its wheel bearings and grinding front discs that are frustrating. Hopefully tomorrow (Friday) I will be getting the new disc fitted that I bought in Turin from my friend Andrea. I can’t believe I put £95 worth of fuel in it yesterday (it is already nearly half gone), but I was pleased to find its doing 20mpg. Whoopee doo.

The more uplifting happenings of the week have been the securing of an electronic ignition for the Lagonda – which should be on its way to me by now – and placing my pedal car on top of the toilet block in my mill next to the Chopper (purple Mk II). The pedal car was my major purchase at Beaulieu spring Autojumble: a terrible little plastic thing made in Italy in the 1960s and supposedly a Jaguar E-type. It looks pretty damn cool up there I reckon.

Less pleasing was this morning’s news that the engine in my Fulvia Zagato is still giving problems. Now there’s water in the oil and the head's going to have to come off again. My patience is wearing mighty thin with this car and, as with the Mercedes, I think we might be looking at finding another engine for it, one I can see running in a car preferably.

In between all this I’ve been writing about Daimlers for the magazine and got up early this morning to chase up some features that I really should be getting on with. Had a quick scan of the local paper and saw an Alfasud advertised not far away, which, while my discs are being done, I might nip over and have a look at. Doubtless it will be rusty but it lives in Cheltenham and the lady selling it sound rather posh, so I might get lucky (with the car).