One Last Time III

by R.L. Corn

There is really nothing left to do. I don’t want to take the car out of the basement, until I am ready to drive it. So, I’m just waiting. I have been tightening bolts that I think might cause a rattle at some point. Most of the time now, however, I am just going down to the shop to add another coat of wax to Rita, or to start her up just to hear her purr. Soon, if weather permits, I will bring her out from under the house. We will see how many of the repairs and improvements actually hold up when the car is on the road.

Today is a gloomy Saturday, with prospects of rain for the next four days, but it’s not raining yet. I wake Marcee up and down to the basement we go. I had been spending the last few weeks thinking about how to alter my ramps so that my new exhaust wouldn’t scrape the floor this time. Usually the simplest fixes are the best. By raising the end of the ramps, the angle where the ramp meets the basement floor is reduced and the car comes out just perfectly.

I drive directly from the basement to the road. I still have a few minor adjustments to make, but the car runs beautifully. The first trip in six months is incredible. It’s not without some problems, but I expected that this shake-down would point out areas that needed further work. The oxygen sensor plug falls out a few miles into the drive. I had forgotten to put on sealer and only hand-tightened the plug when I put on the new exhaust. It was an easy fix—and free! NAPA ended up having one that they gave me!

During the brief drive, I notice that the right rear brake is sticking, so I will have to see what is going on with that. But after six months it feels amazing to have Rita back on the road. Every passing mile I’m greeted with waves, thumbs up, and gestures of appreciation from motorists for this topless classic. It feels
really good.

Once home, after centering the steering wheel, I take the master cylinder cover off and notice that the shoe is not completely disengaging, overheating the rear brake. A new return spring from Moss and I’ll be back in business.

The fuel and temperature gauges need to be reanimated (I think it is the voltage stabilizer) but the car is drivable and just in time for those upcoming spring rides on the back mountain roads.

If I have learned anything over the last forty years of owning British automobiles, it is that you never reach the finish line of a restoration (especially if you plan on owning a daily driver). There will always be points to gap, zerks to grease, and brightwork to polish. But of course that is the best part of owning a unique automobile. If you are just interested in going from point A to B, you probably should own a Honda (and we do). But if you want to fully enjoy being on the road, making people smile when you pass, and feeling that you are a part of a long legacy of sports cars owners, there is nothing better than driving one of the cars that came off the Abingdon assembly line. MM


'One Last Time III' have 2 comments

  1. January 16, 2022 @ 8:10 pm Gordon N Blair

    Rob, I Thoroughly enjoyed your piece “One Last Time”. For 13 years I have been keeping an 80 B from its eventual scrap yard destiny. You mentioned a fuel gauge/temp gauge problem which I also have. Three voltage stabilizers later, I am still at square #1! If you figure it out, let me know, please.
    My LE is a daily driver, except in deep snow, which we sometimes encounter here in Utah winters.


    • January 25, 2022 @ 1:22 pm Rob

      The voltage stabalizer did fix it for me. That is the one piece( to my knowledge) that affects both gauges. There are the obvious things (which are easy to overlook) are:

      1. the fuses
      2. the sensors on the block for the temp gauge.
      3. the gauges themselves

      …but if they both went out at the same time I would check to see if you are getting power (fuses/wiring) stabalizer and the gauges.

      I blew my wiring diagram into 4 times its normal size (Staples will make it as large as you want and it is pretty inexpensive). Then I just follow the wires to see where they intersect to see if I have a problem that affects more than one item/gauge).

      I am struggling with brakes right now. I put all new brakes with steel hoses and oversized pads up front, but I can’t get the rear brakes to bleed. I am hoping that the new master cylinder I put in last year is not causing me problems.

      Let me know if you are able to fix the gauges. It is alwasys something.

      Spring is right around the corner!



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