Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Random Morris Minor

Nothing special, just catching up on an old pic I let lie and almost forgot.

A very tidy Morris Minor convertible split window I tripped over while waddling around the back streets.

In this case, near a repair shop where I know the owner is into Classic Cars and suchlike.

Morris Minor Convertible

Morris Minor Convertible

As someone who is more used to wondering how to get a large engine into a small car (or rather engine bay), I will never get used to seeing one of these with the bonnet up, and seeing a tiny engine lost in a vast volume of near empty engine bay.

By way of contrast, the last time I had to have a ‘serious’ car alarm/immobiliser fitted – they had to give up and fit it inside, behind the dash and a corner of the footwell. This would not have been so bad but for the insurance requirement to have TWO sounders, one inside and one outside the car, the umpteen decibel sounder supposedly forcing a car thief to give up and leave it after a few minutes. The manual keyswitch for disabling this was on the larger control unit, intended to be in the engine compartment, but lack of space meant that module was INSIDE the car AND hard to reach to switch off!


May 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Change – Progress – Development

As a car nut who has not lost touch with reality, I’m able to enjoy the changes that have taken place in their design over the years – unlike some I have rubbed shoulders with and describe any changes as a betrayal to their favourite marque.

I’ve never quite understood this, as the implication is that once the model they like was put into production, it seems they would have liked the manufacturer to stop development, halt progress, and set that design in stone.

In a sense, I can appreciate their view, but it’s also a dead-end and would lead to the death of the company they supposedly like so much.

Even Morgan, which some may consider to be set in their ways, has moved on, even if (some of) its cars appear largely unchanged.

In my own case I can look at my own little collection, and while one late 1950s model was amongst the fastest normal production cars of the day (excluding exotics), and was able to cruise the Autobahn at 75 mph all day, it’s 0-60 mph time was in the region of 22 seconds.

By way of contrast, my 1980s example would do the same cruise at 150 mph, and sprint to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds.

In the currency of their day, the first was around £2 k, while the latter was 16 times that, and over £30 k (and had climbed to a whopping £80 k when production ended almost 20 years later).

The other difference would be their handling – something that has advanced out of all recognition today.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a bog-standard present family day car will out-perform a sports car from latter part of the 20th century (again, exclude the handful of exotics – but many of them would actually struggle too).

I spotted this pic, which probably sums this up – both are great, but if you think the manufacturer should have stopped developing and stayed with the one on the left, you need help, or the opportunity to bet your life savings, house, and family, on being able to catch the one on the right while driving it.

Porsche 1964 to 2016

Porsche 1964 to 2016

While I’ve never found anyone that let me drive the one on the left, I have managed to get my hands on examples of the one on the left.

Having driven other cars from 1964-ish, and being aware of that era’s 911 reputation, I can say that the later version is actually stunning, and despite trying to provoke the ‘handling faults’ of the rear engine layout found this impossible in anything like sane driving.

Special mention for that engine too – floor the throttle in any gear and it will take-off as if a ghost had just been seem.

At anything over 20 mph I found the effort of changing down to accelerate was almost a waste of time/effort.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Sad Citroën is still sad in Dalmarnock

With the restrictions on freedom of movement which the 2014 Commonwealth Games recently blighted the area with now removed, I am getting used to being able to walk around places such as Dalmarnock and Rutherglen which I simply could not get to easily. I have to walk, and the closure of only a few streets can add a mile or two, or more, to some routes. This is because I can only cross the river at bridges, so if the nearest one is not an option, then it can be a bit of a wander to get to the next as a pedestrian.

Heading towards Dalmarnock Bridge, I remembered looking over a wall and finding a classic Citroën sitting on a trailer, and had a look over the same wall, expecting it to be gone, since that first sighting was almost three years ago. Wow! Did the dopey games really screw things up for so long?

This was what I saw back in February 2013:

Citroen Cabrio

Citroen Cabrio

Sad to say, this is what I saw in October 2015:

Citroen Cabrio

I’m not really sure what I expected to see, but it wasn’t this.

Apart from changes that are down to nature, the scene is effectively the same as it was back at the start of 2013.

While I have a little experience with Classic cars, and would acknowledge that it’s impossible to make any sort of assessment without crawling under them and poking around, it’s still a little difficult to think that this is not something that an enthusiast would turn down (assuming that it is for sale, and as a non-runner, that silly money was not being demanded).

Even with the clever suspension and the fact that the hydraulic system runs just about everything on the car, being Cabrio means it retains its value and extra desirability/rarity, and by reputation, although complex, it’s not ridiculously so, and DIY is not impossible, especially since parts are available.

Still, speculation means little, and as I’m only ‘tyre kicker’ nowadays, I won’t (can’t) venture further.

I’ll still keep looking over the wall though.

November 11, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cognoscenti aims Classic Car events at the luxury end of the market

Classic Car tails

While I used to be able to attend many of the Classic Car events that took place around Scotland until a few years ago (and even managed to clock up a few as a participant), it looks like I would not have been able to go to any of The Cognoscenti‘s events, had they been around at the time.

Deliberately branded as a luxury group, you have to meet the following criteria:

Eligibility: The Cognoscenti events are open only to cars that meet the following criteria: Exotic sporting or luxury cars from a prestige marque, of a model in production on or before the 1st January 1973. (Pre-1973 cars from mainstream marques but with a particularly significant/interesting history may also be accepted on application).

I could manage the pre-1973 requirement easily, and probably talk my way past the other restrictions too, since I own a car which now has only two examples I am aware of remaining in Scotland (I’m not telling though, since I don’t give any details online), but even if I qualified, from attending some events as a participant when I drove a ‘prestige’ sports car marque, the bills for the hotels were crippling, so I knew I was living out of my class. But it was fun.

VisitScotland has caught on to this, and is promoting it as a tourist attraction, and given the group held an inaugural event at Billy Connolly’s Candacraig House in Aberdeenshire last year, where cars in attendance were valued at more than £15 million (see, I told you they were out of my league), it looks as if the supporting events could be a nice little earner.

Minister for Tourism Fergus Ewing added: “It is encouraging to see owners holding these popular events in Scotland providing a boost to our tourism industry in the process.”

Via New invitation-only luxury car events ‘to boost tourism’

Classic Restorations of Alyth

Possibly more interesting to anyone with a Classic that is not on the road, and finds they do not have the time to get it running, is the mention for Classic Restorations (Scotland) Ltd.

They have tied in with Cognoscenti to look after the cars attending their events.

Oddly enough, despite being able to say I have been involved with cars in Scotland for ‘decades’, and attended dozens of Vintage, Veteran, and Classic car events over those years, I had never heard of them before this. Regrettably, all I can admit to is having known a number of restorers around the Glasgow area over the period, but have seen them all slowly disappear over the years. These days, I tend to find garages and workshops that are trying to do such work, but not as experts in the field, rather just through their day-to-day skills in repairing cars in general. I often get odd looks whenever I start to peer into the back corners of workshops and similar premises I find while out wandering the streets, as it can be quite a surprise to find an E-type or similar sitting on the ramps, out of the way where it can be worked on when some spare time is available.

The odd surprise can appear too, such a small worship in the corner of Dalmarnock, where I found a small race car being completed. Sadly, that was a year or two ago, and when I passed the same door last week and popped my head in, there was the same car still sitting in the same place. Apparently untouched, the only good sign was that it appeared to clean, and did not appear to have been left to gather dust and dirt. One day, I might even ask about it… but don’t want to end up buying it!

Back to Classic Restorations, which we are told was formed 26 years ago by classic car enthusiast Charles Palmer, and has grown to employ 18 people and is able completes about 10 full restorations each year. It boasts and impressive client list too, with customers not only in the UK, but the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Via Classic car restoration firm teams up with Cognoscenti

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Citroën surprise in Dalmarnock

It’s a while since I last went anywhere near Dalmarnock, as most routes into the area are blighted by some aspect or another related to the forthcoming Commonwealth Shames fiasco being imposed on us for 2014. Vast areas have been razed and are yet to have anything built on them, while great sheds and little houses have deposited on others, all to accommodate a few ‘elite’ who will live better than the citizens of Glasgow for a few days, while they variously run, jump, and otherwise advertise themselves at our expense in the hope of landing a sponsorship deal worth millions to them. But we’ll still be paying for this stuff after they are long gone, and have left us with a ‘Lasting Legacy’ of debt and deserted venues in their wake.

However, once one has managed to avert one’s eyes from the horror, it seems there are still some interesting things to see.

Notably, I can actually walk on the road from Cambuslang to Dalmarnock now, which was something I had to give up a year or so ago, as it was just too dirty (and dangerous) with all the works that were underway to get the long overdue M74 extension in place. I will have to have a few wanders along that way in the coming year, and try to work out if there’s any difference to the local traffic. If nothing else, I could see that the new extension was certainly busy, so if that traffic was formerly on the town road below the motorway, then the difference should be easy for me to see in the coming months.

One thing that my extended holiday from the area did render noticeable was the amount of demolition and clean-up that has taken place, and I’m sure the count of old and derelict buildings has fallen considerably. I noticed a number of hoarding around such places that had council orders attached to them, naming the owners and serving notice on them to make such structures safe (or demolish/remove them) under pain of legal penalty.

And it was while I was reading one such notice that I received my Citroën surprise. Had I not been reading the notice concerned, I would not have taken a look over the top of the adjacent wall, and discovered a small yard filled with assorted vehicles… and a classic Citroën DS Cabrio lying on a trailer. I understand these were specially manufactured for the Citroën dealer network between the years 1958 and 1973 by the French carrossier (coachbuilder) Henri Chapron, and referred to as the Cabriolet d’Usine (factory-built convertible). This was a small, specialist model run, and the Cabrio was a highly desired option.With no roof to stiffen the body, the DS convertibles used a special frame which had reinforced side-members supporting the rear suspension swingarm bearing box.

Citroen Cabrio

Originally, I couldn’t tell if this was a 1.9 litre DS 19 (1958-73), or a later2.1 litre DS 21 (1970-73) from this angle, but could see it was one of the later examples, as it has a more conventional dashboard with round dials, as opposed to the earlier rectangular instrument panel displays.

Further checks (after I saw the registration number, where the ‘N’ suffix identifies first registration in the period 1 August 1974 – 31 July 1975) suggest it to be a still later 2.3 litre DS 23, so it’s probably one of the last made.

Citroen Cabrio

The Citroën DS was special

In most normal cars, hydraulics are only found in things like brakes and power steering, but in the DS they were used for the suspension, clutch, and transmission.

Introduced at a time when few passenger vehicles had independent suspension on all wheels, the application of hydraulics to a car’s suspension system to provide a self-levelling system was innovative. This suspension allowed the car to achieve sharp handling combined with very high ride quality, frequently compared to a magic carpet. The system went on to be developed for use in Rolls-Royce cars, such was the smooth quality of the ride, and the luxury British car maker licensed the system from Citroën in 1965.

As usual, cost-cutting came into play eventually, and later models (the ID 19) used manual steering and a simplified assisted braking system, which pared 25% off its cost.

While I can’t give the hood any marks for style when it is raised (it looks as if it was lifted straight off the nearest pram), this car looks stunning when the roof is down and the smooth line of the body is revealed in all its glory.

Unlike the folding roof, the rear indicators are little gems of design, small pieces of chrome artwork, mounted atop the bodywork to the left and right corners of the rear window. On the saloon, these indicators were round, and mounted in the upper corners of the rear window.

Citroen indicator

On the road in a Cabrio, looks great. Shame there’s no date for the footage, but the tint on the image suggests it is film, so was probably shot in the 1970s while the Cabrio was still current:

More on Citroën

You can read more on the development and history of this range here:

Curbside Classic: Citroën ID – The Goddess Storms The Bastille Of Convention

I didn’t spot it giving the reason, so you have something to go research for yourself, but one of the pics in that article does show the model that came with TWO number plates at the rear, just one more clever innovation that Citroën came up with to solve a ‘problem’.

February 12, 2013 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

2013 Monte Carlo Rally starts from Glasgow’s People’s Palace

Glasgow Monte Carlo Rally

I lost my original note of the planned start of the Monte Carlo Rally from Glasgow’s People’s Palace, but it was mentioned in the news the day before, so I was reminded that the start would be on Saturday, January 26th.

I had given up any idea of taking a walk along to catch some of event, as it had been a raining constantly through the night, but changed my mind by lunchtime as things became much drier, and even a touch warmer. Notably, we’ve been spared any of the snow that has landed elsewhere.

By the time I arrived, there was still almost two hour’s worth of cars left to be released (the total entry was around 40 participating cars which will cover the whole route, with another 60 to be seen as they participate in supporting events), and things were reasonably quiet by then.

In Pictures: Start of Monte Carlo Classic Rally

Monte Carlo Rally sets off from Glasgow | Galleries | News | STV

Seems I didn’t actually arrive as late as I thought (takes me a couple of hours to get there), as the BBC reported the cars only started to leave at 2 pm, and if their figure of 15,000 spectators at the event is accurate, the I’d have to say a lot of them had drifted away by then.

Monte Carlo Classic Rally starts in Glasgow

Thousands watch start of Monte Carlo Classic Rally in Glasgow | News | Glasgow | STV

I reckon most of them were in the twin queues I saw in the Winter Gardens (behind the People’s Palace) – waiting to get to the café… or the toilets.

I generally avoid trying to get pics at these events, either the pros are in the way, or you waste time trying to get to the front and avoid photographing the backs of heads, instead of cars – although one nice lady did offer me her place at the front of the barrier, but I prefer to walk around nowadays.

However, I did snap a couple, just to prove I was there:

Monte Carlo Porsche 911

Monte Carlo Porsche 924

There can be more to see in places where spectators park, and in this case a very tidy Sunbeam Tiger V8 was found:

Sunbeam Tiger at Monte 2013

Sunbeam Tiger

Unfortunately, this was the only interesting car found lying around the side streets. A tiny Riley went past at one point, but wasn’t seen again.

I did have one stroke of luck, as I hadn’t spotted anyone handing out the souvenir programmes for the day, and it would have been nice to have had one after making the effort to walk there. Then, as I walked past the guys clearing up, one of the guys asked me if I had one, and produced one when when I said “No”. So, I didn’t go home empty handed after all.

The Hancock connection

Don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I did notice that Tony Hancock’s series Hancock’s Half Hour featured the comedian running in the Monte Carlo Rally.

The episode started with him lost, and unable to find Glasgow – until he met a Scotsman with a terrible memory, magically cured for a few seconds at a time as Hancock crossed his palm with silver… repeatedly, to keep the directions coming.

Look for Series 1, Episode 12, The Monte Carlo Rally – if my info’s correct

January 26, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment


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