Carfest North

Carfest North for the first time. I’ve always baulked at the ticket prices previously but with so many car events cancelled due to Covid, felt I should show willing (See what I did there? ) . I still wasn’t shelling out £150+ for camping though!

A somewhat peculiar experience with only three car clubs attending; Marcos, Maserati & Lotus. Unbelievably we had the most cars at six. (Sunday, one lone Lotus was present. I felt for the owner ). Talking to the car club organiser, Debbie, around 20 clubs dropped out in the weeks before the show due to Covid concerns. As it was, it felt more like a Foodie festival with bands & some cars than a car event. Not a bad thing, mind… I like food! 

Beauty & the Beast?

Everything was going fine until I popped the bonnet & then found it could not be closed without rubbing on the pedal/heater boxes, whilst also grinding away at the bonnet rams & rubbing through the DRL wiring. Yikes! Having just got back from Jay’s & a sizeable bill, this was rather unexpected. Despite much head scratching from the other (far more hands on) Marcos owners & a bit of ‘bending stuff’ no-one could figure out what was causing the issue. Bizarre.

Fortunately some nice fellows from Black Storm brewery had stopped to chat about the car first thing, & invited me over to their stall for a beer. This cheered me up (I recommend the Pilsner) & I bagged a lift home with the ever generous Morrisons to avoid driving & making things worse. Sunday back at the show trying to figure out what had happened to shift the bonnet forward. A group effort from all the owners failed to reveal the cause so headed home with tape over the most obvious rubbing points.

Verdict? Glad to have attended a Carfest. Hacked off about the bonnet of course , however…. weather was fab, top down, nice Cheshire countryside to drive through. And cars can be fixed.  Plus I have bought another case of Black Storm Pilsner. I will catch up with Jay next week. In the meantime… Cheers! 

Back from Chariots

This morning I am excited to be getting the train down to Lewes to pick up the Mantis from Chariots. The train journey passes quickly & it is not long before we are back at the ranch. Jay is taking me through the work he has done:

Cam change from fast road to standard, retune, refurbished pedal box including completely new fuse boxes, extended flanges on the hood, rewired cooling fans with a trigger temp lowered about 5 degrees.

More efficient aluminium cowling replaces the original Marcos design, improving airflow to the radiator.
Deeper flanges on the hood mean there is now a remote possibility I may not get standing water in the seats when the hood is up!

As ever, the car looks great, a thorough job done by Jay, & I am raring to drive the circa 260 miles home. I completely ignore Jay’s recommended route (he drives people for a living, what would he know?) & spend about 7 hours getting home. But I really don’t mind because… Car drives really smoothly after the cam change & retune. The cooling is better with the M25 coming & going without an anxiety attack. Yay!

Off to Chariots for a bunch of fixes

Today I headed down to Chariots, 250 miles away to get various things sorted out. Top of the list was the cooling fans & anything else related to keeping the engine temperature down. Also I have bitten the bullet & the fast road cam originally added when the LS3 was fitted and pushed the car past 500BHP is going, to be replaced by the standard cam. That will come along with an ECU retune of course. Whilst it was fun to have the 500BHP bragging rights, I never really had the chance to drive it in a way which really utilised the extra power. The fast road cam doesn’t even get out of bed below 2500 RPM & realistically the majority of my driving in our wonderful UK traffic meant I rarely hit that threshold. I am putting it all down to experience – it was fun but I’m looking forward to a more drivable (& less thirsty!) car. Definitely pleased I gave it a go though. I think that just leaves Jay’s converted Challenge car as the only road legal Marcos Mantis with over 500BHP.

Also on the hit list is a somewhat overdue refurbishment of the pedal box. This has been slowly suffering from moisture ingress over the last 24 years plus some organic growth & get-me-back-on-the-road fixes to the electrics & fuses.

Other stuff… the chassis protection from a couple of years ago is flagging in a couple of spots so that will be refreshed. I had asked for the hood seal rubbers to be replaced as part of my futile battle to make the car vaguely waterproof with the hood up (don’t know why I bother, much more fun with the hood down!). However, Jay had some great ideas about replacing the flange on the hood that should form a seal with the window. It’s about 0.75″ at the moment & will be replaced with a much deeper version. I’ll be delighted if this works as I’d assumed any changes to the hood meant a complete new hood. Fingers crossed…

As ever it was great to catch up with Jay. His place is like an Aladdin’s cave of interesting cars & I was particularly impressed with the bright red London double decker bus. Cool! I also got to see the vent covers that he has fitted onto his ex-Challenge Mantis, courtesy of Eurotech. These are the ones used on the race cars & they look mighty mean!

The drive down was OK & no issues with the car overheating (Hurrah). Coming back on the train was a bit weird with Covid, but even the Tube wasn’t that crowded so I felt pretty safe all the way. I will be counting the days until I pick the Mantis up…