Getting my chariot MOTd

Well, more accurately, getting the Mantis MOT’d by Chariots. Up at 0500 today to drive down to drop the car off with Jay Sherwin at Chariots. 200 miles & five uneventful hours later, I had arrived. Rather earlier than expected actually, as I had factored in ‘Marcos time’ (this consists of waiting for The AA, or ‘phoning a friend’) but it wasn’t needed. Yay! Cue a discussion with Jay around what needs doing (MOT but also LSD front seal, chassis protection, bushes, suspension check blah blah).

The car park was (very) full!

Then dropped off to Lewes Station for the five hour journey home. Fingers crossed no expensive findings & I am back to collect the car in the next few weeks.

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…

Diff fix and, erm, an 8,456 mile service

Time to get the worn differential fixed & try improving the heat dissipation from the LS3 engine. And I know just the man for the job, almost just round the corner too! 😎 Well, kind of!

I headed off this morning to drop the Mantis off with Jay at Chariots near Lewes in East Sussex. A mere 260 miles away but hey, we’re in the middle of the hottest summer since ’76 so that should make for a lovely drive… What could possibly go wrong!

Debris on the motorway added a little time but it was the endless bloody 50mph speed restrictions that put another 90 minutes on the journey. 😡 However, I arrived in beautiful sunshine under a clear blue sky so all was well (despite the nearside door mysteriously opening on the A27 roundabout 😯).

Always a pleasure to catch up with Jay, & having talked through the job list (which, strangely, grew as we talked!) we had a quick look at his Mantis before he kindly dropped me off at the station. I will come back down to collect the car in a couple of weeks, & looking forward to seeing some new holes in the bonnet. No, really! Watch this space…