I finally followed up on the leaking fluid inside the rear nearside wheel, which appeared a few days after getting back from Le Mans. As I suspected, it was confirmed as the shock absorbers. Given this pair was fitted in 2008 & are nine years old, I considered replacing them with Gaz Golds or Bilsteins (if available) but needed the car on the road for the following weekend’s trip up to the Lakes. The local garage whipped both rears off Friday & sent them down to Protech who fitted new seals & sent them back for refitting Wednesday – not bad in four working days! Unfortunately the stiffness setting was not recorded before refit so the new settings are a pure guess at six turns. Hopefully I have the paperwork from TopCats who I think set the suspension up way back when (although no idea if it still applies).

Getting on a bit & showing its age

I’m forty today, which has inevitably triggered an assessment of life so far. Two children, hefty mortgage & engaged (Yup… finally popped the question after sixteen years! Gulp! No ‘date’ set for the event itself though – one step at a time, eh?) but, I think, fairly content. (Work? Hmm…) I’ve had the Marcos for seven & a half years now, which has included some fantastic experiences, many of which I simply wouldn’t have had with any other car. It’s been off the road far, far more that I would have ever imagined, & I shudder to think what I have spent on it since I bought it, but the various trips to Le Mans (especially participating in the 2004 Driver’s Parade) & invites to shows around the UK have allowed me to meet all sorts of nice people & engage in some lovely drives. I reckon the roads are busier than when I first had the car (even over a short window like eight years) & the running costs, particularly fuel, are increasingly challenging but so far the option of having to sell the car has not been discussed. The current government’s inability to manage any aspect of transport in this country is truely breathtaking, & I can’t help but wonder if some ill-conceived ‘green’ measure will force the Mantis off the road in the next few years. They certainly have a record of such buffoonery… In the meantime, I have been pondering Lee’s comments in our latest call; the SPAX shocks are, well, shocking, apparently, & the springs are taking up a lot of time (read ‘money’) to clean. Do I want to do something about it? So, a post or two on the Forum prompted some interesting responses which have resulted in my opting for a replacement set of shocks & springs from the highly regarded Protech Shocks Ltd of Melksham. I had to talk to Guru Chivers about the specs for the springs, but the order is now placed; [2 1/4″ springs, 200 lbs 10″ at the front, 250lbs 14″ for the rear]. Lee turns out to be the chap who set up the Mantis Challenge cars at the Marcos factory, so right man for the job already. Result! I will be very interested to see how the Protech shocks improve the ride over the original SPAX, but if I’m honest I have not driven the car for so long it’s unlikely I’ll be able to tell, at least at first. Lee reckons I’ll have the car back at the end of May, latest. Hope he’s right as we’ve had some nice days recently & I am definitely pining for it… Big time!

Then, of course, there is the question of enlarging the garage entrance to fit the Mantis in. God, I hate dealing with builders.