Sam and Sparky's Journey

Sam and Sparky's Journey

Sunday, 17 June 2012

We're moving forward

A little while ago a friend of mine was selling her 1275spi engine with gearbox for £400, so I thought this is the perfect time to buy an engine if I ever were to go for the engine replacement.  Not long after this I received a nice big tax rebate for £650 - so, as soon as I got home for the summer from uni I took a trip to MiniSpares and bought all the replacement panels I need to fix the rust issue at the front of my car.  I also took the opportunity to get a new petrol gauge sender unit and a heater matrix since neither the heater nor the petrol gauge have worked since I got the car.

So, Sparky is currently sat on a friends drive in South Ockendon, waiting for it to have the front end ripped off and the engine taken out so the real work can begin :)  So far, the trim has been removed and part of the a panel has been taken out.

Big new hole in the scuttle!

All the trim removed

Bye bye a panel!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Whitby to Scarborough Mini Run

The day began just like any other Sunday -- cold, cloudy and damp, but before long, the clouds began to break up and it became a rather pleasant day -- if a bit chilly. Upon arriving at the Whitby Pavilion start point with my photographer, Tom, I realised that my previous visit just weeks before on a similarly sunny Sunday had led me into a false sense of security regarding the car park -- it wasn’t deserted as it previously had been, it was rammed! I’m not sure how we did it, but somehow we all managed to fit into the car park (mainly by being cheeky Minis!).

 At 12pm I gave the signal to the lady in the ice cream van and the ‘If you go into the woods today…’ melody chimed across the landscape -- this was the signal that marked the start of the run!

All 50 of us embarked on our convoy -- weaving through the narrow streets of Whitby and then onto the A171 to witness beautiful scenery on an equally beautiful day. We took the Marine Drive route to the Spa in Scarborough from the A165, accompanied by spectators taking photos and children pointing at the Minis along the way.

After every one had parked up at the Spa, there was a real buzz in the air. Unsuspecting members of the public were suddenly surrounded by a mass group of Minis, and they certainly showed the interest as the various drivers sparked up conversations with one another. At 3pm, following the obligatory fish ‘n’ chips for lunch, the raffle prize draw was announced and one lucky lady walked away with the two top prizes! Shortly after, a gorgeous Red 1964 MKI belonging to James and Chris Butler was announced as the show ‘n’ shine winner. With a stunning red and cream leather interior it was definitely a worthy winner!

As the day wound down to a close myself and my team were left reflecting on an exciting and enjoyable day. None of the other team members have ever experienced the classic Mini culture before so they were simply following my vision and instruction, but I couldn't have done it without them! So a big thanks go to James Vernon, Daniel Armitage, Danny Weston, Matthew Cuthbert and Stephen Hansell.

Needless to say, they have seen Minis in a whole new light, and we’re all very eager to get started on the task of organizing Whitby 2 Scarborough Mini Run 2013!


Mini's at The Spa, Scarborough

Sunday, 4 April 2010


It's April, 2010

It's 2am.

Myself and my then boyfriend were both driving home from a friends house, in our separate minis.

It's drizzling, and has been for some time.

We're driving out of this hamlet, Doddinghurst, me following him.

We arrive at a fork in the road, we see that it is clear and so keep going, on exiting the fork, the dark road continued to bend more than we first thought.  I saw this when I saw his brake lights flash on and immediately followed suit.
My 6x12 Minilites are nothing compared to his 7x13 Ultralites which stick to the road with ease.

He continues on driving, but then checks his rear view mirror, only to see my headlights veer off course and stop.  Facing downwards, off the side of the road, on what seems to be a ditch.  He reverses.

By this time I had grabbed my laptop and was exiting Sparky, I opened the door, and without a second thought about the slope I was currently on and the function of gravity, let go of the door which then clumped me straight in the head.  Insult to injury you might say.  But I'm fine, I get out and assess the damage.

Half a rear wheel arch remains on the passenger side and the front number plate had snapped off somewhere too, leaving just half on the car.

We sat and waited in the drizzle, then sat in his Cooper (Eleanor) to keep warm.

'What have I done to you Sparky? What an idiot I'm so sorry!' - I'm getting emotional.

It's only after I had been sitting there for an hour that I realised I'm not in a ditch at all, no.  I'm actually sitting right on the edge of a notorious pond! Nice one.

By the time we actually get Sparky back on the road it's 4am.  The engine runs, the steering is fine, brakes, lights, everything is fine! Just apart from the radio and windscreen wipers but that was a loose fuse.  Sparky was safe enough to drive home!

And home we went!
We rolled in at 5am, a night to remember!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The end of one thing is the immediate start to another

Throughout the months various things got replaced;
In the winter I found out the battery was dying - which was why I was having to Jump Start it every morning off the X5!
Then I had a corroded relay switch connecting to the starter motor replaced as every time it rained or I cleaned my car, water would seep into the electrics and cause the circuit to complete - do you know what this means?
It means that Sparky would start turning over all by herself! And she would stop turning over until she either dried out or I took the connections out of the starter motor!

Anyhow ....

While I had her in the garage to have this replaced, I had asked the boys to try and find out what this weird noise coming from the engine was... was only every so often, but it sounded like a house burglar alarm....coming from my engine bay.....?
Surely thats not right.

As it turns out, the clutch was fucked.....not so fucked that it affected my clutch controle enough for me to realise, it was the slave cylinder mainly, but the fucked slave cylinder then fucked my clutch... bye bye £360!

I decided to cheer myself up a bit by spending even more money...

Hello Subwoofer!

By this point I had already added a speaker board under the rear seats complete with two 6x9 Alpine Speakers, so I was just completing the set really :)

Unfortunately, this day turned bitter sweet.

It was during the installation of my new sub that I had bought after the clutch episode that I cracked the screen of my macbook while it was in the passenger side footwell!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

On The Road

During the ownership of my little mini, I have had many adventures.

We joined the Essex Mini Club and also helped create Chelmsford Mini Club too!

 I am always changing bits and pieces on Sparky, from small shiny bits to the essential big important mechanical bits. In December 2009 I was driving home to Witham on the A12 when Sparky's engine temperature got very high, I started losing power so I pulled off at the next junction and managed to get to the top of the slope before it completely cut out.

We rolled it into the near-by Park and Ride entrance and sat there for an hour while we waited for break down recovery. When they arrived, they simply re-filled the rad, emptying an entire new bottle of anti-freeze into it in the process, and sent me on my way - I get home fine - problem solved ....?

 The next day I'm back on the A12, heading to work when, low and behold - Sparky is over heating - yet again! I pull over once more and await my recovery, this time I tell them to take my car to my mechanic as something is obviously wrong.

Sparky is loaded onto recovery and we make our way to Terling (absolute middle of no-where hamlet!)

It turns out the water pump was leaking out water like a sieve and so this was the first expensive item to be replaced...

Friday, 8 January 2010

Greasing the bearings...

This blog will become the diary of my Mini adventures... 

 I first bought my Mini in November 2009. A 1990 Lambourghuini Orange 998cc Mayfair, with a Stage one kit. With black dirty looking wheels and some rust bubbling through quite nicely on the scuttle, it had it's 'points for improvement'. 

We started with the wheels. My boyfriend at the time had a 1994 Cooper, he had replaced the standard Minilites with 13x7 Deepdish Ultralites, and donated the unused Minilites to me.
Next on my agenda was to fit a stereo, I like driving to my music =)

Luckily, the dash in the car already had a space for a stereo (you can't quite see it in this pic), as well as holes for gauges (that, you can see). As you can see from this pic, it's pretty grey inside, so i wanted to fill the gaps and replace the steering wheel. I bought some really nice gauges by SunPro and fitted them in the holes - still to this day I haven't wired them up as it's too complex for me and too expensive to pay for someone else to do it, so they are purely decorative.....for now.
...Here is my fave shot of my new and improved dashboard (complete with stereo). 

 I also bought a new steering wheel (which I LOVE!) and some black steering column cowling to replace the grey...