La vie en SST 1800Ti

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tanuki
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La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by tanuki » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:01 am

Hello guys,

Some of you here already know - or have guessed - that my Scimitar family has grown last week with the arrival of a pointy one :mrgreen:
It's about time that I open this new thread in the series 'La vie en ..." :lol:

So let me introduce my new toy, the SST #13 (/44) which I bought from Richard ( @ AJL Electronics ) last Tuesday 8)

beginning of the journey

I had left in the early morning from Avon (F) and enjoyed riding train & metro up to Charles de Gaulle airport where I met up with a journalist from the french auto magazine Auto Retro, who was to join me on this trip to cover the event. We were just about in time for check in and queuing at security, where the adventure started: the security gate kept on buzzing at me although I had taken off shoes, belt, etc. Since I never had any operation, there was no explanation to this buzz other than a faulty scanner, but you can imagine that I had to go through a thorough security check :evil: Anyway, I managed to pass and Jean-Claude and I laughed at it, assuming that I have bad waves with electrical appliances - which is going soon to prove right -
After a quick fly from CDG to Birmingham, we took the train to Birmingham center station and did not even miss the connection for Gloucester on the train heading to Bristol ... thanks Andy for the warnings & tips, it made it really much smoother for the connection !
Both plane and trains were spot on time - not even 1 minute late - and the whole morning went very smoothly.

encounter of a third type

Arrived at Gloucester station Richard was waiting for us in Andy's GTC, and we were soon at the workshop and discovered the SST waiting for us.

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I loved it right away ! Richard had mentioned about the painting being worn at the front, but I really do not mind ... the rest of the car looks great and the engine bay is absolutely immaculate :shock:

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Jean-Claude started shooting for his article, while I was wandering around the SST, but also the yellow GTC for sale and the famous Kitten that I had heard about before :wink:
( note to Andy ... if I had not bought the Capri a few days before, I could have fallen for the Kitten :P )

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I will spare the details of the transaction, let's just say that we had a great time at Andy's place, signed a few (french) forms in addition to the sales certificate and prepared to head South towards Portsmouth in the early afternoon, Andy guiding us out of Gloucester since we did not have a satnav with us - thanks Andy for putting us on the right track ! -

on the road ... and the roadside

The car was driving beautifully and I absolutely enjoyed my first 60 miles 8) ... until it decided to stop on the A346 between Swindon and Marlborough.
The engine suddenly stopped while we were driving up a hill, and of course on a single lane section with heavy traffic :oops:
A little push uphill - fortunately not too long, maybe 200 yards - and a gentle glide on the other side brought us to a stop in front of a farm.
I bet some of the drivers behind us cursed the Scimitar, but nobody used his horn - in France it would have been a real concert -

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I called Richard on the phone who explained that it had happened in the past before and the problem would most certainly be in the fuse box ...
After a couple of trials in the neighborhood I managed to find someone at a distant farm who could lend me a screwdriver - well, I did not fancy traveling on a plane with tools, so we had not a single spanner or screwdriver -
While we were fiddling with the fusebox a car pulled out and a mechanic who saw us in distress offered to check the car, ruled out the fuses & relays that all looked fine ... and checked the coil, which according to him seemed to be the problem - juice in alright, but nothing out - Since the coil is a special model on the Nissan engine, we knew it was time to call for assistance, which was arranged by Andy - fortunately he had kept the road assistance on the car 'just in case' ... phew.

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An hour later the assistance truck arrives but the guy only had batteries & tyres in it since the Help Desk thought that we had a flat battery !
Of course no japanese coil in his stock, so he called back the company to organize a recovery truck that would bring us to the Nissan garage closest to Portsmouth, which is in Waterlooville. Since we had no internet connection through our french mobile phones, he gave us a few hotel numbers to call ... very helpful and friendly ! Andy was also sourcing a hotel for us on his side, and while we were waiting for the truck a beautiful young lady came out of her house and offered us to come in and have a hot drink ... which unfortunately we had to decline by fear of missing the truck :( All our phone calls to hotels failed - one fax number, one fully booked hotel and one bloody answering machine ! -

The Sun was going down and it was getting pretty cold ... it looked like we may have to sleep in the car (!) The young lady came back (still beautiful ...) and told us that she had prebooked some rooms for us at the Ibis hotel in Portsmouth ... wow, we must have looked really miserable that everyone was so caring !

As we did not fancy missing our ferry, I decided to call Britanny Ferries and explain the situation ... the question was would they allow us boarding if the recovery truck could bring us to the terminal ? After a couple of calls and negociations with the manager, it was agreed provided that we could be there by 09:30pm ;)

Still no recovery truck in sight, and it was now dark after those three hours on the roadside ! At last the guy arrives and stopped the truck in the middle of the lane, which created a nice traffic jam again ... it did not take long though to put the SST on the truck, and off we drove heading to Portsmouth. I was not sure that they would be happy to take us to the terminal instead of the Nissan garage, but the distance was the same and the assistance agreed ... phew. At last we were in a warm truck cabin with a friendly guy whose brother is also a journalist working for an auto magazine, he was all excited about the SST - took lots of pictures - and told us that he had towed a Lotus Eleven a few days before at Goodwood ...so the next 70 miles were very comfy and it looked like we'd make it to Portsmouth in time, eh eh ...

a ferry tale

About 10 miles from the terminal I received a phone call from Britanny Ferries ... the same guy told me "there is a slight problem ... my manager wants a proof that a recovery truck would be picking you up on the french side ... otherwise you cannot get onboard" ! That seemed fair enough, but why didn't he tell me before ? I searched for the french assistance number and called them to organize for the pickup, only to hear that they did not have my name or policy number in their computer !!!
We were just reaching the entrance of the terminal and starting to queue when I then called my insurer - fortunately I had his mobile number with me - and explained as quickly as possible the situation. He said "no worries, I'll call them right away and will sort it out ... they'll call you back within 10' with a file number" ... which they eventually did, and we could go through the boarding gate, overtake the whole file of cars & vans ... circle around customs and head right down to the dock where the truck unloaded us as close as possible to the boarding access bridge - the one for trucks on lower decks -

So here we were, at 10:00pm waiting in the SST right in the middle of a passenger bus lane with nobody telling us how it would work ... "just wait" they said ;)
Eventually someone came to help us push the car into the ferry around 11:00pm, we were indeed the very last vehicle to board and they closed the gates behind us ... phew.

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After a quick dinner aboard and a couple of cigarettes on the desk, I went back to my berth: it was a good idea to have booked a cabin - even for just a few hours - as I was exhausted ... at least we were en route for more adventures in the morning on the french side, and I knew by then that Jean-Claude would have plenty of material for his article !

Have you ever waked up to the sound of flutes playing a soft melody with the sound of waterfalls in the background ? I thought I was dreaming and that hopefully the young lady from Poulton Down might appear ... but bloody hell, Jean-Claude had set his alarm clock to 05:30am and was already under the shower !! Never mind, it allowed us plenty of time for breakfast, and even more time for queuing in the stairs to access the lower deck. While we were waiting for all the trucks and trailers to be unloaded, I received a phone call from the recovery truck who said he would arrive within 30' ... the dockers then arrived with a tow truck - a huge thing which can easily handle a fully loaded trailer and that dwarfed the SST ;) - A bit of fun for them trying to fix a tow bar on such a low car, but they managed to gently tow us out of the ferry and dropped the SST among trucks somewhere on the terminal's custom area.

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A minibus turned up and some terminal staff offered to take us to the passenger waiting lounge where it's warm and we could get coffee, nice of them but we preferred to decline the offer and stay with the car. The recovery truck eventually arrived just in time as it was starting to rain (...) and once the car was loaded we hit the road and left the terminal through an automatic exit gate ... believe it or not we did not see a single police or custom officer, we could have easily smuggled anything out of the country !

now find us a good mechanic

15 km to their office/garage where the driver said "let's leave the car on the truck for now, just in case we can take you quickly to another garage".
The staff was very efficient and kindly organized with the assistance company for a relocation towards a garage specialized in english classics & sportscars ... only 20 miles out of Caen in the countryside. We arrived there at 10:00am and were relieved to see a couple of Ferraris among several Jags & other english cars ... if the mechanic takes care of Ferraris he should not be afraid of an SST, right ? The guy was busy in his workshop working on a TR6 but agreed to have a quick look at the SST, and it must have been a challenge for him since he spent quite a bit of time testing all the looms and components in relation to the ignition.

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As Richard and Andy had mentioned to us on the phone, the problem was actually coming from the back of the fuse box with a faulty connection, but there were also a couple of loose wires involved near the coil. Anyway the fuse box and connections were sorted out and ignition was OK ... but the car still would not start ... and Jean-Claude was beginning to wonder if he would be back to Orly in time to catch his evening plane. The second problem was the fuel pump not working, and it turned out to be another fuse box issue - which possibly occurred while fiddling with it to fix problem #1 - The battery also was not brilliant, but with the help of a large charger/booster the engine fired up immediately ... hurray !!

on the road again

Although we'd been nearly 2 hours at his workshop the guy only charged me one hour of work, and by 12:30 we were at last driving again back to Caen where we parked at the city center to have a good & quick lunch ! A bit of worry when we took the car at the underground carpark, but no ... it started immediately, what a relief !
We then enjoyed the drive back to Paris through B roads - we preferred avoiding the motorways in case of a breakdown - stopped a couple of times for pictures and refilling fuel as well, each time the car started right away ... and she was driving beautifully :)

By 06:00pm we were reaching Versailles and that's when the traffic became horrendous, the last 20 miles took nearly 2 hours to clear. I was concerned with the heat and kept checking the temp gauge , but the level remained steady all the way through and I could hear the fan coming on from time to time, so I was happy that she passed the 'traffic jam test' ;) It was funny - yet stressful - driving in heavy traffic with an ultra low car on english plates ! the parisians are renowed for driving like mad, always cutting their way through in front of you - even when you think there's no room - changing lanes all the time in the hope of being in a faster lane, I am sure you've experienced that ! Well they must have been surprised to see an english car that was not at all impressed by their driving ;)

Anyway, time was running and Jean-Claude's plane was to take off at 20:00 (!) Believe it ot not we managed to arrive at 19:40 and he could make it ! Even more impressive, he gave me the wrong terminal ... so he had to jump on the monorail between the two terminals, but still made it just in time - just like in a movie when the hero runs through the closing door ! -

night drive

That was the end of the adventure for Jean-Claude, but not quite for myself since I still had 40 miles to drive back to Avon at night. I gave a quick phone call to Xavier (the guy who wanted to buy the car in the first place) to tell him that we had made it back safely to Paris, and he asked me to drop by at his place for a couple of glasses of wine that would celebrate the arrival of the SST :)

When I started the car in the carpark eveything was OK, although it suddenly stopped ... oh s**t ... but then it started again, phew. I was again on the freeway and fortunately the traffic had much improved so it took only 50' to drive back, but I was always staying in the far right lane just in case I would need to stop. Nothing happened though, but when I drove through the forest on the last miles I could not see much in low beams, and had to put the high beams all the way through - praying that no wild boar or deer would fancy
having a close look at the car - I eventually reached the goal and enjoyed the wine and showing the car to Xavier ... but when I tried to start her, nothing happened: no light on the dash, no clock, nothing ! by the look of it the battery was dead flat :(

Xavier drove me back home and the next day we investigated in the daylight to find out that there was a broken wire on the alternator. It turned out to be the output wire that feeds the battery (!) As a matter of fact we had been driving all the way from Gloucester on the battery alone and there was no warning on the dashboard since the alternator is probably working fine ... but the battery did not receive any juice. When swapping for the battery of Xavier's MX5, she started immediately and we could drive her back to her
final destination where she is now getting acquainted with the Caterham, the other Scimis and the Fords :)

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With a recharged battery she will be able to get to my mechanic's place where the alternator and other electric issues will be tackled in preparation for the french Controle Technique ...

the end of the story

What an adventure it was ! I cannot wait reading the article that Jean-Claude will publish in AutoRetro ;)
Nevertheless, it was a most interesting trip and I'd do it again anytime - maybe in a Kitten someday -
I was amazed that we ran into so many helpful and friendly people during these two days, which definitely helped !
We spent probably more time standing by the car and riding on recovery trucks than actually driving, but when it did work I enjoyed every single mile behind its wheel ! I am now getting ready for possibly another adventure ... getting its french registration :roll:

Will obviously keep you posted with the SST's new life abroad !

Cheers,
Fred

PS. sorry for the long story, maybe I should put down a shorter version for Slice ? :lol:
PS2. I shall put more pics (mainly recovery trucks) when I receive them from Jean-Claude ;)


now: Scimitar SE5 ('71), Scimitar SE6a ('79), Scimitar SST 1800Ti ('90), Ford Anglia LHD ('61),Ford Consul Capri LHD ('61), TVR Chimaera 400 ('96), Caterham SV ('10), Lexus IS200 ('04)
past: Mitsubishi Celeste ('77), Alfetta Quadrifoglio ('85), Nissan Maxima ('95)

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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by scimmy ben » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:35 am

Fred, a fantastic story, well told :)


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Re: La vie en STT 1800Ti

Post by Corky » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:40 am

Great story Fred.

Most electrical engine parts are available quite cheaply if you know where to look.

You'll grow to love the car, they are tremendous fun in Ti form. I did 100 miles in mine on Monday, smiling all the way.

Very easy to add another 30-60bhp for under £200 and the handling can be made even better with the right shocks/springs/bushes. It could probably rival your Caterham...


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Re: La vie en STT 1800Ti

Post by philhoward » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:46 am

PS. sorry for the long story, maybe I should put down a shorter version for Slice ? :lol:
Keep the long version and send it straight to Terry :)

If it had been an uneventful journey, it would have only been one line...

"Paid money, drove back, enjoyed it".


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Re: La vie en STT 1800Ti

Post by tanuki » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:16 am

scimmy ben wrote:Fred, a fantastic story, well told :)
philhoward wrote:Keep the long version and send it straight to Terry :)
If it had been an uneventful journey, it would have only been one line...
"Paid money, drove back, enjoyed it".
Thanks a lot guys ! I am glad to see that there were a few people brave enough to read this long story :lol:
I will send it 'as is' to Terry and he will decide what to do with the material :wink:

Actually I should edit some section of it, since I forgot to mention another minor issue which added to the fun ... when we left Gloucester the counter was around 15950 miles and when we pushed it on the ferry it started rolling from 15999 to 16000 sharp :shock: This is the mileage that the recovery truck in France wrote down in his file :mrgreen:
Oh ... and of course at that point it remained stuck on 16000 :twisted: That did not help figuring out how many miles left on petrol :roll:
Another thing to add on the checklist for the garage.
Corky wrote:Great story Fred.
Most electrical engine parts are available quite cheaply if you know where to look.
You'll grow to love the car, they are tremendous fun in Ti form. I did 100 miles in mine on Monday, smiling all the way.
Very easy to add another 30-60bhp for under £200 and the handling can be made even better with the right shocks/springs/bushes. It could probably rival your Caterham...
Steve, I am looking forward to 'test it' once it has passed its french 'controle technique' and the few electric issues have been dealt with 8)
I have been obviously driving very soft all the way down to my place, since the journey was already full of events - there was no need adding a serious mechanical problem on top of it - I guess that I did not go past 3500 on the revs :oops: so I probably did not even wake the beast in it :lol: :lol:
Adding 30bhp to it is tempting, but unfortunately a bit unsafe on french roads ... on the legal point of view :roll: (if you have made a modification on the car's specs your insurance does not cover you anymore ...) Still, I remember driving Viv's Kinky last year and although it had a blown turbo gasket at the time, I could feel that it was a bloody quick car - I seem to recall that it has 170bhp -

With a few extra bhps I have no doubt that it would rival the Cat' - which has the basic Ford Sigma 1600 engine, 125bhp ... but is much lighter of course 8) -
Will let you know my feelings once I have a chance to go for a blat with the SST :wink:

Cheers,
Fred


now: Scimitar SE5 ('71), Scimitar SE6a ('79), Scimitar SST 1800Ti ('90), Ford Anglia LHD ('61),Ford Consul Capri LHD ('61), TVR Chimaera 400 ('96), Caterham SV ('10), Lexus IS200 ('04)
past: Mitsubishi Celeste ('77), Alfetta Quadrifoglio ('85), Nissan Maxima ('95)

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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by DARK STAR » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:09 am

Nice one Fred.
It seems every outing in a Scimitar has the potential to be an adventure :mrgreen:


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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by ginotonico5A » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:54 am

Another one!!
Well done I can't wait to see it.

Final assy of the CVH for my SS1 is almost ready to happen and to my surprise, using a new battery, my SE5a started at the second turn, it's first since retirement in 2004.

Don't forget if you are using the N79 en route to Lyon during the last two weeks of November, call in for coffee, we will be at chez nous. (pm me for phone no)

All the best John & the MG gang



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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by greeny » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:44 am

Great Story Fred.
Terry will love it!!


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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by Nick » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:35 pm

My turbo was up to about 170 bhp (nothing complicated) and I used to enjoy ambushing Locatorfields. The faster you go, the better it compares.

Perfectly good with standard engine tho.


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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by Oldconn » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:35 pm

Oh dear,Fred, I fear you are going to lose that sacred registration number, unless you can sell it in UK before its re-registered in France. That could even reimbourse your breakdown expenses!


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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by DARK STAR » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:54 pm

Andy is already selling it, Ian ;)


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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by tanuki » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:27 pm

ginotonico5A wrote:Another one!!
Well done I can't wait to see it.
Final assy of the CVH for my SS1 is almost ready to happen and to my surprise, using a new battery, my SE5a started at the second turn, it's first since retirement in 2004.
Don't forget if you are using the N79 en route to Lyon during the last two weeks of November, call in for coffee, we will be at chez nous. (pm me for phone no)
All the best John & the MG gang
Thanks John ! I doubt that I will be on the N79 at this period of the year - I will be in Lyon with Chris & Ian next week though :wink: - but we will certainly have another chance some other time ... no worries. Congratulations on restarting the SE5a so easily after its long sleep :hurrah:
Looking forward to more adventures with the MG gang next year, maybe Classic Days again ??
Take care !
Fred
greeny wrote:Great Story Fred.
Terry will love it!!
I am sure he will :lol: I had promised him some writing when we met at the International ... I did not think about this one though ...
Cheers :wink:
DARK STAR wrote:Nice one Fred.
It seems every outing in a Scimitar has the potential to be an adventure :mrgreen:
Thanks Chris ... indeed, adventure is always possible in a Scimitar, it keeps us busy :lol:
It's the first time actually that one of my English cars required a recovery truck ... usually they like breaking down in the garage :roll:
Nick wrote:My turbo was up to about 170 bhp (nothing complicated) and I used to enjoy ambushing Locatorfields. The faster you go, the better it compares.
Perfectly good with standard engine tho.
Thanks Nick ! I think I'll stick to the standard engine for the time being, it should be fun enough ... but maybe in the future ? :lol:
DARK STAR wrote:
Oldconn wrote:Oh dear,Fred, I fear you are going to lose that sacred registration number, unless you can sell it in UK before its re-registered in France. That could even reimbourse your breakdown expenses!
Andy is already selling it, Ian ;)
Well, it was part of the deal ... Andy would keep the plate number so that he could sell it back in the UK.
I still have the physical plates though, they will join the other ones (TVR & Scimis) as decorations on my garage wall 8)
The extra expense on the trip because of the breakdown was very little as a matter of fact ... only 78 euros for the mechanic in Caen, not bad considering that we might have missed the ferry, booked a hotel and Jean-Claude would also have lost his plane ticket. At the end of the day I think we've been bloody lucky !

Cheers,
Fred


now: Scimitar SE5 ('71), Scimitar SE6a ('79), Scimitar SST 1800Ti ('90), Ford Anglia LHD ('61),Ford Consul Capri LHD ('61), TVR Chimaera 400 ('96), Caterham SV ('10), Lexus IS200 ('04)
past: Mitsubishi Celeste ('77), Alfetta Quadrifoglio ('85), Nissan Maxima ('95)

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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by tanuki » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:46 pm

The SST went for its MOT this afternoon ... and passed :D

Although with a number of advisories:
a/ rear shocks to be replaced - the left one was dead -
b/ headlights need to be converted to european - I knew that ... - but also fixed as they are aiming way too low
- not a surprise that I thought that it was not giving enough light at night while crossing the forest :twisted: -
c/ inefficient parking brake
d/ horn does not work

Although points b/ & d/ are theoretically reasons for failure, the MOT guy was nice and enforced the test to "pass" :wink:
He was impressed by the overall condition of the car and trusted that I will carry out the recommended work - which I will do -
As mentioned in a separate thread, he did not look for the chassis number on the chassis itself and was satisfied with the VIN plate.

I am really relieved as the car played a few electrical trick during the test, such as engine cutting and all electrics dead when
he tested the horn :oops: After fiddling with the horn fuse, everything started working again ... except the lights on the LHS
of the car - no dip light in the front, no tail light or rear fog light, that were all working fine just two minutes before -
however brakes and reverse light were OK :?
Playing with the tail light fuse did fix the issue though ... even for the front light :roll:
Lesson learnt ... always keep the fusebox open when going to MOT :lol:

Now getting ready for the next step ... sending my paperwork to the prefecture to get its french registration (fingers crossed)

Cheers, Fred


now: Scimitar SE5 ('71), Scimitar SE6a ('79), Scimitar SST 1800Ti ('90), Ford Anglia LHD ('61),Ford Consul Capri LHD ('61), TVR Chimaera 400 ('96), Caterham SV ('10), Lexus IS200 ('04)
past: Mitsubishi Celeste ('77), Alfetta Quadrifoglio ('85), Nissan Maxima ('95)

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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by scimjim » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:29 pm

Pretty sure that the small sports side lights are fused in pairs, left and right?


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greeny
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Re: La vie en SST 1800Ti

Post by greeny » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:03 pm

scimjim wrote:Pretty sure that the small sports side lights are fused in pairs, left and right?

Yes they are


Babe the GTC number 229 and and Smurfett the 1400 SST. Ness the vw t4 van/dayvan/camper
Previous 3.0v6 X type jaguar triumph acclaim scimitar SE4A 663 (ex Collin Watson coupe) 2x se5a's 2x SS1 1600s and a load.of other things I can't remember!!!
GTC drivers doing it under canvas since 1981!!
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Website scimitargtc.co.uk
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