Dutton Kit Cars and their owners
Been out playing again today. This is significant because it's almost exactly one year since we wheeled the Phaeton out for its first Autotest. You may remember, or even refresh yourselves by revisiting my old blog post, that both Steve and I were truly shocking that day, and various things went wrong with the car. We were last and second-last by a long bloody way on the 2015 SDMC July Autotest.
Fast-forward one year.
Other than pissing around with tyre pressures we've not really evolved or developed the car at all. There's a big pile of trick bits in the garage waiting to be fitted, but that's to come. Essentially, the car's exactly the same as when we made our first ham-fisted attempts twelve months ago.
Today, thankfully, was much better. Every time out I set myself a little. Don't get beaten by Steve. Beat someone other than Steve. Beat another rear wheel drive car, etc, etc. After a decent drive last time out where the result got screwed by a few daft penalties, the goal for today was to get into the top half of the field. Was looking like a big ask as there weren't really any novices out this time. Not exactly any British Championship level autotesters, just very handy clubmen.
However, today went very well indeed. Despite my usual sluggish start, I finished up 5th from 13 entries. Absolutely over the moon. The test layouts, however, definitely favoured the car, so the result may be a bit flattering. Still, in just a year I'm pretty chuffed with the progress. Still lots to improve on, but going in the right direction.
However, I've broken it a bit.
Heard an intermittent scratching/grinding noise on the last test, but the car appeared fine so I kept going. Completed the event, and even managed to take a few club new guys on a passenger run for some demonstration donuts. However, when driving back up to the shed, the car clonked and ground to a halt. The gear lever wasn't going to any of the normal places that would select a gear, and even with dipping the clutch the car was still seized solid to the spot. Thankfully, my gearbox tunnel has been chopped out and replaced with some tin plates to accommodate the MT75 box. It was just a case of removing these to find the issue. The selector mechanism had come away from the gearbox, and part of it had got caught between the propshaft and the chassis. We managed to shake this part free and retrieve it, and as the car was still in 2nd I even managed to drive it back to the shed.
So, hopefully no harm done. I think a roll-pin has made a break for freedom or something, and everything has come loose from there. Fingers crossed it's just a case of checking and reassembling.
No Autotests for all of August, so plenty time for tinkering!
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