Wednesday, 19 October 2011

300 Miles and counting

We haven't had a great deal of time spare to take Molly out for as many jaunts as she deserves to clear away the cobwebs, but she has already racked up over three hundred miles and (touch wood) hasn't missed a beat.
We know from the previous owners that she used to holiday a lot in Devon and so we decided to take her back to see a few of her old hang outs and show her what has chaned, if anything.  So, with this in mind, we went to Beer Bay, Watchet, Sidmouth, the Donkey Sanctuary and the Bakerlite museum (which was her particular favorite).

After having her fill of fish and chips in Beer, she made a somewhat unhurried ascent out of the village and on over the hills toward Sidmouth.  Her temperature guage barely flinched as she trundled along mile after mile.  She wasn't even as thirsty as we had predicted.  55mph is quite an experience when one is perched upon her finely upholstered bench.

In Sidmouth her old fashioned tastes came to the fore when we could barely drag her away from a shop selling bespoke hand made Royal wedding memorabillia.

Sadly the chap who owns the Bakerlite museum was not present as Molly was impatient to complement him on such a fine establishment.  We agreed, truly it is a wonderland.  All in all, a rather tired Molly concluded, "Not much really changes."
And with that she lit another Marlboro, recoiled on her velour poof and closed her eyes.

More Rot

It took two session to release the water container housing from the van, It was jammed good and proper.  Anyway, it has had a few reapirs of the years but really it's fairly shot.  I'll be making a new one of the winter during my luch hours as well as a few other body parts and trims etc.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Good Golly Cream Teas Postcards

We've been pretty slack with the blogging lately and had a few complaints!  After the MOT we breathed a sigh of relief, had a little holiday and finally had a couple of weekends off!!  

We still have plenty of work to do, not least the inside and exterior paint work, so the bloggings definitely not over!  

I'm getting things started for Molly's foray into business next year, here's her new promotional postcards...and we even have our first booking for next August already!

We've had a couple of practice runs with 'Cream Teas for Charity'... Molly was admired almost as much as my cakes!  

Molly's scone selling has raised a massive £280 for Charlotte Miller Art Project (UK reg charity no 1064645) and will help fund a new programme of Participatory Photography with street children in Ecuador (designed and run by yours truly starting Nov 2011 until May 2012... I'll be back in time to make the most of the cream tea season I promise! )

Friday, 29 July 2011

Good Golly Miss Molly!


Now she's on the road I'm wasting no time to capitalise on Molly's good looks!  Molly is being put to work in selling scones and posing for photo's to raise money for The Charlotte Miller Art Project in Ecuador.  The money raised from Molly's 'Cream Teas For Charity' will help fund a new series of Photography and Arts workshops for street children in Guayaquil, Ecuador that I will be running from November 2011. 

Available for private wedding and party hire, and appearing at events around the South West this September (after we've given her a little respray in August!).

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Molly's first MOT in twelve years

 Sorry for the delay in updating the blog but we've been rather preoccupied with having a road legal vehicle.
Don't let Molly's decidedly original patina fool you because she passed her MOT with no advisories at all.  While she was at the garage she also noticed a rather fetching Morris 1000 that she decided might be a splendid stable mate.  But we can cool any talk of that until next year, so, until then, please raise a glass!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Big Day

It was three days before the MOT and the list of jobs seemed to be increasing.  The brakes hardly work, there were no out riggers behind the rear wheels, the rear nearside lamp doesn't work, the wipers park in the middle of the screen, there were no split pins in the front hubs, there is a large hole in the floor were we removed a carrier box (presumed to be for water tank), the welds needed to be ground back and filled on the upper nearside wheel arch...etc.

We took time off work to complete the jobs on Monday and Tuesday before the MOT on Wednesday (today!), it was to be a stressful few days.  We started by reversing the van up on to ramps so as to get at the out riggers.  As we did this we noticed some liquid leaking from beneath the van and discovered that the fuel line had fractured.  A good start.  With the back down off the ramps and the front in the air we cut out the offending pipe and jointed it with some rubber piping and a few clips.

Although (predictably) taking longer than we anticipated most jobs were completed by eleven on Tuesday night.  The brakes worked much better having been bled through a few more times and some adjustment on the cylinders.  Rachel patched the hole in the floor with a wooden panel and treated and waxoyled the rest of the chassis.  The engine cowling was back on and all the tools and crap had been removed from the van.  we also picked up a set of new tyres for £192.  The only problem being the rear lamp that I simply couldn't work out in all the madness of the last few days.

And so, after ten long months of Bedford-enforced poverty, frustration and anticipation... we have just arrived home from dropping Molly off at the garage, her first shot on the open road in over twelve years.  The drive down was nerve-racking yet surprisingly trouble free so we await the verdict from Gore Square Garage, and hope the nice mechanic man is a Debonair fan!

Good luck Molly!

The new outriggers.

 What is left of the old outriggers.

Petrol leak.

The rest of the old outriggers.

The new ones in place but not fixed.

On the way to the garage.

The box that is sunk into the floor of the Debonair to house the water tank/ leisure battery and used to mount the rear bench.  Unfortunately ours has seen better days so it's coming back to the workshop with me to be repaired.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Wax Oil and Wipers

Over a glass of borrowed whiskey, in front of an open fire in a borrowed house, we are formulating a detailed and complex plan of the final stages of Molly's ressurection.  THE FINAL STAGES.

Everything on the van, theoretically, seemed straight forward.  But as is the way with Molly, nothing transpires as so.  For example, after everything we have seen and done, the windscreen wiper motor should be easy to change out.  But Bedford had decided to mount the motor in a rather awkward place, with rather awkward bolts.  After several hours and several knuckles split, Olly placed the final piece of Molly's electrical jigsaw.  Windscreen wipers work.  But they do insist on parking in the middle of the windscreen.

Emerging ill tempered after three hours spent with this spanner

Whilst Olly chapped his knuckles beneath the bonnet, I finally got to paint something - sort of.  I have been counting down the days to MOT, and with it not being booked and 'easy jobs' taking two days, I am quite consistently disappointed.  I can't wait to paint a fresh coat of white inside and out.  But for now I had to make do with black.  Wax Oil black, smeared onto the chassis with a paintbrush.  I was pretty proud of myself for putting in a proper bit of hard work, but I had apparently wasted much of the wax on myself.  I have just found out it's a bugger to get off.  I may have black elbows all summer.

Freshly wax oiled and rust free (?!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

We have a drivers seat!

The front bench is finally upholstered - with a new 2" foam pad on top of the (painful) spring seat and extra supporting brackets on the back. 

And Alice thought it was great!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Driver's Door Back On

I finally got around to reattaching the driver's door.

... and then there was light! (Amongst other things)

One of the major issues that we had not tackled thus far was the lighting system.  The previous MOT certificates that came with the van had suggest an on going lighting issue so we were well prepared to have to completely rewire.  A job that neither of us have the patience or will to tackle.

The indicators worked but nothing else did.  The light switch was suspected to be at fault so was removed while I sourced another; Not so simple.  I emailed countless people and scoured the internet trying to find a switch to no avail.  Until at the end of the third week of searching I struck gold.  Adrian Bailey had a NOS item; Brilliant.  "That'll be £130"  Said he.
"No chance."  Said I.
So that was that.  I had to swap out the original for a universal pull/ push switch that I picked up for £15.  Adrian's price was fair considering the rarity of the item but it was also way and above what I would consider paying.

Anyway, I rang my mate Mike who works on stairlift installation.  He's a dab hand with all things electrical and has one of those minds that can fathom the theoretical rather than the tactile.  He gave me a list of bits and bobs to fetch including some relays, fuse block, fuses, wire, switches as well as the stuff I already had like headlamp units, bulbs etc.  And so, on an overcast Sunday he arrived and got to work.

It was only about two hours later when he poked his head out the door and asked me to watched as he tried the lights.  Sides, dip and mains all good and stop and tail lights good at the rear.  Add those to front and rear indicators and we have a full house.  Job done.  We also have a five fuse system now so that should stop any nasty loom melting accidents.

While Mike had been busying himself with the electrics I fitted the new (reconditioned) horn I had sourced.  It's bloody loud considering.

Another friend of ours, Damo, made us up a new tail pipe in his lunch break.  I decided to have it exit on the nearside.  I have heard of a few people doing this and it doesn't seem to be a problem for the MOT.  I sent him the measurements and he sent me the tail pipe the following day.  Here it is with part of the old one and below is a photo of what it looks like on the van.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Brakes bled and Molly hits the road (Grass) - The Movie

It turns the correct way up half way through;

Brakes bled and Molly hits the road (Grass)

We have temporarily borrowed Dolly's gear stick, though we are still endeavouring to find her a replacement. This enabled us to move her onto hard standing and get her bottom in the air.

Then Rachel jumped under the van and we began the bleeding process. We quickly noticed the unions we had forgotten to tighten up and after that all went well. So, for the first time in our ownership and in the last 11 or so years, Molly took to the road (grass) in (relative) safety.
Rachel and Molly lapped the paddock time and time again with no problem although the heat and fumes from the exposed engine were a bit much after half an hour or so.

After this we need to get the headlamps and wipers working, get an exhaust tail piece, reattach the drivers door, fit new locks and get a horn. Then it's MOT time.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Devil is in the Detail

Whilst the Osborne boys pondered the electrics...

I decided to do something useful and find more surfaces to cover with orange floral fabric.  

Sun visors!

Completely pointless but I'm no use with the mechanics/electrics so I have to find something to do... 

Quick update

Molly is now running a fine Accuspark electronic ignition.  It's a very smart little kit that sits beneath the distributor cap and takes a matter of minutes to fit.  She starts and runs well.

All the wheels cylinders are now fitted and I have given the old lines to a mate of mine so he can copy them.  Next weekend we'll hopfully get the brakes bled and take Molly for a short drive down the lane.

Another friend of mine pop over the other day and put his mind to the electical problem we were having.
Molly now starts and stops properly and the dyno is charging the battery as it should.  We also have a mechanical oil pressure guage fitted and an ammeter.  Next is to get the front and rear lights working and fit a fuse box.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Molly Says 'Boycott Tesco'

Molly is an old fashioned gal.  Made of great British Engineering, designed for luxury leisure in the green fields and woods of our fair isle.  She supports local economy and business, cherishes good craftsmanship and only allows us to cook real free-range farm eggs on her little gas hob. 

Molly has peacefully protested for issues dear to her heart since her youth and is very proud to say “I survived the scrappage scheme”, last Thursday she was protesting against the gentrification of Stokes Croft.

In an interview on Friday Molly said, “Think local.  Boycott Tesco.” 

A pap shot of Molly on the front line during the anti-tesco protest in Stokes Croft on Thursday 21st April ’11.

Molly protested for equal pay for women in 1968.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Even more rot

We've been making idle sotees into fathming the electrical faults but haven't come up with anything at present.  She still runs fine and starting isn't a problem but once the battery is attached the ignition is permantly on and the engine cannot be stopped without removing the battery once again.  Anyway, the voltage regulator looked a crap so we swapped it out as a matter of course.  It's all connected up again now with new connections and wires.  While attempting to find out why the headlights didn't work  found the reflectors to be utterly ruined; something else to add to the list.  We have also just purchased an Accuspark electronic ignition for Molly so we'll fit that when we next get a free weekend.