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Brunel Newsletter No 192 - September 2017

Brunel Newsletter No 192 - September 2017

Group Leader Ramblings

First of all an apology, I will not be able to make it to the September Group meeting, so will have to catch up again in October.

The social side of the group has tailed off a little this year due to personal circumstances of the social committee members and a rather slow pick up from myself on planning out something better for the year.I must try harder!Derek Lee has asked to stand down from the Social Committee due to personal circumstances and I am sure you will join me in thanking him for all his past work on the social side.So, we could do with one or even two more to join Elf and Derek Roberts to draw up a plan for 2018 with the regular national events and some local Brunel events.Please let me know if you are able to help out.It doesn't mean you have to arrange the events, just help put a plan together, as we would hope to spread the organising around the group more.

Social Reports of Recent Events

Jersey Trip

Rob Lovell wrote out such a great story I have given it a special place further in the newsletter.

Tewkesbury School Classic Car Day - 20th Aug 2017 by Derek Roberts

This venue for a classic car day out has always been a well-organized event. The local Lions do a grand job marshalling the cars into the school playing field. TYF played the drama queen with a failed fuse on the electric fan whilst waiting to get in, so a steaming radiator signalled my entrance.

There are plenty of side stalls to suit all the family ranging from car bits, tools, clothing, food and charity subscribers including a visit by the air ambulance helicopter, So a grand day out for all the family which includes around 500 classic cars and 150 motorbikes. The crowd are also treated to live music to suit all tastes. With locally baked bread, pies, pasties, and other goodies.

I decided to go the event, having booked, as the TR club picnic was called off due to lack of support. However, clashing with the day was the annual Thornfalcon gathering by Taunton, so a difficult choice to make so early in the morning.

Having decided to go to the Tewkesbury School event, the natural selection for me was to take the TR5. On being shown to my slot the next tasks were a gallon of water, a cup of coffee and a look over of the cars parked and also entering the arena. My row consisted of all sorts of sorts including 7 TR7s but more of them later. A total of around 650 of all makes and types of vehicles were expected.

A look around the perimeter stalls took a couple of hours or so and by that time the field and overspill car park was filling up nicely. At around 12 the crowd looking at the cars had thinned a bit so I decided to eat my picnic sat on my fold up seat. I noticed an chap taking photos of the front of TYF so I introduced myself and asked if I could help. He requested me to lower the bonnet down as he wanted some more snaps of the front and 3/4 on. Fine, no problem, so he took another 20 or so shots of the TR.

When he finished I asked him the reason he wanted so many photos and chatting about his chosen camera, his response was that he had been commissioned by two individuals to paint their cars with a third person requiring a painting of their TR7. So the conversation moved on to painting, formats, materials, medium etc. He was interested to hear I had purchased an original Roz Wilson oil on canvas of a light blue Healey 100 from an art gallery in Bath. I also showed him the two images I had on my phone of an MGA and a Bristol powered AC. I then asked him if he would paint (on his chosen format) TYF 97F for me. He agreed on the condition of completing the 3 prior commission paintings for the clients.

He then apologized for not introducing himself before and told me his name, HARRIS MANN. Well, what can a TR owner bloke say after that! The conversation then shifted to his involvement in the design of the TR7, Allegro amongst other cars and ended up on matters that finished on the sad note of the deterioration and demise of BL cars. We had been chatting for more than for over 3/4 hour and I had the most fascinating time with this multi-talented designer.

So after he had moved away, the first thing I had to do was to walk up to the group of TR7 owners from Worcs and a couple from Glavon and quietly mentioned to whom I had been chatting. They were amazed and wanted to know where he was and what he looked like, but I am afraid I could only disappoint them as, turning the key further, I told them he was incognito and wished to remain so, sorry and all that.

With the terrific meeting of Harris Mann and a second hand ball joint splitter my day was made so I then left the field to wend my weary way back home.The TR behaved impeccably on the return trip after disgracing itself by overheating on the way in.

Brunel Events

Christmas Dinner

If you haven't already let Elf know how many places you want, and any room requirements to stop over, could you please do so as soon as you can.

The deposit has been paid to the Walton Park but we can still increase the numbers.

We need to make the final payment mid-November so could you please hand your payment of £30 per head to Roddy at the October meeting.

Details are:

  • Christmas Dinner/Party at The Walton Park Hotel Clevedon on Sat 9 Dec.
  • Cost...£29.95 which includes the disco...(as before Elf will ask if we can sit as far away from disco as possible!).Please round up payments to £30 to keep life simpler for Roddy.
  • Overnight accommodation is offered on a B & B basis....the breakfasts are superb!!
  • Cost£67.50 for a Double or Twin room
  • £47.50 for aSingle room
  • We have been here a few times before and always enjoyed it - it's very festive and great to be able to stay overnight at a reasonable price.
  • Also --- we often go for a walk on the Sun am!

Barbeque 2018

Rob Lovell has kindly offered to host a Brunel Barbeque for us next year.Rob and I thought somewhere early to mid-July would be good.In the past they have been held on a Sunday afternoon starting around mid-day.There were no strong views at the last monthly meeting so I propose we go for Sunday 1st July which seems to be in a bit of a Classic Car show gap for 2018.

Other Classic Car Events

Redhill Classic Car Meet – Sunday 8 October for Breakfast 9.00 to 11.00

Classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts are welcome to park up for a chat and meet like-minded people. Come along and enjoy the vehicles on show, held on the Recreation Field at Redhill Village Hall & Club this is a very well attended gathering, advice is to get there early.

Autumn Classic – 7 October

Brunel Group will be going to the Autumn Classic at Castle Combe again this year.

We have booked 6 TR Register Brunel Group spaces for this year for:

  • Tim Carr
  • Bob Sackley
  • Dave Walker
  • Tony Luffman
  • Roddy
  • Dave Green

It is a great event so well worth attending.

TR Track Days

Kev Bryant has reached an agreement with MGs On Track that will give us access to their track days.I went to Brands Hatch with them last year and it was great fun.Events this year are at Donington Park - 2nd October, Anglesey - 13 October,
Goodwood – 31 October, and Brands Hatch - 4 December.Goodwood is looking very tempting!

Classic Le Mans 2018

2018 is another Classic Le Mans year.Maybe a few of the group might like to group up to drive over for this one.

It will be held 6, 7 and 8 July 2018 on the Grand Circuit 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2016, more than 123.000 spectators saw nearly 550 race cars on the track and 8.500 cars in the general enclosure specially designed to accommodate 180 clubs representing 60 brands!

For 2018, several innovations are scheduled starting with the presence of the Group C field which was a huge success in 2016. In addition, modifications will be made at the circuit to improve the flow of cars and spectators. Several anniversaries will also be celebrated including in particular, the 40th anniversary of Alpine's victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours as well as the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Porsche 356 and the 50th of the 908!

Bristol Classic Car Show 2018

Early rumours it would be in February are unfounded, that is the Footman James Great Western Classic Car Show being held 10th and 11th February 2017, later rumours in Classic Motor Monthly that it would be in May to avoid a crowded calendar in June also proved unfounded as the date is now on their website as 16th and 17th June 2018.So if Bath keep to their mid-June date as in 2017 we have a dilemma again.

Technical Talk

LED Instrument Lamps

With winter nights coming on and the instrument lights on my TR6 looking pretty feeble, I invested £22.50 in a set of LED lamps for the TR6 from and a good job they do as well.The set does not include the oil or ignition lamps as they say they need to remain as filament lamps, and the dimmer doesn't dim them.They are a bit of a fiddle to change but as I had the speedo, tacho, and ammeter away at JDO Instruments for service and recalibration it wasn't too bad.See the Jersey visit report for more ammeter stories.DRG.

For Sale

TR3 for sale by Andy Spencer

All is revealed.Andy Spencer hasn't been driving his TR3 much in recent times and has decided to sell it.Full details are on the TR Register website under Cars for Sale.Brief details are:

White, non-overdrive. Genuine right hand drive UK car, first registered in North Wales. Fully restored thirty years ago on a new Racestorations chassis.

Rebuilt as near to original specification as possible to a high standard with all steel panels. Drives well with a solid feel.

Currently on steel wheels but a set of painted wire wheels are included c/w adaptors, spacers and spinners. Each with tyres with plenty of tread but would suggest an inspection to check due to age.

Contact Andy – 07765 116590

TR3A for sale by Ken Banks

A similar story from Ken Banks currently living in Spain, but transporting it back to England should be quite straightforward.It is a 1961, only one previous owner, registered in Exeter.

The engine has been totally rebuilt to include nitride harden crank and micro polish, lightened flywheel and fully balanced including diaphram and clutch. And much more.

The suspension fully poly bushed.

O/D gearbox, bodywork in excellent condition, leather seats, hood, sidescreens, tonneau covers all new, with clear windows.

The price is £22,500, and there should be no problem getting the original registration number back.

Dave Lewis knows all about the car.

Contact Ken at

Wire Wheels

Elf has some 4J wire wheels that are surplus to requirements and wishes to sell them.Please call Elf on 07969 191168.


Sidescreen TR

David Radford is looking for a sidescreen TR, if you are looking to sell I will put you in touch.


One of the group is considering buying a TR8, preferably one of the original UK ones, but I think he will consider a good conversion.I don't know of one in the group but if anyone has one to sell please let me know and I'll put you in touch.

Jersey Trip Report by Rob Lovell


This is an explanation of the wonderful time Lynette and I enjoyed recently in Guernsey and Jersey.Oh what fun we had.The idea was to stay the night in Poole before catching the ferry to Guernsey where we would stay for 3 nights then go on to Jersey for a 4-night stay.And our friends Bob and Sue were with us in their very nice SL250 of 1965 vintage while I decided to take my TR5.

The drive from my house was due to start with an agreed meeting time of 1230.Bob called to say they were running late and he and Sue arrived at 1400.Lynette had arrived on time at 1230 and went for a drive in her car as the meeting time had slipped to 1400.Inevitably she wasn't back by the time Bob and Sue arrived.Typical, you might think.

Anyway, we were soon off and making our way down to Poole. The sat-nav in my TR had decided not to work.No power from the cigarette lighter and, also the ammeter was showing a small charge with the engine off.All very strange. It never occurred to me that these 2 things might be connected.Why would it ?

As before, last year in fact, we stayed in the Thistle Hotel on the sea front in Poole.And very nice it is too.A decent dinner in a very nice local pub and an early night as usual, at least it's usual for me.Breakfast was at 0730 and then a short drive to the ferry.The quickest and shortest route was over a bridge but that was shut.But, intrepid explorers that we are we found a way round the bridge and managed anyway.

The ferry crossing to Guernsey was fine; it was the start of the holiday proper after all so we were in good spirits.We arrived on time and made our way to a great hotel.The name ?I forget, sorry.But you could tell it was good because they de-stoned the prunes for breakfast.

Then I discovered my passport and credit cards contained in my wallet were missing, as was the wallet itself.Spent half a day searching high and low for it, cancelled my cards and asked Condor Ferries to help if anyone handed it in.I called Bonny, who manages my little B&B and she said she was glad I had called because my passport and cards were on my desk… I resisted asking why on earth she had not called me to tell me about her discovery previously, and after I had wasted half a day searching high and low but hey, panic over.So, with a smile on my face…

We explored Guernsey and found the roads ridiculously narrow and even worse was the fact that road names were often missing.Main roads ?Lanes in the UK !But we went for a long walk one afternoon and stopped for an ice cream at a small stall by the beach where we were approached by a man who was on the same ferry with us and he recognised the cars, Bob's 250 SL and my TR5.

It turned out that this guy was a leading light in local car events and after explaining the problem with the lack of power to the cigarette lighter he offered to take us to a garage that, among other transport exotica looks after 200 Porsche's on the island.

And where we spied a Ferrari with no engine (being rebuilt) an XK150 under full restoration, a Porsche and several other very nice cars being repaired or restored.We were lucky to find this garage because the guy I was supposedly following was driving an Abarth Fiat 500 and he drove it, shall we say, spiritedly.

As luck would have it the wiring guru in the garage had just finished a job and was soon scrambling about in the passenger foot-well of my errant TR and, after poking about with a meter under the dashboard he proudly exclaimed that he had found the problem, a bad earth meaning only 9 volts to the lighter…So he fed a separate wire between the lighter and the battery and all was well.Good eh ?Half an hour and £37.50 later and we were on our way.

The TR ran like the proverbial sewing machine after that.And after another day or 2 we boarded a ferry in Guernsey and headed for Jersey.In a storm.Some storm, too.We arrived in Jersey to be told the storm was too bad to dock so we sailed round in circles for a hour or so then returned to Guernsey.Where they presumably have deeper and therefore safer water.We were off-loaded from the ferry back in Guernsey, waited 2 hours and a reserve ferry took us back to Jersey where this second ferry was able to dock.

So we arrived several (8, was it ?) hours late, Lynette not at all a happy bunny.But we have stayed previously in the Merton Hotel, Jersey where the food is excellent and we like it.We arrived just before midnightWe were in the room for about 5 minutes when the internal telephone rang.The caller asked if we wanted the chef to send us up a meal; nice touch but no thanks, bed beckons.

On Friday Lynette and me decided to go to Portelet Bay on our own.Not being used to cars where you have to actually switch the lights on and off we parked in the pub car park and walked the 127 steps down to the beach.Thoroughly recommended, lovely place.A great little beach food stall sold us lunch and we wandered about the almost deserted beach in blissful ignorance of the next episode in this holiday.127 steps up from the beach had the old ticker ticking faster than it had for a while.And there sat the TR, resplendent and easily the prettiest car in the car park.So we climbed aboard, obviously.And…

When I sat in the TR ready for the 'off' I noticed the light stalk was in the fully down position, ie the headlights should have been on.I used a well-known expletive and thought rude words and turned the ignition key when… nothing happened.Yep, the battery was as flat as the proverbial pancake.Oh dear. I knew that Bob would have jump leads but I had no idea where he was and, anyway, I had invested in an Energiser pack and in the now wet weather I attached it to the battery and hey-ho the TR fired up like a good-un !Phew, relief and thank goodness for the power pack that is the size of a mobile phone.Brilliant little device.Just glad I had charged it before leaving Bristol.

The next day, Saturday we decided to explore.Started the engine to warm it thru and I operated the window winder.It went round and round several times and the window continued to sit, unmoving.And then there was a whoosh and the glass dropped like a North Korean rocket landing in the sea off Japan.Oh dear.More trouble.Managed to get the window up but then a loud bang occurred and something fell into the bottom of the door.But the glass stayed in place. Phew.And it is still in situ now awaiting a repair.

We enjoyed the rest of Saturday although I can't remember exactly what we did except that we went to Mad Mary's (it is described as this on the official tourist maps) which is a little food and drink shack where Lynette had a crab sandwich, a favourite of hers.And on Sunday we again decided to go exploring in the TR.Maybe the pearl factory or similar.Well it didn't matter much because the whole car was as dead as, well, anything extinct really.Don't want to pick on the poor old dodo all the time.No lights, no ignition, no nothing !Grammar police take a day off please…

My trusty Energiser was tried; nothing.Bob volunteered his jump leads.No use.After ages of head scratching I noticed the ammeter was now right over into the charging side.How odd.But of no use.So, finally, I relented and called the AA.They were good and the breakdown man arrived 45 minutes later.He admired the car and enjoyed testing everything before, after about one hour he reluctantly admitted defeat.No go, even for him.

So what to do next ?In desperation I called my friend Chris, he who had restored the TR for me.Of course, given the clues, nothing from a battery in good condition and well charged, with an ammeter showing a large permanent charge even with nothing operating he diagnosed the fault and suggested, yes he suggested to the AA man (very politic is Chris) that he should remove the ammeter and bypass it using one of the ammeter terminals to hold both leads to it.And wadda ya know, we had lift-off as it were.Had I called Chris at the beginning I could have done that myself !

The AA man was relieved not to be beaten and actually took pictures of the TR's engine bay.Before leaving Bristol I had spent lots of hours making it spotless and he appreciated my hard work and said his colleagues would all be envious he had a real car to work on.However…

Not to be completely beaten the car played another trick; one of the foot-well lights stayed on all the time but after the troubles we had experienced I was not worried about that little problem.

Monday came and the car behaved itself, foot-well light apart.We explored a funny little cafe type place for lunch followed by a visit to Le Riche, a local classic car dealer on Jersey in the afternoon.At least the 3 men looked at the cars while the girls do whatever it is that girls do when abandoned by the blokes.Great cars, tip top restorations including a Honda S800 being restored for Honda themselves in the UK and a good time was had by all.

The men had a good time anyway, not so the girls I believe.It took ages to see all the cars because they were spread in 3 locations all over north Jersey !

And on Tuesday we were due to catch the ferry back to Poole. Our friends Tony and Helen had arrived on Sunday (as had Elf and Carol) having had their TR4 break down on the way to catch their ferry so they arrived in their Porsche Macan; paradise.On Tuesday morning we went with Tony and Helen while Bob drove his SL that behaved impeccably throughout the holiday.Apart, that is, from his panel lights failing but hey, that is nothing compared to the trials and tribulations of my TR. Viewed a little (is everything small on Jersey ?) Lobster BBQ stall.

Then back to the hotel to collect my TR.Bob and Sue were caught up in a traffic accident and went straight to the ferry port.Off we went to the ferry port to begin the journey home to Bristol and amazingly were right behind Bob and Sue in the queue.OK, weather-wise there were a few scattered showers but nothing much to complain about.Yet.

Bob's Merc was boxed in on the ferry by a Nissan Micra that its owner couldn't find and we were ushered off the ferry in Poole well ahead of Bob and Sue and I drove slowly to hopefully allow Bob and Sue to catch us up.We were now well over 2 hours late, having arrived at Poole at 2100, and we started the drive back to Bristol.In gale force winds and rain and the poor old TR5 was just unable to cope.

Poor thing, the inside of the windscreen steamed up making it hard to see anything.And the wipers might not have been working cos the rain was just too severe for them to cope. But if you know me, my motto is just to put your foot down and go for it.So I did.And I raced away from Poole at a staggering 30 mph and when the lights on the road ended and we were in the countryside that quickly became 20 mph.Lynette was heroically trying her best, and failing to clear the windscreen that misted up as soon as she cleared it.And then we hit a lake, or it seemed like a lake and the TR slewed before I corrected it and I slowed down even more.

Eventually there was a long snake of cars behind me.So I decided to give in and be sensible.I pulled into a pub car park and asked if they had accommodation; no such luck.In driving rain I crossed the road as instructed by the landlord and eventually, soaked right thru I found a little B&B in Spetisbury, about 10 miles from Poole and we stayed the night there.

The owner was a very nice elderly lady but the B&B was, well, umm.Anyone of average height would have struggled to stand in the bedroom that had no ceiling light cos it would have been too low: .Not a problem for me !And a tall person would have had to walk about crouching all the time.There was one socket in the bedroom so the choice was to watch TV or charge your phone or tooth brush !Actually, I had an extension lead so no problem really.No power in the bathroom bit but it came complete with a snail climbing up the curtains...

On Wednesday morning we woke up at 0700 to sunshine.We drove home with an occasional shower but no real rain and wonder of wonders some occasional sunshine again.What fun.But the TR went like a sewing machine after the ammeter problem was fixed (it was bypassed as mentioned earlier) and modern traffic struggled to keep pace with it.Really.Lynette was a brick with not complaining at me finding a B&B, not one complaint.Actually I think she was relieved quite honestly cos it was just too dangerous to drive as we were semi-blind.

Modern cars might have cigarette lighters, a decent heater, intermittent wipers, built-in sat-nav, auto lights that are better, proper demisting facilities, far more room and greater comfort.But compared to a TR they simply have no soul !!

And the malfunctioning ammeter was removed and despatched for repair Thursday morning, no time to waste after all.

And that was the week that was.

That's it for this month.


Brunel's officers and contact details

Group Leader/Webmaster

Dave Green

mobile: 07772 330220

tel: 01934 811711

email :


Roddy Halliwell

mobile:07768 322982


Social Committee Co-ordinator

Elf Harris

tel: 0117 9082155

mobile: 07969 191168


Membership Secretary

Bob Sackley

tel: 01934 862672


Brunel TRs Group

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