PH FLEET UPDATE: TVR, LEXUS AND MERC
New noses, new springs and a starring film role mean a busy time for Garlick's fleet
Now the 'down': on the way home I decided that it wanted a closer look at a car on the M4 and gave a small Toyota hatchback a friendly tap on the bum. It was avoidable, but I didn't avoid it. I locked up and, despite my best efforts to get into the hard shoulder, I did catch it with the front offside. Damage was minimal and I was able to drive home after securing the bonnet, but the resulting repair meant I would be without the car for the six weeks of solid sunshine that appears to have been our summer.
As a welcome-home treat I drove straight from Liphook to Fernhurst so the chaps could fit a de-cat pipe for me. As I'm now de-catted and sleeved it is rather loud to say the least, but as a car I use for fun it's perfectly acceptable. The Rover V8 has taken on a noise that is more Detroit than Blackpool, prompting a fellow Chimaera owner to speak to me on the ferry to Le Mans to enquire if I had fitted an American big-block into it. Not a bad compliment, really, and it certainly now sounds unlike any other Chimaera I've heard.
Speaking of Le Mans, the 24 saw me pile another 800 trouble-free miles onto the car as we made the annual pilgrimage to La Sarthe. The roof stayed off all the way down, and we cruised along the back roads avoiding the motorways. The attention TVRs get in Le Mans is extraordinary, there seems to be so much love for the marque in Europe and the smiles, unintelligible comments and waves made the experience all the more enjoyable.
Mercedes-Benz E220 Estate: The old Merc continues to earn its keep and is used exactly as the manufacturer intended. Having an estate car is hugely practical and over the past few months 'HUC' has taken numerous trips to the local tip, carried bicycles around, helped me move house and has collected large pieces of furniture. It remains my most economical car, too, so it takes me to the odd business meeting and some out of town weekend trips sipping unleaded at around 30mpg.
And who would have thought an ageing workhorse could become a film star? Well that's what happened a few weeks ago when a PHer asked me if I would loan my car to be the star in a short film, and he wasn't kidding either! Here is the finished article:
The efficiency of the car is also shining through as everything still works as it should and the interior manages to cosset in the same way a brand new luxo-barge does. Best of all is the fact that the newly fitted suspension is now well and truly bedded in and this, along with a recent reduction in tyre pressures (after realising they were over-inflated) has seen a gracious ride return. I'll keep this one, largely because it owes me far more than what it's worth! (We've heard that before - Riggers.)