I love the snow but did it have to arrive the one morning I needed to rush over to Macclesfield to drop off some old (Ford 4.6L) engine bits & the new Start button?! Trip postponed to tomorrow morning after overly-exciting 300 yard round trip in the Pug! Yikes.
So… JP have only just started working on the Mantis exhaust which is pretty disappointing & puts things back at least two weeks. I will now be lucky to get the car back in February. Inevitably it has been unseasonably dry & mild this week i.e. perfect driving weather. Oh well! In the meantime I have decided to go for an unbranded aftermarket button for the Engine Start. It’s quite low key (pardon the pun) & with a red LED; the black collar will be similar to the Smiths gauges. There were nicer buttons but they were stainless steel which doesn’t really match anything else on the facia, & a gorgeous black anodised billet aluminium one but… I need to import it from the States & it would have cost over £100. Yikes!
Looking on the bright side, travel for the Le Mans 24 Hour is now booked with the outward bound crossing courtesy of Eurotunnel & hopefully in convoy with another three or four Marcos, all in time to get to the gite for a good night’s sleep prior to the tour of the 1906 French Grand Prix circuit on Thursday morning. The return journey was harder to choose but eventually I went for the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry which should mean travelling with some of the Essex owners & also arriving back in the UK at a half decent hour to then slog our way back to Cheshire.
We also have a design for the Marcos LM24 decals which incorporates the Classic British Welcome logo. It took a few iterations but I think the final design is splendid – thank you Lou & Phil in Luxembourg!
So the Mantis is at JP Exhausts in Macclesfield & today I had arranged to work from a colleague’s house in the town then walk up to JP & see the car for the first time since it was kidnapped at the end of November 2016. I was quite excited as I would finally get to see the new engine in place.
We found JP easily (thank you Google Maps!) & wandered in to immediately spot the Mantis on a ramp. It wasn’t being worked on, so I introduced myself to one of the staff, Kyle (who it turned out would be making up my exhaust) then went over to have a look. The car was a bit grubby from being transported up but after a quick study of the driver’s seat leather repair (a good colour match) I was pretty keen to get the bonnet up & check out the LS3 in-situ. It looked… big! I was surprised at how few wires, hoses & pipes there were but have since found out that Jay has not fitted most of them to maximise access for JP when fabricating & fitting the manifolds & exhaust. Clever chap!
I also had the chance to physically compare the Audi, Nissan & after-market (Pivot) Engine Start buttons side by side for the first time. The Audi button is not flat which is unfortunate as that was my first choice. Not massively enamoured with either of the others & so will find an alternative, but this time without any reference to ‘Stop’ as I’m not going to get this functionality from the button.
Kyle kindly raised the ramp so I had the opportunity to view the car from underneath as well… Always a voyage of discovery for me! I got a great look at the engine & transmission, as well as the propshaft & the cleaned up chassis. It all looks very low but Jay assures me it’s higher than the old Ford Mustang engine. (I will find out pretty quickly when I park at work & have to navigate the prominent sleeping policemen in the office car park). Time was short however as my colleague & I needed to get back to work, so after a few more minutes peering round the car followed by a quick ‘Hello’ to the manager at JP we had to head off. Well worth it to see the car, but also to remind myself that it’s a 20 year old vehicle in regular use & not some pristine concours Marcos where everything to do with the new engine needs to be perfect or top-of-the-range.