Back home today & sad to be leaving but had a great time despite the frustrations of the self-opening driver’s door. A touch of drizzle whilst sitting in the queue to board the Stena-Line ferry back to Liverpool, but not enough to merit a comedy exit from the vehicle to put the hood up. Alas, the aura of coolness came to an abrupt end when leaving the car having boarded the ferry. Oh well, only about 30 people watching! Dukes of Hazard it was not…
Inspiration struck early this morning, & manually locking the driver’s door seems to have done the trick. This suggests the problem is with the door latch itself rather than the striker. (More hunting for parts on the Internet…). With the driver door locked (& staying locked!) it does mean that I have to enter & exit the car via the passenger door. Not the most gainly manoeuvre on my part, & probably quite entertaining for any spectators. However, it means that the driving can go ahead, so all good!
So after a substantial breakfast in central Belfast, we headed off in the Mantis & the AMG under a blue sky to drive the coastal route down to Portaferry.
We meet up with Cazzer’s chum from work who is in his heavily modified MR2 (the nicest customisation I have seen on an MR2), & head down the Strangford Lough scenic route in a mini convoy. The sun is still shining, skies are still blue & with the tide out the shoreline is constantly changing. All very picturesque, but the affects of the breakfast are starting to wear off (unbelievably) so there is a pit stop for coffee & cakes. The three cars dominate the cafe car park & there’s the inevitable ‘What is that?’ chat about the Marcos, which Caz kindly handles on my behalf. Caffeine & cakes done, we head back out. I still haven’t found a way to get into the car and look cool unfortunately.
Despite some nervous door waggling by me every few hundred yards, the locked driver’s door is holding up. A short stop at Mark’s house (awesome back yard, full of motorbikes a la Sons of Anarchy) then Cazzer & I head home for pizza & cocktails. Very sophisticated for an LM driver is Caz! In the meantime someone makes use of the car…
It’s been good to see Cazzer again, admire his blue Mercedes GT & see the sites of Belfast, which is a beautiful city. The original plan was to head out on the Saturday for a day’s driving. Unfortunately, despite my attempts to fix with JB Weld before setting out, the driver’s door opened several times whilst driving from the ferry to Cazz’s digs, so that required resolution before any day trips. A quick search for a new door striker latch from a local source in NI drew a blank. Therefore the focus was on repairing the current striker which was losing the black rubber sleeve around the bar. This meant the door latch was not fully engaging & the vibration from driving was eventually shaking it open.
A number of fixes were attempted, including bulking up the worn area with copper wire supported with epoxy resin, and some heroic 3D printing by Cazzer to produce ABS plastic sleeving to replace the worn rubber. Alas, the latch has made mincemeat of both, and a tentative trip up the coast road had to be aborted when the door opened coming off a roundabout. We returned to base for a rethink, door wedged shut with a repurposed sandwich packet covered in a microfiber cloth to protect the paint.
Some brainstorming prompted another trip to B&Q in the AMG GT (not bad for a shopping car!) with the tentative purchase of some bungees, rubber tubing, Gorilla tape & aluminium foil tape. The aluminium tape was an instant fail, failing to survive first contact with the latch. Due to the stripped down design of the door interior, The bungees did not have anything to clip to. Covering the latch bar with the rubber tubing & then protecting it with Gorilla tape has allowed the door to shut & latch engage, but destroys the tube/tape so this is a sacrificial fix. Only a test drive will establish whether it survives being on the road. Fingers crossed.
Very excited to be heading over to Belfast for a weekend of driving with long time Marcos chum Ian Turner (currently building his own Marcos in New York… I kid you not!). The weather forecast is decent so hood down all the way is the plan!
Currently waiting to board the Stena-Line ferry from Liverpool. It reminds me how much fun it was going to Le Mans. A few years ago now… Wonder when I will go back? In the meantime the sun is out (but cabin booked as a precaution). As the Mantis is low slung, I will be avoiding grounding it on the ferry ramp so in the queue with the caravans… and tractors!