Welcome !

This blog is a record of running a 50 year old classic car as essential transport and for road trips.

It is here to prepare those who might be tempted to do the same, they require mental and physical stamina, tenacity and transportational back up (not necessarily in that order). It has been challenging, time consuming, frustrating, nerve wracking but very rewarding and enjoyable.

My Jensen CV8 is being driven, not stuck in a garage collecting dust, it is not a concours condition car, and in a lot of respects is showing its age, but it creates interest where ever I go and is great fun to drive.

This blog is dedicated to my family and friends who have to put up with the sweet(?) smell of oil and leather, car seats that only reach half way up your back, front seat belts that attempt to garrotte you every time you turn a corner at speed, and the need for ear defenders at any speed above 50 mph.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Nearly there

After 5 weeks, a complete back to base respray, the old girl's starting to look special again:



Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Monday, 6 April 2015

First Road Trip after Engine Recon

3 day trip up north to Nottingham and the Derbyshire peak district. The car performed flawlessly, acceleration far better than before, lovely engine burble (no longer drowned out by a leaking exhaust manifold), everything working well, temperature stable, oil pressure healthy, even the wipers managed to cope with some fine drizzle. 

The round trip was 430 miles, the good news is that the mpg is up from below 12 to 16.6, and I wasn't sparing the horses! I'm looking forward to the summer :).

Friday, 27 March 2015

Reunited - after 6+ months

Back safely from Jagutek, drives like a dream. Engine positively purrs, acceleration phenomenal. The trip back was in terrible conditions, rain, water spray, high winds, but all of that couldn't wipe the smile off my face coming down the M11 at about 70mph (honestly officer!!).

Monday, 8 September 2014

I was in Cambridge passing near to the garage last Friday so I popped in to see the progress. The reconditioned engine is back, sat menacingly next to the car, the cavernous engine bay eagerly awaiting the new arrival.

We are waiting for new camshaft covers, I've plumped for the slightly more expensive machined aluminium ones over pressed steel for aesthetic reasons.

The rad has been sent away to be flushed and pressure tested, last done more than 10 years ago.

The guys at Ely are currently looking for alternative exhaust manifolds, the old cast iron ones have always given me problems at the join between the manifold and the exhaust, even the tiniest leak making the car sound like a tractor.

Latest finish is likely end of September.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


My apologies but I've been a bit scarce on the old blog recently, I'll post a detailed update shortly..but the highlight is I finally got fed up with oil burning and blow back causing oil to leak from the filler cap onto the exhaust (fortunately on the passenger side only). So the engine is out and away being rebuilt. The good news is the engine is the original one for the car, the bad news is there are a couple of cracks in the block. More news next week.

In the meantime..... if you are at a loose end, my sister has a very interesting blog about life in Japan: http://louozinjapan.blogspot.com.au/

latest: the cracks in the block are repairable, when I return from my holiday in New Zealand the car will be ready to collect. I am also getting the garage to look into new exhaust manifolds so I can finally get rid of the perpetual small leaks that take the edge off the V8 burble .... after a summer without the car I am looking forward to getting her back.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Got the oil pipes from Cropredy yesterday, thanks David, swapped out the leaking one in about 20 mins, really easy, the unions came apart with minimal force, the biggest problem was getting the spanner into the confined space enough to get leverage.

To fit the lower pipe I need to jack up the car and I was short of time so I'll pick that up when I next do some stuff on the car.

The autopsy on the pipe revealed corrosion, the pipe is flexible, the rubber outer skin had perished, allowing the metal braiding to corrode and weaken the pipe. It had become so inflexible that it felt like metal.

Problems on my list to sort:
Temp gauge - get reconditioned/recalibrated
Oil pipe - replace second one
Slight scuffing sound from nearside front wheel on right hand bend.
Tighten handbrake
Cure leaking gearbox sump

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Got the car out of the drive this morning and noticed a small pool of oil beneath the engine, on investigation the connecting pipes to the oil filter are at fault. One of them has a small leak, not around the joints but on the body of the pipe. Strange because they are made of metal, are not chafing against anything, and show no corrosion on the outside. I am reasonably confident that they have not corroded from the inside as they contain oil....so I'm scratching my head a bit as to the problem.

Anyway, as the leak is fairly small I still drove to work and have bandaged the leaking area with some rubberised tape.

I've called Cropredy for replacements, one pipe has been located (sod's law it's not the one that's leaking) and are trying to locate the other.......I will conduct the necessary autopsy as to the cause of the leak when I've replaced them.

Mileage 182,087

Monday, 16 August 2010

Successful trip to Cropedy music festival at the weekend, didn't count the miles but it has to be 80 each way. Rained all weekend, so the terrain was ugly. No problems though, and we breezed through the mud on our way out. The car looks like I've been 4x4 off-roading.

It was a tight squeeze to fit everything in, tent, beer, dry clothes, wife, dog, chairs, and the obligatory 1/2 boot full of tools and spare parts.

Exhaust leak fixed, car running as smooth as it ever has, lovely burble of the V8 now re-instated.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Current Status:

Mileage: 181,301

Alternator: Fixed, new from Cropredy £411

Offside Front Brake: leaking caliper fixed.
Tyres: Four new tyres £594 from Huntingdon Performance Tyres
Oil: Changed filter and oil £41
Carpets: attempted refit but failed miserably, double sided tape and Velcro don't work
Core Plug: failed on Thursday, 10 yards from home, dumped the contents of the cooling system in about 2 minutes, fortunately I have a set in my spare parts box.
Track Rod Ends: £43 changed with tyres

To do:
Leak between exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe (again!)
Temp Gauge: still showing high, have concluded it's the gauge as I've changed everything else. (Although strangely enough for the first 30 miles after changing the alternator it was showing normal but has since reverted to type)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Apologies for the interruption to the blog, I've had a few foreign trips that have eaten into social diarising time. Chicago, Paris, Brussels and Latitude Festival.

I've had a bit of a roller-coaster ride with the car.

The alternator finally siezed, history tells me that when these mechanical devices make strange noises it is time for action. I left it too long and it finally failed on the way to work. Called the RAC, response time 1 1/2 hours, so I whipped the offending device out, dismantled it on the roadside, freed it and had it back in the car within 20 mins. It was still complaining a bit (mild screeching) but I decided to risk the journey home and called off the RAC. Had to rent a car for 24 hours as I was due to pick my daughters up that night.

Excellent service from the car hire company (www.marshallrental.co.uk), Marshalls at St Neots. I called them at 8:45 and by 9:15 they had a car delivered, thanks for getting me out of a hole! Just a shame it was a Peugeot.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The power of the blog........after insinuating rampant telephonophobia at Cropredy spares dept on Sunday (the blog was on Sunday, not the phobia, obviously because they were closed).....lo and behold I get a call today...they have located a sender and will send it on Friday....I apologise to David.....full apology and faith restoration will follow on receipt of the temp sender on Saturday.

Did you read my blog David?

Mileage 178,457

Sunday, 13 June 2010

I struggled last week to get the right temperature sender from Cropredy.... infuriating that the statement "I'll look into that and call you back" never happens to it's conclusion, I don't know whether they are trying to save their phone bill, or the guy in the parts dept has telephonophobia. Even a "can you call me back in an hour" would suffice......you just get nothing, so you ring and "Oh, I meant to call you about that" meantime 2 days have passed. So still no sender!.....anyway enough of the rant.....

Had a trip to Bury St Edmunds, I met up with an old work colleague and we had a couple of beers in the Nutshell, reputedly the smallest pub in England, it was very cosy, absolutely packed out (6 of us in there!)

Nothing to report on the car, temp still showing high, running smooth, a bit of a blow from the join between the manifold and the exhaust pipe. Filled up with petrol on the A14, the guy at the filling station abandoned his till to get a few pictures of the car "for his collection", not sure that pleased the queue at the till but it made his day.

Monday, 7 June 2010

So....here we are...the start of another week..tax increases and service cuts looming on the horizon like a perfect storm....at least we have the comfort that they will be fair and not entirely unexpected!

Week 2 of the epic temperature saga for the Jensen. Thought I'd fixed it but it's started showing hot again. I am 99% certain it is the sender unit, as the fans cut in when I'd expect them, normally when the temp is just above Normal.....but the gauge is showing just in the red.

Just need to get a right size sender unit, in the meantime it is hard to resist slapping the heating on full blast when the needle moves into the red.....the 1% doubt has a mental effect far in excess of its mathematical size, a bit of a David and Goliath tale if you get my drift (the 1% being David)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

"Fix the Jensen" day today...the bits arrived from Cropredy yesterday, the sun is high in the sky and the kids have homework/revising to do....my moment has arrived.

Radiator sensor unit successfully changed, head sensor wrong size....it's too big *&@~#! I've taken the old one out and cleaned the contacts. and replaced it Filled the rad up with water and ran for 10 mins....bingo, temperature just above normal and the fans cut in, holding steady at just above normal.....success!

Hand brake pads changed......no problem.

Still to do....change the oil filter, sort the noisy alternator out and get the carpets back in place....it's too hot for all that....maybe one night next week....time to throw some chicken and prawns on the barbie and sink a few Budvars....cheers!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Well it wasn't the thermostat :-((, took it out completely and still getting a high temp.

Water pump is working, radiator is flowing. Having taken it for a test run, and there being little/no logic behind the gauge readings, I can only deduce that the temperature sender is playing up......have ordered the bits to replace.

If anyone else has any ideas, please don't hold back, let me have them. A prize of a nearly new temperature sender awaits the first one that correctly identifies the problem!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The friday night ritual of driving to Derbyshire was particularly troublesome yesterday. The car decided to run hot all of the journey. I stopped a couple of times to let it cool down. No other symptoms other than a high temp gauge. The heater was working ok, electric fans were on, so I was confident that the coolant was circulating, "coolant" is probably a bit of a misnomer at the moment.

Worst case scenario was to breakdown at the side of the M1 on a Friday of bank holiday weekend. (although the RAC does seem to come out quicker for the Jensen than I can recall for my more mundane daily transport)

Strange that the temperature should be lower when stationary that at speed. I did manage to complete the journey, but after Leicester I switched to the B roads through Market Harborough joining the A14 about 1/2 way along.

I've been on a day trip to London today so not been able to look at the car, but I've been racking my brain as to possible causes. Faulty temp sensor or gauge, blocked radiator, blown head gasket......anyway I had a eureka moment today........the thermostat sticking!...it seems to fit all the symptoms....just need it to stop raining to prove the theory....I'll keep you posted.

I'm a bit miffed...the parts ordered from Cropredy didn't arrive today!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I haven't driven the Jensen for for 2 days, away with work, in any case it needed a rest after the hard driving at the weekend.

I had a few hours to spend on the car tonight. The noise from the engine, suspected water pump, is definitely the alternator. I took off the fan belt and span (spun?) the pulleys on both.
Strange because I had it refurbed about 10 years ago!

While I was oiled up I had a bit of a root around:
  • Handbrake, it was a bit loose, the culprit was a missing pad.
  • Suspension, a cracked rubber on the track rod end....about time to replace.
  • Probably due for an oil filter change as well.
I'll call up Cropredy tomorrow with a bit of a shopping list......I hope it's a sunny weekend!

Mileage 177,407

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Just got back from a round trip, 90 miles to the Lincolnshire coast (Huttoft Beach) fishing with my brother (nothing caught), followed by a 120 mile sprint across to Southwold on the Suffolk coast ( again, twice in 2 weekends) and back home.

All done in temperatures in the mid 70s. No problems, great drive from Lincs to Suffolk, mainly single carriageway and lots of overtaking. Too many cameras!!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Saturday 15th May....road trip to the coast, Southwold and back via Framlingham Castle. ~200 mile round trip, car ran a bit warm for most of the journey, slightly above normal, but kept its cool. The temp wandered up a bit in traffic but the fans did their stuff.

Picked up some fresh fish from the quayside, some sea bass and plaice....very tasty, followed by a plate of fish and chips and a pint of Adnams.

The dog took a liking to my fish and chips.........

.............but sensibly kept away from my beer.

We called in at Framlingham Castle on the way back, a very interesting site steeped in history, notable for being owned by the Howard family. Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke, married 2 of his nieces off to Henry VIII. Any takers for which of Henry's wives they were? Clue...they were both beheaded ... you'd have thought he would have learnt his lesson after the first decapitation!