Sunday, 31 October 2010

Hot Prelude

Lately the engine coolant in Fourwheelsteer’s Prelude has been disappearing over time. Although there were no puddles under the car the only explanation I could see was that the system must be leaking from somewhere.

From My Honda

I purchased some Radweld and the instructions suggested that flushing the cooling system with another product by the same company. It could just be clever marketing but I reasoned that a nearly 13-year old cooling system might benefit from cleaning out. Especially as the product suggested it would help with overheating and the Prelude’s engine does get rather hot if stuck in traffic for any length of time.

Draining the Prelude’s cooling system is simple enough; Honda does a good job at making its cars easy to service in my experience. The instructions for the Holts cooling system flush suggested driving 20-30 miles which was just right for driving to my local Honda dealer (friendly and efficient as always) for some genuine coolant. Again, I’m a sucker for marketing but I did hear another Prelude owner extolling the virtues of genuine anti-freeze. Since it is about the same price as generic stuff from Halfords why wouldn’t you go for the OEM stuff?

Back home and after lunch the cooling system was drained, the recommended dosage of Radweld poured in along with the fresh coolant. I also put the cooling system to the test, letting the car tick over until the fans cut in. It is reassuring to know they do, even if the temperature is some way above that of normal running (but still within the bounds of the ‘normal’ portion of the gauge).

Initial investigations show that the level in the radiator hasn’t dropped overnight – hopefully the mystery leak has been fixed.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Moving Motor Museum

Being a bit of a transport geek I can’t resist either a heritage railway or a motor museum. Over the weekend I visited the Mid-Hants Railway or Watercress Line and the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Much as I love the Beaulieu museum I do wonder if motor museums could learn a thing from the steam railway.

From Beaulieu and Watercress Line

The great thing about these enthusiast-run railways is that you experience the trains running; not just as static exhibits. You get a flavour of what railway travel was like fifty years ago. It would be interesting to see the same model applied to cars.

Imagine a museum where some cars are in use either every day or, at least, at the weekends. The public could see and possibly even ride in old cars. To that end you’d need a short test track. Not a race track but somewhere with a variety of road surfaces, corners and gradients and maybe a long straight. Cars would not be pushed to their limits but I would want to give people an idea of acceleration, ride comfort and cornering; hearing the noise of the engines, the feel and smell of the upholstery.

What cars would go in the collection? You’d want cars that were interesting to look at and travel in.

Considering those factors the first cars I’d source for my collection would be:

From Model T Pictures

Ford Model T – A unique character with its strange controls.

From Haynes Motor Museum

Citroen SM – demonstrate the ride quality and general eccentricity of Citroen.

From BIMS 2008 Oldies

Lamborghini Countach – big on drama and spectacle whether in motion or standing still.

From Warwick Classic and Retro Cars

Mini Cooper – cramped and uncomfortable but fun.

From Gold Cup 2008

Jaguar XJ12/Daimler Double Six – Possibly the smoothest engine ever and a great ride too.

From Gold Cup 2008

Rolls-Royce Corniche – Or any Shadow variant, to sample Rolls-Royce craftsmanship.

From Luton Festival of Transport

Plymouth GTX – Feel the power of a big, American V8 as well as the comedy cornering behaviour of a car designed for straight roads.

What cars would you include?

Monday, 4 October 2010

New cars: Citroen DS3

Not driven, but a friend has just bought a new DS3 and she’s thrilled with it. I couldn’t resist having a look and it does seem quite nice.


This isn’t it but it is very similar.

I still don’t know what the DS3 has to do with Citroen’s classic DS but it seemed like a perfect excuse to post some pictures of an utterly gorgeous Citroen DS, which I took this summer.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of the whole car as it was attracting such a crowd. Given that it looks as good as new (or better) I’d say the attention was justified.