Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 25 May 2019, 23:10

Running around like a headless chicken all day today so nothing much to report...only thing I did was finally get around to mutilating a set of floor mats for the cab of the van. Suffice to say none of the generic ones ever fit because the footwells of the van are way different in shape to those in a car.

Nearside one is relatively simple, just needs a little chunk removed for the space taken up by the engine cover. 
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Nearside mat trimmed to fit
Offside one requires rather more hackery. Two reasons. Firstly is that the engine cover is not actually central in the cab - it's a good couple of inches nearer to the offside of the van. Secondly is that this van has a floor mounted throttle pedal with a huge heel rest, so you need to cut a slot out for it to sit in. 
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Offside mat positively butchered to fit
The cab will be getting new carpet at some point (yes, in something more sensible than the factory beige shag pile), so I really wanted some mats in there before that happened so as to keep things clean. Oh, and I had been repeatedly knocking this set of mats over in the garage for months and I wanted them out the way. 

Hopefully will get some actual garage time tomorrow so will have something more worthwhile to report on. 

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 27 May 2019, 22:12

Aside from the scruffy corners, one thing which has been really obviously detracting from the bodywork on the Invacar is the fact that the doors are a totally different colour to the rest of the body.

Today I threw a bit of paint at the nearside one to see if I could do anything to improve it.
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Mostly has taken really well, just one area directly above the door handle where something has reacted with the paint. So I'll need to get that area rubbed back and repainted before getting things ready for another coat.


Definitely looks better than it did I think.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 28 May 2019, 23:52

Got everything wiped down today and have given it another few coats. Looking reasonable I think given what I'm working with.
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Still needs another couple of coats I think, as the finish is a bit patchy yet, but we're getting there. It's forever since I've painted a larger panel so I've been playing the how-do-get-an-even-finish game. Especially in my cramped garage where I'm working in my own shadow the whole time. 

 I may well just take the door off and outside to do the final coat or two. If this hadn't landed on top of us when I was doing the work today I'd maybe have done so today. 
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Yes, the resulting rain was precisely as heavy as it looked like it would be.

Have done another bit of tidying. Handlebars are no longer rusty and as rough as sandpaper.
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I've also made a personal choice with regards to interior decor. The inside of the door upper runner and the previously flaky windscreen pillar trims have also been painted black. 
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No, it's not factory spec...but it's entirely reversible with naught but a paint brush, and it's my car. I think it looks better like this as it ties several parts of the interior together visually. Yes I'll touch in the little patch between the windscreen an dash top once I have a smaller brush to hand. Didn't want to get paint on the dashboard as it would be a pig to remove it from that finish. 

Personally I think having a bit of detailing breaking up what was otherwise an unending sea of solid blue is an improvement.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 29 May 2019, 22:58

Now we're cooking with bacon (as my late father would have said).
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Progress as of 29th May 2019
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Progress as of 29th May 2019
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Shiny...
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...but not over-restored.
I'm actually really happy with the finish I'm getting here. The original finish on these cars was laughable to be honest - I've seen kid's toys better finished. With a bit of flatting back this should be just fine. If I can manage to get this level of finish on the car as a whole I'll be a very happy camper. Annoyingly I got slightly too heavy handed right at the end and wound up with a couple of minor runs...even so I'm not too worried, runs and all it's still a million times better than it was.

Before the front end can be painted though I need to finish rebuilding the corners...the nearside one in particular was a joke. First bit of GRP work I'd done beyond patching up cracks in a bashed bus corner, and it showed. I've done some experiments now with the materials I have to hand and have a plan.

Step one is to cut back out my original fugly handiwork.
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If only it was this quick to put back!
Which left me with a much more evenly shaped void than the ragged hole that was originally there. The panel above isn't too bad, just the bumper moulding and below that needs done.
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Ready to be rebuilt
Originally I had tried to build up a rough mould out of cardboard etc and to glass over that...which I found quite difficult to do accurately - especially trying to get the mat to adhere to the underside of the bumper moulding and the valance.

Have decided to take a different approach. I've built up a loose barrier behind the panel, then entombed the entire area in expanding foam.
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I will be chipping this off the floor for months.
Once that's set I'll "whittle it down" to sculpt the correct profile. A simple matter then to stick a layer or two of GRP over it, some filler and then we should have as close to an invisible repair as I'm likely to manage with the materials I have to hand. I'm far more used to sculpting stuff from foam, so reckon I've a far better shot at getting the profile right this way. Once the outer surface is built up the foam base can then be broken away from behind the panel.

The whole front of the car is basically just a giant mud guard, it's just a plastic box, so this approach is actually valid...rather than expanding foam being the absolutely last thing you want to ever see on a car when doing body repairs! Especially when a mate discovered the sills on their Jag XJ6 were entirely built of the stuff...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren » 29 May 2019, 23:06

Expanding foam is wonderful stuff - but - it will continue to expand for weeks as it absorbs moisture, unless they have fixed this problem with it.
Window fitters who were a bit too generous with it would be called back after a couple of months as the window frames were slowly being pushed out of the walls.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 30 May 2019, 00:20

This stuff seems to be all right, where I've used it on the van to insulate around the toilet enclosure it didn't move once it had set.

Not really an issue here anyway - once the shape is there it will be getting glassed over - and as the back is open it would just push itself out the back I'd think. Only thing braced behind it is a bit of cardboard...and I'll probably dig it out once the first layer of glass has been put in place anyway so I can reinforce it from the back.

I did discover one nasty quirk of it when I got a bit on the back of my hand. It doesn't stick well to skin - it does however stick *really* well to hair. So it now looks like I've waxed the hairs off the back of my left hand. That didn't half sting!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren » 30 May 2019, 10:03

Zelandeth wrote:
30 May 2019, 00:20
This stuff seems to be all right, where I've used it on the van to insulate around the toilet enclosure it didn't move once it had set.

I did discover one nasty quirk of it when I got a bit on the back of my hand. It doesn't stick well to skin - it does however stick *really* well to hair. So it now looks like I've waxed the hairs off the back of my left hand. That didn't half sting!

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I had to use it in my son's new house. Mice were getting in through gaps in the floor (concrete) where the water main comes in and the kitchen sink drain exits.
Naturally done laid flat out on kitchen floor reaching under the unit and only 3" to work with.
You can imagine how that turned out :)
Worked though.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 31 May 2019, 23:41

Hey, look what *finally* turned up in the post this morning...
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Four days short of a month to ship...
Was ordered on the third of May, from a seller which made a very loud point all over their webpage about how they were UK based...however failed to make any mention until after you had made the order that parts were shipped from "their partner warehouse" - in China. Go figure. However it was essentially free, and the part itself actually looks reasonable where it counts. The threads are all nice and clean and the bore looks to be nicely machined (yes, first thing I did was take it apart before I considered trusting it to be the source of my stopping power), and there's no swarf in evidence as often seems to be the case with stuff like this. Was quite surprised to be honest...I was honestly expecting a lot worse.

Swapped over the pushrod from the original one from the car and then got it installed.
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Black against black...fun to photograph.
The dust is from later in the day, obviously kept things as clean as possible while the hydraulic work was underway.

Bleeding the system was simple enough, and immediately after the bleed nipples were closed it was obvious we had pretty much resolved the issue. Full brake travel is now a couple of inches...rather than two to four inches of dead travel before anything starts happening. Much better. A quick test run later on revealed that we indeed now have plenty of brakes. Reckon there is a little adjustment still to be done as if you really stand on the brakes she does pull slightly to the left, not apparent in normal driving though.

Figured it was time to have a quick experiment with my foam based wing corner rebuild.

This was after literally five minutes with the grinder to pull the excess material off.
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Yes...this is definitely heading down the right road I think...with a bit of work I reckon I should be able to get this pretty close to an invisible repair.
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While I had the car outside I figured it was worth having a proper look at the paintwork on the door I'd done in actual daylight.
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Given that's the finish straight out the rattle can I'm pretty happy with that. Bit of action with the cutting paste should get us a nice shine there I think.

Hoping I should have the chance to get a better run out tomorrow. Reckon having brakes where the bite point is actually in the same place every time you go to use them should make the driving experience less stressful!

We should be heading out to a show on Sunday, so will probably try to get a little more tidying done tomorrow.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 02 Jun 2019, 01:35

Had hoped to get a couple of things done this afternoon in preparation for a show over in Stoney Stratford tomorrow. However I wound up not getting five minutes of spare time today...so she'll just have to deal with turning up with mismatched wheels and one corner still being unfinished and in primer... 

My reservation says I should be in the Market Square area, so come say hi if you're there.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 03 Jun 2019, 11:45

Had a nice run out to the Stony Stratford Classic Car Show today. TPA both behaved impeccably to and from the show which is always nice to see. The strange way that three wheelers sort of undulate over some road surfaces really does take some getting used to. It's not uncomfortable in any way, is just utterly unlike anything any four wheeler motor will do.

Well not much for it I reckon other than to dump a load of photos from today on you. Straight from my phone, aside from a bit of cropping in a few cases no real editing done.

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Ah, breakfast!

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This sounded absolutely awesome...

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Why on earth did I sell my one?!?

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What on earth? A Civic that's not been modernised beyond all recognition...That's quite something these days!

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This Austin Six sounded (and smelled) just as good as it looks.

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Figures that I wound up parked with the side I'd been doing paintwork on hidden from view!

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Clearcoat peel to rival my Xantia's on this...Nevertheless I imagine that this would still be an absolutely lovely, comfy car to waft around in.

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Always used to walk straight past these old Bonds...Yet in recent years I've started to really notice what nice looking cars they actually are.

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The interior of this MR2 was equally as blue as the exterior.

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Still really, really miss my Cappuccino. M157YBK you are still sorely missed. Even though I had to admit that I was out of my depth when I realised that the fuel lines were the only thing holding the driver's seat in due to rust in the floor pan. I was so out of my depth that I had no real choice but to sell it onto someone else - who did at least restore it. I'd have another one in a heartbeat.

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BX Goodness...Seriously is a timeless design I think. Only 81K on the clock this one, so barely run in.

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This show really does take over the entire town centre...I could have walked around all day and still be finding cars.

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I really need to spend some more time around one of these. Spent plenty of time driving most of their competitors from the time, but have only ever driven a couple of 205s for a few minutes each. They never used to stick around long enough at the garage for me to see much of them.

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Never realised until quite recently that the rear quarterlight windows on these are plastic.

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Ah...The Marcos Mantula...The automotive equivilant of a bad acid trip...and one of the very few cars which can out-mad a TVR.

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I love it and really want one. There's just no angle from which it doesn't look utterly bonkers. Personally not so sure about those wheels though.

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Spent quite a while playing the "spot which bits I recognise from the van" when walking around this.

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Shame I didn't spot that this was parked next to a newer Cavelier until too late, or I would have made a point of getting a photo of the two together.

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This is probably the car I'd have taken home with me if given a choice out of anything there though. It's just gorgeous.

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Nice to see a 106 there.

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Really am developing a huge amount of want for a Nova these days - especially one that's as stock as this. Surprised to see a four-speed box on a car as late as this though!

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Unusually for me, I actually did remember to get a couple of photos of my own car there. Forgetting to do this is something of a tradition on my part!

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That's it. Didn't get a photo of everything there by a long shot, but hopefully got most of the major highlights!

Definitely need to get an FAQ board written up for next time I have the Invacar at a show as I defintiely lost track of how many times I'd given the potted history of the Invalid Carriage, and had to explain the differences between the earlier Villiers engined cars to the Model 70 by the end of the day!

Next event on my calendar is the Luton Festival of Transport next weekend - though I'll be taking the van along to that rather than the Invacar.
Last edited by Zelandeth on 03 Jun 2019, 18:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 03 Jun 2019, 12:49

Nice collection of photos Zel.

I have to say at the moment participation is hitting the doldrums on the FCF in general. Where I can I do try to add a bit of content which may be of interest. Maybe a splattering of a few of your photos around a few of the OTCL threads may extract a few more comments/ joiners in.

Liked how one of your first pics on the list was a Merc. Quite complimented my semi provocative but unsuccessful POTD offerings of 3 Germans 3 days in a row recently.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=53436&start=2940#p608883
Even started off with and Audi Quattro.....when did you last see one of those?
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REgards Neil

PS I noted your comment on the Nova, a 4-door Nova with a boot was sold at Mathewsons this Saturday.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 03 Jun 2019, 19:54

Zelandeth wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 11:45
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This is probably the car I'd have taken home with me if given a choice out of anything there though. It's just gorgeous.

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This one sold for £11,655 details here https://www.classiccarauctions.co.uk/me ... 0-sl-10843

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Regards Neil

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 03 Jun 2019, 21:46

Not a Quattro, but a mate used to have a white Coupe with the 5-pot engine. Remember it confused me no end the first time I saw it with the bonnet open and saw the offset waaaaaay engine-forward layout.

Car itself wasn't that interesting to me at the time, though it was well screwed together and yes, made an absolutely lovely noise. Think I've always leant more towards Mercedes than the other German makers though. Audi, Porsche and BMW rarely interest me.

The BMW exception to the rule is the 635CSi... I'd have one of those in a heartbeat. Or an i8.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur » 03 Jun 2019, 22:10

luvin the BX and the Mk1 MR2 partic at the show and also nice to see that the Carlton and 106 owners were both bold enough to bring along cars that might not always be considered suitable entrants for shows; I'll be less shy about turning up at a show or two with mine.

I turned down my late Father's Metro "Red Hot" in approx 2006 (Free), it went to the scrapper; shame, they're worth proper money now.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by daviemck2006 » 03 Jun 2019, 22:49

The car I would most like out of your pics Zel is the mk1 cavalier. I love these things. Id like a red 2.0gl saloon with the rostyle wheels and vauxhalls lovely red velour interior. I never owned one, my brother had a browm 2.0gls sportshatch which I loved and pinched at every opportunity instead of my 1.3 gl mk 1 astra