Day -1: Catastrophic failure of the second and third degree

After buying the only set of drive shafts in the UK and fitting them to our shitmobile, we thought we were ready for the MOT, but this was not the case. We failed the MOT on ‘ineffectiveness of the bonnet retaining mechanism’ and a sodding windscreen wiper. Surprisingly the rest of it was structurally sound. That’s probably because plastic can’t rust or rot.

At Just Seventy Fives’ workshop, which was now defying its namesake and a couple of minutes of expert engineering, we fixed the problems uncovered in the MOT. The car was ready for the retest. We flew through it with flying colours, but on our drive back down the B roads the engine started to cook with the water temperature hitting 120 degrees. It then backfired and cut out.

Catastrophic failure of the second and third degree

Yet again, we were in trouble. And with less than 72 hours until the Goodwood launch we were seriously starting to worry about making it to the start line in time. We even started to think about contingency plans with a spare car, but didn’t want to let our sponsors down.

We identified that the spark was missing from cylinders so we started to troubleshoot the highly complex ignition system which comprises a spark control box, a coil pack and a magnet.

The big problem we now had was that these components are extremely hard to get hold of. The only stockist is located in Daventry, so were were forced to take a 400 mile round trip to collect the parts the same day. Upon fitting the new parts we had a running engine for all of 30 seconds before it rattled and dislodged the cam sensor magnet causing it to smash into a million pieces.

Now with time getting as thin as the plastic shell on our Ligier, we contacted Joe from Reliant Car Spares who kindly stayed late at work to break a working engine just to get us the part we needed. We had to drive to Worcester, another 400 mile round journey, to collect it from a glove box of a 1950’s Austin. After spending most of the night hammering it back down the M40, we arrived in Bexhill at 7AM and began fitting the uprated part.

Catastrophic failure of the second and third degree

With less than 12 hours till the big launch, our little mean machine coughed into life. We could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We had a car that has only broken down 3 times and completed a grand total of 10 miles. It was rally ready.

Next, we just had to get to Goodwood for the start.