Category Archives: Cars

Splitty for UtahDOG!

Hello interweb buddy in Florida this is for you…

Fire up your Super Villain Mainframe computers at One Utahdog Center and search the Interwebs for more info on Wayne Allman’s 1965 VW Splitty ‘Recovery Truck’ Mental Breakdown…..this thing RIPS

8.4 litre Keith Black Hemi V8 running on Methanol, shortened Top Fuel chassis….circa 2000 BHP 🙂

(@Photographers: If I have ganked your pix please let me know and I will credit you)

Mental BreakdownMental BreakdownMental Breakdown

One hundred and ninety…

Another 10,000 miles in the Cockroach…still not a squeak.

Target? 250,000 🙂

190,000 miles

Having It…

This is what Land Rovers were invented for….not posing around on the school run or driving round town with your ‘One Live, Live It’ or ‘4×4 Response’ bullshit decals (when you never ever dip your diff’s in any mud).

My mate Winch ‘having it’ at the 2014 Billing Land Rover Show…

Billing Land Rover Show – Mud Run 2014



Dragstalgia 2014

Summertime, time, time,
Child, the living’s easy.
Fish are jumping out
And the cotton, Lord,
Cotton’s high, Lord, so high.

Also high this weekend was the level of Nitomethane in the air at Dragstalgia 2014, Santa Pod Raceway.

Now in its fourth year this annual homage to Vintage Drag Racing took place over a scorching July weekend and I was in my element….old enough to remember seeing most of these cars 30 years ago at this exact same Drag Strip this was history come back to life and I loved it 🙂

Highlights for me were 1970’s Funny Cars, Nitro burning Gas Altered’s and a large contingent of 1941 Willy’s but there was also lots of other classic hardware either on the strip or in Show & Shine.

No more talk, here’s some pictures…

Borg Key AKA eBay Flip Key Fail

So you’ve got an old Astra G AKA Mk4 and you’re jealous of the Astra H/Mk 5 dudes with their fancy schmancy flip keys and you see a Flip Key Conversion kit on fleabay and you spring for one.

You get him in the mail, take him to your Go to key cutter buddy then and spend 20 minutes trying to get all the tiny pieced assembled on your kitchen table. Satisfied you run out to your car ‘flip’ the key and feel all cool.

Fast forward less than 12 months, you go to flip your key and it doesn’t quite come out, but with a bit of goading it flips out and off you go. Repeat this process several times and what you are not noticing are hairline cracks in the monkey metal shit that the hinge is made from until one day >>SNAP<< the whole thing snaps off in your ignition.

Luckily for me I was at work and quickly rigged up a Borg Key bodge – Mini Mole Grips to attach the key, door remote zip tied into plastic bag and immobiliser chip zip tied into front section of bag….yes it will get me home where I can spend 20 minutes swapping all the bits back into my old style Vauxhall key body that I saved…

Lesson? Avoid the cheap shit on eBay

Astra Borg Key

Final piece of the jigsaw

Been collecting body parts for the Astra for the last two years and finally the last piece of the jigsaw has been found…a GSi Turbo front bumper, complete with grilles and fogs.

They are getting quite scarce now and command some fairly serious money as a result so this was a good find. The rest of the collection comprises of side skirts, rear bumper and rear boot spoiler, along with the already fitted steering wheel. Next task now is to find a Paint Shop who will colour match these to my car (or blow everything over…)

Astra GSI bumper

Astra GSi bumper


I suppose I am OCD about some stuff, probably quite a lot of stuff actually!!

Anyway, since I’ve had the Road Angel I’ve also been using a Griffin PowerJolt in the car. It’s a true 10 watt USB Charger giving 5 watts per port which packs quite a punch. I’m tempted to swap him out for a Scosche Dual USB Car Charger which really does kick some ass pushing 12 watts (2.4A) but so far I’ve had no problems.

The idea for the PowerJolt was so I can run the Road Angel Gem+ and a TomTom at the same time using USB charging cables or run the Road Angel Gem+ and charge a SmartPhone or BlueTooth headset without switching cigarette lighter adapters all the time…less clutter.

The next problem and the reason for this post was the mess of cables now hanging around in the car so I set about running a charging cable directly up under the Road Angel location on top of the center console through the dashboard.
This turned out to be quite an epic as the ICE had to be pulled out and disconnected, Center Console partially out, ashtray, lighter facia and Glove Box all out just to run the USB cable.

It looks neat and tidy though so I am happy with no more OCD twitches…

Road Angel Diaries – 2000 miles in…

So…I’ve done another thousand or so miles since getting my Road Angel Gem+ that I wrote about in THIS POST and THIS POST and I must say its developing into a Love Hate relationship.

One is its annoying habits is refusing to startup, which at first got me raising a ticket with their Helpdesk who advised I needed to do a reset on the device.

I figured this was an isolated incident but now know this is a regular ‘feature’ of the Road Angel Gem+, so much so that I now carry around a spare Nokia SIM Key on my car keys as the reset ritual is becoming a regular thing:

This little thing is perfect for doing a quick reset and gets used at least once a week 🙁

The other annoying thing about the Gem+ is its database accuracy, or lack of. For a £160 device that you then need to add a £69/year subscription to I would expect 95% accuracy at least but sadly this is not the case.

There are camera’s that have been around for months that it does know know about, there are road speed areas that have been around for years it mis-categorises, i.e. telling you a 30mph zone is in fact a 40mph zone so word of caution do not rely 100% on this device or you could get punished

Here’s a shot of the beanbag mount I mentioned in my last Road Angel post , I need to run the cabling inside my center console at some point but this at least saves any tell tale mounts being on display when you leave your car unattended.

Road Angel Diaries – First 1000 miles

So I’ve done the first 1000 or miles with my Road Angel Gem+ here’s some initial feedback, useful if you are looking at buying one of these units 🙂

The battery life truly sucks if the screen is on full brightness and when I say sucks it does not last the stated 2.5 hours. True you can set it to Auto Brightness but in reality the display is barely readable, the solution – run it in Hard Wired Mode (direct into cigarette lighter/charger). I always spend more than two hours a day in a car so running this off just battery power is not an option…

Set it to Auto Power On/Off, this works really well. As soon as you turn the keys in your ignition the cigarette lighter gets power and the Road Angel fires up. When you turn your car off a motion detector spots the lack of movement (combined with the loss of power) and the Road Angel shuts down.

Buy one of these to mount him on:

The sticky mount junk the Road Angel comes with means ‘permanently’ having the mounting base on your dash saying “Hey car thieves, there’s probably a Road Angel hidden in this car”. With the Decrescent ‘Bean Bag’ thing instead you can just stick this in your glove box/center console storage out of sight.

Set Single Beep (Audio Options) to Single instead of Loop (default setting), otherwise you will want to kill yourself after driving past your first Speed Camera. ‘Loop’ is like some 1970’s Space Invaders game when the aliens are REALLY low on the screen and doing that manic/demented scream thing in a really tinny tone. They have managed to get reasonably good quality ‘voices’ for the camera alerts (similar to TomTom) so quite why they fell back to nasty Low-Fi squawks in the final approach to a camera/blackspot is anyone’s guess.

The Adding New Locations feature is good in principle but I’m yet to be convinced it works as advertised. The idea is if you come across something new or wrong (perhaps a Speed Zone they have incorrectly identified with the wrong speed) you can then make a change, it stores this in your unit and later on:

When your ROAD ANGEL Gem updates, these new locations will also be downloaded to the central database, and can then be verified by the ROAD ANGEL team for possible inclusion in future updates

I’ve been adding the same ‘wrong’ 40mph zone every night for a week and it has neither kept this change on my own unit or downloaded my revision….go figure!!


More comments in another 500 miles maybe…

One Hundred and Eighty…!!

So…The Cockroach…the car that refuses to die, has rolled across the 180,000 mile mark without even a whisper.
He’s never broken down, is on the original clutch and most of the original exhaust. Sure he eats through ‘consumables’ like tyres, brake pads, oil, filters, sensors and is now on the second battery from new but other than that this is one neat car and I love it 🙂

180,000 miles

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