15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Observations on servicing costs, mpg, wear & tear, breakdowns and experiences on the road
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mark10337
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#1 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by mark10337 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:40 am

Having got the car returned from Angus (thank you Angus and the team for all your work), where it has been since April, the Channel Tunnel was booked for Sat 23rd to bring the car back to the continent for its bi-annual swiss inspection.

Hellcat, as the car has become known had mostly tub work, a respray and an IRS rebuild. There were some other minor bits and pieces, a service, but apart from that, the engine wasn't touched.

The weekend before the handover, it was given a good 400 mile run. Mechanically all we found was the needle in the front carb had inexplicably become damaged. There were a few minor niggles, some electrical items needed completing, the rod inside the handbrake lever sheered (years of fatigue by the looks of it),some adjustments here and there etc. All expected and well within tolerances for testing.

Drove Hellcat from Angus, down the A1, into central london (yes on the friday afternoon before Xmas). We drove along Embankment, enjoying a lovely view of the London Eye all lit up, down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and out towards Kensington before heading to Richmond.

Next morning, setting off from Richmond 7:30am, with a nice steady run at 60-70 to the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone in light traffic. A quick dash into Sainsburys for some supplies, fuel and then across the road to Maplin for a connector I needed before heading off to the tunnel queues. This was the biggest delay on the whole trip. Suffered some clutch judder in the slow moving queues which I think is overheating. I always fully disengage and go into neutral in queuing traffic, but still the crawling along does seem to take its toll.

The tunnel was very busy and there were departure delays, but I made use of the respite on the tunnel train to pop the top down. Yes. 3 days before Xmas lets get some fresh air much to the bewilderment of the arabs in the car in front of me. There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing as the saying goes. So, tshirt, shirt, hoodie, scarf, thick wool and fur hat, sunglasses and a blanket over my legs, Hellcat and I hit the French Roads at 1pm. Now for the long run!

Gently getting the eninge back up to temperature, we flew past the british cars dawdling along as they got to grips with driving on the right, and we were soon settled in at 75mph/120kmh wondering what these "Rappel" signs meant. Then up to 80mph/130kmh as we went over into Belgium towards Brussels and onto Liege. This was the first fuel stop on the continent, and as usual when filling up someone talks with you. On this occasion it turned out to be the owner of a nearby Chateaux who had just driven up from Switzerland and who happens to have a car collection. He often rents out the Chateaux to Aston Martin, Bentley, Bernie Eccleston etc. and he invited me over if I wanted to have a break. Well, the temptation was certainly there, but now Hellcat and myself were really getting into the swing of things and the German border with the palpable tease of their autobahn very close. So I declined, but we are in touch and will definitely pop in next time!

Onto Germany, yes - we all know what's coming. Everything was good, car sounded great. Temperature rock steady and the oil pressure, at a steady 50 lbs with 3500 revs with a hot engine. There are a few speed restrictions on German autobahns and it is wise to obey the ones that are in place (well like all countries really). So far, we had been overtaking most traffic. and I'm sure there were one or two surprised exclamations in the cars we passed. But Germany - a whole new ball game. So once the restrictions were gone, I eased down on the throttle and gave the twin strombergs some exercise (yes, twin strombergs, 3.54 diff and a 5 speed gear box). We were soon up at 155kmh/96mph where she was very happy, in fact, just cruising. So started to push. 160kmh - ok that's the 100 mph barrier broken. Nothing untoward and still feeling good. It was when we hit 185kmh/115mph that things didn't feel quite as relaxed, but I had surpassed my previous best of 180kmh (when one of the chrome headlight rings flew off). Hellcat was enjoying it and had more to give, but respect to breaking distances and other road users made me ease off a bit.

By 4pm, it was time pull over, refuel and put the top up again. Stripped off a few layers of clothing as it can get nice and snug and time to test the stereo! Much to the disgust of some people, I do have a modern stereo unit in the car - with a subwoofer mounted up under top of the passenger footwell. It had previously on the rear bulkhead behind the seats, but with the top down it becomes ineffective due to the air turbulence. Angus was more than a little bemused at the arrangement, but now with his excellent mode of the additional mid range speakers in the A-pillars and my addition of tweeters right under the dash, we were able to keep a good pace of 95mph down through Germany towards Stuttgart and listen to some music.

The remainder of the journey, well there isn't much to say. A very easy run from Stuttgart, around Munich and then southwards towards the Austrian border at Kufstein. The speed drops down to 100kmh/62mph for this section to reduce emissions in the Alps, but it is pleasant enough and allows a natural adjustment to the A-road speed up ahead.

Another 15 minutes later and that was it. We had made it. 9.5 hours from the Tunnel down to Austria. The Norman Dewis Geneva run often crosses my mind, and he didn't have the luxury of motorways - or I expect the volume of traffic, traffic lights, roundabouts and other hinderances. But I do know what it is like to get out of the car after such a long time, and despite the aches and pains - there was a smile, of respect from me and a pat for hellcat after 800miles/1287km to say well done. That's 1,200miles in 1 week after sitting for 8 months during restoration work.

Almost time to change the oil again already! :)

A big thank you to all at Moss Jaguar / E-Conic and to everyone on the journey for your smiles, photos, waves and well wishes. This is why it is a great car as a daily driver.

Merry Christmas everyone.
Last edited by mark10337 on Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Mark

1969 Series 2 OTS, Regency Red
'Life's to short to drive a boring car'

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mgcjag
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#2 Re: 15 hour road tip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by mgcjag » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:20 pm

Great read Mark......not many use there E type like that.....enjoy Xmas.....Steve
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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#3 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by 288gto » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:24 pm

Likewise, a great write up, thanks for posting and Merry Christmas.

Simon

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Gfhug
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#4 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by Gfhug » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:25 pm

Mark, that makes great reading on Christmas Day, thank you for sharing your experiences with us

Geoff :santa:
S2 FHC Light Blue

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#5 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by 1954Etype » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:18 pm

A great read Mark and I am delighted the car performed well. I know I like my customers to use their cars but you have taken it to the extreme! Well done and it goes to show just how resilient these cars are. Brilliant!
Angus 65 OTS 1E11497

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#6 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by chrisfell » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:43 am

“and then southwards towards the Austrian border at Kufstein“

I spent a few weeks in Kufstein a couple of winters ago. We were rescuing a friend who had broken herself skiing in Söll. I wouldn’t like to take my rusty bag of nails along the Inn valley at this time of year, but I do want to visit during the summer season some time soon.
Chris '67 S1 2+2

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#7 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by mark10337 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:03 am

I'm sitting in Söll at the moment. I often do the run along Inntal on the way to/from Switzerland. To be honest, there is not much to fear, and in the last 2 years I haven't been stuck once due to conditions. It is very pretty in the summer, especially here in Tirol and I prefer it to Arlberg and Switzerland. Fresh snow is forecast for tomorrow, so I'll see if I can get some new pictures :smile:
-Mark

1969 Series 2 OTS, Regency Red
'Life's to short to drive a boring car'

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wagstefan
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#8 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by wagstefan » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:07 pm

Also from my side: lovely to read someone uses the car as it was intended from their manufacturers!

And yes, I do also like originality but sometimes it is exaggerated in my point of view. So much more than fancying a 110% original trailer queen, I really love a car to be treated as it was supposed to. So no old tyres, wheels, brake pads, etc. but maintained to perform well - this is the main focus and sense of such a car!

Great story! You made my day. Thank you very much....

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#9 Re: 15 hour road trip in hellcat, UK - Austria

Post by SEJohnson95 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:41 pm

Wonderful to hear of an E-type being used as it should be, Mark. I can only hope to be flying through Europe in a similar manner in my own one day! (Before that, it'll probably be in the Mazda, although that'll not need restoration)

Shame we couldn't meet up / the car was done before I left Basel, but I'm sure I'll be back one day!
Final year chemistry student at The University of Birmingham
Chasing a dream, that of a S1 4.2 OTS, but plan on getting an E ASAP!
Occasional contributor to the E-Type Club magazine
Lucky passenger in a 1962 FHC - 860927 - See restoration thread

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