Life in classic British car world is particularly unpredictable. For example, I did not expect the new owners of our Bugeye Molly to head north on their way home to Texas. Nor did I anticipate that they would visit Pittsburgh on the way to Key West (all on this same trip!). But alas, all this adventurous reckless abandon was too much for one of Molly’s rod bearings. I got a call last Saturday night that Molly had a rod knock. This meant the demise of her 948 engine.
To be fair, many of our clients will take ten years to cover the 1600 miles Molly covered last week. Who knows how far that engine had traveled previously… as I have said before, the odometer reading on a British car is always just a guess. We felt this was a good engine based on power output, good oil pressure and lack of smoke. But without a known rebuild date or mileage, we are often making our best educated guess.
I had the car picked up and brought back to our shop from the south side of the Annapolis Bay Bridge, about 400 miles from our shop. I prepared a recently rebuilt used 948 engine for transplant.
Fortunately, the intrepid owners are quite skilled, and Russ the mechanic is on vacation, so we turned Vic and Amanda loose in our shop and gave them the pieces they needed to get the job done. And thus a new part of their adventure began.
There is something very special about the people who love these cars. When you take the road less traveled, perhaps you are more able to accept the unexpected that comes your way. These two Bugeye owners embody flexibility and, from my perspective at least, had just as much fun changing the engine on their new Bugeye as they would were they out on the road. (And while we are at it, let’s add a five speed conversion too!)
For three days, we left them pretty much alone in our workshop, and periodically slid them some parts and lubricants. In the end, Molly was reborn stronger and faster, with overdrive, courtesy of a previously rebuilt 948 engine and Ford Five speed box.
We could not ask for better guests and more gracious gypsy mechanics, who wrestled with their little British car in a whole new way this week. They became intimate with every square inch of their new ride, and depended their relationship with the car that will take them on many happy miles to come.
Where next? Only Molly knows. We’ll have an update for you next week (and let you know if they actually head southwest once they depart).