By this stage I was conflicted, I had been at the car for over a year on and off and was getting impatient to get it back on the road. However, I also knew that it being off the road was an opportunity to complete whatever jobs needed to be done. For example, the front left ball joint had flopped when I let go the strut bolts for the front left strut, so I knew it was in poor nick, but my attitude at this stage was that I had come so far that I said I’d put it through the NCT and then get the list. Before that though, I was afraid to let it get tested as the timing belt was coming due and it had been sat there for years. While I was at it, it was worth doing the clutch also. By this point, I had backed myself with chassis, had done brakes and suspension already so I was happy that they were done right. Timing belts and clutches are beyond my competence, so it was a case of getting my local mechanic to do both. Being honest, I would have preferred to get it to a specialist but I’ve none that close to me, I’ve no trailer, jeep etc. so it would have been a faff. The local mechanic came out and picked up the car and said he’d do both jobs and give it a look over before putting it through the NCT and taking it from there.

The date for collecting the car was set and one of the guys came out to pick up the car. It was really weird hearing the car driving away into the distance, with the familiar flat four rumble sounding great. The clutch of choice was just the bog standard Exedy clutch, and a Gates timing belt kit and new drive belts were sourced and provided to the mechanic. It was a case of waiting for news, hopefully good…..

After a week or so, I got a call at work to say the timing belt was installed fine, the clutch was out (apparently a ‘real bitch’ to get out, his words not mine), but the flywheel was scored so they wanted me to have a look at it. He reckoned it would have to be changed, so upon inspection it was scored as the clutch was almost down to the rivets and I sourced a used flywheel from Ali Burrows. Flywheel shipped the next day and was dropped in, and the waiting game re-started. The next phone call was that the flywheel was in but since it hadn’t been skimmed, it was a bit juddery so he wanted me to test drive it. It was juddery but I made the call to go ahead, see did it bed in, and I could always get it skimmed again. Not ideal, but back to my original paragraph, I was so close I was beginning to get impatient.

The next two phone calls were about the NCT – one was to see if I had received the appointment email, and the other was to say (to my total surprise) that it had passed! I was surprised and delighted at the same time. Insurance and tax were sorted and I knew the next time I called in, I could legally drive it home on the road for the first time in 5 years.

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