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Lucie: The vehicle

July 2013  Part 1 of 1

This will be the last update on Lucie in my ownership as almost 5 years to the day I purchased her, I have sold her on ebay.  I have been toying with the idea of selling her for several months now and buying something with 4 seats, it was just taking that initial step to do it.   Since the arrival of my son in 2011 I’ve not been able to work on her as much as I would have liked and in addition its not a vehicle we can all enjoy as a family.  It only has 2 seats and they don’t have seat belts.  At the beginning of July I was invited to take her to the classic car show at Polesworth Carnival which is just a few miles from our house so I jumped and drove her down.  It was a scorching hot day and for the first couple of miles she seemed fine and then her cough returned - which I had been expecting given how hot it was.  This time however it wasn’t just a cough and she started to splutter and back fire and then lost power.  As I turned into the high street in Polesworth my last mile was down at about 5 - 10 mph bouncing along and back firing like a machine gun.  I was able to get her to the show and lined up in the display, luckily, as is the norm with Lucie, my wife and son followed later in my Jaguar so they were both relaxed and cool.  At the show I had a few basic tools so I checked all electrical connections, cleaned the plugs and checked the HT leads.  At the end of the day, I was all set to call the AA (Automobile Association) to get the car back home though when I turned the key she fired straight up.  Quite shocked I teased her into first gear and she drove along fine as though nothing was the matter.   I drove her across the field and through a  crowd of people onto the main high street and still she drove along without a care in the world.  However, once she got back into the high street she suddenly started misfiring again and bounced along once more bringing great amusement to hundreds of people in the street.  She kept on going until she was just out of the town and then with a final back fire lost all power completely.  Luckily my parents-in-law live in Polesworth so I was able to get the car from there to their house and left it there for a couple of days in their garage.  I then went with a bag of tools and again took a few things apart though now I suspected that there was a valve sticking and causing the issues,  I also brought along a tow rope (ironically won in a raffle at a Reliant Owners Club event) and asked my father in law to follow me in my car and I’d see how far Lucie would get.  Despite being around 7pm the UK was having a bit of a heat wave so it was still very warm.  I jumped into Lucie and she started up fine and actually took me about 2 miles before she started to backfire again and lost all power.  Luckily my father in law was behind me so we attached the tow rope and within a short while we were back home.

I’ve been meaning to take the engine apart for a couple of years now though making time for my son and book writing, I’ve just never found the time.  I know I have a few other projects planned and so chances are that I won’t be able to find time for the next couple of years either and so this served as the catalyst to finally put her up for sale on ebay.  Interest in her was very good and she sold for a price that I was pleased with - even though she has an engine issue.  I guess that’s the beauty of old Reliants in that they do not depreciate so they are as good as money in the bank.  On the day she was picked up I was actually quite sad but knew deep down it was for the best.  The van has been purchased by a removals company who will be fixing the engine and giving her a respray and using her as a company vehicle to deliver boxes to customers.  She will therefore have much more of a life than staying in the garage with the hope that one day I might find time to rebuild the engine.  The new owners have said they will send photos when she has been resprayed etc and so I will create an additional update at that time with how Lucie is doing.

Elvis Payne.

August 2013

Go to April 2014

On show at the Polesworth Carnical classic car show.

Almost exactly 5 years since I purchased her, Lucie is back on ebay.

My last photo as Lucie is taken away aboard a large car transporter.


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