The screen first cracked in the summer of 2001 and by that winter
the condensation was a major problem, especially since the heaters
never worked. It had to be de-iced on the inside and the amount
of damp used to make the CD multi-changer skip. Then the lights
went, the alternator packed in and it was time to take her off the
road. Unfortunately she never recovered.
Anyway, here's all the old blurb I wrote back in 2000-2001...
early 2000: 1988 Exclusive GTE coupe which I bought in 2000.
The exclusive had a lot of modifications by its previous owner.
The obvious exterior additions include a 400 bonnet on gas rams,
a set of Engelmann mirrors and a sunroof wind deflector which
may have to go, but is rather handy. The twin lamp kit is Irmscher
surround with Hella lamps. The previous owner smashed one set
and spent a long time looking for replacements in the form of
this 2 x sidelight, 4 x mainbeam, 4 x hi-beam setup. Otherwise
the body has the usual exclusive bits and is in good condition.
The engine is the key component with an Ascona crankcase 1.9
litre bored and stroked with Carlton crank, rods and 95mm pistons.
This makes the engine a 2.2 litre unit. The head came from a scrapped
i200 but was found to have oversize valves, the size of which
are a point of debate and mystery. The answer will not be known
until the head has to come off. The head is fly-cut (the first
rebuild blew a gasket) and houses a lumpy Kent cam, a special
'one off' with no details available.
K&N panel filter replaces the original unit and a Jetex exhaust
expels the gases with a very subtle throaty note. The original
fan is replaced by a Rover electric fan with Kenlow workings and
a fat rally radiator, and that's about it under the bonnet. A
recorded 137 BHP means it's got the grunt and a fuel consumption
that's attrocious in town and traffic.
July 22nd 2000 : The Exclusive had its MOT in the week
before Billing and almost sailed through. The only problem being
the failure of the inner offside dipped beam. The problem was
traced back to the fuse box and remedied (thanks WestHeath Garage).
So receiving a new MOT certificate and not one advisory, the 2.2
was ready for Billing.
Leaving at midday on the Saturday, the 2.2's intermitent electric
fault reared its ugly head again, this time on the M3, just short
of the M25 interchange. It was thought to be a bad connection/loose
wire and was finally traced to a section underneath the coil where
the insulation was
starting togo. the wire underneath was extremely brittle and disintegrated
at the touch !! A lesson to be learned here is always take some
tools with you. The wiring was 'bodged' without any tools, just
tied together with wire found at the side of the motorway. This
did the trick, the 2.2 made it the remaining 70 miles to Billing
without further problems. Of course, once there the wire was properly
replaced (Cheers Chris) and has been spot-on since.
February 3rd 2001 : The 2.2 was getting a bit saggy on
the nearside, it was starting to look pissed when it was parked.
Being on a budget meant that a set of AVO shocks were in the price
range with springs to follow when someone can get any. A couple
of hours of rusty nut wrenching and some routine checks and all
was in place. I left the shocks at their bottom setting and went
for a spin. It felt as bad as the old set-up, wallowing around
like an old family saloon. Back on the drive I turned them up
to max, and went off again; this time I had a right good chuckle,
the steering was a lot more responsive and the ride firm but a
little bit too jumpy at the rear. I'll have to turn them down
again as I'm driving about 40 miles tonight.
March 4th 2001 : I've fitted the rear springs, they're
the easiest ones to do, but the Manta still leans a little. When
it stops snowing I'll have another look and see if I can get it
sorted. The front springs are another matter, they're a bit more
tricky; I snapped a stabiliser bar and it would not come out it
was so rusty. In the end the trusty grinder came out and I cut
the damn thing off, Oh the smell of burning rubber... New one
in place and no rattling, just gotta fit those springs still...
You know what the problem was...? The springs are identical apart
from some really tiny letters... front & rear...
April 30th 2001 : The Manta decided to stop working in
a queue of traffic during the morning rush hour. Of course, wearing
my work clothes was not conducive to quick roadside repairs, so
the local garage were called upon, they were only 20 yards away.
I told them all the history and quirks of the Manta and left them
to it, still wondering what it was that stopped it from working.
As I was walking away from the garage, racking my brains for an
answer, I got it. 'Fuel Pump. That's it !' But I thought being
a garage they'd work that out pretty quickly. Anyway, they ring
me up to say it's fixed - it was a break in the wire near the...Fuel
Pump. Well done Sherlock, you'll be a mechanic yet. But no, it
took them 2 hours to find that out for themselves and charged
for the labour. Next time I'll put some overalls in the boot and
do it myself !
May 29th 2001 : Finally succumbed to the urge to fit something
better into the engine bay. And what better than a 3.5 litre Rover
V8 with 5 speed manual box? OK, maybe a 3.9 litre Rover V8. OK,
OK, a small block Chevy. But I can't afford any of that stuff
so a cheap old 3.5 litre will have to do. The whole unit was in
one piece, just as it was when it came out of the SD1 a few years
back. This is going to take some planning but I'll keep y'all
posted as to what happens.
July 2001 : MOT failure this year - lights again (dodgy
fusebox connections still), a couple of tyres (No, not the rear
ones !) and a front jacking point needed welding up. Also the
exhaust had a habit of slipping out of joint over high drain covers
and speed bumps. Trouble is that the power released from the restrictive
Jetex system is great fun but the coppers, the neighbours and
Mr. MOT don't like it so that had to secured back in place. But
that's it and all for less than the price of a good weekend at
August 11th 2001 : I'm still waiting for my friend to
sort out my runaround car and it's good fun too, but I'll not
offend anyone by naming it on these pages. (It was actually
an M-tech BMW 325) It's been 3 months now and I'm getting
a bit bored of waiting for my bargain hot rod, so I might go find
a solid old Manta. Trouble is that I can't start my V8 project
and get it into a Manta until I get a second car.