WHEN I bought my unregistered HDT VC at a classic car auction a couple of years ago, I figured it was probably going to need a bit of work to get back on the road. As it turned out, I was in for more of a surprise than I thought. From what I did know, the car had only travelled 7200km in the last 20 years, but there was no record of any recent road registration, therefore no indication if it had been running recently, or just sitting around for some time. So at a spritely 37 years old, there was only 102,000km showing on the odometer.
The car ticked the right boxes upon inspection prior to the auction; originality, rare specs, matching numbers, low kilometres, HDT paperwork, excellent body and a pretty much mint interior. And it did start up easily enough with a portable battery jump starter. But the big chunk of missing recent owner and service history was a worry.My theory, when I was looking at buying one of these cars, was that mechanicals would be easier (and cheaper) to fix rather than a body/interior restoration.
After a few months of the occasional weekend drives, I noticed the temperature gauge was consistently climbing high so it was off to Mick at Glenlyon Motors to fix a coolant leak with a new timing cover, pump and chain, plus an engine tune. Then, while it was happy motoring again for a short time, I was keeping a very close eye on the excessive oil usage and I knew it was blowing some black smoke, so there was no doubt it was time to get the engine sorted. It was also still running hotter than I was happy with.
It was time to put in a call to Uncle Phil, who told me if the engine needs to come out, his first choice would be Dick Savy at Savy Motorsport in Campbellfield. So I took the car around for an initial inspection where Dick gave it the once-over and the possible bad news, but the first step was a compression test and a closer look to then decide the best way to go.
As it turned out there was a very big job that needed to be done. But that will be a story for next time.