Strip out at Malbrad Saab Huddersfield

Steve Broadhead and John Taylor of Malbrad Saab, who prepare my Saab rally cars, enjoyed tearing the new car apart, check out the size of the engine relative to the tiny gearbox.  The rust I was worried about turned out to be mostly superficial.  The shell turned out to be amazingly solid.  Although sold with a 390 engine the car actually had a fairly fresh 360 engine fitted which is a better engine for the rally anyway.

http://malbrad.co.uk/         01484 544 556

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Geen Remmen on the trailer in the tunnel

Mine now, Geen Remmen (the name taken from a note on the dash on collection: it means no brakes in Dutch) on the way home.  Note the strap on the bonnet to stop it flying open on the way back.  A relief to find the trailer was wide enough.

British Customs were typically shitty about me importing the vehicle.  Inspection involved eight of the border forces finest standing around the vehicle and generally poking around.  Didn’t seem to make much difference that I had all the paperwork they could ask for.  Registering the car with DVLA was fairly straightforward by comparison.  The Californian registration was XUM 037, and looks to have been green with white racing stripes originally.  The new UK registration is FND 367F.  Would be great to find some of its history if anyone has information on the car.

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Joop Stolze Classic Cars

Having decided on an AMC AMX as the car for the event we had to find one. Chris Partington, a good friend, kindly inspected three AMX’s for sale with Joop Stolze in Holland.  Joop had the only cars available in Europe, the big advantage was we could inspect them fairly easily and it would save time shipping in a car from the USA.  After a fair bit of negotiation by email I set out to visit the dealership and collect the AMX.  I wasn’t prepared for the amount of stock Joop holds

 

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Mercedes coupes in a line with rare Peugeot to the right, MGs on racks on right
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Rare Lancia saloons to the rear of the Merc, listen closely and you can probably hear them rusting
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Rows of Porsche 911s
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Pick ups from 30s to 50s
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Upstairs floor, motorbikes and pedal cars on the shelves, Triumph TR3s in the foreground Jaguar saloons in front and E types beyond
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Pedal cars, motorbikes, models in front of pre war MGs
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E types face off XK Jaguars
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Italian exotica Ferrari and Alfas

 

 

What to go in? How we chose the AMX

First considered a Chevrolet Fangio Coupe A mainstay of endurance rallying events now and several times a winner
First we considered a Chevrolet Fangio Coupe. A mainstay of endurance rallying events now and several times a winner
Lagonda 034
Nice arse, note the spare spring used as a bumper
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Ford Super Deluxe, a finisher of the 2013 P2P event, but slow and heavy, we wanted something more racey
My two stroke Saab had a bit of bump in 2006, 13,635 kms in a small engined two stroke? Too brave and too tiring on long road sections, doubt if the gearbox would have made it and no capacity to carry a spare successfully
How about Erik Carlsson’s Saab 96 prepped for Baja rally, note the exhaust over the roof ultimate rally mod. But no the advice was a front drive car wouldn’t make the journey, while a Lancia Fulvia made it in 2013, knowing Saab gearboxes as I do, this was reluctantly passed on.
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1938 Lagonda V12, no chance too heavy and too complicated, but what a car

 

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My old rig, we could collect fellow competitors along the way, albeit we’d still be in Mongolia after they were all long gone
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Simon the legendary landlord of my local pub put his foot down: motorised foot, you drive it from inside the ankle and it’s surprisingly quick
Thoughts of Baja prep led us to James Garner’s Oldsmobile 442 the General Grabber, what a car
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Hall Racing in the US did a beautiful job of restoring the 442, but Phil Young refused it an entry as too extreme
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And James Garner found it hot work even with so few windows…
Chevvy Nova
Which led us to a Chevvy Nova, would have been great but Jon Slenzak the suspension guru who was looking at a Nova for sale in the US at a dealers said it seemed perfectly good, but why not buy the AMC AMX at the same dealers? Never heard or seen of one. But light for a US V8, short overhangs, basic mechanics, twin grip differential as standard, cart springs to the rear, enough storage. Sounds perfect for our mission
Playmate AMX
AMC AMX Playmate special edition from 1968 confirmed we’d found the right car