The skeletons in the closet

Published on 12/1/2015

I didn’t think that after six years of ownership the history of this car would still throw up a few surprises.

One of the things that I both love and hate about this car (mine specifically) is that at full chat the bonnet, or hood, rattles and vibrates like crazy. This has always been the case since I got the car. I’m not sure why it does it. I’ve even secured the bonnet with rubber at it’s mounting points to stop it from destroying the paint. That didn’t help. It lends the car a very unsettling TVR-esque feeling when driving it very hard.

This is one of the experiences unique to my car that is probably from a direct result of it’s history with Malawi and it’s four previous owners. I’ve learned to love it by now, it delivers a hard acceleration character that is dramatic and assaults the senses.

So I was quite surprised when I learnt of a completely new aspect of the car as a direct result of that history: the missing wheel-arch liners. As I now learnt, these came as standard fitment (on NA models at least) between the front wings and sub-frame, helping to keep the dirt and mud build-up out of the wing fixture point at the sill. My car has never had these while in my ownership. In fact, I didn't even know these existed. So I’m fitting new ones, together with aftermarket front mudguards, in an effort to keep the build-up to a minimum and the wing mounting points clean.

This is the amount of dirt from the right side wing's sill mounting. And the rust effect of that prolonged build-up and moisture trap - a snapped bolt and rusted sill.

So what happened to it? Well, I suspect that they were simply destroyed from years of gravel and dirt roads, much like my engine undercover-tray. This had one mounting point left at the back, so the whole thing hung low, almost dragging along the road. That is, until my pirouette the other day, at which point it was practically ripped off by the tall grass.

And then, as a small cherry-taste reminder on top, I found this underneath the fuel hoses cover plate:

Maybe a soft toy? How did it get under the carpet and the cover plate to end up here?