This was it, finally, my big day.
I calmly drove Fang up to Aunty's place... After walking around the car a few dozen times marvelling at the fact that it was back in one piece, savouring the moment, I put the key in the ignition, revelling in the sweet sound of the Abarth exhaust. A few blips on the throttle, grinning like a mad woman... YEAH!!!!!!
The first thing I had to do was renew the registration. It passed it's pink slip (roadworthy) check with flying colours. Paid the rego at the RTA, and proud as a girl could be drove to work at Channel 7, proving to my workmates that the car actually existed (I'm sure some folks thought I was kidding them this last year). All lunchtime I was giving joyrides round the carpark. I was useless at work all day as I could think of nothing else but my 850.
Stopping off at a friend's place on the way home, I mentioned to him that I'd started to hear a bit of a whining noise coming from the gearbox. We went round the block in the car and we agreed that I should park it for the rest of the week and we'd take a better look at it on the weekend. I was a bit disappointed by this, but really nothing could bring me down off this high. Heck, I'd waited this long to drive the car - a few more days wouldn't kill me.
On my way home that night on a dark stretch of remote and bush lined 80km road, the whining noise had been getting louder... Suddenly the back end just locked up solid!
Tyres squealing, I skidded the car to the side of the road, and shut the engine off. Still shaking, I sat there in the dark, in the bush in the middle of the night. My big day was over...
I flagged down a passing car and got a lift to a service station where I rang for a tow truck and also rang my friend Ian to go and wait with the car till I could get back, as this stretch of road was notorious for stripping and dumping cars. By the time I arrived with the tow truck, we towed it to Ian's place and then he gave me a lift back to get faithful Fang and drive home, it was 5 in the morning. It had been an extraordinary day - the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
The problem turned out to be a cooked gearbox. The reason was simple. About 3 months before, I had reassembled the engine and gearbox ready to re-install. I'd filled up the engine oil, but I only had one litre of gearbox oil with me. I intended to top it up before I used it, but with the big rush to get out of the garage I was working in, I simply forgot. I guess with the thousands of parts that came off the car and being apart for 12 months, I was bound to forget something...
Using the gearbox out of a friend's ex 850, Ian did a fantastic job of rebuilding the box for me. Some weeks later, it was in the car and I've got to say, I triple checked all fluids before tentatively setting out for another drive!
Triumph & Tradgedy
All the Extras
Resprayed & Improved
Today & the Future