Tuesday, 22 December 2009

DEL33 comes home

In June 1992 I bought my first decent Triumph. It was a Tahiti Blue 2500S and I loved it! In the boot the previous owner left me some back issues of "Six Appeal", the 2000/2500/2.5 Register Club Magazine and I read them from cover to cover in one night! In those magazines I saw a reprint of an article that appeared in the November 1972 issue of "Motor" and it was all about DEL33, a Lines Stag Estate.

From that moment on, to me, one of these cars was the holy grail, and I vowed one day I would have one. Even if I had to build a replica............ after all, there was no chance of finding a real one was there?

From the same set of magazines I learnt about the Register, and I joined at the National in Woolacombe a few weeks later......... the rest, as they say, is history!

Below are some pictures of DEL33, the car that to me, was the ultimate 2000 derivative.

So, fast forward to earlier this year and I decided that 17 years was long enough to wait. Having been in and around the only 2 other surviving Lines cars ("Janey", Andy Roberts Stag Saloon and TNH10, Andy's old Stag Estate) and knew that I still wanted one. The first stage was to part with my beloved Yellow estate. 2 estates just didn't seem right, space and money would be needed!

With the yellow beast with its new owner, the hunt was on for a decent MKII Estate bodyshell to start converting it to Lines Spec. That was until a camping weekend with Andy Roberts, who persuaded me that it would be far better to restore an original Lines car than build a replica.

Great idea, but where do you find such a beast??

Couple of months later, I got an email from Andy. He had tracked down Mike Collins, the current owner of DEL33.................... and would I like to go and collect it???

I had to sit down.

The actual car I had drooled over 17 years ago was for sale!?!? All I had to do was ring Mike and strike a deal............. I didn't take long to think about that one I can tell you!

So, after several chats on the phone with Mike, we settled on a deal and the car was mine. There were some issues. Mike had the car shipped to Spain, to Del Lines himself for him to restore it. He removed the engine, gearbox, exhaust and wheels, then did a runner............ so the car was now incomplete. That doesn't bother me at all........ easy to find items! It was also no longer DEL33 and now on LYB864K........ but has all the paperwork to verify it is the right car.........bring it on!!

Oh, did I mention that Mike and Libby (as she is now called) lived in Roggliswil, in Switzerland?

So, 11am Thursday morning finds me and my intrepid co-pilot Bradley sitting on the docks at Dover in the trusty Audi and a hired car trailer....... the game is on!

As soon as we got off the ferry, it started snowing. Bad sign we thought........... first accident after only 10 miles, fortunately the driver of this HGV was fine........ ouch!

We are such children............ for some reason we found this haulage companies name hilarious!

Like I said........... children!

So, after getting lost and stuck in traffic for what seemed like hours we arrived at our Thursday night halt, a Kyriad Hotel in Reims.......... and still snowing. Lovely steak dinner, followed by a snowball fight in the carpark.

We decided to build a snowman, like you do, and built it in the middle of the trailer...... I wonder how long he will last in the morning?

Next morning it had stopped snowing but the nights fall had deposited a couple of inches that was now frozen........made for an interesting trip out of the carpark.......... but once onto the French Peage toll roads they were wonderfully clear.

For those of you who know me best, and think that my cars are always immaculate, just check out how dirty this is! Mind you, I was crying inside and Bradley had to forcibly restrain me from washing it several times.

768 miles later we arrived at Mike house, he was still at work but would be home soon............. I got my first glance of Libby. Covered in snow and looking very sorry for herself....... but, very very solid.
That night Mike and his wife Martha took us into the town and to their local pub run by another British Ex-Pat. A Micro-brewery called Hasli-Bier....... and very good Beer it was too. Glasses were a touch on the large side for me though...............
The next morning we woke up with slightly sore heads, more snow and this wonderful view from the balcony. I can certainly see why Mike and Martha like it here.
We pushed the Triumph onto the road and loaded her up onto the trailer. Easy with a winch!
4 new Ratchet straps, one for each wheel and the winch still attached, just in case. By the time we had done this we were freezing cold......... it was Minus 8 Deg C! So, inside for a warming coffee, sort out the paperwork and then bid them a farewell. We have agreed to come back in Libby when she is finished.
Heading home it got progressively colder and colder until it peaked at -14.5 degrees!!!

Due to the snow, the channel tunnel chaos, the ferry chaos and the general disaster that seemed to have struck everywhere, we decided to forgo the Reims stop over and head straight for Calais and see if we could get an earlier ferry back. No problems and by 2am on Sunday morning we were heading back for blighty. Note that the snow on the bonnet is still Swiss snow!

9am Sunday found us napping at South Mimms Services, quick stop at Oxford for lunch..........

Back home by 1pm. I had rung some friends to help get the car up the drive. My drive is too steep to back the trailer up, so it had to be pushed up. Many thanks to Dave Marshall, Colin Marshall, Steve Bosworth, Craig Bennet and of course Bradley for putting up with my awful music for over 1600 miles!

But, it was all worth it...... Libby is home and in the garage........ pass me a spanner!

How happy am I?...............

Strip down, then off to the bodyshop for some minor fettling and then painting. Then to the trim shop for a new vinyl roof. Hopefully, the engine shouldn't be far behind that.......... more later!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about some credit for my awesome photography here Alan :o)