The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

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BigBobPilot
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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:40 pm

As some will have seen from the “For Sale” section, I’ve just bought a 4-owner Scimitar coupe - SRE 353G from Nick Hall. I picked it up this morning in the rain, as Nick & his wife waved good bye to it!

Then back home after the short journey:
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First a little of my own personal history: I first knew this car through hill climbing with the RSSOC. While I was busy hacking & modifying my SE5 (YYX 697H) trying to make it lighter & faster. Trevor Shortt used to roll up in what I thought was an immaculate coupe, which I’d have been scared to compete in at the time; this is probably as I was a driver found the limit by stepping over it, any damage to a car that was clearly worth more than mine would have been off-putting. Whilst Trevor was the opposite, busy creeping up quietly, but effectively on the limit of the car / track. There were a number of events where Trevor started behind me, and kept getting a red flag & a re-run, as I’d had another incident. How reputations are made... I admired how clean & tidy Trevor’s coupe was and it never occurred to me at the time that at some point I would own this car!

Here, parked up next to my Jaguar XJR, which it’s going to replace, I've never quite clicked with the XJR in the year I've owned it.
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Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:42 pm

Then more importantly, a little of the car’s history:

It was first registered on 09/10/1968 & first owned by Mr Dean Delamont, then Director of Competitions at the RAC as his company car. The first piece of documentation with the car is a letter from Ray Wiggins on 01/10/68, confirming the order details. In there Exeter Green was reserved, but the original colour of the car is definitely Golden Sands (more later). There is an amusing exchange, in which discussions with John Crosthwaite (Chief Engineer) are mentions; Mr Delamont is complaining about a vibration above 80 mph, and 95 – 120 mph, bearing in mind the 70 mph speed limit was introduced in 1966. In his defence, he also mentions a number of continental trips.
After running the engine in, the car was sent to Ford’s Competition department to be breathed on, it returned with a Westlake cam & ported heads and a capri higher second gear.
In 1978, the company accounts department insisted the car was sold, where Mr Delamont bought the car.

(13 years ownership)

It was bought by Dr Graham Shephard in July 1980. There is a receipt for the sunroof being fitted in July 1981 by Lex Mead in Cheltenham. Here’s the very neatly piece of cut out roof, which has passed between owners ever since. I have no idea what the #12 is for, presumably something to do with a speed event?
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It’s clearly Golden Sands, as is the inside of the boot in the spare wheel well. Between then & the end of September, the car was re-sprayed in Reliant Silver Streak (another original coupe colour). I lifted this photo link from a post by David Tew in “Speedys SSG paint thread” (hopefully he doesn’t mind) it shows the car in silver, with sunroof at a 1985 Sabre day.

http://jeffcraske.wixsite.com/index/198 ... m-ikzov9pa

The revolution 5-spoke alloys first appeared in 1984, initially a set of 15 x 6, then replaced by 14 x 7’s in December 1985, which it has been on ever since. Here’s another photo lifted from this forum, but I can’t remember where from (sorry).
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There are many, many receipts for work, including body repair, partial respray, engine rebuilds, suspension upgrades. I don’t personally know the competition history, but everyone used to refer to this as Doc Shephards old car, I think he was very active with it on the RSSOC competition scene.

(20 years ownership)

Trevor Shortt bought the car in August 2000

Trevor continued competing with the car (from 2002?) and put his mark on it too, by getting a re-spray in April 2002 in the metalic silver/blue that I was familiar with (I’m not sure of the exact colour).
Again, there are many receipts for service, maintenance & modifications.

Here’s Trevor leaving the start line at Prescott circa 2005, this one dug out from my hill climbing photos.
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And in the paddock
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Trevor bought Jerry Cunningham’s heavily modified coupe (WPL 394G) for hill climbing and after little use of SRE 353G, put it up for sale.

(14 years ownership)

Nick Hall bought it in June 2014, he had hill climbed an SS1 turbo for a few years, then owned a white Scimitar coupe, but obviously saw SRE 353G as a good replacement. Nick also competed in the RSSOC with the car the 3rd owner to do so. He also had a re-spray and another colour change in December 2015, to BMW Estoril blue. It’s interesting that each of the 4 owners have had the car in a different colour.

https://scimitarweb.co.uk/sgwrs/viewtop ... &start=525

Nick has also had engine maintenance (new valve guides & re-cut valve seats), new alloy radiator & has attended club events in the car.

(4 years ownership)

Nick sold sold it to me in April 2018, almost 50 years after it rolled out of Tamworth – crikey!


Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:43 pm

I’ve bought this to use as a road car. It’s not likely that it will be used in competition, but I can never say never to a one-off somewhere. I’ve been looking for a coupe or SE5 on & off for sometime. I’ve contacted a couple of people on this forum when they’ve advertised cars, but not gone through with a purchase as I realised I didn’t really want a full project, as I’ve got plenty of work with race cars. I also didn’t want a standard car, I had / have some wants for modifications, and I wanted a tidy, but not concourse car. This coupe has a lot of the things I wanted already, but comes with a fantastic history too. There are a few more subtle mods. that I want to make, which shouldn’t change the appearance or character of the car, but make it a bit more usable.


Please feel free to post period photos of this car on this thread and also any interesting anecdotes.
Last edited by BigBobPilot on Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.


Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:53 pm

When I went to look at the car & test drive it, Nick had a nice steering wheel with spacer from the boss, which he said he was going to be keeping. On collection, he had replaced it with a 14” Mountney wheel. This is a bit too far away from the seat for me and is hitting my knees, and made quite a difference to the driving experience. So job number 1 when I got home, was to see what I could do to this temporarily. I had a quick look in my stock and found a boss that is 16mm deeper; I’ve fitted this until I can get a new 13” dished wheel to improve the driving position for me. It’s made it better (for me) for now.
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Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:44 am

Next up, Nick sold it with a known issue, of a misfire when it’s hot. I need to diagnose & fix before doing too much else, so I can use the car without concern. I decided to go back to absolute basics. Nick had re-fitted points & condenser to see if it was the luminetion unit that was at fault. I’ve never liked Lumention and I’m not going to use it, so the ignition module & rev limiter module along with the associated wiring were removed. I made-up & wired in: a new condenser earth wire in the distributor; a new wire from the points to the coil. For absolute simplicity, I’ve fitted the 12v coil, rather than the ballasted coil and wired it directly to the battery positive cable at the starter solenoid. This removes all the existing wiring from the ignition system. There was an earth strap looped under the chassis front cross member, from the battery earth cable in front of the cross member, just to the chassis behind the cross member; so I fitted this across to the engine. There is an earth strap by the starter motor to the chassis, but hey, the one by the cross member wasn’t doing anything else. I checked & adjusted the points gap, tweaked the timing & checked the distributor range.

I put a small tool kit in the boot, took a multimeter & timing light & then off I went for a drive, topped up the fuel tank. I had a stop after about 20 miles, so far no issues. Then after about 40 miles (total), it started fluffing & missing. I pulled over, opened & closed the fuel filler to make sure the fuel tank was venting, checked the timing (no change) then carried on, it was still misfiring, so the fuel tank vent is not the issue. I was close to home so came back to look for the next thing, as it clearly wasn’t the wiring for the ignition electrics. Although I had not changed the points & condenser, Nick had the same issue with the Lumenition, so I’m ruling this out as culprits at the moment. Although, I did find some alternative points & condenser from my stock that I can try if required.

I thought I’d check the inlet manifold bolt torques with the engine hot, in case it was opening up an air leak path between the manifold & the heads. A couple of bolts pulled up a little bit, but nothing was too loose. Whilst doing that, I noticed the brake servo pipe didn’t look too clever, so I pulled it off to see if the servo or pipe had a leak. Neither seemed to, but I thought I’d plug the vacuum take-off on the manifold and go for another spin (remembering that the brakes need more of a shove). I’ve got bad experiences with the remote servos leaking. I hated the brake feel with them for competition, so I just used to take them off & fit a bigger master cylinder, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that for a road car. I put another 40 odd miles on, and so far had no repeat of the misfiring. But it did do 2 or 3 back-fires under partial load when transitioning from coasting to on-throttle (approaching junctions). It didn’t do this beforehand, so something seems to have changed.

When I got back home, I had another look at the servo and blew down the pipe again to see if there was any air leaking, but no at least for the pipe. I think I need to apply vacuum to see if it’s leaking the other way, as there's a one-way valve at the servo inlet. I also noticed that the pipe across the top of the vacuum housing (large diameter bit with the clamp around) had a flat on it, where it’s been rubbing on the bonnet. I’ll have a closer look at the servo tomorrow to see if I can find anything wrong. I’ll get new vacuum hose too, but a servo service kit may be required?

I’ve driven about 95 miles this afternoon, and apart from 2 or 3 miles where it was fluffing, so far the impression overall is good. The rear end feels a little under damped (Nick said the dampers felt a bit tired), but otherwise the handling is nice & tight and the ride is not too harsh for the road. However, it has the most annoying gear lever rattle / buzz which was driving me crazy, so that needs to be looked at as well as getting to the bottom of the misfire / fluffing. Oh, and the wipers don't park.
Last edited by BigBobPilot on Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.


Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by Rev Light » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:15 am

Does the prop shaft need balancing, do you think?

Steve


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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:05 am

Rev Light wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:15 am
Does the prop shaft need balancing, do you think?

Steve
If you are refering to the gear lever rattle? Then no, there's play at the base of the gear lever, you can grab it through the gaiter and shut it up.


Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by Edzed » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:54 am

Ben,
I think the monochrome image in your second post was taken at Ragley Hall, probably in the early '80's.

The pic below was taken at Sabre Day in 1984 and the one below that at the same event in 1985.
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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by rkclodhopper » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:25 am

aaaaaaaah a lovely car, round wheels in round wheel arch cutouts, why did they ever think the SE5 style was better.

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by roymck » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:34 am

It may have been this car many years ago that I remember a issue happening . While queuing to take part in a sprint somebody was talking to the driver through the open drivers window resting their hand on the roof unfortunately with fingers protruding under the open glass sunroof . Driver was then given the off to move up to the start line and what did he do , yes shut the roof with the bystanders fingers between glass and frame , POP luckily the glass shatttered and the guy kept his fingers intact , not so good for the driver , covered in broken glass.
I do think what fools we were putting those horrible glass roofs in, even seen one in a E type but it was the done thing at the time so what’s done is done



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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by BigBobPilot » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:40 am

I've just pulled the centre console out to look at the gear lever and have found a shard of glass that looked like sunroof! It had a little bit of dot fade that wouldn't match any other window. So it's probably from that incident.

Also I got my obligatory cash find in a new car, yay:
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1 New Pence!


Ben

SS1 CA18DET race car in build
Latest owner of V6 coupe SRE 353G
SSSC Champion 2009, driving "Big Bob"
CSCC "Swinging 60s" race series winner in 2011, 2014 & 2015 (Group 2) sharing a Marcos with Iain Daniels

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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by Nick » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:04 pm

Ben,

Love the enthusiasm!

Points are new. I think condenser also . Gear lever "buzz" may relate to new lever bushes fitted. Also wondered about an air inlet leak, but did not follow up! Shocks adjustable so can firm up. I deliberately left rear soft.

PS

Whilst heater works Ok, the cable to the flow valve is disconnected, was sticking.


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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by David Tew » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:27 pm

BigBobPilot wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:42 pm
I lifted this photo link from a post by David Tew in “Speedys SSG paint thread” (hopefully he doesn’t mind)
Not at all, all the credit goes to Jeff Craske. :)


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The Doctors Coupe - SRE 353G

Post by Coupe Racing » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:28 pm

If the car retains its original 2 rod box with OD , then there is a spring on the gear lever base that stops the rattle - and is often loose or missing


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Post by Nick » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:39 pm

Is a 2 rod box. Hopefully photo encl Note prior to fitting bushes
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Six times SSSC Class Winner
Not over the hill, just going up it faster !

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