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Thread: New kid on the block

  1. #1
    Weekend Warrior
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    New kid on the block

    Evening all , my car passion is mainly british and australian cars from the 60's and 70's era , especially Cooper S's and holden toranas . Own a small selection including 68 lotus escort twin cam , 68 australian cooper S , an assortment of XU1's and L34's . l try and race ( well , okay l , manage to steer it around the track ) a torana XU1 replica . Just love my classic racing when l get off my butt and get organised but the older l get the harder it seems to get motivated these days to do so . Great site ! .

    regards from Invercargill
    John Armitstead .

  2. #2
    Hi there John, thanks for joining the site, its great to have you here. Would love to see some photos of your cars.

  3. #3
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    Hey John, great to see you on board. You should be able to tell us some stories. I enjoyed our catch up at Teretonga this year. Looking forward to reading some stuff. Regards.......Gerald Fogg.

  4. #4
    Welcome John,looks like you share the same interest in some the vehicles I have been connected with over the years,good to have you here

  5. #5
    Weekend Warrior
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    Thanks guys for the welcome , here's a pic of some of the cars . Far car is a 1974 L34 torana , then august 73 bathurst XU1 , august 73 XU1 , august 71 bathurst LC XU1 and nearest car is a super rare factory painted 1972 * strike me pink * XU1 , ( Pink wasn't considered a very blokey colour in 72 so only about 15 were ever sold ) . Lotus escort over the back .

  6. #6
    Semi-Pro Racer Steve Emson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xu1nut View Post
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    Thanks guys for the welcome , here's a pic of some of the cars . Far car is a 1974 L34 torana , then august 73 bathurst XU1 , august 73 XU1 , august 71 bathurst LC XU1 and nearest car is a super rare factory painted 1972 * strike me pink * XU1 , ( Pink wasn't considered a very blokey colour in 72 so only about 15 were ever sold ) . Lotus escort over the back .
    Nice Garage. My dad had 5 new Toranas, 1 GTR and the rest XU1's. He raced and rallied them successfully. Had another LC for the silver fern one year also. I have owned 2 XU1's also, making 3 73's for the family. I also bought my son the last group c XU1 to score points in the Australian Touring car Championship to race in Historics here in Queensland. It has now been sold also.

    I have also done a lot of miles in XU1's and did some long distance races in them also. Good cars!

  7. #7
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    Hi Steve , ............ * Emson * , a very famous name from the past indeed in motor racing circles ! . l too have done lots of miles in XU1's over the years , the green LC XU1 in the above picture was actually our family car from 1986 till about 1996 .........l still can't believe looking back that during the later years of it's life as a family wagon l used to cart my wife and 4 kids around in it ....the things we did back then . l bought that car from the late Don and Joan Blackbourne of New Plymouth ...... Don had bought the car in the early 70's when they had sold their dairy farm and retired to town . He was a bit of a legend in Taranaki and gold star hillclimbs and North Island circuits and could show much younger guys in better machinery a clean pair of heels , an awesome driver and a very well liked and respected gentleman indeed .
    l still race an XU1 myself when l get myself motivated but it seems to be getting harder to do these days the older l get . l've also just recently bought back my old Cooper S replica racecar l'd built in the early 90's and then sold about 5 years ago too . It's fitted with arden crossflow head and engine is in bits ........like l really NEED another project but anyway , was probably more of a sentimental thing .....like buying back an old family heirloom maybe ? lol

    Cheers John A

  8. #8
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    Bloody hell John, I thought you had learned your lesson with Arden 8 ports, but seeing as you are a tiger for punishment, I for one will be very interested to see that car back on the track. We do these silly things from time to time, selling things we know we shouldn't, but I suppose that is life, but I'm glad you have it back. Angus is still beavering away at our Arden engined machine. Think he has found a decent head gasket that will do the business for more than a couple of laps!!! Any ideas on cooling would be appreciated. An aluminium radiator is high on the list, but do you think we need any more cooling? All that HP with all that heat needs to be got rid of. I still favour taking a feed from the 'heater outlet' and running it through a smaller radiator out front in the breeze, but Angus is not so sure, so there could be a bit of 'debate' over that. Anyway glad you have the heirloom back. Got any pics?

  9. #9
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    Hey Gerald , yes you're probably right .......l shouldn't have weakened and gone and bought it again but l couldn't help meself ! It will be a while before it's going again though , the head actually dropped a valve but the previous owner had it repaired and rebuilt with all new valves and springs etc . l've got another shortblock assembly with some trick gear in it but it's all a matter of getting it all back together , though the car itself needs a bit of a rebuild too ...panel and paint plus l have some new flares to go on it as well .
    As far as me offering yourself and Angus advice about how to go and better cool a mini , well that would be like me trying to tell me grandmother how to suck eggs !! lol , you two have been in the business long enough now to know what's needed and what does and doesn't work too . Your comment ........ * all that horsepower * ...........maybe you should detune it a bit so it don't run so hot ? lol Couple of pics , one taken at the Dunedin street race about 2005 and the other one taken just before l sold it .

    Cheers John A
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    Last edited by xu1nut; 05-29-2012 at 02:12 AM.

  10. #10
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    What a sweet looking little car. Did the last owner not look after it as it should have been? Never ceases to amaze me how people knock cars around. I sold the ex Mary Carney no2 car, not the Arden one, years ago in restored condition. It didn't take long for it to be reduced to a pile of junk. Some folk need stringing up by the googlies!!!! I see you have a very subtle bonnet extension. We did not want this, as when it had the 970 in, in 1972, the block was shorter so was able to accommodate the carbs without a bulge. We dropped the engine mount holes on the subframe down 20mm, and back 20mm, and solid mounted the engine. Took about a day to make the alloy mounts with the right taper and thickness but was worth it. Also I see my preferred idea of a water take-off from the 'heater' outlet on the head, though I cant see what sort of radiator you have got...maybe a 13 row oil cooler type.
    Anyway good to see it back in the right hands again, and good luck with the restoration. Maybe it's not luck you need but time, and of course money!!

  11. #11
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    l'm sorry to say that yes the car is decidedly 2nd hand looking now that l've got it back with some good bits robbed off it too unfortunately , but l knew all that and l guess it was my choice to hand over the cash for it in the end : ) . The auxillary radiator under the drivers side guard is actually a 25 row serick oil cooler plumbed just as you've said . This head was an ex Reg Cook head off his 970 and did have CMR1 stamped on it behind the thermostat housing till motor preps at Otorohonga machined it off . l did also have the complete tj injection setup that originally had been run by Reg but when l fitted it and went to start the car some 25 years ago now , petrol leaked EVERYWHERE ! , all the seals had gone dry and hard . Needed the car so tossed the injection setup under the bench and fitted the carbs back . Then sometime later on bought our first farm and had to have a big cleanup and all excess mini junk , including the injection setup got sold offf DUHHHHHHHHH ! : ( aint hindsight a great thing .

  12. #12
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    Yeh, but don't beat yourself up about it. we've all done stupid things like that. Different priorities come along, like farms, and we think we are doing the right thing. Well mostly we are, and stuff that has lain under a bench gathering dust and rust becomes just so much junk, to be disposed of at the earliest opportunity. I have often wondered how much extra grunt you get with a TJ setup. We competed, as you know against Doug Erskine in the 'Coppertone' Mini last year, and while we couldn't match it with the engine we had then, the Arden conversion certainly gave the car a LOT more get up and go, and with a decent driver behind the wheel, ie not me, could really turn in some quick times. Reliability is going to be the issue I think. These heads seemed to be fine on the small-bore engines, but on the 1360's things start to get a bit temperamental.
    I wonder how many 'performance cars' get sold with bits, good bits, robbed from them. Seems to be a common problem, though as you said you knew this had happened, and knowing you there is probably more stuff under that bench that will come in handy one day.

  13. #13
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    You are correct of course Gerald , different priorities in life come along and we needed the money too , way back then 25 years ago we were paying 17.5 percent on our farm morgage under Rogernomics so every dollar counted , including the measley $250 bucks l got for the complete injection setup l think !! ! lol god it makes me wanna cry sometimes . Then about 1990 we got REAALLLY short of cash so l had to sell off a brand new/unused , still in the box MK 2 Arden head that l had ....now that REALLLY makes me wanna cry still to this very day !!! lol . Yes , still have more junk under the bench that l've been carting around the country for years thinking that one day it might come in usefull and who knows , it possibly will too

    Cheers John A

  14. #14
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    John, are you going to tell me where that Arden head is now, or is that a trade secret!!!!

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    AMCO72 There's a bloke in USA that is making brand new 8 port heads for Minis-guess they are Arden copies. It's the same guy who does alloy heads for X-Flow Fords.

  16. #16
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    It went to Melbourne Gerald , a guy brought his whole family over on holiday to pick it up and they took it back in their suitcase lol ...............minispares in England were making Ardens again but l think they have come to a stop now ? . The heads you are talking about from the USA rf84 l think are probably the 7 port crossflow ones ? , 4 inlets on the front with only 3 exhausts on the rear but still utilises an ordinary 5 port mini cam and exhaust manifold making it a much easier conversion than using an Arden .

  17. #17
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    Thanks for that John. The reason I asked was that it doesn't seem to have surfaced anywhere in NZ. I think only you and I are running these things, and it could turn out to be a bit of a challenge, but I'm sure we will crack it in the end. But aren't they great to drive? All that torque. There are a few 7 ports around. A much easier conversion and they seem to go ok, but we will stick with the 8 port for the rewards it gives.

  18. #18
    Semi-Pro Racer Steve Emson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xu1nut View Post
    Name:  cars%20006.jpg
Views: 2851
Size:  47.2 KB

    Thanks guys for the welcome , here's a pic of some of the cars . Far car is a 1974 L34 torana , then august 73 bathurst XU1 , august 73 XU1 , august 71 bathurst LC XU1 and nearest car is a super rare factory painted 1972 * strike me pink * XU1 , ( Pink wasn't considered a very blokey colour in 72 so only about 15 were ever sold ) . Lotus escort over the back .
    Hi John,

    The 3rd XU1 from the end is the same colour as the last 73 XU1 that we raced. (Not the last 73 we had and didn't race,that was blue)
    We bought it from Rex Findlay.
    I don't have fond memories of that one

    regards, Steve

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