As members of a sporting car club, we are no strangers to misty-eyed enthusiasm driving (sorry about the pun) individuals to restore all manner of vehicles. Sometimes there's the utterance of, "Wow!" in complete awe at the breathtaking result. At other times it's "Why would you bother?" As an example, I have a friend who honestly believes his HQ Belmont is a classic car (his description). I would never be so condescending as to tell him that his mass produced, bottom of the range, spectacularly unspectacular pleb-mobile was anything but classic. He believes it is and he loves it.
This epistle began as an idea on power to weight ratios, complete with Triumph statistics. But then it moved on, as many stories do. A complex interlinking of ideas began to spin its web. The result is a technical article without the technical bits. Read on. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that it isn’t power, but power to weight that’s important in propelling our horseless carriages at varying velocities. Right foot goes down, car goes forward more quickly. If that was the be-all and end-all of motoring pleasure, everyone would be driving seven litre Chrysler-powered Jensen Interceptors. But let’s face it; Jensens are whale sized two ton vehicles with Mini sized interiors. They don’t have fuel economy. They have fuel consumption. When new they could reach 140 miles per hour, accompanied by single digit miles per gallon. The smaller six point something litre engine can reputedly reach 16 mpg on a gentle cruise (though I doubt that). Outright grunt, therefore, is not the holy grail of motoring.
Towards the end of 2006, purely by accident, I happened upon an advertisement for a Stag that was so cheap that I thought it was too good to be true. The price was low enough to encourage a phone call to ask if it was a misprint, assuming the ten thousand dollar figure had accidentally fallen off the front of the price. When told no, the price was correct, I ventured forth expecting to find a reality something like this:
Psssst. Wanna buy a really cheap Stag? Rust free (we don't charge for it) Rebuilt engine (some of the parts are genuine second hand, others as recent as third hand) Heater works REALLY well