Culford Car Show 2021 (part 2)

This is the second part of the Culford Car Show from 18th July this year. As I left the show I managed to take this picture without any photobombing of other cars or people wandering into shot as a lot of the cars had already left for home and I found a little open space.

But, my best efforts are not as good as some. I mentioned at the end of the last post that I met an interesting guy and we had a quick chat. It turns out that Steve Armon is a photographer who wants to take some pictures of my car for his ever growing portfolio. He has posted three pictures of my car along with some others on his Instagram account ‘trigpointpictures’. Stop by and say I sent you. Here are those pics he kindly sent to me and I just love them. Thanks Steve for the permission to use them.

Back to the show where I was wandering around still, and a reminder of the beautiful location first;

The cars, again in no particular order;

There was a hot rod section that i spent a little time hanging around for some obvious reasons. That Plymouth Super Bee was something else!

There was a Ferrari club there with some rather unusual examples there.

The award to the biggest set of rear wheels goes to;

At the front of the school;

Back up the other side of the grounds on my way back to the car.

Then I spotted this little animal, these rare MG Metro 6R4’s were in the Group B rally class. They were banned as they and cars like them at the time were often classed as ‘to fast to race’ in the 1980’s.

It was really hot to say the least and to eventually sit back under the trees and chat to the guys next to me was a very welcome relief along with the litre of water that I downed almost in one! The trip home had the manual air conditioning on full. The windows wound right down! Another wonderful trip through the country side with nothing but a v8 for company and have it barking at me when I occasionally pressed the loud pedal!

I hope you liked the pics as much as I liked the show itself.

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Culford Car Show 2021 (part 1)

A couple of years ago there was a great car show inside a walled garden at Elevedon. Due to the Covid pandemic it was cancelled last year. The show got some great feedback and demand for places was high. It was clear this year it would need to be moved to a new venue; Culford School in Suffolk. Culford is a private school and quite exclusive for those with plenty of money. This year’s event was held in collaboration with the ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’. This show has jumped pretty near the top for my favourite car shows, with the much larger and beautiful grounds of Culford. I took over one hundred and eighty pictures on the day so I will split this show’s coverage into two halves.

The weather was due to be hot all weekend and I woke up Sunday morning with a huge smile as the sun was out. It was going to be the hottest day of the year so far peaking at 30 deg cel. This poses other issues to classic car owners – will it over heat and other such terrifying questions.

I packed lots of of drinks and and the wife told me to also pack a dog bowl and some water for the dogs at the show if they are out for the day in the heat. Initially I thought she was mad, but thinking about it, the dogs do get dragged around in the heat with their tongues hanging out. So I thought why not (we are massive dog lovers with two little guys of our own), we don’t want to see any dog to overheat.

The drive there was calm and collected, easy to get after a thirty minute drive. Pulling into the school gate the were speed humps. Not ideal as I know that my exhaust headers sit quite low. The first hump caught my attention with the scrap of metal even though I was going slow.

The rest were taken at snails pace to allow the car to gently go over them. Funny enough on the way out I scrapped the same hump, so that one must have been a tiny bit higher. The grounds of the event are beautifully kept, almost film set quality.

As you can see from the queue of cars waiting to get in there was indeed a few cars that had broken down.

Halfway along the drive there was a little church for the school.

Pulling into the main area of the school where some had already parked up, I believe these were allocated spots.

I showed my pass to the organisers for ‘Area A’ and was told to follow the Jag XKR to a parking location. We had to drive across a field and we were all pointed to some trees. I wasn’t best impressed thinking about the tree sap and potential bird stuff landing on the car. In fact a few cars parked up behind us and were asked to move forward a bit. They tried but wouldn’t start up again, a TVR and a VW Beetle with a Porsche engine bolted in the back having the worst of the trouble and were pushed forward a few feet. The heat

I got out and spoke to the Jag guys who turned out to be great company all day. We had a quick chat about the trees, the impending hot weather, they pointed out that at least we are in the shade. Point taken and and all was good with me again. Sap and stuff would have to be tolerated, for now. The car that also followed me parked up and everybody got busy with dusting over their cars to make them look good.

Looking forwards I could see the expanse of the fields and car that were going to be there.

I now honestly think that our spaces were the best there.

Not forgetting what the wife told me, once I had finished cleaning my car the dog bowl was out.

As it turned out I topped up the bowl twice and I was pleased to see that there weren’t that many dogs there, hopefully being kept cool at home.

After the exhausting work of quick detailing the car in the rising temperatures I got my chair out and had a little rest, it was then that I decided that my car really does have a nice rear end. Biased comment to say I know, a little biased here (OK a lot), but in the shade with a little sunlight glinting of it, I think it looked pretty good.

I’m gonna jump the sequence of the day a little bit for a very good reason. After I got back from my wander round I had two little guys take an interest in my car with their parents. They were well behaved and very polite and credit to their parents.

So let me introduce you to ‘Christopher’ and ‘Ollie’. (I think that I spelt the name right, I did try to find them again later on to check, but I couldn’t see them.)

So guys if I have spelt your name wrong, please let me know and I will update it for you straight away.

They little guys wanted to sit in the car so I agreed and they took turns in the drivers seat. I didn’t manage grab a pic at that time. But, they also asked to sit in the back. Now as that was a real first for me – I thought – why not? In you get again boys. Now you’re famous. 😀

As with all these little things, it made my day. I hope to see you little guys again.

Back to the sequence of the day; After a little sit down and a rest I decided to go for a walk and have a look round for some pictures. There was some pretty average cars there and on the other hand some great cars, on neither hand, quite a few I had seen and posted on my little ol’ blog before.

A little gathering of some UK fords right near my parking zone. Note the flaked out dog by the Granada in the shade.

As I worked my way nearer to the centre and the school there is this wonderful view.

The day was just getting hotter and hotter, and everybody was in great spirits. I suspect that they were glad to get out for some sunshine therapy. I met a very interesting guy there and I will explain in the next post.

‘Part Two’ coming in a couple of days, watch this space…..

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Bearing Up

This year I have taken my car out for a couple of shows and I have developed a rather annoying squeak from the drivers side front wheel. I have taken the wheel of and greased everything that had a nipple on it. I squirted, white grease, silicon spray, Würth Water Dispersant, WD40 everywhere I could. Nothing. It was still there.

I spoke to Adam a couple of times about it and he advised me to bring it down and he would have a look at it. So I did just that.

The photo’s in this post I’m using have been given to me by Mustang Maniac and saved me taking the pictures; big thanks to Mustang Maniac for that. They told me they were probably going to use them this weekend. It looks like they beat me to it by posting first. So we have a little overlap although they have a couple of different pictures on their post.

Adam was walking to the yard and heard the squeak as I was turning into the yard’s driveway. I explained that I think the steering doesn’t feel right either. He listened intently and promptly jumped in my car and took it for a test drive up the road.

We swapped places for the driving seat as Adam need to swap a few cars around in order to get a clear run for my car onto the ramps in his workshop and I drove it in. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Yogi who had emerged from his workshop to help out with the diagnostics which is a two man job.

First thing they noticed was that the idler arm had some play. It looked like that over time standing in my garage the rubber had perished and broken down when the car came out for some shows this year.

You can see them when compared just how much the old one had broken down. The new one is on the left of each picture.

The guys checked everything else over on the suspension and I received my bollocking for a couple of other nuts that were loose. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Probably down to the play in the idler arm making things worse. Adam and Yogi both worked up and down under the car to check everything was tightened up as it should be. A couple of rear axle nuts were not as tight as they should be and Adam again tightened them up. I would like to say that in my self defence Adam does have a two foot long Snap On 1/2″ fitting breaker bar, to make sure things were properly tight.

They fitted the new idler arm and checked that the the locating bracket had no play with the arm fitted in place. Once they were happy I was sent out on another road test. Both Adam and Yogi told me that the steering would feel very different. The picture below is the new idler arm being fitted before full greasing.

I got out the main gate and and immediately the car felt different. I couldn’t believe just how bad it had gotten over a course of couple of years. You just get used to it and think no more of it.

I turned back into the yard happy, the squeak was still there, although not as bad now. Straight back onto the ramps and up in the air again. The guys decided that the wheel was to come off and have a look. They did all sorts of play checks and listened to the rotor spinning.

A decision was made fairly quickly. Yogi dropped the outer bearing out to check the look and feel of it. He wasn’t happy with it. Yogi then cleaned it up and Adam had a second look under the big lighted magnifying lens on his bench, nothing visibly wrong with it to look at. He stuck the bearing on his fingers and felt it, spinning it fast, slow and twisting it etc. Adam said “although it looks fine, I just don’t like how it feels, nope, I’m not happy with it”. With that he went of to the shop to go and get a new one.

In the mean time Yogi cleaned up the track of the bearing and made sure it wasn’t damaged by scoring or pitting. Luckily for me it was OK. The inner bearing was still fully packed. While we waited Yogi then proceeded to grease everything he could see, upper arms, lower arms, steering, bushes the lot.

Adam returned with the new bearing repeating his feel tests as he walked back to the ramps. “That’s better” he announced handing it over to Yogi. He repacked the new bearing with grease, rechecked it and fitted it back into the hub and adjusted it up correctly. He then replaced the retaining washer, split pin and the bearing cap. The wheel was put back on and retested for play and feel before letting the car back down.

I was then sent back out on the second test run to see how it was. I arrived back with a smile as big as my front grill. The noise had gone. Sorted 👍

Before I set off for my run I was told that if all was OK, to park out the front of the offices. Which I duly did as i was now well chuffed. They asked me if it was OK to use on the their blog posts. Of course I had not objections at all, they then took a number of pics of my car for their ‘Park & Pic’ section on their forth coming blog. Www.mustangmaniac.org

I love this picture as there is an early Falcon convertible, which of course was the Mustang’s immediate predecessor that shares the same chassis as First Gen Mustangs, and also a later Mustang all in one shot.

I sat in the offices with Adam and we had cup of tea, well he did and I had a cold can of pop. We put the world to rights, sorted out the bill before I left for home. The journey home was a pleasure until it started to rain. I was not impressed that my car had now gotten wet of course. But, considering the car was now in a another league, I wouldn’t mind.

I arrived home some hour and half later after filling with fuel (again). I just had to clean my car before I put her away and cover her up. I then plugged in the battery maintenance unit to keep the battery in tip top performance.

Again a huge thanks to Mustang Maniac (Adam & Yogi) for fitting me in and sending me home all on the same day. That is what I call “proper customer service.”

Before I sign off I just need to wish my friends on the other side of the pond;

Happy Independence Day.

Have a great day and have a beer for me. 🙂

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It’s Snowing All Year Round

I have been asked a few times about snow foam when I have been to car shows. I do use it now, depending on the product and how you use it can make a nice difference or leave you bitterly disappointed. When i started out with snow foam I just didn’t get it, what was I doing wrong? Combinations of equipment and product trials I eventually managed to get results worth talking about. I decided to create a little article of my own which I hope will help and guide you through the pitfalls and hype between products, or why we even consider using it. I mean it wasn’t around fifteen years or so ago so do we need it and why?

Snow foam looks amazing from a distance and often gets a few looks when you use it. Before this step was introduced, you used to get as much car shampoo bubbles on the paint to wash it right? This cleaning process has now been separated out into two steps. The snow foam and the shampoo. We will only be dealing with the shampoo step here.

Put very simply snow foam step is there to reduce the likelihood of damage to the paint during the cleaning process, a “Pre Wash” non touch step. This snow foam process is not necessarily restricted to car detailers or professionals, but also the weekend washer.

When you wash a dirty car with a sponge or a single bucket wash, the chances are that you could introduce paint damage by microscopic particles damaging the surface of your paint as they cling to your sponge or microfibre wash mitt. The deeper the damage, the worse the paint will look. I have explained these principles in depth on another article here and how to fix them. The basics are highlighted in the picture below to show the varying degrees of damage.

Common Terminology:

  • Pre-wash: A treatment that helps to make contact washing your car easier and more effective. 
  • Non Touch: Cleaning without any physical contact with the paint.
  • Contact Wash: Any part of the washing process that touches your paint.
  • Contact time: How long your cleaning solution is in contact with the dirt on your car.
  • Dwell Time: How long the product needs to be left in order to work its magic.
  • Foam Consistency: Thick snow foam clings to cars, so it has a high contact time. Watery snow foam will dribble off your car, less contact time and won’t be as effective. 
  • Cling: The ability of the product to stick to the panels without falling off.
  • Dilution: Reduction of concentrate to make the correct mixture operate effectively without waste.
  • Canister: The container where the mixture is held.
  • Snow Foam lance: A special nozzle for your pressure washer that turns the snow foam liquid into a thick foam. Also referred to as Snow Cannon, Snow Gun etc.
  • Nozzle: The end of the lance/cannon/gun which controls the amount of product and how it applies the foam to the car.
  • pH neutral: A substance which is neither acidic nor alkaline but chemically neutral.
  • Water Spots: The marks left behind from the hard water drying out on the paint work.

We know that (contact) washing a dirty car will make it look better, but done wrong that short term cleanliness will be taken over by swirls, marring scratches etc. So before you even think about putting a wash mitt or similar cleaning item, the less debris that there is on the car, the better.

This is where ‘Snow Foam’ comes in. The snow foam is designed to cling to the paintwork, which will in turn moisten and loosen up any of the surface dirt. When you rinse and wash off the snow foam it should take the dirt and grime with it. This in theory will leave you with a much cleaner surface to clean with significantly reduced chances of damage to your car’s paint job.

The ideal scenario is a foam that will dwell on the paint for a while, then roll off the paint prior to rinsing taking the dirt with it.

How does a Snow Cannon work?

In a nut shell; the water pressure from the jet washer creates a syphon that lifts the snow foam mixture from the canister via a pipe into the pressurised water stream. The wire mesh inside the the cannon body agitates the mixture up into foam. More water the less dense the foam and will lasts longer. The nozzle is the key as to how the foam is sprayed onto the car, anything from a jet spray to a wide angle fan. These cannons can vary from £15 to £100 depending on style, fitting(s) and quality of build.

Misconceptions:

+ The thicker the foam the better.

To a degree this true, but what is the point of a great foam if it sticks to the car, but doesn’t clean it? If the snow foam is more like a bubbly water and bounces straight of the paint then again it has done no good. There is a happy medium based on the car’s requirements and is explained a little further down.

+ PH Neutral is a must.

If you start researching snow foams, at some point the chemical composition will show up. So all you really need to know is the difference between pH neutral and non-pH neutral (or alkaline) snow foams.

The pH obsession has arisen due to information propagated by self-professed experts on the internet. In actual fact, most damage to car finishes is caused by tiny particles stuck onto a road film or dirt that cause abrasive damage when being removed by washing with mitt or sponge. Thus inducing the swirls, hologram, scratching and paint wear depending on the severity of damage to the paint.

Even some manufacturers of ‘ceramics’, last stage products and waxes insist on a pH7 (neutral) shampoo or cleaners.

This intrigued me, so after a quick bit of Google research it showed me that the normal range for rain water is pH 5-6. (Look it up if you don’t believe me! ‘pH balance of rain water’.) This is one of the main reasons that your car wax/sealants tend to loose their effectiveness over time and need reapplication.

+ pH Differences

A pH neutral snow foam is generally gentler on your car’s paintwork, so it’s worth getting if your car is valuable or needs to look its best for a special occasion. This comes at a cost as heavy debris is still there.

A normal or regular alkaline snow foam isn’t quite as good for your paintwork, but it is more effective at removing dirt. However, you can easily mitigate some of the effects on your paintwork by giving your car a proper wash and wax, though, which will put a new layer of protective wax onto your car. If you have the protection on the car, the alkaline snow foam won’t remove the wax protection or touch the paint anyway. It’s certainly not a caustic mixture for your car.

The damage from a heavy alkaline product is; caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). This can dull and leave paint finishes matt and lifeless when used on a long-term basis.

Perhaps you may need two types of snow foam, regular maintenance wash for light soil using pH neutral product, and a stronger alkaline for the heavier soiling when needed.

+ You need a jet wash or pressure washer

Nope. The jet wash is not the be all and end all of the snow application to the car. Some snow foams are quite happy to be applied by a hand held pressure pumped bottle. As long as the foam product is the correct dilution, is applied to the paint and allowed to dwell before its removal – then its job is done.

+ All Snow Foam lances are the same

Nope. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some brass body, some made of cheaper metals or plastic. You get what you pay for.

Honestly, I had a Karcher cannon that could barely muster a lather no matter the product. The Autbrite snow cannon with the same mixture was an incredible difference. My only advise here is to make your choice wisely.

+ You must use Snow Foam

Well sort of. You could use some good quality shampoos at a push. But their pre-wash cleaning ability is not as good as the snow foams. Most car shampoos tend to have additives to allow slick washing and glide the cleaning applicator (mitt of sponge) over the paint and a level of protection. It’s best to get a product designed as a snow foam.

Types of Snow Foam:

Apart from the pH values as we have discussed above most snow foams are pH neutral. The main differences are the cost per litre when mixing for the dilution ratio. The cling properties which varies a great deal, their proclaimed cleaning properties, colour and the scent. Some of these scents are sublime; water melon, lemon, citrus fruits, strawberries, cherry, beer etc. Or nothing if just want a no gimmick product that does the job. I have used a few in my time:

Some have been worse than useless, some have been better than others and one is my now go to product.

Application:

Mix your snow foam as per the manufacturers recommendations. This is usually a ratio of around 1:10 or 1:20 etc. some are even 1:100.

Next attach the snow lance to the jet wash, adjust the mixtures and apply (if needed). This will take a little tweaking for the ideal balance between dilution ratio, the water pressure, size of the nozzle and the product you are using.

Different products on the same foam cannon will be very different and need further adjusting to suit.

Most of the products advise not to allow the product to dry out. The product can be affected by the Sun, warm paint, wind rain etc. Most manufacturers go on to say apply ‘in the shade’ and ‘apply to cool paint’ etc in order to mitigate the drying out process of the product.

Always start from the bottom and work up. The huge majority of debris and soiling is on the bottom half of the car. As you get to the top less show foam is needed.

Types of application.

A snow foam application will solidify into nothing eventually and slide off the car. If the snow is to thick it will fall of the car (no clinging properties) in clumps before it has had a chance to work. So, thicker is not always better. But it does look good below.

After a few minutes of dwell time it will look less impressive.

Some of the poorer week applications look half dead before they are applied and very watery. These products tend to run off and dry out very quickly.

If the product starts to dry out, there is no harm in reapplying more.

Some of the better quality products have ‘wetting’ agents in them to aid in keeping the product wet on the paint to avoid it drying out. This product application is a little thin now, but was taken after a few minutes. Although below looks less, it has in fact been doing it’s job well and was staying like this without additional applications.

Once the dwell time has elapsed, rinse of with a medium force jet wash. You can then wash the car as normal to avoid any water spots.

Results:

The results vary considerably by product. I have some before and after pics to show what it was before the application and what was there after rinsing.

Here is a very well known market leader product that has a very good cling and thick foam. But, it left a film of dirt and didn’t wash off the dirt.

Another very well known brand but is a cheaper product. Thin application, not very good cling and failed to wash of dirt. the dirt was still on their without being moistened.

A Premium brand, clings well, but failed to wash the dirt off completely. The dirt was moistened and was easier wipe off with a finger. So it did help.

This is well know brand to those in the detailing world. The foaming qualities not great and are to be desired. But when this runs of the paint it takes the dirt with it.

This is the result you want. The dirt and film is gone ready for a proper contact wash. It even cleaned some brake dust off!

Summary:

Don’t believe all the hype. The snow foam step is not a magical ‘foam the the car and it’s clean’ process. This foam step is to pre wash the car and should be treated as such. You need to manage your own snow foam expectations depending on the product. I have done a number of snow foam reviews on this website now.

I have been sceptical of the snow foam step even critical to a point. I saw it as the latest fad with no benefit to be honest. I have learned the hard way by working up the ladder. I tried the weaker brands which put a bit of foam on the car and emptied my wallet for no reason. I tried the big name brands which gave a great clinging foam but not much else. I tried premium brands which gave a good enough foam and decent moistening to the dirt. I tried the in the know ‘detailers’ brands. These later ‘detailer’ brands were by far the best performing of all the brands I have used so far.

Some brands are so much better than others to the point I haven’t even reviewed some of them, I used them up as a patio cleaner. After application of some brands, the dirt was not loosened and was still difficult to remove with a finger even after rinsing, like you shouldn’t do by the way. If the dirt is difficult to remove after the snow foam step then you are potentially going to washing a little harder to get the debris off the paint, in turn potentially introducing damage that you are trying to avoid in the first place.

If you are careful and use top quality shampoos with a two bucket method, then you can do away with this step as we have done for decades way before all this snow foam malarkey.

This snow foam step is trial and error which works for you. I have tried at least six products before I found something came close to something i could review or even partially liked. You may need to do the same, or look out for fellow detailer’s product reviews.

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A Little Village Day Out

A ‘Bank Holiday’ in the UK usually means one thing, rain. Not all the time but most of the time as a rule of thumb. But this weekend is different as it has been a gloriously sunny weekend for all three days. Yesterday was a local village about 20 miles away, Bardwell where their little village green pays host to a small friendly car show with around two hundred pre booked cars to exhibit.

On arrival the cars were allocated their own parking spaces with a numbered peg in the ground. There was an option to be ‘judged’ in different categories, but you had to pay extra for that. I wasn’t worried about that side of things and just wanted to have a day in the sun and enjoy a bit of people watching. I was parked up next to a newer S197 Mustang and on the other side of me was 280CE Mercedes. The owner of the Merc and his wife were sitting in their deckchairs with me and we had some good ol’ chats throughout the day.

With all the cars parked in place the gates opened at ten sharp to where the public was allowed in. There was a constant stream all day and the atmosphere was fantastic. I decided to go for a little walk after I had wiped the dust and dead bugs from the front of the car cleaned the glass on my car. I think the bugs had Lemmings DNA in them. I do believe that I managed to hit every bug on the way there, it certainly seemed like it though 🙂

I tried to get a few scenic shots in of the show, the best of it was that there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky – all day.

On my last post I took a picture of the back end of my car next to another 65 coupe, this show I managed to repeat it with the S197 convertible.

I saw this car come in and I made sure that it would be my first port of call. The car was a Lamborghini Countach. I had posters of this car on my wall as a kid at school, next to the Mustangs and many Debbie Harry ones. By todays super car performances this isn’t that devastating now, however it’s still no slouch by any stretch of the imagination and will hold its own against most cars. In its day this car destroyed pretty much destroyed everything around that dared to try. Not to everybody’s taste I get that, but what a car it is to see in the flesh and still looks good. Is it automotive art or pure automotive porn?

So I walked around clockwise and no particular order, there where a couple of super cars parked next to a super small car;