21st September 2010
Finaly started a new diary, it has taken me a long time to set this up, but no excuses! apart from my spelling. I can build the car and fit many complicated parts, but spell them well! So much has happen since arriving back home from our overland trip to Australia, I don't know where to start. We have been very lucky with the reception and feedback and it has certainly humbled us and put the world in to perspective.
Whilst away we kept a diary and have now completed writing a book on our adventure. The writing was pretty straight forward as so much happened, making it in to a story for a book was another thing. However after lots of spell checking, editting professionaly we now have a structure to it and this is now the hard bit, finding an Agent or publisher.
20th November 2006
New diary page started! Please excuse my spelling! Chitty is awaiting seats, the leather has been cut to size and we have ordered a fine cut to cover the buttons.
22nd November 2006
Tomorrow, Thursday 23rd the DVLA vehicle inspectors are coming to view the car, they are checking to see if everything is in order, check engine and chassis details etc. This is a very important day for us and chitty as a lot of hard work which rests on this. To be quite honest it is quite nerve racking! The garage is now clean and tidy ready for the visit so fingers crossed.
23rd November 2006
Today the DVLA man came to inspect the car! Firstly he was very impressed with what he saw and knew it was Chitty straight away- which was a good sign! He looked through all the paperwork and had a good look over the car , things look promising, however it is now a waiting game for the report to be written up.
3rd December 2006
Telephoned the leather suppliers who said that the leather required for the buttons needed to be skived off (thinned), however the person concerned was on holiday. Doh!
8th January 2007
Happy new year, The best news ever arrived two days before Christmas! chitty has passed, DVLA has passed and issued a new Registration certificate, and boy are we pleased. The Landrover has been re-classified as a tourer with colour change to silver and brown. This is such a relief, as without the approval we would be going nowhere. If it had failed we would have had to pass a single vehicle approved test which all kit cars have to pass, and it is very detailed and hard to pass. (most kit car manufacturers design their cars with this test in mind, so the process is easier) however for a non kit car its a real challenge. But we passed so now its all about an M.O.T. and for that we need to complete the wiring, electrics, leather seats, lights, bleed the brakes finish the interior, fit spare wheel and so on!!
31st January 2007
Now working hard towards a M.O.T. , both running boards are on and the fenders are just about complete. We have just ordered a new wiring loom and will set about replace a.s.a.p Thought of a launch party are now with us and plann for easter time.
25th february 2007
Well where do I start! the Island life magazine printed an article on Chitty and with that the Isle of Wight County Press telephoned us for a photo shoot and on Friday we made front page news. The response was excellent and we have been contacted by the national press and the stage show which is coming to the Mayflower in Southampton during June - September. We were invited to the Stage show press launch, meeting the marketing team and lord montagu at Beaulieu in the New Forest.
27th March 2007
Today Chitty passed its M.O.T. What a relief! it realy has been a roller coaster ride. Chitty went into the garage last Friday to have a steering relay fitted, the old one was stuck fast and took two days to remove, I had to take apart the front grille and headlights and whilst doing so I was stopped half a dozen times to talk to onlookers ! great fun. Tomorrow tax and a day of rest!
Saturday 8th April 2007
Grand Chitty launch Day! Click to enlarge photo.
Monday 7th may 2007
I have recently been asked to write an article for the Isle of Wight's Island Life magazine which is to be in the June issue, based on are plans for driving to Australia. The opportunity to put pen to paper has really focus are minds on the challenge we have. Below is an extract from the article.
Port out starboard home.
The Grand Chitty launch was a celebration marking the end of four years hard work and the start of intensive overland planning.
Going posh was sun ominous with the wealthy and with good reason, during the days of empire, Victorians would travel to far flung out posts including the jewel in the crown of India . 1 st class travel ensured a cabin on the port side of the ship away from the southern sun, for a cooler journey. Starboard side (right) gave the same benefits on the return trip. However our forthcoming trip over land to Australia certainly won't be posh.
During the planning stages we opted for the port out, starboard home logo as it was reflective of travel and the well known song from the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Steve Murphy hosted the launch Chitty day as master of ceremonies and doubled as grand pa, with an in character rendition of the posh song. Easter Saturday welcomed 200 guests to the event who were fed and watered compliments of Marks & Spencer and entertained by Stuart Pointing as the Child Catcher. Young children were suitably petrified by his alluring charm. The Old Bamboo saw five dancers including Ross and Becky Crow, Ben Dobson and my wife Carolyn who paved the way for the grand launch. Chitty rolled out to smoke and thunder flashes, accompanied by the most appropriate music soundtrack.
Once the dust had settled it was time to apply a degree of serious thought to our overland trip. If you say it quick 12,000 miles doesn't sound too bad, after all most of us achieve that each year just travelling to work and back. The distance is certainly one aspect to consider however the legal red tape and political constraints make the whole project extremely challenging. In principal driving through 18 countries, camping, cooking and a spot of sight seeing sounds great, but we are talking a four month trip in a replica style Chitty Chitty Bang Bang currently without a roof and the luggage space of a naturalist on a unicycle!
Chitty is based on a chassis from 1973 and there are serious plans to cover all aspects of the cars mechanics however so far the engine has had limited love and care, which so far has managed to get us to the M.O.T and back and a day trip to London for This Morning show with Fern Brittan and Phillip Scofield.
The list of endless tasks and things to do is growing longer however I have a plan! With a few poignant proverbs in mind, “fail to plan, you plan to fail” and “any fool can be uncomfortable” we set about considering one aspect at a time, Chitty preparation, luggage and camping equipment, legal and financial, support and spares, personal safety and not forgetting the route.
The plan has always been to finance the trip our selves, to take a career break, and raise money for the Earl Mountbatten hospice, Multiple Sclerosis, and the World Wild Life Fund.
Before we embark on our trip it's important to keep it simple and that goes for Chitty, the more hi tech and complicated the greater the chance of it breaking down. After a lot of soul searching we have decided to keep the standard 2.25 Landrover engine.
We debated the pros and cons of petrol verses diesel regarding cost, availability and performance and opted for petrol. Performance is certainly better although the MPG will be pretty poor, however we hope to off set this with lower fuel prices across the globe, good availability and by what we saved by not fitting a new diesel. I may eat my words!
Taking two spare tyres is a must, fitted to 16” wheels which are common in size and readily available. Researching the internet two types of vehicles come highly recommended for overland travel, the first being a Toyota landcruser, say no more and the second is an old Landrover, too new brings its own problems explains the website, where do you find a diagnostics testing machine in the Amazon! When I asked a guy from Landrover Owners International magazine for advice he said “keep it simple”, series 3 landrovers litter the globe, they are basic, reliable and easy to work on, and in fact 75% of all Landrovers ever built are still on the road. I was advised not to fit power steering, something else to go wrong, however the modifications that suit approval were a hi powered coil and electronic ignition to replace the points. New parabolic springs and shocks have been fitted to give a more forgiving ride and a Kenlow fan to aid cooling, apart from that it is a pretty standard series 3.
I will be taking a parts catalogue, a manual, a couple of supplier's telephone numbers including the code! And contacts for DHL. I have been over Chitty with a fine tooth comb identifying only the tools I need and a few spares such as spark plugs, coil, air filter, fuel filter, fan belt, bulbs gaffer tape, wire, but nothing major, its just not practical taking prop shafts and leaf springs. I will include inner tubes, a puncture repair kit and monster tyre levers, I have taken advise on the technique for removing a tyre of this size however haven't quite mustered up the courage to tackle it yet but I need to before I go.
With all this prep I am sure there will be some challenging moments but if something major goes we will cross that bridge as it happens and besides its all part of the adventure.
Carolyn and I have luggage down to a fine art. One ruck sack between us. Light weight fold up dresses for Carolyn of course! Underwear, long sleeve shirts that can be rolled up. Taking few pairs on light weight easy dry trousers which zip off at the knee to save on shorts and a comfortable pair of shoes and flip flops. If it gets cold which I am sure it will, we always take a fleece and a light weight rain coat. Apart from a towel and toiletries that's about it. Remember that old proverb, take half the clothes and double the money! Well we will manage half the clothes!
The world is full of good and bad people and fortunately when travelling we encounter mostly good, having said that security is important.
Once we leave the EU our green card car insurance is invalid and we have to buy third party insurance on the boarder, although the kind of cover you have is debatable. To prevent anyone importing a vehicle a Carnet de Passage is required. This is available from the RAC and very expensive, it is a kind of insurance against avoiding paying tax if you sold the car, therefore your Carnet is stamped in and out of a country confirming the value of your vehicle and goods making sure all is present and correct. Depending of the value of your vehicle it could cost up to £5000!
We have travel insurance and injections to arange, currency to organise and ferries to book with time ticking on and reality hits home. Estate agents bring a supply of potential tenets to rent our home and certification for gas and electricity needs completing. Direct debits need setting up, cancelling and amending and four cats need a foster home. Both our jobs are to be kept open but living on a limited income makes it life on a shoe string. It is all very exciting but also very scary and as September looms ever closer the apprehension grows ever stronger. We are negotiating Beaulieu's offer of a grand departure. But whatever the case I will insist on travelling to Portsmouth on the left side of the boat in the true spirit of Port out Starboard home…
11th June 2007
Chitty supported the Isle of Wight's Old Gaffers festival in Yarmouth, We took Grandpa's hut and we raised money for charity over the two days. great weekend and generated lots of interest.
27th June 2007
This weekend we were invited to the West End Live show in London's Leicester square, we were on display over Friday, Saturday and Sunday with red carpet treatment! along side film cars including the Batmobile & Bat bike, Herbie, James Bond's DB5, Mr Beans mini and the Pink Panther car. It was a great week end but very wet!