“What the hell is that?!” – we detected our business Partner, Neil, whose responsibility was getting what we purchased back on the road wasn’t happy. If we weren’t 100% sure about that, he removed all doubt as he turned away and walked back across the yard where our recovery truck was dropping off the Splitty to his office. Hmmm, we both thought. What to do now? Keep quiet, unload the truck and he’ll calm down.
Over coffee in his office we chatted. He was calm. Well, more less annoyed than calm, but hey-ho. “You two drive me mad” he said, less calm now. “You said on the phone, 40, 50, maybe sixty or so hours work. That looks more like 400!” He paused, waiting for an answer. We both stared at our shoes suppressing a massive urge to giggle. We found ourselves transported back to the Headmaster office. I went first. Big mistake.
“Look, why don’t we do a pre-assessment, strip it down, see what’s what and then go forward”. Another long pause. “Forward” he said, rather too quietly for my liking, “Forward” he was shouting now, “How is stripping the heap of crap you two burkes bought making several heaps of crap cluttering up the workshop with acres of dead space, moving forward. Humm?” Paul let go first, no longer suppressing the giggle he’d been holding. Then I followed and we were both laughing now. A lot. With a smile, Neil then joined in, shaking his head, muttering something about what a pair of **bleeping ***** kids we were. …………. That’s agreed then. We’ll strip it down and see what is needed.
Where to start. A plan is always good. A good plan is even better. We didn’t start with a plan. Well not a fully thought through one at any rate. We all agreed we would do visual assessment. Then move on and we will carefully start to remove some bits and pieces for access and also do some tests around some of the obvious corroded areas. A plan was being formed. We all agreed. When I say all, I mean, Paul and I, Neil looked on nervously, not joining in, but not throwing his veto around either. We drew up a job card, with instructions and handed over to our workshop team headed by the capable and patient Steve. Little did we know just how far and how amazing Steve’s patience was.
Steve looked at our job card, looked at us both and disappeared towards the Splitty that was now on a ramp in the shop. We cast our minds back to Dave from Cornwall when he gave us that look as the Splitty spluttered in to life, a look of self satisfaction and we felt things were headed in the right direction.
That peaceful ignorance was to be somewhat disrupted a couple of days later when one morning Steve sent all three of us an email; can we meet in the shop about 10.00 tomorrow and have a discussion about the Splitty. Sure. Great idea, thought we.
Steve had started by jet washing and variously cleaning the little Splitty. Additionally, he spent a few hours getting it to start and run via the ignition, as opposed to Cornwall Dave’s ingenious hotwiring. In doing so he’d inspected all the electrics. He’d moved on to the running gear, suspension, engine and then finally the bodywork and interior. We suspected Neil had advance notice of what Steve was about to tell us. The little Splitty needed a few more hours than we expected, but crucially he batted the ball decisively back on our side of the net with the great question – what did we want the finished outcome to be. We needed to ponder now.
A couple of days later the four of us met for coffee. Steve and Neil led the conversations. They explained there were a range of options now. Did we want to keep all original, engine, ‘box, suspension, or modify. If we wanted to modify, to what extent should we modify. The body work; same question, standard or pimped. They continued. Did we need to keep all the panels original, and lead load or repair, or cut out and replace.
Then the big question hit us. What about the interior. There were a million options for the interior from back to a somewhat dull Germanic 1960’s period interior, to something modern and tasteful, to right out there. Question, questions, questions…