March update – Spring driving

Spring had definitely sprung by mid March and therefore no excuses for not taking the Corsair out for a good drive. The first decent run (Sunday 17th March) was to Blandford on the A350 but I was soon frustrated by a large and slow camper vehicle, so once at Fontmell Magna, I turned off to head up to the higher road and then had a hassle free swift drive until I made it to Blandford. I then took the A345 towards Salisbury, and some time after Tarrant Hinton I took a left turn off via the lanes towards the Larmer Tree to later pick up the B3081. This particular ‘B’ road is superb with a long fast section (after the Ludwell turning) with grand views across the Wiltshire/Dorset countryside towards Shaftesbury and then to go down Zig Zag Hill finished that section off nicely. It was a very pleasant run of 28 miles with no issues.

B3081, just prior to going down Zig Zag Hill, Dorset

A week later and Sunday 24th was also glorious and I had more reason to go out in the Corsair. After a few attempts the car finally started, much to my relief and left to warm up as I set about taking down the hood. A trip out to Gillingham was required to drop by the Mole Valley Store but I had to go via East Knoyle and Mere to get there. I forgot once off the old main road, the village of East Knoyle was tricky to negotiate with the single track lanes to the hamlet of Underhill and thankfully I didn’t come across any oncoming traffic. I also took the opportunity to stop at the the roadside to replicate the photos I took of the Corsair 19 years ago when I first acquired it. When parked up at Mole Valley Stores I was approached by a gentlemen who said seeing my car had made his day which made me feel the trip was even more worth while. So, heading back was via East Stour and then the A30, but again another Sunday driver held up a swift drive home. It was a bit chilly across my shoulders with the hood down and I should have worn a wind proof coat, but it was only the faster stretches of road.

Parked up on the driveway I had some time to clean up the bodywork from the previous week before putting it away in the garage. But when that time came, it wouldn’t start. Thankfully it was still early afternoon so I had some time to step back and think about what I was going to do.

First step, I checked for a spark at the plugs. No spark. I then checked for a spark from the coil. No spark. Out came the multimeter, hoping I could remember how to use it properly, I checked the resistance of the coil HT output and that ‘appeared’ to be working correctly. Next it was out with the Haynes Manual and the distributor cap was removed and so I could check the points gap and clean them up. Still no starting. With the ignition switched on, I checked the condenser in two different ways, one see if there was a lot of sparks arcing across the gap when manually opened (which it did) and then a volt meter test of the condenser between its connecting wire to the points, of which a voltage was detected signifying the condenser was faulty. With my ‘methodical’ testing I had successfully diagnosed the fault as when I put a spare condenser on, the car fired up instantly and was put away in the garage.

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