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Stuart Hoyle - Member No 890
Based in: Bury, Manchester
Joined Club: January 2012
Some info about my Speedster - I've owned her for six and a half years. I bought her from a guy called Pete Mattison who was based down on the south coast somewhere in the Poole,Bournemouth area. He had her on Ebay and it was whilst I was in Ringwood at some relatives that I saw the listing. I managed to contact him and persuade him to take payment prior to the end of the auction...... The only catch was that I hadn't seen the car and was now back home in Manchester, sometimes you just have to take a leap!!
The car was actually having some repairs done at Hoonahs Bug shack just off the M3 at the time I bought her. The garage were fantastic in helping me as they agreed to trailer the car to Portsmouth the following weekend so that I could come down on the Sunday and have a look at her. I was in for a bit of a shock when I first got there. In hindsight I should have gone straight to the guy and introduced myself, instead I just had a poke around and found the car at the back of his stall (it was the annual Bugfest on the front at Portsmouth). The car had no roof, the fibreglass was cracked on the wheel arches and the paint wasn't great. However to my relief he then informed me the chassis and running gear was sound and fully operational.
The issues with the fibreglass and paint (british racing green, see photo above) were really just cosmetic. I left the car with him after agreeing to a full re-spray and installation of a new roof which we would get from Chesil and retrofit......
Here's where my relationship with Chesil started. I purchased a roof for the car in October, which would be delivered within about four weeks. After time went by with numerous calls and unfulfilled promises with Hoonahs getting desperate as they needed the roof to finish the car and it was taking up space in the bodyshop, Chesil had not delivered. They had also stopped taking calls. Then in mid-December I heard a rumour of liquidation... The following day I drove from Manchester to Chesil Beach and was sat on their doorstep when they opened at 9ish. After a bit of warm discussion I came away with my roof, but then had to travel to Yeovil to collect the fibreglass header bar!!
In my rush to get the car back to Manchester Hoonah's never had time for the roof as I wanted the car back at Christmas for a friend's wedding. Which wasn't much of an issue to me really. But when the car arrived it wouldn't start and the bonnet wouldn't open to get at the battery. The only way to get it running was to bump start it. I subsequently found that one of the bonnet catch bolts was too long and was fouling the opening mechanism. I then had to cut a hole in the side of the tub to get to the bolt!! Nightmare really but that's what rushing does for you!
I got the roof fitted the following summer when the rain stopped long enough for me to drive to Denton on the East side of Manchester to drop her off. So since then the car has have very little regular use really. Nights and weekends have been the best time but I don't take her out when its wet, so in hindsight there was absolutely no point in getting a roof but never mind!! I would love to use her on a daily basis but with being a project manager on construction sites I wasn't prepared risk the dust and the parking arrangements. I also do a lot of karting throughout the year so any free time is spent with the other half or getting the kart ready for the next race.
Sadly she hasn't moved since June last year when I got a friend to look at the engine. He cleaned all the carbs, fitted new seals and cleaned out the fuel system. From what we found in the petroI tank I don't think it had ever been cleaned out! On the way back the car was going great until it dropped to three cylinders. When I got home I found it had spat a spark plug out and for some unknown reason blown the fuses to my rear lights, great when I'm on the M62 at 11pm!
So she's in the garage covered up ready for the next phase which is due to start this week. It looks like we're going to drop the gearbox and engine as the clutch is jumping in first gear and we can't really see what's going on with the spark plug.
|click on any images to enlarge
The car itself is a Sheldonhurst, produced in Birmingham around 1984. I believe it was their show car? The only other Sheldonhurst that I know of is the one in Sweden owned by Peter Ostrom (also a member) although after emailing with Peter I don't think the car has ever been completed? I recently found one of the guys who worked on my car, Reg Causer. He's now based in Canada and part owner of a bodyshop out there. He emigrated in the mid-eighties but has been really helpful sending me photos and a magazine article with the car being test driven. I know of another previous owner who Pete put me in touch with, Nigel Franklin? I think he and a friend Phil, owned the car between them for a few years and did quite a lot of work on the engine, different carbs, pistons etc.
'Top Wheels' was the magazine which did the review/test drive. The car was red originally, then green and she's now black!
Below are two pics at the Sheldonhurst Factory and a scan of the Sheldonhurst flyer. The little girl in front of my car in the factory is Reg Causer's daughter. Reg is on one of the photos
Two of the pics opposite were taken after she was finished with the roof attached. The last one at the bottom is when I got her out at Christmas to give her a quick clean!