I feel like I've made some significant progress this week.
I sorted out the spare wheel problem on the van by buying a new tyre of the correct size. Whilst it was apart I took the opportunity to get the wheel itself blast cleaned and powder coated. It looks like new now. I've just ordered a new spare wheel cover to fit the larger tyre so that should be one problem I don't have to worry about any more.
I also decided that the van exhaust replacement wasn't something I wanted to tackle on my own so I've dropped the van off at a local garage today to let them try and fabricate the odd shaped length of pipe that's needed to replace the cat and make it all join up.
Unfortunately it seems that the auto transmission on the van is leaking fluid from the rear of the housing. That's a job I was really hoping didn't need doing. I knew there was a slight weep from there but it looks like it's worse than I thought. I've read that the rear oil seal can be replaced without having to remove the entire gearbox so some further research is needed to see whether that is a feasible option.
Since the rain has held off today for the first time in what seems like weeks, I spent the day replacing all the brake pads and shoes on the race car (see the attached photo, maybe I should check them a bit sooner next time!). A new set of race tyres arrived last week so they are now fitted too. I also got the new exhaust system out of its box and worked out how that all fits together and changed the oil in the gearbox so I'm reasonably confident that once the engine comes back I'll have a complete kit of everything that's needed to put the car back together again. With any luck that is next weekend's task. I'll go catch up with the engine builder on Monday and see whether it looks like the simple job we were anticipating or whether he's found anything nasty. Here's hoping for that one to go to plan!
By the way, a blue Triumph Acclaim drove past whilst I was outside earlier. Was that you "Toledo Man" or is there another one in the area?
Tomorrow I'm meeting some people to try out a possible route for part of the CT "Dales Bramble" which takes place in June. That should make a change from all this mechanical stuff anyway.
EDIT: Hey, I finally managed to work out how to get my blog to work in UK time. The incorrect timestamps had been irritating me for ages!