She was a real little honey of a car!!
Not a whole lot really...
After the sporty engine transplant, at one stage the wrong engine oil grade was used, and so the car had to be completely drained and new oil put in the crankcase.
Driver's seat ended up with a touch of sag at 72,000 miles.
This car - when first delivered to us in late 1971, as an experimental hot rod I guess you might say, was very little used until 1973, so we'll start the evaluation from there.
She was painted in Seafoam green - first registered in November 1958, and was not a deluxe model.
She was fitted with a Daimler Dart 2548cc V8 in 1970, and a corresponding four speed manual gearbox. The gear lever sprouted further back than the original, so was cut down by 5 inches, yet retained the white cue ball knob.
Her rear arches were radiussed into a three quarter moon shape. There were 14 by 13 inch rear white painted steely wheels. She wore 295 section drag slicks to the rear. The fronts were stock 4.5 inch with cream painted wheels and chrome mooncaps. Front tyres were 155 radials.
She had a new 12 volt negative earth electrical system, including two speed electric wipers, and had a heater, which was removed in the conversion to a V8.
She had anti tramp bars fitted to the back axle, a short tube single engine painted mufflered exhaust with 3 inch diameter, and Gabriel Strider gas shocks fitted, painted in white!!
She had had all chrome removed, save the front bonnet script, and was bereft of a rear bumper.
Her rear valance was a little short, and with 2 inch front rake, she showed her lower differential to you if you approached from the rear, as well as her engine white painted shocks. Her rear was round, spare, seamless, and tucked under.
The interior in Vynide and PVC headlining, was absolutely stock standard, save for 130 mph calibration on the original AC speedometer. There was not even a rev counter!!
This engine would rev to 7200, and was a real peach!!
A Daimler Dart diff was fitted, and she had front disc brakes, courtesy of a 1971 Ford Transit Dually.
Tiger print foam back front seat covers were fitted later in 1973.
Her gas tank was doubled in capacity to 16 gallons by way of welding an additional 8 gallon tank alongside, eating into the available boot space.
Full rubber flooring was fitted instead of carpets.
I have to say, this car ran superbly when warmed, making a sweet bark and a mellow scream from her short tube pipe, when you revved her out past 5800.
There was acceleration to burn, even with the motor in stock factory tune, together with outstanding flexibility and a strident exhaust note!!
Speeds in the indirects were 50 mph in first at 6800, 80 mph in second at 6800, 102 mph in third at 6800, and 120 mph in top...
MPG was around 26-31 on a long run.
She weighed in at 1830 lbs dry - 1980 lbs with a tank of gas.
A drag strip timed 14.7 was possible through the quarter on a dry windless day - the more you revved out past 5000, the better she ran!!
Her 0-60 mph time generally was around the 7.5 secs, though we timed one sprint at 7.2 secs. Later the engine was tuned to 200 BHP on the dyno, and suddenly 0-60 mph times were 5.8 secs!!
That little car was approaching 1980s super car levels of acceleration, and could do a 14 second dead quarter in 1982
She sounded like a De Tomaso Pantera, and revved even better!
I have to say i held a soft spot for this one, and called her Leanne. She was the British Isles equivalent of a GT500 Mustang(!!), only on a rather smaller scale with better rear seats.
We sold her in late 2001 for 16,500 dollars to a new enthusiastic hot rodder down in Millers Flat region of the South Island, where I've heard on the vine she continues to partake in the dragging scene on occasion - long live lil honeysweet Leanne I say!!
Brumm brumm!! A go go!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th January, 2013