Westfield Megabusa Build Diary

31 Mar 2008
Wishbone torquing and the first drive of the car

I spoke to Simon at the factory and he said that the wishbone bolts should ALWAYS be torqued with the car on the floor, so I went over each bolt, loosened it, jumped up and down on the car a few times to free the bushes, and then tightened them again. The car has a bounce now, so this had done the trick.

The only thing left to do is roughly set the camber of the front wheels, and then do the toe. I did this by eye, and played around with it until it looked right. I'll do it properly another time.

I did the final bits and pieces to prepare the car for its first outing. I was in a "do I, don't I" mood with it. I just needed to extend a cable for the oil pressure sensor, tighten the battery terminals, give the car a final once-over, and then that was it.

Matt had gone to the cinema, because I didn't think we would be driving the car that evening, so I gave my Dad a shout to come out with me.

We pushed it out of the garage and then back and forwards a few times to turn it around. I didn't fancy maneuvering it as the clutch is so sharp. My heart was pounding and I felt a bit sick. I wasn't really dreading it all, but it's just the when you've spent nearly 4 months of your life on something like this, it's more than just a drive.

I've never been nervous about driving a car. Not any of my old cars, not the Noble, not any friends cars, not on a trackday for the first time - never. This is different though. This is really different.

I jump in and so does my Dad. Harnesses on in case of any sudden jolts. I start the car - oil pressure is very stable at 4 bar, coolant is 16 degrees and rising, and the car seems a lot quieter outside. It was 9:45 so I didn't want it to be too loud.

My Mum was hanging out of the window watching. I ask my Dad if he's ready and he says yes, so "clonk", into first gear, a few revs, and...STALL!

This clutch is so tricky - try again. It's moving! I don't quite make the turn so I test out the reverse box. Back we go and it seems ok. Forward again, careful on the clutch and away we drive.

Up the hill and down the road. We don't have any front wheel arches (cycle wings) on, and stones are everywhere. It's like we're driving through gravel or something. I think that the tyres are so sticky that they just pick them up and throw them, whereas most cars would just run over them.

We drove about half a mile down my road and the next road. Although it's illegal, I didn't take the piss with it. We stayed to 25mph and the roads were all cul-de-sac roads so have extremely limited traffic. In addition, it was after 9pm so very few people about.

The engine warmed up very quickly and held at temperature. We turned round and drove home slowly. The brakes are virtually non-existent and will really need some bedding to work well.

We got back to the drive and cut the engine so we could push it back into the garage. Smoke was pouring out of the exhaust for ages after cutting, and smelt funny. I turned the engine back on, run it for a couple of seconds, and then turn off again. The smoke has stopped so it must have been the cat burning off oil and rubbish. Still worried me at the time though.

All in all very happy though - nothing fell off, so I'll go over everything with a spanner tonight and make sure nothing has worked loose.

It took me over an hour before I could eat as I was so excited still. It was such a wierd feeling.