First sign of sunshine and I had to get it out.
Just a hint of watery sunshine peeking round the shed doors yesterday was enough to overcome my feeble resistance: Salt on the roads or not, I had to drag a car out for a drive. To be fair, the Lagonda's ancient frame has already weathered 83 winters and a world war, so whatever damage that can be done has probably already been done. And most of the underside is coated in leaked oil anyway, so is naturally protected in much the same way that those birds pee down their own legs to avoid sunburn - yes, that is a thing, I just can't remember the species of bird that does it.
Country lanes; wind in hair; all that stuff went on and I was having a great time. I've done this before, taken a precious vehicle out and deliberately got it all clarted up and filthy. It's a joyous, liberating thrill and I decided I needed to share that joy. Passing my parents' house I swung into their drive on an impulse and invited them to join me. They sensed immediately the fun of it and we laughed and smiled like a yoghurt advert. And then proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of a whole fleet of interesting noises. A series of impressive backfires kicked things off and I exchanged raised-eyebrow glances with my father. Further backfires and then a louder, sharper crack from nearer the manifold. More glances. 'Running lean?" "Hmm, could be. Fuelling or timing definitely." And then a truly massive backfire followed by a rapid-fire series of cracks from under the bonnet heralded in a tremendous whirring clatter until the mighty Lagonda was transformed into a rolling, aural rendition of a helicopter gunship buzzing in under heavy fire.
From the back seat, my mother asked, "Is there something wrong then?" Yes, yes there was but ever the coward, I limped the Lagonda the few remaining miles to my house, figuring that as long as it still moved, whatever damage I did to it's innermost workings could be minimised by a light foot on the centre accelerator pedal and anyway, would be far less impactful on my wallet and life than the misery of rolling to a smoky stop in the middle of nowhere with my poor parents on board and calling for help.
We made it and I drove my parents home in a functioning Landrover. On the way we discussed how this problem would doubtless require tearing the engine down to the crankshaft and demand many long hours in the garage working mechanical miracles. I have no doubt that I impressed them deeply with my philosophical, pragmatic attitude to such a disaster. On lifting the bonnet I found, not an exploded block or detonated head, but that I had proved an important point: superchargers work better when they are supercharging the engine rather than the county through which the car is being driven. I slipped the pipe back onto its mounting on the inlet and locked the bonnet down.
That gap between the supercharger's outlet pipe and the inlet manifold suggests some of the fuel/air mixture was being forced into Herefordshire rather than the Lagonda's engine.
The Lagonda was treated to a bath and fired up perfectly, running contentedly as I shunted it back into the barn. When my parents ask about the car I shall tell them, breezily, that it wasn't quite as bad as it could have been and that I have fixed it.