So here we are, after much time spent thinking about the story - time to put fingers to keyboard and tell the story of how "Joy" came to be parked outside my house.
The story starts with a common story, for some time we were a two car family comprising of the toy and the sensible. The toys were generally off-road prepared Land Rovers of some model. The love of the Land Rover started with a once in a lifetime (although now I want to do it again), invitation from a team attempting to drive a Dutch Artillery Vehicle from Plymouth>Banjul as part of the famous rally. I found myself with one car and nothing taking my fancy to take the place of the "toy". Combined with my son starting to learn to drive, reading a number of articles on classic car insurance and a dramatic rise in the number of restoration programs on the TV - for fun, I poked in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow to the insurance websites. Interesting results - worth a try with your "dream" car with teenagers learning to drive. I thought that with the tech in cars, I'd like my son to be aware of the engineering, get the real feel of driving that you can only get from an older car. As much fun as this was in the January of 2016 - I found nothing that was in the toy budget and we just spent some money on the sensible car.
Fast forward - I get an itchy foot, the sensible car is not doing anything for me, time to go car shopping. Test drove and went to see some very individual cars, the stand out amusement came from the bonkers styling and drive of a Dodge Nitro in flame red. Weekends were passing at car dealerships, the type that are dealerships ran from the spare barn of a farm, looking for something unique, something nobody else has. Even more special, something unique that can be given a hidden talent.
The fateful day, in the weeks leading to our holiday in the USA (end of June2016) - we visited a car lot primarily to look at 90's Range Rover with all the toys low mileage. It appealed a lot, comfort with not so hidden ability to do some amazing driving. A little boring, in grey, but I convinced the wife to come take a look. We arrived at the lot, I was getting on well with the seller as there was a real range of oddball cars on the lot. This was the moment, the moment I lost my wife. I turned round to honestly ask if she was happy with me putting on offer on the table for the Rangie. I had to shout to find where she had gone - and then I saw a waving hand, over by a car covered in moss on the roof and standing pretty sad.
Cue the arrow from cupid. Yes, this was it - the wife had found a perfect project. 1981 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit, in need of a lot of love and attention. Cosmetically not too shabby under the dirt, a nip underneath and pretty clean. Thank you smart phone for instantly finding the status. Stored in a barn for the previous 7/8 years. Lot salesman started to detail what was broken, rather than what worked, but also then listed what they had done as part of the first stage of getting her back on the road. I went away, I did my research, I was told I was insane as there was very little (read none) service history and the odometer was clearly broken so unverified mileage as well.
Long story short - perhaps to be expanded on some time later, the day after the flight home from the USA holiday - I collected the keys. Within the first 20 miles, pop went the water pump, seized bearings. She was fighting back, it was like she had enjoyed being sat in a forced "retirement". With weeks of love, care, hard graft and parts - we had our first real outing of the car. Where to? Only one place that the car needed to go we had a day out at Windsor Castle. At first, as we put some miles on (after a 3d printer fix for the odometer) the more miles we now did, the more resistance the car seemed to put up for being used.
With every part we change, every part we refurbish - she starts to feel like she is enjoying being used. Every so often she likes to remind us of her age, but so far not once has she required assistance to proceed. So this is the start of the story of Joy, the Rolls Royce Silver Spirit with a heart to make people smile.