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Tuesday
Aug142012

Numerically Superior

For my 40th Birthday, all my friends and family clubbed together to get me a dateless number plate for Vikki. I've wanted one for a while, to hide her age (or lack of it).

I spent a long time trying to find one that felt right. A lot of the ones I did like where astronomically expensive, and those that weren't where cheap ones from Northern Ireland - you know the ones... You can spot them a mile away as they're the only UK plates with Z's in them.

Another issue was making sure that the number portion of the plate would pass muster with Pauline and her Chinese numerology superstitions. Certain numbers are a right no-no.

So, It took a while, but I eventually found one:

A little research showed that the number is pre 1950, and was fist issued in Midlothian, Scotland (the SY portion is the area identifier)

The next logical step was to (ahem) acquire some 'show plates' - black and silver ones, as befits the style of car and the age of the number. :)

Much nicer. I've been driving her with these plates for the last couple of months with no issues - but I do have the 'non-show' plates in the boot for a quick change if the constabulary have words. Anyway, who's going to argue with the Stig? He's approved them:

"Some say that he spoke to Vikki in fluent German, and that he stole all spoons out our picnic hamper...." ;)

We met his Stigness at the Classic, Performance and Kit car show at Old Warden Park in Bedfordshire last weekend. It was a great day out - I entered Vikki into the Kit Car judging, but everyone lost out to a man in a Westfield that had gone to the effort of polishing his brake lines.... :)

That's really all I've been upto since the last update. Apart from a quick oil and filter change, as she hadn't had once since the engine rebuild.

I am, however, about to embark on a new modification though - power steering.

Yes - I can hear you all now - 'old cars didn't have power steering' and 'power steering is for girls'... But you haven't tried manoeuvring her round a car park. At low speeds, with those wide tyres on the front, the steering is bloody heavy. It's fine once you start trundling along, but to save my biceps she's getting electrically operated power steering.

This will be courtesy of a Vauxhall Corsa electric power steering (EPS) column, grafted onto an e30 BMW column. It's already been done by one of the chaps in the Marlin Owners Club on his Cabrio - so it's doable. More than doable when you consider its also done by lots of guys with vintage rally cars and older VWs and the like. They usually fit a small box of electrickery with some 555 timers in them to provide the signals to the EPS ECU, and give a potentiometer to dial in the amount of assistance required.

I will be going down a slightly different route in that I'm going to attempt to get the assistance from the EPS to be speed dependant via the speedo pulses from the diff and the engine speed from the coil. It will more than likely require some sort of intermediatete processing to dial in the correct amount of assistance for a given speed, as the number of pulses the EPS ECU will be expecting will be different to the ones I can provide. After all, Vikki isn't a Corsa. ;)

So I'll be fiddling around with some more custom electronics. I just have to wait on the bits I bagged on eBay being delivered, and I get get my hands mucky again. Huzzah! :D

 

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