Now for the fifth year running I have managed to, gently, persuade our first new member of the year to write a piece about himself and his cars.  Mike Storey lives in Mablethorpe,  Lincs and has kindly furnished the following.

Thank you Mike

Martin Garrad (Membership Secretary  January 2020)

As the first new member of 2020 I have been t(asked) to write a few words about me and my cars. Won’t bore you with much about me just to say I am 75 years old, married and now live a quiet life on the east coast of Lincolnshire in Mablethorpe. As to my working life have been employed in many varied positions across many differing fields although mainly in the engineering/manufacturing sector.

As to cars in the past to compile a list would take too long and to be honest I can’t remember them all. Suffice to say I got my first car when I was 18 having just passed my test a couple of weeks before. It was a 1938 Vauxhall 10 given to me by a friend of my dad’s. Many makes and models followed over the years. The only thing they had in common was that they were old. Have never had a new car due in the main to not being able to afford one! Nearest I got to one was a five year old 1972 Opel Manta A 1.6S which no doubt many Capri owners will contest vehemently was in my opinion a much better looking and handling coupe than the Ford offering. And of course it did have nice round Ferrari rear lights. As to the new cars of today not against them but to me most of them now generally all look the same. It’s probably why I still prefer the older designs. Having recently reluctantly sold my last two remaining sports cars I still have a top of the range 1996 Nissan QX 3ltr SEL which is somewhat of a rarity in this country due to its poor sales here.

This stylish and unassuming luxury high speed cruiser is always a topic of conversation at the car shows I attend with it. Not by the general public of course who pass it by without a second glance due I presume to the badge on the front. Those few who do ask if it is an import. No those that regularly come over for a chat are overseas visitors. Generally American or Australian they say they never thought to see one in this country. Have been regaled by many of them over the last few years with their tales of ownership back in their home country. Which just goes to show that no matter what you drive there is always someone out there who shares your passion. Other than the Barchetta my only other car is a 2004 Ford Mondeo MK111 Tdci estate which just goes on and on. Amazing to think that even fitted with a 6 speed auto box it regularly returns 50 plus to the gallon. My wallet likes it as well.

Anyway no more about me and other cars. Back to the present. So where do we start. Well I suppose the question is “Why did I buy a barchetta?” Answer “degenerative osteo-arthritis”. Now before any of you all say “eh! Pardon” then no it was not the main reason for buying one but it was the reason for selling my other cars and looking round for another. Having spent the last 10 years owning and driving around in various forms of Reliant Scimitars (No!No! not the 3 wheelers) the above ongoing ailment meant that finally power steering was no longer just an option to have but was now a necessity if I was to continue driving. Yes I could have looked into getting them fitted with an aftermarket electrical system but that wouldn’t have helped with getting in and out of them along with a lack of rearward seat adjustment to compensate for a dodgy right knee joint due to above complaint. Will miss them especially the Nissan turbo powered SST for it’s scintillating performance (0-60 7secs and fabulous handling) as well as the last of the small sports versions produced by Reliant the 1.4 K series Sabre in which finally they had got the design right. Sadly by then it came too late to save the company. Sorry to harp on about them but they really are a good classic to have. Can pick them up quite cheap as well.

So why did I buy the Barchetta? I mean I could have gone for an MX5. Or an MGF. Or maybe even a Boxster. Simply put I had always fancied one. It not only looks good but it’s rarity appealed. I like to be different. Owning one of the others would mean being lost in the crowd. They wouldn’t stand out. Also having recently owned a Quantum 2+2 kit car (factory built not home built) it’s compact shape and practicality also swayed me.

Can you see the similarity?

The fact that I could get into it easier than any of my Scims (you sit slightly higher in the Fiat), that I could sit basically straight legged in it due to the extra legroom and with the added luxury of being able to adjust the height of the steering wheel so that my arthritically affected wrists were not in the painful position of being bent down (as they were in the Quantum) in the end proved to be the final deciding factor. I had a really comfortable and pleasant drive home when I picked the car up from London which reassuringly confirmed to me that I had made the right choice when I decided to buy one.

As to why I bought a late updated version of the car rather than the 10yr old earlier model I was interested in is another story. One which I may enlighten you on at a later date. In the meantime can’t tell you much about the car at present. Unfortunately it came with little or no paperwork just the service book and some old MOT’s. It needs further investigation. However I have gleaned from what documents I have that it was sold by Stoneacres of Worksop in August 2005 from whence it appears to have spent part of it’s early life on the Isle of Man. Can’t be sure of this however as the Certificate of Approval issued October 2011 by the IoM authorities that came with the documents states that the car then had a reg number of HMN-962-W. However the chassis number is shown on the certificate as being 57326. The car I have & confirmed by the plate and stamp on it is 57323. Could be an error by those filling in the form but if the owner of 57326 is out their can they tell me where their car was in Oct 2011? This car then moved to East Anglia and then on to the south coast at which point it was sold on in 2014 with only 5114 miles on the clock by Meridian Majestic based in Bournemouth. The new owner (more about him another time) then took it to Italy where it has resided for the last five years before being driven back to England late last year and put up for sale. Then apart from going to & from a local garage to get a UK MOT and an oil and filter

change it had then stood for a couple of months until I bought it in late December last year with just under 26000 on the clock. Such a chequered history makes for some interesting reading don’t you think?

Finally before I end perhaps one of you may know something about this car. As I said its chassis number ends with 57323. Don’t have the reg no. it had when it was first registered. Will try and obtain that info from the DVLA. The first MOT certificate I have is dated July 2012 and was issued by Howes Motor Engineers of Norwich. At that time the registration was shown as being J4 EAD which is what it currently has. Any info would be much appreciated.

With the car now sitting in my garage the plan is to get the cambelt and variator changed along with the water pump as suggested by club members. Once this is done and everything checked over I will look forward to using it as & when the weather allows.

Right that is all for now. Sorry to have “rabbited” on but you only have your secretary Martin to blame for talking me into it. Perhaps next year he may think twice before asking 2021’s first new member to write a “few words” in way of introduction.

Look forward to meeting you all later in the year. Mike