A new year, almost exactly two years after I first saw Basil in a barn.

January 2, 2003: I'm back from Moab. Basil did an excellent job over a 5-day trip. Besides some trouble with tires, the biggest mechanical problem was a wet distributor. Not bad. Basil's turned into a tough little truck who can still hang with the new toys offroad. Before I went, I fitted some new front recovery points, higher power headlights and my Bloody Knuckles Pub grille badge, serial number 001. Photos of that lot will come shortly.

March 6: How did March get here? Basil's been out to play a couple of times - including having some fun with Bill Burke on his 50th birthday - but I've found myself busy with old Cadillacs, Miata race cars and just basically living. I suppose this is a good sign. I've found that Basil's oil consumption has shot up since I lost the air filter on Kane Creek. Well, I guess it's time for a little more greasy fun then. It's been just over two years since Basil got dragged out of the barn. Seems like a lot less. Wow.

May 17: My time has been taken up with both the Miata race cars (Elvis and the Track Dog) and my new Cadillac. Basil just goes to play in the dirt. When Doc came to visit, the Cadillac took us to Vegas and Basil took us to Moab. Seems perfectly appropriate.

June 6: I've been writing a book. This has kept me away from doing pretty much anything fun with Basil. That plus his Canadian registration expired on April 26, two years after he got back on the road. Well, today he became an American citizen with new Colorado tags. It was a lot easier than two years ago! The top is now off for the summer, so it's time for some more adventures.

Also, Basil is contagious. My friend Eric, who is basically responsible for putting the idea of Land Rover in my head, has succumbed. He's purchased a 1965 88" that's had a 2.5L Defender engine installed. It's not the same "luxury" model as Basil, but it also won't require 6 weeks of solid work to get it licenced. Oh, and it's currently in Wales...

July 6: Finally, after a loooong wait, Basil got his Big Carb. A Weber 32/36 DGV on a Pierce manifold. This was not without some challenge, as the manifold was designed to be used with a header and the throttle linkage goes the wrong way. With a bit of creativity, an angle grinder and a die I was able to work everything out. I'm proud of the new throttle cable although I don't know if it works yet. I'll know that tomorrow when I try to drive Basil home.

July 7: Close. I still need to fit a throttle return spring, and the choke cable is going to be replaced with a multi-strand cable with a teflon-lined sheath - ie, a bike brake line. Perfect. Brake lines are even easier to find than choke cables...

July 8: Okay, that's better. The brake line is now in place as a throttle cable. The bike also donated an adjuster which lets me fine tune the throttle respose. Ha! Throttle response. That's good. But anyhow, it's a safer setup when combined with the new, custom-made return spring.

August 24: Basil's been resting again. The new throttle cable doens't like heat, of which there has been no shortage recently. I suspect the teflon liner in the high-tech sheath goes a little soft. The new carb jets were not a success, either.

Big news on other fronts, through. Basil's got a new garage! And a huge one. There's room for at least three of the cars in there. I'm even going to wire it for a welder so I can spatter at home as well as at work. Before closing on the new house, I also took a trip back to Ottawa and spent some time playing with Eric and his Cheap Welsh Bastard of a Rover. Nice engine! Bad paint! We had some fun in Larose forest, but due to a complete lack of recovery gear Eric didn't want to have TOO much fun. Wimp.

August 28: The original carb jets are back in, and my friend Don has offered to help me jet the carb properly. He's the one with the ambulance - and despite the weight, I've seen how it moves down the road thanks to the Weber, header and 8:1 compression. Oh, and Basil's going to help justify his existence tomorrow by helping me pick up the new washing machine. Ooooh, the glamour.

August 31: Basil (and all his spare parts, of which there are many) is moved in to the new garage. It's palatial. I had the Miata, the Cadillac and Basil all parked inside last night before I'd even put things on the shelves. Basil also came in handy on Saturday when we had to move the old dyno out of the shop. It weighs 6400 lbs and the forklift required didn't fit through our 10' high door. I grabbed the recovery gear from the back of Basil and we dragged the dyno out kicking and screaming. No, Basil didn't do the pulling although I wanted to try. The 4wd, 16000lb forklift seemed a more appropriate tool to everyone else. Sigh.

September 3: Basil's famous! Again. He's on the front cover of the Atlantic British catalog. So am I, and it looks like I'm having a little fun. The photo was taken during the photoshoot for the LRW article back in 2001. I like it!

September 7: More fiddling with the Weber. I'm much closer on the jetting now. Don has a different linkage so his numbers aren't much good to me, but his collection of jets certainly was. Basil's getting ready to attend the Solihull Society meet in Moab next week. He may not see much offroading (I'm going to try and do more mountain biking) but it will be good to take some time off. I forgot to mention that I put new swivel balls and seals into Basil a month or so ago. There are two less drool marks on the driveway! Of course, now the steering box is making up for them.

September 16: Back from the Solihull Society National Rally in Moab. I didn't do much driving myself, as I was still unsure of the state of the Weber carb. Turns out it's running just fine so I could have been a little more adventureous. That will come next weekend when I go ghost town hunting near Ouray and Telluride. Not that I didn't have fun. I helped rescue a truck that was hydrolocked and broken down in Kane Creek at midnight (my job was comic relief, as usual), watched a bunch of serious rockcrawlers tackle Helldorado and did some mountain biking. I also spent the Rally checking out various hybrid Rovers - if I have to rebuild Basil's engine at some point, I'm open to putting something else in its place. 200 TDi, Rover V8, small block Chevy...

September 22: Now that was a great weekend. I can report that the carb now works a treat at 12,800' even at bizarre angles. Basil can also cruise comfortably about 5 mph faster than before. He's a little thirsty but works very well. I spent the weekend exploring the passes and high country near Ouray and Telluride. It's just what I needed. Check out the latest postcards from the trip. There were some exciting moments.

January 10, 2004: As you might have guessed, Basil's been less busy these days. Why? Well, I wrote a book . I'm also starting a new project - a Seven. It's about as unlike Basil as you can get, but a lot of what I learned is going to get reused. I've been wanting to build one of these for close to a decade, so now it's time.

March 18 , 2004: A quick update - Basil is taking me on a trail leader training course this weekend. Three days in - you guessed it - Moab. We also ran down there yesterday to lead a group of school kids on a mountain bike ride. It turns out that the first crimp connections I did for my wiring harness weren't all that well done so I have to get behind the dash and fix some of that up before we do much else exploring. Oh, and the guestbook should now be fixed up again.

March 24, 2004: Well, Basil did very well on the trails in Moab again. The electrical system got a bit of a test as I was driving up the Dolores river - water was spilling down from behind the dash! The distributor isn't very well waterproofed so Basil was stumbling a little when he drove out, but he made it. I don't know if all Land Rover owners are as proud of their truck as I am, but he did get a pat on the dashboard for doing so well this weekend. The carb is jetted rich but that didn't seem to cause any problems outside of higher fuel consumption and some nice backfires at high vaccuum.

June 24, 2004: The Seven keeps me from doing much more than just driving Basil. This past weekend he took another shot at Imogene pass but was stopped by snow at 13,400'. Go figure. The carb's been rejetted and appears to be pretty good and the timing is better set than it was. Basil still gets a little wheezy up above 12,000' altitude but he did manage to claw up some fairly steep grades to get to the top.

Nov 17, 2004: So what's been happening with Basil? Not a whole lot. I spent the summer and fall working hard on the Seven. Basil did go to Moab a couple of times in September, once to scout trails and once to work as a trail leader for the Solihull Society national rally. They were both fun trips but I decided not to bring a camera. It's a bit more relaxing that way. He's developed some leaks in the engine that need to be addressed and generally just needs some attention. I'm not sure when this will happen exactly. After the past couple of years of constantly working on car projects, I think it's time for a bit of a rest. There won't be any more updates for some time.

Snow, sand, mud, rocks, water - Moab! Click for 5 days of exploring.
Basil takes Doc and I around the Colorado National Monument. Doc apparently falls over the edge.
Eric's new friend. I call it "that cheap Welsh bastard" because it was cheap, it's from Wales and it's, erm, a bit of a hybrid. Eric prefers "the Welshman" although I suspect his language may become more colourful as he learns more about Rovers.
Eric blames this all on the fact that I gave him a Bloody Knuckles Pub grille badge and he had to find a truck that matched. The fact that he owns a 1987 Mini that he imported is a sign that perhaps he already had a British Car Problem.
Wow, try to spot the new parts. The new carb in place. I also painted the exhaust manifold.
The new linkage. That's the arm from the Solex choke mechanism and a generic choke cable from NAPA being used as a throttle.
The other end of the throttle cable is attached to the existing throttle linkage. No new holes, no fabricated parts. And I can use any choke cable to repair if I need to.
Much better. Now I've got a return spring, a more flexible cable and some adjustment.
The new garage, with a Miata for scale. First job: paint the floor so Basil won't get too much oil on it!
Eric brought the CWB over to my parent's house and we did some maintenance. The audience found this quite entertaining.
Off to Larose Forest. Eric had never done any offroad driving before, so I was playing instructor.
The first of much water that was encountered. The bottom was solid, but you couldn't see it.
I demonstrate why it's a good idea to investigate the water traps before driving through. When I discovered this particular rut, Eric almost fell down laughing. Then we drove the CWB through it. No problem.
We might have been better off with a canoe! Eric gets comfortable with water crossing, experimenting with speed.
"Not that fast", Keith says after Eric blasts through a puddle in high range. Did you know that Liquid Wrench works well to dry off soaked distributors? It didn't help much for the interior, full of brown water. Eric also liked the little pond on top of his new battery.
Cover boy!
What's going on here? I forgot to put up some photos! Basil's getting some leaks removed.
Yuk. Basil's old swivel balls were in pretty bad shape.
Pressing out the various bearings.
It's almost pornographic, really. The new swivel balls and seals don't leak a drop!
Basil went to Moab. Again. Click the photo to check out some serious off-roading with highly modified Rovers.
Ghost town hunting in the San Juans - plus a bit of excitement. Basil tries to fly!
Over the Black Bear Road.
The newest project - a Lotus Seven-inspired car.
Trail leader training.

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