Death of a Legend
The story of the 106 doesn’t end well, I’m afraid. I was living in London, washing my car more often than I was driving it. My sister expressed an interest in getting a car, so I sold her the Rallye for about a grand. I had maintained the car religiously, it was one pampered pooch; new springs and dampers, regular oil changes and valve adjustments, a new clutch (all done by yours truly on the parents’ driveway). I even resprayed the wheel arches to bring them up to a nice shiny red, they having faded in the sunshine.
One day she complained of strange noises coming from the engine bay, I told her to take it to a garage to have it checked out, as it didn’t sound healthy. She didn’t, and the car stopped one day on a trip to Windsor. It turned out the noise was the timing belt tensioner bearing. It was on the way out, forewarning its impeding demise, and when it finally seized up, pistons and valves got intimate.
I felt terrible. I should have drawn a line under it, vowed never to mix business with pleasure again, and left it at that. Instead, I offered to help her to fix the car. Big job. I took the head off, strapped it to the back of my CBR600F (not having a car at the time) and rode down to Haywards Heath to get it reconditioned and skimmed. I replaced the cylinder wet liner gaskets, I put the head back together, checked the valves and started her up. A bit of smoke, but it all worked fine. All good then.
My sister then parked the car on the road, it had been off the road for a while and she had forgotten to tax it. Local busybodies reported the car as abandoned, and it was taken away and crushed by Haringey Council. The moral of the story? If you are selling cars, do not sell them to people you know. Sell them to a stranger and sever the emotional connection, or keep them and maintain them yourself. Don’t do anyone any favours; you don’t do them any favours.
Having said that it was a fun experience taking the little TU2J2 engine apart. I learned more about mechanics tinkering with the 106 than any college education could have taught me.