August's BAM was both last minute and the strangest I've done - to date.
About 5 years ago a friend of mine bought an Escort Mk2 Mexico in need of major restoration. Not much happened on the car for the next 4 years or so. Then 10 months ago he thought it would be nice to have it at his wedding. The car was moved to another friends workshop who is a professional bodywork man who is a specialist in classic cars and old Fords in particular. The following 9 and half months were spent repairing the shell. It's not possible to really describe how much work was required. As this wasn't a paying job it was done in evenings and weekends. A jig was made to mount the shell and this was done from dimensions in the manual to get the locations of the missing mountings etc when the new panels were fitted. All that was saveable on the car was the roof, pillars, rear inner quarters, parcel shelf and the dash panel. All the rest was replaced using pattern panels and parts cut from other damaged cars.
The shell was painted on the 26th August (last Monday) so that gave us all week to finish it for the wedding on the Saturday
They had already done several all nighters to get to this point. I was asked if I could lend a hand but being busy I wasn't free until Thursday, I also said I still had to fit my BAM in..... no problem they said, just bring your sleeping bag on the Friday
So I packed my bike with bivi kit and clothes to wear working on the car and headed over.
This is the car when we started after work at 5pm on Friday
Apart from the obvious lack of doors, glass, interior etc. we also had to make and fit the brake lines, make a full exhaust system, fit the cooling system, finish making the wiring, plumb the cooling and fuel system, fit the carbs, modify the throttle pedal and fit the cables for the carbs (a pair of twin choke webbers) fit the dash up, bleed the brakes, finish assembling the hubs, axle, fill all the fluids and so the list goes on. It looked hopeless to be honest but the owners father is very ill and the wedding will probably be the last family event he's here for
despite the fact that it seemed there was no way it could be done we just kept working our way through the list. At one point the were 11 of us all working on it at once. By about 3am we were down to 5 of us. Once the wiring and plumbing was complete we started the rebuilt engine for the first time at about 4:20am, only to see if it would fire as the unit is surrounded by flats and the car is quite noisy.
At about 4:45 I said I'd have to go and sleep for a bit, I wasn't tired but to comply with the rules of BAM I would need to sleep. The others said to just say I had but I pointed out it was an honor system.
I retired to the other lock up, evidence that I rode to the location
and here is my bed for the night, well 2 hours
I was quite comfy although there was the smell of classic car, a mix of petrol and polish
I heard the sparky leave just after I laid down... his own classic Ford could be heard waking up the neighborhood for miles as he drove away
At 7 my alarm went off and I got back to work. One of the other 3 had fallen asleep for a bit on the floor and the other 2 were slowing down. Refreshed by my nap I first went to the co-op which was just opening, bought pastries and more coffee. We then upped the pace and pushed on with the possibility we might just pull this off. The owner of the car had been sent home at 2am and by 9am he was messaging for a progress update. No one replied which we assume he took to meant it wasn't going to make it. The wedding was at 14:30 so ages yet
Luckily the car is TAX and MOT exempt and the paperwork had been done already and it was insured.
First test drive at 10:15... some adjustments and last minute checks and it was ready to leave at 10:45
Some missing parts meant there was no glass in the front doors, no carpet and some other missing trim, and it's missing the Mexico stripes but not bad
As predicted there were a few tears when it was handed over to the very emotional owner and quite a few more when it made it to the church. It was generally thought it couldn't be done but no one wanted to call it and say to give up as the owner had so much invested in it emotionally. A lot of people had gone above and beyond to pull this off but the look on the grooms face when he drove away from the church made it all worthwhile
When I left school at the end of the 80s you could have bought all 3 of these for about £750 to £1000... to buy the 3 today you'd need £75k+
It makes the cost of my SPOT renewal seem almost reasonable