Episode 70. Pontiac Trans Am. GOX 144V. (Part 6).

Todays little story comes courtesy of the English weather system...

For a very long time now I have been attending a car show called WheelsDay. It's held by the Surrey Street Rodders in a little town called Aldershit on Good Friday every year, and for the most part, it's a pretty damn good day out. This year I was planning to attend in something that I've had in my collection for over 15 years, but I have never ever driven. However a quick check of the weather forecast the day before, and I knew that I wouldn't be taking it this year either.

There's no way I'm driving a roadster in that weather, let alone parking it outside a hotel all night in the rain, and then driving across a muddy field. I thought about it for a little while, and thought about taking my freshly cleaned Chev-suzu, but this meant that I wouldn't get to be in the show, and actually I quite enjoy parking on the show field. Therefore I decided that the Firebird should get an outing. It's only fair, as in the three years or so that I've owned it, I have never taken it to a show. Which is odd really as I've taken cars that are far less show worthy than the Firebird is to shows. The thing is though, I've never driven a second generation Firebird in the rain before. I've driven it on wet roads, and even in the snow, but I've never driven it when it's actually been raining! I'm sure it has wipers, its passed several MOT's since I've had it so it must have them, and they must work, but I've never used them before, I'm not even sure I know where the switch is!

Sitting in the Firebird, a car that I have owned and driven for the last three years it felt very odd not knowing where the switch to turn on the wipers was. Before long I had located it, just below the light switch, a switch that I have used on countless occasions! They don't call me Hawkeye for nothing... Actually, they don't call me Hawkeye at all! Anyway, good news, with a flick of the switch the wipers sprung into action, although it is fair to say that they really didn't clear the screen as well as I'd hoped. I figured that new blades would be the order of the day once I have come back from my little trip. Mrs Clint and our two little monsters climbed in, and we were off, and heading for the Premier Inn, just 34.9 miles from BelongaClint. It has to be said that the four of us fit in the Firebird quite nicely, and in all honesty there is quite a lot of room inside for the both the passengers in the front, and the rear. The boot, although it doesn’t have a massive opening to get stuff into it, it still manages to swallow our luggage easily. Driving the Firebird in the rain, and fully loaded up is not a chore by any stretch of the imagination. The five litre engine lugs the thing along with ease, and frankly so it should. Even the wet roads did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm as we drove along. All things considered it has pretty good road manners, and isn't really the tail happy car that you might imagine it to be even in the wet.

Before long we had arrived at the Premier Inn, and so had a few others. We checked in, had something to eat, chatted with a couple of other folks about their cars etc, and then headed for bed. A good nights sleep was had, and in the morning we all tucked into a hearty breakfast had headed off to get into the que to get into WheelsDay 2018. I figured that there probably wouldn't be too much of a que, as the weather forecast was pretty bleak. That and the Surrey Street Rodders had put out a statement the previous day saying that due to a burst pipe under the hill on site coupled with the terrible weather they have had leading up to the show, the show field is heavily water logged. Although the show will go on in some capacity we ask everyone who is thinking of coming to think carefully. We have only 1/2 the arena available for parking although this could become worse dependant on the weather tonight... I was right, there wasn't much of a que. We were aiming to get into the que an hour before the show would be starting, and usually that meant that we would still be a fair way from the field. But not this time, this time we pretty much just drove up to the gate, paid the admission fee (that goes to charity) and in we drove, onto a quite water logged field.

The rain held off for a little while, but by late morning it was pretty wet, and the few (by comparisons to previous years) folk who had turned out started to head for home. Pretty much everyone who had a two wheel drive car had at the very least a little difficulty getting off the field, and looking at the Firebird, I was to be no exception! As I walked toward it, it was pretty evident that three of its four wheels had managed to sink about three inches into the field, I thought to myself that this would be fun. I told Mrs Clint to take our two little monsters and go and stand somewhere hard, and I would get the Firebird out, and come and collect them! I had a feeling that I probably wasn't going to just drive out from where it was sitting without a fair bit of help...

I was right, dammit!! My brother arrived...

And took lots of photographs to put all over farcebook of me trying furiously to rock the Firebird backwards and forwards to free myself from the sticky situation I had got myself into! I was going nowhere, with road tyres and an open diff all I was doing was digging myself deeper into the field. I let a little air out of my tyres in a bid to gain some traction, but still the only direction I was going in was down! By now farcebook was quite literally littered with photos of a fat man sinking into a muddy field with his Firebird, and other people had also started to surround me and also photograph me struggling to escape the mud! It was at that moment that Darth Maul turned up!

Followed closely by several of the Surrey Street Rodder marshals. Darth Maul thought it might be better if they all pushed from the front, and I reversed until I was on the mud that was less fluid! Its funny, he was quite pleasant, but always comes across as quite a villain in the films. He's not so bad at all really! Pretty soon I had reversed around other cars that were stuck behind me, and I was ready to move off forward. I put it into drive, and using just the idling engine revs I tried to move off. Nope, I was digging a hole there too! Darth Maul, the marshals and my Brother gathered around the back of the Firebird to give me a shove. Once I was moving I gently started to apply the throttle, so as not to spray them all with mud, and eventually pulled away from my pushers! I feathered the accelerator pedal gently across the field, as by now the people who had pushed me free were helping others and I didn't want to have to call them back because I'd got stuck again! Finally, after what seemed like forever I had reached the road! I got out and assessed the bodywork.

Not bad considering!

I figured that I'd hit a few big puddles on the way home and take the worst of it off! So wipers on, and away we went... For a little while! About five miles outside of Aldershit the passenger side wiper had decided that enough was enough, and promptly disintegrated! This meant two things, firstly, it wasn't clearing the screen infront of Mrs Clint, and secondly it was making a dreadful noise as the plastic frame of the wiper scraped across the screen! It was the second thing that I found most annoying. I decided to pull over and try and do something about the noise. I had in mind that I would just try to keep the wiper off the windscreen, but routing around in the boot I had nothing that I thought would do the job. I asked Mrs Clint if she had anything in her handbag I could use? After rummaging around in her bag she finally said, I've got this...

The next thirty or so miles went by watching a panty-liner sweep across the windscreen in lieu of the disintegrated wiper, and listening to our biggest monster complaining that she'd never felt so humiliated! I'm not too sure what she had to feel humiliated about, she was in the back so nobody could see her, plus most people wouldn't have known what it was as we drove past them! Funny what a twelve year old girl would get humiliated about! But it was a good thing my women-folk were with me, I never have panty-liners in my bag!

Once home the Firebird was parked up with the Mustang, and I went to turn off the wipers. But they had other ideas. They have obviously enjoyed being used, and have therefore decided that they are staying on full time! No matter what I do they won't seem to turn off unless I turn off the ignition! My guess is that the contacts inside the switch are corroded, probably due to lack of use. I am hoping that I can remove the switch and take it apart to clean, and possibly lubricate it. Then pop it all back together and it will be as good as new! Well, that’s what I am hoping, but time will no doubt tell. In the meantime I have removed the panty liner, it's one thing driving home like that while its an issue, but quite another to look at it as a permanent fix. Besides, I don't need it on there now, I've splashed out for two new blades which clear the screen beautifully! Mrs Clint says she doesn't need it back!