Ever since I wrote the first part to this story, Episode 47, just over a year ago now, I've been meaning to write this post for some time now, and so here finally is the second part to the story about my Brothers Mk2 Escort van.
My Brother and I were both storing our junk on some wasteland, but back in 2016 we were told that it needed to be cleared for a housing project. I set about selling my junk that I could, and sadly scrapping the junk that I couldn't sell. My Brother sold his Beetle... Somehow, but then did nothing with his Escort Van. The deadline for the area to be cleared came... And then went, a new deadline was given, that came and went also. Then another one, and another one after that. Finally, over a year and a half after the original deadline wasn't met a final deadline was given. The new deadline was far stricter, my brother was told that arrangements had been made with a scrap car collector, and he was coming to collect the Escort Van on a certain date. This angered my Brother, and as I was the messenger, he decided that his best course of action was to have a moan at me. After I had absorbed several minutes of verbal abuse he finally said what am I going to do now? I told him that he now had several choices, he could do nothing (probably his preferred choice) and it would get dealt with by the scrapman (not his preferred choice). He didn't like this idea at all. Or he could sell it, as he still gets offers of what I would call proper money for his pile of rust and dust. Again, this was not what he wanted to do, as he's going to do it up 'someday'. Lastly, he could find a place to store it. He didn't really like this either as he realised that it was going to cost him money to both transport it, and then store it.
He finally came around to the idea that he needed to do something, and so, just several days before the arrival of the scrapman he asked if I could help him to move his Escort. I told him that if he could hire a pick up, or a trailer, then I have a fairly stiff broom, and I would help him to sweep it onboard! A comment that was met with disdain from my Brother! I agreed to help him, but told him that in no way would I be responsible if it breaks in half while were moving it.
We pumped up the tyres, and started to try and push it. It was going nowhere, the handbrake, although not left on seemed to be binding. We whipped the rear wheels off, and gave the brake drums a couple of sharp taps with the hammer. Lots of flakes of rust fell from the underside of the van, and I commented how it's getting lighter to push every minute! Again, another look of disdain! But now, although not rotating smoothly the rear brake drums did actually move, so we put the wheels back on, and got ready to push.
Before too long we were actually behind the recovery vehicle that my Brother had hired, and he decided that it would be easier to winch it on, rather than push it on. I must admit that I was skeptical about this, and I had visions of the winch pulling the front of the Escort off, and leaving the back on the ground. But my Brother thought it was solid enough, and hitched it up. I stood back. I told him that I needed to be far enough back that I could capture the actual moment when it breaks in half for posterity and farcebook. But that moment never came, and before long we were nearly onboard the transporter.
To my amazement we were nearly there, and the Escort Van appeared to be holding strong. I genuinely thought that it was going to break in half, and we would soon be transporting the two halves not to a garage, but to the scrapyard.
But no, with little more than minimal fuss, my Brothers Escort Van was now safely on the transporter, tied down, and ready to go. With the Escort up on the transporter my Brother and I thought that we would take the opportunity to have a good look around the thing, to see just how bad it actually is. Make no mistake, it is bad, and there are some big holes in the bodywork. To fix this up will take a spectacular amount of effort, it's certainly a long way outside of my capabilities. However, underneath it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.
To be fair my '96 Toyota Rav4 looked worse underneath! I'm sure that given time with a screwdriverr we would've made lots of holes in the floorpan, but it was far more solid than I ever imagined it would be. I would say that the bodywork is probably the worst bit about this van. My feeling was though that before long the drive to my Brothers rented garage was going to shake any loose bits free.
We were loaded up, and ready to roll. I must admit that I never thought we would get this far, and still have the van in one piece! There had been quite a lot of small fragments flake off during the loading process, but I actually thought that we'd have some large chunks fall off. I swept up the dustpan full of little flakes of rust, and after offering them to my brother, I put them in the bin.
The rear doors were tied shut, the front doors still refused to open, the Escort was tied to the bed of the transporter, and we were off. The plan was for my Dad to follow closely behind, and notify us of any large bits that fell off during the journey to it's new resting place. I really expected my Dads headlights to be flashing like a strobe light with all the bits that fell off during the journey, but they didn't. They didn't even flash once! My Brother asked me several times if Dad had flashed his lights yet, to which I replied that he had not, and that I thought that Dads headlights were actually not working. My Brother would appear to have had a sense of humour by-pass that day!
My Brother had decided in his wisdom or otherwise not to hire a garage near to mine, or near to home, or even in our home town. His idea was that it would be better to hire one almost sixteen miles away from home! his reasoning being that he could work on it after he finished work in the evenings, I'm not sure that's really what's gonna happen, but OK, whatever! As we drove onto the A34 traffic was pretty heavy, and moving slowly. I thought that this was probably a good thing, as the slower we went the less likely it was that any part of his van would be blown off! The sixteen mile journey took us nearly an hour, but we finally arrived at it's new home.
As we carefully unloaded it very little rust fell from the thing this time. I'm guessing that what was going to fall off, or be blown off, had already done so, although my Dad reported that he saw no pieces falling from the
wreck, sorry, van, during the trip. The good news is that whatever was stopping the front doors from opening had been dislodged, which meant we could now open them to make steering the van into its new place of rest a lot easier than it was when we had loaded it up.
By the time we had unloaded it, it had pretty much taken us all day to move the damn thing, but atleast it was now safe from the scrapman, and better still protected in a garage where it wouldn't get rain and wet leaves falling on it constantly, although it does still have some sort of window box arrangement growing from the heater vent infront of the windscreen!
So where do we go from here? Well my guess is that this will actually be it's resting place for a good long time. My Brother does have a habit of putting car in garages, and just leaving them there, currently he is in the process of creating five 'barnfinds'. This one, a Mk4 Escort estate, a Mk6 Escort estate, a Porsche 944, and a Manx Beach Buggy. Will he ever get around to doing anything with them? I'd like to think so, but my feeling is probably not, they will all probably just sit in the garages until the end of time, but at least they're in the dry, so with any luck that will slow the disintegration process down a bit. Having said all of that, I'm probably not a whole lot better, having several cars hiding out in garages as I slowly work my way through putting them back together, but at least I do work on them every once in a while. Anyway, whatever happens to my Brothers barnfind creations one thing is for sure, they'll almost certainly never be fore sale. But should progress be made on them, you'll probably read about it here.