Mk4 "Dolores"

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Hal Mercier
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Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Hal Mercier »

I first met Dolores, my Mk4 Davrian, in January 1980, and soon had her back in Cambridge where I was then living. She was a total shed, but I had known Davrians since about 1969 and always wanted one, and had just missed a beauty owned by a Ferrari owning ex race driver living in Purley, so I thought I'd best snap her up while I could!

In retrospect it wasn't my most brilliant decision.

Anyway, it was the usual tale of pigs purse to sow's ear or whatever, and a lot of time and some money went into an amateurish 'rebuild' and the car was, I shudder to recall, repainted in a horrible shade of pink, as I was unable to decide between red or white!

Madness, now I think about it. The car had a lot of water in it when I bought it, no dash, a glassless speedo attached to bits of wooden block, a truly appalling Lamborghini-Miura like slatted mess where the rear window had been (made of black painted plywood, no less!) this of course allowing free entry to water so the boot was full of the stuff.

Bias-belted tyres assured incredibly dangerous handling. A feeble standard Solex carbed Imp engine assured asthmatic power delivery.

Horrible orange paint applied with an old pair of flip-flops ensured instant nausea in anyone unlucky enough to behold the poor thing.

Steel wheels ensured max unsprung weight.....you get the picture...a shed in all its horrid splendour. And to think I sold a mint Mini-Cooper to buy the thing!

I rectified the squared off front wheel arches, the rear window was re-fabricated along with the proper sized hole to put it in, and I added an unpleasant looking air dam, all the rage in 1980!

I don't want to post any photos of the car as it was then in fact the dog ate them so I can't, honest.

The car saw sterling service in this form till I left Cambridge and moved to Bristol in 1981. Then it went into retirement in the mid 80s,after I though the gearbox had given up, living under a pile of boxes in a shop belonging to a friend.

Later, it was found to have a colony of wasps living in it, though by this time it was outside, at a bodyshop specialising in GRP restoration, outside Bristol.

It was then resprayed its current Nissan White, I moved it to near Chepstow and gave it its second rebuild, with full 875 Stiletto power! After completion, with a new gearbox, I found there was still no traction....yep, it had been a broken clutch all along!

I abandoned a perfectly good Stiletto gearbox because of this stupid mistake!

Anyway, long story short, I moved to France in 1993 and brought Dolores over, and in 2001 she had her third rebuild, for racing.

This was done after a lot of consultation with Tim Duffee, who supplied the brakes, rollbar, suspension, and a lot of other stuff.

Dolores has done various forms of competition since gaining her FIA Passport in 2001, and showed great promise in the 2002 Maxi-Mille series till she was retired due to a bad habit of spitting oil mist onto the rear left tyre.....spinning in front of a pack of 31 cars at one point.

Interior with genyoowine burr walnut dash and door inserts....and aluminium.

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Dolores and a friend....note the (unfinished) hole for ducted air intake on left shoulder, for an oil cooler. The special scoop is not fitted yet. Tuned 42" Works type crossover exhaust...

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Here, Dolores had just returned from her first ever race, at Nogaro, March 2002, and I'd just ripped a bigger hole in the nose for more air, as she overheated embarrassingly during the actual race, causing me to abandon under the impression that she was on fire!

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Oh yeah, I don't suppose she will object if I explain her name.....it's after "Dolores, Our Lady of Pain..." by Algernon Swinburne.

I'm sure I need explain no further! :mrgreen:

Soyuz
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Soyuz »

I remember this car, I looked at it at Tim Duffee's when you had gone or was going to France.

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Hal Mercier
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Hal Mercier »

Well spotted!

She was indeed at Tim's during 1993, I rescued her in 94 I think.
The major rebuild was in 2001.

Soyuz
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Soyuz »

I was looking at it with a view to buying it but, was put off by the fact it was a Mk4 and didn't have a detachable rear end. I even remember that it had failed the MOT on not having a rear fog light (another tester that didn't know the rules) and one of the front tyres rubbing on full lock.

That aside, It was one of the best I had looked at.

latent
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by latent »

I worked for Tim as Student placement in 95/96 and I too vividly recall this car. I hankered after it then as I remember its fate was up in the air and am very pleased to see it in such great form :)

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Hal Mercier
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Hal Mercier »

I'd forgotten about it failing the MoT on no foglight.....is that what Tim said, or did Tim get it MoT'd and forget to tell me?

Glad to hear it made some impression!

It seems top have left fond memories with the Maxi Millle race organisers here, too...even though its career was so brief.

I had to borrow fuel from one of them at Nogaro, which was its first and only race meet (for circuit racing) and then during practice at one point I followed the guy I'd borrowed the gas from into the Escargot corners, shot past inside him coming into a right hander, then lost the rear end again due to the oily left rear tyre.

By this time I was seeing red, and in my fury I just steered the way I wanted to go and floored the throttle, which resulted in the Davrian doing a truly spectacular broadside, which apparently looked highly impressive.....the guy was panicked and lost concentration, spinning his Spitfire and stalling faced the wrong way.

He came up to me after the session and said "Nice slide!" grinning from ear to ear...

I started the race 7th out of 32 on the grid, but as I'd spun several times in practice at the first corner, I wasn't exactly giving it the max at the start, and was passed by three cars before the first corner. I then got a bit annoyed, and went for them, passing two quickly and the third spun off in front of me. I was about to pass another car when I saw a lot of smoke in the car and thinking I was on fire, stopped. In fact it was a hose which had let go, so I'd overheated. The engine was fine once it had cooled down.

Paul Patrick
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Paul Patrick »

Hi Hal,
Just spotted this, I notice that there doesn't seem to be an A frame engine mount. How is the engine supported as I'm still contemplating weight saving
during the winter rebuild?
thanks ,Paul

Soyuz
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Soyuz »

Hal Mercier wrote:I'd forgotten about it failing the MoT on no foglight.....is that what Tim said, or did Tim get it MoT'd and forget to tell me?
Yes, Tim said he had taken it for MOT and it had failed on not having a rear fog light and the front tyre rubbing on the body at full lock.

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Hal Mercier
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by Hal Mercier »

Paul Patrick wrote:Hi Hal,
Just spotted this, I notice that there doesn't seem to be an A frame engine mount. How is the engine supported as I'm still contemplating weight saving
during the winter rebuild?
thanks ,Paul
Sorry about the slight delay in response.

The engine is supported in the usual way, with the bracket on the tail panel. The tail panel is usually part of the bodywork but it's such a pain to work on like this that I made it removable, by glassing a return on it and the recess, so it bolts into place.

limjamrace
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Re: Mk4 "Dolores"

Post by limjamrace »

Such a lovely example..So glad it has ended up looking like this after so many years.
I wonder how many others are in a "stored " state awaiting this standard.
The colour white suits the car..Although the two 1973(?) racing car show models in metalic lightish blue take the biscuit..If my memory serves me well they had tan interior..
For the present Grahame C's yellow Dav is the tops !

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