Nigel Black writes: Hi. Due to being in hospital recently my club membership lapsed, but having renewed it, I thought I'd send photos of my 'new' Maxi for inclusion in the Gallery. I trust I'm still the only member of the club living in Northern Ireland. I know there's a 'transfer' living over here, but I was quite proud of this somewhat dubious claim to fame. Perhaps I should pen something for the club magazine entitled "from our Northern Ireland Correspondant".
The new addition to the fleet is in somewhat better condition than 'Bertha' (NIA 7474) who is featured elsewhere in the Gallery. I bought her after a chance flick through a free ads paper my girlfriend had got, to look for some boring household appliance or other. The interest in the car changed from, 'That looks nice', through, 'Maybe I could just ring up', to a full blown, 'I'll be down tomorrow to see it'!
She's a 1973 registered model, although made in November 72, therefore qualifying for free tax (yay!). The previous owner has 'upgraded' her a bit, with velour seats from an HL, new carpets and side repeaters (possibily) from a Metro. I have thought about changing these, but they're fine for the time being! The photo was taken at a local show (see above), where she attracted lots of interest. I think that people in work will laugh when I say I drive a Maxi, but at the shows I get loads of people wanting to talk to me about the car. In the photo she is sporting her original registration, 9778 UI, something which the previous owner took with him, re-registering her as BIG 3873. I put the old plates on at shows, as I think the new ones look bad.
She was up for MOT recently and because I'd be in hospital the car hadn't been looked at for some time, let alone started. Neveretheless we got her spun into life with minutes to spare and she sailed through the MOT with only a couple of cautions (on a balljoint and the rubber coupling in the steering column). Any car that passes an MOT like this without preparation deserves respect.
The MOT examiner saw the tax disc holder and was able to tell me that the car came from his Uncle's garage when new! The MOT did however unearth a problem that I'd suspected, when the examiner tried to drive her off the rollers. With an almightly rip and little movement, the clutch finally admitted it was past it! So this weekend (November 2006) she is going to have a new clutch fitted by my local Maxi mechanic in Belfast, a brilliant elderly gentleman who drives and works at nothing else. Maybe he can sort out my comedy gearchange as well, which he tells me is a linkage problem!