Welcome to this blog which will detail the restoration of my 1961 Reliant Regal, Reg. Starting as a complete novice I hope to be able to carry out a total restoration of the car from 2011 onwards to coincide with its 50th birthday. For many a Reliant Regal may seem like a strange choice of car to restore, but for me there was only ever going to be Reg. I inherited Reg from a sadly departed friend and vowed to get it back into full working order as much as a tribute to him as anything else. Almost seven years have passed since that vow in which time I have gone through university, job hunting and house purchasing and renovation. I now finally find myself in the right position to make a start and will be sharing that journey on this blog for my own personal record and also for everyone else to enjoy. I hope you will follow along.

Friday, 8 April 2011

He's Here!

If you have stumbled across this blog then you have probably noticed that the last entry is dated way back in 2006. Those words have been transported around the web ever since as my various websites have come and gone, but I have always kept them on-line in one form or another as a reminder of what I have been working towards. That goal has simply been to get Reg, my 1961 Reliant Regal, fully restored and road legal. I can still clearly remember taking a few trips in the car way back in what was probably the very late 90's and the smiles that he brought to the faces of all those that saw him. I want that sense of fun back and I hope that you will follow me along on this adventure. And it will be an adventure as I currently have no tools, no skills and virtually no knowledge of how to restore a car!

So what has been happening for the last five years since that update? Quite simply, life. Reg has been living on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales ever since he came into my possession through the sad death of Len, a very close family friend and the inspiration for everything that is to follow. At that time I was studying at university in Aberystwyth on the first year of a five year course. Student commitments and limited resources meant that I got very few opportunities to work on the car, the results of which can be seen in the preceding entries. Having graduated (first class of course), the race was on to find full time employment which led to me living in Swansea at a small rented house. I briefly toyed with the idea of moving Reg closer but there was simply nowhere suitable to move him to. Time simply flew by  until about eighteen months ago when my girlfriend and I signed the papers and handed over the ridiculous deposit on our very first home. House hunting had been difficult as we had a pretty specific list of requirements, one of which obviously included a sizeable garage from which I could restore Reg. Amazingly we found exactly what we were looking for in a village on the outskirts of Swansea. My original estimates were for a couple of months of work before the house was properly sorted, but this quickly turned into well over a year of constant renovation and decorating.

That brings us pretty much up to the beginning of 2011 when I was finally able to turn my attention to the garage. We had accumulated a huge amount of junk in there which had to be cleared out, revealing numerous jobs that needed to be done in the process. The biggest of these was to put in place a new ceiling to stop the constant flow of debris that was falling from the exposed roofing felt. This turned out to be a lengthier process than I had expected and ended up stretching on right into March. Then the story got very random.

On the 19th March we made an enquiry to a local business regarding the hire of a trailer with an eye on finally moving Reg to the house around the Easter bank holiday. We soon hit the stops as it turned out that my car wasn't big enough to tow the weight of trailer that we would require, and also that my driving license didn't cover me to tow the trailer even if I'd had a suitable car. We were however given the number of someone called Bob who apparently had a business transporting cars around the country. We gave Bob a ring only to be told that the one vehicle he had that was capable of moving a three wheeled car was up on eBay and about to be sold in the next half an hour. Nightmare. He then threw us a rather unexpected lifeline by offering to set off there and then, aiming to get the car back to us later that day. We had to double check that he knew exactly where Reg was as it is a lengthy and often difficult journey but he was adamant he could do it, and at a very good price. After checking that someone would be available at the other end Bob was off.

At quarter to nine in the evening we received a call to let us know that he had made it to North Wales successfully. An hour later and he was on his way back. This was going to be a long night. It wasn't until three o'clock on Sunday morning that Bob finally drove into view and began the unloading process. It seemed almost alien to see Reg sat there on the back of the truck and away from his home of the last fifteen years. Bob looked absolutely ruined from his ordeal but still managed to be friendly even after I told him that Reg was almost worthless financially speaking. A minor miscommunication led to Reg's front wheel almost dropping through a gap on the ramps but disaster was averted and a few minutes later he was safely in the garage. After seven years of dreaming I still couldn't believe that he was finally there.

24038 - My 1961 Reliant Regal
24039 - My 1961 Reliant Regal
Freshly washed and hiding the true state of the paintwork
I'd love to give a shout out to Bob and his excellent service but I literally know nothing about him apart from the fact that he is called Bob!

Moving forwards I am not entirely sure of the plan so I am just going to get stuck in. The first few tasks involve sorting out shelving in the garage, unloading all of the spare parts currently crammed into Reg and giving his insides a good clean to remove the mould that has grown while he has been in storage. I can't wait.

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