Four lads take on Le Mans
Volkswagen Camper and Commercial|Issue 156
We’d had the Le Mans 24 hour race on our bucket list for a long, long time...
DAVE PERRIMAN

We are all dedicated petrol heads: There’s me with my classic VW, Andy with his Saloon Stock race car, his brother Sam who spanners for him and another Sam who races fast Fords on track days. We decided that we should go and take my 1974 bus with an awning to camp in. Four lads in a foreign country with a 45 year old camper, what could possibly go wrong?

The tickets were duly booked and we all waited excitedly until the Thursday in mid June we were to set off. Since the beginning of the year the bus had been making a bit of a knocking sound. I had ‘let it develop’ in the time honoured fashion of someone who knows there is something wrong, but hopes it will fix itself. It had ramped up considerably on my weekend run to Volksworld in the March and didn’t seem to want to quieten down at all on my subsequent trips to Newquay that year. As a precaution I thought I would just take it down to a local air-cooled engine specialist on the Monday before we were due to leave.

He was convinced that my crank was broken and said he would be surprised if it got me home, let alone to Le Mans. I wasn’t so sure. I had been doing a lot of miles that year with the banging and popping noise and besides the ferry was booked & paid for! I took the bus back to our yard, changed the oil and no silver bits, so that was good. I whipped the rocker cover off and that’s when I found the problem. Bouncing around amongst the tappets was a nut and the top of one of the cylinder studs. The head was slightly letting go every power stroke.

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