On the Shelf.
Where to store the ever growing fleet.
The Fleet, as you may have noticed from the box out below, has expanded somewhat since the days of just having my 80 inch and 1970 Series 2A Carawagon. Whilst this is all great fun, the day to day management of five 4x4 playthings, 2 motor bikes and the stalwart Skoda Fabia (aka the Skud), which is my normal ‘disposable’ car, is almost a full time job. Most weeks there is a reminder about either road tax or insurance and barely a month goes by without a visit to the MOT Station. Even the Skud, which I regard as ‘new’ is on its second MOT now.
Whilst most of these things are solved with ten minutes of form filling and a few phone calls, the biggest problem by far is where to keep them all. Having grown up in a farmhouse back in the early 1970’s it was not uncommon for my brother Justin and I to have up to ten projects on the go. These ranged from the 80 inch I still have, through various big Rover saloons to a diminutive Austin 7 Special. We had barns full of stuff, much of it sadly scrapped when Mum moved out 25 years ago.
I have been lucky over the last six months, as at least one of the fleet has been up at my son Matt’s place being worked on. It has simply been a case of, as one was finished, another took its place. If I played my cards right there was often a second visit a few months later for extra work. That conveniently removed one from the equation on a semi permanent basis. My parnter Jo’s house is blessed with a double garage, so throughout the Spring and Summer she is happy to leave her car outside, liberating room for two of mine, but come Winter, that will be reduced to one. My house has a large single car garage, in which I can squeeze a Jeep and the two bikes. That leaves the Carawagon sitting outside in the yard. This is really unfair as it is has a roof made of 40 year old wood and brass screws. It really deserves better, but is too high to fit in any of the garages!
A tight fit!
Things all came to a head this month, as the 101 was finished and Matt was keen to get the biggest toy of all out of the way as it was hampering the daylight getting into his workshop! This coincided with the tax and MOT expiring on the 80 inch. Great! I could swap them over, but with so many toys in the cupboard I had reluctantly decided to declare my oldest ally SORN. I could not foresee driving it this year, so it seemed an unnecessary drain on already stretched resources to have it kicking around. Mulling over my problem with Matt, he kindly offered me storage space on his mezzanine floor. To all intents and purposes this is a large shelf at the far end of the workshop where junk accumulates. A sort of holding bay for the tip!
Matt looks on from above as the 80 inch is eased onto the shelf.
It was certainly strong enough to hold the 1948 Land Rover, but getting it up there could be tricky. The four poster ramp is it the right place, but even at full height would still leave a metre to climb and a gap between the ‘shelf’ and the ramp of about 2 metres. After much head scratching and measuring we worked out that if we put the Land Rover on a trailer and bridged the gap with the trailer ramps we could just about do it.
To complicate proceedings the trailer was about 2 inches wider than the ramp, so reversing it on was a job of pin point accuracy and masses of ‘left hand down a bit’ directions. Once on, we raised the ramp to its maximum height and bridged the gap with the ramps, secured to anything solid with ratchet straps. With my tongue firmly wedged between my lips for heightened concentration, I gingerly reversed the Land Rover up the ramps in low ratio. What soon became apparent, was that a four poster ramp is only meant to take vertical weight, not lateral forces. I made one clumsy dab on the throttle and the ramp lurched alarmingly, but on the second attempt I was smoother and the 80 inch was literally on the shelf!
So, as we leave it, I have my 80 inch in hibernation, the 101 and a Jeep in Jo’s double garage, the Carawagon here in the yard and under cover in my garage, the other Jeep and both motor cycles, with the Skoda out on the street. That status quo should be okay until Winter then I shall have to think of another cunning plan!
Copyright Toby Savage.
1948 Land Rover Chassis number R861117. Owned since 1973.
1970 Carawagon. Owned since 1997.
1976 Land Rover 101 FC. Owned since 2010.
1943 Ford GPW. Owned since 2007
1943 Willy’s MB. Owned since 2010
1997 Cagiva Elefant 750 Motor Cycle.
1978 Honda 90!2007 Skoda Fabia Tdi. Marvelous car - 75 mpg.