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Stellaís 2006 Adventures

Whatís been going on since I last left you with a few bits about the fact the car was finally running and off to see everyone? Well letís see if I can remember it all now - and let me take you back two a few details about the year that I left out because other parts of Stella's story were more interesting.

FEBRUARY. In December of 2005, another 2002 deal landed in our laps and it was too good to pass up. My wife Mary's ďGertĒ is another survivor. A 1976 California model 2002 with an automatic transmission and working Behr AC, which to me was a miracle in itself. I have only driven one other 2002 with A/C and the nicest part is that you have air vents spewing air with the windows rolled all the way up which is like a totally foreign concept to me.  The shifter is so close to the console and the stereo mounts on the transmission tunnel practically. You have to be in Drive to put a CD into the thing and thatís a funny deal all by itself. 

Itís Chamonix white, and it had a bunch of work done to it before we bought it. It was sort of a fire sale and anyway we got another good car. At least now Stella and Gert can go driving around together and both drivers enjoy what they want in a 2002. Mary and I drove Gert home from California 1,900 miles and it cruised right along. The second day it ran like a banshee, it just needed to be driven flat out for a while and it was like a whole different car. The 32/38 Weber carb is a mess, and I have to come up with a solution to that so a project is forthcoming.

Above: Gert right before we headed back. Below: Somewhere East of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On a sad note, I lost a great friend in February, Fred Hunter.  About 3 years ago I met Fred and we have shared a common love for old sports cars and many other things. While I was in California, picking up Gert, we got news Fred had passed away suddenly in his sleep at age 56. This was a great shock to us, Fred had many many friends and many talents.

Fred's last years were spent traveling the US and the world on two wheels. He was an avid motorcycle rider and a collector of many things. His most successful acquisition - was Milli.  
To my knowledge, and I'm quoting some old chats with Fred now, not the so called Healey experts of which there is many, so forgive me.  Milli was something like the fourth Austin Healey ever made. She was the first of 4 prototype Healey's built around 1953 for racing as the Healey 100S (Sebring) SPL-224B.  She was a hand made car, ran in the Mille Miglia several times, Sebring, Le Mans and probably a few other places. So the story goes, she was damaged quite badly while racing and put away. In 1955 Austin Healey made 55 100S street cars to commemorate the success of the 100S. Healey made 54 cars and ran short of parts to make the last one, so they basically re-tooled her and made her the last of the 55 street cars. She was then badged as OON-440. And so the folk lore and speculation begins from that point, she was the 1st made and the last made.  Well anyway, somebody will own her in the future and have all that to verify and sort out.  Fred found Milli in the late 60s when nobody cared about such things. Part of his life was invested finding out all he could about Milli and he interviewed many famous drivers of her, including Sir Stirling Moss.  All I know is that I was lucky to have ridden in her several times with Fred, and showed her to many of the BMW faith who visited Stella before Fred's passing.  Long live Mili, she will always be a part of Fred's memory to many of us.
  Healey fans, full story of OON 440

JULY. My birthday is in July and I had a really nice cake this year which tied in the ďStella has her groove backĒ theme. Thanks to many hours of work, Mary and Glenda made me this one of a kind cake which I maintain is the best 2002 cake ever made.  This one even has the correct Hirschman antenna and the right tail lights, even euro turn signals!

In my July update to the site, I briefly covered a week long road trip to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to attend the Kohler Brian Redman Challenge at Road America. The trip was over 1,600 miles of driving in my car, which I felt was a stretch considering the state of how many things still probably needed sorting out.  The great news was that there was no problems at all.  The car had no problems maintaining 27 miles per gallon average over the entire trip, and as I noted reached 36mpg over one stretch of highway driving.

One thing that I did not mention is my new console. Let me tell you a bit about it and see if itís not something you might consider.  As far as a 2002 console, itís probably ďover the topĒ feature wise.  Since Iím not as gauge happy as some people are, and more about conveniences on the long trips Iím going to take in this car, that is how Mark Parker and I collaborated on this one off model which he made for me.  A bit about Mark Parker of Parker Performance Ė heís one of us 2002 guys. He makes all metal console inserts to replace what BMW left out and allows us to have more updated capabilities with the somewhat inefficient console.  He makes some for A/C equipped cars, and for a few other BMW models too.  His craftsmanship is first rate, he literally builds them in CAD and then mig welds them up to your requirements. 

This one is a one of a kind right now. It also has a cutout for my in-dash DIN spec radio and Precision Power equalizer control. It also holds two special ADS tweeters with CNC housings mounted flush.  A relocated hazard switch and a second 12V adapter to power a cell phone or satellite radio if you need that.  It holds 4 disks stored away. And last but not least, a collapsible cup holder. One that holds your drink and keeps the drips off the shifter, even away from 5th gear.  The leather is so nice, Iím going to have to buy some more of it and make my whole console wrapped in vinyl go away. It looks cheap compared to Markís work.

Above: with cup holder open, and shifter in 5th gear. Below: with cup holder closed.

On the long haul to Wisconsin, it kept my cold water bottle in place and was quite a conversation piece to the other 02 folks whoíve seen it.  The parts Mark uses are all first rate German stuff.

.>>> NEXT PART 2

 


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