Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Le Mans (and back) in a Nimbus Coupe

Friend of this blog and fan of 1980s Mini based stuff (here's one of them), Wil Ker, made a trip to Le Mans recently - in his ultra rare Nimbus Coupe, you'll have to admire him for that! Next, he wrote a report about it, too, for these pages. So Wil is a good man. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen. A few weeks has gone by since Le Mans 2013, but we made it there and back in the Nimbus relatively trouble free. We set off on the Thursday morning, meeting our fellow travelers at Maidstone services on the M20 (a Clan Crusader and three guys on bikes), then we headed off to the the Chunnel. The first hour or so was fine, the car is comfy, if hot and noisy. The coolant pipes run uninsulated from the front mounted radiator through the centre tunnel and the engine is only separated from the cabin via a thin piece of perspex. The problem was, that as time went on, the fueling was getting leaner and leaner, eventually after a prolonged queue at the peage the car Kangaroo'd to a stop as we tried to pull away. This was a little embarrassing as we pushed it to the side of the road trying to avoid Lamborghinis and Ferraris blasting past us!"

"After a bit of poking around I decided that the fuel in the tank had got too hot. Basically the tank sits 10cm behind the radiator with no heat shielding, the fuel was about 40 degrees!! The bonnet was removed and went in the roof box and we set off again, this seemed to keep the fuel a little cooler. The other problem was the oil temperature, it was steady at 130 degrees. Although it has an oil cooler, there is no air-flow through it making it useless. Both these issues have never been a problem in the UK temperatures. The final problem was as I started the car to pop out for fresh beer supplies on the Saturday morning. The high oil pressure caused one of the pipes on the oil cooler to pop off, dumping the oil in a nice line across the campsite! Still an easy fix."

"The trip home was a long slog, leaving at 13:30 and arriving home at 01:30, but the car never missed a beat. I have a few ideas how to make improvements - oil/water cooler rather than oil/air, and a new fuel tank out of the way from the radiator for a start. Some internal sound deadening and heat insulation will also make the car more useable. Cheers, Wil" Well, it seems like you've done a great job in restoring the car in the first place, mate. Could this be the only Nimbus Coupe that's actually being used? I'd love to be proven wrong, and I'm sure that goes for Wil, too. Thanks again!

Empty beer bottles, quirky kit cars and bikers in tents. It can only be Le Mans
Picture courtesy Wil Ker 

The Nimbus got hot but Wil remained cool as ever. You can leave your hat on, pal
Picture courtesy Wil Ker
French muck on Coupe's rear. Hang on, do those rear lights read 'Made in Germany'?
Picture courtesy Wil Ker


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  2. It would be great to hear from Wil Ker or anyone with information about a Nimbus. I have just bought one and am restoring it to road-worthy condition.

  3. Hi, I met Will today at the Mk1 mini track day in Blyton, loved his car, and he was going to give me details of another that he knew of, but we never got chance to catch up again, Would you be able to give me his contact details? Many thanks, Matt.

    1. Please drop me a line on jeroen@jeroenbooij.com and I will pass you on to Wil.