Still Here!

Well sorry it’s been a bit quiet here for a while. This is due to spending April furiously preparing for my wedding, and then spending most of May on honeymoon. Hooray! The 410 obviously played a part in proceedings, transporting me and my wife from the ceremony venue to the reception. The photo above is the best man and his girlfriend fitting the ribbons to the bonnet. Honeymoon was in California, where we went on a bit of a road-trip, covering 2500 miles all around the state, from snow-clad mountains in Yosemite, to the 47ºC heat of Death Valley, elephant seals on the Pacific, the emptiness of the Mojave Desert, and the bustle of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For this we had an enormous hire car, of the sort I didn’t realise America still made – 18 feet of brand new Lincoln Town Car. We didn’t book this, but were upgraded by the nice man at Alamo in San Francisco, who described in as a honeymoon car. He was part right – it was also the funniest car I’ve ever driven. The 4.6-litre V8 was not nearly man enough to avoid running out of puff up hills on freeways, but then if did have over two tons to haul about. The air suspension gave a wonderful ride, but when people describe some cars as driving like a boat, I now see what they mean. The steering was alarmingly light, and gave absolutely no information or feedback about what the wheels or road was doing. Hit a ridge on a corner at freeway speeds and the whole car lurched and wallowed worryingly. However, it was big, comfy, spacious, and great for wafting gently about on honeymoon. Being rear wheel drive, and with switchable traction control, I guess it might also have been handy for doing donuts in the middle of the desert, if I wasn’t a responsible married man of course…
Now that we’re home, the 410 is currently sidelined with a serious axle oil leak. It’s been leaking gently for a while really (about as long as I’ve had the car in fact), but over the last year it has been getting steadily worse, to the point that it now needs to be topped up every couple of hundred miles. I’m wary of damaging the axle itself, but the fix is going to be quite involved so it is going to have to wait a bit until the credit card has recovered from its Californian exertions. The axle is leaking not from a easy-to-replace seal, but from the bushes where the main suspension pins support it, so news pins and brass bushes will need to be made up, and this involved dropping the axle. There a bit of rust that should probably be sorted at the same time, so it will all add up. I shall report back in due course.

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