One of my favourite pleasures in life is going to auto jumbles, one of my least favourite things is getting up at 5 am to go and sell at one. You have to load up the van, drive to the site, unload the van, spend all day telling people why you can't take 5p for your engine worth 500 quid and then you have to load it all back in the van, take it all home and unload it all again cos you need the van for something else.
I find that combining the two things works well for me, we get there earlyish, unload, I leave Mrs at the stall while I go round pretending to be an important business man making investments. These investments are sometimes minor - a tube of Solvol Autosol at significantly lower than high street prices would be one such example. Sometimes I come back with something larger, sometimes numerous trips are required.
I think this month's event can go down as a massive success, we sold a few bits, made some new contacts, had a brilliant day talking to folk and looking at the classic cars that turned up and I got some monster bargains that really made my day, nay week.
The first thing I found was a mig welder to replace the ones the thieving scum bags nicked when I got burgled. The one they took was a previous Stickney find, it was a beauty, a high end Sip model that had only been used once. It would have been out of my budget as a new item but I picked it up really cheaply, I feared it would cost a fortune to replace - around the 350 quid mark for a new un. My first find was a Sealey Mig in less than ideal condition but it was only 65 quid. A bit of haggling got it down to 55 and a very stern look from the Mrs as we hadn't sold anything at that time so with the pitch fee we were already 60 quid down on the day.
I was happy though, I thought it was probably knackered but was confident I could fix it, you can get all the parts and normally these things end up being sold because folk can't use them rather than them being beyond repair. The next find was another one of those unexpected but extremely pleasing finds. Long time readers of this blog will know I have a Triumph T300 Trident based cafe racer that I built about 3 years ago. It has spent at least 2 of those years gathering dust as it has a cracked cylinder head that enthusiastically spews oil as soon as it gets warm. I have made several attempts over the years to get a replacement but as they are a common failure point they are hard to come by and very expensive - about 150 quid on a good day. Imagine my joy when I found one for just a tenner. I was so excited I forgot to haggle and that was purchase number 2 in the bag.
I still needed some gearbox oil for the Prefect's Rover 4 speed so I set off for a third time in search of my next bargain. Sadly, I have to report that my mission failed. I'm not saying that nobody had any but after I got 3/4 of the way round my concentration was rudely broken by the most beautiful Italian I have seen in a long while. She was perfectly proportioned, looked magnificent for her age and even had a beautiful name - Bianchi. I knew I had to have her and despite me knowing nothing of ladies of this vintage I could not ignore my lust and my wallet suffered the consequences.
I had no room in the van so a deposit was paid and I shall go tomorrow to collect her. She is missing lots of parts, most of which will have to be fabricated from scratch or similar vintage parts will have to be adapted to fit. She is a Stelvio 250 dating from 1951, they only made this model for 4 years, I am unsure as to how many were made. According to Bonhams this bike was part of the Giancarlo Morbidelli collection, it comes with provenance. It was being restored for his museum but was never completed, the work that has been done to it thus far is definitely of museum quality. The engine and frame number match, this really is an incredible find. I feared I may have paid too much for it, this is way outside of my comfort zone but my gut told me I would never find another and that it was a now or never sort of deal. Time will tell but I think this will be a worthwhile addition to the retirement fund. Gonna have to find a more original seat though.
PS, yes I did find a tube of Solvol Autosol at way under high street prices.