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Out for a little motoring in Lurch

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  • Out for a little motoring in Lurch

    I had the opportunity to assist in getting Lurch a little closer to it's new owner. It needed moved from the auction site to some temporary storage near me. It was a 50 mile drive and since it was running pretty sweet on auction day we figured why tow it when you can drive it. So we get the petty details out of the way like payment and title work and such and the time comes to jump in and hit the road. Well with all the previous owners additions and modifications a pre flight check would have taken an hour so we just dropped the pin in the tow jaw to attach the trailer and rolled out. Before I was out of the driveway I realized that this rig steered like a battleship and was also in low range. I slid the red knob forward to warp drive and solved that issue but the steering was going to be a struggle. Even though I had brought along my tire pressure gauge we didn't bother to check air pressure at the house because we had no way to add air. My plan was to stop at a gas station a few miles down the road and check the tires and add some fuel. The one smart thing we did before leaving was to locate the key for the lock on the filler cap. it had been raining lightly during the paper work and trailer attaching phase but as soon as we started making serious progress the skies opened up and it started pouring. I deftly engaged the wiper shaft on the drivers side motor and flipped the switch to set the arm in motion. The wiper blade just sat there defiantly straight up and down not even flinching. Thinking quick I went to manual mode which worked splendidly except fo the fact that I also had to hold the lever out against the spring pressure to keep it from locking up dead center every swipe. This wasn't too bad as a swipe every 30 second or so was enough for decent visibility. With things moving and grooving I passed on the first gas station thinking we could drive out of the rain and get to refuel and check tires in the dry. So old Lurch was running sweet, the steering was tight but heavy, the transmission was slick as could be ( I really like the non synchro boxes compared to the Series III all synchro units ) and the brakes were solid without any pulling so my fingers were crossed that we could continue on for the remaining 45 miles without issue. Between steering (I kept wandering to the right being used to driving a RHD Rover ) downshifting for hills, and wiper duty there was just no time to try and figure out any of the dozens of switches and gauges. At the first stop sign the entire truck instantly fogs up and it is a T intersection on a well traveled highway so it was really difficult pulling out into traffic. I finally make the turn causing more than one driver to curse me and get straightened out and into top gear and my phone rings. I fished it out of my pocket and it was the support truck........telling me that I was going the wrong way. Pretty embarrassing considering i had just been here three days before. Doing the U turn was again a challenge with the steering and I actually had to do one back up on the highway to get turned around. Through all this the rain never let up and sometimes increased for short bursts. After 20 miles we come into the outskirts of a town where I know the gas stations and I'm ready to stop at the first one. Approaching the station on the opposite side of the road I see an opening in traffic that was a bit too small for the truck and trailer but I go for it and wheel into the station without braking much. Well it was instantly apparent that this was a big mistake as the front tires started to howl and the steering did not cooperate at all and we headed for the curb. I had to abandon the wiper and crank the wheel hard along with standing on the brakes. Luckily the Rover gods were kind and the curb escaped unscathed. So fuel was added, tires were inflated and we sat out another heavy rain and then it was back on the road for the final 25 miles, hopefully with better steering after boosting tire pressure from the 19 pounds we left with. As I was pulling out of the gas station it seemed as though the increased tire pressure didn't help much in the steering department. for some reason I glanced down and saw an ARB switch lit up. I pushed the switch and the light went out. The lettering on the switch said rear locker. It dawned on me that this truck sat out at the auction for eight hours or more with folks climbing in and out and playing with the countless switches and buttons. Going through town the rain quit and even though two long hills required downshifting into second it was turning out to be a pleasant trip. The joy of motoring was quickly doused by a severe lightning and thunder storm which decreased visibility to about six feet and required double time on the human powered windshield wiper. This precluded down shifting for some small hills but the reduced pace was welcome. We were only about five miles from our destination and I really didn't want to stop so we slogged on in the spirit of past MARs. We made it to the shop, got the trailer and truck safely stored away and right on cue the rain ceased. In a true test of loyalty to it's new owner Lurched never missed a beat the entire trip, even when running on two year old gas. Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Great story! Still trying to make sense of all the extra stuff mounted on and around the dash.

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    • #3
      That's quite a cockpit (and truck)!

      This story is further proof of the power these trucks wield over us enthusiasts--causing us to attempt great feats, often risking life, limb, and wallet, just to house, maintain and drive them for a few decades. Great story and pictures.

      The force is strong with this one.

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      • #4
        That 2nd pic looks like something from a Jules Verne ship. Very cool.
        Do not fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. - John Parker

        “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters” ― Daniel Webster

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        • #5
          Thank you for bringing us along for the ride!
          1965 Series IIa

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          • #6
            Great story! Thanks for sharing. Love those old Dormobiles. Looks pretty much like my uncle's 66, but his has a few less switches! Same dash mounted fan though.

            One of the reasons I wanted to AC my truck was to quickly combat the fogging issue.

            So who bought Lurch?
            There is nothing more dangerous than those who seek to alter the will of men through force or deception rather than logic.

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            • #7
              Very cool. Excellent driving skills.

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              • #8
                Great story! And wow, what a collection of electrics on that dash! I LOVE the inverter outlet with cables heading back into the dash. I expect that theres a toaster oven on the other side somewhere.
                ---------------------------------------------------
                '73 S3 88"
                '87 110 garden shed

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                • #9
                  I bought the truck, it will reside in Woodstock GA in a month or so. It's the second Dormobile for our family and we are looking forward to some camping this fall. Big thanks to Mark and Tom for retrieving the truck for me! I didn't know it was going to be such an epic trip, I'm a little jealous that I missed it!

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                  • #10
                    Congrats! Is that a 4 or 6? I can't tell from what I can see of the tunnel.
                    gene
                    1960 109 w/ 200TDI
                    rebuild blog; http://poppageno.blogspot.com/

                    You don't see faith healers working in hospitals for the same reason you don't see psychics winning the lottery.

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                    • #11
                      It's a 2.25 petrol. With all the accessories on the truck the overdrive was no surprise but between the weight of a fully laden Dormobile, 4 spare wheels and tires, and the trailer the overdrive can't have seen much use.

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                      • #12
                        Holy crab cakes, that looks a liner cockpit from the analogue age!

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                        • #13
                          The pre flight check takes a half hour.

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                          • #14
                            Epic tale of typical Rovering, good job Mark!

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                            • #15
                              This is a great truck! Please share more photos. I've always liked doormobiles!

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