Break Down Story Number 1

Down Story Number 1.

The Blown Head Gasket.

I purchased the Dolly in 1987 while still living in Grafton on the north coast of NSW. I had been driving a two door Leyland Marina for about ten years being both my Rally car and my general transport car. The Marina’s competition life came to an end when CAMS dumped the Group G rally car regulations and adopted Group A and PRC rules. But the Marina’s life really ended when a tree limb fell on it. Any way to cut a long story short, I sold the Marina to the wreckers (minus all the rally gear) and sold enough spare parts to build three Cooper S Minis, all together raising around $2,000, which was not going to be enough to buy a good Dolly at the time. But it was enough to purchase an average Dolly, may be out of Rego. After two weeks in Sydney I was starting to consider something else when I found a Dolly for $2,200 with front guard damage and only a few weeks rego, I bought it for $2,000.

Christmas 1988, now living in Sydney, (but only temporary I thought at the time) I was heading home to Grafton for the holiday break when about 20 km’s outside Coffs Harbour (on the Grafton side) the Dolly just stopped. Once I had rolled to a stop on the side of the road I turned the key and the engine turned over as if it had no spark plugs, that’s not good I thought. Looking under the bonnet I could see coolant oozing out between the head and the block and so I concluded that the problem was terminal.

Walking about a km r so back down the road to the Coffs Harbour Zoo where they let me use their phone (pre mobile phone days) to ring someone I knew from Coffs Harbour Car Club who lived near by. He kindly towed the Dolly back to his place and a neighbour from Grafton came down and picked me up. The next day me and a friend from Grafton Car Club came down with a car trailer and took the Dolly home. I now found myself at home (way out in the bush) with no transport and only a few days before Christmas. Luckily the Grafton Leyland Dealer had a head gasket and a neighbour gave me a lift into town to pick it up. Taking the head of and putting it back on was not that hard and the engine fired up with out problem, except. The fan was broken and I could not get one of them over Christmas so I fitted two electric fans with some very, side of the road engineered brackets. Every time I worked on the Dolly for years I would say to myself, “I should make some better brackets for those fans” but it was not until a few years ago that I finally got around to doing it. So ended my first Dolly break down adventure.

Jim Pope

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