Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/29/19 5:18 p.m.

I think I've always been doomed to own British cars, and specifically a Mini or something Mini-like, though I'd never owned one 'til I picked up the '73 MGB GT a couple of months ago.

Stretching further back to when Jumper K. Balls got his Mini, that of course put Minis on my brain. Somewhere in that time frame, local shop Jet Motors had a Wolseley Hornet up for sale. Rusty, but for modest money. It was so cool...

I hemmed and hawed and then leapt directly into hemming some more. Finally, I was ready for action! I pulled up Jet's FB page, and was greeted with the Wolseley's new owners motoring happily away.


I pretty much figured that was it for that particular itch. I mean, it's not like I was going to find another Wolseley. Until I did. Actually, JKB's coworker, a serious Mini guy, found it. In Canada. At this point I had fortunately got my hemming and hawing out of the way early and pretty much...

Actually, I was fortunate that the seller was willing to sit on it for quite a while. I PayPal'd him a deposit, but between moving, family mayhem, etc, etc I was unable to go fetch it for several months.

Then, by this last Saturday, I had rented a storage unit nearby to avoid making the new neighbors hate us before I even get the garage built, I had the day set aside, and had rented a trailer. (Pro Tip: Tiny cars don't fit on UHaul trailers; the MGB only just did, and the Wolseley was too narrow for the wheel tracks. A local place rented me a trailer that had a flat deck.) It was time.

I'd meant to head out around six and be back for dinner. Ish. The night before, the seller said it'd be more convenient if I turned up early afternoon rather than late morning. He lives really just over the border, nominally about ten minutes into Canada; Google said my whole drive from Portland was estimated at about 4:50. So I didn't push too hard, and rolled out around quarter to eight.

There was considerable traffic in Seattle and a few other spots, and a little wait at the border, with the result that I didn't get there 'til about 2:00.

Also, it appeared that The Earth and Atmosphere wanted me to know that I had used up All The Time and my day was over. 50 miles before the border it was about the prettiest day I'd seen all year. A stop for gas just a little before it got berzerk pretty:

And three minutes over the border. I wish I'd captured this better, but I'd like to draw your attention to how the black clouds seem to get to about fifteen feet off the ground dead ahead, and are just impersonating The Nothing from The Neverending Story off to the right...

Fortunately, it turned out the seller's place really was only a few minutes over the border. I was also utterly stunned by how convenient it was that we drove to the insurance place five minutes from his house, and spent all of ten minutes there formally transferring me Canadian ownership.

Back to his place, and it thundered and snowed while loading the Wolseley up. But as soon as we were done, it got nice again!

Woohoo! Underway!

Oh, this is the point where I realized that I hadn't memorized the zigzag from the border to the house, and also where my phone misplaced the Internet. I kept asking how to get to Portland, and it kept saying it couldn't find a way to do that... Fortunately, I had downloaded the local map data when offered the option, so I was able to roughly locate where my dot was and where the crossing was, and made my own zig zag.

I wish I had taken a picture while in the hour-long line at the border. This is the point in the story, pushing four p.m. and about two hours or so from where I'd hoped to be arriving home to order a pizza and crack open a well-earned ESB, that a picture of that line would have real impact. Oh well. You know lines. I'm in one. Or a queue, since I'm hauling an English car out of Canada.

I finally get to the front of the line, where as expected I'm instructed to park and take my paperwork into the building, so I do.

I'd done a bunch of research, and in the end, a lot of it wasn't really necessary. With the complete Canadian paperwork, the folks at Customs and Border Protection seem to pretty much have this sorted, though it's always weird fielding the leading questions and how clearly "why this car?" asks more than "why this car?" Anyhow, it was all polite and smooth, and only took about twenty minutes or so.

And then I had to wander out sort of juggling the papers and goofily snapping a pic on the trailer. Which for some reason gave the officer who had guided me to the parking spot doubts and he wanted to double-check my papers. He did not like the amount of stuff the officer inside had left for me to sort later. So he took me back inside, and I spent another fifteen or twenty minutes waiting for a third officer to go over stuff, ask me a couple of questions, and fill out a few more fields. Yes, the officer in the lot stopped me and checked officer three's work when went to leave. This time he found it  at least okayish, and I did not dawdle.

An hour in line, a couple of trips into the building... And now it's awfully close to my orignal home ETA, while I still think was significnatly optimistic but not completely implausible. Should've left at six regardless of what dude said. If you've got a five hour drive, don't bank on too early being the problem.

Anyhow, got on I-5, spent a little while at freeway speed, and stopped at a rest stop to relieve myself (no way was I adding any errand, no matter how urgent, to my time at customs) and check that the Hornet was still secure. Needed another click or two on the straps, but looked damn good.

Drove another hour or so, and really came to grips with the fact that I was going to need dinner a long time before Portland, and that since I was already getting really hungry, I should not engage in my traditional game of feeling like every offramp just looks kinda inconvenient until I'm insane with hunger and the truck's on fumes.

And that's how I came to dine at Carls Jr in... I have no idea where.

It was also a fortuitous stop in that I was able to witness firsthand the natural glory of the parts of finest British workmanship actively falling off my very own car!

Okay, that's really time's fault, but I am glad that I found it before it rattled to the back, fell off, and created an international incident. Interstate incident? A problem. Anyhow, the tie-downs needed another couple of clicks, too.

There's no photo documentation of the rest of the drive. I cursed the narrower lanes and more aggressive traffic of Seattle. I ran out of light, cola, and podcasts, in that order. Actually, after listening to all the cycling (The Paceline, The Pull), motorcycle (Ken Hill, Paddock Pass), and driving (Speed Secrets) podcasts that I'd queued up, I found a Dan Carlin "Hardcore History" podcast that I started at my burger stop and wasn't even done when I got home... I was thankful for that.

Home at last! The new house is on a relatively quiet street, so imagine my surprise that half the time Sunday that my wife or I looked outside, someone was taking pics of the Wolseley. Sometimes it was us.

This morning I braced myself for the last phase. The DMV.

I got there right at opening, and was dismayed to find...

  • Nobody at the info desk (across town, you usually grab a number and then check in to make sure you've got what you need)
  • I was number 41
  • The "Now Serving" number was 0
  • When someone was done, they were just asking for "next in line!"

A few minutes later a woman came out to attend to the info box, at about the same time the guy ahead of my and I realized the line we'd joined wasn't The One Line To Rule Them All, but the line for the info box. At least that suddenly became useful.

She tagged out with a guy right before I got there. I said what I was after, and he just told me to have a seat and wait for my number.

It eventually became semi-clear-ish that this DMV tries to organize people into a row of chairs, which is The One True Line, by their ticket numbers. Once I was there I felt considerably better. I gotta say, though, that while I was resigned to spending a long time there since I was doing a relatively complicated thing, my two hour wait felt much longer for the fact of spending an hour and a half wondering whether I was just being messed with when I was told to wait for my number and no numbers were being called...

Got to the counter and the woman there was nice and helpful. We sorted out the two docs I didn't have pre-filled, she came out and looked at the Wolseley's VIN (and commented profusely on what a neat car it was), and I was on my way.

Now I just needed to put the car in storage and return the trailer.

Caught a bridge lift at the Columbia and sat for a few minutes, but the DMV's just across the river and a few miles from the storage space, so I'm there pretty quickly. Glad it's a light little car, and with the hand crank winch, no problem to unload by myself. But why doesn't it want to roll downhill now the back tires are on the ramps?

You may have noticed that I made a couple of references to having to retighted the tie-downs. I even sent a joking text hoping I wasn't stretching the car. Well...

I'm thinking the pulling on opposite subframes actually yanked hard enough to deform the (known) rotting floors. Oh well. I knew going in that it needed basically a new everything well up from the bottom edge. Still startling.

It just took a little more pushing than I'd expected to get it off the trailer.

Safely ensconced, waiting for me to get the rest of the parts of life aligned to be able to return my attention to it. But I'm so stoked; I actually have a Wolseley!

Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/29/19 5:37 p.m.

Also, I think I hate surge brakes. And/or I need shocks. Or the brakes were adjusted badly.

All I really know is that any time the pavement got choppy, it felt like the trailer's brakes were getting tripped and yanking on the truck, which un-tripped them. This oscillation could go on for a minute or two at a time, and you didn't really get any result out of trying to coast or accelerate out of it. No me gusta.

Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/29/19 6:39 p.m.

Another funny point. When I finally got back to the border and the Internet, the first thing I got was a text from AT&T congratulating me on having Internet all over the world just like at home, and that I'd only be charged $10 for each day I used data outside the U.S..

It could have been amusing, but that is not how I found it at the time. That reminds me, I should probably see whether they actually charged me the ten bucks for no internet when I needed it.

NOHOME UltimaDork
4/29/19 7:23 p.m.

We are going to see some rust repair! ALRIGHT!!


And I am not going to be the one doing it! Even Goodlier! 



TurnerX19 HalfDork
5/3/19 7:20 p.m.

None of your photos are showing up here. 

RossD MegaDork
5/3/19 7:32 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Me too.

Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/4/19 10:11 a.m.

Berk. Wonder why they worked for Pete and not you guys... Either way, guess the hotlink-from-Google thing is off again.

I'll try to find time tomorrow to fix them with GRM uploads.

Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/4/19 7:48 p.m.

Okay, unless I did something silly along the way, that should now have asymptote% more images than before (for those for whom it had none).

TurnerX19 HalfDork
5/5/19 8:09 a.m.

Pictures working now thank you. That looks like the light weight version, too bad the weight removal starts at the bottom, bad for CGcheeky

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