cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

It was a nice job sometimes

pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

It was a nice job sometimes

I started work at Boreham in 1960, at that time it was a standard WW2 US airfield,
but had a history of car racing even then http://www.essexinfo.net/borehamparishcouncil/boreham-airfield/
Quote
Although not on the official Grand Prix calendar, Boreham Racing Circuit hosted competitive races between 1949 and 1952. Among the teams that raced at Boreham were BRM, Connaught, Frazer Nash and Talbot-Lago. Among the drivers who raced there were Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss and Ken Wharton

http://www.essexinfo.net/borehamparishcouncil/boreham-airfield/
It was the base for the commercial Vehicle, Van and Truck,  We then started expanding the offices in the area that is now The Essex Police Central Car Division (The Interceptors)
I moved to an office in the Control tower as a vehicle performance engineer, a lot of testing was carried out at MIRA - Nuneaton, and the occasional trip overseas, my first was to Austria and Rome in 1970.
We suffered from the Elements, The Fuel Crisis, And a long Hourly paid strike.  During 1963 Freeze up we did not run on the track for 6 weeks, , At that time we had a Pave and Corrugated track down the centre of the SW/NE runway, we attempted to clear that with man power and shovels.
During the Fuel Crisis, we only had power on 3 days a week, the others we used Calor Gas heaters, dangeroous with the exhaust fumes, by that time we were in our new office in the Yard, now the office for the Police, and the Competion Department were just starting up.
During the Hourly Strike, we as a department  - staff were shipped to the Ford Gwermany test track in Lommel/Belgium, we worked out that we could privately fund a return home every week end by using two days hotel bills  - Ostend- Southend on Carvars.
I also did a Transit Proto trip to Lisbon in Oct 85, that was at the end of 6 months durabilty, think it must have been a deliberate leak as it was about w week before it was released but the article below and a fuller one was in the local auto press.
The in mid 1986 we were told to keep clear and keep our nose clean,  A large construction was being made at the end of the Pave track, the labour had nothing to do with us and we were in the dark.  the when it was nearly finished a selection of large trucks strated to appear.  after about two week of this we were invited into the small dome sat down an in walked Mike Smith the TV presenter, he then told us sod you jack, the truck business has been sold to Fiat.
Shortly afterwards Brian Peacock  one of the Engineers from Dunton, who had a business in East Hanningfield making E Type Jag look alikes organised a Jolly day at Boreham.
The Job at Boreham seased to exist in 1988 and I held out would not take redundancy as was eventually moved to Dunto looking after the Transit Durability and Performance,  Had a good time of it.
1989 six week trip to Austria and Gallipoli Via Road
1990 Flew to Gallipoli, Transits Transported, drove up to Ancona, flew back, the Managers took the vehicle on to Austria
1991 Ditto, but drove to Zell Am Zee, had two days, the back, left the Managers again
1992-1996 Did Gallipoli and Zell An Zee, Testing cooling and gradient response on the Gross Glockner.
Dec 1996, was offered voluntary redundency, large pension, a years wages, and thats after 43 years.  Yippee

See  for a set of 57 photos from June 1986 - the sell out and happy day
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25737856@N04/sets/72157623086047280/
20 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

Thanks for that Pierre
I first drove Transit in about 1970 - one of the Waterway Recovery Group wagons http://www.wrg.org.uk/cgi-bin/fmaker.pl?history.htm

I know you may not access to official figures now, but how is the Transit holding up to competition.
It seems that Peugeot, Mercedes etc etc vans are more noticeable these days.
For years the Transit must have been top seller ?.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

looks like its doing OK
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

Looking at the wiki page on the Transit, it's interesting to see that the CEO wants it introduced into the US market - as it is more efficient than the locally developped model.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Transit
I would have thought all or at least most European Fords were better in that and maybe other respects than US designed cars. My limited experience of US Fords is they are large with wallowing suspension with huge engines.
I once knew a young engineer at Ford ( not the ones I have mention Pierre ) and as part of his training they sent him over to Detroit for a year or so. I would have thought the reverse process might have been more worthwhile.


pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

In their glorious wisdom they transferred the Transit Design to Detroit at about 1994, I was lucky to leave before the result came out, A lot of the Transit team went to Yankee Land on long term, Think they are all back now, the design is also 
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,826
Thanks: 44
Fixes: 1
Registered: 24-09-2008

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

Back in the 70's (between stints off-shore) I used to drive a Transit for Tentreck
Covered North Cape, to Istanbul, to Leningrad to Greek Islands to Atlas Mountain of Morocco.
Always overladen (14 passengers and camping gear + quanatities of contraband ..not drugs, but outboard engines for Greece, Whiskey for Morocco and Norway, Jeans for Russia) petrol for Albania.
Can remember limping back from Leningrad on 3 cylinders.
always reliable
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

only one?,  our lot in  the car park at Fusch (bottom of Gross Glocker  Aug 92  and waiting for the Manager July 96 in Gallipoli, and Italy /Austria border near Villach 31 July 96
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

What do you call an armada of Transits ?
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

can you imagine us up the Italian Autostrada from Brindisi to Ancona line astern at 70 MPH plus.
or down and up the Grossglockner, in radio contact with the others overtaking apparently blind
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

Its like the Bomber and Fighters, you get a sticker on the side for each one you kill
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

Were the vehicles instrumented - or was it just endurance testing ?.
and why so many ?
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

different spec engines, gearboxes, weights.  mainly 24 channel data loggers on the last trip, electronic of course.
I had a Corrovit non contact speed sensor that has an optical doplar http://www.corrsys-datron.com/optical_sensors.htm
  got mine from Datron Technologies in Milton Keynes, cost about £5000 in 95
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

when I went on my first trip in 1970 in a Proto Cargo with 468 gearbox, the data was recoded  on a 20 channel paper chart recorder that sat on the front seat, you had to sit virtually side ways to look at the chart , then at the end of the run roll out 20 odd foot of paper and transpose the results, oh happy days
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

We only stayed at the best places dont yu know  Reims 1989
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: It was a nice job sometimes

this was our cheap hotel in Galipoli, it was approx £100 per night in 96
the lady is our PADI Scuba instructor, one of the Lads got with 30 metre pass, whilst Is sat and controlled the boat
the one below in Zell an Zee