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So this is GRU. After I sold the BMW I had some cash to spare, and one day I came across something on trademe that seemed to be a bargain. It was a CL9 Accord in the middle of nowhere, for very little money. On the plus side, it was a sport model with the OEM bodykit and alloys, and it was 6 speed manual. On the negative side, the bodywork was rough, and the clutch needed replacing (although he said it was still drivable).

So, the better half and I decided to go halves, knowing we could make money on it once we fixed it up. We drive off into the middle of nowhere and meet the seller. He was selling on behalf (apparently), and it was obvious the car had been on a farm all its life. Took it for a test drive and sure enough the clutch was stuffed. It had enough bite to get into gear when stopped, but that was it. I managed to limp it around the test drive and then we discussed price. The car wasn’t as described, it was rougher and I told him this. Said I wasnt going to pay what he was asking. He wasn’t pleased, and it wasn’t until my partner got back in the car to leave that he decided to agree to the lower price.

So I jumped in GRU, and off we went. Insurance was sorted at the side of the road, and we began our couple of hour trek home. Better half in the BMW (AGAIN!), and me in the Accord with no clutch. Having had previous experience in clutchless shifting in the Marina, it didn’t take long to begin seamlessly shifting without the clutch in the Accord. Still have memories of fanging around the Manawatu Gorge, windows down, Bohemian Rhapsody cranking loud, and just enjoying the drive.

Unfortunately that all ended quickly once we hit SH1 just south of Levin, where apparently everyone in the country was returning from a long weekend, and the roads were gridlocked. Now, this sucks at the best of times, but having a clutch which barely works when stopped and doesn’t work when moving sucks worse. At least I could get in and out of gear when stopped, but as soon as I stopped I had to jump into neutral or the car would just keep creeping. It was a very long drive back, and a stressful one at that.

One thing that became apparent when I was driving, was that I wasn’t alone in the car. The skittering of little claws running across the head lining from one side to the other, the smell of urine, and the little black droppings everywhere quickly indicated that I had a resident mouse floating around in the car. I’m not scared of mice so this wasn’t a big deal, but the car did smell unpleasant.

When we got home, I made the call and found a workshop that would replace the clutch for me. Dropped the car in and a couple of days later it was good to go. With the new clutch, the car was awesome. The torque I experienced in my old auto one was just that much stronger with the manual box to control it. It was a great car to drive now, and as a plus, the mouse was nowhere to be found when I got the car back. Obviously it liked the workshop more than my car. I gave it a damn good cleaning, and de-smelled the AC. Came up well.

I also decided to tackle the bodywork. The front lip had a large dent in it and the rear bumper was hanging off and not clipped into the retainers. Wasnt too hard to pull the bumpers off, and realigning the rear was fairly easy although I couldn’t press out the dent that it had in the side of it. The front lip came off easy enough and with heat and some brute force I managed to 90% push the dent out of it. Refitted the bumpers and it looked somewhat better.

We purchased GRU for the sole purpose of reselling once it was fixed, and that’s what we did. Needless to say we made a decent profit on it, even after the expense of the clutch replacement. It went to a nice family in Auckland who no doubt have a great, reliable car now.

Update 8/3/20 – Unfortunately after only a couple of years since I sold it, this car was written off by an insurer.

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