Graham (Camel) Boxalls V8 Mk2 - Read about it here

My time with A699MBF starts in March 2005. I was not looking for another Granada at the time, then one evening whilst tapping my way through eBay I spotted A699MBF for sale.

History . . . .

I’d known the car and its owner Mark Carter for a number of years through the Guild. I was aware of the work Mark had put into the restoration of the car. He had searched the length and breadth of the country obtaining new panels (wings, bonnet, boot lid and all 4 doors), these were fitted along with the body kit and A699MBF was resprayed in a one off shade of glacier blue mixed with a hint of pearlescent white.

Mark had also fitted new lights, bumpers, suspension, gearbox, steering rack and numerous other new parts. After spotting the car on eBay the dilemma started ! “Do I pay off the finance on my double glazing or do I buy the car ?”

Thinking I’d be cheeky I stuck a bid in of £1500 with 24 hours to go on the auction. Mark rang me up “You’re having a laugh if you think you’re having it for that !” After a short chat a price of £2000 was agreed and Mark removed the car from the auction.

The following Saturday I was on the train to Slough where I was met by Geoff Barton who then ran me up to Mark’s place in Harrow. After a swift cuppa further negotiations took place for the new spares Mark had in stock. Upon opening the garage we saw a pile of secondhand Granada parts seemingly destined for the local tip ! “We’ll take it” – we loaded everything into ‘MBF’ and Geoff’s Granada and set off back to Slough. I put MBF straight into everyday service whilst my hearse was off the road. My first trip was up to the East Midlands Easter bash. A new car in a muddy field ! Oh well, mud washes off !

During the May bank holiday break at Brian Creed’s season opener at Wood End I decided to strip the back bumper down and change the corner rubbers. I wrecked the old pair getting them off due to seized bolts. Upon lining up the brand new pair I found they were too long – ‘must be an estate pair’ I thought. After some minor adjustment courtesy of Wilf’s hacksaw, (sorry John !), they fitted perfectly.

Later that month it was off to the Loreley. After many years of promising Uwe and Karen that I’d go to their show in Germany I was finally on my way ! What a trip – 9 Granadas in convoy for 1500 miles with no breakdowns. I made lots of new friends on the trip and returned with the ‘best modified’ trophy – marvellous !

On the way to Woburn following our national day in August 2005 the heater matrix went thus causing a major overheat. Oh no, engine knackered ! What to do next ? A couple of years previous I’d bought a mark 1 Coupe from one of the local banger boys. I could have what I wanted from the car as long as he had the rolling shell back to race. Under the bonnet of the Coupe sat a 4.6 litre Rover V8 mated to a Sierra Cosworth T5 manual gearbox. Although the original plan was to fit the V8 to hearse, the decision was now taken to fit it to MBF. Whilst I finished collecting parts for the engine swap MBF rested in the garage.

There she remained until May 2007 when the V8 conversion was started. The engine bay was stripped including cutting out the air conditioning as I couldn’t run this with the V8. All that was left under the bonnet was the wiring loom. The headlights, grille and front bumper were also removed. MBF was then trailered off to Mitchy Motors for the engine bay respray. I also had a spare front cradle sand blasted and painted.

I rebuilt the front suspension with polyurethane bushes, new ball joints and the springs and shock absorbers from the Coupe (I knew these were OK with the lighter engine). The rear axle was removed and repainted. This was refitted with new cv joints, brakes, bearings etc. A new petrol tank was fitted along with a new sender unit, stainless steel tank straps and new bolts. The front brakes were uprated with cross drilled discs, modified Jaguar XJ12 four pot calipers (reconditioned by Big Red at Worcester) and Goodridge brake hoses.

The gearbox was split from the engine and the clutch was inspected. It was fine so was refitted. The engine was sprayed first with etch primer then blue engine enamel. The gearbox was re-attached and then they were both squeezed into the engine bay.

When the engine was in the Coupe it was fitted with fuel injection, the wiring loom for this scared the hell out of me, what with numerous relays and an ECU. So I decided that a four barrel carburetor was the way to go. A Weber 500CFM carb coupled to an Offenhauser dual plane inlet manifold was purchased and fitted, fed by a Facet Red Top fuel pump. The exhaust system from the Coupe was 3 ¼ inch bore stainless steel with stainless four branch manifolds and was fitted to MBF. The back box was later modified to suit the body kit. The radiator also came from the Coupe and is a Rover SD1 unit that I had recored. Cooling is aided by 10” twin electric fans.

The engine was dressed with Edelbrock signature series chrome rocker covers and air filter (these have since been replaced with Edelbrock Elite Series aluminium items). I fitted new bumpers front and rear (chromes), front rubbers and four new overriders, new indicators, grille, gutter mouldings, tyres, wheel nuts and numerous stainless steel nuts and bolts. The engine conversion took approximately 3½ months. I didn’t think this was bad seeing as it was all done outside and the weather was not the best during 2007.

MBF sailed through its MOT on 31st August 2007 with only some minor adjustments on the emissions. The car then made its show debut at the All Granadas Together show in September 2007 at Billing Aquadrome where we picked up the trophy for the best modified Granada. How chuffed was I ? !

Early on in 2008 I decided that the wheels were looking a little shabby so they went off for powder coating. In June 2008 on the way home from the Bromley Pageant there was a loud bang from the gearbox/clutch. Unable to change gear properly I nursed the car home. Upon strip down it was found that the pin on which the clutch release arm pivots had come unscrewed from the bellhousing. It looked a bit of a rough job so Julian made up a new one which was ‘loctited’ in place.

July 2009 and MBF had yet another new front bumper fitted (I wasn’t happy with the finish on the old one), new door chromes, new door handles and interior door handle surrounds. At out national day/AGM at Wicksteed Park I was honoured to win the Best Modified Class. After attending the national day every year this was the first time I’d won a class – marvellous !

So what to do with A699 MBF now ? Is it finished? No they never are. The next plan is to save the pennies (those who know me are already laughing !) and get the interior retrimmed in leather.

So that’s it for now – I’m sure you’ve had enough of me wittering on about my car (been really fabulous though ! – Ed) .

Just before I finish I’d like to say a big thanks to Julian Peapell for his assistance and the driveway space to do the engine swap and to his wife Helen for putting up with me and keeping the tea flowing !

KEEP YOUR GRANNY ALIVE ! ! ! ! ! !

A Few Technical Details :-

  • Body – standard 2.8 Ghia X fitted with full body kit, modified radiator mount to move radiator forward, full respray in one off blue, rolled arches all round and renewed chrome.
  • Engine – 4.6 Litre Rover V8, Edelbrock 500CFM carb, Offenhauser dual port inlet manifold, Facet Red Top fuel pump, Rover SD1 radiator.
  • Transmission – Sierra Cosworth T5 gearbox with custom made adaptor plate to fit Rover bellhousing, Rover SD1 clutch with modified fork, custom made prop shaft, standard Granada rear axle rebuilt with new bearings CV joints etc.
  • Suspension - Front - fully poly bushed with lowered front springs, rear has stock Granada with Monroe load levelers.
  • Wheels & Tyres – Mercedes 16” x 8” Penta alloys fitted with 205/55/16 tyres.
  • Interior – standard Granada, Mountney wood rim steering wheel, leather Cosworth gear knob.

 Graham (Camel) Boxall