Preparations for using the S2 for our wedding and honeymoon started around three weeks before the ‘big day’. The list was long and time was short, so I decided to concentrate on the big things such as the brakes and the way the car looked as it was obviously going to feature in one or two of our wedding snaps.
I replaced the front discs and pads as well as all the calliper seals. The car stops fine now but it still squeals to a halt, so instead of people admiring the car for its looks I often get rather concerned glances from bystanders wondering if I’m going to stop at all! Never mind. I didn’t get around to replacing the red clutch hose so I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t get too hot in the South West of France!
The wedding day came and went too quickly for my liking but the car looked spot on. Family members who I hadn’t seen for years and friends, unfamiliar with the car, were all keen to get a tour of it. It constantly attracted an admiring crowd throughout the day. Oh… the wedding itself was fantastic and Hazel looked stunning!
Our honeymoon began three days after the wedding so I had a day or two to tinker with the car and make sure it was up for the 1000 mile or so journey. A quick check to see if all of Hazel’s suitcases fitted and we were ready for the road.
I was dreading getting the car on to the ferry at Portsmouth but I shouldn’t have been, it drove straight on with none of the ramp issues I was convinced I was going to get. Two nights later I had no further issues getting off the boat in Bilbao, Spain. We only had to drive around 200 metres before we got our first thumbs up from a passing car…..so far so good.
Our first hotel was in the centre of Bordeaux which we arrived at with no problems. No one else has ever driven my car (apart from the 10 previous owners), so when we rocked up and the valet parking guy came out I was a bit nervous to hand over the keys, but I did so much to the surprise of the wife.
Note to self. Never hand the keys over to a valet parking attendant. After our three night stay the guy brought my car back to me and I could feel and hear a couple of things that didn’t seem quite right. Over bumps the car’s front right suspension unit knocked loudly (which it didn’t do before), and I could feel the bumps through the accelerator pedal. The car had developed a mild misfire as well. Something to take a look at when we got to our new destination; Les Eyzies in the Dordogne where we had a villa booked for the week.
Half way to the villa the suspension noise ceased. Weird.
The villa was lovely and in a really beautiful location, where we could explore the surrounding area by day and drink litres of vin rouge by night. The day after arriving I took a look at the car. The suspension seemed to be fine and I could see no problems. Good. Engines are not my strong point (something I want to address when I return to the UK) so I didn’t have much of an idea where to look apart from the carbs, leads and plugs. They all seemed fine. As I was on my honeymoon I thought I’d pay more attention to the wife and a little less to the car so I left it there. Good choice.
As we were driving along during one of our outings, a passenger of the car in front, lent out the window and started to video my car. I duly obliged by raising the lights, weaving a little and so on. Big smiles and a thumbs up when we went our separate ways further down the road. I love my car!
From the Dordogne we drove for about four hours north to Bourges and stayed for two nights in a lovely hotel which was in a converted Abbey. I knew it was a good choice of hotel from the moment we sat down to breakfast.
Although I was keeping my fingers crossed for cool weather, I was kind of hoping it would stay dry. Glad I bought that tonneau cover from SJs and remembered my chamois!
Whilst filling up at a petrol station, I noticed that the car only seemed to be using one tank. The left tank, as viewed from the rear, was always full so I only had to fill the right one each time. (I know they are joined by a pipe so perhaps it’s got blocked?) The fuel gauge only registered the right tank too. Puzzling. However, this slight inconvenience didn’t seem bother the Z3 owner who offered me his car keys for a swap! I was smiling again.
After Bourges, we left for Versailles, just outside Paris, where we were booked in at the Trianon Palace. It is part of the Waldorf Astoria collection so we were looking forward to some luxury after arriving there in style! It was the best hotel we’ve ever been to! We could get used to that sort of living but unfortunately our jobs don’t pay us well enough to. We highly recommend it for those who have cash to burn!
The Esprit fitted in well with a few other quality motors in the car park. The German owner of the Audi loved the Esprit so much he believed that everyone in the hotel would be jealous. Timeless style!
After our stay in Versailles, all we had to do was drive to Le Havre and get the ferry back to Portsmouth. This we did with no problems except for a little sea sickness!
We finally got home around midnight where I parked the Esprit in the garage and thought to myself; not bad for a 32 year old sports car. From northern Spain to London (1161 miles) with hardly a hitch. She did us proud.
A final note to my wife/navigator/entertainer/friend; she also has done me proud by marrying me.