Night driving

Last week I took the Riley down to the local VSCC meeting at the Phoenix not really thinking about the early sunset or that the rain had only stopped half an hour before. A pleasant evening ensued, chatting to other like minded enthusiasts and the time came to head off home. Stepping out of the pub I saw that the heavens had been rather open for a while, there were large puddles in the car park AND sadly inside the Riley, especially the seats. Normally vintage car owners would fit the waterproof torneau to prevent such a thing occurring. I of course have not got to that stage yet, nor have I trimmed the seats or fitted any interior panels. So the inside getting wet was not that big a deal.

I merely lifted out the seat cushion and tipped the puddle onto the ground and jumped into the car. It probably took all of 5 minutes before I was soaked but I had no choice I had to drive home in the rain. One thing that had never occurred to me was how painful rain hitting you in the face at 50mph is. It stings! 40mph(ish) was more comfortable and the flying goggles did their job. I learned several things that night:

  1. Soggy seats are not a great experience
  2. Rain makes your face sore
  3. My hemp wrapped steering wheel is fantastic even if it gets wet
  4. Not having any instrument panel lights means you have absolutely no idea how fast you are going – although the bellow of the exhaust is a decent clue
  5. Not having any indicators means that at night, people behind you cant see that you were indicating with your arm out. My neighbor followed me home from the VSCC and knew all about arm signals – but he simply couldn’t see me doing them which is of course dangerous.

Lesson one will have to wait until I can afford the trimming. Lesson two I will have to learn to love. Lesson four, means I had to fit the period instrument panel light which at night looks like this. Illuminated oil pressure, temperature and RPM is all I need to see.

Lesson five is the subject of the next blog post.


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