V8 goes East

V8 goes East - 3
Gordon provides his third report covering the journey up from Cornwall to the ferry and across to Normandy and then a diversion to a vineyard at St Georges-sur Cher, reaching Bourges for the evening. (3.5.05)

Living at the far end of Cornwall means that it is pretty well 300 miles to anywhere - home to Portsmouth being a typical example at 287 miles. On our journey to Dover for the ferry, at least the infamous GOSS MOOR bottleneck on the A30 only held us up for 35 minutes - almost a course record. The similar delays in Salisbury were broadcast on the radio but too late for a PLAN B.

The crossing on the hydrofoil FAST FERRY to Cherbourg took the normal 150 minutes - the boat was only 10% full so nice and quiet but the wind was from the South-East so produced a diagonal pitching motion. As the boat was so empty there were none of the usual disembarking delays and soon we were en route to the IBIS hotel at St Lo. This town is peaceful now but was a place of dreadful fighting in 1944 as the allied troops tried to break out of the difficult bocage countryside inland of the Normandy beaches.

In contrast to previous trips, the plan this time is to cover not much more than 300 miles a day; our usual system has always been that 350 miles was normal; over 400 miles meant that I had to buy Jennifer a bottle of good French champagne with the evening meal, and over 500 miles meant two bottles; the last trip cost me 7 bottles in total! This slow pace for 2005 meant that we could wander down the fairly empty Routes National roads, admiring the abundant wisteria everywhere and stopping off in small towns for coffee, shopping (of course) and lunch.

One particularly interesting visit was to the cellars of the Domaine de la Rablais at St-Georges-Sur Cher. They were delighted to see the V8 as the current generation of owners had been leant their grandfather's MGB for their wedding! This vineyard has been in the same family since 1790 and has 85 hectares of grapes; they want to convert a further 25 Ha currently under wheat to grapes but the French government will not let them. The family were amongst the team of experts who went to the Napa Valley many years ago to help the Californians improve their wine - they regret this altruistic generosity now. They only sell to private customers - no supermarkets - and their cellars are full of gold medals for various classes of wine. Needless to say we sampled many different wines - actually as the driver I only tried two but by the end of the visit Jennifer was, shall we say, close to feeling no pain. Currently we are at the Novotel Hotel at Bourges and head off towards Italy tomorrow.

Before leaving home I had been concerned that four consecutive petrol fills had given mpg figures of


V8 Register - MG Car Club


Gordon Hesketh-Jones
(Harvest Gold 1904) from Cornwall uses his V8 in a serious way with tours overseas and has clocked up an astonishing 360,000 miles in his chrome bumpered V8. When we heard he was planning another major trip with Jennifer as navigator, we thought members would like to follow his journey with regular reports. Here Gordon provides another report on his progress.

between 19 and 22mpg - not a good prospect with more than 5,000 miles to run on this trip! A quick trip to Mullion Garage and their gas analyser showed a reading of 5.6 so it was far too rich. We weakened the carbs to a more normal reading of 2.8 and have been rewarded with figures over 29 mpg ever since.

For comfort in the cockpit, I had made new wooden formers for the door armrests/pulls which the local coach trimmer had covered in leather with plenty of foam padding - these work very well; the centre armrest was similarly cushioned and retrimmed. They are far more comfortable on long runs than the standard hard items.


We anticipate further reports as Gordon and Jennifer make progress on the epic tour.
Reports from Gordon Hesketh-Jones so far
V8 goes East 11
V8 goes East 10
V8 goes East 9
V8 goes East 8
V8 goes East 7
V8 goes East 6
V8 goes East 5
V8 goes East 4
V8 goes East 3
Route card
Preparations for the trip

Reports from Bob Owen on the MG Italia
Additional photos from Bob Owen
Final report from Bob Owen
Second report from Bob Owen
Report from Bob Owen on the MG Italia