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Matthew William Giesbrect

May 18th 2013

Winnipeg Swap Meet 2013 - The British Cars

Matthew Giesbrecht made it to the Winnipeg Swap Meet this past weekend. Weather here can vary widely, but on this day it was perfect.

Here are some pictures he posted to our Facebook site.

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect

Matthew William Giesbrect



December 1st 2012

My Blue Lemon


 
In early June of 2012 I was casually browsing the classic car section of Kijiji Winnipeg when an ad for a 1957 Morris Oxford caught my eye. Being a self described anglophile and lover of all things British I decided that I HAD to have it. I telephoned the seller and he indicated to me that he had had some serious interest from other buyers already. This was on a Thursday, and my family and I were leaving for a week at the lake on the following Monday. Being the impulsive buyer that I am I promised him I would purchase it if he held it for me for a week.


Matt Giesbrecht
Returning from my weekís holiday, I gathered two of my co-workers and my girlfriend, and we set of for Winnipeg (35 minutes away) with a truck and a rented U-Haul trailer. The car was squished in a tiny garage in a narrow back lane inhabited by a slightly angry red squirrel. The previous owner (now deceased, his wife and son sold the car to me) had placed the car on jack stands, but these had broken through the thin concrete floor and the car was resting on itís suspension. I attempted to get all the wheels spinning, but three of them were stuck fast. With no room to pull the car straight out, we used a winch chained to the bumper of our truck to get the car out of the garage. Once the car was out of the garage we hooked a chain to it and straightened it out in the lane. We were ready to pull the car onto the trailer, but there was a small problem; our winch had died. We ended up unhooking the trailer, blocking the wheels and pulling the car up with the truck. It wasnít the best idea Iíve ever had but it worked and we were on our way.he job I thought was going to take less than two hours had ended up taking over three. Back at my shop we quickly unloaded the car and headed home. It was nearly midnight.





Matt Giesbrecht  
The next morning I woke up around 5 AM and decided to go examine what I had actually bought. The Morris Oxford Series III was built from 1956 until 1959 and was equipped with the standard BMC B Series 1500 engine coupled to a 4 speed manual gearbox (or an optional manumatic transmission). The Oxford was a unibody car and had torsion bar front suspension. It is actually still produced in India as the Hindustan Ambassador, and is very popular there. 58,117 units were produced by Morris Motors at their plant in Cowley, Oxford. As I opened the door, the squirrel that had been living in the car for years came flying out and ran off into the field behind the shop. The Oxford seemed to be fairly complete, however it was missing the speedometer, clock, clutch knob/cable, and the front seat was totally destroyed by animals. The body was in very good shape and there was minimal rust-through on the floors. There were also two substantial rust holes just ahead of the front doors, and a small rust hole in the trunk. The brake system including the master cylinder and clutch slave were shot and the fuel pump was in terrible condition. The fuel tank itself was full of rust but should be an easy repair. Other than that, I was fairly impressed with the condition.





Matt Giesbrecht
My first job was to make the car mobile. The steering worked fine, but the wheels were still locked up. I freed up the wheels and over the next month slowly worked on the car in my spare time. I removed all interior carpets, trim and seats and generally cleaned up the car. Work slowed as school started again. As the months dragged by, tinkered with the car for no more than 3 hours a week, plus about one full day ever weekend. I purchased both the shop manual and parts books for it. No matter how hard I tried, though, I just couldn't get the engine to start. Because the fuel tank and pump were out of commission, I hooked up a lawnmower gas tank directly to the carburetor. I replaced the spark plugs, ignition wires, and the coil. I purchased a new battery and I set the timing according to the manual. I squirted oil into the cylinders. It felt like I had tried everything. It refused to run. All it would do was sneeze and backfire through the carburetor. For some reason it didn't occur to me until October that the timing was off by 180 degrees. After switching around the spark plug wires the car started right up no problem. The previous owner had had the wires on wrong, and I assumed they were in the correct position when I installed the new ones! After nearly 35 years of sitting, it was running for the first time. Phoning my mother, who hadn't approved of the purchase, I exclaimed "It's running! You didn't think it would, you thought I bought a blue lemon!". And the name stuck.






Matt Giesbrecht
That weekend I took apart the carb and cleaned it. Iíve purchased and installed a new master cylinder and clutch slave and done a LOT of cleaning in the engine bay. I also found a speedometer and clock in New Zealand, they should be here by spring. Unfortunately this winter the Oxford will have to sit outside as there is no room in my shop to store it.

Matt Giesbrecht
Matt Giesbrecht,
Steinbach, Manitoba



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