With the car in working order and the registration and technical inspection up to date, I decided to take Wilson for a shakedown run up the Ronda mountain route. That same day, the region encountered the heaviest snowfall in years!
I packed my girlfriend and our little Podenco Angel into the car along with my camera and set off. Our route would take us past San Pedro, up the “carretera de Ronda” to stop at a cafe, trot around the town of Ronda then head back down. It’s almost entirely uphill, sometimes reaching inclines of 15 degrees. Even on a chilly day, I had worries the little rev-happy 1275cc motor might need to take a break.
In the end, the car performed spectacularly and didn’t miss a beat. The skinny bias-ply tires saved our hides when we left the main road to explore some snowy, muddy trails, somehow finding grip where a BMW X1 failed. We even managed to build a snowman on the hood and take part in a challenge to drive to Ronda without it falling off. I regret waxing the car now as he slid off within a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately, the day didn’t go as planned when the major road leading to Ronda was closed due to snowfall. While at the viewpoint a few minutes before reaching the “Serrania de Ronda”, Angel sliced her paw open on some snow-covered boulders. In typical fashion, she didn’t let us know until we discovered bloody paw prints all over the place. In the end we managed to wrap it up and Angel didn’t mind it much. We had a delicious meal at one of the local biker stops and made our way home.
While the car way exceeded my expectations this trip, some issues presented themselves on the way down the mountain. While coasting in gear (or rather, engine braking), a very strong smell of exhaust fumes made their way into the cockpit. We didn’t experience this on the way up so I presume it’s either an exhaust leak or a hole in the body somewhere.
The second issue was a strong vibration and eventually a rattling coming from the gearstick and popping out of third gear on little throttle. The vibration was worse in second gear but non-existant in fourth. Naturally, I coasted in fourth. I’m unsure at this stage what the cause of the issue is. A local, well-respected classic car shop had a look and thinks there’s a problem with the stick itself. Time will tell if this is a simple fix or something requiring gearbox removal.
Thanks for reading!