Do & Hope Garage is the unofficial name of the Craill families love (addiction?) of buying, repairing / restoring and driving classic or cool cars.
The name comes as a rough translation from the family crest and exemplifies how we go about things when it comes to patching up an old MG or Jaaaag: Do it, and then hope like hell that it works.
D&H is not a business, a club or a financial enterprise, it’s more a feeling…
Across the family and extended family (by invitation only) fleet there’s about 25 cars, a vast majority of them from 1960s England with electrics that will almost certainly not work and body panels more holy than the vatican.
Still, it’s a diverse fleet and we have a lot of fun going through the process of loving these old things.
Here’s a few members of the D&H fleet..
1984 PORSCHE 944
NAME: Ze German
ZE GERMAN came into my life after a conversation with Adelaide Porsche specialist Mark Buik who once asked me if, after many years of working for the brand, I actually owned one. Obviously, ‘freelance motorsport broadcaster’ doesn’t generally fit the profile of those with the means to afford one of the Stuttgart stormers, so I answered to the Negative – but that if I did, it would be a 944 (because it has pop-up headlights, obviously).
Six months later, Buik rang and said he’d just bought a 944 from a customer with plans to part it out, but had run out of time or enthusiasm and decided instead to ring me and see if I wanted it for what he paid for it.. one text message photo later, I had the trailer on the ute and for the princely sum of $2500 I became a Porsche owner in June, 2017.
Obviously, it wasn’t plug and play for that price. It has a bad bottom-end bang in the engine. It had no interior. The suspension was completely flogged and the electrics were a nightmare.. but it was a Porsche 944, built the same year I was born and it was mine – pop-up headlights and all.
Slowly but surely we’ve pieced it back together. Some work for a Porsche-related client was paid for in a replacement engine, which went in across a few perilous days in March 2018. More than 10 metres of supurfulous wire was pulled from the car. Bunnings provided automotive carpet. Rust was removed from a battery tray held together mainly by prayer. Shock absorbers that could be compressed with a little finger were replaced.. and then after all that and a thousand other jobs I had a working ’44.
It’s far from perfect, mind you; there’s still a thousand things to be done to get it to a point where it is reliable enough to be driven more than 30 or 40 klicks from home – but it drives and runs and it’s mine and that’s all that matters and right now I’m into it for way, way under what it’s worth which is an added bonus.
And once I’d inserted some new Sachs dampers in the front, and a new steering column support bearing to stop the play when you turned the wheel, I took it for a drive and it all made sense; the incredible balance of a car with 50-50 weight distribution, the accurate, almost telepathic non-assisted steering, the surprising torque from the 2.5 litre four that loves a rev.. it was all there. It all made sense.
Now that it runs mostly successfully, work on the body has begun to remove some of the more serious sins inflicted by a particularly rubbish paint-job and years of abuse, plus a notable parking ding in the rear quarter. Paint will have to wait.. but once the body is smooth enough a wrap is on the cards. Watch this space..