Now Marmalade is back in regular use in his new configuration, and I’m getting used to the handling. For everything except tight manouevering, there’s not a lot of difference; getting into narrow spaces without much room to swing in is of course a bit harder, and the steering takes more effort, but the overall difference is less than I had expected.
I think I’m even changing up gears earlier than before; the extra momentum seems to suit the engine. (I’ve noticed this effect before, when carrying loads or lots of people.)
Last Saturday I helped a couple of more expert metalworkers than myself do some work on the new roofrack section (sorry, no picture yet) and on the front bumper, and on a frame for a 2-person bench seat that will be moveable to various positions, with the seatbelts (now required by my insurer) attached to the same frame, and so coming with it when it is moved. There’ll be a side-facing mounting on either side between the rear 3-person benches and the forward-facing second row seats; possibly a rear-facing position behind the second row; at least one forward-facing position on the roofrack (good for picnicking when stationary, or perhaps for filming when moving), and one on the winch cover that will slot into the front bumper, for someone to check the depth with a stick when the vehicle is wading, without having to wade themselves.
The side steps / sliders are still to be done, along with a grab rail for getting into the second row from the side steps, that will also double as a drying rail as the middle of it will be above a small oil-filled storage heater (made for Swedish taxis, apparently).
It’s good to be back on the road with Marmalade! I’ve driven the Xantia one day since then, but it didn’t really feel like proper driving in comparison.