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Bits and Pieces

8 Nov

Book Review (by Ted Hack)

They Started in MGs – Profiles of Sports Car Racers of the 1950s By Carl Goodwin, Forward by John Fitch. Published by McFarland & Company Inc.
Paperback 7” x 10”. 283 pages. ISBN 9780786460526.
£29 on Amazon UK | $35 on Amazon USA | C$35 on Amazon Canada

They Started in MGsWhilst this book is exclusively about American racers and therefore of primary interest to US readers, it will no doubt appeal to those further afield. With many black and white illustrations, just over 80 drivers are profiled in alphabetical order with 3 or 4 pages on each. Of interest to us, of course, is that most of them started in TCs, but there are many who began in TDs and even a few in TFs before they progressed on to other makes.

Whilst many of the drivers will be unknown to readers outside the USA, some reached international fame and will be familiar to all, but their starts in motor racing will probably contain some unknown facts for most people. Here are some of the more well known names included:

S H Arnolt – the brains and money behind the Arnolt TDs.
Briggs Cunningham – who eventually had his own cars at Le Mans for many years.
Richie Ginther – one of the few Americans in Formula 1.
Phil Hill – arguably the most successful American in Formula 1
Karl Ludvigsen – motoring photographer and author.
Steve McQueen – enough said!
Ken Miles – the Englishman who went to the US, famous for his MG specials.
Al Moss – founder of the Moss parts companies. Carroll Shelby – Cobras, Le Mans etc!
The author, Carl Goodwin, was himself a racer and has many articles to his credit in a host of motoring publications which have won him many awards.
John Fitch, who wrote the foreword, is himself profiled and tells us his very first sports car was a lemon coloured TC in 1948!

A must have for MG book collectors like me but for others, worth adding to your Christmas lists for an interesting read in the holidays.


I have continued to nag the supplier about a completion date. At the end of October I received a response from him as follows:

MGTC Bushes, only received the metals today so will be about 6 – 8 weeks before we’ll have 200 off each – so it seems we might just have them before Xmas.

I followed this up with a strongly worded e-mail, which said that customers would be extremely disappointed with this news and could I at least have some indication of the price so that I would have something to pass on to customers (who have been extremely supportive with orders from all around the world).

All went quiet and I was just about to pick up the phone on Thursday 10th November when the supplier rang me and gave me some prices as follows:

Part no. 0073 (shorter bush) £1.60 plus VAT
Part no. 0074 (longer bush) £1.63 plus VAT
Cost of moulds £200 plus VAT ( for the two)

I have ordered 200 of each bush and amortised the cost of the two moulds over the 400. Therefore, I make the non-profit selling price (to get my money back!) to be £2.79 each. This is around one third of the price of those available from a commercial supplier and mine are correct and do not need trimming.

Well over half the bushes have been pre-ordered and I will be contacting customers as soon as I have them. I’ll be asking for an (optional) small separate donation to the TTT 2 ‘hard’ copy fund with each order sent.

RADIATOR MASCOTS (from Jeremy Evans)

“I read with pleasure and interest the latest edition of the TTT2 – as usual, a great read to chase away the darkening evenings.

The article on the ‘Midge’ radiator mascot was particularly good, but I have one observation for you. In 1937 the Road Traffic Act was modified to preclude the use of radiator mascots and calorimeters and such like in the interests of safety. Fitting a mascot like the ‘Midge’ to a car made after 1937 therefore runs contrary to the Road Traffic Act and cars fitted with these should fail their MOT and in the event of an accident the owner could, if the mascot caused any injury, be liable in any personal injury claim.

Having had vintage cars, with lovely mascots and calorimeters, I wanted to fit a ‘Midge’ to my TC, but this legislation prevents me, I wonder if a word of warning would be appropriate to warn other UK T-Type owners that the fitment of anything to the radiator other than the original octagonal cap might land them in hot water”.

Front Cover – Barrie Jones’ TF1500

7 Nov

MG TF1500

Barrie needs no introduction to many of you, especially those with TD or TF models. He is the TD/TF Technical Specialist for the ‘T’ Register of the MG Car Club and is also Registrar for the TF model.

I expect that Barrie has lost count of the hundreds of owners of these cars who have contacted him for advice concerning a problem with their T-Type; advice always freely given and unless he happens to be away, always given in a timely fashion.

Barrie has owned his TF1500 since February 1966 and his car has covered over 250,000 miles during his period of ownership. Who better then to write a book about maintaining a TF in the 21st Century!

Barrie’s Notes, a 76 page soft-back book covering every aspect of TF maintenance has sold nearly 500 copies worldwide. We have been fortunate in acquiring another twenty copies, which are on sale in the T-Shop for £6 plus postage of £0.92 (UK), £2.39 (EU) and £3.96 (Rest of World).

Barrie’s latest book on T-Types is titled The Essential Buyer’s Guide (to MG TD, TF & TF1500). Aimed primarily at prospective buyers of these models it is nonetheless useful if you already own one of these cars. It is available through the T-Shop.

Original MG T-Series by Anders Ditlev Clausager

7 Jul

First published in 1989 by Bay View Books Limited and re-printed five times. Out of print for some years before Herridge & Sons published this edition in June of this year.

The book needs little introduction, but for those who are not familiar with it, the following reviews give a good flavour of what to expect:

“Page after colourful page of various models in minute detail ….. a must for any owner” Motor Sport.

“Goes a long way to assist the purist in his quest for authenticity…..well written and profusely illustrated” Enjoying MG (MG Owners’ Club monthly magazine).

The cover price of the book is £22.50 but it is available to order from the T-Shop at the discounted price of £18.50. Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £6.60 EU and £12.03 Rest of World. The link to purchase is here: Original MG T Series by Clausager

We do not make any charge for packing, nor do we levy any surcharge for payment via PayPal.

Just good old-fashioned service at the lowest price we can possibly give!

Also back in stock is the MG TD/TF Workshop Manual at £19.50 (compare our price with those of the Car Clubs). Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £5.50 EU, £10 Rest of World.

MG TD, TF & TF1500 – The Essential Buyer’s Guide

4 Jan

Pre-order now from the T-Shop!


• Like having a real marque expert at your side – benefit from 45 years of real ownership (TF1500) experience
• Full coverage of all TD & TF models
• Advice on choosing the right model & condition
• Key checks – how to spot a bad car quickly
• Comprehensive inspection guide
• In depth analysis of strengths & weaknesses
• Discussion of desirable upgrades as well as modifications to avoid
• Market and value data, predicts which models will become collectable
• Details of Club back-up and support organisations

The Author

Barrie Jones is the TF Registrar for the ‘T’ Register of the MG Car Club and he is also its Technical Specialist for the TD/TF models. Barrie has owned his TF1500 since 1966.

Paperback 13.9cm x 19.5 cm 64 pages, 100 colour pictures.

Barrie’s book is not published until 1st February 2011, but you can pre-order your copy now from our website’s T-Shop and it will be sent out to you as soon as the copies arrive from the printers.

Price: £8.49 (£1.50 reduction on price advertised by the Publisher) plus postage (£0.81 UK, £2.25 EU, £3.75 Rest of World). Service excellence comes as standard!

Bits and Pieces

16 Nov

Sorry about the title, but this page is full of miscellanea! First out of the traps is the following from Ted Hack:

“A 1953 film called ‘Heights of Danger’ has recently been released on DVD. It’s really a film for the older child and the star of it is, without doubt, the TD (GRX 960 I think). It’s black and white but shows glimpses of some interesting places back in the 50s including Prescott.

The film itself is only 57 minutes long but there are MG publicity films as bonus features after it, which are well worth having.

Safety Fast 1948 9 mins.
Goldie Gardner EX-135 at Bonneville 1951 3 mins.
Stirling Moss EX-181 at Bonneville 1957 3 mins.
MGA Twin Cam Production Model 1958 3 mins.

It was priced in one catalogue at £14.99 plus postage, but I got mine ex-stock at Amazon, free postage, for £9.99!”

TA Oil Filter Article in the October Issue

Those of you who read the TTT 2 Issues directly on the website (by browsing the contents on the left of the TTT 2 page) will be aware of some follow up correspondence between Brian Rainbow and Bob Butson concerning oil filter and fuel filter housings used on the MPJG engine. Following receipt by Bob of the correct oil filter bracket, kindly sent by Brian, Bob has updated the correspondence as follows:

“Brian Rainbow has sent me an alternative Tecalemit filter bracket. It is identical in external appearance to the one in my article. This one was also removed from an MPJG engine but it has no drilling for a relief valve. I had no idea when I wrote the article that such a bracket existed. As Brian has pointed out, using this version will be much safer……….”

The Essential Buyer’s Guide TD, TF, TF1500

This book, written by Barrie Jones, ‘T’ Register Technical Specialist for the TD and TF models will be available in February, 2011 and will be stocked by us. We will offer the same excellent quality of service and competitive pricing as we have given to Jonathan Goddard’s book on the TD, which, at the time of writing, has resulted in us probably selling more copies than our competitors.

Head and Bottom end gasket sets for the XPAG

I still have some head gasket sets for the early and late XPAG engines and also bottom end sets for both. The cost is £47.50 plus £5.41 (UK) postage for the head gasket sets and £21.50 plus £5.41 postage for the bottom end sets. Both sets can be sent for £5.41 postage. These sets are offered on a non-profit making basis and are therefore considerably lower than dealers’ prices. Payment can be accepted by PayPal, but I would have to ask for a surcharge (otherwise I would be losing money!). Details from John James 0117 986 4224 or email me via the contact form of this website.

Practical MG TD Maintenance Update and Innovation: How to Buy

29 Sep

As mentioned in the editorial, this new book by Jonathan Goddard, which is currently being printed, should become available in week commencing 4th October. The price of the book is £6.99 plus postage of £0.81 UK, £2.25 EU, £3.75 Rest of World.

A new regalia section on the website has been specially brought forward to facilitate sales of the book.

If you order through the book will be sent promptly once available and on receipt of payment, which may be settled via credit card/PayPal, or additionally by a cheque made out in Sterling drawn on a UK bank.

Please make cheques payable to Stephen James and send them to the following address:

The T-Shop, 85 Bath Road, Keynsham, BRISTOL BS31 1SR, UK.

A New Book on the TD

3 Jun

Practical MG TD Maintenance Update and InnovationAvailable around mid-September is a book entitled Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation. Written by Jonathan Goddard, the book is, in some ways, in the “Barrie’s Notes” mould. Those of you who have read Barrie’s books on the TF and the MGB will surely agree that they are very useful ‘handy size’ books to refer to.

However, Jonathan has written his book from a slightly different perspective; let me explain.

When he bought his car, TD0589 EXR RHD, it had just been imported back to the UK from California. A British car garage based there had shut up shop and the business assets, which included a number of “British” cars, including some other T-Types, were bought up as a job lot and shipped back to the UK. Jonathan’s car, which had lived in California since early 1950 came back as a stripped chassis and a collection of cardboard boxes containing most of the parts; but some were missing, and some were from different T-Types! He therefore had some components from cars built later in the TD production run, which gave rise to some interesting challenges in putting things back together. He remarks that although he did not realise it at the time he was to face some interesting questions on interchangeability, but this gave him the opportunity to take advantage of using later components where advantage could be gained and where originality was not visibly abused. Every TD owner will find something in this book to enhance their enjoyment of owning and driving a T-Type.

As Jonathan’s TD was built in 1950, the first full year of TD production, he has been conscious of some of the original “shortcomings” and has therefore taken a keen interest in introducing Factory and non-intrusive changes to improve safety, reliability and enjoyment whilst giving due consideration to the need to adapt to modern driving conditions.

Traffic has grown exponentially in the UK since the 1950s. When the TD was in production there were just 2.4 million cars on the road. Today there are 30 million cars on our crowded roads and both the pace of driving and driving standards have altered beyond belief. It is therefore not surprising that T-Type owners have wanted to update some aspects of their vehicles in order to improve safety and driving enjoyment. Jonathan has done just this but always with an overriding consideration not to spoil the classic looks of his car.

Details of how you can purchase a copy of Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation will appear on this website when available as well as in the next edition (October 2010) of Totally T-Type 2.

Jonathan has kindly given me permission to reproduce “Door fit and close” from his book.

Door Fit and Close

The passage of time takes its toll, and on TD0589, the need to address worn out ash, particularly around the doors was a priority. Replacing some of the ash woodwork was necessary and the job is made easier if the ash timber sections are purchased ready made, from a specialist supplier. Hutson Motor Co Ltd. and NTG Services Ipswich supplied the necessary wood for my car and this was found to be an excellent fit. All the ash timber was treated to coat of clear timber preservative and I used brass or stainless steel fixing screws where necessary.

The new ash door pieces are now carefully checked against the old wood, and the door opening in the body, to make sure it will fit and that the twist in the frame is correct. Adjustments can be made at this stage before fitting the pieces into the door. Dismantle the frame and now re-assemble them within the door itself, making sure that the tapped sidescreen socket is in place. The front piece of wood goes in first, followed by the bottom and the piece by the hinges. With these three in place lock the hinge end of the top piece into the frame and force the front of it into the top. If you do not have a good fit it then it is best to remove the wood and trim to fit. Replacing the four major door frame components is not difficult providing care is taken so that the steel door is not overstressed or damaged. Removal of hinges, door stop, side screen locator and latches is necessary followed by the panel pins allowing the door edge to be folded back releasing the old timber. I understand that the timber was not glued (during manufacture) so once the fittings have been removed the timber can be gently prised away from the steel. Malcolm Green’s book on restoration provides good advice on refitting new wood into the door steel skins and I therefore followed his advice. Before replacing the door timbers I also replaced the under door rail, rear door pillar and rear wheel arch elbow assembly to ensure a sound frame for the door to close onto. The steel body panels need to be gently prised away from the wood to allow removal of old timber and refitting of new.

I also purchased new door frame brace sections (hinge reinforcement) that fit on the rear back section timber, but I found these to be rather less rigid than I had hoped. These were therefore returned to the supplier and I had a local garage make replacements out of a thicker gauge steel that was welded at each corner and therefore considerably stronger. The standard door cross brace was refitted after the door was hung but its effectiveness is less evident (and less necessary) due to the stronger rear brace. If the wood in your car is sound but the door fit and closure is not satisfactory I would recommend replacing the standard rear door frame brace with a stronger heavier example. This is a straightforward replacement and can improve the rigidity of the door with relatively little effort.

The net result of this work is doors that close with a re-assuring clunk, door latches that work every time and a solid door frame with no flexing that has a pleasing body fit.

During the door re-work stage I had purchased two non standard additional swivel catches (Gravelly Fasteners) that I thought I would need to guarantee door locking integrity. My experience with a TC door swinging open on corners had dented my confidence! However the re-work and strengthening had done its job and even now 17 years later the doors still shut with a reassuring clunk and I have not had to fit the Gravelly Fasteners.