Archive | Issue 14 RSS feed for this section

Back Cover Photos

16 Sep


Top: MGs lead the Dunwoody, Georgia, USA July 4th Parade. Don Harmer’s TF1500 is the 4th car. Bottom: A TC and a J2 enjoying the sunshine in Worcestershire – two very nice reds!

TC Starter Switch – Just Adjust

15 Sep


Photo 1 – the switch in position.

It is not uncommon to have difficulty installing a TC starter switch. It never seems like the pull lever is in the right position. Or, what about the pull cable requiring a real effort to get the switch to engage? The solution is often quite simple, but not obvious.
Let’s take a look.

First, understand that the Lucas ST-10 switch was used on many different cars. Therefore, it had to be adjustable to suit the configuration of each engine bay. Lucas solved this problem by cleverly using a “ratchet” design to allow the switch barrel to rotate. Additionally, the length of the pull lever could be changed to provide an “easy pull” of the starter cable.

To optimize the adjustment of the switch for the TC, simply turn the barrel of the switch to align the pull lever and the starter cable. If the lever is short lengthen it. This will give an easier pull to start your car. Adjust the length by pushing the lever on both sides of the barrel and simultaneously sliding it in the barrel slots to the last notch. You should have about 1⁄4” stub exposed on the barrel opposite the pull lever.

A quick inspection just might help to extend the life of your starter switch and cable. If it is not right, just adjust!


Photo 2 – Three switches all the same but have the lever positioned adjusted differently.


Photo 3 – The switch lever has 3 detents to adjust the length. The ratchet can be seen in the bottom of the barrel and base plate.

For a detailed look at original Lucas literature of the internals of the ST-10 switch, please visit my website: Tech Tips / EL270 Lucas ST-10 /

Doug Pelton
doug(at)fromtheframeup.com
Please substitute @ for (at)

Bits and Pieces

9 Sep

A bit of everything in this issue!

Stone-guards for the TF

A few months back I had an enquiry about these. I’m not sure how I stumbled across the Monaro Motors advert from page 297 of Australian Motor Sport of September, 1955 (I’ve not reproduced the whole advert, just the heading) but I’ve extracted one of the parts advertised (the stone-guards).

Monaro Motors were well known in the early 1950s for tuning equipment for MGs and Morris Minors. There are still TFs around, sporting the stone-guards. I’m not sure if these are Monaro items or if they have been obtained elsewhere. Here are a couple of photos:

Both cars are in Australia, although I understand that the red one started out life in New Zealand.

Thomson’s of Wimbledon

Continuing with the history theme, Björn-Eric Lindh has sent me his complete file of correspondence with Bill Thomson. Bill ran the well respected MG spares business at Kingston Road, Wimbledon. LONDON SW19. The earliest letter in the file is dated 19th February, 1963 (from Stockholm) and Bill replied on 23rd February so the postal system must have been pretty good in those days!

Text of the letter as follows:

Dear Sir,
Many thanks for your letter, I am not printing a price list this year as I have not been able to really lay down firm prices, but a line to us will always have a quote by return post. Below are the prices of the parts you mention:

Map reading lamps 11/6 complete with bulb
Petrol pumps for TC 35/0 exchange
Wire from 8d per yard, depends on size Door locks £1.14.10 each
Door handle 11/10 each
Catch plate complete 17/8

We also have a fair selection of second-hand parts but as a rule they go fairly quickly, however let me know and I will see what I can do for you.

Yours faithfully,
W. F. THOMSON.

Just for clarification, the price of the exchange petrol pump (35/0) was £1.15.0 shillings when we had ‘proper’ money, pre-decimalisation. This now translates to £1.75, which is nearly US $3.

More ‘bargains’ will appear in future issues.

A ‘Cuckoo’ in the nest

YB owner, Mick Bath has, what he thinks is an original tool kit which he keeps in the spare wheel compartment of ‘Sabrina’ his XPAG saloon. The ‘cuckoo’ in the nest is the spanner with serial number SK1219Z. Anybody know what it is? Definitely not T-Type or Y – my guess is that it could be from a Mini (pre-BMW); the square end is for the square headed adjusters and the other end is to undo the bleed nipple.

TD/TF Engine Stabiliser Bushes

Subaru part number 13271AA071 is said to be inexpensive with hard rubber & cupped washer and better than after-market offerings.

Oil Catchment Trays

Since the article in the August issue of TTT 2, David Pelham has been sending his oil drip trays to buyers in several countries.

He has just had another batch manufactured so has plenty of stock to meet orders.

William Howard e-mailed David from Germany to say that when he fitted the drip tray he noticed that the split pin was missing (one of the functions of the split pin is to make sure that the drainage hole does not become blocked).

To save the time involved in removing the sump to fit another split pin, William hit on the idea of using two nails, bending them and inserting the cranked end one at a time through the drainage hole and then fixing the two together with a screw connector from an electrical terminal block.

The photo below illustrates the solution:

Oil catchment trays can be ordered from David Pelham dapelham(at)btinternet.com (substitute @ for at).

Motor Insurance

Since publication of the article in the August issue I’ve been contacted by quite a few owners. Most of these are changing their provider and those who have already changed have given me details of what they saved.

David Pelham changed the Insurance of his YA, YT and MGB from Footman James to Hagerty in March of this year. He paid £348.58 to Footman James for the period 6/3/2011 to 5/3/2012. The renewal notice was for the following year i.e. 2012/ 2013 was £427.02 and increase of 22.5%! He obtained a quote from Hagerty, who already insure his wife’s RV8 and they came back with a price of £245.66 – a discount of 42.5% to the Footman James renewal. The policies are not exactly identical but sufficiently similar to consider a direct comparison.

Jerry Birkbeck too has moved to Hagerty after a life time with Footman James. He said that he wouldn’t have changed but for the fact that his premium was upped from £208 for his YT and MGA (then valued at £14.5k each) to £361 (with the values increased to £20k each). In comparison Hagerty offered an excellent deal at £225 for the pair and including his three daughters (32/31 and 28).

On contacting FJ to tell them why he had changed he was told that they would refer it `up’!

It seems that owners of at least one more marque are voting with their feet; a letter from a Jaguar owner in the September issue of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ magazine complains of a 50% increase in his renewal (to £656) which resulted in him moving his business to Peter James at a lower premium of £511.

New Suppliers added to the Suppliers List

H & H Ignition Solutions specialise in distributor overhauls. They are based in Brierley Hill, West Midlands and I have received good reports about them (quick turnaround and reasonable charges) – website is http://www.h-h-ignitionsolutions.co.uk Telephone number is 01384 261500.

Chris Wallis will overhaul your starter or dynamo for you. He’s at 39 School Lane, Chellaston, DERBY DE73 6TF. Telephone: 01332 703630. In the words of one of our subscribers Chris “Does an excellent job”.

Raj Patel of Recon and Return specialises in shock absorber reconditioning. Services include lever arm and link arm re-bushing. Re-bushing is notoriously difficult (actually, well nigh impossible) so why not let an expert do it for you? Raj is at 39a Avenue Road Extension, LEICESTER LE2 3EP. Telephone 0116 244 8103. In the words of one of our subscribers “Raj is a good guy”.

Recon and Return replaces the entry for Stevson Motors after our attention was drawn to comments about the poor quality of repairs undertaken by this company.

Curd Brothers of 28, Colebrook Industrial Estate, Longfield Road, North Farm, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, Kent TN2 3DG Tel: 01892 542680 repaired two of David Pelham’s dynamos a C39 PV2 (with Tacho) and a C39 PV (no Tacho) (see picture) and a starter motor. David said that their charges were extremely reasonable and they did a first class job. They also repair Regulator Boxes and Wiper Motors.


One of David Pelham’s repaired dynamos.

Decal for Lucas ignition/lighting switch

Ton Schreurs is offering these decals for sale. Price is as follows:

€9,= shipping costs € 1,=
£7, = shipping costs £ 1,=
$11,= shipping costs $ 1,=
(Dollars is US$)

You can contact Ton at his e-mail address: ton.schreurs(at)worldonline.nl {please substitute @ for (at)}.

E.P. Services – Water Pump Reconditioning

I’ve just had my water pump reconditioned by E.P. Services of Wolverhampton. Excellent service and I now have an ‘as new’ pump with a lifetime guarantee, all for £65 plus VAT.

I asked the company to take some photos of each stage of the operation and I’ll use these as the basis for an article in the December issue.

E.P. Services are in the suppliers’ list on the website. E-mail sales@ep-services.co.uk web address http://www.ep-services.co.uk Telephone: 01902 452914.

Research Project to study the combustion process of modern fuels in older engines

One of our subscribers, Dr Paul Ireland, has agreed with Manchester University to run a 4th year MEng project to study the combustion process of modern fuels in older engines. It is intended that the project will begin later this academic year, probably in October under the guidance of Professor Yates and Senior Lecturer Robert Prosser. The goal of the project will be to study the effects of ignition timing, mixture and fuel types on the combustion process, using an XPAG engine which has been loaned for the duration of the project. Hopefully the outcome will be a complete map of the performance characteristics under a wide range of engine speeds and loads, which may point to why some engines run well on modern fuels whilst others suffer from problems such as overheating. It is hoped that the project will yield a package of achievable modifications which may help to mitigate some of the problems people report.

Manchester University will provide the facilities and carry most of the cost of this project but it will be necessary to raise a small amount of funding to help students purchase any additional equipment they might need. Already the MG Octagon Car Club has pledged £400, subject to Board approval and Totally T-Type 2 magazine £500. Various individuals have also offered to pledge another £600, but so far this has been declined as it is felt that organisations which represent a large number of members may prefer to contribute first. The MG Car Club has been approached and it is hoped that the Club will at least equal or exceed the contribution promised by the much smaller Octagon Car Club.

Leaf Springs for TC

The eight (8) pairs of rears have all been received by those who ordered them. The price was £100 per spring plus VAT, plus carriage. The spring maker has told me that any future orders will be more expensive as he had not allowed for the Silentbloc bushes!

I have firmed up an earlier enquiry about front springs for the TC. These would have the larger 5/8” front ‘eye’ to allow for the insertion of a 1/16” SAE 660 bronze bush. The cost per spring would be not more than £100 plus VAT plus carriage. The bushes would be provided separately and the customer would be responsible for getting them pressed in and reamed. I will e-mail all those who initially expressed an interest by the end of September. Delivery is said to be “two months” so realistically, we are looking at end of November or early December.

Large Rear Shackle Bushes for the TC

The problem mentioned in the last issue (bush too short) has now been rectified and I have just approved some sample bushes so that the initial order of 100 (enough for 25 cars) can be produced. I expect these to be available by the end of September.

The part number is 0145 and the cost per bush is £3.00 plus a voluntary donation of £1.00 per bush to TTT 2 funds, so effectively £4 per bush.

To put this into perspective, the price per bush charged by a major supplier is £11.20 per bush – yes, eleven pounds twenty pence!

Interleaf pads on TD/TF (and Y) rear springs

Following discussion with Barrie Jones, TD/TF Technical Specialist for the MGCC ‘T’ Register, I am in the process of ordering a batch of these interleaf pads to be made from Nylatron. The use of this material should solve the wear problem associated with the standard issue.

The price per pad is not yet fixed, but will include a donation to TTT 2 funds; delivery is hoped for by the end of October.

Priming the XPAG Oil Pump
(A Tip from Dieter Wagner)

“Every time if I have filled an empty sump with new oil I open the connection from the pump to the oil filter and put there a small funnel. Then I fill oil in the funnel and turn the engine backwards with a ratchet handle and a 28mm nut on the crank. This way I pump about 0.25 litres of oil in the pump and the pipe down the sump. This is easier than pushing the car backwards.”

The TC OWNERS CLUB

     

The TC Owners Club is now in its 51st year, having celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 1st June, 2011. To mark this milestone a number of events were held, including an informal meeting hosted by the Club’s President (Michael Sherrell) at his home on the night of Wednesday 1st June 2011, exactly fifty years to the day. This was followed up by a formal dinner a few nights later at which the Club’s book titled “The First Thousand Meetings of the TC Owners Club A Forty Year History” was launched. I felt privileged to receive a copy of this 287 page book kindly sent by Mike Sherrell. Mike also sent a DVD of the Club’s competitive scene in the 1960s (converted from 16mm film). If anybody is interested in acquiring a copy please contact me jj(at)octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk

Relining the MG TC Toolbox

8 Sep

Possibly one of the last tasks to be undertaken as a rebuild comes to fruition is to re-line the toolbox with new felt. A study of felt from John James’ and other original cars reveals that white woollen felt of 3-4mm thickness was used, which was stuck onto the walls and base of the toolbox with adhesive. Wool felt just like the original is available today from a small number of specialist suppliers of technical felts.

Assuming that the old felt has been removed and the inside of the toolbox has been repainted along with the rest of the bulkhead, the first step is to check that the wooden block is in place on the base. If it is missing it should be replaced now. The block is nominally 25 x 25mm in section and the length is around 3mm shorter than the 165mm inside width of the toolbox. It needs to be slightly shorter than the box width to enable it to be manoeuvred into position between the rigid walls of the toolbox. The block is screwed into position from underneath the base using two 5/8 x No 8 japanned, round-headed, slotted, wood screws. No Phillps or cross-headed screws please! Pre- drilling pilot holes in the block helps to prevent it splitting. This is easily accomplished by holding the block in place and getting an assistant to mark through the holes in the base from inside the car. The purpose of the wooden block is to locate the original Shelley jack in position.


Photo 1 – The block screwed into position ready to begin applying the felt.

With the block fixed in position, applying the felt can start in earnest. This is made easier if the bonnet is removed but it is by no means essential to do so. The first piece of felt to be applied is a single piece that covers the two toolbox ends and the base. The most convenient type of adhesive to use is carpet adhesive, which is widely available in aerosol cans from DIY stores and upholstery suppliers. Adhesive is sprayed onto the ends and base of the box following the manufacturer’s instruction, which may suggest leaving it for a short while to allow solvent to evaporate before applying the felt. Observe any warnings regarding flammability and the need to avoid breathing noxious fumes.


Photo 2 – The aerosol adhesive and tools required to do the job.

The first piece of felt is then applied starting by tucking one end under the rim at the top of one end panel and then dressing it down the side towards the base smoothing it into position as you go. At the junction between the end panel and the base and also where the wooden block is covered the felt should be tamped firmly into position to ensure that there are no voids left beneath it. An ideal tool to do this is a bolster chisel or a wallpaper-stripping knife. It needs to be tamped very firmly to avoid ugly radii in the corners. The first piece of felt then finishes under the rim at the top of the opposite end panel, where it will need to be trimmed to length.


Photo 3 – The first piece of felt is applied to the sides and base of the toolbox.

The two sides of the toolbox are then covered using identical pieces of felt. Each piece requires a notch to be cut in it to enable it to fit neatly around the now felt-covered wooden block. These notches should only be cut after fitting the first piece of felt as there will be minor differences from car to car in the size and position of the wooden block. The ideal tool to cut the felt is a rotary knife.


Photo 4 – The finished toolbox.

A kit consisting of three pieces of felt cut to size to suit the TC toolbox is available from the author at £20 +P&P. This includes a small donation to help support TTT2 magazine. Felt to suit other cars is available on request.

Peter Cole
pcoleuk(at)gmail.com [substitute @ for (at)]

Sod’s Law with Respect to Ignition

7 Sep

I don’t know if it has happened to you, but I find that my T-Type invariably breaks down at the most inopportune moment, usually it is raining hard, or it is dark, or worse – both! Over the years I have developed a quick diagnostic technique for breakdowns, I carry a cheap yellow plastic spark plug tester in the driver’s side door pocket. Up with the bonnet, pull off a plug lead, insert the spark tester in circuit, turn the ignition on and pull the starter knob. If the plug tester flashes yellow, then it’s not the ignition, but most likely the good old SU fuel pump. However if the spark plug tester does not flash it indicates an ignition problem. More often than not I have found that the most likely culprit is the rotor arm, so the first thing to do is replace the rotor arm with a new spare, this usually fixes the problem, if not it is most likely the CB points or the condenser.

Now that I am in the latter throes of middle age (OK, I am an old age pensioner but reluctant to accept it!) my eyesight is not what it used to be, nor are my fingers as nimble! When changing points and/or condenser at the side of the road (in the wet/dark) it is very trying. It is all too easy to drop one of the little screws, washers or spacers, and never to be seen again you end up stranded. So a few years ago I came up with a plan to help me in these situations and purchased a new distributor base plate complete with new points and condenser (see photo 1).

Distributor Base Plate
Photo 1 – new distributor base plate, complete with new points and condenser with plug tester in the foreground.

I fitted the new base plate, complete with new points and condenser, to my TA and adjusted the CB points gap to the correct 12 thou setting and ran the car to check everything was OK. I then removed the new distributor base, and replaced it with the original one. The new one is then stored in my tool box along with a new rotor arm in a re- sealable plastic bag ready for instant use. If I break down now and the fault is in the ignition, I can change the complete points/condenser/rotor arm unit in minutes, with no set-up required. Just remove the LT wire (secured to the distributor with an old SU petrol pump screw cap), remove the cap and rotor arm, undo two screws securing the base and swap the distributor base for the new one.

The distributor base for the TA is different from that required for an XPAG, but all are readily available on eBay or from Moss etc.

Now once you are back home with the car safely in the garage, it’s time to find out what failed and replace the faulty component, and set up the distributor base for next time. I find that working on the distributor in situ is not easy, mainly because of eyesight and bending down problems. I find it is much easier to remove the distributor complete from the engine, and work on it on the workbench.

Now for tip number 2, to help you make it easy to remove and replace the distributor without losing the timing. This is much easier if your distributor is fitted with a micro-adjuster attachment.

This is how I do it……………

Firstly remove the distributor cap and leads, and move them out of the way. Make sure the car is not in gear and then turn the engine over with the starting handle until the brass tip of the rotor arm is pointing to one of the distributor cap holding clips (see photo 2), and then remove the starting handle. Raise the two cap securing straps vertically and secure the two with an elastic band as in photo 2.


Photo 2 – shows the elastic band attached to the two distributor cap holding clips.

Then remove the bolt that secures the micro- adjuster to the engine block (see photo 3).


Photo 3 – shows the bolt which secures the micro-adjuster to the block.

Carefully pull the distributor out of the block, noting that the rotor will turn slightly anti-clockwise until the distributor is free. Make a mental note of how far the rotor moved, as you will need this info when replacing the distributor.

You can now take the distributor to your workbench, clean it, replace the required components and adjust the CB points gap easily (see photo 4).


Photo 4 – shows the distributor on the bench for ease of maintenance.

When you are ready to replace the distributor in the car, refit the rotor arm, refit the rubber band to the two cap securing straps and turn the rotor arm until it is between the rubber band and with the brass tip pointing as in photograph 2. Then carefully turn the rotor slightly anti-clockwise a small amount (as noted earlier when you removed it) and push the distributor back into the block. Finally, check that the rotor arm is in the correct position (between the rubber band), and replace the bolt securing the micro–adjuster to the block. Remove the rubber band, replace the distributor cap and start the engine to make sure it runs OK.

If you follow the above procedure carefully you will not have to retime the ignition as long as you have not moved or removed the micro-adjuster from the distributor, and you have not turned the engine over whilst working on the distributor. I have removed my distributor many times using this method without any problems.

The Lucas part numbers for the TA distributor base are as follows:

• Distributor base (complete) 400164 or a bare base is 400001
• Contact breaker points are 400415 and the condenser is 400308

If you look around at autojumbles you can often buy and old base plate with worn components for around £5. This will provide you with the wire link and LT connector for your new base, or you can make one with black wire and a couple of spade connectors.

For an XPAG engine it is best to buy a kit of parts that includes a new base plate with a non-soldered new condenser. If you search on eBay there is a seller called automobileelectrics who trades as Classic Automobile Electrics Ltd of Scunthorpe, U.K. He sells a ’distributor base plate repair kit MG TC TD TF’ for £35 which looks good value to me.

Brian Rainbow

Leaving Your Mark: An MG Tradition

6 Sep

I always enjoy the discovery of a new stamping or marking on an obscure part of the TC. Most all parts will normally have some visual stamping done by the manufacturer to help identify a specific part and or a date of manufacturer. However, when the parts were actually installed on the production line at Abingdon, the workers would sometimes add their own little something to “leave their mark”.

Here are some examples. Were these workers’ or manufacturers’ marks?


“BERRY” – Stamped on rear springs.

Ed’s Note: “Berry” stands for Brockhouse Berry of Manchester, the original suppliers of TC springs.


“Horse head” Logo – stamped on front spring leaf.


“WM” or “WML” – stamped on the pivot pin of front spring to chassis.


Single punch mark – stamped at each machine screw of the front axle buffer plate.

A few years ago I was told of the sighting of the MG logo stamped on the head of the front engine mount bolt. However, I was sceptical as I had never seen one. A few weeks ago I was archiving some old rusty parts in my “original items” box. As I threw a couple of engine bolts into the box, I remembered I should look for the fabled markings. Pretty rusty, but wait, maybe something. I gave them a quick touch of sandpaper and there is was – the MG Logo.


MG logo on old TC front engine mounting bolts

The logo was significant in that is was exactly the same size and definition of the MG logo on the gas cap trigger. I was well familiar with it because I have had this same hand stamp made for my company to manufacturer the TC gas cap triggers. So I had to assume that someone on the production line came across this hand stamp and stuck it in their pocket. And then when the chassis went down the line this unknown worker “left his mark”.

Now some 65 years later his mark has been discovered and although the worker is unknown his legacy lives on. Today the replacement front engine bolts being sold by From The Frame Up have been hand stamped by me with the same MG logo to carry on the MG tradition. And hopefully after another 65 years someone will rediscover these and say, “Oh, that was Doug and he left his mark”.


Replacement front engine mounting bolts from FTFU stamped with the MG logo.

Please let me know if you discover any other items of interest on the TC.

Doug Pelton
doug’at’fromtheframeup.com

Ed’s note: The punch mark (to lock each of the four machine screws on the front axle buffer plate) was referred to in the August issue. If your car has two of these punch marks at each machine screw they would have been struck by Jimmy Cox.

It is reasonably well known that Triple-M cars (certainly the Js and Ps) had the chassis number and colour stamped on the inside of the bonnet hinge, but not so well known that TCs (and possibly TA and TB?) had the chassis number stamped on the front inside corner of the bonnet sides (as well as on the chassis itself). This may only have applied to the early cars?

‘BEES’ bolts are to be found around the bulkhead on the TC (the bolts are 5/16” x 2 3⁄4” BSF). Is the raised stamping on the head of the bolt meant to resemble a bee?

Actually ‘BEES’ was a trade name and the bolts were manufactured by Acton Bolt Ltd of Chase Road, London NW10.


Front Cover – TD/C29478

5 Sep

TD/C29478
Photo 1 – Shock and horror! The car as it was before it was ready to be picked up by the scrap merchant

TD/C29478 left the Factory on 16th July, 1953. A Home market MK II it was fitted with engine number XPAG/TD3/29782. So far as the Editor can ascertain, the car was the third but last Home market MK II produced. The car nearly didn’t make it, but it has survived and I have seen it ‘in the flesh’ – it is beautiful! Owner, Chris Rainey takes up the story…

On the death of an elderly gentleman the family called a scrap merchant to collect a partly stripped down rusty relic of an old car and a heap of parts that were in his garage. On the journey to the scrap yard following the collection, a trader happened to notice the MG ignominiously strapped to the bed of the recovery truck and realising what it was stopped the driver and purchased the car there and then.

The trader then sold the vehicle on to a man called Mark Knight in 1990 who had it taken to his home where he identified that all the main parts were included, except for the number plates which were missing. Remembering that when he went to see the car there was definitely a pair of plates with the boxes of parts, Mark asked the trader what had become of them. He was told that they could not be found and were presumed missing. (Later, when the restoration was completed it was necessary to obtain the age related number plate BSL 676).

Mark then went on to restore the chassis, suspension, brakes, engine and gearbox before selling the rolling chassis to Paul Cheal in Hove, Sussex, sometime in 1995. Paul then completed the restoration of the body, interior, wiring etc. to a high standard and the car was back on the road in 1999.

Paul’s maiden trip with the TD was on the West Sussex South Downs run where he carried out all the pre checks you would including checking the oil level, but omitted to refit the oil cap and left it dangling on the chain. You can imagine the mess he found when he opened the bonnet!

He also had a few other teething problems on his first trip out, including the brakes sticking on. Paul then went on to win best in class with the car at the East Sussex MG Club in 2000.

In total, Paul owned BSL 676 for around 16 years, but only had it on the road for 6 years during which he barely completed around 2000 miles. In 2005 the car was taken off the road and parked at the back of his garage behind a TF he was restoring and alongside another TF he owns.

I was introduced to Paul at Silverstone in June 2011 by Timon Iles, a TC owning friend, who told Paul I was looking around to buy a TD; Paul told me about the TD Mark II that he had restored but wasn’t sure if he wanted to part with it, although he did give me his telephone number.

Some weeks later, after viewing quite a few TDs, I arranged to go to Chichester to inspect yet another. As Chichester is well on to way to Hove from Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, where my wife, Dawn and I live, I gave Paul a call to see if I could go along to view his car afterwards. As it turned out the one at Chichester had developed a major oil leak, so we didn’t even get to go for a test run.

Paul agreed although he did tell me I wouldn’t be able to see it running or get it out the garage as it hadn’t been started for over 5 years and it was behind the TF. On arriving at Paul’s and having a nice cup of tea, Dawn and I looked around the car and immediately fell in love with it.

Over the following weeks a couple more phone calls were made to Paul and eventually he was persuaded that it was time he parted with the car and a deal was agreed. He then got it running, had all the water hoses changed, took it for an MoT test and delivered it to me on a trailer in July 2011.

Thanks to Pete Vines who took the pictures (man in striped shirt in car with Dawn), Danny Boswell, who is the bursar at Hordle Walhampton school Lymington in Hampshire, for giving permission for the pictures to be taken in the school grounds (man with cap in car with me) and Timon Iles for viewing several TDs with us before we bought this one.

TD/C29478
Photo 2 – dashboard of TD/C29478

TD/C29478
Photo 3 – owner, Chris Rainey taking Danny Boswell, bursar of Hordle Walhampton school for a ‘spin’ in the school grounds

TD/C29478
Photo 4 – Chris and Dawn Rainey in the rather immaculate school grounds

TD/C29478
Photo 5 – Peter Vines, who took the photos with Dawn in the passenger seat

TD/C29478
Photo 6 – TD MK II distinguishing features

The MoT (Ministry of Transport Test Certificate)

4 Sep

1960s MoT Certificate

When I was a fresh-faced lad of twenty I took my recently acquired (25th November, 1965) J2 along to the local garage for its MoT. The garage proprietor, Si Janes, suggested that a ride out in the car could be useful for a brake test so off we went down Memorial Road gathering speed (as it was slightly downhill). Si shouted across (above the roar of the engine) “when I raise my arm I want you to do an emergency stop”. Sure enough, the arm went up and several (I won’t tell you how many!) yards further down the road we came to a halt. “Brakes b’aint be too good boy!” said Si, but he still gave me my MoT, which I’ve kept to this day (along with the car).

Times have changed and I would not dream of taking a car on the road in this condition. Come to think of it, it has not been on the road since, but that’s another story for another day!

The point of the aforementioned tale is two twofold. Firstly, it hopefully brightens up the subject matter and secondly it shows overseas readers what a UK MoT certificate is like – the certificate has not really changed much over the years. The MoT document is still a form VT20 but it now has green print and the managing authority is VOSA (Vehicle & Operator Services Agency) except that in Northern Ireland it is DVA (Driver and Vehicle Agency). VOSA is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (formerly known as the Ministry of Transport).

If you have a modern car the MoT test is quite stringent and the initial failure rate is around 30%. New additions to the test are being introduced on a regular basis and many of these are as a result of EU Directives from Brussels. The initial failure rate of our type of cars is probably less that 10%.

Late last year, the UK Government embarked on a consultation exercise to establish views on the desirability of exempting classic cars from the MoT test; three options were given for their exemption, only exempt pre-1920 vehicles, only exempt pre- 1945 vehicles, exempt all pre-1960 vehicles (of which there are approximately 162,000). The result of the consultation was that there was a majority in favour of exempting all pre-1960 vehicles.

The above paragraph is only a very broad summary; the full results can be viewed at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-27

The exemption comes into force on 18th November but it will still be possible to take one’s car for a voluntary test. However, as far as I know, VOSA has not yet communicated with testing stations concerning the post 18th November arrangements with the result that some seem to appreciate that they will still be testing a few pre-1960 vehicles whilst others don’t think they will be!

The exemption from testing has sparked some heated debate with some questioning the assertion in the consultation document that most classic cars are maintained to a high standard. They point out that the MoT test is in fact a key aid to maintenance. Not only does the looming arrival of the date for the test ‘press-gang’ owners into action to thoroughly check over the car before the test, but the test itself covers some items that owners cannot check ourselves. For example, two people and a ramp or a pit are essential to check the operation of the steering.

Nothing could have illustrated better the value of a proper steering check than the experience of one of our readers, who might well have been left with no steering due to the wear in the casing of the drag link end. To quote from his experience:

Whilst turning the steering wheel backwards and forwards the MoT Examiner noticed that the drag link end was moving vertically up and down before moving the road wheels. A ‘fail’ certificate was issued and the owner drove the car home slowly. Upon disassembly it was found that the inner shoulder in the “tube” that supported the cup had worn away allowing the cup to tilt, which in turn moved thetapered peg over at an angle. This caused the slot in the casing to wear away, allowing the ball to protrude through the slot which would have eventually popped out.

‘Sympathetic’ MoT stations are becoming rarer these days. By ‘sympathetic’ I do not mean that they will give you a certificate without a thorough examination of the car, but that they understand our cars and know what to look for. Many of us will have our own ‘sympathetic’ garage where the proprietor is pleased to welcome us and show an interest in the vehicle. However, newer owners may not be aware of these establishments so perhaps it might be of benefit to publish a list of ‘sympathetic’ garages?

JOHN JAMES

“Fit Shorrock for Performance”

3 Sep

The following was included as a leaflet with some other period literature issued by the Allard Motor Company, 51 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, LONDON SW15. Allard were appointed sole worldwide distributors for the Shorrock supercharger in 1961.

“Questions and Answers to often asked questions”

• What actually is supercharging?
The function of a supercharger is to allow a larger quantity, by weight of petrol-air mixture to be fed to the engine than could be induced in the normal way.

In other words, the engine receives its input of air at a pressure higher than atmospheric pressure, which is virtually equivalent to increasing the swept volume of the engine.

Thus, an engine of 1500 c.c. capacity supercharged at a pressure of 5 lbs./sq. in. has the same effective capacity as an engine of 2000 c.c. swept volume, since it is receiving its charge at atmospheric pressure (14.74 lbs./sq. in.) plus 5 lbs./sq. in. or at approximately one third greater pressure.

To obtain the fullest benefit, it is necessary to employ a supercharger which itself will operate efficiently over a wide speed range with the minimum absorption of power.

It is to this end that the SHORROCK supercharger was designed.

• Why are they not offered as optional equipment by the motor manufacturer?
All cars are produced with engines of specified basic ratings and a supercharger is considered to be an extra appliance for boosting the engine by pressure induction.

In our opinion, the many advantages now proved by supercharging should lead to even greater popularity in the future, which may induce motor manufacturers themselves to offer the appliance as an “optional”.

• In what other way does it improve performance?
The Shorrock installation provides substantially more power (up to 50%). It gives improved engine flexibility which means less gear changing at all times. Many more hills can be taken “in top” and all at higher speeds if necessary. Snappier “off-the- mark” acceleration is obtained and the increased power considerably raises the average cruising speed.

• What about fuel consumption, and do I need special grades?
If a supercharged car is driven normally, that is without taking advantage of the extra power for increased speed and top gear performance, then fuel consumption is not affected. By using the supercharger to its full effect, however, increase in fuel consumption is only to be expected. This varies from 10% to 15%. Measuring performance and economy, however, against bigger cars of higher basic rating, this small increase is comparatively negligible. 100 octane fuels should be used for maximum performance.

• Will fitting a supercharger impair the basic engine?
On the contrary, with low pressure charging as used by Shorrock, apart from increasing thermal efficiency, all cylinders operate with a mixture of equal strength. This even distribution gives a longer life to the engine and prevents local mixture starvation to any one cylinder, often a cause of inadequate lubrication on starting is also a common cause of bore wear. The Shorrock supercharger supplies all cylinders with a surplus of oil collected in the casing upon starting which provides upper cylinder lubrication when it is most needed.

• I thought superchargers were noisy?
The noise often associated with superchargers can be caused by pressure differences at the discharge port. The Shorrock vane type compressor has the advantage of reducing noise, the charge being compressed internally and there is no back flow of air when the port is uncovered.

• Will the supercharger fit any car, and are any modifications necessary?
This Shorrock “blower” can be fitted to most cars where the engine layout provides the necessary room. We publish a list of current cars suitable for the Shorrock installation. For older cars we will gladly advise as to suitability.

The complete installation can be fitted in approximately a day. A new carburettor, however is necessary which, together with manifold pipes, fitting brackets, pulleys and belts, is supplied inclusive with the Supercharger. Installation may be effected quite easily by any competent garage or owner driver. We recommend that standard “touring” plugs be replaced by the “sports” type, apart from this normally no other engine modifications are necessary for normal road use.

Finally, should you change your car, the Supercharger can be transferred providing the engines are of reasonably similar capacities.

• I believe they are good for high altitudes?
Indeed yes. Supercharging is the only means of compensating for the loss of power inevitable with lowered air density. Quite a feature, particularly for Continental touring and, of course, for the export market generally.

• What servicing does the supercharger require and what is its expected life?
The supercharger is fed with a small supply of oil for lubrication of the bearings. It is essential that the engine oil is kept clean and the lubricator cleaned every 5,000 miles. Apart from this, no servicing is required.

Providing the oil is kept clean and the supercharger unit is not over-revved, the unit will last the life of the average engine.

• Surely there must be a disadvantage in fitting a supercharger?
Well, the only disadvantage, if you can call it that, is that by increasing the filling of the cylinder under pressure, there will be inevitably more heat to dissipate. However, providing the engine is in good condition no harm will result.

• Is a supercharger worth the outlay?
If you mean the SHORROCK, yes. It’s a precision engineered job backed by twenty years of research in the Supercharger field and proved under the most exacting trials.

Bearing in mind that the average supercharger installation gives up to 30% increase in both maximum power and torque with a substantial increase from as low as 2,000 R.P.M., then it is excellent value for money in terms of B.H.P. for £ spent.

Ed’s note: This leaflet unashamedly sells the virtues of the Shorrock supercharger but the information it contains is, I feel, useful for those of us not au fait with the ‘mysteries’ of supercharging.

A useful website devoted to the Shorrock can be found here.

I’ve used the relevant section of this website to give some brief details of the history of Shorrock:

Chris Shorrock’s work on forced induction (supercharging) led to the formation in 1934, of Centric Superchargers Ltd (later spelt as one word: Centric-superchargers Ltd.) who, by 26th July 1935 were based at Bow lane in Preston.

In 1946 Centric-superchargers Ltd changed their name to Shorrock Superchargers Ltd, and in 1949 the company moved to “Moorlands” Garstang Road, PRESTON, Lancashire, where they stayed into the 1950s.

The company saw a number of changes over the following years, being based in various locations in the West Midlands, including Coventry, Willenhall, and eventually, by 1957, Wednesbury where they stayed until the 1960s. By August 1957, Shorrock had become one of the companies within the Rubery Owen Organisation.

In November 1959 Donald Healey was appointed as a B.M.C. Distributor for the company. Apart from T-Types, the Shorrock “blower” was a popular fitment to the Morris Minor and Austin Healey Sprite (and the Ford Anglia)

On the 1st July 1961, the Allard Motor Company, was appointed the sole worldwide distributor.

The Saga of TC4332

2 Sep

Chapter 1

I owned two TDs in the early 1960s, one of which incidentally, MRH 366, was at the Classic Car Show at the NEC near Birmingham, I think, in 2010. It was looking resplendent in red although I recall the original colour was black. I sold the TDs for the deposit on a house in York in 1963, (the three bed house incidentally was £4100 – how times have changed!). I had always intended to purchase another T-Type but work and the arrival in quick succession of two babies always seemed to conspire to prevent this. My involvement with T- Types ceased therefore until my retirement from work when to avoid boredom I thought I might obtain a classic car, one requiring some work possibly. I used the Internet to get ideas of what was available and at what cost.

In looking I saw an advert for a TC for sale in Dusseldorf, Germany, that was described as complete but needing some work, the asking price was E13,500 – just over £12,000. The car was identified by the seller as TC4432 from the German registration document, which was identified by the TC Register as being formerly registered in the UK. Good I thought, one potential problem overcome. I requested photographs of various parts of the car and these were forwarded by email. The car was red and black with black upholstery see photograph, more on that later.

TC4332
Photo 1 – TC4332 in Germany

I noticed some parts were missing, Altette horn, SFT27 spotlight amongst others and some parts had been changed, e.g. lights inserted in the rear wings, as TD, a key start installed and various other crudities including a replacement badge bar fixed between the wings, I realised the reason for that later.

Despite the above, I thought the car would make a good project and noting that TCs in good order were fetching upwards of £20,000 I offered €11,000 for the car, which was refused, we finally agreed on €12,000 approximately £10,700 with some parts being included, refurbished dampers amongst other things.

I then looked at getting the car back to my home in South Worcestershire. I sought quotes for the hire of a suitable trailer, ferry costs, two nights’ accommodation, and fuel and assessed the total cost as approximately £800/850 without food and drink. I contacted a shipping company and agreed a figure of £650 for collection and delivery to home, no contest! Advatec (whom I would recommend), delivered the car to my home in mid December 2009 in a covered wagon. They had to overcome a few minor problems in Germany before transporting the car.

On an initial superficial inspection of the car I noted that the chassis number on the battery box plate was TC4332, not 4432. Checking the German registration document the chassis number was scribed as 4432 as originally advised to me. Although clearly a transcription error, this is a potential problem dealing with the DVLA when the car is registered. TC4332 was built 18/12/48 and exported, to where I know not.

I did little with the car until the following May when I started a more detailed inspection.

There was little or no rust on the car, the chassis appearing to be sound, none of the trim was original, the dashboard was crudely covered in a leatherette material and various other features were not TC. All the brake wheel cylinders were seized, preventing a more thorough test of the car. I decided to start the engine to get some indication of its condition. I cleaned the plugs, dibbled oil into the bores, checked coolant, connected a temporary battery and initially turned the engine over without the plugs to get some lubrication around it. After installation of the plugs and with some trepidation the engine was turned over and for the first time in 8 years it fired at the second attempt. The oil pressure after the engine got hot settled at 50 psi on the gauge. Apart from adjustment being needed to the carburettors, the engine appeared sound with no unwanted rattles or knocks.

The car was elevated onto blocks to allow an inspection underneath. Straight away it was clear that there was wear and tear and some damage. The front axle to spring securing pins were mangled at their threads, obviously having collided with something, the shackles securing the rear axle casing to the suspension were TD, not TC and were also badly mangled and rusted. The brake master cylinder was not TC, probably from a commercial vehicle and the chassis had additional welded brackets to accommodate it.

As I took all this in my depression increased and I realised that my ideal of looking down that long bonnet cruising the Worcestershire countryside later that summer was gone.

I then looked at the body tub, the upper rear timbers (Hood) were badly rotted and a steel bar had been placed across the width of the tub underneath the tank straps to strengthen it. I had the feeling that there were many other problems and bodged up areas still unseen.

The moral here is clear, if you buy a T-Type, do not be stupid like me and buy it unseen, it would have been cheaper to fly to Dusseldorf and inspect the vehicle, reject it and buy a better older restored car here. What next?

Chapter 2

I now had a dilemma, do I try to bodge the TC up to pass an MOT (still required at that time) or do I do the proper thing and undertake a partial or full rebuild? The more I thought about this the angrier I became; who would bastardise such a lovely car as the TC or any MG for that matter? For example, why attach a crude commercial vehicle brake master cylinder with associated alterations to the chassis, when a new/refurbished unit could be had for just over £100? No, the car deserved better, a rebuild it would be.

I had attended the 2010 rebuild seminar and obtained a copy of Mike Sherrell’s “TCs Forever”, a thorough read of this tome gave me encouragement. I had to decide whether to restore the car to a concours standard or to an “as built” condition. With my very limited mechanical knowledge and limited tools, just a few old AF spanners and sockets, although fortunately a double garage, I considered the latter to be the choice and try to restore the car to as near as possible its 1947 ex-works condition.

I obtained a copy of the ‘Brown Book’, the MG workshop manual ‘Blower’ and other restoration literature, and rejoined the MG Car Club and The Octagon Car Club. I also downloaded all back copies of Totally T-Type, and made an index of all references to the TC contained in them. I set about making a wish list of all missing or unserviceable bits and components and priced each item where I could, using the Moss catalogue. I nearly had a coronary when I added the total knowing that this was most certainly incomplete.

One sunny Saturday in late June 2010 dismantling commenced, I removed the rexine hood and frame, more rot around the rear of the tub revealed, and removed the seats and interior trim, more tub rot noted. From the overspray inside the doors and the tub it was clear the original colour of the TC was Shires Green. The dashboard was eased and the instruments carefully removed and stored for future refurbishment, photographs being taken for the record. The wiring was a mixture of what appeared to have been lying around at that time, and bore no resemblance to the colours indicated in the wiring diagrams in the ‘Brown Book’, not worth trying to reuse. The floorboards
were removed along with a badly bent transmission tunnel and the rubber cover that was held together by steel staples, this went into the recycle bin. After removing all connected parts, e.g. the spare wheel carrier, unbolted the scuttle and disconnected all electrics, with the aid of a colleague from the village the tub was unbolted and lifted to the ground. The full extent of the tub problems now became clear, when pushed laterally the tub rocked from side to side like a budgies ‘kelly’, moving about 10” at the scuttle. More depression and flashing £ signs!

All bolts were bagged and labelled and all dismantled bits and pieces stored. The engine and gearbox were lifted out together, all mountings being unserviceable and stored in the garage. Work then commenced on the chassis; brake and fuel lines were removed and stored after being photographed, the chassis was blocked up and the wheels removed, the tyres being split along their inner sidewalls, more £ signs. Further evidence of the ‘bodger’s art’ then emerged. The front wheel cylinders were none TC and the brake back plates had been cored to accommodate them, again why when a wheel cylinder could be had for £45? – more angry depression. The headlights were found to be none TC, probably again from a commercial vehicle, the radiator shell was split in several places and had been crudely repaired around the studs that secure the radiator slats. More £ signs!

Finally, towards the end of May 2011 the bare chassis stood before me.

TC4332 Chassis
Photo 2 – Chassis TC4332 Prior to blasting

Now for the worst part of any restoration job, cleaning and painting. I decided that the chassis would be blasted and either painted or powder coated. Due to the chassis having boxed in areas I rightly or wrongly decided to have the chassis and some other parts Soda Blasted to ensure all areas were accessed and thoroughly cleaned followed by a primer, undercoat and black topcoat painted finish. Prior to sending the chassis for blasting I checked all its principal dimensions as the ‘Brown Book’ and found all within quoted tolerance except for a buckle in the transverse vertical flat plate that carries the rear dampers most certainly incurred at the same time as the damage to the axles/springs fixings. This was straightened by use of a hydraulic jack and timbers à la Sherrell.

During the cold and dark days of 2010/2011 I attempted to research the history of the TC. The car was an export model as evidenced by the Made in England plate on the battery box. I emailed the MG Clubs of all countries on the list of exported TCs in an earlier TTT, with the exception of the United States, this being due to the large number of T-Type clubs existing. No luck, all responses being negative. The TC was, I found out later, almost certainly exported to the US but more of that in a future chapter.

Chapter 3 will follow!

Leslie Hancock

Mirage Garage