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Bits and Pieces

13 Nov

TA, TB, TC and two-seater PA/B and NA Luggage racks

Paul Ireland has arranged another batch of his luggage racks and they are now available to order. The current price is 315 GBP plus P&P. The rationale for Paul’s design is, in his own words, as follows:

The original style luggage rack that sits above the spare wheel/petrol tank, has a number of disadvantages. When loaded, it completely obscures any view to the rear, placing a heavy load high above the roll centre and makes the car less stable. It makes it virtually impossible to fill the fuel tank when loaded and finally, it is difficult to fit, damaging the tank straps.

Unable to find a suitable alternative, I have resorted to designing a luggage rack that addresses these problems. It consists of two arms fitted to the existing “spare” holes in the rear of the chassis (TA, TB and TC, they will need to be drilled for the earlier cars) supporting a flat rack positioned behind the spare wheel. Not only is this very easy to fit, it folds up when not in use.

The Editor hopes to have a couple of these racks for sale on behalf of Paul at the Stoneleigh MG Spares Show in February (Show details are given in the Editorial).

Ideas for Christmas presents!

The following has recently been received from Jim Pielow:

“I just thought I would show you a couple of presents I’ve received, maybe suitable for an odd corner in TTT.

The first is a wood carving my youngest daughter Stephanie gave me last Christmas. It measures 12’’x 8’’ and is in Oak (not the easiest of materials) and is her first attempt at carving. She went on line for a picture of my TC and probably visited TTT. I think she’s managed to get the proportions spot on and it has pride of place in my study.

The second is a shaped pad run up by Linda, my wife, to protect the top of bonnet paint work when the bonnet is opened. I had had my TC bonnet tops repainted recently and was using a tatty bit of rag to protect the paint work, but not anymore!”

Ed’s note: What a wonderful carving and a first attempt! Certainly, something to be treasured.

I like the detail on the bonnet top protector, particularly the ‘cut-out’ for the rad cap and the MG logo. Of course, it had to be blue!

‘Barrie’s Notes’

6.00 GBP plus postage

Available from the T-Shop or direct from John James

(use the website contact form)


Lost and Found

12 Nov

Paul Burry e-mailed to say that he has just discovered that the TC he and his wife owned in 1963/1964 is now in Belgium with registration number 1 AYJ 523. He is asking for help in contacting the present owner. A couple of avenues have been tried, including the MG Car Club Belgium, but so far, without success.

The above photo of Paul’s TC (TC9295) was taken in 1963 in Germany. At that time Paul was in the Army and the TC was registered on British Forces Germany number plates. Newly married Paul and his bride left the church in the TC on their wedding day in October 1963.

The car was sold to a garage in Hampshire in 1964.

Paul lives in France nowadays and drives a TD. He can be contacted at paul.burry(at)wanadoo.fr – please substitute @ for (at).

Help with “a very long shot”

TC owner, Tony Jones from Australia, has been in touch, seeking help to track down a TC once owned by his father. Unfortunately, he does not have a record of the chassis number, but he knows that the car was one of the last 10 exported to Australia, so a late number car. The registration number was FV969 (New South Wales registration). Originally red in colour. At some time, it was exported to Canada.

The two photos that Tony sent are the only ones he has. The first one is of his mum & dad before they were married. Marriage and the arrival of his older sister necessitated the selling of the TC, probably around 1954.

The second one is of his dad with one of his mates during a road trip from Sydney to Adelaide to Melbourne and back to Sydney.

Tony can be contacted at gjtjones(at)hotmail.com – please substitute @ for (at).

TD28201 EXLNA

Brian Kelly e-mailed me a while back asking if it was possible to cross-reference an engine number (XPAG/TD2/28523) to locate the chassis number. The ex-owner (Tom Sim) to whom Brian had been speaking, had a record of the engine number, but not the chassis number. Assuming, that the engine number quoted was the one originally fitted to the car, the chassis number would have been TD28201.

Tom owned this TD from April 1965 until June 1968. During the period of his ownership, Tom was living in Oklahoma City.

The New England MG T Register has been contacted but unfortunately the car is not listed.

These two photos might jog someone’s memory, particularly the first one with the wireless aerial and whitewall tyres. Tom can be contacted at kt4sim(at)hotmail.com – please substitute @ for (at).

How safe are your stub axles?

11 Nov

As my ownership of TC4985 approached its first year I performed my first full service. I had read that the stub axle spindles, after many years of hard driving, are prone to crack and break off! So, I decided, as part of the service, to remove the hubs to inspect the spindles.

In the process, I discovered that the stub axles had been put on the wrong sides! Sherrell (page 102 of TCs Forever) says “The Near Side (L/H) stub has a left hand thread; the Off Side (R/H) has a right hand thread;” To me this means that the nut on the N/S stub is turned anti-clockwise to tighten it, which is the opposite way to the N/S spinner. However, anti-clockwise movement loosened the nut! Consistently, the O/S hub retaining nut needed to be turned clockwise to loosen it. Actually, I found that the O/S nut was only finger tight! As confirmation of this, I also noticed that the steering stop bolts were missing and the holes into which they fit were forward of the axle rather than being to the rear. This bolt, with the domed head of the cotter pin that holds the kingpin in the axle, creates an end stop for the steering. In the photo you can just make out the empty hole.

So, apart from wanting to inspect the spindles, I now needed to swap the stub axles (the hubs were on the correct sides). The spindles, however, looked fine, even if there was some discolouration on one, perhaps indicating some corrosion. Even with the use of a jeweller’s glass I couldn’t see any signs of cracks.

I couldn’t find any significant play in the kingpins, so bought new cotter pins (with domed nuts), new thrust washers, some shims and two steering stop bolts from Roger Furneaux. The existing cotter pins were not of the right type (and were different to each other), but came out easily by undoing the nut to the end of the pin and hitting the nut with a hammer. The kingpin then came out by tapping the end with a wooden dowel between the pin and the hammer. In fact, the kingpin bushes are different on each side and one is upside-down, having the spiral grooves taking the grease away from the thrust washer. But I decided to leave them alone for the time being.

Now we start getting to the reason for writing this article. Some people on the mg-tabc online group (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mg-tabc/info) said that I should do a crack test on the spindles whilst they were off the car. Others said these spindles are old and fatigued, just replace them and be safe. Having read the section in Sherrell on replacing spindles I knew that the job was beyond my capability and so I decided to do a crack test, to prove that it wasn’t strictly necessary to take this fairly, drastic step.

So, I bought a dye penetrant kit, sprayed the cleaner on to the spindle and dried it, then sprayed on the purple dye and left it to work its way into any defects for 20 minutes. The dye was then cleaned off and ‘developer’ sprayed on, again leaving it for a while. One photo shows the spindle covered in dye and the other shows the underside of the spindle covered in developer.

The line of red dye at the root of the spindle is about 15 mm long! The other spindle had a purple line about 5 mm long. Prior to the test I couldn’t see these cracks with the naked eye or with a jeweller’s glass, but they were enough to convince me that I needed to replace the spindles. It is said that you can hear when a spindle is about to break because the brake linings start rubbing! Firstly, I’m not sure that my untrained ear would notice the new sound and secondly, I would rather that they didn’t break while I was driving the car!

As a result, I bought a pair of spindles from Bob Grunau in Canada and Eric Worpe was kind enough to fit them for me. The next photo shows the stub axles as returned by Eric, but after I had painted them. I had removed all the paint before taking them to Eric, since I knew that they would need to be heated (and the new spindles cooled) before the spindles are pressed in.

The final photo shows one of the renovated stub axles fitted to the axle before the brake backplate is fitted and the steering links connected. The new spindles have a 3/4” UNF thread (rather than the original 5/8” BSF) and so it is necessary to buy right-hand and left-hand threaded TD retaining nuts.

We bought an extra pair of spindles from Bob, so Eric has (or at least had) a spare pair waiting to be fitted to someone’s TC. How safe are your stub axle spindles?

David James

A small circuit to enable the adjustment of LED panel lamp’s brightness

9 Nov

Technology has moved on since I modified tungsten screw-in panel lamp bulb cases for my TA (see TTT2 issue 11, page 13). Bright LED panel lamps in various colours are now available in positive and negative earth. They do not dim easily; a reducing voltage will cause the LED to extinguish.

To overcome this, variable duration but regular voltage pulses, will illuminate the LED for a longer or shorter period of time. LEDs switch very quickly, and as observed, the effect of this pulsing is bright or not so bright. To the eye if the switching is fast enough this brightness is even. The technical term for the type of switching, is pulse width modulation. I have seen articles showing ways to achieve this using programmable logic integrated circuits. This is a simpler way.

Here is a circuit which uses a small number of components, adjusted with just a knob. It is built around a 555 timer integrated circuit. All components are easily obtainable.

The components are mounted on a small piece of Vero board and enclosed in a plastic box. The driver transistor is a metal oxide silicon field effect transistor and is mounted in a heatsink on the outside of the box. It is of the plastic encapsulated type and therefore it and its heatsink will be fully insulated from any wiring. Heat transfer compound is used between the transistor and its heatsink.

The works.

Where on the car to mount this will be a personal choice. The feed to the panel and dash lamps can be inserted into the wiring after the panel lamps ‘on’ switch on the dashboard (wire coloured blue on TA). An earth connection to the box will be needed.

I used a knob from an old panel lamp ‘on’ switch, drilled to push fit the potentiometer spindle and a small strip of Velcro to attach to the back of the dash. (See photo).

Many suppliers now stock LEDs all colours including www.classiccarleds.co.uk – Tel 0800 2465678 – or from their eBay store.. The driver transistors and integrated circuit are cheapest via eBay.

Other components from Maplin or Rapid-online etc:

-Small piece of Vero board (unfortunately the minimum size is about £5 from Maplin)

-Maplin Plastic box

-8 pin IC holder.

-Resistor 10K ohms,1/8w .

-Capacitors. 0.01 micro-farad (1)

-0.10 micro-farad (2)

-Push fit heatsink for the transistor

-100K ohms linear potentiometer.

Misc:

-3mm Bolt and nut for heatsink, wire, tag for earth connection, connector from box to lamps feed. Heat transfer paste.

I regret that I cannot supply kits or built units. Any questions via email to email(at)robbut.plus.com – please substitute @ for (at).

TC10178 – saved from sitting on bricks since 1967 in a Sheffield lock up garage (Part 9)

8 Nov

Getting there………….

The top of the right hand rear quarter panel with the tacks in.

Door fit not right and needs to be improved – as covered in the text (below).

Got in early. I took the doors off and refitted them with set screws and nuts other than the bottom body hinges which are blind so need to have wood screws. When I finished, the doors fitted perfectly so that was one job done. I then tacked the front door frame caps and after that the rear inner wings were to be fitted.

Door fit now perfect, but the rear wing is too far in. The chap in the background is Marcel, who is rebuilding a 2CV engine.

Hinges held on with setscrews and nuts.

The inner rear wings went on OK, I had to drill holes in the new quarter panel to fit them. At this point I was getting really tired. I had wanted to have all the wings on before I left so Maurice could carry on.

I did get the rear wings on under the direction of Maurice. However, when I put the rear wheels on we realised they were too far in. He got the running board and held it in place and it confirmed the front edge of the wings need to come out to align with the running boards. He will do this and fit the front wings over the next few days. He’ll then take it all apart and spray 4 or 5 top coats and reassemble it.

Happiness, joy, ecstasy…

All these things and more. I go to the body shop this morning. Imagine my surprise when I see an MGC parked on the front. I drive in and …. wow, there on the left is a wine coloured TC. I then look to the right and see mine.

The red TC. We’re so lucky it’s there as it makes a perfect opportunity to copy. I had to point out that the piping on this car is wrong. There’s no break between


The running board and the rear wing. I’m going to buy some quarter inch rubber pipe to make the correct size for the apron. I could fit the 3/8″ that I have but I may as well get it right.


Getting there, at last. This is the trial run to get all the panels aligned. When fully built, it will be taken apart, painted and re-assembled.

Ever wished you’d not bothered? With nothing to do this morning I decided to add up all the costs.

The car and parts: £31,790

Tools and sundries £7,778

Total:……………… £39,568

I’ll have to get these figures checked from the company accounts as some have VAT and some don’t. The parts all have the carriage charges included. The tools include a new compressor and a few trips to the UK.

Proof positive that I am a certifiable idiot. I get to the bodyshop at 0750, Jean-Luc arrives a few minutes later and I take the car across the road. I switch off and it’s boiling. Open the bonnet so I remember to top it up tonight.

I’m going to put the floor boards in and then the trim. I lay the floor in and then the tunnel. I then place the tunnel in position. It won’t go down, a good 4″ gap to the floor. I start looking at the gearbox mountings and am really confused as to why the gearbox appears too high. Maurice comes over so I show him. He looks at it for 3 seconds and shows me the tunnel goes under the gear lever extension housing. See, Stupid.

I also find that the tunnel goes on first then the floor boards. I run a die down the two studs and Maurice welds a nut on, the old one has come away. Sort out some setscrews, nuts and washers, fit the tunnel and then have lunch. After lunch I fit the boards. The shape isn’t correct and they won’t go down fully because the corners are getting in the way. Also, the holes are drilled in the wrong place. Drill new holes. I’ve struggled all day with the floor, mainly because, apart from me being stupid, they aren’t the correct shape and the holes were in the wrong place. I just finished screwing them down at 1800. In the morning, I had looked under the other TC there (to see if the gearbox mountings were in the same position – they were) and noticed that the speedo cable was routed through the opposite side. Last job I did was to change my cable from right side to left side.

They’ve told me to have a holiday tomorrow whilst Maurice fits all the fiddly door jamb bits. He’s going to paint the car next Tuesday.


The tunnel in. Correctly this time.

The floors are in. The rubber gearbox cover isn’t screwed down. I’ll do it next week.

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS….

Maurice has been busy. Tank, apron, running boards, fuel tank 


straps, battery cover and rear number plate backing.


One front wing and two rears. The other front wing is done.


The skin peened over.


Rear panel.


The headlight mounting.

After 13 months of very hard work I can’t get used to the idea that it will (should) be finished in 10-14 days’ time. Pic shows the car in the spray booth ready for 5 or 6 coats of shiny black cellulose paint.

Maurice comes in and I expect the TC to be outside the oven and ready for me to start on the interior. It’s inside and he has sprayed two coats of primer on Saturday. He is now going to push it out, rub it down and then put it back for top coats. In the meantime, Robin (apprentice) is finishing the doors and petrol tank. I cannot work on the car. I stop and think. This is very difficult for me. I had less than two hours sleep last night and feel like a zombie. Whatever that is. I can’t concentrate or think clearly.

I test the fuel gauge sender and it doesn’t work. So, take it apart clean the contacts, straighten the flange and rebuild. It works, I ask the TABC group if the sender unit is painted or natural. At the same time, as I can’t find the 6 screws for it, and I know they’re here …. somewhere, I ring NTG and get Mike. I order the screws and ask him about the colour of the of the sender unit. He thinks it should be painted. I then get two replies that it’s not painted. Unpainted it will remain. See the picture below as to why sender units’ leak.

After this I take the spot lamp apart and clean the innards. Next is the windscreen. I get it out of the store and assemble the stanchions. PROBLEM. The new thread I made for the driver’s side wing nut has stripped. I run a blind 10mm Metric tap down it and a 10mm bolt fits well. They have a new lathe which is now in position in the machine shop and the old one out in the workshop. I will turn the beheaded bolt down at home and cut a new thread tonight. By this time, about 1530, I feel really bad. I’m almost staggering about and can’t find the windscreen butterfly nut. I search for about 20 minutes and then find it where I put it, in one of the screw dishes. OK, I surrender, I get all my stuff together, top the Mini rad up and go home. I feel really bad. Get home and plan to sit down. However, I take the bits I’ve bought home to the workshop and the walk across and the cooler air wakes me up a bit. So, I finish the new bolt on my lathe.

The flange of the sender unit. A couple of people have mentioned that the fuel tank units leak and can’t be cured. When I’ve told them it’s because the screws have been overtightened they look at me like I have got two heads. OK, this is what happens when the screws are overtightened. The flange distorts. Are you surprised that it leaks. I’ve straightened it by putting it in a vice with soft metal jaws. It’s now flat and when I fit it I will just “nip” the screws up so it’s tight on the rubber gasket (a later replacement for the original cork) which has a slight smear of gasket cement (black silicone or red Hermetite, but not so much it gets inside the tank) but not so tight that the soft metal flange distorts… and leaks.

Instruction for repairing a non-working fuel tank sender.

The arm has a copper connector in the shape of a two-prong fork. Screwed to the body is the screw the wire goes on. Remove the large plastic knurled knob, undo the nut and take it all out laying the washers and insulators in the order they came off. Clean the contact surfaces with wet & dry, the contact is at the bottom of the plate, and prise the bottom of the copper plate out towards the middle. Put it all back, refit the cover and it should work. I used a slight smear of black silicone gasket cement on the rubber gasket faces, not too much, you don’t want it dripping into the tank.

Also, get some lead or ali plate and put it in the jaws of a vice. Then tighten the flange in the vice turning it around all 360 degrees in stages. This should get the flange flat and straight. When you refit the tank unit just nip the screws tight, do not use a huge screwdriver and use all the strength you can as this will distort the flange and it will leak.

Arrived at 1130 today. I fitted the new stud to the windscreen frame. I drilled the first hole in the windscreen stanchion for the mirror on the nearside. Then lunch. After lunch I finished drilling

and tapping the stanchion and fitted the mirror arm. I got the windscreen out of the store, laid it on a blanket on a table and fitted the stanchions to the screen. I’m missing the “D” washers but they’re on the way and can be fitted later. Time to change the lenses on the headlights. I got the clips off the new one and then found the “cats eyes” lenses I have are a tad too big. We (Robin and I) struggled to get the clips on. Having finally got them on I find the rim will not now fit over the bowl as the glass is in the way. Then Jean-Luc comes up and says they have a problem. Maurice has polished the four coats of paint he applied yesterday and was going to put the fifth and final coat on today so I can start putting the interior in. Jean-Luc wants to leave the paint to dry more overnight. So, I will not be able to work on it tomorrow. No real problem, just my plans going tits up again. Maurice and I will refit the wings, doors and other panels as well as the tank on Friday and Saturday. I will start the trim the following week. But, I should have it finished by Friday 27th May.

I’ve also arranged insurance to start on the 30th. It’s booked in for its French MOT (Controle Technique) on the 30th. They want a valuation so it’s covered 3rd party for now and I should get a valuation certificate from MGOC as soon as I get them the pictures.

I’ve set up an express valuation with the MGOC but can’t get the pictures to them until the body is painted and rebuilt and the interior is fitted. I looked in the insurance folder and found the Hagerty quote which is about the same as the French quote. It’s now 0900 and I’m going to ring them…… back soon.

OK, now 0930 in the UK and I’ve insured the car from 27th with Hagerty. All I have to do is get a tax thingie with the DVLA, no fee as the car is old enough to be free. The transaction was totally hassle free, they sent me an update of the quote, value is £25,000, miles are 3000 miles pa. Big advantage is I can keep the original UK registration.

Shiny enough for me. Problem is I think it’s going to look over-restored. I’ll sort that out; I’ll use it all the time, which will solve the problem.

Got to the bodyshop at 0750 and started straight away. I had to lay all the bits out on the floor as they had put them on my tool bench because they wanted the table. My target for today was to fit the rubber cover on the gear box and get the carpets in. I struggled with the rubber cover as I couldn’t see the screw tops to put the screwdriver in. Got there in the end and not too bad. At this point I realised the three side trims need to be tacked in before the carpets can be fitted. So, I tacked the front piece, the bottom sill section and was tacking on the rear quarter panel when Maurice pointed out that I hadn’t put the beading in between panels and body. OK, all off and start again. Finished that side just in time for lunch. After lunch fitted the driver’s side. Looks good.

I needed more long tacks so whilst I awaited 1400 and the local Espace Terraine to open I glued the felt to the driver’s side rear wheel arch. At 1400 took their van and got a pack of nails and put the last few in. I then fitted the driver’s side seat adjuster bracket to the wheel arch. I’ve used some brake drum screws and thin nuts – should be riveted but screws are easier. After getting the back rest in and screwed to the adjuster arm, I drilled and screwed the passenger side. Next came the carpets and they are all laid in, then I laid the seat squabs on the floor.

So, I far exceeded my target. With a bit of luck, I’ll get the vinyl wheel arch covers on, the carpet studs in and the seats in tomorrow morning. That will leave the dash to go back in.

Hopefully, on Monday I’ll be helping Maurice fit the wings, doors, petrol tank and front apron (as well as the bonnet). Plans again…. bet they go wrong.

The passenger side trims in place….with the beading.

Editor’s note: This was going to be the final instalment of the story of Norman’s rebuild. However, I don’t have the space to fit everything in, so I’m afraid that you’ll have to wait for the next issue to complete the story.

The full blog can be read at www.frenchblat.com (MG TC, bottom left) After June it carries on in the new blog: LIFE AT LA FOIE-DAILY BLOG

Improving an Aftermarket Rear Crank Seal Kit

7 Nov

This article was written by Anton Piller in Switzerland and forwarded by Jerry Birkbeck.

It must have been about 20 years back, when I first saw an advert and read an article about these kits. Since I liked the idea and appreciated the engineering skill behind it, I bought two of the kits – one for my TD and one for my long-term project, YT4220. Both kits were fitted and what struck me at the time was, how close the lip of the oil seal was to the edge of the crankshaft’s shoulder and that it was not spring-loaded.

My expectations were running high and the TD was up and running soon, while the YT engine is still waiting to be fired up for the first time. Well, my high expectations were not really met and the engine still “lost” oil at the bottom hole of the bell housing (something that prevents the car from passing the very strict government controlled Swiss MOT).

By coincidence, I realised that the big spares suppliers nowadays include a round white plastic box with those kits. On enquiring, I found out that the box contains a so-called speedy sleeve that extends the crankshaft’s shoulder. Apparently, the kit’s manufacturer had found out, over time, that the seal’s lip runs too close to the crank’s edge and in some cases, cannot function properly (dependant on how big the shoulder of the chamfer is).

Crankshaft and flywheel removed and con rods secured by a length of dowel.

I decided to take the engine out of the YT, fit such a speedy sleeve and have the crank and flywheel balanced at the same time. Because of limited space in my garage, I asked the owner of my engineering shop, if I could strip the engine at his shop, which he agreed to. The man is very knowledgeable and did his own Group 2, Sport 2000 and Mini Cooper racing. When he saw the “in situ” rear crank seal kit, he nearly had a fit and told me that the kit could not function properly. Here is his reason why:

  1. The seal’s lip being too close to the crank’s chamfered edge (which of course will be overcome by fitting a speedy sleeve).

  1. The lack of a spring within the sealing lip that would prevent the engine’s internal pressure to blow out oil past the lip.

  1. The non-descript type of seal that looks as if designed for slow moving shafts of a machine but not for use in high revving engines. The correct seals for car engines are of the Viton (FPM) type. These FPM seals withstand temperatures of up to 220° Celsius, whereas standard oil seals only withstand 100°C, which is the boiling point of water. In addition FPM seals withstand a circumferential speed of up to 40 meters/second versus the 14m/s of “normal” Nitrile (NBR) seals.

To the left, the kit’s seal that lacks a spring loaded lip. To the right, the FPM seal with its spring loaded lip.

Since I could not find out what type oil seal is used with the aftermarket kits, I decided to make sure and use a FPM type seal together with a speedy sleeve, to hopefully get the results, I expected in the first place. Here is what I bought:

  • SKF Speedy Sleeve 95mm, order number CR 99369

  • Oil Seal 95-120-12, order number CR 99369

Because the newly acquired seal is two millimetres wider than the kit’s seal, two millimetres were skimmed off the flywheel’s raised front section and the seal was glued into the aluminium clamping-ring of the kit with black silicon sealant.

Two millimetres had to be taken off the raised section in the centre of the flywheel – in order to allow for the 2mm wider oil seal.

In theory, I have done everything right to keep my Racing Engineer happy and I look forward to test the upgrade sometime early next year. Keep your fingers crossed….! Anton Piller MG YT4220.

Achieving a Long-Held Dream!

6 Nov


Jerry Birkbeck’s TC4244. The photo was taken in Mill Street, Warwick. Mill Street is adjacent to the Castle Wall (See Warwick Castle) and goes down to the River Avon. In the 17th Century there was a bridge constructed and the abutments are still there. This crossed over to Bridge End which formed the southern entrance into Warwick.

For the petrol heads amongst us I am sure that there is always that special car that has taken over part of your psyche from an early age. Many overcome this. Others never do and a compromise needs to be accepted; moreover, how often do dreams fall apart when reality hits and you discover the car is not quite how you imagined it? It’s awful to drive and getting in it is a nightmare! Indeed, as you glance through the ads in your classic car magazine and see that someone has a very well restored car of their obvious choice for sale `due to change of plans’, `not regularly used’ and so on, is it more than often likely that it is not quite what they had remembered all those years ago? In fact, it’s awful!

Many folks seeking a classic car have not driven a pre-70s car, let alone a pre-50s car, at all. Their view is one through rose tinted spectacles and when they visit a club stand and look at a superb Healey, MG or Triumph and start talking, you begin to understand how there is no appreciation of the maintenance and needs of an older car and just how different this experience is from using a sophisticated, well-built car that fulfils all the user’s everyday needs. As we all know, older cars are a very different breed.

This is of course digressing! I too, was one of those dreamers who aspired to an MG TC. Why? Certainly, childhood memories at the age of 11 drew me to the lines of an MG T-Type owned by a science master at my school. I have no idea whether it was a TA-B-or C. It looked a little tired but it oozed class and I set my heart on one.

I started along the right lines when I picked up a 1936 PB fifty years ago for £50. It was a non-runner and although I had high hopes, it never went as I had no technical knowledge, no money and with attending college, very little time. I did have a garage (rented inevitability and shared with an Austin 7, which did go and was a rather large gentleman’s daily transport for his equally large wife and two children!) but there it stood until it was sold by my mother (!) whilst I was travelling in Europe in the summer of `68.

It is fair to say that I committed all the cardinal sins, selling the engine to a fellow PB owner, but at least his car was running! My PB (CND 973) is still in existence and is on the Triple-M Register, which is encouraging.

In 1969 I almost bought a TA in Birmingham, `almost’ as I never managed to find the place and my enthusiasm was dented by the girl I was going out with, who thought I should be looking for a Mini and preferably a Cooper!

When I began work in 1970 I had a Spitfire and lived in Stafford, where I noticed several T-Types, not appreciating at the time that this was Harry Crutchley country and where the MG Octagon CC was born.

I did meet my wife Jo, in London in 1972, over the bonnet of a YA, which was my first driving venture into the MG world and this revived my desire for a TC. This receded as children and family pressures had their inevitable impact on time and resources; the Y being sold prior to our first child’s birth.

In the early 90s I re-joined the MG train and bought another Y; this I kept for six years and I moved on to a TA. This was a start and over the next thirteen years it included moving the car to my vision of a TC. I spent much time and money upgrading the car from the `Cream Cracker’ styled car, which I bought in 1998. Fitted with cycle wings and painted duo tone cream and brown it was a rather ugly duckling. However, re-painted Old English White and with bits of TC, XPAW engine, 5 speed box, VW steering, the wings from the `Heartbeat’ TV series, new interior, rebuilt engine and many upgrades it began to look the part. It was well used and ran well, covering 35,000 miles during our ownership. The little car visited many countries in Europe, Ireland and England and Wales. It still was not a TC, even though when it was sold in 2011 it was a highly usable and attractive T-Type. Indeed, I recall someone well known in the MG world describing it to me as a `Bitsa Car’. Although initially slightly hurt by the description, he was absolutely right.

The reason for the sale was the purchase of a lovely MGA 1600, which was a fantastic car but was hopeless for travelling unless a boot rack was added. That would destroy the perfect lines of the car. OK, so you can add a removable boot bag but that too has problems. So, I reflected as I approached my 70th birthday that if ever I was to realise my ambition to own a TC then a decision had to be made. We do own a well-loved YT and this is a great car for touring and I have no wish to sell it. Therefore, the sale of the MGA was the only way forward. I had used it throughout the year during my ownership – a superb car to drive and the upgrades that had been undertaken included a new 1622 cc engine, 5 speed box, upgraded electrics, to which I added a set of chrome wires, new hood, side screens, tonneau and a re-chroming of the windscreen supports. However, if ever anyone chooses to buy an `A’ then drive with the hood down as putting one up is an unbelievable pain!

So, in July 2016 I began my search for a TC and placed the MGA on various free websites. These were not a success and it was only five weeks later, having had no responses at all that I used Classic Car Weekly and their sister website Classic Cars for Sale and this is where I had an instant response. Prior to this I had been looking at a few TCs and test-drove a couple. One in Leicestershire looked interesting from the advert but in practice was excellent mechanically but bodily was perhaps a tad challenging. I saw another in Bristol which would have been a good buy and was enjoyable to drive, but as I hadn’t sold the ‘A’ I could only offer a deposit. The vendor quite understandably mentioned that he had another purchaser and it was he who sealed the deal. I also followed up several TCs from Devon through to a contact in the UK who imported TCs and had a number arriving from Australia and one from the US. The latter looked interesting but that fell through when the vendor was offered a higher price. Most of the others were too expensive or required significant work – neither routes that I wanted to go down. I was almost `resigned’ to possibly picking up a yellow TC that had been upgraded with some sensible modifications – but yellow?

Then out of the blue the September issue of `Enjoying MG’, the Owners Club magazine, had an advert for a TC. It looked interesting and was within my price range. The owner, a really nice guy who was emigrating to South Africa (having lived there for many years) as he was `fed up with the UK weather’ and had not only the TC to sell but a further dozen classics from his collection. (This was covered in an article in a late 2015 issue of Classic Cars in their `Collectors’ piece).

Nick, the owner, explained at length on the phone about the car, although he didn’t enthuse about its condition as much as he might have done. He did however mention that overused word `patina’ quite a few times. Nonetheless, I arranged to visit Shropshire the following day to have a good look at the car.

The weather was grim which would have made it difficult to find Nick’s remote property but for the Sat-nav which came up trumps. Nick showed me some of the cars in his garage which included a beautiful Lotus Elan Sprint, a just completed MGA Coupe and a fine Porsche. He then took me to his lock up to view the TC. `Lock up’ is totally the wrong word – it was a modern Dutch barn. Nick shared this with a fellow enthusiast and this is where the TC was stored.

I was sold on it immediately! As Nick explained, the TC Chassis No. TC4244 was completed in Abingdon on 8th December 1947 with Engine No XPAG 4888 (which it still retains) and painted black with red trim. It was then exported to South Africa.

The TC, affectionately known as `Myrtle’, had three owners up until the restorer Jim Kotze bought it in 1980. The car had been stored in two different garages for 20 years until Jim commenced a nut and bolt restoration which he completed in July 1981. The chassis was taken to a marine engineering firm where it was sand blasted and treated against corrosion. The wheels were trimmed or turned and sprayed with a high heat aluminium powder.The knock-ons were built up with welding, filed and re-chromed.

The frame was rebuilt by a qualified carpenter out of well matured oak. To further enhance the frame it was painted with red lead. Apart from new pistons and rings the engine was in good condition. The head too was overhauled.

Jim had a choice for the bodywork of importing new body panels or having the body work undertaken in aluminium by a reputable firm (Charlie Hatton in Durbanville). He chose the latter. The mudguards and doors needed minor repairs. The whole car was then disassembled for a complete re-spray in its original black colour. The walnut lamination on the dashboard was then upgraded.

All the instruments, except the clock (which was in working order), were overhauled by Vintage Restorations. A new wiring harness was installed. The piping, hood and many other parts were imported (principally from Naylor Brothers). The newly upholstered seats were fitted and the restoration was complete.

In 1982 a Rod Paxton bought the MG and fine-tuned the restoration bringing her to showroom condition. He then won a Bronze Certificate at the National `Concours d’etat’ meeting in Pietermaritzburg.

He sold the TC in 1984 and Bernard Krawitz, a car dealer from Alexandria (Eastern Cape) who was intending to buy an E-Type in an auction, but missed out and bought the TC instead. He sold the car in 1986.

It then became the property of Malcolm Potter and the TC returned to Pietermaritzburg. He undertook minor upgrades having the wheels powder coated and five new Dunlop B5s fitted. Around 2011 he had the brake system overhauled and a new master cylinder fitted.

In February 2013 Nick Oswell-Jones imported the car into the UK. He has used it very little and I acquired the TC on Monday 12th September 2016. Since its restoration between 1980 and 1982 it has only covered 7500 miles!

First Impressions

The car looks stunning but I had to fully charge the battery, check all the levels and tyre pressures. The levels were fine as Nick has used it recently. The tyres (although they have covered around 3000 miles look great, excellent treads and no side wall cracking) but after nearly 30 years they are solid. I am replacing them with Blockleys. Whilst I am aware that purists prefer B5s (now only available in replica form as Ensign tyres) as originally Dunlop B5s were fitted to TCs when they left Abingdon, Blockleys are far better tyres, using enhanced materials and possessing better grip and wear qualities.

The steering has a good deal of play and I drove the car over to my good friend Brian Rainbow, who as many of you know, has an excellent technical knowledge about TA-TCs. He recommended fitting polyurethane bushes to front and rear and following a series of checks throughout the suspension, this will be undertaken over the next week.

The body and paint finish is superb as is the chrome. All the correct lights are fitted – although the fog light should be a Lucas FT27 – and they all work. Directional flashers are incorporated in the sidelights and rear D Lamps. The hood and side screens are good but will benefit from a clean, there is a full and half tonneau.

I am looking to the end of October to have her running well.

The reality is that the long held dream has not disappointed and I am fortunate to be only the ninth keeper of the TC over a period of 69 years. To have that continuous history, with all the owners’ names and periods of tenure, is rather special. (The YT that we own has had four owners since 1950, and though 3 are known and their period of ownership, I have no idea who first acquired the car).

So, on an entirely personal note – a great 70th birthday year – so far!

Jerry Birkbeck

Front Cover Story – TD0267

5 Nov

Robert Browne tells the story of TD 0267 in his own words…….

“In 1949 Peter Robbins went to Lanes, the MG distributors in Melbourne, Australia to buy a TC. He was told they were no more but the TD model was on its way by ship. Peter ordered one but had to take whatever colour was available. As it turned out TDs 0267 and 0268 were Clipper Blue.

I have some photos of Peter and his new TD. He was also told his was to be the first TD to arrive in Australia.

In 1991 while I was restoring a MGA 1500 and as it took shape my wife said why didn’t you buy a real MG. So I started looking out for a T-Type.

TD 0267 was found in Sydney and I purchased it and started the restoration. As you can see, ‘basket cases’ don’t come much worse! It obviously had had a hard life since Peter parted company with it. Including a number of colour changes.

As I had done courses in panel beating, spray painting and trimming, work started.

First the body work, which included my having to replace approx 50mm of the wired edges of both front mudguards along the full length of them as rust had corroded the wired edge and the reinforcement away.

Wood framing was replaced with Tasmanian Oak.

After getting the body all straightened up and before painting I then made all the seat bases, and interior woodwork ready to trim.

I then made the seats using Howe leather which is supposed to be a good leather for our Australian climate. The other interior trim using matching vinyl.

I then proceeded to make the Hood and Tonneau out of Haars Stayfast material.

When that was all done and the panel fit was checked it was then disassembled and sent to my painter friend who painted it for me. The dangers of modern paint were a consideration of mine to not spray it myself without a spray booth.

I might add that all panels were file finished with very little body filler used.

As you can see BRG was chosen as a lot of the panels had green on them but after talking to Peter Robbins’ daughter she said the original colour was light blue [obviously Clipper Blue.] Too late, I had already committed to BRG!

I had a small machine shop do all necessary machining on the engine and then I put it back together as well as all other mechanicals.

Then came the good part of reassembling the whole car. Each bit you put back on gets closer to the finished article. While this process was going on I was constantly referring to the Totally T-Type web pages for information that would be invaluable to my restoration.

As I am not getting any younger this will be my last restoration after doing an MGA 1500, a 1969 MGB Mk11 roadster and then a 1969 MGBGT.

Unfortunately, Peter Robbins passed away before I finished the car but I forwarded on some early photos of my restoration to him and his family early in the piece and he was so pleased to witness it seeing the light of day again.”

Robert Browne nanapabrowne(at)gmail.com

Balgownie NSW 2519 Australia.

Ed’s note: I thought I would include a few more pictures to show the quality of the restoration.

Robert Browne, pictured above, sorting out his dash wiring.

Ed’s further note: It’s not often that we see period photographs of the cars when they were new. This one could so easily have been lost forever; it looks as though we have Robert’s wife to thank for suggesting “why didn’t you buy a real MG!”

MG Octagon Car Club Founders Weekend 2017

4 Nov

Next year’s ‘Founders Weekend’ will take place over the weekend of 19 to 22 May and will be based at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

Intended as a bungalow in 1905 for the wealthy heiress Baroness Grace van Eckhardstein to serve as a country retreat, it didn’t meet her lavish tastes and the project quickly grew to what you see today.

The hotel building served as a military hospital for injured soldiers during the Great War but is best known as the home of the legendary RAF 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in World War Two.

26 double/twin rooms and 4 singles have been reserved at rates of £180 per room per night for a double/twin and £105 per room per night for a single. These rates are for dinner, bed & breakfast.

To book, call the hotel on 01526 352411 and quote ‘MG Octagon Car Club’. No deposits are required, just a credit card number. Cancellations made up to 48 hours in advance of the booking will not be charged. Thereafter, 100% of the first night’s booking will be charged.

When you have booked, please send an e-mail to Jenny admin(at)mgoctagoncarclub.com {replace (at) by @} and you will be sent an entry form.

Tach Reduction Box

3 Nov

Recently my tach gearbox failed. The unit was a riveted type (Fig 1) so it is not easy to determine the fault. I drilled the rivets out and discovered major wear in the minor gear shaft housing resulting in the minor gear having a hit and miss engagement with the major gear. I sourced a replacement from Moss USA; this unit was screwed together (Fig 2).

Above: Fig 1 – riveted type. Below: Fig 2 – held together with screws.

Fig 3 – grease not where it should be!

I decided to inspect the gears before fitting the unit to the dynamo. I was very surprised to see the factory greasing had come nowhere near touching the minor gear, as demonstrated in Figure 3.

Moreover, it was apparent that it had not touched the major gear. This is evident in Figure 3 as the base plate was completely clear of grease.

Clearly you cannot rely on factory greasing (or some after-market parts! Ed). I added extra grease directly to the gears plus a little 140 grade gear oil. My aim in adding the oil was to minimize waxing overtime. After about 100 miles this unit failed. Being a screwed unit it was easy to inspect. The inspection revealed that the small gear was loose on its shaft. Moss forwarded a replacement but unfortunately it’s a riveted one. I suggest that purchasers of these unit request screwed units and they inspect the gears for greasing prior to fitting, and the security of the minor gear on its shaft.

John Langley
Lake Hawea, New Zealand.