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MG TC Wiring Diagram in Colour

1 Jan

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Lost and Found

1 Jan

Not much space this time, but just enough to ask about one of two cars owned by Steve Sabine. The other, a TC, will feature in the next issue, along with a couple of others that regrettably did not make it. Steve’s enquiry follows…..

MG TA EXN 422 was first registered in London on 12th April 1938, luckily surviving the blitz; I then have a 30-year gap of old style log books until 1968 when Terence Keith Enion registered the car in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire, does anyone know of its whereabouts in that time?

The next owner raced the car in the 1970s and fitted it with a front mounted supercharger. In normally aspirated form I acquired the TA in 1993 with the registration CSV 291 a Kinross County Council number. The new V5 showed that the previous owner had acquired the car in 1938, which clearly was a mistake so it pays to check the details.

Two pics of EXN 422 (as CSV 291) being raced by Roger Shadbolt.

With the centralisation of the vehicle registration system, the original registration number (EXN 422) was allowed to lapse, hence the change to CSV 291. However, thanks to some old MOT certificates, I managed to reclaim the original number. As part of this process, DVLA Chelmsford office wanted to see the car, as according to their records, it was owned by someone in Surrey! It would appear that CSV 291 may have been issued to two cars! Fortunately, a visit by an inspector checking old style tax discs, supporting records and the chassis number (TA2263) confirmed my ownership.

Ed’s note: Just to be clear – old MOT certificates used to be accepted by DVLA as evidence in reclaimed registration cases – not any more!

The Adventures of MG TC2456

1 Jan

England – South Africa – England
By Roger Bateman


I must have been 10 years old when I fell in love with a red MG T-Type belonging to a neighbour. I remember he’d said it was the rarest of all the T-Types. Now, with the wisdom that comes with age, I guess it must have been a TB – but then I neither knew nor cared. A T-Type was a T-Type, and I wanted one more than anything else.

I had to wait another 55 years before that wish was translated into reality. I came close a couple of times, but in 2015 I finally succumbed to a smart green 1947 TC in a classic car auction. In the catalogue it was said to be in condition 1 to 2, restored and ready to go after some recent work (“bills available”). My wife and I went to see it and, indeed, it looked to be just as described.

To my amazement I was not allowed to drive the car, nor even start the engine. “No, we don’t do that”, the auctioneers told me, “We’d end up with flooded engines, flat batteries and bits broken off if we allow that. You will have to wait to see it drive over the block on the day of the auction.”

I was, however, allowed to inspect the vehicle file. This MG had been exported new to South Africa in 1947 and repatriated in 1986, that much it did say, but it was very thin on documented history for a car supposedly fully restored. It contained only one invoice, a very recent one, for a new radiator, a cylinder head overhaul and, quote, “check brakes”. I rang the garage concerned and the boss told me that it was “a good old car with no vices”.

Cars at auction are bought ‘as seen’ and one has to rely on the catalogue description and one’s own knowledge. No comebacks. I reckoned I had done everything I could under the circumstances to ensure the car was OK. After 50 years in the motor trade I should have known better!

Well, it looked fine to me. As it turned out, everything that I could see was, in fact, fine. It was smartly painted British Racing Green with lovely tan leather interior and full weather equipment. Everything visible under the bonnet was nicely detailed and consistent with a restoration. It was what I couldn’t see that subsequently transpired wasn’t so good.

Left: TC2456 as purchased. Described as “Condition 1 – 2, a good car, no problems and no vices.”

On the big day my top bid was accepted and I hopped in to drive the car home. That journey, only 10 miles, was a nightmare. The steering had a mind of its own such that the car would dart around unexpectedly with no provocation, and the brakes were almost non-existent. Even my Austin Seven has better brakes, which will mean a lot to some readers!

When I started to investigate the problems, I soon found that only one brake was working, all the others having seized cylinders and oily linings. The steering presented an equal selection of horrors: the steering box was sloppy; the front axle was bent and twisted; the tie rod and drag link were distorted; the track rod ends were worn; and the drag link end was even home-made! The carburettors were a collection of mismatched parts. Finally, I discovered that the front engine mounting plate had been broken and re-welded so inaccurately that the engine was skew-whiff in the chassis.

It was obvious this MG had been in an accident at some time. No wonder the poor old car was more “Danger Fast” than Safety Fast!


I decided to speak to the previous owners to find out what they knew. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency provided the names of the six previous UK owners before me, so it was not too difficult to get in touch with them.

Judging by the old MOT certificates, in the 30 years between the car arriving back in the UK and me buying it, it had only done 2,500 miles – perhaps because it was not safe to drive and previous owners had palmed it off in a hurry. Most likely the steering had been like that for years as I found evidence of a previous attempt to straighten the axle following an accident. It is completely remarkable none of the MOT tests had ever identified something wrong here.

I wanted to know more about it.

The First English Owner had UK-registered the car in June 1987. He worked for a car dealer in Preston and, as a sideline, he had moonlighted buying and selling classic and vintage cars well into his retirement. By the time I contacted him in 2015, he was into his eighties and said he couldn’t recall the car and stated categorically that he “knew nothing of TC2456 and had never imported any cars”. But he confirmed that the details on the documents are in his handwriting. There can be no mistake: this is the right person.

So, undaunted, I continued to track through the car’s ownership records in the hope that more would be revealed.

This brings us to the Second English Owner. He was a farmer with a large collection of quality cars who had added the MG in April 1988. He was the UK owner who’d had it for 18 years, so by far the longest. In that time, he had carried out some restoration to the car including a re-trim in tan leather and a repaint in green. From what I can gather, the car was hardly used in all this time, and was either undergoing restoration or afterwards sitting in the car collection. He eventually sold the MG in July 2006. His wife told me that they were aware of the ‘skittish steering’ but thought it was due to the ‘skinny tyres’.

The Third and Fourth English Owners each had the car for only a short time and couldn’t really tell me much about it, one refusing to talk with me.

The Fifth English Owner, would you believe, told me he was afraid to drive it because he was frightened of the brakes and steering! The last straw for him was an engine misfire which persuaded him to sell it.

The Sixth English Owner, the most recent, had owned the car for only 3 months and told me that they “didn’t like the steering and brakes so they decided not to keep it.”

And as for that garage whose recent invoice was in the file – well, if he had indeed “checked the brakes” I can imagine he possibly told his customer that repairs would be expensive, thus precipitating the hasty sale of the car.

Caveat emptor, indeed!

Well, the English history so far was singularly undistinguished, although it seemed to me that the first 40 years in South Africa must have been more exciting. To move forward (or backward!) from here, I needed to trace the South African history where the car had spent more than half its life. The crucial link to that seemed to be The First English Owner, but he could not. . . or would not. . . . tell me anything at all about the importation. This made me apprehensive. Was there more to this than met the eye? Perhaps the car had left South Africa illegally. Been stolen, or worse?

At this point I was stumped because, if he couldn’t tell where the car had come from, my history quest had hit the buffers.


To make any progress at all, I had to find some way to trace the history in South Africa – but how? I knew nothing of the country and certainly didn’t know anyone who lived there. I tried to find out information from the UK Customs and the South African Registration authorities, but neither could help.

After some thought, I decided to contact the MG Car Club of South Africa. From the import documents I knew the old South African registration number was DND 787T, and hoped someone might recognise it. From various sources I found the names of a couple of people in regional MG clubs, but they were unable to produce any results beyond telling me that the number plate was a Transvaal registration.

Then a thought occurred to me: if any family remain of the previous owners South Africa they may well not be MG enthusiasts, let alone car enthusiasts, and therefore would not be active in the MG scene today. This led on to the bright idea that I should write to the Johannesburg Star, one of the Transvaal (now Gauteng) mainstream newspapers.

They published my letter and, in due course, I was excited to receive an email from a member of the MG Car Club Johannesburg Centre. He kindly said he’d see what he could do to help. This resulted in TC2456’s picture appearing on the cover of the January 2016 issue of their club magazine, Thumbs Up, plus an article outlining my quest inside.

Despite very high hopes that this would crack the problem, nothing came of it.

Then, after a while, I remembered that in my last job (working for a pre-war Bentley restorer) we had a customer who specialised in researching vehicle histories. I got in touch with him, not realising that he had originated from the Eastern Cape of South Africa and had owned an MG TC himself. He was enthusiastic and gave me a wealth of suggestions, including such contacts as Dr Joan Parker who maintains a register of MGs in South Africa.

Dr Parker replied saying she only kept details of TDs but suggested I contact the Secretary of the Johannesburg MG Car Club (who had, of course, already unsuccessfully published my plea in their Thumbs Up magazine). Of course, I did so again, and club chairman Bruce Dixon got in touch to say he would try to find out the ownership history of DND 787T.

Well – what Bruce did, and how he did it, I have no idea. I probably shouldn’t know either, but I am extraordinarily grateful to him! Within a couple of weeks’ he sent me a laconic message informing me that “the name of the last registered owner was J. Kat”. Bingo!

Bruce had also discovered his ID Number which indicated that he was 85 years old in 2016. But, unfortunately, no contact details were available through the normal channels.

But now I had a name to toy with, a real person who had owned TC2456, and something to get my teeth into. However, considering his age, I had to realistically consider that he might no longer be alive. After much Googling, attacking the problem from different angles, I discovered that there was a firm of quantity surveyors in Pretoria called J Kat and Associates. This being such an unusual name, there had to be some connection. There was a string of phone numbers for this firm in the yellow pages – none of which worked except one, but that went unanswered.

Then tackling it from the quantity surveyor angle, I found that J Kat and Associates were listed as members of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors. Their helpful secretary confirmed that the firm’s proprietor, Mr Jacob Kat, was indeed a still member but now retired (at 85, so I should hope!). She wouldn’t pass me his contact details for confidentiality reasons, but agreed to ask him if he would speak with me. In due course I was told that if he had indeed owned the car, he would be pleased to do so. Would I send details and a photo to pass on to him? This I did with alacrity and waited for a response.

But the response was stony silence. By now it was mid-December 2016 and I didn’t realise that South Africa virtually shuts down for a month at Christmas. I bided my time impatiently until January 12, and then followed up with the Association. I was told that Mr Kat’s memory is not as sharp as it used to be and he couldn’t recall the car, so they were regretfully unable do any more to help me.

So, what next? I felt I had hit a brick wall again.

I decided to try the unanswered phone number for J Kat & Associates periodically at different times of the day, and eventually the phone was picked up by a courteous gentleman who replied, yes, he was indeed Mr Kat. He was intrigued by my quest, but was very apologetic that he couldn’t remember this MG. However, he told me that cars were his passion, particularly MGs and Jaguars.

He then suggested that I talk with his daughter, Ingrid, who might be able to help. He gave me her mobile number, which I rang, only to discover to my astonishment that she lives less than 100 miles from me in London UK! Even more remarkable, at that very moment she was packing to fly to South Africa to visit her father, and she agreed to see what she could find out about TC2456.

A day or two later and I would have missed her!

Ingrid was incredibly helpful, despite being very busy with family matters while she was in South Africa. She was there for 2 or 3 weeks and emailed me periodically with information she had discovered. First came a series of photos taken in the 1980s of her father with the MG.

Above left: Jacob Kat and canine assistant working on TC2456 in August 1980. Above right: Note the unique indicator lamps, made in Pinetown, South Africa, which are still on the car today. The horn and (incorrect) fog lamp were fitted in these positions on export cars but reversed for the UK.

There can be no doubt that it is the same car as there are some features that are still present on the car today.

Then, to my surprise, a photo of a TC wooden dashboard arrived in my inbox with the message that it belonged to TC2456 and had been found displayed over Jacob’s fireplace.

The photo from Ingrid of the wooden dashboard that had been displayed over Jacob Kat’s fireplace for three decades. This style was fitted to all TCs until replaced with a Rexine covered panel at about TC5000.

Ingrid promised to bring the dashboard back as hand luggage along with some documents she had found! She was as good as her word and I went to visit her in London to collect them. No way was I going to entrust them to couriers! The documents were remarkable in that they were the key to unlocking the history of the car from 1967 right up to when it was shipped to the UK in 1986, helping to reveal the following fascinating story.

4. SOUTH AFRICA 1947 – 1986

This MG TC sports car, chassis number TC2456, was built at Abingdon, UK on 26 March 1947 and exported new to Durban, South Africa. The British Government’s “Export or Die” initiative meant that a large percentage of new car production had to be exported to earn much-needed foreign currency after WW2. MG TC overall production was fairly low: a total of only 10,000 cars were built, of which 2,359 were built in 1947.

The MG dealership in Durban, McCarthy Rodway, occupied an impressive 1930s art deco-style multi- fronted building on Smith Street, with the showrooms at ground level facing the wide street and the workshops on the first floor. These were accessed by a ramp, which was said to be a real test of their mechanics’ driving skills, making one wonder how they got broken-down cars up there.

McCarthy Rodway were Nuffield dealers for MG, Morris, Wolseley and Riley (and later all BMC products as well as possibly Jaguar and Rolls-Royce). They were heavily involved with the creation of Motor Assemblies Ltd of Durban in the 1940s, which was an assembler of various makes of English and American vehicles that were imported in kit form for supply to the local market. These included most Nuffield products – except MG, until the TD was introduced in 1950.

MG TCs were only exported as complete cars, and incidentally in right hand drive only. McCarthy Rodway received only 16 TCs out of the total 139 shipped to South Africa and Rhodesia 1947, so it would have been a pretty rare car in those days.

A view up Smith Street, Durban. The McCarthy Rodway building can be seen at bottom left of the picture. This was in the mid-1960s but the scene would not have changed much since TC2456 was delivered there new in 1947.

At this stage it is not known who was the first owner of TC2456. As so few MG TCs were supplied to McCarthy Rodway in 1947, this car was probably pre-sold and therefore didn’t spend much time in the showroom; but undoubtedly it would have had its pre-delivery inspection in the upstairs workshop and probably several of its early services too.

The documents reveal that the car was painted red when new and registered by Transvaal Province (TP) with the number TP 188-354. The numbering system was changed at some point after 1980 when the car was allocated the number DND 787T (T for Transvaal), which remained on the car until it was exported to the UK in 1986.

By the 1960s the car was owned by Neil Albertyn of Pretoria, but it is not known when he bought it, nor from whom. He sold it to quantity surveyor Jacob Kat in 1967. Jacob was a great vintage car enthusiast and collector; at any one time owning several in various stages of repair. In addition to TC2456 it is known he had a 1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30, 1925 Reo, an Austin Seven Nippy and a Chevrolet as well as Jaguars XK 120, XK 150 and E-type. A true enthusiast, indeed.

The car was still red when Jacob bought it and described as being ‘off the road’, so presumably its first 20 years of life on the rough and dusty South African rural roads had been hard.

The car remained in this condition in Jacob’s garage until 1969, when he sold a half-share to David Cleland, whom Jacob had known since they were students together. David renovated the car to roadworthy condition, including repainting it green. In due course, in 1979, he sold his half-share back to Jacob. Distinctive features of the car were a chrome plated griffin mascot on the radiator cap as well as the unique indicator lamps.

TC 2456 with Jacob’s feline passenger as it was after David Cleland’s renovation.

In 1973 the car was featured in a film called The Sargent and the Tiger Moth by Koos Roets, the South African director.

Naturally I was keen to find a copy of this film. There was nothing on the internet so I contacted the British National Film Archive, but without result. I also got in touch with the South African Tiger Moth Club who confirmed details of the aeroplanes but had no knowledge of the film. Eventually I found that the South African National Film Archive did have a copy. They were very helpful, but could not release one to me without the permission of the copyright holder whom they had listed as Koos Roets, the director.

Koos was happy to correspond with me about the film and he remembered TC2456 well, despite the intervening forty years. He told me that the MG was in excellent condition at the time of the filming, and that he had himself driven the car 120 miles to a farm near Standerton where the filming had taken place. The yellow Tiger Moth ZS BGL that was the ‘hero aircraft’ in the film was owned by Koos himself; and the leading actress, Katinka Heyns, was his wife.

Above left: TC2456 in the opening scene of the film, The Sargent and the Tiger Moth. Above right: The Tiger Moth ZS CKX today which was owned by Jacob Kat in the 1970s and featured in the film with TC2456.

Jacob also owned one of the de Havilland Tiger Moth aeroplanes used in the film, then painted blue and silver and registered ZS CKX. He had bought this from Koos, who says that the MG had been intended to be the deposit on the purchase of this plane; but it seems, when it came to it, that Jacob couldn’t bring himself to part with the car. Despite owning the plane, Jacob did not register it in his name, nor gain his pilot’s licence. This aeroplane has since been restored and is today kept at Rand Airport, Johannesburg.

However, as far as the film copyright was concerned, Koos told me that he had sold the rights to kykNET, a South African satellite TV service. After a bit of digging I was able to contact the chief executive at kykNET who generously agreed to send me a DVD. It took an anxious month to arrive but, when I was finally able to view the film, I was delighted to see that it really did feature TC2456; there are some unique features on the car which also appear in Jacob’s 1980 photos and are still present today.

I was intrigued that in the film the MG bore yet another number plate. I contacted Koos again and he told me this was a false one; for authenticity the car had been given an appropriate Potchefstroom area number plate as the film was set around the University there.

Jacob continued to use the car for shows, car club events and so on until 1980. Then disaster struck. On 9th October 1980 Jacob was involved in an accident in which the MG collided with another car, causing it to overturn. Jacob was not seriously hurt and was able to crawl out from under the wreckage, complete with his trusty camera, and began taking photos of the scene. The car was quite seriously damaged: the windscreen was broken off, the nearside wings were crushed, the radiator shell damaged and his beloved griffin mascot lost its wings. This, of course, must have been the accident which caused the bent front axle and broken engine mounting that I discovered 30 years later.

The next two pictures show some of the damage caused by the accident in October 1980, showing broken-off windscreen and crushed nearside rear wing. The car was repaired and a claim was settled by the Shield Insurance Company Ltd for 2618.20 Rand.

By the time the claim had been settled, Jacob had already sold the MG to a family friend, Glenda Pasley, in 1981. Ingrid introduced me to Glenda, who has been extremely helpful by filling in details and background to this history, periodically emailing me with more things as she remembers them. Glenda and Jacob were members of Pretoria Old Motor Club. They regularly attended meetings, including the annual ‘Cars in The Park’ event where they displayed their cars alongside many other vehicles of all ages and types.

Glenda carried out a number of improvements to the car, and removed the damaged griffin mascot for return to Jacob for safe keeping. She had bought a new wooden dashboard, the very same one that Ingrid had carried back to London for me in 2017. It is the correct pattern for the car and was intended to replace the ‘period-trendy’ padded leatherette one (which can be seen in the Tiger Moth film and presumably fitted by David Cleland when he carried out the earlier renovation work) but Glenda never fitted it. Instead it had made its way to Jacob’s mantelpiece where it stayed for the next three decades. The steering wheel was replaced as the original had been damaged in the accident. There was a vintage car specialist in Johannesburg called Rolo Motors who could obtain parts for these cars.

In 1986 the MG was sold to a Johannesburg car dealer, who also bought two cars from Jacob at the same time. These were a 1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30 limousine (SA registration DYC 273T) that had reputedly been a South African Government car, and a 1925 Reo (registration CPB 083T). All three cars were subsequently sold by the dealer to the same purchaser.


The three cars were bought by a businessman from Manchester, UK. I was able to trace him through his firm’s address on the export documents. Remarkably, he was still the proprietor and happy to talk with me. He recalled that he had purchased the three cars as an investment from the dealer in Johannesburg and shipped them to the UK.

This ship that carried TC2456 to the UK has an interesting history. She was built in Italy in 1963 and originally named Simonetta. Her main engine was a nine-cylinder, two-stroke Fiat B750S.9 developing 12,600 bhp at 135 rpm – numbers which all seem very odd to those more familiar with motor car engines. Her maximum speed was 16 knots, which is rather slow by the standards of today’s ships.

The ship was sold in 1981 to the Mediterranean Shipping Co. She was adapted to carry containers and re-named Simona 1. She lasted in this form and ownership until broken up in 1986 at the vast ships’ graveyard at Chittagong, Bangladesh, where scores of ships are beached along an 11 mile length of coastline and torn apart for scrap by locals wearing little more than loincloths and sandals.

The voyage which transported TC2456 from Durban to Felixstowe in 1986 must have been one of the last undertaken by this ship before sailing to her fate at Chittagong later that same year.

Simona 1 unloading at Felixstowe in 1983/4. The scene would have been pretty much the same when she unloaded TC2456 here in 1986.

The Manchester businessman told me that he did not register TC2456 in the UK but had instead immediately part-exchanged it for a new MG Maestro saloon with Southern Brothers, a British Leyland dealer in Bolton which is only 12 miles from Manchester. What happened to the Rolls-Royce and Reo are unknown, but presumably they were also sold quickly to turn a profit.

Southern Brothers Ltd no longer exists and nor do they appear on the list of UK owners of TC2456; but they presumably sold it on because vintage cars were not their business.

So, to whom did they sell it?

Well, I think now we can make an educated guess which brings us full circle back to The First English Owner. Firstly, remember he worked for car dealer in Preston, not a million miles from the Southern Brothers garage in Bolton – in fact, very close geographically indeed.

The motor trade being what it is, he may well have heard about the MG ‘through the trade’ and might have ‘taken it off their hands’ as stock for his classic car dealing sideline. He would have registered it in the UK to make it more saleable.

It is with some relief that now there can be no doubt about the probity of the import of the car. It is entirely feasible that he may not recall the car because it was just one of many that he had traded over 30 years ago. Just an old man’s memory being unkind.

7. MG TC2456 TODAY

Today TC2456 is a nicely patinated, well-travelled, much-loved old car that is in regular use. It shares a garage with a 1937 Riley Kestrel 1 ½ litre, a 1932 Austin Seven and a 1971 VW campervan.

The 1990s English body restoration is holding up well. The paint and interior are still very smart and the car attracts favourable comments and appreciative waves wherever it goes. Glenda Pasley’s wooden dashboard has at last been reunited with the car but the instrument faces, faded from original pale green to silver in the fierce SA sun, have been left as they are as homage to the first 40 years of the car’s life. Similarly, the dents remain in the radiator shell, mementos of Jacob’s accident; it is interesting to reflect that the radiator has had these dents for longer than not.

The unique direction indicators, made by Pinetown of South Africa, are still on the car and functioning well.

Since purchasing the MG in 2015 I have undertaken a programme of repairs and improvements, both to overcome inherent faults and to make it more suitable for modern roads and continental touring.

The damaged front engine mounting plate has been replaced so the engine sits square in the chassis. There is now a new clutch. The worn BC steering box has been replaced by a VW unit. The bent front axle has been straightened and fitted with new high tensile front stubs. The rear spring hangers have been strengthened. The bodged rear axle, revealed when a half shaft broke on a steep Devon hill in 2016, has now been properly overhauled with high tensile tapered half shafts, high ratio differential, new differential carrier and taper roller bearings. The water pump is now a heavy-duty type with 7-blade fan. This winter the gearbox is being overhauled to overcome noisy end float in main and lay shafts and to install a strengthened rear plate.

For modern touring I have made a few discreet improvements, all reversible if so wished in the future. I have concealed a period Lucas ST38 rear lamp behind the spare wheel which acts as a ‘high level’ stop, tail and rear fog light. This is painted body colour and is only obvious when it shines through the spokes. All lights are LED for brightness on modern roads with minimal drain on the battery. I have also mounted a spare fuel pump and coil on the bulkhead in typical vintage style, ready for instantly swapping over the connections should one fail. Also a modern USB style socket is concealed between the seat cushions for charging GPS sat nav and mobile phone; two concessions to modernity that are actually very useful!

TC2456 is not a show queen as I believe cars are meant to be driven. I use it for everyday driving as well as holidays in England. We have also undertaken two French tours of 760 and 980 miles respectively. It goes without saying that it is now a delight to drive, and I like to think that Jacob Kat would approve.

Above left: Stopped for coffee at a village café in France. Above right: Driving into a French sunset.


The author expresses grateful thanks to the following people who have been unstinting with their help and advice:

Ingrid Crawford, Glenda Pasley, Bruce Dixon, Koos Roets, Yolisa Phahle (kykNET), Eric Worpe, Will Morrison, Roger Furneaux.


I am trying to fill in TC2456’s missing years from 1947 to 1967. If anyone knows someone who bought a new MG TC in South Africa in 1947 (remember it was bright red then), it might conceivably be my car; or has any knowledge of the late Neil Albertyn of Pretoria; or, indeed, any information at all about the car during these years, I am very keen to hear from you at:


Another MG TC, number TC2459, was also built on 26 March 1947; being three chassis numbers after my TC, it would have been three cars behind on the production line. Undoubtedly it was shipped to McCarthy Rodway of Durban in the same consignment. This car is still in South Africa and is now owned by Brian James, the grandson of Reginald James who was a member of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1916. Brian obtained it from his father, David W. “Viv” James.

The copyright for this work belongs to Roger Bateman ( and may not be reproduced without his permission (in whole or in part). The copyright holder may authorise it to be used by more than one publication.

Ed’s note: Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that Roger obtained details of the six previous UK owners from DVLA. This was before the Agency’s change in policy brought about by its review.

Seeking Details of Previous Owners of your Car from DVLA

1 Jan

Mention was made in the editorial of the October 2017 Issue concerning the problems I encountered in trying to get DVLA to agree to releasing details of previous owners of my PB. I had applied on Form V888 Request by an individual for information about a vehicle enclosing the £5 fee, only to receive a refusal on the grounds that the reason I gave for wanting the information (to have a historical record of the ownership of my 80+ year old car from new) did not meet the “reasonable cause” criteria that allows DVLA to release the information.

“Reasonable cause” criteria include tracing the registered keeper of an abandoned vehicle, or one parked on private land, or details of ownership for court proceedings, or road traffic accidents.

After a Google search, I came up with a DVLA posting under the heading Giving people information from our vehicle record which stated that it was indeed possible to obtain the required information on previous owners and there was no reference to “reasonable cause”.

Armed with this information, I wrote again to DVLA and asked for the information to which I was entitled and a book of first class stamps (value £7.80) in recompense for the time and trouble they had caused me. I received a reply from DVLA stating that there had been a change in policy following a recent data protection review and my request did not meet “reasonable cause” criteria.

I then wrote to my MP (by then, the DVLA posting, previously mentioned, had been removed). I said that I would pay a reasonable fee if the DVLA would agree to write to former owners on my behalf. I quipped that they would not need to write to the first owner because, even if he acquired the car from new at the tender age of 20, he would now be 101!

Back came the reply, stating that The DVLA’s review concluded that the release of personal information for vehicle research purposes did not meet the necessary reasonable cause criteria. In these circumstances there is no lawful provision that would allow the Agency to override the rights of privacy of the vehicle’s previous keeper. This change ensures that the DVLA is fully compliant with the current Data Protection Act and the new General Data Protection Regulation that comes into effect in May 2018.

In response to my offer to pay a reasonable fee, the response was The Agency would need to process their personal data to achieve this outcome and again we would struggle to demonstrate any necessity for doing so. On a more mundane level, DVLA would simply not be able to commit resources to this task for everyone in Mr James’ position, bearing in mind the Agency’s other functions.

My reaction to the ‘reasonable fee’ response is that the left hand of the DVLA appears not to know what the right hand is doing. I am aware that DVLA has recently agreed to forward a letter to a previous keeper of a Triple-M car for historical purposes, so it was apparently OK to override the rights of the previous keeper in this instance? I shall ask the respondent to my MP how he squares this particular circle.

I am also aware of some correspondence which is being exchanged with DVLA by an 18/80 owning friend. Some extracts from his latest letter follow:

As you state, just cause is not defined in Law, but enshrined in the DVLA’s own interpretation of ‘reasonable cause’.

I would interpret ‘reasonable cause’ to include present vehicle owners who have a right to ascertain the historical record of an asset they own, namely a motor vehicle.

With reference to disclosure under the 1998 Data Protection Act, you have stated that it would be unlawful for you to disclose details of previous owners. I cannot understand how the DVLA can now claim that it is barred from disclosure, as the 1998 Act has not materially altered and you have been providing this ‘disclosure service’ to registered keepers for many years in return for a fee and until quite recently. If the law is as you claim, then the DVLA has been acting unlawfully and each and every previous disclosure will be evidence of this.

Watch this space!

Manchester XPAG Tests: The Problems with Modern Fuel

1 Jan


In the previous article, I described how the SU carburettor measured the volume of air flowing into the engine and mixed this with a metered volume of finely atomised petrol droplets to give a precise Air to Fuel Ratio (AFR). Investigating how modern petrol affects the operation of the SU carburettor was one of the objectives of the Manchester XPAG tests, specifically to determine the optimum needle profile to use with modern fuels. It was this data that confirmed two of the predicted problems caused by modern fuel.

Air Fuel Ratio and Lambda

With non-ethanol blended petrol, the theoretical Air-to-Fuel Ratio (AFR) is 14.7:1 i.e. at a ratio of 14.7 gm of air for every gram of petrol, all the oxygen in the air will be used by burning hydrogen atoms to produce water (H20) and by burning carbon atoms to produce carbon dioxide (CO2). This ratio is referred to as the stoichiometric mixture. However, cars normally run with an AFR of between 12.5:1 and 13.5:1, i.e. with a mixture that is richer than the ideal. This is because some of the carbon burns to form carbon monoxide (CO) using only one oxygen atom rather than the two, hence the need for more petrol.

Normally the term LAMBDA is used rather than AFR. This is the ratio of the AFR an engine is producing divided by the theoretical ideal. Numbers less than 1 correspond to a rich mixture and greater than 1 a weak mixture. Maximum power is produced with a Lambda of 0.95 or a slightly rich mixture.

Modern cars are fitted with lambda sensors, which work by measuring the levels of oxygen in the exhaust, enabling the fuel injection system to be continually adjusted as the engine is running. A similar lambda sensor was fitted to the test engine at Manchester and used to ensure the mixture was set at a lambda of 0.95 for every test by manually tuning the carburettors.

Standard needle profile

The height of the suction piston in the carburettor is a direct measure of the volume of air flowing into the engine and reflects both the throttle setting and engine rpm. The annulus between the tapered needle and the jet, at that height, determines the volume of fuel leaving the jet and hence the AFR. As more air flows through the carburettor the height of the suction piston increases, pulling the tapered needle out of the jet, increasing the size of the annulus, allowing more petrol to leave the jet. The profile of the tapered needle sets the AFR for the different piston heights.

Simplistically, the suction piston will float at the same height when the engine is running at 4000 rpm on half throttle and at 2000rpm on full throttle. In both cases, the position of the needle in the jet will be the same and so the carburettor will deliver the same AFR.

Needle profiles are identified by two or three letters. There is a reference booklet “SU Carburettor Needle Profile Charts” available from Burlen Fuel Systems that lists all the needles and their profiles.

The profile of a needle is defined by its diameter at 1/8” steps down from the shoulder. The standard needle for the twin 1¼” SU carburettors fitted to the TB, TC and TD is an ES needle and its measurements are shown in the diagram.

This also shows the approximate range of positions on the needle when running at quarter (Q), half (H) and full throttle (F) up to 3750 rpm.

It is interesting to see the maximum piston height is only around 0.6” at 3750 rpm, full throttle and that normal road driving typically uses only the first 5 or 6 positions.

Measurements at Manchester

To determine the optimum needle profile, a set of tests were run using different fuels, engine revs and throttle settings. For every test run, i.e. one fuel, one engine RPM and with one throttle setting, the carburettors were set to deliver a Lambda of 0.95 using jet adjusting nuts and the ignition timing was set to give maximum power. In other words, the engine was fully re-tuned for every test run.

An indicator and a scale were fitted to the top of the suction chamber of each carburettor and the faces of the Jet adjusting nut were engraved with 1 – 6 dots to determine how many flats it had been screwed down. The combination of these two measurements give the position on the needle, allowing the diameter of the needle necessary to deliver a lambda of 0.95 to be calculated.

Running Lambda

The graph below shows an ideal plot of how Lambda would be expected to vary with carburettor piston height. Each dot represents an engine RPM / throttle setting that corresponds to that piston height. The white horizontal band is the ideal range for Lambda. Lambda values greater than 0.98 represent a weak mixture and less than 0.83 a rich mixture.

At light throttle / low revs the mixture is set rich (left hand side of the graph) to give a steady tick over and smooth slow running. It is set slightly rich at part throttle, normal running conditions, becoming richer at high revs / full throttle as the unburned fuel, helps protect the engine by cooling the valves.

Even though Lambda was set to 0.95 for each test at Manchester, it is possible to calculate what Lambda would have been delivered if the engine had not been re-tuned. The graph below shows this data with the jet adjusting nuts set at 4 flats down from fully closed, running with a standard ES needle and using the same brand of 95 octane petrol.

The first thing to notice is this graph looks very different from the ideal above. It shows two surprising features that go a long way to explaining the problems people experience when using modern fuel, weak running and slow combustion. However, despite these anomalies, overall, the data shows that the ES profile needle is a good choice for the XPAG engine.

Weak running

The five points circled in red (two green, quarter throttle and three red, half throttle), correspond to the carburettors delivering an exceptionally weak mixture. Indeed, had the carburettors not been re-tuned, the engine would not have started. Significantly, these 5 tests were run after the engine had been stopped for a few minutes to make adjustments.

These results clearly illustrate the FHBVC’s fuel expert’s prediction that it is possible for modern petrol to boil in the jet while the engine is running. The SU carburettor is a volumetric device, i.e. for a given volume of air entering the engine, it adds a fixed volume of petrol. When the petrol starts to boil, liquid and bubbles of vapour leave the jet which are less dense than just the liquid. As a result, a lower mass of petrol is delivered into the air stream resulting in a weak mixture.

Ed’s note: FHBVC = Federation of Historic British Vehicle Clubs.

Weak running further increases the engine’s temperature and under-bonnet temperatures, resulting in more fuel to boiling, until the mixture becomes so weak the engine splutters to a stop. This scenario is typical of stop-start driving in a queue of traffic.

There are two main ways the petrol in the carburettor can be heated, by radiation and convection from the hot exhaust manifold that sits just below the carburettors and by conduction through the inlet manifold from the cylinder head.

To measure the temperature of the petrol in the jet, sensors were fitted in the transfer pipe between the float chamber and jet of each carburettor (shown as xfer pipe on the graphs). Sensors were also fitted between the carburettors and inlet manifold, to measure the heat conducted from the engine, and to the inlet of each carburettor to measure the temperature of the inducted air.

The histograms which follow, show the range of measured temperatures for all the tests. The red area corresponds to the temperature range where petrol vaporisation would potentially cause problems.

While these do not reflect the temperatures that may be reached in an enclosed engine bay, they do show some interesting features.

The test engine was mounted on the dynamometer with no restrictions to air flow and, other than the exhaust manifold, with no hot areas near the carburettors. Unexpectedly, the temperature of the air entering the front carburettor was noticeably lower than that entering the rear carburettor (left hand graphs).

Rear Carburettor

Front Carburettor

This was possibly caused by air heated by the exhaust pipe which ran underneath the rear of the engine. These lower temperatures are also reflected in the manifold / carburettor temperatures (right hand graphs), showing that when the engine is running, the temperature or the inducted air is the main factor affecting the temperature of the carburettor body, rather than heat conduction through the inlet manifold.

This finding suggests that where possible, the air inlet to the carburettors should be positioned to induct as cool air as possible, perhaps even adding ducting to direct cold air to the carburettors.

The exceptionally high front manifold reading, shown in the red circle, corresponds to the half throttle tests, mentioned above where the mixture would have been very weak. The high manifold temperature of the front carburettor was the cause of this problem.

As only the front carburettor was affected and it is probable that when the engine had been stopped the inlet valve on either cylinders 1 or 2 was open. This allowed hot gasses into the inlet manifold raising the temperature of the front carburettor and causing the petrol to boil. This observation is consistent with the heat soak tests, reported in an earlier article, which showed heat from the inlet manifold was the main factor in increasing the temperature of the carburettors after the engine had been stopped.

When stopping a hot engine with the intention of restarting it a few minutes later (e.g. when filling up at a petrol station), it may be worth revving the engine and turning off the ignition while it was still revving. Keeping the throttle open as the engine runs down will allow cold air into the cylinders which may prevent this problem.

What is also significant is that the transfer pipe temperatures (middle graphs) were sufficiently high in some test runs to cause issues with vaporisation. However, other than the 5 weak running cases, highlighted above, weak running was not observed in any other tests. It is possible the fuel flow rate through the transfer pipe was sufficiently high that there was insufficient time for it to be heated before it reached the jet.

Furthermore, the temperatures in the front carburettor transfer pipe are noticeably higher than for the rear carburettor, demonstrating that, even in still air, there are measurable differences between the way heat is transferred from the exhaust manifold to the front and rear carburettors. While the reasons for this are not clear, it offers a possible explanation as to why some cars suffer from the hot restart problem and others do not.

Finally, there is an additional factor affecting this brand of 95 octane petrol, namely its volatility. Comparing the distillation curve for this fuel with that of a brand of super grade petrol shows the 95 octane petrol (blue line) is more volatile at typical under- bonnet temperatures.

At the 75oC to 80oC temperatures of the front carburettor, 45% of 95 octane fuel would have vaporized, compared with only 35% of the super grade fuel. This certainly would have made the weak running problem worse.

As the Manchester tests were run in March, it is possible this 95 octane petrol was “winter grade” which is why it was more volatile.

Slow combustion

Slow combustion is something David Heath and I postulated as a problem with modern petrol after running various tests using our TA and TC cars. Anomalies in the carburettor test data and other test data support this view. However, while I refer to the problem as “slow combustion”, modern petrol does not actually burn more slowly than classic petrol, this is an apparent effect caused by cyclic variability discussed in previous articles.

The four points in the blue circle, on the above graph, show the carburettors delivering different Lambda values for the same piston height. Simplistically, this is not possible as the volume of fuel is determined by the needle diameter at that piston height, i.e. same piston height, same volume of air, same volume of fuel, hence the Lambda values should be the same.

This effect can be seen more clearly on the data from all the test runs (below) in the region, highlighted by the blue oval. At piston heights between 0.3” to 0.4”, the full throttle tests (blue dots) consistently show a richer mixture than the half throttle tests (red dots).

The Suck, Squeeze, Bang and Blow article helps to understand this. The airflow through the carburettor is not constant, it is pulsed as each cylinder undergoes its “suck” cycle. With a single carburettor, there are two “sucks” per rev, and one “suck” per rev with a twin carburettor engine. The gasses in the inlet manifold and inertia of the suction piston normally act to smooth out this rapidly pulsing airflow, allowing the carburettor to function as expected. However, readers will remember “valve overlap” where the inlet valve starts to open in advance of top dead centre during the final phases of the exhaust stroke.

If the charge of fuel burned “slowly”, the pressure in the cylinder will be high when the inlet valve opens resulting in a pressure pulse entering the inlet manifold. This pressure pulse causes the suction piston to drop so that it is too low when the next induction cycle starts. This, in turn, causes the carburettor to deliver a richer mixture. The data clearly shows this effect for the full throttle tests below 3000rpm. Indeed, during some of the full throttle, lower rpm tests, the suction piston could be seen to be vibrating around a point rather than floating at a fixed height.

As engine revs increase so does the turbulence, improving mixing, which in turn reduces the magnitude of the cyclic variability and size of the back-pressure pulse. This is why the mixture can be seen to be returning to normal as piston height (engine revs) increases, ultimately, delivering the correct Lambda of around 0.95 above 3000 rpm, full throttle.

These tests support the “modern fuel burns more slowly” comment made by many classic car owners, however, this problem only occurs in the XPAG on high throttle settings below 3000rpm.

Supporting evidence for the slow combustion hypothesis comes from the other test runs with the same branded 95 octane fuel. In one set of test runs a nebulizer was fitted into the inlet manifold, in another set, 10% kerosene was added to the petrol. The graph below shows the full throttle data for these tests where each dot represents one test run.

What can be seen is that, below 3000rpm, the enrichment caused by slow combustion is significantly reduced by the nebulizer (green line) and by the addition of kerosene (blue line) compared to the tests with the 95 octane petrol alone (red line).

The main effect of the nebulizer is to atomise the petrol and improve its dispersion before entering the engine, in much the same way as fuel injection systems. Better atomisation reduces cyclic variability, the number of late combustion cycles, the magnitude of the back-pressure pulses and their effect on the carburettor. Ultimately, reducing the enrichment of the mixture below 3000 rpm. The addition of kerosene appears to have a similar effect.

When I originally tested adding kerosene to petrol with my car on a rolling road, all present commented on how much smoother the engine sounded. This I attributed to a reduction in the magnitude of the cyclic variability, something now demonstrated by these tests.

Other evidence comes from the carbon monoxide emissions. In Suck, Squeeze, Bang and Blow, I described how high levels of carbon monoxide in the exhaust are an indicator of poor combustion. As the engine was fully re-tuned for every test, the levels of carbon monoxide are not an indicator of a poor state of tune and only reflect what is happening in the combustion process. High levels of carbon monoxide are the result of poor mixing where pockets of rich mixture do not burn properly. The graph below shows the carbon monoxide emissions for these same tests. On this graph the lower the levels of carbon monoxide, the better the engine is running.

Again, below 3000rpm, the results are striking. The test run with the 95 octane petrol (red line) produced almost twice the level of carbon monoxide as that produced by the tests run with the same fuel but with the nebulizer and added kerosene (green and blue lines). Interestingly, this data suggests the combustion is more complete with kerosene than with the improved mixing produced by the nebulizer. I do not have an explanation for this.

Above 3000 rpm full throttle, where slow burning does not appear to affect the engine, the nebulizer and addition of kerosene have a lesser effect.

As the engine was re-tuned for each test, the differences previously highlighted are not due to changes in mixture as is shown by the virtually identical values of Lambda and unburned hydrocarbon data for these tests (the two previous graphs). Hence, the differences in carbon monoxide can only be the result of changes in the combustion process.

The final supporting evidence comes from large reduction in exhaust temperatures as the ignition is advanced, reported in an earlier article. Advancing the ignition timing reduces the number of cycles that occur late and the volume of fuel burning in the exhaust.

Although there is no data covering throttle settings between half open and fully open, it can be assumed that as the throttle is opened the magnitude of this slow combustion problem will increase until it reaches the level shown by the full throttle tests.

The negative effects of slow combustion are to increase exhaust, cylinder head, exhaust manifold temperatures and ultimately the under bonnet temperature; all factors which contribute to the hot restart problem. Additionally, hot inlet and exhaust valves can cause pre-ignition or pinking seen in some engines. Unfortunately, slow combustion occurs in the rev range between 1750 to 3000 rpm at part to full throttle, conditions typical of normal road driving.


This data from the Manchester XPAG tests clearly demonstrates two problems with modern fuel that ultimately lead to the hot restart and “overheating” problems that many classic owners suffer from.

The transfer pipe temperature graphs show that the petrol in the carburettor can become sufficiently hot that modern petrol, which vaporises at lower temperatures than classic petrol, is susceptible to boiling – the cause of the weak running effect. Operating “so close to the edge” means that even a small temperature increase can have a disastrous effect, for example, when driving in slow moving traffic.

When an engine stops, the tests also show that hot gasses leaking back into the carburettors from open inlet valves can make matters worse and are probably a significant factor that contribute to the hot restart problem.

The second problem, slow combustion, compounds matters, particularly at normal road driving speeds, by increasing cylinder head and exhaust temperatures and ultimately the under-bonnet temperatures.

But all is not doom and gloom, the tests have also suggested ways in which these problems can be mitigated. Wait for the next article!

Paul Ireland

Building and installing the TC side screen box

1 Jan

The side screen box is a part of the rear centre panel which is bolted to the body chassis frame and forms the rear support bolted to rear chassis mounting point. It is imperative that the differential cover that connects to the rear centre panel is horizontal or the doors will not fit correctly as the rear body pillar to which the door is fixed will not be vertical. Additionally, the rear centre panel needs to be at 3 deg from the vertical sloping forwards while the front edge of the side screen box should be vertical.

The sides of the side screen box need to reflect the required angles to ensure that the rear of the car is correctly aligned. The drawings of these in various documents show a simple shape that does not make allowance for the angle of the rear centre panel or the rear bottom rail through which the rear section is attached to the chassis.

A new side curtain compartment was bought as the one installed was not the correct size and had been fabricated when the car was last rebuilt in South Africa.

The replacement was not of very good quality but was the best available at the time.

Checking the dimensions, I found that the bottom upstand to which the rear centre panel is fixed is ½” whereas it should be 1”. If the main fixing screws were to pass through this they would only be 3/16” from the edge of the rear centre panel, which would not be sufficient to carry the weight of the rear of the tub. Additionally, the top return that connects to the differential cover is also ½” and should be ¾”.

The side screen sides I made to the dimension shown in a reference book did not fit correctly in the side curtain compartment.

To ensure that the rear of the tub locates on the chassis correctly these were discarded and new ones made. I drew up plans taking in to account the required 3 deg angle of the rear centre panel and the vertical front edge of the side screen box.

Once cut and before finishing, I checked the size and angles against the side screen compartment.

I then checked the angles against the rear centre panel and that the fixing holes that I had already drilled in the rear centre panel lined up with the side panels.

The top of the side screen box sides form the supports of the side screen box top that fits between these and the rear top rail. I clamped the top rail in place and checked that all components that make up the assembly fitted correctly.

Once loosely assembled, I positioned it in the jig to check that it would fit correctly. I found that the front of the side curtain compartment was higher than it should be by ¼” and it needed to be re-bent taking this in to account.

I straightened the return while being careful to maintain the 3 deg kink 1” below the return then re- bent the compartment top return to give a ¾” lip that connects on the differential cover frame.

The side screen compartment requires holes being drilled in the edges for fixings. In addition, the compartment rests on the chassis at the rear mounting point and bolts pass through it and the bottom rear rail to secure the rear centre panel assembly.

These holes would normally be slotted to allow for adjustment during mass production, however I was able to place the holes where required for this chassis to further strengthen the assembly.

Taking the dimensions from a reference book checked against the various components that I had pre-drilled and the TC specification book that gives size and location of all the screws used in the tub.

Having drilled all the holes, I sprayed the compartment with galvanizing paint to provide protection as it is located adjacent to the rear wheels and will be subject to water spray.

It took three attempts to get the side screen box sides correct, the first as I used dimensions from a book, the second because I used the side screen box compartment which was wrong.

Once the holes had been corrected, the rear centre panel needed to be grooved to accept the rear panel and the rear quarter panels, these were marked out ready for cutting.

Before using the router, I decided to check all other dimensions of the rear panel assembly and side screen box.

Once checked, I used a router to put the groove in the rear centre panel.

I then fitted the corner bracket and the upper and lower side brackets.

Roughly shaped the ends to curve round and mate with the rear quarter panels.

Sprayed the side screen compartment with black stone chip before installing in the jig.

Next, I checked that the inner wing to rear body centre panel fit and curve radius was correct.

This is a complex curve and I was happy with the fit so proceeded with the assembly of the side screen box and rear centre panel. I will be assembling all the timbers on the jig with half size screws and only when satisfied that everything is correct will these be changed to the correct screws a joint at a time. This will be done on the jig.

First the rear centre panel was bolted to the body chassis frame and positioned roughly to give the 3-degree rake towards the front of the car.

Next, the side screen compartment was positioned under the centre panel and the side screen side placed between the centre panel and the side screen compartment.

Next, I screwed the side screen compartment to the diff cover frame and fixed the frame to the body chassis frame.

I then levelled the jig and body chassis frame such that the diff cover is horizontal, the rear centre panel is at 3 degrees and the side screen box sides are vertical.

I screwed the panels together with half size screws and only every second one to hold it together while the rest of the tub is assembled.

Once installed it can be seen that the side screen box sides need to be an irregular pentagon which is a complex shape taking in to account the rake of the rear centre panel so the side screen compartment bottom is horizontal and meets the chassis at the correct angle while setting the side screen compartment top horizontally.

The side screen box assembly is now complete other than trim pieces that will be added once the inner wheel arches and rear wheel arch timbers are in place. The body chassis frame is bolted to the chassis at 6 points, two at the front, two at the middle and two at the rear through the side screen box bottom rail. The height of this needs to be adjusted when installed on the chassis to adjust the rear door pillar which must be vertical or the door will not close correctly.

Paul Rutherford

From Chequered History to Chequered Flag: The Story of PAS 337, TC 3102

1 Jan

My first car, TC 2380, was bought in 1968 when I was an apprentice age 20. This was rebuilt and used as the daily driver, and from 1970 onwards was supercharged and raced and hill climbed in the MGCC T Register championship until 1975 when it was sold to a gentleman in Switzerland. (In 2016 the car resurfaced still in Switzerland). Roll on ‘till 2001, and a chance remark by my good lady, “don’t you ever fancy another TC?” was all I needed. Co-incidentally, I had been browsing Classic and Sports Car at the same time and seen an advert on Terry Bone’s website for an ex TC race car, no engine and gearbox but everything else important was there. I was not interested in a standard road car, but a competition TC ticked all the boxes and the deal was done.

The car was converted into a race car in 1979 by Brown and Gammons for Will Corry who raced the car both in the MGCC T Register Championship, and in N Ireland during the 70s and 80s, and who eventually became chairman of the MGCC in 1991. Many of the modifications were based on Gerry Brown’s very successful T Race car of the period.

Between 2001 and 2003, as the car had been standing for some 15 years, I completely stripped down the chassis and body which were rebuilt / re-sprayed. An engine and gearbox were sourced, and the car was re-registered for road use in 2003, where I digress:

When I bought the TC in 2001 I knew it had no identification. The guarantee plate was missing and the chassis number had been partially removed leaving only “TC” visible, and there was no Log Book (V5).

After the rebuild was completed in 2003, I needed to re-register the car for road use. The first task was to establish the year of manufacture. I researched the various idiosyncrasies of TC design using Mike Sherrell’s book TCs Forever! looking at the design changes like the bulkhead pressing, the chassis fillet and stub axle changes. Using this, I narrowed the production period to be between November 1946 and February 1948; therefore the balance of probability was that it was a 1947 car. This was endorsed by the late Malcolm Hogg who was the T Register DVLA rep at the time. This research was used as supporting evidence in my application for an age-related registration number. After being inspected by the local DVLA office, the car was given registration number PAS 337 together with a modern 16 digit Vin Number and declared year of manufacture of 1947.

This status quo lasted several years, but I always had a nagging thought it would be nice to trace the original chassis number. By this time I had managed to contact a previous owner who had registered the car with the T Register in 1974, and I now knew the chassis number was alleged to be TC 3102, as I had surmised a 1947 car, but how could I prove it?

After extensive internet searching I became aware of a process of etching the damaged area using a substance called Fry’s Reagent, a mixture comprised of Hydrochloric acid, Copper (II) Chloride, and water, used by metallurgists or forensic scientists for etching ferrous metals, most commonly for the visual recovery of ground-off stamped serial numbers on cast iron, steel, engine or firearms parts.

I now knew it was in theory possible to recover the number, providing not too much original material had been removed. The next question was where can I get some Reagent? Many telephone calls to forensic science establishments and chemical suppliers in the UK all met with the same response “sorry, health and safety” we can’t supply a private individual. Carrying on with the internet it seemed that it was readily available by mail order from the USA. I bit the bullet and ordered 150ml from current price $38.95 plus shipping and import duty, which significantly increased the cost, it comes very well packed!

The etching process requires that the affected area is cleaned of all paint and polished to a high finish. I used successive grades of wet and dry, the finish I obtained can be seen in the photograph below:

To etch the area, I used cotton buds dipped in the Reagent, wiping it over the area where the number was assumed to be. Each cotton bud only lasts a few wipes before it discolours so I would advise a full packet to start with. After about 15 minutes of gentle wiping – eureka! feint numbers began to appear, eventually most of the 3 and all the 102 could clearly be seen all in the same font that the factory used, even down to the smaller size 0. I repeated the etching process several times over a month always recording the results with a camera, the best result is shown in the next photograph.

A detailed paper on the theory and process can be found at

I now appeared to have the correct chassis number, the next phase was to try and get the records straightened out. Based on the evidence, the MGCC T Register has accepted that the TC is chassis 3102 (the provenance lies with the chassis number, not the guarantee plate) and the records have been amended accordingly. The good news now is that after several inspections, the DVLA has also agreed that I can re-stamp my chassis with its original number.

To continue:- At this stage the specification was 1350cc, Laystall Cylinder Head, 1.5″ SU’s, extractor manifold, fast road cam, together with all the B&G chassis modifications ( anti tramp bars, radius and panhard rods and 15″ wheels and roll cage).

Its first competitive outing was in September 2003 at Wiscombe Hill Climb, some forty years since my last event in my first TC and 1.5 seconds slower! Back to the drawing board! Since my first TC, I was always a fan of supercharging, all that extra power and torque. The search was on and in 2005 I was able to purchase a Marshall J75 Supercharger, initially blowing at 5 lbs/in2 and latterly 10 lbs/in2 The engine was now giving a reliable 100 bhp at the flywheel and four seconds quicker at Wiscombe!

The engine is based on a “round hole” TD block bored to 69.0mm with standard crank, rods, pistons and lightened flywheel. The continual quest for more power has resulted in further re-bores to 69.5, and subsequently 70.0mm (1387cc) with no signs of going through into the waterways – yet! A decompression plate has been fitted to the cylinder head to keep the compression ratio below 8 :1. A special camshaft from Newman Cams and upgrade of supercharger to a Marshall J100 delivering 10lbs/in2 boost, now gives approximately 120hp at the flywheel on the rolling road.

The current set-up with Marshall J100 ‘blower’ giving approx. 120bhp at the flywheel.

Transmission is via an MGB clutch, TC gearbox and Ford differential, although I do have a close ratio Ford Type 9 5-speed box that provides superb drivability, especially on long road runs.

To date, the car has competed in over 80 speed events mostly hill climbs, which I find more challenging than the wide-open spaces of Sprint Courses and have a nicer ambiance, catering more for classic cars of our period. Since 2005 I have entered the MGCC Luffield Speed Championship gaining several class awards.

Reliability has been impressive. Over the 14 years I have been competing I have only been stopped three times, once with a seized piston at Aintree, a stripped distributor drive at Harewood when a small screw fell out and locked the advance weights, and a broken half shaft at the Bo’ness Revival this year, and only one case of driver error! Particularly satisfying was breaking the forty second barrier at Shelsley Walsh.

As well as competition, I have clocked up some 15,000 road miles. Notable journeys include the MGCC European Event of the Year in Aviemore, a trip to Angouleme in 2014 to watch the road racing, and a drive to southern France in 2016, together with several TTT2 and T Register Tours, all without any problems. For road use I have a full windscreen and a specially made hood and sidecreens which use the roll cage as a frame.

In 2014 the car had its fifteen minutes of fame when it featured in the Channel 4 TV Programme For The Love of Cars driven by Phillip Glenister at Shelsley Walsh.

Keith Beningfield

The Editor

1 Jan

New Year Greetings from Keynsham!

I ran out of room in the last issue, so couldn’t include a photograph of TA0252, the prototype TA (CJO 617). I promised one for this issue, so before I forget, or run out of room again, here it is….

Some of you may have already seen it in the December issue of the Octagon Bulletin where it was accompanied by a nice write-up from the owners, Angie and Andy King.

Having survived the Christmas festivities, my thoughts turn to the coming year and the prospect of the daylight hours lengthening. The months of November and December are damp, dark and cold in the UK; January, particularly towards the end of the month, does at least offer some cheer.

Talking of which, I need to prepare and send out the entry forms for the TTT 2 Tour of the Cotswolds in August. I hope to be in a position to send these out by the end of January and then it will be a case of sitting down with Brian Rainbow to draw up an outline plan. We shall start by considering the venues where we will be stopping and then getting the routes to fit – well, I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but Brian is the expert!

We shall miss not seeing our friends from France, Patrick and Christiane on the tour. They sent us this delightful card featuring The Lickfold Inn in Petworth, West Sussex, with their TC parked outside with Christiane studying the roadbook.

In May the MG Octagon Car Club are holding their ‘Founder’s Weekend’ in the Peak District of Derbyshire. The event is centered on The Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell on the 11th, 12th and 13th of the month. Brian Rainbow tells me that it is pretty well booked up, but I hope they can find a space for us.

I omitted to mention the 80th Anniversary of the TB in Issue 45. Mike Inglehearn (TB0457) and Jeff Townsend (TB0489) are canvassing ideas for an event in 2019 to commemorate this important anniversary. Suggestions range from a one-day event to a weekend one and a stand-alone event to one that is tagged on to another T-Type event.

Mike and Jeff are in the early stages of planning, but they do need to gauge the level of interest and the type of event that would be supported. Please give this some thought and contact them at:

mingle54(at) jeff.townsend(at)

In both cases, please substitute @ for (at).

In Issue 45 we reproduced the TD and TF wiring diagrams in colour and we have included the early TC diagram in this issue (space did not allow us to include the later TC diagram). We said that we would investigate the possibility of producing some colour A3 laminated copies and we now have these available. They measure 42cm x 30 cm (16.5 inches x 12 inches) approximately. First thoughts were to send them in a tube, but they do not take kindly to being rolled, so it is better to use a large envelope. The cost is £2.50 plus 50p for the large envelope plus £2.90 sent as a Royal Mail 2nd class ‘Small Parcel”, total £5.90. We have diagrams for all the T-Type models and these will also be available at Stoneleigh. Orders please to jj(at) please substitute @ for (at).

Jim Waltrip has e-mailed with some useful information on Lucas ammeters, which will be published in the next issue. He has in stock a NOS original Lucas TC ammeter, #369269 date code of 3/1950. If anybody is looking for one he can be reached at pstaneart(at) substitute @ for (at).

I leave you with a picture of some Danish T-Types at an event, sent to me by Peter Clausen. Peter tells me that the annual Danish T-type tour is being held during the last weekend in May. These weekends are usually very well attended with over 60 cars coming together for the tour.



Totally T-Type 2 is produced totally on a voluntary basis and is available on the website on a totally FREE basis. Its primary purpose is to help T-Type owners through articles of a technical nature and point them in the direction of recommended service and spares suppliers.

Articles are published in good faith but I cannot accept responsibility or legal liability and in respect of contents, liability is expressly disclaimed.