Cover Story – TF4114

3 Jan

On a late Sunday morning in the summer of 1968 my life took on an MG bias which I still have. I was enjoying a cool Pimms with my parents on the lawn at their house in Wiltshire after flag marshalling all the previous day at Castle Combe (racing circuit in Wiltshire, UK). The tranquillity was broken when we heard a car approaching on the gravel of the driveway and David, a neighbour, swept up in his green 1954 MG TF and joined us. “Guess what,” he said half way through his first Pimms and before I had time to say ‘what’ he went on, “I’ve just been offered 295 pounds as a trade in on a new MGB.”

Now well into my second Pimms I absorbed this information and it trundled around my head for a moment. Then I heard myself say. “295 pounds, eh! Would you take 300 from me?” “Yes, OK,” he said hesitatingly, “but I thought you were looking for a Morgan?” “I am, or I was.” I replied, “but you’ve looked after the TF over the last couple of years and I knew it when it belonged to my flat mate, Tim, before you.” Next, I turned towards my parents to see their reaction to this sudden transaction. They were smiling at each other in a knowing sort of way.

Answering my questioning look before I had time to say anything my father said, “It’s funny how history repeats itself. “Remember I told you I had a supercharged MG when I was your age which your mother often drove very competently while we were courting?”

Two weeks later TF 4114 was mine and my first long drive was back to my flat in London. This weekend 200 mile round trip was to be repeated many times over the next 18 months in all kinds of weather. If it wasn’t actually raining the top would always be down and the side screens in position to provide protection from the wind. I had an up-market Roberts transistor radio which worked well in the car. On many Sunday nights’ drive back to London it was tuned into Radio Luxembourg for the Top Twenty. Baby Boomers will remember that! (Yes, I do! Ed.)

Subsequent investigation revealed that TF HDA16/ 4114 was completed on 17 March 1954 with engine XPAG/TF/32918, which is still giving great service today with only 20 thou oversized bores. The car lost its original black colour many, many years ago and was first registered MGG 133.

In winter the cockpit was relatively warm from the engine and, by not fully closing the rear catches of the bonnet, hot air from the engine compartment would blow up onto the windscreen and keep it clear and ice-free. Tim had also fitted an after market windscreen washer kit which still works effectively today.

I undertook a longer trip to Glasgow to visit my brother who was working there. It was a long day ‘in the saddle’ as there were only “A” roads then and no M5 or M6 motorways. A hot bath in his sports club in the evening soon removed the aches and pains ready for a serious evening’s drinking in his local pub.

Next, I went on to Edinburgh to stay with a girl friend at her parent’s home. I wish I had taken a photograph of the car with their impressive house in the background. It would have been a suitable picture for the front cover of this TTT 2!! Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Her parents were none too keen to allow their daughter to return to London in the TF but the car performed faultlessly for the entire round trip of 500 miles.

The only serious breakdown I experienced was when a half-shaft broke on the Great West Road near London Airport one Sunday night on my way back to my flat in London. I had no choice but to leave the TF in the lay-by that I had conveniently coasted into. Nobody could steal it without a trailer as it was not operational. The worst that could happen was to lose some parts that were easy to remove such as hub caps so I took those off and stuffed them into my travel bag.

I had been the navigator for a friend, Julian Beale, in his tweaked ZB Magnette on some small rallies around Surrey and Kent and he worked for University Motors, the London MG Agent, in their spare parts department. I got back to my flat by the Underground and rang him and explained my plight. He arranged for the TF to be collected early on Monday morning and I picked it up on Wednesday evening after work. I doubt that kind of service is available today.

I belonged to the South East Centre of the M.G. Car Club and my local Noggin ‘n’ Natter was a relatively new one in the City. This Centre had links through its secretary, Gordon Cobban, who was also the General Secretary of the Main Club, with the Dutch Centre. As a result a group of us in a variety of MGs caught the ferry across to Holland for the weekend and joined in their 25th anniversary celebrations.

I offered my TF to Ian Davison, who had come as a passenger with John Adams in his PA, to run in the Speed Tests. He was erroneously awarded a trophy with my time. I made a note to review times and drivers next time I was generous and loaned my car to another driver.

At the end of the winter I entered the Salisbury Trial. My father came as the bouncer but despite his expertise I failed almost every section with wheels spinning due to the wet conditions and lack of experience and confidence. I didn’t enter another one as the TF got so dirty.

I was also a member of the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC), which held race meetings around the UK. Part of this organisation provided flag and other marshals and the TF took me marshalling at Brands Hatch, Castle Combe and Silverstone on many occasions. If the timing was right before or after the races I took the chance to drive these circuits unofficially. I flag marshalled at three British Grand Prix and BOAC 1000 mile races at Brands Hatch and Silverstone and we were awarded special lapel pins as a gesture of thanks.

Each year the club organised a ‘thank you’ dinner for all the marshals and invited some high profile speakers to entertain us such as Graham Hill and Paddy Hopkirk. At one dinner, the former got up onto one of the tables and started to disrobe until he was boo’ed off to make way for the more professional young ladies to show us how it should be done!

In 1969 I entered one of the BRSCC’s race meetings at Castle Combe and my father came as my mechanic. Some of the competitors were a little astonished to see him tuning the SU carburettors by ear to suit the prevailing weather conditions as he had done on his PA before the war. Practice went alright but on the second lap I entered Quarry Corner too quickly and spun out safely on the grass as many competitors had done before and are probably still doing today.

Racing at Castle Combe, Wilts in 1969. Note new registration number (520 EMW) as the previous owner wanted MGG 133 to put on his new MGB.

As the TF was my only means of transport I decided to quit competition before I became involved in extra performance and modifications. This was just as well because I had decided to emigrate to Australia. From newspapers in Australia House, near where I worked in London, I had checked out the prices and stated condition of TFs offered for sale in Sydney. I decided that paying one hundred pounds for a shipping container to Sydney was a better arrangement than selling the TF in a known condition and buying another on arrival that I did not know anything about.Incidentally, my Government assisted emigration flight on Qantas cost me a mere ten pounds provided I stayed for two years!

After leaving my job I had three weeks before I was on stand-by for a flight to Sydney so I took the opportunity to employ a couple of lads, close to where my parents lived, to repaint the car a royal blue colour. I removed the gearbox and Morgan Marshall, who had maintained my father’s PA in Bristol in the thirties, agreed to overhaul it for me. It’s given no trouble until recently when, after 40 years service, the selector for third and fourth gears broke.

Like many similar projects it took longer than anticipated so I got the gearbox back and installed, then had to drive the TF to the docks at Tilbury on the Thames estuary without any of the trim refitted. I was confident that I would have time on my hands after the car’s arrival to get it back into shape with the new carpet I had bought.

Arrival in Australia

By November 1969 I had settled into a flat, secured gainful employment and waited for news of the TF’s arrival. In the meantime I had contacted the Sydney MG Car Club and one evening I was collected in a restored black TD by the T Register captain and transported to one of the monthly Register meetings. These were like a UK Noggin ‘n’ Natter but without the beer. Very strange for Aussies! I was told there were also full club meetings as well so I joined up, of course.

My first event was the inaugural National Meeting of all the Australian MG Car Clubs – now called the Natmeet – and still going strong each Easter in alternating states, so there are often long distances to travel. The first in Sydney was over the Australia Day (January 26) holiday weekend in 1970. Coming from England, and being a MGCC member there, it was assumed that I knew all about Pre-war MGs, so I was appointed to the judging team of that class.

After that weekend, news of the TF’s arrival came through and that it had been steam cleaned at my expense. So, armed with a can of petrol, as the tank had been drained prior to containerisation, I arrived at the appropriate office at the port at Botany in south Sydney with my paperwork complete. I hoped that with a push start there would be enough life in the reconnected battery to get me to a nearby service station. I was in luck and it fired up immediately and ticked over happily. I was allowed to drive on the UK number plates to my nearest service station to arrange registration in New South Wales.

The passenger side of the cockpit and behind the seats were stacked up with some spares, plus the parts that had not been refitted and these appeared not to have been touched. They probably looked worthless so the dockers had taken no interest.

I reached my flat and with confidence drove around the corner to an Ampol service station which had a workshop at the back. I found the mechanic and asked if he could check the car and provide me with the right paperwork to arrange registration. “What have you imported?” he said. “An MG TF,” said I. “Oh well, that should be easy,” he said, “I used to have one of those when they were new! G’day, mate, my name’s Peter Stokes.”

I had to have the engine number stamped onto the block as the octagonal plate was considered insufficient since it could be removed and another engine substituted.

Peter carried out the routine maintenance on the TF for the next 12 months and became inspired with MGs again. He found and bought a semi-abandoned TA with a TD engine which he worked on and re-registered.

In !970 I enjoyed a full year of MG Car Club activities including lap dashes when cars are timed over a flying lap, driving tests in a friendly farmer’s field at Leppington on the outskirts of Sydney, breakfast runs, a weekend away to Jenolan Caves and the annual concours. The TF ran well but still the re-trim had not taken place.

For 1971 I was elected T Register Captain and organised the monthly Register meetings at the British Leyland factory’s conference room with entertainment from Shell’s library of motor sport films, breakfast runs and the annual concours. This event had over 100 T Types attend for the first time. I don’t think that figure has ever been reached again. Most owners really used their T-Types then but now it seems it’s only the dedicated few who get out and about.

Driving tests on Sydney’s Warwick Farm circuit in 1970. Note NSW registration plate (AWY 681) attached to old English one (520 EMW)

Apart from another enjoyable year of club motor sport I took the TF on a trailer (600 miles each way) to Melbourne for the 2nd Natmeet and came away with third in the sprint and another third in the driving tests in the TF class. This was followed in 1972 by a similar year of fun with the TF as my only car – still without trim!. I didn’t take it to Adelaide for the 3rd Natmeet as Frank Bett wanted a passenger to ride with him for the 800 mile each way journey in his newly restored K3. Denny, who is now my wife, and I alternated with the other travelling with Peter Stokes. He generously allowed me to drive his TA in the driving tests and I won the Pre-war class.

We were married in early 1973 and Denny used the TF to drive to work as she had a parking bay. With high heeled boots, that were the fashion of the day, she could reach the foot pedals. I had acquired a hard top manufactured in the sixties and we used that during the wetter months as the soft top was not in good condition and the tonneau cover was showing signs of wanting to be retired from active service after almost 20 years.

The Natmeet was in Sydney that year and as I had been elected as the club’s Publicity Officer I was on the organizing committee as well. I competed in the TF but without any spectacular results!

Club competition was haphazard for the rest of the year as we were away in England on an extended honeymoon. While we were over there I was offered a job so in October the TF was laid up in a friend’s large garage and we headed for London.

I was provided with a company car so there was no need to buy another MG but I did represent a Sydney-based MG parts supplier and procured his requirements over the next two years as well as sourcing parts for K3016 and QAs 0256 and 0257 for Philip Vickery.

Back in Australia by 1976 and the TF was recovered from storage but we had started a family and needed a family car so it was put aside like many others. I had acquired some parts during our stay in England and continued to buy those that I knew I’d need for the inevitable total restoration.

A Start/Stop Restoration!

Then work began around 1980 with a total strip down in a workshop/garage I had built at the bottom of our garden at our home in Sydney. Re-assembly of the front and back ends was accomplished with the help of a mechanic in the club after the chassis had been checked over and the steel wheels straightened and the tyres fitted. Now I had a mobile car so work could begin on the body and later the engine.

As almost every piece of the timber body frame was too deteriorated to use again I acquired a complete kit in exchange for a bare TA chassis I had acquired earlier. TA1089 was later built into a complete car with some non TA, but nevertheless MG, parts in Western Australia by Harry Pyle – the TC owner who has driven around the world with his wife Deirdre.

Then the rebuild came to a dramatic halt. In 1984 I accepted a job in Singapore for two years but as it turned out we stayed for eight. A definite hiatus! The TF stayed in my workshop and it was dry and protected as well as possible.

On our return at the beginning of 1993 I was determined to get the rebuild finished and use the TF. All along, my aim had been to rebuild the car to original condition with some improvements. I did not want to restore it to such a high level that I would hesitate to use it. In the 15 years since it was re- registered in 1995 I have covered more than 50,000 miles including using it for five of those years for daily commuting.
I rejoined the MG Car Club in Sydney and attended most of the evening meetings but none of the competitive ones. There was a good group within the membership who were restoring T-Types and we frequently discussed problems and developments.

Professional Help Engaged for the Restoration

After a year of making very little progress I decided to engage some professional help. The engine went to Peter Stokes for its rebuild and the chassis and relevant acquired parts went to Albert Johnson – a well experienced MG body builder who had trained as a fitter and turner. This profession I think is an excellent base for anyone rebuilding bodies on T- Types.

My instructions to Peter were to fully balance the internal moving parts, lighten and balance the fly wheel so that I could hold 4,500 revs in all but first gear. The carburettors stayed at an inch and a half and the camshaft and timing gear were kept standard. I wanted reliability, not necessarily faster than standard performance. This actually came as a result of the balancing and a well re-assembled engine.
I believe the specifications set by the MG factory for the delivery of the XPAG engine were very basic and not much different from those Morris set for their own cars of modest performance. Therefore, if some simple improvements are made and an engine is assembled with more time and to finer tolerances, an increase in performance is the result, as well as an increase in miles per gallon. This is basically the forerunner to the five stages of tune that Abingdon recommended for owners of XPAG-engined cars wanting more power and speed.

Peter and I were delighted to find that the bores were only 20 thou oversize and in good condition so that only a line bore for the crankshaft was necessary. This made me think that as the odometer showed approx 19,000 miles, perhaps the TF had only done 119,000 miles since new, as it was in better shape mechanically than a car that had done over 200,000 miles.

With the engine installed and running and the body painted and fitted, the TF came home for finishing, which was still two years away as I was to do the work at weekends and in the summer evenings. This, I am sure, is a familiar story to most T-Type owners.

The TF was originally a black car with red upholstery and I wanted to return it to that colour but I was persuaded to paint it Old English White and I am glad I did. I didn’t want to paint it TF Ivory as I had seen so many cars of different shades of white/ivory and all of their owners proclaimed theirs was the correct colour! Now 17 years of garaged-life later, the TF’s OEW has ‘cured’ to an ivory colour which I think is very close to the original ‘fifties colour!

I installed a new wiring loom and the refurbished electrical components, then recruited an auto electrician to test all the circuits for me. The registration authorities require some sort of red reflectors at the rear of all cars. I had used a strip of reflective red tape attached to the bumper bar when the TF was first registered in Sydney but that didn’t seem appropriate for the rebuilt car. I solved the problem by fitting TF 1500 reflectors. Next, the seats and double hump above the dash board, that is peculiar to the TF, came back from the trimmer who had used part of the Collingburn kit I had acquired earlier.

Restored instruments were refitted and the dash board secured in place. Essential re-chromed parts were added and the windscreen re-assembled with a new piece of glass. I followed good advice and first assembled the windscreen frame without the glass to observe the length of all the screws and made adjustments as necessary. Even so, I was cautious when tightening the screws after the glass was fitted to ensure a breakage didn’t occur and that the packing around the glass was going to be water tight. The windscreen washer jets had been refitted and these were realigned. The hand pump which is a ‘sixties period accessory, fits where the auxiliary switch is and the bottle fits neatly in the tool box.

When this was installed, the owner at the time also fitted a three switch panel under the glove box on the driver’s side. This operated the reversing lamp through an indicator light, also on the panel and the driving and fog lights mounted on the badge bar that was a TF accessory.

Dashboard showing smaller and easier to use steering wheel using a TF enamel spare wheel badge in the centre, windscreen washer pump handle where the auxiliary switch is and neat and handy bank of switches for spot and fog lights and wipers after modification.

When I bought it, the TF had an odd looking circular mirror attached to the right hand windscreen support arm. I fitted a standard rectangular one which, of course, is in easy reach for adjustment and melds in with the windscreen support. I cannot understand why some T-Type owners fit extra mirrors to the front mudguards near the side lights. They don’t give as good a view of what’s behind and they upset the flowing lines of the square rigger body. If Cecil Kimber had meant…

One area where I struggled to get a good fit was that of the transmission tunnel and floor boards. I had acquired the new floor boards with the rest of the timber a long time earlier and although I had the old boards the whole alignment and water tight fit was a tedious task for me. My advice is to very carefully note each screw and bolt during a dismantling process and reproduce the old boards very accurately.

Surprise, surprise and the rest of the interior trim was not fitted, neither were a hood, side screens nor tonneau cover. Just in time for my 50th birthday in August 1995 I managed to drive the TF to a workshop that issued test certificates to cars that have been out of registration for more than six months. I was dismayed when the car was knocked back for no trim on the doors. I queried this with the Roads and Traffic Authority and when they realised that there was no window wind up mechanism on the car now, or when new, they allowed registration to proceed and hence the number plate TF 1995.

I began using the TF regularly and had a nasty experience a few miles from home on a long stretch through a national park. I was driving along at about 60 mph when I started to smell something burning. I pulled over, switched off the ignition and lifted the bonnet to find the forward carburettor alight. I stripped off the parka I was wearing and doused the flames. After the carburettor had cooled down I found the banjo on the fuel line was loose. Using the parka for a better grip I tightened it as much as I could and then wedged the parka under the carb to prevent any more petrol leaking onto the hot exhaust manifold. I drove slowly to the end of the national park and borrowed a spanner from a service station to tighten the banjo until it didn’t leak again. I have had the same leakage problem out of the blue recently, and so has a local friend with an MGA, so my advice is to check the fuel line more frequently and replace the fibre washers as they get brittle as they expand and contract with heat.

An oil pressure scare, the diagnosis & solution

A few months later I was enroute to visit a friend when the oil pressure took a dive south. I pulled over, switched off the ignition and sat there wondering what the cause could be. I restarted the engine but still there was no oil pressure, though it sounded alright. Better safe than sorry I thought and called the NRMA (same as AA/RAC). The patrolman couldn’t diagnose the reason for the loss of pressure and advised calling a flatbed tow truck to take the TF to my nearest garage.

After some checking and coming up with nothing obvious, the mechanic suggested dropping the sump to see what the bearings looked like. On my advice he eased off the sump to protect the gasket which came away from the block in one piece; and there was the problem. The hole in the gasket that allows the oil to be drawn up from the bottom of the sump into the pump had not been cleared out properly and the circular piece was still hanging on by a whisker of cork. We came to the conclusion that for several thousand miles after the rebuild the circular piece had been forced aside but now for some reason it had partially sealed off the oil flow causing the drop in pressure. I fitted new bearings to be on the safe side despite the crankshaft showing no signs of damage. I have been told that mechanics unfamiliar with the different XPAG sump gasket don’t worry about clearing the holes as the sump bolts punch through any remaining circles of the gasket. My advice is to check that ALL the holes in the sump gasket are clear before fitting.

I continued driving the TF on a daily basis taking cover from rain showers until I was caught out in a storm and got drenched. I sought out a retired trimmer who I had been told fitted replacement hoods etc to cars in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties. I persuaded him to make the hood, side screens and tonneau cover as he needed the money to pay for the materials he required to trim the car he was restoring himself.

It was well worth it as he did a tremendous job. He fitted a top quality zipper to the tonneau cover which still works well today. He made cut-outs in it for the lugs of the rear side screens and an overlap near the top of the door so that the tonneau cover stays fixed and looks very neat when the front half or quarter are rolled back and stowed behind the seats.

Another modification which I have found particularly satisfactory is to fit studs and buttons around the rear of the hood for attaching it to the wooden trim. It’s better than nails which rust and it allows the hood to be folded more easily and stowed better under the tonneau cover.
In 2000 we moved from Sydney to Green Point on the coast 300 kms to the north and the TF continued in daily service with the luggage rack proving useful to carry my golf bag and buggy. From factory pictures of the TF it appears that this is an original luggage rack. It’s a shame that the parts suppliers in the ‘sixties didn’t reproduce an original like this rather than make up new ones.

The Re-trim is completed at last!

Then in 2002 came the big day. I had collected together all the red trim pieces of the Collingburn kit and the carpet that had still not been fitted and with help from a friend we completed the re-trim in two days. What a difference it made. My wife had never seen the TF with a smart and complete interior before!

On purpose we omitted attaching the hinges on the lid of the side screen compartment. I had remembered struggling with the lid while stowing and removing the side screens all those years before. Now the lid sits in place and is secured by the buttoned down flap, but is easily removed for better access to the compartment.

In the compartment itself I had earlier rearranged the screws that hold down the wooden floor so that the one panel of three that sits over the petrol pump could easily be removed. This provides much easier access to the pump when necessary and is far better than crawling under the car, particularly in wet weather or at night. The middle panel is similarly easy to remove to check the back axle oil level and for topping up.

In 2005 my wife bought a clipper blue Y Tourer which had been unused for 20 years and needed some TLC. I brought it back to life and registered it for daily use by both of us. The TF took a back seat for a couple of years until Denny decided to sell the YT as she wasn’t using it is much as she anticipated and the hood was very cumbersome to erect and stow.

So you’d expect that the TF would feature again in daily use but that was not the case as we bought a 2002 sienna gold MGF!

For a long time I had been an advocate of a T- Register weekend but as I was now no longer a member of the MGCC I couldn’t organise it. To my rescue came some stalwarts of the Canberra Centre of the MGCC and they set the date for October 2010. Early in the year I decided that to drive the 1200 km round trip to ‘TYme’, including another 300 km over the weekend, I had better prepare the TF in advance.

Now was the time to convert the engine for unleaded fuel and to attend to a number of other issues. Clutch operation and gear selection had become gradually more difficult and there were oil leaks to attend to. I also thought that 50,000 miles on from the mid ‘nineties rebuild, it was time for a thorough inspection of the engine.

A retired mechanic agreed to carry out the work with me. We attached a block and tackle to the beam in the garage over the TF and after dismantling the entire front bodywork we had the engine and gearbox out and set on a pallet in a box trailer as a work bench.

The head went off to a local expert who specialises in large pre-1920 car engines for the valve treatment and machining if necessary, which fortunately it was not. We took out the pistons and found three top rings were broken but all the parts were still in the grooves. There was no scoring of any of the bores. The easiest and cheapest option was to acquire a new set of pistons and rings rather than machine out the grooves and fit oversize rings.

The mechanic read through the T Register article on modifying the clutch linkage and liked the concept so tackled that operation. In the meantime we had found that the rear engine mount under the gearbox was adrift. The welded corner seams of the bracket that holds the rubber blocks had broken, allowing a great deal of unwanted flexibility!

The head came back needing only the necessary work to convert to lead free petrol, the pistons arrived and reassembly took place rapidly. We remembered to check the new sump gasket thoroughly! We refitted the same neoprene rocker cover gasket very carefully, and especially around the cylinder head bolts, to ensure a seal all the way round.

The complete engine compartment had been cleaned and painted and we were ready for reinstallation. I don’t think this is ever an easy task on a complete TF, as opposed to a rolling chassis, and there really is no modus operandi. You have to jiggle and tilt and sway and gently lower all at the same time! It was quite a relief when the engine was finally relocated and secured under the gearbox and the front mounts with the stay tightened up. With the fresh coat of paint the engine looked ready to go.

New hoses were fitted along with the refurbished generator and starter motor and radiator. Then we fitted the refurbished and polished carburettors and it was time to fire up the engine. Everything seemed fine until we spotted some water leaks but tightening the clamps fixed those.

With help from various friends over the following month I reassembled all the front bodywork of the car, including the re-chromed false radiator cap. This is much easier with two people with one holding the parts in the right position while the other relocates the bolts and tightens them up. Also reconnecting the wiring is quicker when done by two people.

In advance I had inserted new fittings from Stafford Vehicle Components in the front torpedo side lights that have an amber bulb for flashing and a white one as the normal side light. There was no need for any extra wiring. I think this is a very good modification from the safety point of view as other motorists recognize an amber flashing bulb instantly while a white flashing bulb makes them wonder what is going on.

From the outside you cannot see the modification, so owners should not lose any points at a concours! In my opinion all T-Types should make this modification and do away with the (awful) variety of mainly motorcycle parts that have been used for flashing indicators in the past.
For the rear I have repeated what I did to the YT which had no indicators of any sort. From SVC I purchased two reversing lights with amber bulbs and I have fitted these to the rear bumper dumb irons. I removed the appropriate wires from the rear side lights, lengthened them and attached them to the reversing lights. Hey presto, flashing indicators! Not only are these flashing indicators, larger than the standard TF indicator within the side light but they flash amber and not red which is a double improvement.



The reversing lamp with an amber bulb wired to flash as the indicator rather than red incorporated in brake/side light

Regretfully we didn’t drive to Canberra for the ‘TYme’ event for T and Y series cars due to medical reasons but if it’s held again there or elsewhere we will again be the first to register.

In one way it was fortuitous that we didn’t go because in December on a short trip into Forster, the local town, the TF got stuck in top gear. This would not have been a nice experience on the way to Canberra.

I nursed it home and called the mechanic. Out came the carpets and off came the top of the gear box.

“You’re a lucky lad,” he said, “it’s the third and fourth gear selector that’s broken so there’s no need to remove the gear box.” In five minutes the two pieces of the selector were in my hand and a week later, a replacement came from Barrie Jones despite being snowed-in in the depths of Cornwall.

The part was quickly fitted and the TF was running again. The clutch linkage modification has proved to be very successful. It feels easier to operate and obviously there is less strain on the components.

TF 4114 has now completed 65,970 miles and some minor jobs are on the ‘to do’ list which almost every T-Type owner has on paper or in his or her mind.

The doors need adjustments to the hanging, some chrome parts need replacing or re-chroming, the choke needs to be refitted, despite it being unused in this climate, and new air filters need to be inserted in the air cleaners.

I am thinking of refitting the front anti-roll bar just because it’s sitting idle in the garage. I fitted it in 1969 and it was great for improving the handling before the body was rebuilt. After the rebuild the body was stiffer and it didn’t seem necessary to put it back on, especially as I didn’t intend to undertake any serious motor sport again in the car.

I have also decided to carry out the modification to the wiring that permanently connects the wipers and then routes the wiring through the switch below the driver’s glove box. I shall use the one with the red warning light as I no longer have a reversing light.

I have included a couple of personal comments about T-Types in this narrative and here’s the last one. Replacement parts that are chromed are offered by the suppliers but the quality of the chroming is appalling and well below the MG factory standard for T-Types. I think these parts should be sold without chroming and then buyers can spend as little or as much as they like to obtain the quality they desire.

There are chromed parts on TF 4114 which I purchased in the ‘nineties during the rebuild that are now in worse condition than the originals (which I have retained) and they lasted for the first 40 years when the car was not always garaged!

I shall continue to use the TF as frequently as possible in my daily life. My children have already told me never to sell it. I think that means they endorse my idiosyncrasy and secretly think the TF is still a cool car!!

Rob Dunsterville, Green Point, Forster, NSW AUSTRALIA

and finally, Rob says of this photo….

“In 1973 we drove away from our wedding reception in the TF but a pic of that is too embarrassing!

This pic is exactly 30 years later in the same car after a re-enactment of our vows at the Green Cathedral which is an open air church on the edge of our Wallis Lake (same lake as in the background of the front cover). We were promoting the B&B in those days (2003)”.


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