Bits and Pieces

MG TD ‘Down under’ – TD0351 (FMO 265)

My MG TD was the 100th car built, chassis number TD0351, and was the first car built with the scuttle hoop; it left the factory with Almond Green paintwork.

It was first registered to the MG Car Company Abingdon on the 14th December 1949 as FMO265, the registration plate it still carries to this day.

The car was used by the MG Car Company as a press/demonstrator car, first appearing in a British Pathe-Nuffield production film along with its red sister car FMO 266 (more about FMO 266 later). FMO 265 was the camera car.

MG TD FMO 265 features in a number of Autocar and The Motor magazine road test articles early in 1950, plus a few other features of the day by writers such as Gregor Grant.

Its first private owner would appear to have been an English actor, Derek Price, who is photographed with the car in November 1951.

Whilst I don’t have a copy of the original log book, (if anyone knows how this can be obtained I would love to know) I do have receipts showing the transfer from one owner to the next with the mileage recorded.

From these records I believe the total distance covered to be 44,417 miles.

The general mechanical condition of the car would tend to support this.

During the late 1970s through to the early 1980s the car suffered a very indifferent restoration which left it with some major body alignment issues.

FMO 265 was purchased in 1994 by a private museum here in New Zealand where it sat un-driven.

The writer purchased the car in July 2011.

Currently I am close to completing a new wood frame; the next step is to attach the steel panels.

I previously mentioned FMO 266.

As far as my research goes, the only time FMO 266 appeared was in the above mentioned British Pathe film.

I suspect that some rather exuberant driving during the making of this film resulted in damage to both cars; FMO 266 more than FM0 265. On return to the MG Factory, evidence would suggest that parts of FMO 266 (the red car) were used to repair FM0 265 (the green car).

The reason for making this assumption is that when dismantling and stripping paint off my car, I have come across traces of red paint under green on some of the left mudguards, together with traces of red paint on the left door wood. This is only my conjecture.

I have attached two photos of interest; one at the time of purchase and now with the woodwork pretty much complete.

Tony Southwick

Normally, when two photographs are included, one under the other like this, it shows the ‘before and after’ result; in this case it is the ‘after and before’! (see text).

Ed’s Note: Scuttle shake was a serious problem when the TD was introduced – it was overcome by fitting a tubular section hoop above the front tubular cross-member which stiffened up the scuttle area. A similar problem was experienced a few years later with the Healey 100.

Note the ‘solid’ wheels on Tony’s car which were fitted to all TDs for the first year of production.

In answer to Tony’s question about obtaining the original log book, it is extremely unlikely that it still exists. This is because when the UK vehicle records were computerised and all motor vehicle records were centralised at Swansea, the old log books (held with the County and City Licensing Authorities) became redundant and most were destroyed.

As regards the film which Tony mentions, it was actually a Nuffield promotional film of a fast drive from Abingdon to the ski resort of Val d’Isere in South Eastern France on the border with Italy. It was obviously designed to portray the TD as a reliable sports touring car.

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Oil pressure switch

The following has been received from Mick Pay:

On seeing various articles lately on oil pressure switches, I decided to make and fit one to my TA, the cost of re-metalling being my main concern, I have also spoken to three people in the last year or so that have lost oil pressure due to fractured pipes.

The unit is made of brass, parts are silver soldered together, the pressure switch was bought off eBay; it was one that fitted a VW T25 or T4. I used this one because it switched at 1.6-2 bar (22.4-28 PSI) most of these switches switch at about 7 or 8 PSI, and the higher pressure gives a bit more warning. Pictures and drawing are self explanatory The pictures show a low pressure switch but the higher pressure one looks just the same. I fitted my unit and switch under the dash board, I have no cover below it, (My thinking is, problems on the road are easier to get at without it). The unit could easily be fitted on the bulkhead but I wanted mine out of sight.

Any queries, or if you would like a drawing please send an email to   mg188(at)  {substitute @ for (at)} or phone 01227 721518.  

Mick Pay TA2073

Ed’s Note: Mick subsequently added “I could
possibly make up a few of these units if
anyone is interested.”

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TF clock

The following was a response from Barrie Jones (MGCC T Register Technical Specialist for the TD and TF models) to an enquiry from a TF owner seeking an explanation as to why his clock runs for a short while and then stops.

“The TF clock is a wonderful piece of electromechanical wizardry. The mechanism was supplied by Smiths for many different cars. I have seen it in the speedo of a Jaguar saloon and mounted in the roof of the Z Magnette.

Basically it is a mechanical timepiece with a balance wheel that gets its impetus from a coil energised by a moving contact. 

I am aware of 3 problems with this mechanism:

1) The contact on the balance wheel eventually burns through and the clock stops. Unfortunately, the contacts are made from a material whose chemical content has been lost in history.  It is known in the trade as ‘Unobtanium’. 

You can often fix this problem and get a new lease of life by bending the wiping contact so that it makes contact with the remains of the contact on the balance wheel.

2) The coil is now more than 50 years old and the insulation on the windings does deteriorate.  It should be possible to get it re-wound.

3) Mechanically, it is a simple 2-jewel clock movement.  These eventually suffer from wear in the bearings and dirt clogging the mechanism.  This could be sorted out by a competent watch repairer.

My guess is that wear has occurred in the bearings of your clock. Re-orientating the clock presented the movement with a fresh wearing surface, so it works again.  Therefore, you appear to have problem number (3).”

Restoring a TF steering wheel

Another response from Barrie to an owner wanting to restore the paint on his steering wheel, which is described as chipped and corroded.

“The steering wheel rim was originally made from Celluloid and merely polished. This degrades over the years, splits and turns to a runny mess. 

There is a company called Wheelrights who can re-cover the rim in modern plastic (for a price).

Ed’s note: Wheelrights are at The Warehouse, Baxtergate, Morecambe, Lancs LA4 5HX Phone: 01524 423523 – or try another company, Steering Wheel Restoration

The centre boss is alloy and the removable badge holder is dark brown Bakelite, both painted to match the instrument panel. These can both be stripped safely using ‘NitroMors’

Clean off all traces of paint stripper with soapy water, then rub down with 400 grade wet-and-dry, prime with an aerosol of acrylic high-build primer and finish with a gloss metallic aerosol of bronze.  Use several thin coats rather than one thick coat.”  


Lew Palmer has e-mailed to remind me that he has taken over the manufacture of LED inserts for the ST51 D Lamp from the previous company. These draw about 80% less current than the incandescent bulbs and are significantly brighter (about 200,000 mcd). That’s about the equivalent of 200 candlepower each.

These are supplied with mounting kit and full instructions. Will fit TA – TC as well a Y-types. Available either positive or negative ground.

$85 each or $160 per pair.

Lew is also working on producing LED inserts for the ST38 ‘pork pie’ rear lamps.
Contact Lew Palmer (lew (at) roundaboutmanor (dot) com

Ed’s Note: Not wishing to put a damper on Lew’s sales to the UK but potential customers need to be aware of the possibility of Customs charges. From feedback I get, these are not always levied but it is as well to be aware that they might be!

Display of Vehicle Excise Duty Discs (Tax Discs)

Now that tax discs have stopped being issued in the UK and it is no longer necessary to display them it might be worth considering one of these from Earlswood

I already had one for my TC but didn’t have one for my PB until my son bought me one as a present for a recent birthday. The cost of these authentic reproduction tax discs is £28 plus £2 for post and packing. Discs issued for certain years did not have perforations so display as is, or cut round.

One thought on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Peter Roberts says:

    With due respect to Mick Pay for his clever development of the oil pressure switch, I would urge caution about its placement. I am minded of a racing incident that involved very severe burns in a most inconvenient location. The driver/owner had routed an active oil line through the firewall into the driving compartment. At full race, a fitting on this line worked loose and a scalding stream of hot oil bathed his lower extremities! Yes, I know that we all have an active line leading to the pressure gauge that could give a passenger a problem. But the tiny gauge line would not bleed anywhere as much oil as the line going into the switch as shown.

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