Bits and Pieces

MPJG Cylinder Head Work

Gordon Norman reports that he had the MPJG head on his TA skimmed, new hardened valve seats fitted and re-cut, along with the fitting of new valves and springs that he supplied, by Genesis Engines in Hull recently. The workers took over from a company called Alex Carr who had been in Hull for 99 years before going bankrupt in 2017. Genesis did a great job and the cost was under £300. Gordon says that the company deserves a plug as it also carries lots of classic car engine spares and is looking to expand the business into the classic area.

Clocks 4 Classics

William Howard in Germany recently sent the following ‘thank you’ to Mark, proprietor of Clocks 4 Classics

“I’d like to say you do a great job on these clocks. Over the last years I had tried various ways of getting the thing to tick for longer than a few months and that included getting an exchange reconditioned clock from USA. Nothing worked. Then during one effort, the minute hand dropped off, never to be seen again. Nobody could help (I remember asking JJ if he knew of one) so not only was it stationary, it didn’t even look good!

I sent it to you after reading John James’ article in TTT 2. You kept me informed on progress and returned my clock well packaged and in perfect order. You even found a suitable minute hand and fitted that. Several months have passed, it ticks away happily and has not needed to be adjusted once. Highly recommended.”

Dave’s ‘Doughnuts’

These were featured in the December 2017 issue. They are a ‘fix’ (which seems to last) for the clunk experienced if your rear wheel splines are worn.

Simply, it’s a foam rubber ring which fits between the brake drum and the wheel. As you tighten the spinner, the ring is squashed tightly in the space. The rubber forms around the drum 1/2 nuts on one side and the spoke nipples on the other, stopping the wheel moving to and fro.

Do they work? – well, they certainly work on David Heath’s TA and have lasted for years.

Renaud de Villeneuve from Belgium, who bought a pair, reports that after a test run, “It seems the klonk has disappeared”.

Since the December article, the “doughnuts” have been sent all around the world, not only for TA/B/C, but also for TF. There are no reports of them not working.

Cost of the ‘doughnuts’ is £15 per pair inclusive of UK postage. Please order via The Editor jj(at) {please substitute @ for (at)}.

They can be sent worldwide for a relatively small additional postage cost and payment can be accepted by PayPal.

Stocks from the initial batch are now running low and David Heath (the inventor) is wondering whether to obtain some more. There is an up-front cost for these items to be produced and they are sold on a non-profit making basis. We will see how orders come in over the ensuing weeks, but I have agreed with David that if it proves necessary to source some more I will fund them through my part-time polyurethane bush business. They will continue to be sold on a non-profit making basis.

CKD TDs supplied to South Africa

Clausager, in his book Original MG T Series records that 345 CKD (Completely Knocked Down TDs – essentially kits of parts) were supplied to South Africa, most of them in 1950.

Ed’s note: Clausager’s book is now out of print and the Publishers (Herridge & Sons) have none left (neither does the T-Shop). An updated edition is in course of preparation but is not expected to be come available much before November 2019).

I have had recent correspondence with Pierre van Hell in South Africa about his TD (TD 1328). The Production Records list chassis numbers 1328 to 1337 as CKD cars (probably produced around April 1950 – exact date not given in the Production Records) and Pierre confirms that his TD was built by Motor Assemblies in Durban and that it was the 31st TD built by this company (see picture below of the plate affixed to the car).

Pierre has asked whether I can help with an answer to his query regarding the three split pins fitted to the front of the rear wheel arches on his CKD TD. He says that they are also fitted to Mike Johnson’s TD in Cape Town.

I fear that it is going to be difficult to solve this mystery, but if anybody can help. Please contact the editor.

Pierre also owns TC4511 which he restored 10 years ago. He sent me this rather unusual picture of the car.

It was taken in front of a huge wall poster. French Toast is now a restaurant close to the Hartebeespoort dam in the Magalies mountains.The owner is a film director and developed this property with a French flair to shoot parts of the movie “French Toast” as an alternative to doing all the filming in Paris.


Tom Lange has drawn my attention to the following advert:

He points out that the advert includes these statements:

“Back in 1965, the owner was working at a boatyard in Greenwich CT when he was approached by BOD member of British Leyland, sailboat racer and fellow resident of Greenwich, Graham Whitehead. (Graham had worked in the automotive industry starting back in 1959 where he trained at Wolseley Motors and later in leading positions at BMC, Jaguar Rover Triumph and eventually Jaguar) Whitehead said he recognized the car as possibly one of 50 specialty cars tweaked during assembly for “special friends” of BMC/British Leyland. 25 stayed in England, 25 were imported to the US into the port of Norfolk. All were painted Silver Streak Gray and wore red wheels. He took some notes of engine number and “VIN” and said he’d let our then young owner know what he dug up. In seeing him again, Graham stated that this car met all the standards of those 50 “tweaked” MK IIs, however, there was no official factory record of these cars being built.

Years later, 1998 to be precise, the engine was pulled apart for a rebuild and it was found to have fully polished and ported head and manifolds (this was NOT stock and the owners had never had the engine apart). The car was always known around town among those who noted such things, as the quickest TD they had ever seen and it would regularly, easily pull away from other TDs and British cars of the day.” 

Tom asks “Has anyone else heard this story about special Mark II cars? I find it plausible for a couple of reasons:

  1. when the original owner re-did the engine for the first time, he found it had already been ported and polished, which is unlikely to have been done anywhere but the factory, and

  1. Graham Whitehead would be in a position to know and would have no reason to invent such a story out of whole cloth. 

The Production Records are silent on any special preparation done to this or any other Mark II car. But there cannot be too many Silver Streak TDs anywhere, and I would be grateful to learn any further information on the subject.”

Ed’s note: I fear that this may well remain a mystery because with all the T-Type records having been destroyed, getting on for 60 years ago and with very few survivors left from the time that TDs were being built in the Factory, all we have left is the pages of ‘The Build Book’ (original Production Records) – but you never know!

Drive safely! JOHN JAMES Editor