Bits and Pieces

We have a real ‘mixed bag’ this month! I start with some spares news:


Mention was made in February’s TTT 2 that I was having a mould made in order to be able to supply the suspension bushes on the TC (not, for the time being, the large bush on the lower rear) and the rear spring eye bushes on the TD/TF. A recent enquiry of the supplier as to progress revealed that progress is slow (a reference was made to delay caused by the snow – but that was months ago!) Obviously, in the words of the late Eartha Kitt, “An Englishman needs time!”


Although I have only just put the order in, I have a feeling that I will have these pins before I see any poly bushes! Just for clarification these pins are the ones which pass through the eye of the front spring and screw into a threaded insert in the front chassis tube. They are being made from SAE/ANSI 8620, a nickel molybdenum case hardening steel. It’s tensile strength is around 850 NM/mm2 after hardening – almost certainly, a superior spec than the original 1940s material.

The price will be £12.50 per pin (supplied on a non-profit making basis) plus a voluntary donation to TTT 2 of £1.50 per pin.


I need to crave the indulgence of some overseas readers (probably, mainly those in the US) for this news item.

In the UK, all vehicles over three years old have to undergo an annual Ministry of Transport (MoT) inspection. I am aware that there are also vehicle test arrangements in France and Germany.

It has long been argued that in the case of historic and classic vehicles, which are normally well maintained and generally do not cover many miles in a year (and statistically have a very low accident rate), the annual MoT test is something of a “bureaucratic hurdle”.

Against this background, there was a meeting in late January between the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group (APPHVG) and the Transport Minister, Mike Penning. Representing APPHVG were its President, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and its Chairman, Greg Knight, Member of Parliament for East Yorkshire.

The well rehearsed arguments in favour of an exemption for historic and classic vehicles were advanced at the meeting and whilst there was an acknowledgement by the Minister that historic and classic vehicles are cherished by their owners, who want to ensure that they are well maintained, there is also evidence (presumably, from MoT failures!) that “the MoT test is important in helping to ensure that cars are safe for use on our roads”.

The Minister will now arrange for officials in his Department to examine the pros and cons and it is then likely that the issue will go out for consultation to interested groups.

Whilst an exemption from annual testing of our cars has its attractions, one only needs to refer back to the “TC Steering: Understanding End Assemblies” article in this magazine to ask yourself what might have happened if there was no requirement for an MoT test and the ball joint had eventually parted from the drag link, leaving the owner with no steering.

On balance, I think I would prefer to put up with what is undoubtedly an annual chore in taking the car for its annual inspection, but I believe that there is a strong case for a much reduced fee on the basis that an inspection of our vehicles can be carried out in half the time taken to inspect the modern ‘Eurobox’.


As if there wasn’t already enough doom and gloom about, we face the challenge of various Governments’ love affair with bio-fuels. Whilst I do not want to sound alarmist, the end result, if the bio-fuel lobby really takes hold, is that our cars will not run.

Who says? Well, a major conclusion of a report by a company called QinetiQ, is that if 10% of ethanol (referred to as E10) is added to petrol then 8.6 million carburettor and first generation fuel injected cars in the UK will not run. To quote from the report:

“Field experience, vehicle trials and laboratory testing have demonstrated carburettor vehicles and powered two wheelers will suffer problems due to material incompatibility, corrosion and drivability problems”.

QinetiQ was commissioned by the Department of Transport to study the technical impact of the introduction of higher levels of bio-ethanol into petrol. This was in response to the planned introduction of E10 fuel from 2013 in conformance with EU directive 2009/30/EC, which increases the maximum permissible content of ethanol in petrol from 5% to 10%.

Here in the UK and in Europe it is currently mandated that 5% of transportation fuel must be derived from renewable sources. At present most oil companies are meeting that obligation by putting ethanol into diesel.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon as the QinetiQ report recommends that E5 should not be phased out from 2013 but should continue to be widely available for the foreseeable future and that consideration should be given to maintaining a specification for E0 fuel (fuel with no ethanol) for historic and vintage vehicles. However, haven’t we heard it all before with leaded petrol availability?

Clearly, there is a pressing need to do some lobbying to seek a guarantee around maintaining a specification for E0 fuel. Perhaps I am being naïve but it occurs to me that a good starting point in the UK would be to seek the views of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group. I intend to do just that and will report back in due course.

Finally, a sobering fact; over a third of the domestic corn crop in the USA is consumed by the US ethanol industry and demand is forecast to continue to grow.


“The picture taken at Brands Hatch in about 1961, shows the result of running with radiator muff still in place and 7000 revs coming down the hill from Druids. The engine expired at Clearways. However the MG managed to get back to North London but of course required a major rebuild.

On strip down it was found that the engine had seized and if I remember correctly a con rod was bent. The bore was found to be at maximum so liners would have to be fitted.

Enter “Roy Rogers” – the name will become relevant later on. He was an engine builder found through the pages of “Safety Fast!” We took the engine to him, although on arrival the workshop was a barn with dirt floor – not a good omen! It was decided that he would bore the block and fit liners and then rebore to suit the new pistons.

Sometime later we called at the workshop to check progress. The block had been bored to accept the liners and he was about to press them in. The block was placed directly under the door lintel and an Acro jack placed between the liner and the door lintel. Three liners were pushed in, the fourth however fell in under just the weight of the Jack. Oh dear!

With that “Roy`s” mate “Tonto” called in. “No problem” he said, “centre pot all round the outside of the liner, which will raise a burr and make a good fit”. Even the cowboy engine builder looked a little embarrassed at that suggestion. It was agreed that Roy would obtain an oversized liner and fit that.

In due course the block was collected and Derek rebuilt the engine and refitted it in the TB. All was well for a while until one particularly cold morning the engine seized when the starter was operated.

On strip down it was found that a liner had slipped and locked against the crank and yes, the liner had been centre potted!”

John Maddocks

Ed’s note: John sent me this account of 1960s precision engineering. He recalls that In the early 60s a friend, Derek Waters – Derek is referred to above – owned TB0613 and it was raced, hill climbed, rallied and everything else. It is one of John’s most treasured memories. He adds that one could guarantee that all journeys would be an adventure and so exciting. The car still exists according to the ‘T’ Register and lives in Oklahoma, USA. However, John’s efforts to locate the owner have come to nought.

Here’s another photo of TB0613, taken at a hill climb at Marlow, Buckinghamshire in the early 60s. Note the change of colour (to red from white).

Derek Waters recalls buying the car from a second hand bombsite dealer in the Shoreditch area. He was told that the car had been stored on chocks for most of the war period. He thinks he sold the car to the Chequered Flag sports car company in West London, who told him that the car had gone to New Zealand.

If anybody has any news of this car, please contact the Editor through the Contact Form.

2 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Bob Dougherty says:

    Regarding the 10% ethanol article…your T-Type will run on 10%…here in the USA, most States now mandate 10% ethanol…not ideal by any means but the cars run fine. The big issue is the need for an ethanol stabilizer to keep the gas from going stale (most won’t last a month without one…gas starts to turn to goo) and also a need to worry about additional water now in the tank…a stabilizer also helps with that. I use Marine Sta-Bil…not sure if there is a comprable product in the UK.

  2. Chris Parkhurst says:

    I fully support an extension to the annual MOT its a real bind when you have a collection and finding a ”Proper Tester” who knows old cars is becoming rare. In France it is 5yrs for old motors its 2 yrs for moderns they do not have any more accidents due to this timeframe. Many of us are quite competent at checking our cars pre MOT I have never had a fail due to my experience and regular checks. I would welcome 2yr for moderns and 3yr test for our oldies. Those of you who are not skilled can still take your car in for a test annually or even monthly so I see no problem!

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