Bits and Pieces

Classic Car Loan Project

The aim of this scheme is to encourage the next generation of classic car owners by giving younger drivers the use of a classic car for up to a year. This is made possible due to the generous spirit of car owners and classic car clubs who have offered the cars to the scheme. The MG Octagon Car Club has decided to participate in the scheme and full credit goes to them.

Young enthusiasts, normally 25 years or older may apply for a range of cars that have been donated for loan. There are no hire or loan charges involved but there is a requirement to look after the vehicle as if it were one’s own.

Insurance cover is obviously a key consideration and hence the 25 years or older stipulation, but Peter James Insurance is supporting the scheme and this is helping to partially defray the cost.

The issue of what will happen to our cars when we are too old to drive them crops up from time to time and comes under the spotlight when supply exceeds demand, which seems to currently be the case with Triple-M models. So, we need schemes like this to help plant the seeds of future ownership.

In the meantime, do keep taking the ‘Peter Pan pills’! I’d like to be driving my 1933 J2 when it is 100 years old, which would entail me surviving and being fit to drive until I’m 87!


It is surprising how many TF owners, despite references on pages 12 and 56 in the factory Operation Manual (AKD 658A) and on page N.27, Section N.39 of the combined TD/TF Workshop Manual (AKD 580A), seem unaware that two map lights, one over each glove box, were standard equipment. Many are also unaware that they are operated by a second position on the ‘P’ panel light switch. Pulling out the switch operates the three panel lights, turning it to the right and pulling it out again operates the two map lights.

On becoming aware of this oversight I have been conducting an informal survey of TFs and their owners, most of whom express surprise when I have pointed out that the panel light switch has a second position intended to operate map lights. They have been even more surprised when, after feeling around underneath the scuttles of their cars, I have drawn their attention to brackets welded at right angles to the scuttle and having a 20mm diameter hole into which the sprung map light bulb holder is inserted.

I suspect the reason for so many TF owners seemingly being unaware that their cars should have a couple of map lights is that the various restoration books, most of which cover the whole ‘T’ type range, either do not mention them at all, or give them only a cursory reference, often grouping TDs and TFs together, when covering electrics. There is no map light facility on TDs. Also, the factory Service Parts List (AKD 804) rather unhelpfully only mentions them in Section K under ‘Cables’ and not, as would be more logical, under ‘Lamps’. Another reason may be that replacement wiring looms do not contain any separate wiring to the map lights. As detailed on the wiring diagram on page N29 in the Workshop Manual there should be red with green wires running in parallel from the third terminal on the panel light switch to each of the two bulb holders. The wire to the panel lights should be red with white. It should be noted that, like the panel lights, the map lights will only come on when the sidelamps are also switched on.

Whilst most of the TFs I have examined no longer have map lights fitted, they have all still had the brackets for the bulb holders intact underneath the scuttle. If owners want to check the position on their own cars they should run their hand around under the scuttle about 13 cms to the left of the horn push on the driver’s side where they should be able to feel the bulb holder bracket unless it has been removed during a rebuild. The other bracket can be found in a similar position above the passenger side glove box.

Pressing the sprung bulb holders into the bracket holes is quite difficult as they are, as they need to be, a tight fit; and it is easier to do this if the dash roll is first removed or loosened so that you can more easily see what you are doing.  

The light from both the panel lights and map lights is pretty poor, some would say useless, so upgrading the standard 2.2 watt M.E.S.(screw in) bulbs to LEDs of the correct polarity may be a worthwhile improvement.

With thanks to Barrie Jones for expert input on this subject.


Ed’s note: To my great surprise, mine work. However, I did not know they were there until Michael pointed this out!

Water Temperature MG TF1500

Nostalgia seems to play a big part in the cars I have owned over the past 8 years! In 2011 I bought a 1935 2 door Standard 9, mainly because my first car back in the 60s was the same model. Then in January last year I acquired a beautiful Post Office red TF because again, in the 1960s, I had owned two MG PAs. Unfinished business you might say.

Although it had been restored there were still many small finishing works required. One such was the absence of a wire between the temperature sender and the gauge, not surprising once I spotted the broken spade connector on the sender. A new sender and wire between that and the gauge rectified the problem – at least on short journeys in cold weather – with a reading of 80 degrees.

On the way back from Prescott in August the gauge shot through the roof causing me to pull off the M5 three times. The car seemed to be running well, no obvious loss of water, no steam, so I gingerly proceeded home – some 50 miles.

Once the engine was cold I checked the water level – ok so I suspected a faulty sensor and bought another new one and a new radiator cap. No joy, still overheating said the gauge.

I own a non-contact infra red thermal sensor (they can be bought for 12 pounds on Ebay) which, when pointed at the header tank when hot showed a reading of 60 degrees, perfectly acceptable. My electrician had already guessed that the temperature sender and the gauge were incompatible. Now having this confirmed he placed a 100 ohm resistor in the connecting wire and BINGO a sensible reading was obtained. In truth the gauge reads a little on the cool side so I think an 80ohm resistor would probably be more accurate.

Martin Gibson

Sidescreens – keeping the draughts out……

Mike Sherrell has devised a draught excluder in an effort to impress Rosie (his partner) with the comfort afforded by a TC in winter.

Christened ‘The Rosie Clamp’, it’s a very simple device consisting of a small piece of ¼” ali plate with a sectioned wine cork glued to it with Devcon. A hole is drilled in the plate to slip over the windscreen wing bolt, which when done up, bears on the sidescreen, eliminating draughts entirely.

For the dry passenger to exit, merely loosen the wing bolt and rotate it 90º. Photos follow which best illustrate the device.


Erik Taylor reports……………..

How about this?

Here, in France I found these……and there are NO MORE!

Must have been a big promotion. . . beer PLUS the pint glass which is embossed and has an octagonal base.

What a FIND!!!!

Ed’s note: Yes, Greene King, who took over Morlands (the original brewers of Old Speckled Hen) did a couple of promotions. I still have a glass from a different promotion, which was part of a set. I gave away two of the glasses from this set; one to a T-Type owner in Canada and one to Australia.

Chemical Cleaning of Cylinder Blocks

A warning to check that the block has been thoroughly flushed after cleaning – it cost a member dearly!

Fancy ownership of a Vintage M.G.?

Chris Keevill, Secretary of the Early M.G. Society, has asked me to include the following advert:

1929 M.G. 14/40 two-seater for sale. Older restoration in good condition and running very well.

Lots of history and many spares included in the sale.

Price £32500 o.n.o. or would consider exchange for good M.G. TA or TC.

Phone Dublin 00353872694013 or email  byrneej(at)

[please substitute @ for (at)].

(There are some more Vintage M.G.s for sale on the Cars For Sale page of the Early M.G. Society web-site

An Enquiry regarding ‘Bill ???’, spares supplier in London

Your editor receives many an enquiry via the website from former owners of T-Types. One of these was received recently from Les Bailey, who told me that he is writing his life story and having owned several TCs in the ‘60s and ‘70s, he wanted to include a few TC details. Here is an extract from his e-mail:

I used a great spares supplier based in London, Bill ??? I would like to know his surname, which I can’t remember. He used to send me bits and let me pay when I could. I broke down in Penzance once, Bill sent me a new diff, again, ‘pay when you can’. I don’t think we would get that service today. Anyway, if you can help, that would be wonderful.

Of course, the spares supplier could only be Bill Thomson, so I sent Les a copy of one of Bill’s advertisements.

Les then sent me another e-mail in which he told me that as a young man of 18 his first car was a Rolls Royce 20/25 Sportsman’s Saloon. He acquired this at a good price as the owner was emigrating and needed to sell. The fact that the car had been driven through a gateway which wasn’t wide enough for it and problems with the ‘Petro Vac’ fuel pump didn’t help matters.

However, no matter how cheap was the purchase, he really couldn’t afford to run the car and sold it for a TC. Soon after selling the RR (he’s regretted selling it to this day), he received a letter from a man in Canada offering to pay twice the price he was asking and also his fare out to Canada and return to the UK.

The TC purchase in 1964 was to prove unfortunate because about six months into owning it he was ‘run off the road’ by someone unknown who was determined to get past him. In hindsight, both drivers were probably going a bit fast, but Les couldn’t remember anything about the lead-up to the crash, only what he was told later.

The car hit a concrete lamp post, hence the extensive damage. Les takes up the story:

I was left for dead on the verge: obviously not dead, apparently a groan indicated there was life left in me.  The accident was in Hampton Lane, Solihull, and I was taken to The Cottage Hospital.  By coincidence, the mother of a friend was matron, so I got very good attention immediately, and excellent aftercare.  But then we all did in those days.

My shoes were left embedded in the wooden floor, (still there in this photo, I retrieved them and still have them), hence the leg to hip damage.  Other damage too. 

I attribute all my joint problems to that incident. BUT – I’m still alive and kicking!

Ed’s note: Quite a story which evolved from an initial enquiry regarding ‘Bill ????, spares supplier in London’!


I have been exchanging e-mails for some time with Jurgen-Gerrit Gartner in Austria. Since we began our ‘correspondence’ Gerrit has become the owner of both a TD and a TC.

During the course of his searches to buy a T-Type, Gerrit encountered many a ‘spammer’. One of these was a man from Germany who said he was getting divorced from his Spanish wife and was offering his English grandfather’s supercharged TC for 18,000 GBP with free delivery to Austria included in the price. A likely story!

Gerrit’s patience was rewarded when he found a TD to his liking. He acted quickly and travelled to the UK to take a closer look at it. He wasn’t disappointed and purchased TD21523 near Cambridge. Having arranged transport back to Austria, he then encountered problems with the Austrian authorities who wanted exhaust analyses etc. However, some careful tuning of the SU’s did the trick and satisfied them. Here’s a picture of Gerrit’s TD (the one with the UK plate – more about the clipper blue car below).

Gerrit’s TD21523 with the UK plates alonside TD/C7033.

An architect by profession, Gerrit’s main work is for the Zotter Cocolate Company. Some years ago the Company bought a clipper blue TD, for which he designed a glass garage. The TD, a MKII (TD/C7033 with original engine XPAG/TD/LHX7193) was the inspiration for one of the Company’s special chocolate products, known as Mitzi Blue for which a You-Tube video was made.

Here’s a better picture of TD/C7033….

TD13854 ex-USA belongs to a friend of Gerrit‘s with paintwork described as apearl-gleaming white/rose shade.

Returning to the clipper blue MKII, Gerrit found himself as the only one in the Company who was driving and caring for the car. The more he worked on and drove it, the more he became fascinated with the T-series, which led him to buy TD21523.

His fascination with the T-series has now resulted in the purchase of a TC needing restoration, from Steve Baker. However, he still has some work to do on his Series IIA Land Rover, which he found on the French/German border. He says that this wonderful oily rag vehicle brought him back some 600 miles to Austria without any problem.

In addition to the Series IIA Landy (some say Landie) he owns a Series III 109.

He describes restoration work on old vehicles as Lego for adults,which brought a huge smile to my face.

So there you have it, an expanding little T-Type community in Styria, the south-eastern part of Austria.

Ed’s note: Gerrit is going to let me have a little article for the next issue on TD MK IIs with some pictures of the main distinguishing features.

Articles are always welcome!

Quite a challenge for Peter Clarke in New Zealand!

This is what Pete Clarke started with. It’s TD25846. He’s actually come a long way with the car in 2½ years, learning from mistakes as we all should do. I’ll publish the latest pic in the next issue.

Some Rally winning cars of Betty Haig

The following from Doug Nixon:

“Please find some photographs taken in the rain on 9th May at Brooklands.

Roger Farmer (author of A LIFE BEHIND THE WHEEL – Betty Haig Biography) held a talk on the life and cars of Betty Haig which was brilliant. The pictures show 4 of her Rally winning cars which attended the talk.”

From right to left are the 1946 Alpine AC 16/80, the Berlin Olympics Singer, the Paris-St Raphael/ Innsbruck Singer and Doug’s 1949 Alpine TC flying the flag for our T-Types.

A T-Type Weather Vane

Here’s a novel idea for a birthday or Christmas present for the T-series owner. Sent to me by Ian Ailes, whose wife bought it for him for Christmas.

Obtainable from Black Fox Metalcraft Limited of Sale, Cheshire

TF5873 (NWX 184)

Here’s a pleasing colour combination – well it’s pleasing to me and pleasing to its owner! The car was originally green with tan trim. It has since been red, then black and now cream with dark red upholstery.

TF9220 (MSG 495)

Owned since 1967, this home-market TF1500 was acquired by its present owner with help from his aunt. She said that she would give him 300 GBP towards a car on the condition that it had a hard roof, so ‘square riggers’ were out……….until ‘Godiva’ was found!

The hard top is thought to have been purchased new with the car in Scotland. Hard tops were available for TDs (made by Runyan), but I have never heard of them being available for the TF. Anyone know?