Bits and Pieces

Bill Thomson

Last Summer I responded to an offer from Björn-Eric Lindh in Sweden to send me some photos of Bill and his premises. Björn-Eric and Gabriel Öhman (my long-term Swedish ‘pen friend’) were regular visitors to Bill’s premises in the 1960s (they also frequented the ‘Boneyard’ – premises of the Bones – Terry and the late Barry.

Since that time, Björn-Eric has been spending time catching up with some outstanding commitments, and has recently e-mailed me a selection of photos. Here are some of them:

Above: Bill’s premises at 106 Kingston Road (now occupied by Nathan & Co. Solicitors). Below: Bill helping a customer.

From a study of Google Maps, number 104 Kingston Road is Kingston Road post office. Judging by the postbox in the left-hand corner of the pre-preceding picture, it looks as though the post office was there in Bill’s time – a rare survivor!

A ‘shot’ of one of the storage areas in Bill’s premises – ‘manna from heaven’ in those days when T-Type and Triple-M spares were hard to come by.

As I mentioned previously, Björn-Eric has not been well and has in fact had to sell his M.G.s. He sent a card to all his M.G. acquaintances in the summer of 2019 with a picture of a 4-wheel mobility walking frame on it. It read as follows:

My Dear Friend(s),

About a year ago my back decided enough was enough and started giving me trouble. Since then I have had to change my way of living quite a bit, but I am still alive and kicking. As before, I am using a four-wheeled vehicle, now made of carbon fibre, but not as fast. One of my M.G. friends has suggested supercharging, but I doubt I can consume the amount of cabbage, peas etc., needed to give any real effect.

This is the reason you may not have heard from me for some time. But I am now catching up on things!

And remember the wise words of the Monty Python gang:

Always look on the bright side of life!

Have a good time (and so says Gun).    /Björn

In the e-mail Björn sent to me, he included a picture of his first TC, bought in 1962 His closing message read:

After 57 years, Gun and I are without an M.G. We bought our first M.G. in 1962 and sold the last (1936 NB) in 2019. Many happy years.

Björn’s TC bought in 1962.


Graham Murrell asked the following question:

“When I stripped my 1947 MG TC chassis No. TC4212 in 1967 for a major rebuild, I stored all the parts for future refitting. Now some 53 years later, I have taken some of these parts out of storage to review their suitability for reuse.

One of the items recently taken from storage is a pair of corner hood tacking strips, commonly known as the ‘hockey sticks’. In the process of cleaning these up I noticed that the face of these items which could be seen from inside the car were covered in black Rexine type material, whereas all the other faces were covered in a light green/grey Rexine.

Because there seems to be a certain amount of uncertainty regarding the original hood colour for the TC and/or the date the change was made from black to fawn, I wondered if the black inner face to the ‘hockey sticks’ was indicative of the original hood colour. Having some idea of the lengths M.G. went to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, I think it would be highly possible that this would be the sort of thing that could have been done.

I think I remember that there was a flap of hood material that lay on the top of the ‘hockey sticks’ which in the case of a black hood would have been black and the black theme was perhaps taken to include the inner face of the ‘hockey sticks’ to take the hood colour down to meet the upholstery colour which in my car’s case was apple green.

If you have any thoughts, ideas or historical knowledge that can refute or confirm my findings, please let me know.”

I decided to consult Tom Wilson, who came up with this detailed answer:

“The short answer to Graham’s inquiry is “no”, I don’t think the hood rails would be covered with material to match to hood.  The longer version below.

Graham, you’ve found some interesting history on your car and you raise a question many have asked.  Based on my research, most of the answers about black hoods have been incorrect.  Here’s what I believe to be correct and some suggestions on what you’ve found:

As the general rule, all TCs from the beginning were made with tan colored hoods.  As I recall, I’ve only seen one factory or period photo of TCs with black hoods (and I can’t find it right now) – it’s of the TCs posed on a snow road, a group supposedly shipping to Switzerland.  Some of the TCs made for police use had black hoods – these were custom orders.

TC tubs were built at Bodies Branch in Coventry from the very beginning of production.  Bodies Branch (a Morris Motors company) made, painted, installed the interior trim, attached the windscreen, and installed the weather equipment (hood, side curtains, tonneau cover).  The hood, side curtains, and hood frame were made by Coventry Hood & Sidescreen Company.  The hoods were attached to the frame before by Coventry and delivered to Bodies Branch to be installed as a single unit (Part/Drawing #19552 in Spec 259).  The material used for the first 4,928 bodies (up to TC5180) was Fawn shade 21 double texture rubber proofed hooding, what was commonly known as wigan, and it was supplied to Coventry by Bodies Branch. 

From TC5180 on, material was changed to a cotton canvas, and the tonneau cover became this as well (previously made by Bodies Branch Trim Shop out of black Rexine).  I never figured out why they changed to a lower quality, less waterproof material; it was probably due to cost control or shortage of materials in the postwar economy.

The covering on the rear tub rails (Graham refers to as ‘hockey sticks’; Spec 259 names these #19424, 58, 50 Top Back Rail Hood Fillet and Corner Hood Fillets) happens when the tub is trimmed.  The corner covers are 2 pieces sewn for each side; the longer center rail is a rectangular piece.  These would have been part of the interior kit as cut and sewn.  The covering of these pieces extends down the inside of the rear section of the tub and are visible above the top edge of the side curtain box.  A color different than the interior here wouldn’t look right, and would add complexity to a smooth installation.

Graham, what’s probably happened with your car is those pieces were recovered by a previous owner using what they could find at the time.  That’s not to say that TC4212 was made differently.  It’s a December 1947 car; 240 were built that month, so production was flowing better.  The tank and munitions work was just winding down (MG continued the “war work” until the end of 1947), so the factory was finally fully focused on sporting motoring machines!”

Tom Wilson

Ed’s note: Spec 259, referred to by Tom, is the TC Factory Specification Book, which details every part (including nuts and bolts and screws!) that went into the manufacture of the TC. I have a copy for sale at 20 GBP plus 3 GBP postage.

jj(at) [please substitute (at) after the jj and before the with @]

Transils – an explanation as to how they work

The points on your SU fuel pump are at the mercy of the high voltage (up to several hundred volts) that is generated each time they open, causing them to arc. The basic explanation for such a high voltage (bearing in mind that your battery is only 12 volts!) is that it is an effect that happens each time a current through a coil is interrupted.

To negate this high voltage (i.e. to limit voltage transients) the Transil comes with a rated voltage. Below the rated voltage there is no connection between the two terminals, but above the rated voltage the terminals are connected together (dead short). Consequently, when the points break the high voltage which is generated across them is shorted out by the Transil, so saving their burning and pitting.

A query was recently raised from a member who initially fitted a Transil, but then disconnected it because, when fitted, the pump appeared to pump less vigorously. He wanted to know the reason for this.

I asked Peter Cole, who wrote the explanation as to how the Transil works and who also supplies the item to the MG Octagon Car Club, for an answer.

When a Transil is fitted the pump appears to run less ‘vigorously’.  This is only evident when the pump is running on the bench without being connected to a fuel supply.  It runs faster without a Transil than it does when one is fitted.  This is because during the time when the pump’s magnet is on, as well as lifting the diaphragm, it also stores energy in the magnetic field.  At the end of the ‘suck’ period the magnet turns off and the diaphragm falls back to its rest position.  With no Transil fitted, the voltage across the points rises to 300 – 400 volts, hence the visible spark, and the energy stored in the magnetic field is dissipated quickly.  When a Transil is fitted the voltage across the points is restricted to 24 volts and the energy stored in the magnetic field dissipates more slowly.

So, to summarise, with a Transil fitted, the off period is longer but the on period, when the Transil plays no part, remains the same. Hence the pump runs more slowly, and may appear to be running less vigorously.  The reality is when pumping fuel, once the float chambers are full, the pump only operates every few seconds so the longer off period is immaterial.  I would also point out that several years ago Burlen may have noticed my idea and now fit Transils to their new pumps, also supplying them with their pump repair kits;  running without a Transil is not to be recommended as the life of the points will be significantly reduced. 

Ed’s note: Transils are available from the MG Octagon Car Club (you need to be a member). The part number is SSU048B, part description is Transil Kit for SU Petrol Pump Points, and the price is 4.92 GBP plus postage.

Fitting is simplicity itself. The Transil is supplied with ready-made solder tag connections. All that is required to fit it is a screwdriver (instructions provided).

TD /TF. steering rack column oil seal

The following has been received from Erik Benson:

“Here’s one for you!    I have had TDs for 60 years and loved them all. Here is something I have only just come across, and I bet not a lot of other people have either.

There is a felt ring oil seal where the steering column shaft enters the rack housing.   They probably NEVER need changing, but I thought I should as there was a tiny leak.   Seems like a simple job? …….  that is why I write this, after a very frustrating day.    I have never seen instructions on this, so I thought I could help you other innocent souls.

So, how do you get the fragile felt ring into its slot?

It is like some kind of IQ test!

You WILL ruin your first delicate wee felt ring, so get two (OR some soft string!)

So, first thing . . .  observe the pinion shaft . . .  it is NOT parallel sided.      The splines at one end and the other end are wider than the main shaft.  There is only ONE way to get the soft felt into its groove.  

Undo the bottom cap and slide the pinion shaft down an inch and a half. . .  (you have already removed the three bolt flange at the top end) Slip the ring felt seal over and down the splines and down the shaft. . .  then with a fine screw driver prod the felt into the space and down into the groove.  When you push the shaft back up into place, the shouldered end will seal the felt into place.

I could not help feeling that an O ring could do the same job . . .  or even a length of soft fine string.

Anyhow, I hope that you will not have all the stress now, of ignorance that I had!

Job done . .   Erik

PS:  If you do the seal with soft fine string, then you do not have to remove the three hole flange at the top. I cannot imagine how string could escape once it is in the groove   but obviously the original does work.   Has anyone tried an O ring?”


On sale on my THE MG ‘T’ SOCIETY LIMITED stall at Stoneleigh were some sets of the ‘wrapped’ (bi-metal) bushes that Eric Worpe has organised from Leeds Bronze. The investment that Eric had to make was fairly substantial and has not been made with a view to making a profit, but on the basis of recovering costs plus a small margin for loss of  interest on capital (not that there is much interest to be earned these days in the UK – soon the Banks might be charging you  for holding your money and it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds!)

These bushes are an exact copy of the bushes that were fitted when the cars were new and have a considerable price advantage over those offered commercially. This was certainly recognised by the customers at Stoneleigh (I sold out!) and by purchasers worldwide (they have gone to Europe, the US and Australia).

Details of price and availability below:

For a set of 4 the cost is 32 GBP. For orders of between 3 sets of 4 and 9 sets of 4 the cost is 30 GBP per set of 4. For orders of 10 sets and above the bushes can be purchased for 28 GBP per set of 4. Postage at cost on all orders.

Enquiries to e.worpe(at) [please substitute @ for (at)].

Bi-metal ‘wrapped’ king pin bushes – note the oil/grease groove which has a spur take off that feeds lubrication to the thrust faces of the beam axle’s eye.

As regards kingpins, I have mentioned earlier in this Issue that a check of some currently on the market has found them to be undersize. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could all come from the same supplier.

The consequences of fitting undersized kingpins and expecting the ‘slack’ to be taken up by the cotter pin has been covered in a previous issue and I recently noticed when researching some old Octagon Car Club Bulletins that a similar warning was given way back in the days of Tony Jenkins.

It is for this reason that Eric Worpe is currently trying to find precision engineering companies who might be able to make up standard sized as well as a range of oversized kingpins. However, precision grinding, as well as case hardening facilities, are no longer that common.

Classic Car Storage over Winter

Steve Priston has sent the following in response to Paul Ireland’s article in the February TTT 2.

“I am somewhat puzzled by Paul Ireland’s latest contribution, mainly because I have been using a small dehumidifier, to protect the contents of my garages, for many years.

Like most pieces of electrical equipment containing fans, they need to be maintained, something quite clearly stated on my recent replacement unit, due to problems caused, through “blinding” of the inlet air filter screen, through dust etc.

This would eventually have the effect of causing it to overheat but being a fridge derived piece of equipment, it should surely have some sort of thermal safety cut-out?

Yes, you will have to attempt to draft proof the space in question and must accept that this is likely to involve quite a bit of work, to improve the effectiveness of the dehumidifier, as garages don’t make this task easy. Also, if like me you are just trying to minimise seasonal issues with moisture, you don’t want the unit to run continuously because of the expense, so I have found that a mid-point setting on its humidistat, is about right, maintaining that level, all the time the doors are shut.

Perhaps if your garage is more like a cart shed, or doesn’t benefit from having a nice dry floor with a damp proof membrane under it, then putting a vehicle into a desiccant bag is the way to go, especially if you are prepared to let the odd lovely winter’s day pass you by?

If you have not visited the garage often enough, over dampish weather, you will likely determine that the dehumidifier’s catch tank, has been full for a while because of tell-tale signs, as you look at metal surfaces, that if the unit was still performing, would usually remain perfectly dry, confirmation that the equipment has been doing its work effectively in the past.

A very useful side effect of operating a dehumidifier, is the acquisition of plenty of distilled water, ideal for coolant and washer bottles, even her ladyship’s steam iron; or if you expect to leave things for some time, then a drain line, can be run, to outside, allowing a constant loss system.

I do have a major safety concern however, over putting your precious vehicle into a bag. This is how potentially difficult or time consuming it could be, in the event of needing to urgently remove it, to a place of safety, say in the event of a fire. In this situation, when you would want to roll it quickly outside, possibly an even worse problem being faced, than if your car is stored up on blocks, something to consider, as new housing developments seem to build dwellings so close together nowadays!”

Items made to order by Mick Pay

In the February issue I mentioned the items made to order by Mick Pay and published a whole colour page. Mick has since sent me one of his petrol filters and as the pictures show, it is a superb piece of kit. The filter can be removed for cleaning.

The filters are supplied without pipe connections, the thread for connections is ¼ inch BSPP.

Compression fittings can be bought from Cotswold Engineering Supplies (1/4 BSPP x usually 5/15 OD).

Mick Pay is at mgp188(at) [please substitute @ for (at)].

Paul Ireland’s book

Paul’s book was on sale at Stoneleigh. He has created a website that hosts a bulletin board to back up the book. He also plans facilities to allow people to share information such as which fuel they find works the best for them and publish their advance curves.

He would be grateful if interested parties could have a look at the site, try registering, logging in etc. and provide any feedback.

Also, he’d much appreciate if those who host websites of their own could include a link to his site.

2 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Chris Parkhurst says:

    The picture of Bill Thompson brought back memories in 1967 my TA required a new camshaft I rang Bill and he said I have one left still in the MOWOG tube if you want be quick as someone else wants it. This call was made on Friday afternoon at about 5 pm just before he closed so to make sure I got it first thing on saturday., I drove to his shop that evening and camped in my 1953 Ford Prefect just round the corner at 8am I took my camping stool and sat in front of those double doors when Bill opened up at about 0830 his first words to me were “” you’re a keen bugger “” so I got the cam I think it was £ 5 .
    I apologise now to the other guy who didn’t get it !!


  2. Eric Worpe says:

    Bill managed to remain enthusiastic about MGs despite the quirks of some difficult customers. I was once mesmerised by the painstaking effort he took to wrap up some layshaft thrust washers with his arthritic hands. Sadly, I failed to understand just how good his store was for providing difficult to obtain parts. It’s deserving that legendry MG enthusiasts get mentioned, as they have supported the continuous interest in these fun cars.

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