Category Archives: Issue 27 (December 2014)

The Editor

Welcome to Issue 27, December 2014.

I have just finished reading The Healey Story by Geoffrey Healey. I am not really an avid reader but I could hardly put this book down once I had started it. Geoff, a brilliant engineer, died in 1994 before the book was published. His daughters, Cecilia and Kate took over putting the book together from Geoff’s first draft.

Not one to ‘hide his light under a bushel’, Geoff pours scorn on those who have published inaccurate details of Healey history, and is scathing about the immediate post-war Government for berating industry “for lack of investment whilst pursuing taxation policies that leave manufacturers little chance of making anything to invest”.

Production of the Austin-Healey was moved from Longbridge to Abingdon when the ‘100 Six’ type BN4 was introduced. There were concerns at the time that the Factory might not give the marque the same attention to detail as its ‘in house’ products, but according to Geoff …..”we found that everyone at MG took pride in producing good products regardless of the name on the vehicle. The Austin-Healeys that came out of Abingdon required much less preparation for sale and there were never any loose nuts and bolts”.

This must have been hard for some of those at Longbridge to swallow since, according to Geoff, “Many at Austin looked on the MG factory at Abingdon as an anachronism”. Well some “anachronism” – Abingdon lasted almost another 25 years, producing hundreds of thousands of cars!

It was remiss of me not to give credit in the last issue for some of the Isle of Wight Tour photographs so thank you to David Lewis, Paul Ireland and Patrick Michel for sending a selection for publication.

The front cover for the last issue seemed to go down well and drew comment from Michael Sherrell who e-mailed “Just back from the Greek Isles in time to see Mike Killingsworth’s TC1918 in a dramatic location! I later restored this TC (my 7th) for Mike back in 1991. It was my first as a full time restorer, to come out of ‘Mike’s Garages’.”

MG TA road accident

The photograph of the TA getting crushed is reproduced by kind permission of Martyn Knowles, Editor of Car Mechanics magazine. Martyn wasn’t around when the photo was published in the July 1963 issue of the magazine. It featured in an editorial entitled “THREE C’s TO SAFETY” which argued that the roads would be a lot safer if motorists, cyclists and pedestrians would observe “the three C’s – Courtesy, Care & Consideration.” It was suggested that the accident rate would “drop overnight.”

Well, all rather quaint and far from today’s reality of ‘white van man’ hurling abuse at you to get out of his way while steering with one hand and eating something dreadfully unhealthy with the other, ‘dolly birds’ putting on their make-up whilst on the move, and countless idiots either texting or quite brazenly driving along with a mobile phone ‘glued’ to their ear.

Anyhow, thank you to James Burmester for sending me the article. Apologies for my little rant!

The 2015 TTT 2 Tour of the Lancashire Lanes and Yorkshire Dales was fully booked before we departed from the Isle of Wight Tour. In an effort to go some way to meeting demand (there is quite a lengthy reserve list) we have booked all six rooms at The Park House Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Gisburn

The plan is for those staying at this establishment to leave their cars at the Tour hotel and to take evening meals at the hotel with a shuttle service being arranged to facilitate this.

Park House

Plans for the 2016 Tour are not yet on the drawing board but we might have some details by the next issue. The challenge is to find a hotel which is large enough and has adequate parking facilities to accommodate at least 100 guests and 50 cars as these Tours are growing in popularity. Quite a challenge!

It was a pleasure to meet Lachlan Kinnear from Beaumont (a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia) in October. I’ve corresponded with Lachlan over the years and it was nice to meet him in person. We went for a pub lunch in a quintessential English pub, driving to the next village in my PB.



Totally T-Type 2 is produced totally on a voluntary basis and is available on the website on a totally FREE basis. Its primary purpose is to help T-Type owners through articles of a technical nature and point them in the direction of recommended service and spares suppliers.

Articles are published in good faith but I cannot accept responsibility or legal liability and in respect of contents, liability is expressly disclaimed.

Mods and Rockers

Last year on a trip up to Aviemore for the ‘MG European Event of the Year’ I broke a rocker shaft on my TA. We did about 580 miles on the 4 day trip up to Aviemore, it was a bit windy and wet at times so I wore my cap with the ear flaps down. About 10 miles from Aviemore I took my cap off and could not believe the clatter from the engine.

On arrival at the hotel, I checked the tappets and found them all OK except No 2 exhaust, which was open to 25 thou, but the locknut was tight! I reset it to15 thou and thought that was the end of my problem.

On the first day we did a 100 mile run and the clatter returned, so again that night I checked the tappets, sure enough No 2 exhaust had opened up to 20 thou. I thought it must be a cam follower breaking up, nothing I can do about that so for the remaining few days of the event I reset No2 exhaust every evening after the runs.

It was the best MG event I have ever attended, so after all the final day celebrations we set off home, ear flaps down! I was fully expecting to call the recovery truck out but 3 days later I drove the old girl into the garage at home and immediately drained the oil. I have one of those magnetic drain plugs and was fully expecting to see bits of the broken cam follower stuck to the magnet, but there were no iron filings it was clean as a whistle!

Next morning I started to remove the cam-followers, I took off the rocker cover, undid the 8 bolts on the four rocker pillars and lifted the rocker shaft off. It fell into two parts having broken through the oil-feed hole for No 2 exhaust rocker (see photo 1).

Photo 1 – showing the broken rocker shaft.

Goodness only knows how old the rocker shaft was, but I had never heard of one breaking before, only wearing out. Over the years I had accumulated a number of complete rocker shafts from old engines that I had stripped, so I sorted out what I thought was the best one with least wear on the rocker pads. It was then that I noticed it did not have the small holes in the top of the rocker arms blanked off.

There was a Morris Engines Service Sheet published in March 1938 that told dealers to blank these holes off by hammering 1/8 inch ball bearings into the holes. If you look at photo 2 you can see various rockers with these holes either open or blanked off by various means, including using pop rivets! In photo 2 from left to right the hole is blanked off by a ball bearing, a grub screw, metal rod (too long sadly) and a pop rivet!

Photo 2 – showing various past ‘solutions’ for blanking off the small holes in the rocker arms.

I found an article by Don Jackson in an old ‘Octagon Bulletin’ #198 dated July 1986. It explains that “these holes should have been blanked off in production, so you are only correcting a fault that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. The result will be proper pressure-fed lubrication of the rocker bushes, improved lubrication of the tappets, and a vast reduction in the amount of oil swilling around in the rocker cover. You will also gain a few pounds per square inch oil pressure as a bonus!” The diagram that Don drew is reproduced below (diagram 1) and explains the problem. If you have ever run your engine with the rocker cover off, the eight holes look like mini ‘oil geysers’, with loads of oil oozing out!

Diagram 1 –Don Jackson’s diagram referred to in the text.

I stripped the rocker shaft assembly down and started to rebuild it with a new rocker shaft. Be aware that the rocker shaft can only be fitted one way. On an MPJG engine the oil feed to the rocker shaft is via an external copper pipe from the main oil gallery in the block to the cylinder head. The feed goes directly under the rear rocker shaft support post and then up through a hole in the post to the rocker shaft. You must ensure that the oil-feed hole in the rocker shaft is at the ‘six o’clock’ position for the rear pillar support, if you get this wrong there will be no oil fed to the rockers. Once this is done you can then start to build up the rocker shaft assembly, starting from pillar number three make sure that the locating spacer washer fits in the key groove in the shaft. I have several rocker shafts with the key groves on different sides, all this means is that you need to turn the rocker pillar though 180 degrees.

In my case, before building up the assembly I had to clean and inspect each rocker arm and then block off the small hole in the top. The method I use is to tap the hole out with a 4BA tap, blow through with an airline to remove any swarf, then screw in a very short 4BA Allen headed grub screw secured using a bit of Loctite. I used 1/8 inch long Allen key headed grub screws purchased off eBay.

I found that I could tap the hole out without drilling it out to the correct 4BA tapping size (see photo 3).

Photo 3 – showing the equipment and materials used for blanking off the holes in the top of the rocker arms (which shouldn’t have been there in the first place!)

This mod is well worth doing on XPAG engines as well, I spoke to my old Aussie mate Mike Sherrell, he told me that he does this mod on all XPAG engines that he builds. Since fitting the new rocker assembly the engine is now a lot quieter, but sadly not as quiet as it should be! Maybe a new set of cam timing gears and a new timing chain will quieten it a bit more, but that can wait for the time being!

Brian Rainbow

Ed’s Note: Brian is Chairman of the MG Octagon Car Club and is also Registrar for the Tickford models, a job he does for the ‘T’ Register of the MG Car Club.

To join the MG Octagon Car Club go to the website – Membership subscriptions are fairly modest at £35 (UK) £37 (EU) and £39 (Rest of World).

42 Years of MGs

Inspired by the Editor’s recent “everything comes to he who waits” comment, Doug Wallace has penned this article from Indonesia.

It must have been 1966, my pal Dave Taylor at Strathallan School, Scotland, announced that he had persuaded his father to buy him an old MG. Dave had already turned 17 and I am guessing he had passed his driving test. His method of persuasion was to ask the seller of this old vehicle to bring it to Dave’s home, whereupon Dave poured a glass of his father’s favourite red wine and placed the full glass on top of the filler cap of the radiator, before inviting his dad outside.

This gamble must have worked very well as 90 GBP changed hands and Dave was the proud owner of a rather rickety MG TC. He drove the car to school on the exeat* day and took me for a drive down the old Perth – Dundee road. I remember looking through a hole in the wooden floorboard and seeing the road speed past. The MG had definitely seen better days. But something else stayed with me that day. * leave day from school.

University years passed with the delight of owning 2 Minis and then an Austin A30 bought from a girl student for 35 GBP with a spare gearbox. Driving in mid winter from London to Dundee with no heater was like sitting in an ice-box for 16 hours! The purchase of a Haynes Instruction manual revealed that the dear little A30 did indeed have a heater, one just needed to turn on the water tap under the bonnet; the return journey to London was oh so comfortable!

The A30 was painted red, white and blue and was lots of fun, but eventually I had to pay Dorking Council to tow the poor thing off to the graveyard. A move back to live in London where, everybody parks their cars on the street, I could not help noticing a few MGs still regularly being used in the Kensington and Chelsea area. There was a fairly decent looking green TC on my road and near Barons Court tube station there was a very scruffy older machine which I learned later was a MG P-type.

With no transport and a girlfriend to impress, the upcoming Easter holiday 1972 beckoned; a drive to Devon and Cornwall was in my mind. Passing the Chequered Flag showroom in West London one day I literally jumped off the bus to stare at a bright red MG TC. My Barclays manager had become used to me and I thought a small overdraft was feasible. But there was a problem: I was informed the steering was defective, something called a drop-arm was missing. 3 more visits to the Chequered Flag, no drop-arm in sight. Help was at hand – Motor Sport magazine, an advertisement for a red MG TD somewhere in Surrey. Not being sure of the differences between a TC and a TD, off I went to take a look, and after some haggling with Mr W F de Havas, became the owner of a shiny red 1952 MG TD, car TD/12495.

TD12495 purchased in 1972 but it wasn’t in this condition when Doug bought it!

The Easter holiday by then had passed and I became more ambitious in my summer travel plans – a European trip, to the Cote d’Azur, Switzerland and the Alps, Belgium; all this within a few weeks of buying the MG. A wonderful camping trip was enjoyed with the only hiccup being a sudden and complete loss of brakes at 5pm on a Friday in Belgium. Brake fluid spurting from a rear brake line! A local garage made up a new line and we were on our way within a couple of hours.

MXA 399 was my road car for 3 years with several London to Scotland trips made with no difficulties. But that scruffy P-type in London was on my mind. It had disappeared, sadly.

Attending an MG gathering somewhere in Kent about the time, 1972-3, I noticed a beautiful red MG J4 and had the great pleasure of meeting the late Geoff Coles. His J4 was one of 2 he owned and was truly immaculate. There was also a J2 on display at Syon Park and this seriously caught my imagination. Mike Allison’s and Wilson McComb’s books became staple reading. I decided to look for a pre-war MG.

A ‘Wanted’ advertisement in ‘Exchange & Mart’ elicited 2 replies, a schoolteacher selling a PA and Mr JJ Hall from St. Albans who owned 2 J2s and a PB. He preferred to sell the PB which I agreed to buy unseen, and Mr JJ Hall kindly offered to trailer the PB to the magnificent old Sussex barn outside Midhurst which I had recently rented from a farmer for 10 GBP per month.

The PB was running and there followed wonderful drives around the small Sussex lanes and to the Greyhound pub, with long weekends camping on the heath.

But a number of brushes with the law and minor traffic infringements resulted in a 6 months loss of my driving licence and the TD was taken to the Midhurst barn with the goal of doing some minor dismantling and repairs during my 6 months downtime. That was 1975 and the fact was that I would not drive this, my first MG, for the next 35 years!

A visit to Queens Gate Place Mews in London to order a new hood at Robert Betteridge the trimmer was exciting as the Mews was full of garages with all sorts of splendid vintage motors. Betteridge had a red MG J2 in for a rebuild and I was told the owner was Michael Crawford, the actor and singer. As my dream was to have the PB in as new condition it was decided on a chassis up rebuild and to entrust this work to Betteridge.

The 6 months driving ban passed faster than expected and my plan to have the TD ready fell far short of the mark. Driving licence valid again but no car to drive! Back to Motor Sport and an advert caught my eye: a 1958 MGA 1500 in Old English White. As it turned out the MGA was garaged less than 200 metres from my flat in the Old Brompton Road! Mrs Grace Trembath, the first and only owner, had finally decided she was ‘getting long in the tooth’ in her words, and sadly decided to sell her beloved MGA, 768 PMK.

I fell for this MG and managed to agree a small price reduction which sealed the deal. That was 1975 and there followed 15 years of intermittent wonderful motoring, numerous drives to Scotland, camping and climbing on Skye, Devon and Cornwall, the south of France, and Germany where I lived for several years.

Doug with his MGA (768 PMK) – photo taken in 1977.

About 10 years after buying the MGA, the “White Lady”, I was driving through the Boltons, South Kensington one day when I saw this lady waving wildly at me as I passed. Lo and behold, Mrs Grace Trembath had noticed her old MGA! I stopped and we chatted: she declared that she was so very happy that I still owned “her” car. She remembered very well the day we agreed the deal – the day before that another potential buyer had inspected the car and had metaphorically ‘torn it to pieces’ with a view to drastically reducing the price. That did not go down well with Mrs Trembath. Then she told me, “you were the nice young man who quite obviously fell in love with my car and I was delighted to sell it to you, and I am even more delighted that you still have it”. Well, well, that made my day!

After almost a year at Betteridge, progress on the PB was way below my expectation in all respects, and I made the decision to take the car away, in all its many pieces. Attending an MG Car Club event somewhere about that time I had noticed a very beautiful black TD which won a concours award. The story on the windscreen showed that the TD had been rebuilt completely by Monza Classic Cars in Essex. A phone call to Len Bull and a long discussion resulted in him bringing his trailer to central London to collect all the scattered remains of the PB. And so started a 25 year long rebuild [I hasten to add that the time element was directly related to my own finances. And thank you to Len for his long-suffering patience].

Doug with the PB he purchased from J, J. Hall – photo taken at Midhurst, Sussex in 1973.

41 years later (July 2014), Doug in the same car at Norwich after restoration by Len Bull.

Working now in Oman in the late ‘80s my MGs were somewhat neglected, but not forgotten. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, was my employer at his Royal Flight. One night the new DC8 captain told me he was going to build his own aircraft, a Boeing Stearman, WWII trainer. Where was he going to do that I asked? Captain Ross Brightman would build a 40 foot ‘hanger’ beside his house in the Royal Flight compound. I told him of my MGs and the TD languishing in England. Bring it to Muscat! he declared, help me build my hanger and you can have space to build your MG… So we teamed up and spent hours and days in the 40 degree Oman heat building his ‘hanger’. A benefit of being a Royal Flight employee was free personal travel on His Majesty’s DC8 and Boeing 747 SP [Special Purpose, ex-Braniff aircraft] as well as free transport of personal effects. A memo to the Commander, Oman Royal Flight, requesting some MG spare parts to be shipped on the Royal aircraft, was duly signed.

Doug and Captain Ross Brightman with the Boeing Stearman built in a specially constructed ‘hanger’ at the Royal Flight compound in Oman.

A lightning trip to England was needed to completely dismantle the TD. This revealed the chassis frame was bent, which accounted for the slight dip on the right hand side. Ron Gammons to the rescue, chassis straightened, powder-coated, then all the parts of the car packed up and shipped to Muscat in the cargo hold of the Sultan’s 747 SP, all free of charge.

Leaving Oman to take a new assignment in Thailand required moving the now rolling chassis again courtesy of the Sultan’s 747 SP back to England. But I was stuck for storage. Finding an out-of-London storage facility was of course less expensive.

After a couple of years in Thailand I was back on leave in England keen to check on the TD. But the owner of the storage had disappeared, all calls were unanswered. The irrepressible Captain Ross suggested I call a private investigator he knew. Within 48 hours we learned that our storage guy had been declared bankrupt! A fast drive in Ross’s Morgan and we found the storage premises, with garages and out-houses open to the elements.

My tea chests had been broken into and all my tools stolen; the MG TD chassis was all covered in dust, looking rather unattractive, thank God, and all parts appeared intact. I was surprised the new wire wheels had not been stolen! At that point an officious lady appeared on the scene and read us the riot act – all property on these premises was under the managing agent’s control, and nothing could be removed.

We moved aside and decided not to argue. Driving to the nearest town we rented a van, returned to the ‘scene of the crime’ and loaded everything up, our ‘friendly’ lady had disappeared. An urgent call was made to Ross-on-Wye where our ex-Oman friend Nigel, Royal Yacht Squadron, had an empty wood shed, where the TD would be safe for the next 12 months.

I am one hundred percent sure that if I had not been in England at that exact time, the TD would have disappeared for ever, so I decided I owed it to the TD to get her finished, and called Len Bull to ask him to take over all the remaining rebuild. Len’s only condition: “Not longer than 5 years please Doug!”

In the meantime I had not forgotten that red TC in the Chequered Flag. In 1983 I saw advertised a red TC in Devon. Somewhat disappointed when I inspected the car as the seats were scruffy, the leather was torn, and the body was far from perfect. However, the seller told me that his car was mechanically very sound and pronounced “You could drive this car to Scotland tomorrow!” I replied that that was exactly what I intended to do! That first drive to Scotland was perfect, except for a loss of power around the borders. No. 1 plug was oiled up with no spark. A new plug fitted and off we went. The TC took me to Germany and back several times and never failed to start even in the extreme winter in Germany in 1985, 20 degrees below zero.

Doug’s TC purchased in Devon in 1983; Where are you now TME 489?

A crazy idea to buy a small holiday cottage in Spain forced me to raise funds with the sale of the TC. The holiday cottage was flooded, the renting agent ripped us off, and money was lost on the eventual sale. I know that the TC would never have caused such grief… The TC was registered TME 489 and I should be very interested to learn if anyone knows its present whereabouts?

At the time of writing, the PB and TD are both complete and running and looking superb. John James’ comment regarding his MG J2 in TTT2 Issue 25 that “Everything comes to him who waits” has a loud ring of truth. After a hiatus of 38 years, claiming back the TD registration number MXA 399 from the DVLA was problematic: a copy of my original Barclays Bank cheque for the purchase of the car in 1972, with receipt showing all details of the car, a number of old photos and garage receipts showing both my own name and the car registration number left the officials at the DVLA unmoved. Roy Miller from the MG Car Club helped enormously. Eventually I found an original Test Certificate from 27 July 1972, not from the Ministry of Transport, but from the then Department of the Environment. A scanned copy did not convince our friends at the DVLA and the original Test Certificate had to be posted to Swansea. This finally “wrapped it up” in Roy Miller’s words. MXA 399 was once more! The chassis number is TD12495 and the car Build Date was 18 December 1951.

The PB chassis number is PB0599, engine number 1022APB, issued 30 December 1935, sold to Mr E A Snow, the Locks, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex delivered on 24 February 1936 from the Works, body colour black and upholstery colour blue.

This year, 2014, MGA guru Bob West in Pontefract fitted a Peter Gamble [Hi-Gear Engineering] 5-speed Ford Sierra gearbox to the TD for me, something which 20 odd years ago I would never have countenanced. Peter himself drove over to Bob’s workshop to personally check the work, telling me that this was the latest version of the kit, as the engine stays exactly in situ. In my own opinion this gearbox improves the TD immensely, making the car a delight to drive.

The MGA, we called “The White Lady” back in the ‘80s, has been resting in a lock-up in Dundee since 1990, although I polish her on every possible occasion. At last, 2015 will be her year: Bob West has agreed to start an extensive list of work in January 2015, including an engine rebuild, fitting a 5-speed Hi-Gear gearbox, converting to wire wheels and a complete interior makeover. The bodywork and paint are still in good condition.

“Everything comes to him who waits!”

Roll on summer 2015!

Doug Wallace

Lost and Found

We start off with a ‘found’. An early issue of TTT 2 (Issue 5) featured TB0613 (GGO 173) which was owned by Derek Waters in the 1960s. Derek had been unable to find the car’s whereabouts until Tim Bloomfield from Lake Charles, Louisiana contacted the Editor. The photos below show the car at Marlow in Buckinghamshire in the 1960s and more recently in downtown Lake Charles.

GGO 173

Tim has owned the car for 46 years during which time it has resided with him in Florida, Shreveport Louisiana, Philadelphia (beautiful countryside near Philly) Tulsa OK, and back to Lake Charles where he plans to retire. Tim doesn’t think that the car will ever retire!

MG 4950 (TA0352)

John Masters from Wichita, Kansas recently contacted me with an update of previous ownership of his car. The son of a previous owner, Victor Maskell, now 89 years old and residing in S. E. England saw the article ‘A Tale of Two Ts’ in Issue 15 of TTT 2 and it brought back memories of the car for Victor who owned it in the mid 1950s. Victor’s son e-mailed several period photos of the TA including one taken in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Victor and his wife toured Europe in the car, visiting France, Switzerland and Italy.

John is still hopeful of tracing the full history of his car. Prior to the TA being in Dallas, Texas in 1970 he had no ownership record, except for a Mr D Gouldon in Cheshire with no dates of ownership. There is no indication as to whether Mr Gouldon owned the car before or after Mr Maskell.

MG TA0352

TA0352 parked in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the 1950s.

Ed’s Note: Mention of MG 4950 reminds me that three TAs bear sequential MG registration marks as follows:

MG 4950 TA0352
MG 4951 TA0609
MG 4952 TA0355

TA0609 has just surfaced, having spent the best part of 25 years in ‘hibernation’. TA0355 is of course the TA Airline Coupe currently in Australia.

Found and ‘Lost’!

Nick Hayes e-mailed me this old photo, taken at a small car sales business which used to operate out of an old fish shed in Newlyn, Penzance, Cornwall.

The TC in the foreground is Nick’s TC which appeared on the front cover of Issue 25. At the time the photo was taken the car bore the registration mark KPJ 244. If you recall, Nick sold the car to a friend and subsequently re-purchased it, but when he did, it had been re-registered MG 7357.

The red TD is (by the process of elimination) CCB 347. A Blackburn, Lancashire registration, it is currently taxed until 1st February 2015. I don’t know the chassis number, but it is a fairly early TD (date of first registration 9th March 1950).

The black TD (MKF 723) isn’t on the DVLA’s records so might have been scrapped, exported, or be in a barn somewhere. It’s a Liverpool registration which was issued from 1951 onwards.

‘Lost’ but now Found!

Geoff Southern, a former owner of TC9996 (LTC 385) from 1962 to 1965, e-mailed me a while back asking if we knew the whereabouts of his old TC. I knew that it is still around but I did not know the owner. With the help of Stewart Penfound of the ‘T’ Register we managed to put Geoff in touch with Martin Lowe, the current owner.

In a note to Martin, Geoff said:

“I have always regretted selling it all those years ago, only to replace it with a TR2.
I used it to commute from Liverpool to London before the M1/M6 link was built and it was always reliable (except for the lack of new tyres at the time, hence many punctures)”.

In response, Martin said:

“I purchased this vehicle in a completely dismantled state in 1981. After a complete rebuild the MG was back on the road in the autumn 1982. 

Last year I embarked on its second major rebuild which is now nearly complete”.

MG TC9996

TC9996 in the early 1960s – I doubt if that Vauxhall Victor is still around!

TC6397 (CST 787) – Where are you?

MG TC6397

TC1397 (was KPJ 244, now MG 7357) and TC6397 (CST 787) at Silverstone in 1970.

CST 787 was owned by Bob and Margaret Skempton who bought it in 1967. Bob purchased it from its first owner, Mrs Podmore of Humberstone, Leicester for £140 – he knew the car well because Mrs P used to bring the car into the garage where Bob used to work in Leicester. Bob sold the car to a dealer friend, Roland Duce in the early 1970s.

CST 787 may well have had a few owners since but it would be nice to find the present one.

1951 TD – KZ 6545

MG TD KZ 6545

Des Johnston from Northern Ireland sent me this photo of a ’51 TD which he restored in the late 1960s. The photo was taken in the summer of 1969.

Des sold the car to a friend who sold it to Marguiles of London. Apparently, the TD featured on a BBC2 Arts programme about the Irish poet Louis McNeice. Des wonders where it is now.

TC1066 (HSM 666)

MG TC1066

Len Goff owned this car from 1956 to 1958. Pictured, testing the badge bar is his late wife Christine.

Tuned to stage 2 this TC had 16” rears, fitted radio, auxiliary lamps and flashing indicators. Seems all too good a car to have been scrapped but apparently that was its fate – unless anybody knows anything to the contrary.

The engine (XPAG 1710) is reported to be fitted now to TC3097.

Tuning the SU carburettor on the T-Series MG

Section 1 – Needle Selection

On the SU carburettor, recall that the diameter of the needle at each piston position from a closed throttle (Position 1) to fully open (Position 9) in one eighth inch travel increments, determines the area of the annular space between it and the 90 thou. Inch jet orifice. In operation, because of the highly turbulent flow through the annulus, the weight of fuel passed to mix with incoming air is precisely regulated at each piston position by the annulus cross section area.

The exact fuel weight is difficult to establish, but once a starting point needle profile is chosen (for instance by the car manufacturer after extensive testing), then for tuning purposes all that is required is a reliable method to quantify the difference between the original profile and any new proposed new needle. At any position, obviously, a wider needle will give a weaker fuel/air mixture and a narrower one a richer mix.

The following is a method to quantify an increased or decreased fuel mixture richness from a needle change to aid in the selection of a needle for carburettor tuning purposes, to provide improved power or economy.

Essentially it compares the annular area between a proposed needle diameter and the 90 thou jet internal diameter with some standard needle area. The rate of fuel flow through the carburettor is directly related to this area at each of the carburettor piston positions (P1 to P9 for the H2 SU carb).

I have dubbed the area, calculated below, as an “area index” A. For example, for the standard TC needle (ES) at the mid-needle position (P5);

From the Burlen Fuel Systems SU Needle Profile Charts (see Ref. 1 at the end of the article), the ES needle diameter at position P5 = 0.0770 inches.

Calculation steps

(1) Just use the three significant digits 770.

(2) Square this value 770 x 770 = 592,900.

(3) Take again the first three significant digits 593 (rounded).

(4) Do the same with the jet diameter = 0.0900 inches, thus 900 squared = 900 x 900 = 810,000.

(5) Extract the first three significant digits, as before, 810.

(6) The area index for the ES needle at position P5 is then:

Aes @ P5 =810 – 593 = 217. The figure of 217 is proportional to the actual annular surface area, and thus the fuel flow rate, for this needle at P5.

(7) Now repeat the steps 1 to 6 for a proposed alternative needle (say) EU at the same position P5 = 0.0785 inches:

Thus Aeu @ P5 = 785 X 785 /1000 = 810 – 616 = 194. As before, this figure is proportional to the actual annular surface area and the fuel flow rate.

(8) Comparing the two needles at P5, ES is richer than EU by 217/194 = 1.119 as an area ratio (AR), or as a percentage 11.9%. Alternatively stated, EU is leaner than ES by 11.9%.

This whole procedure may seem tedious when done for all the nine effective needle positions but it has the advantage of precision, It is reliable and more accurate than simply comparing needle diameters by eye from the Burlen needle tables which are related to the fuel flow rate by an awkward square root function.

The method is not that onerous once one has become used to extracting the three significant digits from the needle profiles and calculating the squares. The jet area figure is constant of course at 810 for all H2 carburettor needle positions and needle profiles.

For the ES/EU comparison the area indices and rich/lean ratios and percentages are as follows:

Click table for bigger version

Section 2 – Piston Weight

To meet Don Jackson’s call for a leaner fuel/air mix for the MG TC with the ES needle, in theory a lighter piston spring could weaken the mixture, but the standard blue spring is the lightest available. However, by returning to the origins of the SU carburettor, a weighted piston, as at first designed, could be employed instead (see below). A weighted piston could be used on its own or in combination with a needle change if required.

The standard blue piston spring for the TC and TD exerts the following down force on the piston at each needle position:

Added to the weight of the aluminium piston and needle (on my car 107 gm) this gives a total down force (T/force g) of:

A piston with a total weight of 239g, but with no spring, would thus on average equal that of the blue spring plus an unweighted piston but slightly richer at positions 1 to 4 and leaner at positions 6 to 9.

Two colleagues have weighted pistons with no dampers or springs, one with a TA at 200g (HV3 carbs), the other a TD (H2 carbs) at 165g. These are the extremes of weights I have encountered on T-series cars. Don Jackson mentions an 81/2 oz (241g) piston but with no car specified.

On my TC I have tried various weights from 230g to 165g but I find that a total of 175g (107g piston, with 68g weight) suits my needs at present.

The effect of a change in piston weight on the carburettor richness or leanness is related to the square root of the weight ratio:-

Weight ratio (WR) = square root (heavier wt. / lighter wt.)

Thus the average weight ratio (WR) for the standard TC versus mine is :-

WR = square root (239/175) = 1.169, i.e. 16.9% rich, or expressed the other way, my TC is 16.9% lean versus standard at Position 5.

Note that the use of a different weight can provide a sensitive method to richen or weaken any particular needle if experience shows that a current one is not optimum. For example if one finds that a specific needle is slightly too lean for a particular car then a piston weight of (for example) 175g could be raised by increasing the additional weight from 68g to (say) 75g. This would then richen the carburettor at all positions by the square root of (107+75)/175 = 1.02 or 2%. This is a much smaller change than could be obtained by a different needle selection and could be used of course either way to richen or weaken accurately the carburettors as required, by the addition or subtraction of weight.

The use of a weighted piston within the range 165g to 230g (or more) makes redundant the damper fitting on the standard carburettor. The momentary richness required for acceleration is accomplished by the inertia of the heavier piston, as in the original SU design.

To digress for a moment:-

On the question of how to fix the additional weight to an aluminium piston I have avoided drilling it by using a 1.1/2 inch length of light steel tube of about 1 inch diameter. I have slit it length-wise and opened it out slightly to be a snug fit in the cylindrical cavity around the central steel bearing rod. I have drilled two small radial holes close to the tube top edge in which I use wire ties to anchor an accurately weighed strip of lead (solder would do) wound around the tube top. In my case the whole assembly weight is of course the 68g which I need.

Needle profile and piston weight changes combined

As noted above, if required, a needle profile change can be used together with a piston weight. For example, a EU needle leaner than ES with an average area ratio (AR) of 1.19 can be coupled with a 175g piston weaker than a blue spring giving a weight ratio WR = square root of (239/ 175) = 1.169. Thus the leanness ratio (EU/ES) at position 5 becomes AR x WR = 1.119 x 1.169 = 1.308. The carburettor is then weaker than standard by around 30.8% (see Table 1, below). These are settings I have used successfully on my own TC. An expected fuel consumption with these conditions would be about 1.3 x 28 mpg = 36 mpg on a standard TC.

Click table for bigger version


To sum up, this is a method to adjust the richness or leanness of the SU 1.1/4 inch diameter carburettor for the TC series, including the TA (HV3), TB, TC and TD (H2), or the 1.1/ 2 inch (H4) of the TF. The method in principle could be used for most SU carburettors including the MG Y—Type or the MGA or MGB. For the H4 carburettor the Position range is P1 to P10.

Don Jackson‘s opinion is that the standard ES needle for the T- series is “far too rich” and the EU is better. My experience supports this and I am still experimenting at the time of writing with my own TC.

Ultimately the results obtained by using the method are dependent on the practical judgement of the driver regarding the improvements in car performance and economy to be made. The average MG owner is usually sensitive to the response of the vehicle in tests on the road and can decide by experience how to get the best from the car. The tuning method I have suggested can be applied as an aid in this endeavour.


“SU carburettor needle profile charts”, Burlen Fuel Systems, Salisbury, Wilts.

“Your SU Companion, Hints and Tips for MG Owners”, Donald Jackson, Panache Press, Burnley (1994).

John Saunders

Ed’s Note: Don Jackson’s little book is available from the Octagon Car Club – it is well worth having.

TD/TF Cutaway Illustrations

This striking TF cutaway image is one of several that have been lovingly created by MG owner David Townsend of Plan B Illustration in Vermont, USA.  David’s designs capture the essence of the TD, TF1250 and TF1500 in minute detail, right down to the frame.

Customisable numbered and signed prints of these illustrations, printed on archival quality, acid-free paper, are available from David at the price of $85 (for the 24″ size) and $105 (for the 36″), with your choice of body/interior colours and wheels.  However, readers of Totally T-Type 2 may avail of the special coupon code ttypes when purchasing online which will give a 10% discount off the price of a single print, valid until 15th December 2014. Simply enter the code in the relevant box during checkout.

Prints are sent via USPS international 1st class post in protective tubes; shipping is $7 within the Continental United States and $16.50 internationally. For more information, or to place an order, please visit the Plan B Illustration website at for the MG TD print or for the MG TF1250/1500.

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.

Click advert for bigger

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.”

Click advert for bigger

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.

Back Cover Photos

Above: The cars of the Vancouver (BC) “Pre 56 MG Unclub” at the Dorena covered bridge in the US State of Oregon. Below: The members with their cars at the same bridge. Photos courtesy of Malcolm Scanlan who took his TC on ‘The Covered Bridge Tour’ on 4th September. Heading south over the border he joined up with 11 other ‘T’ type cars (total: 3 TFs ; 5 TCs ; 3 TDs and 1 YB saloon), Continuing south through Washington State and into Oregon State they visited some of Oregon’s covered bridges. For a list with photos of these bridges please see

Above: TCs in the car park of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway during the Classic Car Day in June 2014. The 2015 Classic Car Days are on 14th June and 13th September and further details will be published in the 2015 issues of TTT 2. Below: Brian Stutchbury’s recently restored TF pictured in Kenya. Brian, 91 years young, tells me that he got his first regular job with Ferguson Tractors of Coventry on the 1st January 1950 with a starting wage of 8 quid a week.