Category Archives: Issue 33 (December 2015)

The Editor

Welcome to the final issue of 2015!

First, some good news for printed copy subscribers, which is that I’m going to give you a free issue (the February 2016 magazine)! By then I will hopefully have arrived at a subscription amount for the six issues after the February issue.

The photo for this issue’s front cover comes from Jonathan Goddard, who has supplied these words:

“Lymington is a busy port on the south coast of England. It has all sorts of marine craft, private and commercial, sailing or motoring up and down the river, to head out to the Solent, the Isle of Wight and beyond. Lymington Quay, where this picture was taken, also has a commercial importance. Local trawlers and fishing boats deliver their cargos directly onto the quay, to sell to companies that transport the catches to shops and businesses. 

This busy quay does not allow much time or space for classic car owners wishing to capture some of this nautical ‘atmosphere’ for a photograph! Due to the fishing activities taking precedence over all other, I was forced to visit this spot on a number of occasions, always with an eye out for the sun’s position in the sky, and the fishing boats going about their business, before I was able to capture this photograph.

The idea of having a view ‘reflected’ in the rear view mirror was inspired by a painting I saw whilst visiting Donner Lake, in southern California. This local picture showed a close up of a small speedboat’s dashboard, with a nice view out over a lake, and with the reflected shoreline featured in the windscreen mirror.”

Current work in progress is an index of TTT 2 articles under appropriate headings – e.g. Steering & Suspension, Body & Trim etc… The aim is to have it ready by the time of the next issue. At the time of writing the first 10 issues have been done.

Bookings for the TTT 2 Tour of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley have flooded in of late and at the time of writing it looks as though it is fully booked. It is being held from 26th to 29th August. The rate negotiated with Bells Hotel in Coleford for the Dinner Bed and Breakfast package is £57 per person per night and the reservation number for bookings is BK07359 (£25 per person deposit).

Later in this issue are some details of the MG Octagon Car Club’s ‘Founder’s Weekend, being held from 13th to 16th May and based on the Moore Place Hotel, Aspley Guise Village, Bedfordshire.

The MG Spares Day at Stoneleigh is taking place on 21st February and we will be in our usual pitch.

Next year’s Goodwood dates have been recently announced with the Festival of Speed scheduled for 23rd to 26th June and the Revival meeting due to take place on 9th to 11th September.

The April edition of Totally T-Type 2 contained an excellent article by Stewart Penfound, telling the story of how he came to publish his book “Harry Lester, his cars and The Monkey Stable”. He is delighted to announce that it has been voted book of the year by The Society of Automotive Historians, and he was presented with the prestigious Michael Sedgwick Award at their recent AGM.

Stewart being presented with the Michael Sedgwick award by Craig Horner.

Stewart’s book contains much previously-unseen material and is a story as much about the period and the characters, as the cars themselves. It is a significant addition not only to MG history but to the record of motor racing immediately after the end of the Second World War and has been recognised as such by The Society of Automotive Historians.

The book has had excellent reviews in the motoring press (from the BRDC bulletin – “a truly excellent book… it cannot be recommended too highly”) so if you are still wondering what to get for Christmas, look no further. See for details.

Just enough space left to say that Steve Poteet is looking for an original jack for his early TC. Please contact him at pspoteet{at}


DISCLAIMER BY THE EDITOR 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.

Lost and Found

TC3616 (LS 4593)

John Crook has fond memories of his 1946 MG TC (reg. LS 4593) which he owned between 1965 and 1970 and would love to know about it now.

He was an 18 year old Mechanical Engineering university student and this was his every day car for 5 years. He purchased it for £35! with a seized engine, which he completely overhauled. It then provided enjoyable transport for the next 40,000 miles and through his ‘courting years’. The car only let him down once when an oil pipe broke and oil pressure was lost. The MG was upgraded with 16” wheels, front telescopic dampers and sealed beam headlight conversion.

Sadly he had to sell the car to pay the deposit on a house. It was sold for £200, which was a fair price in 1970.

Last year he contacted the buyer (Richard Longdon) who paid him £200 all those years ago and he told him that he sold it to a chap in USA sometime in the 1970s.

The photo was taken in 1968 and is but one of a number in John’s collection.

TD0628 (was Danish registration EA 5772)

Franz Zammit Haber in Malta is trying to trace the history of his early TD. Franz acquired the car from The Netherlands but the seller had no history of the car. It came with a Danish registration number EA 5772, is a right hand drive car and has definitely undergone a thorough restoration some years ago.

The photo of the TD with a Spitfire Mark IX in the background was taken at the aviation museum at Ta’ Qali, limits of Rabat Malta.

GAD 518 (TC1601)

Following publication of the cutaway illustration and the comments in the editorial of Issue 32, the following has been received from Michael Capps:

“I owned this car as a penniless student in the late 60s. While working for a while at a local garage serving petrol, a regular came in weekly in an MG TD and noticed my TC and obviously we enjoyed chatting about MGs. After a few weeks he announced that he was emigrating to Australia and did I want first refusal on the TD. I thought it was a step up and agreed to purchase it for £200. I sold the TC for £190 to someone who wanted it for his daughter even though she did not appear in the least bit interested during the sale negotiation. Wish I had had funds to have kept the TC. The TD was used until family arrived and then placed in the garage for resuscitation later…..usual story! I still have the car but still off the road but bought a MGTF 1500 1955 a few years ago to enjoy MG motoring etc. Also have a MGBGT for winter use when the TF is in the garage avoiding the road salt. If the present owner of GAD 518 wishes to make contact I will be happy to recount my experiences of ownership.”


Serge Faugeron, who lives in France, is trying to trace the history of his TC. He bought it in England in 2008 from Barry Walker with a small history file which indicated that there were three previous Swiss owners (presumably the car left England, bound for Switzerland at an earlier stage of its life) before it came back to England and was sold and went back out to Switzerland.

The first of the Swiss owners was Mr Josef Schuchter who is now a well known boat builder in Switzerland. A photo of the car when it was in his ownership is below.

The car then passed into the ownership of Mr Rudolf Werenfels who restored it in 1985/86, painting it cream with green upholstery.

Mr Urs Langen then acquired the car and afterwards it returned to England and was registered 664XUH before leaving England and being registered by Serge in France as 7030 KM 46.


Wiel Claessen from the Netherlands is trying to trace the history of his TC. He bought the car from a Dutch trader in 1999; the trader had previously imported the car from the USA in 1998.

The TC had originally started out in life in the UK with registration mark KPE 213, a Surrey County Council number. Unfortunately, while the Kithead Trust hold some records for Surrey County Council, they cannot help with KPE 213.

Wiel found some details of a New Jersey registration from 1996 (EL334C) in the car with the owner listed as Stephen A Schwartz, 84 Candebrook Rd, Short Hills NJ07078 but he hasn’t been able to trace this former owner.

TD27454 (UK registration mark FSD 10)

Dan Shockey from Scotts Valley, California is looking for past history of his TD, a Home Market car, shipped to the US in 1979. Originally registered FSD 10, an Ayrshire County Council registration, we have drawn a blank because all the Ayrshire records have been destroyed.

MG TA registration mark GYG 878

Does anybody recognise this TA, thought to carry the registration mark GYG 878? ‘YG’ was first issued by the Yorkshire West Riding Licensing Authority in 1938. The photograph was shown to Adrian Moore of the ‘Finishing Touch Bodyshop’ in Weston-Super-Mare by an old chap who hailed from Sheffield and who said that the car was first sold through a dealership called Keenan / Sheffield.

Perhaps this is a sales negotiation taking place in a dealer’s yard?

TC10178 – saved from sitting on bricks since 1967 in a Sheffield lock up garage (Part 3)

In the June issue of TTT 2 I mentioned that Norman Verona had contacted me to say that he had found the TTT 2 website and that he had registered his newly acquired TC on the T-Database. He promised that he would send regular updates of a total restoration which he intended carrying out himself. The first update was published in the August issue of TTT 2 and the second in the October issue. This is Norman’s third update.

We left the last report at the point where I couldn’t get the brake drum on the near side rear. Turned out that the bolt that holds the clip on the shoe was on the wrong way round and the end of the bolt, protruding past the nut, was stopping the expander from closing. Turned it round and the drum went on a treat. I have ordered a new cable for the off side as it’s frayed. In the mean time I fitted all the brake pipes and the master cylinder. I had to file flats on the large thread of the master cylinder to get it to fit in the oblong hole in the chassis bracket.

This is the errant bolt. The thread bit beyond the nut was stopping the expander lever from closing when the bolt was the other way around.

All pipes on and master cylinder. A rolling chassis at last! (minus off side h/brake cable).

The new off side cable (ordered to replace the frayed one) arrived and I struggled to fit it and, when I did I had the same problem with the expander not closing. The cable has the wrong end on it, it’s too large, so the expander, which is supposed to hook on, keeps falling out and the ferrule will not retract behind the shoe. I sent it back and ordered one from another supplier.

Can you spot the deliberate error?

I had to wait a few weeks but when it came it had the correct end on it. However, I still have the problem with the expander not fully closing – more on this later.

I got all the panels out to put in the van that we’re going to Portsmouth in to meet my daughter and son-in-law who will be collecting the new ash frame (tub) from Lancashire on Bank Holiday Monday (31st August).

You may be wondering why I’m taking the panels in the van. Reason is that we return at 1500 on Tuesday (1st September) and I want to get the tub and panels to the bodyshop that night. It’s three hours from Ouistrham to the bodyshop so I’ll take them with me, which will save time on the return. I can drive straight there. They close at 1900 so I should catch them. It will save a day’s van hire.

The front wings are already at the bodyshop and I saw a chap working on them yesterday. He had made up new flitch plates for the leading inner edge of the wing tip and had soldered the holes where the wing mirrors were. He’s also panel beaten the few dings and dents in the wings. Looked good!

I got two emails from TABC group members. Dirk Dondorp pointed out that I had the rear brake pipe going across the axle through the rebound hoops. I had meant to route these correctly three times but every time something else was more important. It’s done now. The second was from Duncan MacKellar, who had noticed my temporary plastic core plug with a spike on it on the left hand rear shock absorber. You will of course know that the core plug is metal (Lynne asked me to explain this ………………..women!) I explained that due to my medical condition, I get very tired and when I’m tired my eyesight gets extremely poor. I had miss hit the core plug when fitting the new one and had now got some more from Roger Furneaux and will replace the plastic plug before the body goes on.

I was going to refit the right hand rear brake shoes and then take them off to fit the new handbrake cable when it arrives. However, I resisted and the parts are safely in a box to be fitted with the new cable.

This morning I’m going to seal the petrol tank, pour the resin mix in and “roll” the tank around, end over end to spread the resin inside the tank.

All the panels laid out prior to loading in the van.

The new tub after the first coat of primer. Green primer. I gave it a second coat next day followed by two coats of black top coat.

The completed dash, apart from the chrome surround strips, to be screwed and tacked on.

Waiting for the new handbrake cable to arrive, I just couldn’t get going. There are other bits and pieces I can get on with but I’d rather finish the job I’m doing before starting another. Therefore I had about 10 days off.

On the 20th September I got all the radiator parts together. I sealed up the top and bottom hose outlets (after cutting the top hose off) and filled the rad with a mixture of phosphate and hot water. The mixture ran out of three holes in the core! I rolled the rad around the field and then drained and flushed it.

I sprayed the grille slats with the correct shade of red and the radiator with shiny black chassis paint. I spilled a drop of black paint when I poured some in a plastic bowl only to find the bowl was split. Having given the slats 3 coats of red I fitted them to the chrome case. Looked good!

I then laid the bubble wrap on the floor and put the shell on it. Only problem was that I laid the grille down, on the spilt black paint. I wiped it off and used the last of the red paint to cover the black smudges. The paint bubbled up so will need rubbing down and repainting. Another tin ordered from Moss Paris but will take 6 weeks to arrive as they are out of stock. OK, we can’t all be perfect all the time.

The shell with red slats. It’s not fully screwed down yet hence one of the centre slats and both outside slats have fallen out. It’s all screwed down now and attached to the radiator.

The bonnet catches after cleaning in the blast cabinet and the wire wheel.

Now, let me tell you a story, are you sitting comfortably?

Whilst cleaning one of the catches with the spring attached, the catch caught in the wheel and was dragged in. It smashed against my hand, badly cutting the middle finger and smaller cuts on two others. Lynne dressed them and wanted to take me to hospital. The following day I agreed to go to the hospital as it was still bleeding. The doctor told me off as she couldn’t stitch it so long after it was cut; 6 hours is the limit. She had it x-ray’d and this showed no fracture. She then stuck a red hot needle through the nail to relieve the pressure (reason it was bleeding). Lynne said that I left the bed when she got this red hot needle through the nail. The doctor then asked if we wanted a nurse to visit daily to change the dressing. We both said, at the same time that Lynne would do it.

So I now have to have another few days off as it’s difficult working with one hand.

Yesterday I was looking for the four new bonnet handles (to go with the catches) but could only find two. This morning I cleared a space on the blanket and laid out all the new parts along with the re-chromed parts. I found the two missing handles in minutes. I then had a big clear up outside. Loaded all the wet and rotting cardboard on the roof of the Fiat, and found a huge wasps nest. Then put all the rubbish bags which were outside the workshop in the back of the Land Rover.

It’s a rubbish car!

All the new and re-chromed parts laid out.

You can see the whole TC rebuild blog at MG TC and then choose a month.

Now for the engine strip down!

On a day off at the end Of September (seems like yesterday) I finished the dash. I made one small mistake and in a moment of stupidity (they increase at the same rate as age) I fitted the grab handle in two new holes rather than drill out the holes in the handle. I then took it off, drilled the holes to size and made little patches to fit under the handle to cover the two small holes I had made.

See, you cannot see the two patches….. Actually, you can only see them when really close up.

On 1st October I painted the wiper motor with black wrinkle paint, only problem is, it didn’t wrinkle. The massed brains of the TABC members suggested I heat the paint and motor then it will just be right, wrinkly, like me. I have yet to do this.

I then had a nightmare with the new handbrake cable and the shoes. I couldn’t get the shoe to close. The shoes must have come off and back on at least a dozen times before I noticed the small clip where the short end of the horizontal expander arm goes in was twisted. I removed it and the shoes retracted and the drum went on.

The twisted clip. (sounds like the latest Agatha Christie novel)

The chassis has now gone to the bodyshop and I have the new clip here. I will be making a visit to the bodyshop soon to fit it and do a few other small jobs I didn’t get a chance to finish before the chassis left.

When I refitted the shock absorbers I had two rubber bushes left to install in the arms. The problem was the inside of the arm sockets were so pitted the bushes were catching and twisting in the tube. So I bought some 25mm nylon bar and turned it down to 22mm and drilled a hole in it and fitted those instead. Much easier!

Nylon bushes in the shock absorber arm.

On the 6th October, I borrowed the flatbed from the bodyshop and returned with the chassis on the back. I wanted to get it to them as I wanted the space to strip the engine.

Chassis on a flatbed. Lynne took over 90 pictures of this operation. They are on YouTube as a “video” see it here The loading

When I got back I started stripping the engine.

An engine with the rocker shaft removed.

This is the state of the block with the thermostat housing removed. It cleaned up OK.

And this is the sludge in the bottom of the sump. The shiny line just above the pickup is where I ran a finger. It’s about ¼” thick!

The bore. It’s mainly staining and cleaned up well. I’ll not rebore it as it was rebored at 80,000 and has only done 18,000 miles since.

The inside of the block after a good clean with petrol and degreaser. I have since cleaned it some more and scraped all the gasket off.

The cylinder head, spark plug side, after cleaning.

The head is unpainted so I asked the TABC group what should be painted. It started an avalanche of emails about what colours were used. I know the colour, dark red (maroon). In the end I established the head should be painted and so should the water pump and thermostat housing.

The crankshaft with an oil gallery cleaner in one of the oil ways. Can you see it?……..

. No, I didn’t think you would so here’s a close up.

Four pushrods cleaned, four to go.

Another half done. Notice the glove. It’s not for protection, just to cover the bandage on the middle finger which this machine ate a few days ago.

Nice and shiny flywheel.

And a clean sump.

When I first drew the pistons I thought they were OK. But on cleaning I found this…

……… deep scores on all four. Two pistons had broken rings so that wouldn’t have helped.

The cleaned parts laying on a towel (from the Grosvenor-only the best for my engine).

Whilst I’ve been waiting for parts I’ve been doing some work on a friends TC. I won’t go into that here but you can read all about it on, MG TC, and select October.

Norman Verona

The Grand Tour of Europe (or what passed for it in my case)

by Tom Eaves

This is a tale of two misguided young men with an MG ‘doing’ Europe on a shoestring. It probably couldn’t happen today.

During the 2nd World war, which largely passed over my head in the form of the Luftwaffe, there was so little traffic on our roads that we could walk the mile to school in the middle of the road, with little danger of being run over by anything more dangerous than a horse drawn milk float. That changed when hostilities ended in 1945, and petrol – albeit poor quality “pool” petrol – became available once more for the private motorist. The traffic level was still light, although we didn’t stroll down the middle of the road quite so frequently.

One of the things which made a big impression on me was the appearance of some of the most delicious (in my eyes) little two-seater cars. These were the T-Types made by M.G. At that time I could not distinguish between the pre-war TA and TB, or the post war TC. In truth, there was very little difference anyway. I wanted one rather badly, but as I was only 8 at the time, sadly it had to remain a dream.

It was not until 1960 that I actually got my hands on one, in the form of a 1950 type TD in Hong Kong! I was at that time a Wireless Operator in the RAF, serving with the Far Eastern Air Force and the TD belonged to one Corporal Dave Simpson, or ‘Simmo’, as he was known to his colleagues. The registration number was XX 1144, and as our Chinese amah pointed out, it was a very lucky number, having three doubles. Simmo kindly let me drive it occasionally, quite legally as I had a full HK driving licence and it was insured properly.

Eventually, we all returned to the UK and went our separate ways. I went to college, and qualified as a Radio Officer for the Merchant Service, joined BP Tanker Co, and went to sea.

Returning to the UK for some leave at the beginning of 1962, I saw an advert in our local paper, the Falmouth Packet, for a 1949 MG TC on offer by a gent named Bob Hope, who ran a small garage in Threewaters, near Truro. I went to see him, saw it, and bought it. It cost £125, and in my eyes was beautiful. Thus I became the owner of FAP 35, pictured here in Cornwall prior to setting out on the tour.

As was quite normal for these cars, it had enjoyed a lifetime of total neglect, lived outside permanently, had been ‘maintained’ by its previous (impecunious?) owners (read bodged), and was by no means totally roadworthy. However, there was none of the MOT nonsense back then, so it didn’t really make a lot of difference. If the engine ran and the wheels went round and you could drive it, it was OK.

FAP 35, pictured in the snow in Cornwall in 1962

If you have never driven a TC or its earlier relatives, you can have no idea of just how crude and brutal they could be. It has been said by many well informed people that it was impossible to drive a TC in a straight line down a straight road. I concur; you couldn’t!! It has been further said that and I quote “The TC corners as if it was on rails”. Yes, again I concur, but would add that the rails were as drawn by Salvador Dali.

With the TC I really did learn the true meaning of hair raising experiences. The steering wheel had only one and a quarter turns from full lock to full lock, and when the cars were new, one and a half inches of play in the wheel rim from the steering mechanism was normal. You didn’t steer them, you sort of aimed them in the general direction you wanted to go, and hoped for the best. You learned to read the camber of the road in front, and to load the steering wheel against the way you knew the car was going to veer. My hair took on the permanent appearance of a bottle brush.

FAP 35 travels to the Continent

Notwithstanding the roadworthiness or otherwise of FAP 35, on my return from my next spell at sea, which had included a trip round Africa to the Gulf, and then to Australia, I re-taxed the TC, chucked a tent, sleeping bag, some tools and clothes in the back, and set off for Manchester where I picked up Frank, an Engineer Officer from the same ship, and we set off from there to Dover, and France.

At this point I should mention that BP Tanker Co were very generous with shore leave, provided it was in mid winter!

After a sea passage of over an hour, we drove off the ferry onto the continent of Europe. Frank had agreed to be the cook on this trip, and I was soon aware that he just had to be a better engineer than he was a cook. His idea of breakfast was a crust of bread dipped in lukewarm tea.

Running Repairs

It was damn cold in northern France at that time of the year, so we headed south on the Routes Nationales which at that time were festooned with permanent notices declaring “Chausses Deformee”. They sure were. The TC was equipped with 19 inch diameter wire wheels which had really seen better days, and it was not long before all four road wheels had assumed the general profile of a potato crisp. The poor TC shook, wobbled, shuddered and rattled its way south to Toulouse, where we had our first crisis. The fuel tank developed a leak. Now, you can’t just have someone weld up a petrol tank, especially when it’s full of fuel!

British ingenuity came to the fore, and we removed it, cleaned the affected area with emery cloth, and patched it with David’s Isopon and some fibreglass tape. Repairs completed, we set off once more for Andorra La Vella in the Spanish Pyrenees.

FAP 35 on the Pas de la Casa en route to Andorra, Principat d’Andorra in the ’60s

Andorra, it appeared to me, was a small enclave run by some sort of clergyman from either Spain or France, and is a tax free area. It’s now a ski resort. The TC tackled the steady climb up into the mountains, the countryside took on an alpine appearance, and it got colder. We had naturally run all the way from Manchester with the hood down and the side screens packed. The snow fields started, and as we climbed higher and higher it got colder and colder.

Eventually we arrived in the town of La Vella, and looked for the campsite. We pitched the tent, and rolled out our sleeping bags. Mine was totally inadequate for a well below freezing environment. Walking up the one and only street in the late afternoon, I decided that if I was to survive the night I’d better get a bit more lagging. I tried to buy a blanket in a shop on the side of the street. The language used in Andorra then, appeared to be Castilian Spanish, of which I possessed not a word. After giving a performance worthy of a second rate music hall act, I finally managed to buy a thick blanket which was sold to me as Una Manta. It was still known by that name many years later.

Having decided that Frank’s cooking was not up to producing a dinner, and being ravenous by that time, we decided to have a meal in a restaurant. In we went, and I ordered Bifstek con Patatas Fritas. I knew that much Spanish. I forget what Frank ordered.

My order caused consternation. It appeared that no-one in Andorra could afford steak. After a long discussion with the manager, someone was despatched up the street to the local butcher’s shop, and he appeared at our table a little while later carrying a whole side of beef. After a further palaver, I was invited to indicate which bit I wanted, and a slice of beef was ceremoniously cut off where I’d indicated, the side was taken back to the shop, my slice disappeared into the kitchen, and everyone was satisfied. By the time all this had taken place, the entire population of Andorra had been made aware that someone had ordered a steak, and just about everyone including the mayor had turned up to watch the pantomime.

They were still there enjoying the show when my dinner arrived, and they all gathered around and watched as I ate it. By that time I didn’t care, but it didn’t say much for the quality of evening entertainment in Andorra at that time.

Search for a Naked BB

Somehow, we survived the night, and the next day we set off towards Perpignan and the coast. As we left the snowfields, it got warmer again and life returned to what passed for normal for us. A rumour had been circulating that Bridget Bardot was to be seen sunbathing in the nude in St Tropez, so we headed in that direction to check it out. I can’t confirm it either way, I regret to say. St Tropez was, and still is, sun and sea and sand, and it was damned expensive to boot. So we rolled eastwards along the south coast of France to Cannes, to Nice, and then on to Monte Carlo. Monte is another of those enclaves, this time a Princedom, with its own borders etc.

We crossed the border and arrived at a cross roads. In those far off days, busy crossroads were controlled by a gendarme on a little pedestal in the middle. We arrived, stopped, and he saw us. He blew his whistle stopped traffic from all directions, pointed at us and waved us through as though we were royalty. I remember thinking that I could get used to that sort of thing. Monte was much too highbrow for a couple of tanker officers, but we toured the town, drove round the famous Grand Prix circuit at a very modest pace, and saw the sights, the casinos whose thresholds we didn’t dare cross, and after a day or two, we headed east once more towards Italy.

The road from France into Italy east of Monte Carlo was in poor shape back then, and to cross from France to Italy you had to take the formidable pass known as the Col de Tende. From the base of the foothills to where the road disappears into a tunnel there are well over a hundred hairpin bends of just under 180 degrees. Even with the most direct steering gear in the TC, it was damned hard work. Entering the tunnel, which was not lit, it took some time to get used to the mediocre lighting of the TC, and I did not realise that the tunnel was following quite a steep upward gradient. With no visible horizon, it’s impossible to know that. I was having nightmares wondering what the hell was wrong with the engine. I was having to use second gear and it seemed that I was beginning to run out of power. I knew that the altitude was considerable, and hoped that the engine would keep running and get us through the tunnel.

In the event it did, and we emerged out into daylight at the Italian border to find ourselves in a heavy blizzard like snowstorm. It was finally time to put the hood up and to slip the sidescreens into place. The Italian border guards gathered round to look at the TC, (they pronounced it TeeChee), shook their heads, and sent us on our way with much backslapping and good cheer.

Dropping down off the mountains which form the border between France and Italy in those parts, we drove east across a rather gloomy plain, which had very little to recommend it. The roads were still in poor condition, due no doubt to the financial situation of Italy, and of course the harsher winters they seemed to have in those days. We arrived on the outskirts of Turin in the late afternoon rush hour, which, in Italy, is a time to be avoided if at all possible. As usual, Frank’s cooking and food husbandry was sadly lacking, in that we had no provisions on board, so I pulled over on the side of the road near a small conditorie, and sent Frank ashore to buy something for the evening meal.

An Encounter with “Our Man in Torino”

I sat in the car, and a large black saloon car pulled up alongside, blocking all the following traffic. Fearing attention from the Black Hand mob, I sat tight. A well dressed gentleman got out, and came over to me, and addressed me in perfect English, to enquire if I had come from England in the TC. Answering in the affirmative, I added that if he didn’t move his car, the law would be on his tail pretty quick. Horns were being sounded, and fists waved about from the line of traffic astern of his car. His reply was “Oh, the CD plates take care of all that nonsense”. He then invited me to follow him to his house to meet his wife and family. Frank appeared just then, and I told the gent that there were two of us, to which he replied, “Fine, follow me.” We set off through the suburbs and climbed out of the city into what appeared to be the well heeled part of town.

Swinging into a gateway with high stone columns topped with stone eagles we pulled up in front of a very imposing residence indeed. At this time I can’t recall exactly who this gentleman was, but he held some high office in the British Foreign service, probably the Diplomatic Service, and was stationed in Italy. We had a superb meal, talked to his wife and two very pretty daughters, told our story, and finally left quite late in the evening, unsure where we would find a campsite, or even if we would find one at all. The dear TC was, at this point, beginning to display some interesting handling characteristics which I was certain had nothing to do with the imbibed alcohol!

Near Disaster and an Emergency Trip Home

We found a site on the banks of the River Po to the north of Turin, and pitched the tent, crawled in and slept the sleep of the exhausted. We spent the next day odding about, and I attempted to discover what was making a scraping sound from the front of the car. After a while, I noticed that the right hand side front wheel was standing at a different angle to the body than the other one. Our second crisis! Taking the wheel off, and the brake drum and bearings, I found that the front stub axle had a crack across it and it was bending. Yikes!!!!! Why it didn’t snap off whilst we were driving is still a mystery to me.

It was plain that the trip was over if I couldn’t find a replacement. The day after, I left Frank in charge, hired a car and went to Milan to the MG agents there. I had phoned them and they said they had one in stock. The car I hired was a Lancia, and in it I covered the 160 kilometres of the autostrada between Turin and Milan in exactly one hour, in British terms, at 100 miles per hour. Wow!! I had never driven anything like it, and it was absolutely exhilarating, and it had a heater!!

When I arrived at the agents, the part they had was for a TD / TF, and was totally incompatible. I knew I could get one in London, so the next day I hopped onto a BAC One Eleven belonging to BEA to Heathrow, got a taxi to Staines and S. H. Richardsons, bought the needed bit, got back in the taxi to Heathrow, got the afternoon flight back to Turin, and put the car back together again. Our Emergency Fund money had come to the rescue.

Poodles on Ice

Later, in the early evening, a large American caravan rig pulled in and pitched up near us. The driver came over, looked at the TC, and in a Texas drawl, enquired if I had one for the other foot. Hoots of laughter, of course, but he returned later with a full bottle of Jack Daniels, and the three of us sat in our tent until well after midnight and got very drunk. At some point there was a loud squawk outside the tent, as our guest’s wife had arrived, and proceeded to give us a hard time for getting her husband drunk. Anglo American relations dipped a bit, but she dragged him off, and we turned in. At about 6 the next morning, we were woken by an animal snuffling about round our tent, so with some difficulty, I opened one eye and looked out of the flap.

There doing what dogs do was a small one of the poodle variety, the only problem I had with it was that it was pink. At this point one begins to question sanity and to avoid alcohol in future – not a pleasant prospect -; so I asked Frank to have a look, and after a while he confirmed that it did indeed appear to be a pink poodle. Well, at least we were both seeing the same thing!

Four or five more pooches turned up, and they were all different colours, green, blue, yellow, orange, which at least gave us some hope that the booze of the previous evening had nothing to do with it. The dogs turned out to be part of the famous America on Ice Show, which travelled all over Europe, and during the day the rest of the outfit, hundreds of them, turned up in caravans and motor homes.

All the showgirls and skaters, all the technicians, were there, and as usual, the TC acted like a magnet. We were given tickets to the first show, and invited to be guests at the ceremony after the show when the local FIAT car factory was to unveil its newest creation, the FIAT Dino sports car. I took my camera, and during the unveiling, we wandered about on the ice with all the celebs and the glitterati, quaffed the champagne with the best of them, and finally staggered back to camp in an alcoholic haze.

We decided that it was about time we left Turin, not least because the boss of the AoI Show, having discovered that we were MN Engineering and Radio Officers, was trying to recruit us to join the outfit as technicians. Neither of us fancied that.

Escorted out of Italy

We packed up, and headed north out of Turin in the hopes of going to Switzerland. We got lost in the maze of roads, and I spotted a Gendarme with a motorcycle on the side of the road. I stopped and asked him if he could tell me how to find the road to Aosta. “Una momento”, he said, and called someone on his radio. Another gendarme arrived, and, forming up one ahead and one astern of the TC, escorted us out of Turin towards Switzerland with sirens and blue lights in action.

I’ve no idea what the onlookers thought was going on, but for me it was the greatest fun in the world right then.

Swiss Account

We didn’t make it to Aosta, because the road finally ended in a huge snowdrift several metres deep, so I had to turn around and head for the Grand St Bernard Tunnel. You had to pay to use these tunnels then, and that was an unwelcome expense, but couldn’t be avoided. Once in Switzerland, we were camping out in very cold and snowy weather, and to be honest, our equipment was not up to it.

The tent was ok and big enough, but sleeping bags and general clothing were not. However, we survived our trip north across Switzerland through the Alps in all their winter glory. The Bernese Oberland has to rank amongst the finest mountain scenery anywhere in the world, and seeing it in all its icy splendour from the open cockpit of a classic T-Type MG simply has to be the tops. Finally, we arrived in Basle in the north of Switzerland on the German border.

Leaving Basle heading north we followed the Rhine on the early German autobahn which must be the most boring road in existence. There were no further adventures of any note, and we finally arrived in Strasbourg. So far this has been my only visit to that city but based on what I saw of it then, I would like to return and have a proper visit. Turning west at last with some five hundred miles to run to the coast, we headed for Nancy.

Readies Running Out

Truth was, our money was getting very low, and in those days there were no ATMs or holes in the wall where you could draw money. It was currency or travellers cheques, and cashing those was not exactly easy or free. Banks tended to regard you with suspicion if you presented one. They needed your birth date, maiden name, passport number and Office of Issue, any aliases you might have sailed under, How’s your Father?, and driver’s licence, signatures in triplicate, then kept you waiting for 40 minutes whilst it was run past the security gnomes in head office in Zurich, all for ten pounds.

And you thought getting French registry for your MGs was difficult!!!

Unfriendly Welcome Home

We rolled northwest through Lorraine and through villages with names which had figured in the bitter fighting of WW1, through the Ardennes where the last tank battles of WW2 had taken place not very long before, through Cambrai and the flat agricultural plains of Northern France, and finally arrived back in Calais. We sailed across the channel on Townsend Thoresen Ferries, and drove ashore. We had crossed 6 national borders in our journey, and been treated so nicely everywhere, with friendly officials, and it came as a shock to come face to face with a surly and damned unpleasant British customs man in Dover.

We finally got away, but I left with a very sour taste and a determination to get my own back on their lousy service somehow, somewhere, sometime. (I have, but I’m not saying anything on the grounds that it would very seriously incriminate me!!)

Back Home

Driving through London, as one could back then, (can you guys do that on French plates??), I called in at S H Richardsons in Staines to buy some bits for the TC, which by now was in a sorry state. The 19 inch wire wheels had taken on the role of overgrown three penny bits, (if you’re under 40 and reading this, look them up on Google). In general the TC was in desperate need of some TLC. In Richardson’s shop stood an MG T-Type, a TF. I thought then – and still do! – that it was the most beautiful MG I had ever seen. The cost of the necessary TC spares was rather like a plumbers estimate and my by now meagre wallet couldn’t cope with the expense.

Salvation appeared in the unexpected form of a car salesman who had clearly spotted me drooling over the TF and arrived with the speed of a robber’s dog! He commented that my TC looked a bit jaded. I explained about the European Tour and hundreds of miles she had faithfully, (well almost), achieved without serious mishap. At which point he offered, what to me seemed a very reasonable trade in – in fact it was a better deal than buying the spares and repairing the TC! Fortune also smiled in that he didn’t take the TC for a test drive but merely commented that she must be sound to have completed the trip. (In all probability he didn’t want to get his suit dirty, but I’m sticking to my version).

The TF

Thus I traded the TC in on the TF, but not before I had returned to Falmouth which was my home in those days to raise the necessary cash. My father commented that it was a waste of money, (he after all had supplied the readies) and felt that selling the TC and investing the money would be better. Many year’s later I reminded him of this and enquired where one might have invested £60 to achieve a return of over £15,000 which is what the TF was worth at the time).

A fortnight later, I drove back to London in the TC, did the deal and drove home to the West Country.

Thus MG Midget TF ‘JDR 500’, TF4850, came into my life.

The TF that Tom has owned for 53 years.

Wonderful Memories

That was in late April 1962 and in 2015 the TF is still with me. It, too, has done the Grand Tour of Europe in its time, but with my new wife Christine as cook/navigator, which really was an improvement on Frank! My wife’s first real experience of the TF was on honeymoon, a fortnight’s trip which started in the car park at Lands End, and ended in the car park at Lands End leaving John O’Groats and Cape Wrath close to starboard. Looking back to the TC however, and in fairness to it, it did what it was supposed to do. It covered well over 1800 miles of very indifferent roads on the cheapest petrol available at a time of its life when it really shouldn’t have been tasked so sorely.

Overloaded and facing some of the most gruelling gradients in Europe, often in bitterly cold conditions and spending its nights in open camp sites, it gave all that it had, and has left me with a very few photographs and some great memories. I wonder if she has survived and where she is now?

Ed’s note: An amazing story which had me laughing in several places, particularly the occasion of the steak meal in La Vella, Andorra!

It would be a great pity if FAP 35 has failed to survive especially after such a feat of endurance. There surely must be a suspicion that the salesman at Richardsons, realising that the car was not as good as he initially thought it was, decided to have it broken up for spares. I hope not!

An Automatic MG TA!

Long term TA owner Bill Ryding spent nine years collecting parts and had substantial refurbishment done to some in order to assemble what is essentially a new MPJG engine. He did so to fulfil his ambition to have a spare engine for his car.

Unfortunately, during a lengthy spell in hospital it proved necessary to undergo a leg amputation earlier this year, which naturally forced a change of circumstances regarding not least, the future of his car and the spare engine on which he had spent a documented £5,500.

Following correspondence between Bill and Brian Rainbow the engine was advertised on the TTT 2 site and there have been a couple of expressions of interest.

Brian told me that Bill had found a way around keeping and, more importantly, driving his TA, so I followed this up and the outcome is described in Bill’s own words in a note to me as follows:

“I now have a couple of photos (enclosed) of the TA engine which I hope will be of use for the sales advert.

THE GOOD NEWS IS – that although I missed the Northern National on the 9th of this month, I now have my modified TA back home and I am driving it successfully with my “left foot”.

Perhaps it may be of some interest to members to learn what I have done to achieve this outcome – i.e. what I guess is the very first TA Automatic!

The man I have to thank for the substantial considerations in converting the 1939 TA to automatic drive is my good friend Andy Schultz of Cuerden Classics, a Trading member of our Preston Club.

Limits were established in that no alterations were to be made to the original chassis or bodywork (drilling existing parts or welding to the existing structure) such that the TA engine could, when required be replaced, thus setting the car back to standard.

The choice of engine and automatic gear box was very limited and after much thought and searching it was decided to consider an early 70s Morris Marina engine (the “A” series 1275cc) of which there was a short run of automatic gear boxes.

Ebay came up trumps with a used but assumed good condition unit which was duly collected from its home in North London.

Then it was old engine out (the easy bit) …………..

…………… test fitting of the Marina engine and auto box and the results were surprisingly good.

A modified front engine plate was required to move the engine forward for the gear box alignment and existing engine and gearbox mountings were used for fixing the engine in place.

The required forward movement of the engine resulted in losing the original cooling fan but the problem was overcome by fitting, in the limited space a MGB electric fan to the rear of the radiator.

Twin SUs from an MG Midget and a bespoke air filter completed the fuel side of the engine and the electrical side was modified with a new dynamo, coil and high torque starter motor.

Then there remained the complications of switching over all controls from left to right and vice versa as the fuel is now on the passenger side of the engine with the electrics on the right.

A modified foot well cover was required to house the larger than previous gear box and manual control extension (NB this is a bolt on panel which will be stored for eventual restoration.)

The foot brake remained as original with the accelerator pedal fixed to the left of it in the vacated space of the now not required clutch pedal.

The old prop shaft was removed and stored for future use and replaced with a locally sourced new one manufactured to fit the new dimensions.

There are, no doubt many other additions and alterations that have been put in place which I have omitted but with my limited engineering knowledge I am happy to say that as far as I am concerned the car is now usable, has passed its MOT and my ambition is achieved in that I can drive my TA again.

There are one or two points that are important to consider:-

• The engine is an “A “series 1275cc which is lighter in weight and far out-performs the MPJG previously fitted.

• The braking system is original and even with soft brake shoes fitted still leaves a lot to be desired for effective breaking, so there we have conflict!

Therefore practice, care and anticipation are at a premium for safe and enjoyable driving.

I am delighted with the result which once again gives me the great pleasure of driving my TA.”

This is the Marina unit fitted and ready to go.

Ed’s note: Since compiling this article with Bill’s considerable help, he has been in touch to report the following:

“I have now done a couple of runs in my automatic TA – a serious one of 120 miles and a Club run and lunch of approx. 70 miles.

The amazing thing is that my concern about braking is somewhat resolved by the fact that on steep descents I can now opt for second or even 1st gear without high engine revs and double de-clutching and this, together with the much reduced weight of the car with the Marina engine and the added power of the Marina engine, puts you in a situation where very little braking is required at all.

This is something that I had not thought of during the original build but is certainly a bonus and makes the driving experience an indisputable pleasure.”

Bits and Pieces

The ‘Founder’s Weekend’ is an annual event held every May to celebrate the incredible amount of time and effort put in by the late Harry Crutchley in establishing the MG Octagon Car Club; a Club which started from a handful of members in the Stafford area and has grown into a flourishing worldwide organisation.

The weekend is run on similar lines to the TTT 2 Tours which are held every mid to late August. Indeed, many ‘T’ and ‘Y’ ‘typers’ attend both events.

The organisation of the event is in the capable hands of John and Sandra Vinnell who can be contacted at sandra.vinnell(at) {please replace (at) by @}

Heart of the Shires 2016

Friday May 13th 2016 – Sunday May 15th May 2016

Moore Place Hotel Aspley Guise Village Milton Keynes Bedfordshire MK17 8DW 01908 282000

Friday/Saturday rate for a double room with single occupancy on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate – £89.00 per room per night

Friday/Saturday rate for a double room with double occupancy on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate – £119.00 per room per night

Sunday rate for a double room with single occupancy on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate – £79.00 per room per night

Sunday rate for a double room with double occupancy on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate – £109.00 per room per night

When ringing to book, please quote Octagon MG Founders Weekend to secure the discounted rates.

The hotel will require credit/debit details to secure the booking but payment will not be taken until you leave – the booking can be cancelled up to 24 hours before the day without charge.

Commercially available Capacitors

Following Eric Worpe’s excellent article in the August issue of TTT 2 your Editor has purchased a commercially available capacitor from a reasonably well known source and sent it to Eric for testing. Initial reaction is not favourable but the full test findings will be published in the next issue of TTT 2.

Rebuild Trolley for sale

Having done sterling service for John Cleaves’ TF rebuild John is now offering it for sale for £60 with buyer collecting from Widmer End, BUCKS HP15 6ND Tel: 01494 712466. Here’s a couple of photos of the trolley and also one of John’s rebuilt TF.

John Cleaves’ completed TF rebuild.

Brass Core Plugs

A reminder that brass core plugs are available from Tom Lange at The set of nine also includes the cam plug, which according to Tom is not included as a brass plug in other sets.

Tom supplies a range of high quality engine parts for the XPAG/XPEG and has a couple of new products in the pipeline, details of which hopefully will be included in the next issue of TTT 2.

MG TD/TF Improved rubber parts

Ever resourceful, Declan Burns is currently making new kingpin dust covers for the TD/TF and NBR rocker cover gaskets for the XPAG. Here’s what he said in a recent note to me:

“I have just finished the mould to make new kingpin dust covers for the TD/TF from quality rubber that will not fail prematurely like the repro products currently on the market. The photos show the special tooling for my friend’s injection moulding machine.

If all goes well we should have these available before Christmas. We also received the first samples of NBR rocker cover gaskets for the TD/TF which we are currently testing. These are slightly thinner than the cork gaskets, are very high quality and are cut on a CNC water jet.”

Update The rocker cover gaskets (pic below) are performing well (no leaks so far!) and a pic of one fitted to Declan’s TD is also shown below.

One of Declan’s new nitrile (NBR) rocker cover seals fitted to his TD.

Further update “The first attempt at injection moulding the dust caps has ben successfully carried out. We started with the Morris Minor caps but the TD/TF caps are similar. Some minor (excuse the pun) adjustments to be done on the machine but it looks very promising indeed.”

And the latest! “The first test TD/TF/MGA king pin dust boots has been done. It worked perfectly first go. The next stage will be to test fit them in case minor adjustments are required on the inner diameter.”

TD/TF Steering Rack Gaiters

Declan reports that he has recently received a sample of these high quality gaiters made by a reputable manufacturer in Europe.

Contact details for Declan are as follows:

Declan Burns

Liedberger Weg 6A

40547 Düsseldorf GERMANY

Tel +49 211 371529 after 5pm.

Email :

Note: declan underscore burns at web dot de

Brake Cylinder Reconditioning

Mention has been made before of the services of Contract Auto Engineering Ltd of Stourport, Worcs.

Chris Bristow has recently received his TC’s wheel cylinders back from them and the charge was £35 plus VAT per cylinder, which included new rubbers and hydraulic testing. However, the downside was that the promised turnaround time of 3 weeks actually took a good 2 months. Unfortunately, this seems all too common these days with some suppliers.

Contract Auto Engineering Ltd
Unit 2 Wilden Industrial Estate
Wilden Lane
Stourport on Severn
DY13 9JY

Telephone 01299 828117

Items available from Mick Pay

Filter conversions for TAs after engine No.1514

Filter conversions for TAs before engine No.1514)

Filter conversions for VAs

Filter conversions for early wet clutch VAs

Engine restraints for TAs.

Engine restraints for early wet clutch Vas

Webbing for rear VA restraints

Petrol filters for various early cars

Brass spark plug holders

Brass fluid reservoir for early cars

TA air filter conversions, drawings only (courtesy John Mansell)

T / ABC Spares boxes, pictures and drawings only

New Shell label for spare oil tin, Others could be made if you could send me a reasonable old one, torn is not a problem.

Repairs carried out to many items for older cars

For details and prices ring 01227 721518 or email

All of these are made to order.

An Aussie Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn’t a sound. 
Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around. 
We’d left on the table some tucker and beer, 
Hoping that Santa soon would be here; 

We children were snuggled up safe in our beds, 
While dreams of pavlova danced ’round in our heads; 
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts, 
Had just settled down to watch TV sports. 

When outside the house a mad ruckus arose; 
Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze. 
We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out, 
Snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout. 

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze, 
But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty roos. 
The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee, 
And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be. 

Now, I’m telling the truth it’s all dinki-di, 
Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky. 
Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins, 
And encouraged the ‘roos, by calling their names. 

‘Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane! 
On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne! 
Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink, 
I’ll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!’ 

So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew, 
With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too. 
He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground, 
Then in through the window he sprang with a bound. 

He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard. 
A jolly old joker was how he appeared. 
He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet, 
And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat. 

His eyes – bright as opals – Oh! How they twinkled! 
And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled! 
His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly 
Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly. 

A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back, 
And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack. 
He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee, 
To position our goodies beneath the yule tree. 

Surfboard and footballs he left for us two. 
And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque. 
A mysterious package he left for our Mum, 
Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb; 

He strolled out on deck and his ‘roos came on cue; 
Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through. 
He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates- 
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and good onya,MATES!’

With acknowledgement to ‘Anonymous’.

Ed’s note

: Some items have been held over to the next issue (the February 2016 issue, which should appear around the middle of January 2016).