Category Archives: Issue 4 (February 2011)

The Editor

Welcome to the first TTT 2 magazine of 2011! This month you have 24 pages instead of the usual 20. This is to compensate somewhat for the lengthy front cover article, thereby ensuring that you have a similar variety of articles as provided in past issues.

As we enter a year (yet another!) of austerity in the UK it seems that the motorist is getting clobbered once again. The average price of a litre of petrol (gasoline) is now 127 pence, which equates to £5.77 per Imperial gallon. Therefore to fill up with say, ten gallons, costs the best part of 58 GBP. Ten Imperial gallons is equivalent to twelve US gallons, so if my maths are right (never my strong point) twelve US gallons, if bought in the UK and paid for in dollars (at $1.58 = £1) would cost just over 91 USD (that’s 7.60 USD per US gallon!).

Unfortunately the misery for us poor, downtrodden souls in the UK doesn’t end there. Motor insurance is set to rocket; to quote from a recent Financial Times article:

“A number of UK insurers have suffered large losses as a result of bodily injury claims from car- crash victims, who have been encouraged by claims management companies and no-win, no- fee solicitors.”

Of one thing you can be sure; like the bookmakers, who never lose, the insurance companies will always ensure that they get their money back through higher premiums!

Well, I’m not usually a miserable ‘so and so’ but it’s enough to make you think twice before venturing out very far and when you do, it’s a real challenge, if you have a beam axle car and still have Bishop Cam steering, to manoeuvre around all those potholes which have suddenly appeared on our roads as a result of the Arctic temperatures we endured in December. Mind you, some would say that it’s a real challenge, even if there weren’t any potholes!

The number of “subscribers” to TTT 2 continues to grow and at the time of writing (14th January) we are just twenty short of the magic one thousand. I’m pretty confident that by the time of the next editorial we shall be heading for the next one thousand!

The TTT2 section of the website has been updated so that two new links appear at the top of every page alongside the search box. The first, “Tell A Friend”, lets you fill out a “virtual postcard” to a fellow T-Typer which sends them a short email informing them about and TTT2. This is a grassroots way for you to help us spread the word to others who may benefit from the content and services available on this website, so if you do know someone who would benefit from hearing about, we’d be very grateful if you would find the time to take a look at this new feature and send a virtual postcard to someone you know.

The second link is the “TTT2 Archive” and is a handy reference to download any of the issues of TTT2 that have been published so far. Simply click on the desired TTT2 cover picture to download that particular issue.

Development work on the website is continuing apace and two new features are being worked on, which we will keep close to our chests for the time being. I am currently holding up the categorisation of our suppliers listing – there are not enough hours in the day, but I will simply have to make some time to complete this job.

Donations have been coming in thick and fast and at the end of December we had £572.44 in the ‘kitty’. From this £36.95 has been transferred into the ‘hard’ copy account as it is money that I have raised through the sale of gasket sets and the ‘hard’ copy fund needs every penny it can get because it is running at a loss. The sum of £88.12 has been deducted in respect of printing and postage costs for complimentary ‘hard’ copies sent to contributors and £250 has been invested for five (5) years’ worth of domain name and website hosting. Overall, a satisfactory position except for the ‘hard’ copy economics which is down to me to sort out – it will be sorted!

As mentioned in the last issue, the ‘T’ Register is holding its annual ‘Rebuild’ event on Saturday 5th March 2011 at Oxford & Cherwell Valley Motor Sports College, Bicester, OX26 4LA. The final agenda looks like this:

* TABC Instrumentation – A Question and Answer session by Speedograph Richfield
* TABC Back Axle – by Roger Furneaux
* An Update on T Type Electrics – by Barrie Jones
* Practical MG TD – Maintenance, Update & Innovation – by Jonathan Goddard; Jonathan will be enlarging on his recently published book
* Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow. A case study of modern fuels in the XPAG/XPEG by Paul Ireland.
* An Open Forum on ‘Fuel for Thought’ – A discussion of the problems encountered using modern fuels in old cars.

Applications, quoting MGCC membership number, email contact address, telephone contact, and postal address, together with your cheque for the appropriate amount (£25.00 for MGCC members, £32.50 for non-members), should be mailed to Peter Cole, 8 Aldbourne Drive, BOGNOR REGIS, West Sussex PO21 4 NE. Tel: 01243 267234. Cheques payable to Peter Cole, please.

Finally, I look forward to meeting those of you who are going to Stoneleigh on 20th February. We will be in Hall 1, opposite Barry Walker’s stall.


‘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.

Before doing anything that could affect the safety of your car seek professional advice.


The MG Pavlova Sign

One of my last tasks before I left the MG Car Club was to put in hand the restoration of the ‘Pavlova Sign’. Keen students of MG history will know that M.G. moved to Abingdon from Oxford at the end of 1929 and purchased, courtesy of Lord Nuffield’s cheque book, part of the site and buildings occupied by the Pavlova Leather Company. This was to become the home of the M.G. Car Company for some 50 years until those who apparently knew the price of everything and the value of nothing closed it down in 1980.

I had previously been instrumental in establishing the Club archive on a sounder footing than hitherto with not inconsiderable help from Pete Neal, who has since worked wonders in rescuing the archive from its previous sorry state. Pete, an ex-Factory employee and a dedicated volunteer is still beavering away with the help of a couple of helper volunteers.

It saddened me that there were few reminders of the existence of the Factory and it was almost as though 50 years of history had vanished into thin air. Yes, there is a plaque on one of the buildings which now occupy the former site of the Factory and yes, there must be memorabilia in private hands, but there is very little which serves as a tangible reminder of the existence of the Factory.

One reminder of the past was this sign, pictured below and photographed in 2000.

However, it had been steadily deteriorating in the back garden of Kimber House and by 2005 it looked like this:

What a far cry from how it used to look when it was originally affixed in the early to mid 1960s to a garage owned by the Pavlova Leather Company…

So restoration was put in hand and paid for by the ‘T’ Register.

Even then there were those who questioned whether the sign was of significant historical merit to warrant the considerable cost of restoration, but sometimes one has to be guided by one’s instincts as to what is right and to simply get on and do it!

Judging by the acclamation which greeted the erection of the refurbished sign in the garden of Kimber House (not far, actually, from where it previously lay rusting away) the decision to restore the sign was a sound one… now what did I say about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing?

John James

MG TD “All Clear”

TD showing weather equipment in place (from a sales brochure)

Twelve months ago, having attended many shows, rallies and tours of Europe and more often than not encountering inclement weather, the hood had to be put in position complete with sidescreens. Now sidescreens are not always the perfect fit and most importantly do restrict your view when driving, tend to mist up and create blind spots with the nearside mirror also obstructed.

So I had the idea of making the sidescreens out of two sheets of poly-carbonate plastic 5mm thick and completely eliminating the metal frames and the canvas which frays and also can get quite discoloured; at the same time I wanted to retain the same sidescreen look with the detail at the base of each screen, including the hinged flap.

In the case of the profiled bottom shape of the sidescreen this was made from 3mm good quality sheet aluminium (and then covered with vinyl). It’s light and easy to cut and, of course, you can bend it to the slight radius profile needed to follow the front doors; this also carries the chrome strip piano hinge which you can purchase from good D.I.Y. shops, which, in turn is attached to the plastic screen by means of 4BA screws and domed nuts, but metric screws of similar size can also be used.

The rear sidescreen base was fitted with 4BA rivet nuts (stronger thread) along its length to secure the plastic and vinyl covering in place, using screws with stainless cup washers. Now the profile of the plastic sidescreens basically follows the profile of the hood under the stitched flap, making sure that you are waterproof when all is in place.

Front “clear view” sidescreen
Rear “clear view” sidescreen

Depending on the type of hood you have i.e. two bow or three bow, the profile of the front sidescreen has to take care of the bow frame, which is not straight, to allow you to open the door with the hood in place. I am willing to supply the basic profile templates for the two bow if any fellow owner is interested. These screens are attached to the door using the same set-up, but you need to make two brackets for each side; first you have to make the rear door round pin, which is longer than the original and head diameter of 0.750” and shank of 0.375” diameter 2” long, using 6mm x 20mm flat bar – this is shaped and welded or brazed to the pin as a base angled 90 degrees. Later two holes are drilled in this flat bar and threaded ¼ whitworth, but only when you are satisfied that the position of the screen is correct and with the front bracket also in place.

Now the ferrule that fits in the door shell itself is also made with a 0.750” flange diameter turned down to 0.375” dia but the width of the flange is approx 0.250” thick – you will need to calculate this exact measurement with the screen in place and fastened to the flap base section because the rear screen and the front screen have to follow in profile to each other along their top edges. The ferrule has to be a good fit in the door but is held in place by a tube washer that fits over the shank, which is drilled and threaded at the bottom ¼ dia whit so the whole lot is held in place using socket head allen screw and washer.

Both brackets for the rear and front sidescreen are positioned using the original fixings i.e. the two chrome domed wing nuts; these were modified to have two legs instead of the one, which are more convenient, particularly for the rear frame. The brass castings for these can be supplied if need be and threaded 3/8 dia whit.

Now, one of the most important points; you can now attach to the front nearside sidescreen a round adjustable door mirror (available for around £20) using the metal front door bracket which has already been drilled to hold the plastic screen; check the thread – it is usually metric. This mirror is very handy when driving in Europe.

Finally, I find that with this sidescreen arrangement you can keep them in place all the time; you have a full clear view of traffic, less side wind and less chance of rain hitting you and they are easy clean! Also, when at shows and rallies you have more security if your doors are locked with the hood and sidescreens in position.

The author’s TD with poly-carbonate plastic sidescreens in place

Well, this has worked for me and is a good winter project to undertake at a cost of around £100, depending on how much of the work you can do yourself.

If any reader requires further information then I am quite willing to help with photographs, template drawings etc.

Alan Atkins

Ed’s Note: Ideally, we should have had a photo of Alan’s car with the sidescreens in position and the hood raised, but the weather has been so appalling that it has not been possible to do this. Hopefully we can include a photo in the April issue.

Alan has sent in a number of tips for TD owners and some of these are published on this page; others will be published in future editions.

First is a thermostat bypass made from gunmetal which he is offering for £25 plus postage.

Alan reminds us that the centre instrument panel on the TD is not easy to get at and remove in the event of instrument or bulb failure, the main obstruction being the small hexagon nuts which hold the panel in place. His suggestion is to replace these nuts with wing nuts – he adds that he had to make longer domed headed screws that went through the complete wooden sections of the dash (size was 2BA). The result is that you can withdraw the centre panel in minutes, not lose any small nuts and can perform this operation without a hand lamp.

A difficult item to replace on the TD in situ is the top radiator hose. Alan suggests using a silicone hose, which is very flexible and can be cut to one’s requirements (that is the slight angle that makes a better fit to the header tank). Silicone hoses are available from Dave Gee of Classic Silicone Hoses or Tel: 01530 230971. Your Editor has confirmed with Mr Gee that the hoses are only available in sets (pre-VAT increase prices £40 per set TB/TC/TD and £36 TF) but he is willing to supply me with a small batch of six top hoses (TB/TC/TD) which I should have available at Stoneleigh and will sell for £20 each on a non-profit making basis.

If using silicone hoses make sure you use a standard antifreeze; those with organic acid anti-corrosives can damage any silicone in your engine, including your hoses. See the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs for further information.

In this day and age it is probably wise to fit amber direction indicators to your car, front and rear, especially if you are travelling abroad. These can be wired into the existing wiring loom or you can use the more modern Lucas small round aluminium 42 watt unit bypassing the large earlier expensive unit, but you may wish to get an auto-electrician to carry out this modification. The front side light conversion is easy with the S-V-C kit:

S-V-C also supply a rear pedestal unit, which is in line with the existing rear lighting and fitted to the rear splash apron.

The S-V-C Front Side Light Conversion Kit

An MG Star is born

Doug Pelton, a man of many talents at work

There is a new and shining star within the MG community.

From The Frame Up”, a company that specializes in hard to find MG parts, has had a meteoric rise to popularity amongst MG car owners. How is it possible that a company that started 3 years ago with the initial offering of the pedal spring set for the TC, has been able to expand and now offer most every item for that same car?

It is a fascinating story of the melding of the man, the machine, and the desire to help others which has led to a very successful new business.

THE MAN: Doug Pelton was raised on a farm in upstate New York. He learned at an early age what it took to repair and maintain the farm equipment which was of the same vintage as the T-Series cars.

To keep this equipment functional, it was the common practice of the day to save, salvage and refurbish.

Pelton went on to attend the US Air Force Academy studying engineering before becoming a career military pilot flying in various aircraft to include the F-15 fighter. Equally important during this period was that he was a military instructor (teacher) who consistently shared his knowledge with the next generation. He wrote technical instructions and military manuals as part of his normal duties.

After 20 years Pelton transitioned to the civilian community as a commercial airline pilot, last flying an A-320 for US Airways. As the Captain, he continued to hone his skills as a leader and learned to focus on the customer, the lifeblood of any business. The aggregate of these life time experiences, of being able to repair, engineer, teach, write, and lead, would serve him well as the foundation for a yet unknown destiny.

THE MACHINE: Pelton recalls as a teenager, seeing a snappy red sports car (recently “restored”) coming to the country on weekends; it was being driven by Dan, a young man who was pursuing Pelton’s cousin. According to Pelton, “the car was unique in that it had high narrow tires, long sleek fenders and most notably, the steering wheel was on the wrong side”. Upon the eventual marriage of this young couple, the car became a member of the family. It was proudly driven in many parades in Niagara Falls, NY until the rear axle housing disintegrated in 1973. The car then went into storage until Dan’s death.

Remembering the car as a teenager, Pelton afterwards sought to restore the car as a tribute to Dan who enjoyed the car so much. Only because of Pelton’s naiveté, did this car survive. He did not realize at the time he started, that this car was at best a parts donor. The 1967 restoration was actually a collection of parts from various other MGs, with the addition of lots of “bondo”, fresh paint, white naugahyde interior, and shag carpet.

Regardless, Pelton’s restoration continued for the next 4 1⁄2 years culminating in a host of lessons learned.

TC7670 as was and as it is now.

THE DESIRE: At the outset, the restoration of TC7670 was to be as technically accurate as possible. For Pelton, the thought of a restoration anything less than excellent, would be unacceptable. However, this desire for correctness led to a number of bitter lessons learned. First, there was no “best” or single source for information on how to restore a TC. Also, specific needs were unknown for what was proper for the car. This resulted in many parts being purchased, only to find out that they were incorrect or unserviceable. Many fasteners were purchased for the purpose of having a ready supply of hardware. Disappointment was never ending when these fasteners were incorrect. Most are still on the shelf today. The end result was needless money being spent, unwittingly adding to the total cost of restoration. The ultimate insult occurred when the pedal springs were purchased from multiple suppliers to see which would fit best. The findings showed that none were proper. This was the final intolerable event. As a customer, Pelton felt betrayed. Individuals trying to restore a car should not have to be subjected to this type of frustration. Pelton commented that if he was having these problems, then others were probably experiencing the same. This was the cross-roads that led to the formation of a company by the name of From The Frame Up. It was time to help others.

A STAR IS BORN: With the restoration of TC7670 EXU, a multitude of global sources were discovered. However, this was very time consuming, as evidenced with the time it took to complete the car. Additionally, many items were still non-existent and thus had to be manufactured or cannibalized and refurbished. Overall a clear understanding how to best supply these items became apparent.

Initially, Pelton began to offer those few items that he found. As he said, “Why should others spend time to research something that I have already discovered?” With these initial offerings came more demand and also requests for help. So, he began to share much of the information that he had researched for himself by simply writing articles. One of his first articles was written on TRIPLEX Glass. This was the manufacturer for the T-series windshields. Today, FTFU offers TRIPLEX windshields custom date coded to replicate factory glass. He has gone on to write over 40 technical articles on various subjects published by many MG clubs. Additionally, he has written over 50 Technical Tips which are available on his website: His most comprehensive writing is actually the company catalog, which was specifically written to also serve as a technical reference. It includes: item details for component assemblies, assembly orders, original part numbers, Tech Tips references, Moss item cross references, and a source for other MG T-series applications.

Customers have discovered that there is tremendous valued added when doing business with FTFU. It is by definition a place to “one stop shop.” If you need the smallest fastener, proper clip, or major component for the TC, FTFU will be able to help. However, the strength of the “Frame Up’s” business goes well beyond the multitude of offerings in its comprehensive 98 page catalog. FTFU offers much more.

The business of FTFU has actually evolved into a community of enthusiasts. Pelton’s daily routine includes answering questions on technical or assembly issues, proper application of parts, how to refurbish an item vice buying new, sending helpful photos, and many times making a direct phone call to clarify questions or chat about someone’s project. According to Pelton, “This aspect of the business is very time consuming but it is critical to its growth. Aside from helping others with quality customer service, I actually learn more when I have to help solve problems. The basis of most of my offerings is from the direct request of a customer.” The reality is that everyone benefits from this group involvement and interaction with Doug, to include the future customers.

When asked what is on the horizon for the company, Pelton responded. “In the short term, FTFU will continue to work on sourcing those items that are still non-existent. An example is the manufacturing of all the inner components of the TC gas cap, which is being finalized at present. No one has these parts. In the long term, restoration services will be added. It only makes sense that FTFU should restore these cars having both the extensive inventory of parts and knowledge.”

December 2010 marked the 3 year anniversary for From The Frame Up. The global customer base extends across 18 countries. If you have not done so already, check out the website: for invaluable information and become part of the FTFU global community.

Ed’s note: A fascinating insight into Doug’s background, business start-up and development of From The Frame Up. It seems only yesterday to me that he supplied me with his first product line (the TC pedal spring set pictured below).

This TC Pedal Spring Set was the 1st item offered.
Most recent item (TC petrol cap internals) in final stages of manufacturing.
TC7670 Best of Show.

The Badge on the Rear Bumper of the TD MK II

The Editor has recently been engaged in correspondence on this subject.

The point at issue is how the badge was fixed to the rear bumper of the TD MK II.

However, before proceeding too far, Brian Craft, an early TD MK II owner, pointed out the following to me:

“The Mark two TD, (chassis prefix TDC) did not originally have the additional “Mark II” badges fitted. These were fitted from December 1952 (ch/no 22613) to the bonnet sides and on a plinth in the centre of the rear bumper. It is generally thought that this plinth was a chrome plated casting.

In Malcolm Green’s book, T-Series Restoration Guide, it shows on page 16 a photograph of an EX-U model TC which has a similar plinth fitted to the rear bumper although this one is octagonal whereas the Mark II one is rectangular.

Also, at the time these badges were fitted the radiator slats became chrome plated instead of being matched to the trim colour.”

In a follow up e-mail Brian pointed me in the direction of Cornwall Classic Hire’s website at If you click on ‘Car Sales’ and then click on ‘View Details’ you can read about the details of TD/C 28381 pictured below:

If you click on ’50 Years with a 1953 TD Mark 2’ you can read about the car’s history. I contacted the owner of 50 years and asked him about the fixing of badge on the rear bumper. His reply was:

“The rear bumper MARK II badge was originally on a shaped metal plinth, welded to the bumper before chroming, through which the badge was bolted. Back in the mists of time I replaced the bumper on DNH 637 and made a wooden plinth painted white. This was reused on the rebuild”.

Thanks to Paul Critchley for the photographs of the rear bumper TD MK II plinth arrangement and badge accompanying this article.

Rear of MK II badge showing maker’s name (J Fray Ltd. Birmingham). This company supplied badges to MG in the pre and post-war period.

Cover Story – TF4114

On a late Sunday morning in the summer of 1968 my life took on an MG bias which I still have. I was enjoying a cool Pimms with my parents on the lawn at their house in Wiltshire after flag marshalling all the previous day at Castle Combe (racing circuit in Wiltshire, UK). The tranquillity was broken when we heard a car approaching on the gravel of the driveway and David, a neighbour, swept up in his green 1954 MG TF and joined us. “Guess what,” he said half way through his first Pimms and before I had time to say ‘what’ he went on, “I’ve just been offered 295 pounds as a trade in on a new MGB.”

Now well into my second Pimms I absorbed this information and it trundled around my head for a moment. Then I heard myself say. “295 pounds, eh! Would you take 300 from me?” “Yes, OK,” he said hesitatingly, “but I thought you were looking for a Morgan?” “I am, or I was.” I replied, “but you’ve looked after the TF over the last couple of years and I knew it when it belonged to my flat mate, Tim, before you.” Next, I turned towards my parents to see their reaction to this sudden transaction. They were smiling at each other in a knowing sort of way.

Answering my questioning look before I had time to say anything my father said, “It’s funny how history repeats itself. “Remember I told you I had a supercharged MG when I was your age which your mother often drove very competently while we were courting?”

Two weeks later TF 4114 was mine and my first long drive was back to my flat in London. This weekend 200 mile round trip was to be repeated many times over the next 18 months in all kinds of weather. If it wasn’t actually raining the top would always be down and the side screens in position to provide protection from the wind. I had an up-market Roberts transistor radio which worked well in the car. On many Sunday nights’ drive back to London it was tuned into Radio Luxembourg for the Top Twenty. Baby Boomers will remember that! (Yes, I do! Ed.)

Subsequent investigation revealed that TF HDA16/ 4114 was completed on 17 March 1954 with engine XPAG/TF/32918, which is still giving great service today with only 20 thou oversized bores. The car lost its original black colour many, many years ago and was first registered MGG 133.

In winter the cockpit was relatively warm from the engine and, by not fully closing the rear catches of the bonnet, hot air from the engine compartment would blow up onto the windscreen and keep it clear and ice-free. Tim had also fitted an after market windscreen washer kit which still works effectively today.

I undertook a longer trip to Glasgow to visit my brother who was working there. It was a long day ‘in the saddle’ as there were only “A” roads then and no M5 or M6 motorways. A hot bath in his sports club in the evening soon removed the aches and pains ready for a serious evening’s drinking in his local pub.

Next, I went on to Edinburgh to stay with a girl friend at her parent’s home. I wish I had taken a photograph of the car with their impressive house in the background. It would have been a suitable picture for the front cover of this TTT 2!! Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Her parents were none too keen to allow their daughter to return to London in the TF but the car performed faultlessly for the entire round trip of 500 miles.

The only serious breakdown I experienced was when a half-shaft broke on the Great West Road near London Airport one Sunday night on my way back to my flat in London. I had no choice but to leave the TF in the lay-by that I had conveniently coasted into. Nobody could steal it without a trailer as it was not operational. The worst that could happen was to lose some parts that were easy to remove such as hub caps so I took those off and stuffed them into my travel bag.

I had been the navigator for a friend, Julian Beale, in his tweaked ZB Magnette on some small rallies around Surrey and Kent and he worked for University Motors, the London MG Agent, in their spare parts department. I got back to my flat by the Underground and rang him and explained my plight. He arranged for the TF to be collected early on Monday morning and I picked it up on Wednesday evening after work. I doubt that kind of service is available today.

I belonged to the South East Centre of the M.G. Car Club and my local Noggin ‘n’ Natter was a relatively new one in the City. This Centre had links through its secretary, Gordon Cobban, who was also the General Secretary of the Main Club, with the Dutch Centre. As a result a group of us in a variety of MGs caught the ferry across to Holland for the weekend and joined in their 25th anniversary celebrations.

I offered my TF to Ian Davison, who had come as a passenger with John Adams in his PA, to run in the Speed Tests. He was erroneously awarded a trophy with my time. I made a note to review times and drivers next time I was generous and loaned my car to another driver.

At the end of the winter I entered the Salisbury Trial. My father came as the bouncer but despite his expertise I failed almost every section with wheels spinning due to the wet conditions and lack of experience and confidence. I didn’t enter another one as the TF got so dirty.

I was also a member of the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC), which held race meetings around the UK. Part of this organisation provided flag and other marshals and the TF took me marshalling at Brands Hatch, Castle Combe and Silverstone on many occasions. If the timing was right before or after the races I took the chance to drive these circuits unofficially. I flag marshalled at three British Grand Prix and BOAC 1000 mile races at Brands Hatch and Silverstone and we were awarded special lapel pins as a gesture of thanks.

Each year the club organised a ‘thank you’ dinner for all the marshals and invited some high profile speakers to entertain us such as Graham Hill and Paddy Hopkirk. At one dinner, the former got up onto one of the tables and started to disrobe until he was boo’ed off to make way for the more professional young ladies to show us how it should be done!

In 1969 I entered one of the BRSCC’s race meetings at Castle Combe and my father came as my mechanic. Some of the competitors were a little astonished to see him tuning the SU carburettors by ear to suit the prevailing weather conditions as he had done on his PA before the war. Practice went alright but on the second lap I entered Quarry Corner too quickly and spun out safely on the grass as many competitors had done before and are probably still doing today.

Racing at Castle Combe, Wilts in 1969. Note new registration number (520 EMW) as the previous owner wanted MGG 133 to put on his new MGB.

As the TF was my only means of transport I decided to quit competition before I became involved in extra performance and modifications. This was just as well because I had decided to emigrate to Australia. From newspapers in Australia House, near where I worked in London, I had checked out the prices and stated condition of TFs offered for sale in Sydney. I decided that paying one hundred pounds for a shipping container to Sydney was a better arrangement than selling the TF in a known condition and buying another on arrival that I did not know anything about.Incidentally, my Government assisted emigration flight on Qantas cost me a mere ten pounds provided I stayed for two years!

After leaving my job I had three weeks before I was on stand-by for a flight to Sydney so I took the opportunity to employ a couple of lads, close to where my parents lived, to repaint the car a royal blue colour. I removed the gearbox and Morgan Marshall, who had maintained my father’s PA in Bristol in the thirties, agreed to overhaul it for me. It’s given no trouble until recently when, after 40 years service, the selector for third and fourth gears broke.

Like many similar projects it took longer than anticipated so I got the gearbox back and installed, then had to drive the TF to the docks at Tilbury on the Thames estuary without any of the trim refitted. I was confident that I would have time on my hands after the car’s arrival to get it back into shape with the new carpet I had bought.

Arrival in Australia

By November 1969 I had settled into a flat, secured gainful employment and waited for news of the TF’s arrival. In the meantime I had contacted the Sydney MG Car Club and one evening I was collected in a restored black TD by the T Register captain and transported to one of the monthly Register meetings. These were like a UK Noggin ‘n’ Natter but without the beer. Very strange for Aussies! I was told there were also full club meetings as well so I joined up, of course.

My first event was the inaugural National Meeting of all the Australian MG Car Clubs – now called the Natmeet – and still going strong each Easter in alternating states, so there are often long distances to travel. The first in Sydney was over the Australia Day (January 26) holiday weekend in 1970. Coming from England, and being a MGCC member there, it was assumed that I knew all about Pre-war MGs, so I was appointed to the judging team of that class.

After that weekend, news of the TF’s arrival came through and that it had been steam cleaned at my expense. So, armed with a can of petrol, as the tank had been drained prior to containerisation, I arrived at the appropriate office at the port at Botany in south Sydney with my paperwork complete. I hoped that with a push start there would be enough life in the reconnected battery to get me to a nearby service station. I was in luck and it fired up immediately and ticked over happily. I was allowed to drive on the UK number plates to my nearest service station to arrange registration in New South Wales.

The passenger side of the cockpit and behind the seats were stacked up with some spares, plus the parts that had not been refitted and these appeared not to have been touched. They probably looked worthless so the dockers had taken no interest.

I reached my flat and with confidence drove around the corner to an Ampol service station which had a workshop at the back. I found the mechanic and asked if he could check the car and provide me with the right paperwork to arrange registration. “What have you imported?” he said. “An MG TF,” said I. “Oh well, that should be easy,” he said, “I used to have one of those when they were new! G’day, mate, my name’s Peter Stokes.”

I had to have the engine number stamped onto the block as the octagonal plate was considered insufficient since it could be removed and another engine substituted.

Peter carried out the routine maintenance on the TF for the next 12 months and became inspired with MGs again. He found and bought a semi-abandoned TA with a TD engine which he worked on and re-registered.

In 1970 I enjoyed a full year of MG Car Club activities including lap dashes when cars are timed over a flying lap, driving tests in a friendly farmer’s field at Leppington on the outskirts of Sydney, breakfast runs, a weekend away to Jenolan Caves and the annual concours. The TF ran well but still the re-trim had not taken place.

For 1971 I was elected T Register Captain and organised the monthly Register meetings at the British Leyland factory’s conference room with entertainment from Shell’s library of motor sport films, breakfast runs and the annual concours. This event had over 100 T Types attend for the first time. I don’t think that figure has ever been reached again. Most owners really used their T-Types then but now it seems it’s only the dedicated few who get out and about.

Driving tests on Sydney’s Warwick Farm circuit in 1970. Note NSW registration plate (AWY 681) attached to old English one (520 EMW)

Apart from another enjoyable year of club motor sport I took the TF on a trailer (600 miles each way) to Melbourne for the 2nd Natmeet and came away with third in the sprint and another third in the driving tests in the TF class. This was followed in 1972 by a similar year of fun with the TF as my only car – still without trim!. I didn’t take it to Adelaide for the 3rd Natmeet as Frank Bett wanted a passenger to ride with him for the 800 mile each way journey in his newly restored K3. Denny, who is now my wife, and I alternated with the other travelling with Peter Stokes. He generously allowed me to drive his TA in the driving tests and I won the Pre-war class.

We were married in early 1973 and Denny used the TF to drive to work as she had a parking bay. With high heeled boots, that were the fashion of the day, she could reach the foot pedals. I had acquired a hard top manufactured in the sixties and we used that during the wetter months as the soft top was not in good condition and the tonneau cover was showing signs of wanting to be retired from active service after almost 20 years.

The Natmeet was in Sydney that year and as I had been elected as the club’s Publicity Officer I was on the organizing committee as well. I competed in the TF but without any spectacular results!

Club competition was haphazard for the rest of the year as we were away in England on an extended honeymoon. While we were over there I was offered a job so in October the TF was laid up in a friend’s large garage and we headed for London.

I was provided with a company car so there was no need to buy another MG but I did represent a Sydney-based MG parts supplier and procured his requirements over the next two years as well as sourcing parts for K3016 and QAs 0256 and 0257 for Philip Vickery.

Back in Australia by 1976 and the TF was recovered from storage but we had started a family and needed a family car so it was put aside like many others. I had acquired some parts during our stay in England and continued to buy those that I knew I’d need for the inevitable total restoration.

A Start/Stop Restoration!

Then work began around 1980 with a total strip down in a workshop/garage I had built at the bottom of our garden at our home in Sydney. Re-assembly of the front and back ends was accomplished with the help of a mechanic in the club after the chassis had been checked over and the steel wheels straightened and the tyres fitted. Now I had a mobile car so work could begin on the body and later the engine.

As almost every piece of the timber body frame was too deteriorated to use again I acquired a complete kit in exchange for a bare TA chassis I had acquired earlier. TA1089 was later built into a complete car with some non TA, but nevertheless MG, parts in Western Australia by Harry Pyle – the TC owner who has driven around the world with his wife Deirdre.

Then the rebuild came to a dramatic halt. In 1984 I accepted a job in Singapore for two years but as it turned out we stayed for eight. A definite hiatus! The TF stayed in my workshop and it was dry and protected as well as possible.

On our return at the beginning of 1993 I was determined to get the rebuild finished and use the TF. All along, my aim had been to rebuild the car to original condition with some improvements. I did not want to restore it to such a high level that I would hesitate to use it. In the 15 years since it was re- registered in 1995 I have covered more than 50,000 miles including using it for five of those years for daily commuting.

I rejoined the MG Car Club in Sydney and attended most of the evening meetings but none of the competitive ones. There was a good group within the membership who were restoring T-Types and we frequently discussed problems and developments.

Professional Help Engaged for the Restoration

After a year of making very little progress I decided to engage some professional help. The engine went to Peter Stokes for its rebuild and the chassis and relevant acquired parts went to Albert Johnson – a well experienced MG body builder who had trained as a fitter and turner. This profession I think is an excellent base for anyone rebuilding bodies on T- Types.

My instructions to Peter were to fully balance the internal moving parts, lighten and balance the fly wheel so that I could hold 4,500 revs in all but first gear. The carburettors stayed at an inch and a half and the camshaft and timing gear were kept standard. I wanted reliability, not necessarily faster than standard performance. This actually came as a result of the balancing and a well re-assembled engine.

I believe the specifications set by the MG factory for the delivery of the XPAG engine were very basic and not much different from those Morris set for their own cars of modest performance. Therefore, if some simple improvements are made and an engine is assembled with more time and to finer tolerances, an increase in performance is the result, as well as an increase in miles per gallon. This is basically the forerunner to the five stages of tune that Abingdon recommended for owners of XPAG-engined cars wanting more power and speed.

Peter and I were delighted to find that the bores were only 20 thou oversize and in good condition so that only a line bore for the crankshaft was necessary. This made me think that as the odometer showed approx 19,000 miles, perhaps the TF had only done 119,000 miles since new, as it was in better shape mechanically than a car that had done over 200,000 miles.

With the engine installed and running and the body painted and fitted, the TF came home for finishing, which was still two years away as I was to do the work at weekends and in the summer evenings. This, I am sure, is a familiar story to most T-Type owners.

The TF was originally a black car with red upholstery and I wanted to return it to that colour but I was persuaded to paint it Old English White and I am glad I did. I didn’t want to paint it TF Ivory as I had seen so many cars of different shades of white/ivory and all of their owners proclaimed theirs was the correct colour! Now 17 years of garaged-life later, the TF’s OEW has ‘cured’ to an ivory colour which I think is very close to the original ‘fifties colour!

I installed a new wiring loom and the refurbished electrical components, then recruited an auto electrician to test all the circuits for me. The registration authorities require some sort of red reflectors at the rear of all cars. I had used a strip of reflective red tape attached to the bumper bar when the TF was first registered in Sydney but that didn’t seem appropriate for the rebuilt car. I solved the problem by fitting TF 1500 reflectors. Next, the seats and double hump above the dash board, that is peculiar to the TF, came back from the trimmer who had used part of the Collingburn kit I had acquired earlier.

Restored instruments were refitted and the dash board secured in place. Essential re-chromed parts were added and the windscreen re-assembled with a new piece of glass. I followed good advice and first assembled the windscreen frame without the glass to observe the length of all the screws and made adjustments as necessary. Even so, I was cautious when tightening the screws after the glass was fitted to ensure a breakage didn’t occur and that the packing around the glass was going to be water tight. The windscreen washer jets had been refitted and these were realigned. The hand pump which is a ‘sixties period accessory, fits where the auxiliary switch is and the bottle fits neatly in the tool box.

When this was installed, the owner at the time also fitted a three switch panel under the glove box on the driver’s side. This operated the reversing lamp through an indicator light, also on the panel and the driving and fog lights mounted on the badge bar that was a TF accessory.

Dashboard showing smaller and easier to use steering wheel using a TF enamel spare wheel badge in the centre, windscreen washer pump handle where the auxiliary switch is and neat and handy bank of switches for spot and fog lights and wipers after modification.

When I bought it, the TF had an odd looking circular mirror attached to the right hand windscreen support arm. I fitted a standard rectangular one which, of course, is in easy reach for adjustment and melds in with the windscreen support. I cannot understand why some T-Type owners fit extra mirrors to the front mudguards near the side lights. They don’t give as good a view of what’s behind and they upset the flowing lines of the square rigger body. If Cecil Kimber had meant…

One area where I struggled to get a good fit was that of the transmission tunnel and floor boards. I had acquired the new floor boards with the rest of the timber a long time earlier and although I had the old boards the whole alignment and water tight fit was a tedious task for me. My advice is to very carefully note each screw and bolt during a dismantling process and reproduce the old boards very accurately.

Surprise, surprise and the rest of the interior trim was not fitted, neither were a hood, side screens nor tonneau cover. Just in time for my 50th birthday in August 1995 I managed to drive the TF to a workshop that issued test certificates to cars that have been out of registration for more than six months. I was dismayed when the car was knocked back for no trim on the doors. I queried this with the Roads and Traffic Authority and when they realised that there was no window wind up mechanism on the car now, or when new, they allowed registration to proceed and hence the number plate TF 1995.

I began using the TF regularly and had a nasty experience a few miles from home on a long stretch through a national park. I was driving along at about 60 mph when I started to smell something burning. I pulled over, switched off the ignition and lifted the bonnet to find the forward carburettor alight. I stripped off the parka I was wearing and doused the flames. After the carburettor had cooled down I found the banjo on the fuel line was loose. Using the parka for a better grip I tightened it as much as I could and then wedged the parka under the carb to prevent any more petrol leaking onto the hot exhaust manifold. I drove slowly to the end of the national park and borrowed a spanner from a service station to tighten the banjo until it didn’t leak again. I have had the same leakage problem out of the blue recently, and so has a local friend with an MGA, so my advice is to check the fuel line more frequently and replace the fibre washers as they get brittle as they expand and contract with heat.

An oil pressure scare, the diagnosis & solution

A few months later I was enroute to visit a friend when the oil pressure took a dive south. I pulled over, switched off the ignition and sat there wondering what the cause could be. I restarted the engine but still there was no oil pressure, though it sounded alright. Better safe than sorry I thought and called the NRMA (same as AA/RAC). The patrolman couldn’t diagnose the reason for the loss of pressure and advised calling a flatbed tow truck to take the TF to my nearest garage.

After some checking and coming up with nothing obvious, the mechanic suggested dropping the sump to see what the bearings looked like. On my advice he eased off the sump to protect the gasket which came away from the block in one piece; and there was the problem. The hole in the gasket that allows the oil to be drawn up from the bottom of the sump into the pump had not been cleared out properly and the circular piece was still hanging on by a whisker of cork. We came to the conclusion that for several thousand miles after the rebuild the circular piece had been forced aside but now for some reason it had partially sealed off the oil flow causing the drop in pressure. I fitted new bearings to be on the safe side despite the crankshaft showing no signs of damage. I have been told that mechanics unfamiliar with the different XPAG sump gasket don’t worry about clearing the holes as the sump bolts punch through any remaining circles of the gasket. My advice is to check that ALL the holes in the sump gasket are clear before fitting.

I continued driving the TF on a daily basis taking cover from rain showers until I was caught out in a storm and got drenched. I sought out a retired trimmer who I had been told fitted replacement hoods etc to cars in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties. I persuaded him to make the hood, side screens and tonneau cover as he needed the money to pay for the materials he required to trim the car he was restoring himself.

It was well worth it as he did a tremendous job. He fitted a top quality zipper to the tonneau cover which still works well today. He made cut-outs in it for the lugs of the rear side screens and an overlap near the top of the door so that the tonneau cover stays fixed and looks very neat when the front half or quarter are rolled back and stowed behind the seats.

Another modification which I have found particularly satisfactory is to fit studs and buttons around the rear of the hood for attaching it to the wooden trim. It’s better than nails which rust and it allows the hood to be folded more easily and stowed better under the tonneau cover.

In 2000 we moved from Sydney to Green Point on the coast 300 kms to the north and the TF continued in daily service with the luggage rack proving useful to carry my golf bag and buggy. From factory pictures of the TF it appears that this is an original luggage rack. It’s a shame that the parts suppliers in the ‘sixties didn’t reproduce an original like this rather than make up new ones.

The Re-trim is completed at last!

Then in 2002 came the big day. I had collected together all the red trim pieces of the Collingburn kit and the carpet that had still not been fitted and with help from a friend we completed the re-trim in two days. What a difference it made. My wife had never seen the TF with a smart and complete interior before!

On purpose we omitted attaching the hinges on the lid of the side screen compartment. I had remembered struggling with the lid while stowing and removing the side screens all those years before. Now the lid sits in place and is secured by the buttoned down flap, but is easily removed for better access to the compartment.

In the compartment itself I had earlier rearranged the screws that hold down the wooden floor so that the one panel of three that sits over the petrol pump could easily be removed. This provides much easier access to the pump when necessary and is far better than crawling under the car, particularly in wet weather or at night. The middle panel is similarly easy to remove to check the back axle oil level and for topping up.

In 2005 my wife bought a clipper blue Y Tourer which had been unused for 20 years and needed some TLC. I brought it back to life and registered it for daily use by both of us. The TF took a back seat for a couple of years until Denny decided to sell the YT as she wasn’t using it is much as she anticipated and the hood was very cumbersome to erect and stow.

So you’d expect that the TF would feature again in daily use but that was not the case as we bought a 2002 sienna gold MGF!

For a long time I had been an advocate of a T- Register weekend but as I was now no longer a member of the MGCC I couldn’t organise it. To my rescue came some stalwarts of the Canberra Centre of the MGCC and they set the date for October 2010. Early in the year I decided that to drive the 1200 km round trip to ‘TYme’, including another 300 km over the weekend, I had better prepare the TF in advance.

Now was the time to convert the engine for unleaded fuel and to attend to a number of other issues. Clutch operation and gear selection had become gradually more difficult and there were oil leaks to attend to. I also thought that 50,000 miles on from the mid ‘nineties rebuild, it was time for a thorough inspection of the engine.

A retired mechanic agreed to carry out the work with me. We attached a block and tackle to the beam in the garage over the TF and after dismantling the entire front bodywork we had the engine and gearbox out and set on a pallet in a box trailer as a work bench.

The head went off to a local expert who specialises in large pre-1920 car engines for the valve treatment and machining if necessary, which fortunately it was not. We took out the pistons and found three top rings were broken but all the parts were still in the grooves. There was no scoring of any of the bores. The easiest and cheapest option was to acquire a new set of pistons and rings rather than machine out the grooves and fit oversize rings.

The mechanic read through the T Register article on modifying the clutch linkage and liked the concept so tackled that operation. In the meantime we had found that the rear engine mount under the gearbox was adrift. The welded corner seams of the bracket that holds the rubber blocks had broken, allowing a great deal of unwanted flexibility!

The head came back needing only the necessary work to convert to lead free petrol, the pistons arrived and reassembly took place rapidly. We remembered to check the new sump gasket thoroughly! We refitted the same neoprene rocker cover gasket very carefully, and especially around the cylinder head bolts, to ensure a seal all the way round.

The complete engine compartment had been cleaned and painted and we were ready for reinstallation. I don’t think this is ever an easy task on a complete TF, as opposed to a rolling chassis, and there really is no modus operandi. You have to jiggle and tilt and sway and gently lower all at the same time! It was quite a relief when the engine was finally relocated and secured under the gearbox and the front mounts with the stay tightened up. With the fresh coat of paint the engine looked ready to go.

New hoses were fitted along with the refurbished generator and starter motor and radiator. Then we fitted the refurbished and polished carburettors and it was time to fire up the engine. Everything seemed fine until we spotted some water leaks but tightening the clamps fixed those.

With help from various friends over the following month I reassembled all the front bodywork of the car, including the re-chromed false radiator cap. This is much easier with two people with one holding the parts in the right position while the other relocates the bolts and tightens them up. Also reconnecting the wiring is quicker when done by two people.

In advance I had inserted new fittings from Stafford Vehicle Components in the front torpedo side lights that have an amber bulb for flashing and a white one as the normal side light. There was no need for any extra wiring. I think this is a very good modification from the safety point of view as other motorists recognize an amber flashing bulb instantly while a white flashing bulb makes them wonder what is going on.

From the outside you cannot see the modification, so owners should not lose any points at a concours! In my opinion all T-Types should make this modification and do away with the (awful) variety of mainly motorcycle parts that have been used for flashing indicators in the past.

For the rear I have repeated what I did to the YT which had no indicators of any sort. From SVC I purchased two reversing lights with amber bulbs and I have fitted these to the rear bumper dumb irons. I removed the appropriate wires from the rear side lights, lengthened them and attached them to the reversing lights. Hey presto, flashing indicators! Not only are these flashing indicators, larger than the standard TF indicator within the side light but they flash amber and not red which is a double improvement.

The reversing lamp with an amber bulb wired to flash as the indicator rather than red incorporated in brake/side light

Regretfully we didn’t drive to Canberra for the ‘TYme’ event for T and Y series cars due to medical reasons but if it’s held again there or elsewhere we will again be the first to register.

In one way it was fortuitous that we didn’t go because in December on a short trip into Forster, the local town, the TF got stuck in top gear. This would not have been a nice experience on the way to Canberra.

I nursed it home and called the mechanic. Out came the carpets and off came the top of the gear box.

“You’re a lucky lad,” he said, “it’s the third and fourth gear selector that’s broken so there’s no need to remove the gear box.” In five minutes the two pieces of the selector were in my hand and a week later, a replacement came from Barrie Jones despite being snowed-in in the depths of Cornwall.

The part was quickly fitted and the TF was running again. The clutch linkage modification has proved to be very successful. It feels easier to operate and obviously there is less strain on the components.

TF 4114 has now completed 65,970 miles and some minor jobs are on the ‘to do’ list which almost every T-Type owner has on paper or in his or her mind.

The doors need adjustments to the hanging, some chrome parts need replacing or re-chroming, the choke needs to be refitted, despite it being unused in this climate, and new air filters need to be inserted in the air cleaners.

I am thinking of refitting the front anti-roll bar just because it’s sitting idle in the garage. I fitted it in 1969 and it was great for improving the handling before the body was rebuilt. After the rebuild the body was stiffer and it didn’t seem necessary to put it back on, especially as I didn’t intend to undertake any serious motor sport again in the car.

I have also decided to carry out the modification to the wiring that permanently connects the wipers and then routes the wiring through the switch below the driver’s glove box. I shall use the one with the red warning light as I no longer have a reversing light.

I have included a couple of personal comments about T-Types in this narrative and here’s the last one. Replacement parts that are chromed are offered by the suppliers but the quality of the chroming is appalling and well below the MG factory standard for T-Types. I think these parts should be sold without chroming and then buyers can spend as little or as much as they like to obtain the quality they desire.

There are chromed parts on TF 4114 which I purchased in the ‘nineties during the rebuild that are now in worse condition than the originals (which I have retained) and they lasted for the first 40 years when the car was not always garaged!

I shall continue to use the TF as frequently as possible in my daily life. My children have already told me never to sell it. I think that means they endorse my idiosyncrasy and secretly think the TF is still a cool car!!

Rob Dunsterville, Green Point, Forster, NSW AUSTRALIA

and finally, Rob says of this photo….

“In 1973 we drove away from our wedding reception in the TF but a pic of that is too embarrassing!

This pic is exactly 30 years later in the same car after a re-enactment of our vows at the Green Cathedral which is an open air church on the edge of our Wallis Lake (same lake as in the background of the front cover). We were promoting the B&B in those days (2003)”.

None of us is perfect

I write to emancipate the downtrodden and inadequate car owner who loves his/her car but cannot come up to the slick standard of those smug TV personalities who seem to effortlessly glide through vehicle reconstruction. We make mistakes, sometimes moronic, but we get it right in the end and can be satisfied that the gleaming chariot which turns heads as we drive around was recreated from the sweat of our own brow and dogged dedication. So, to make you feel better I shall bare my soul with a few of the “challenges” I have encountered so far in the restoration of TC 7045.

I spent a long time fighting to remove the brake and clutch pedal shaft. I took off the spring washer and split pin holding it in place but no movement. I whacked it with a hammer and drift through the access hole in the chassis but to no avail.

I was rather embarrassed to be told that it comes out much easier once you realize that there is a spring, washer and split pin at both ends. I just couldn’t see because it was plastered with grease. This is how it should look:

(I’ve since learned that the bracket for the brake switch should be angled down to straighten the angle for the spring) Apparently. It is recommended also that the pedals should be put through the rubber fume excluder prior to assembly, so the whole lot will have to come to pieces again anyway. Maybe I will take the opportunity of another mod which is to drill the centre of the shaft, fit a grease nipple at the outer end and smaller holes to feed the grease into the bearings.

Keep taking photos as you dismantle – but the other side of that is that you must refer back to them. Otherwise you can end up with a howler like this:

Well, in some circles they are called spring hangers. No wonder I was having problems refitting the back axle to the springs but there you go – if only I’d looked back at the old photo!:

The back axle is now in place with correct shackle alignment. Remember this: taking apart and rearranging parts which have been cleaned and refurbished takes only a fraction of the time needed when you are wrestling with inches of grime, road dirt, rust and previous damage, so correcting glitches like this becomes no great issue – you just feel a bit of a plonker!

Another smarty pants idea I had at the other end of the chassis: There had been cracks on the top of the chasis curve above the front springs, so as a loyal disciple of Mike Sherrell I decided to ask my chassis restorer to weld in boxing plates to strengthen the front end. I gave him the pictures out of the book. Back came the chassis looking absolutely straight and with sundry welding done – I was delighted – until I came to fit the shock absorbers and consider how I would insert the bolts for the front apron. There was an access hole in the boxing but it was smaller than expected.

I lost two nuts down the front of the boxing until I came up with the ploy of stuffing it with newspaper but my cat had its vocabulary enlarged a great deal while it sat watching me grovel on the floor with (too big) fingers at all angles trying to bolt on the dampers. I’m still pondering the question of the apron fixing bolts but reckon that the way forward is to drill an extra hole in the plate which, together with the existing access hole will allow me to place and grip the bolts.

Finally, a cautionary tale for those of us working alone in our garages:

Picture the scene. On Sunday morning your hero skips down to the garage eagerly anticipating a thrilling day with TC 7045 – well……… bits of her, that is. Unfortunately, my garage, like many others is a magnet for junk and I resolved to remedy not only the junk problem but also accessibility to the chassis by creating a frame upon which the part rebuilt body can sit while I prioritise mechanical restoration. (the reason for halting body work will be recounted another day) A light bulb lit above my head – that old Dexion! The design of the frame would be: a frame supported by four uprights lifting the car body to 4 feet off the ground, cross braced for stability. Out came my trusty angle grinder (one of my preferred five power tools, by the way) and all is cut to length. I stood and scratched my head – how to get the body onto the frame by myself? My half baked answer was:

1. Build the front section of the frame, bolt on the long pieces, and brace them to make a wedge. 2. Pull the body onto the wedge, and secure into position. 3. Build the back section of frame. 4. Lift up the back of the wedge (the body was still just a skeleton, so still quite light), and bolt on the back section of the frame, then finish the bracing.

It would have worked well had it not been for one thing – well two, actually. First, I had omitted to put a nut onto one of the bolts on the bracing and second, I had secured the body only by a single point at the front. Have you worked it out?

As I lifted the back, the bolt fell out and the brace fell loose, causing the frame to sag to one side. The body then pivoted round its single fixing point slewing across the frame. As this happened, and I adjusted my grip on the back of the frame to stabilise it, I let go of the ready constructed rear of the frame which fell away from me out of reach. Further, as I uttered the usual imprecations one may expect in situations such as this, all of the bolts I was holding ready in my mouth to do the final fixings spluttered out, tinkling all over the floor, again out of reach.

My, my, how amusing, I thought.

Red faced, I lowered all to the floor, started again and this time it worked well with the body fixed in two places and all braces properly bolted. Fortunately the little piece of motoring history entrusted to my tender and incompetent mercies did not suffer any harm. The greatest wound I suffered was to my pride.

There now – my manifest and multifarious deficiencies as an aspiring mechanic have been laid open for all to mock. Or maybe there are stories out there of garage grief which you are all modestly holding back?

The serious message is that if you are working alone take care and think things through – there may not be anybody to immediately rush to your aid should things not go as expected.

Chris Oswald

Engine Rebuild on TD13030

MNE 4 at Brooklands

MNE 4 is quite a well known MG TD having completed the 1952 RAC Rally in atrocious weather in late March/early April 1952 driven by Reg Harris, better known for his exploits on 2 wheels rather than 4. After 3 further owners, MNE 4 was purchased by Harry Crutchley in 1969, the year ”H” formed the MG Octagon Car Club.

I purchased MNE 4, in September 2009 from a dealer. He assured me that the engine had just undergone an extensive refurbishment including new liners and unleaded head conversion. Just over 1000 miles later, in April last year, the engine failed, losing power and making a very “expensive” sounding internal mechanical noise.

After extensive research I approached Iain Rooney (now one of TT2’s listed suppliers) to repair or rebuild MNE 4’s engine to period Stage 2 tune as that was the car’s state of tune when it competed in the RAC Rally. I trailered MNE 4 to Iain’s premises, near Selby in Yorkshire in May (see photo below taken on departure from home).

Iain dismantled the engine that day so we could understand the nature of the failure and decide a way forward. As the engine was dismantled, the full extent of its problems became apparent. The list of issues is too long to record here but to give you a flavour, we noted that it had the wrong cylinder head gasket, no liners or unleaded head, impact marks on all pistons from contact with the cylinder head, failed small end bearing on number 3 cylinder etc etc etc!

Engine strip down (above) and rebuild (below)

Iain and I agreed that the engine would have to be completely rebuilt using the block and cylinder head as the basis of the rebuild. All the internal moving parts of the engine would have to be replaced apart from the flywheel. Over the following few months Iain and I exchanged many e mails and telephone calls, verifying correct period parts were to be used. I sourced a period NOS dynamo and starter motor from Charles Russell of The Electrical Parts Company Ltd. I also found Andrew Turner to rebuild the carburettors to MG TD Mark II specification 578 SU H4 standard.

The rebuild proceeded through the summer months with Iain cleaning, checking, machining and fabricating all the parts required and using his extensive network of contacts, built up through many years in the business. The flywheel was lightened, the cylinder head gas flowed and a camshaft of Iain’s specification fitted. At a late stage it became apparent that the sump would need to be replaced. As had proved typical throughout the rebuild, Iain could find many examples of the larger capacity finned sump but could not, initially, find the smooth sump that would have been fitted to MNE 4’s TD2 (8 inch clutch) specification engine in January 1952. Fortunately, Ian found a “mint” example of the 9 pint sump and the build continued.

By November, having had numerous frustrations with period parts, the unbelievably poor workmanship previously inflicted on the engine and my insistence that originality should be the guiding principle, the rebuild was complete. Originality was sacrificed in one specific area. The original oil bath air cleaner and air inlet manifold were not refitted. I have seen virtually no period photographs of TD Mark IIs with those components fitted. Iain convinced me that the poor breathing caused by the air cleaner/inlet manifold combination would undo most of his efforts to produce the “fast” road car torque and power profiles of the rebuilt engine.

MNE 4’s rebuilt engine ready for installation (above) and installed (below) showing rebuilt carburettors

I am still running in the “new” engine but what a transformation! It is flexible and is raring to go with a delightful throaty roar from the exhaust. I would like to thank Charles Russell and Andrew Turner for their part in the process but particularly to Iain for his patience, professionalism and brilliant workmanship.

Paul Critchley

Editor’s Note: You can learn much about MNE 4’s history and National and Internationally renowned racing cyclist, Reg Harris, by going to the following website:

By the way, you’ll notice from the photo of the rebuilt engine that it has the TB/TC/early TD oil filter arrangement. This is quite correct as the engine fitted at the Factory to MNE 4 was XPAG/TD2/13087. This engine number falls between XPAG/TD2/9408 (the first TD engine with the 8 inch clutch) and XPAG/TD2/14224 (the first TD engine with the later oil filter arrangement).

I am indebted to Paul for his article (and useful endorsement of Iain Rooney’s services) and also for the photographs of the rear bumper TD MK II plinth arrangement and badge as featured in the TD Mk II badge article in this issue.

Bits and Pieces

You may have noticed, particularly if you are a ‘hard’ copy subscriber, that I try to start TTT2 articles on a new page, or on a new half page and finish them at the bottom of a full page or half page. This normally works out OK, but depending on what articles I have for publication it sometimes works out that I have one or two pages left over which I can’t make fit. So now you have discovered the reason for the ‘Bits and Pieces’ page from your enthusiastic amateur!

Mention was made on page 6 of silicone hoses and I thought that you might like some further information about them. The best way to learn more is to go to the website of Silicone Classic Hoses.

However, mindful of those who subscribe to ‘hard’ copies and therefore do not necessarily have Internet access, I have included some photographs of the hoses.

The three finishes available (shiniest one is “standard black”)
TB/TC/TD silicone hose set in “classic black”
TF silicone hose set in “classic black”

The prices quoted on page 6 have been updated for the VAT increase. The TF hose set now costs £37.80 and the TB/TC/TD price has been held at £40. The price I quoted for a TB/TC/TF top hose (£20) is the price to me, which includes some discount. I am re-selling at the discounted price I paid (£20). The finish is “old style wrap”.


A couple of weeks before Christmas I supplied the measurements and specification for a mould to be made for the TC suspension bushes (those that go through the tube in the chassis, which takes the shackle pin and plates down to the rear of the front spring eye) and those that fit the rear eye of the front spring on the TC and the rear eye of the rear spring on the TC and the TD/TF. (The bushes would be cut to size)

The mould is not ready yet (these things take time!) but hopefully I should have some news by the next issue.

On the assumption that these bushes turn out OK, I will get a mould made for the large bush which fits in the housings of the rear shackle plates on the TC.


Following a mention in Jonathan Goddard’s book on the TD, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Fiat 127 (or is it Fiat 124?) rocker cover gasket, which does the job on the XPAG after slight modification. Never mind which Fiat model, the part number is XF0004130541 Sealing Gasket and the price is £4.02 plus VAT. The gaskets have to come from Italy but your friendly Fiat dealer does not charge any extra for this. The details and price have been validated at Fiat dealers in Bristol, Milton Keynes and Poole, Dorset, so a ‘belt and braces’ job has been done on this!


Following receipt of the following query I posted it on a well known Bulletin Board:

“I wonder if anyone has any tips on how to make this gasket oil tight, despite pinching up it still tends to weep. I have thought about soaking a new gasket in oil before fitting or alternatively using a permanent gasket glue like Hermetite gold only along the lower section, any thoughts appreciated.”

By the way Loctite thread lock really cures leaking threads on the external oil unions”.

Unfortunately although I remember saving the replies, I can’t remember where I saved them!

From memory suggested ‘fixes’ were:

• First make sure that the tappet chest cover is not distorted • Use a nitrile gasket • Use a proprietary gasket sealant (can’t remember which one!)

Anybody else got any bright ideas?

MG TD, TF & TF1500 – The Essential Buyer’s Guide

Pre-order now from the T-Shop!


• Like having a real marque expert at your side – benefit from 45 years of real ownership (TF1500) experience
• Full coverage of all TD & TF models
• Advice on choosing the right model & condition
• Key checks – how to spot a bad car quickly
• Comprehensive inspection guide
• In depth analysis of strengths & weaknesses
• Discussion of desirable upgrades as well as modifications to avoid
• Market and value data, predicts which models will become collectable
• Details of Club back-up and support organisations

The Author

Barrie Jones is the TF Registrar for the ‘T’ Register of the MG Car Club and he is also its Technical Specialist for the TD/TF models. Barrie has owned his TF1500 since 1966.

Paperback 13.9cm x 19.5 cm 64 pages, 100 colour pictures.

Barrie’s book is not published until 1st February 2011, but you can pre-order your copy now from our website’s T-Shop and it will be sent out to you as soon as the copies arrive from the printers.

Price: £8.49 (£1.50 reduction on price advertised by the Publisher) plus postage (£0.81 UK, £2.25 EU, £3.75 Rest of World). Service excellence comes as standard!