Category Archives: Issue 63 (December 2020)

The MG Octagon Car Club

  • The MG Octagon Car Club was established in 1969 when Harry Crutchley and a small group of pre-56 enthusiasts in the Stafford and Stoke areas of England began to meet in their pre-56 MGs in an effort to maintain and preserve these cars.

It was a bold step by Harry to establish the Club as there was already a long-established MG club in existence, but Harry had the foresight to realise that a true member’s club would also offer spares to keep the cars on the road.

From those humble beginnings back then, the Club has blossomed to become a worldwide member’s club with over 2,000 members.

  • Communication with members is principally through the 56-page Club Bulletin, which is sent to members eleven times a year. There is a regular update in the Bulletin on Club matters from the Chairman (Brian Rainbow).

The Club also has a burgeoning Facebook Page.

In the UK there is a network of ‘Natter’ leaders who host ‘noggin and natter’ meetings, normally held monthly.

  • The annual ‘Founder’s Weekend’, held in memory of Club founder, Harry Crutchley, takes place in May and Club members are invited to participate in the Totally T-Type 2 weekend the following September. Many ‘T-Typers’ take part in both events.
  • The Club is particularly strong on supplying spares to keep cars on the road and arranges the remanufacture of parts not normally available e.g. TD brake drums, TA exhaust manifolds, YA/YT half shafts. The range of spares stocked is remarkable – you can get virtually anything you want for a ‘T’ or a ‘Y’ and also some ‘SVW’.
  • Technical support is freely given through a panel of model specialists and questions and answers are published in the Bulletin for the benefit of all. Technical queries also feature on the Club’s Facebook page.
  • If you want to reclaim the registration number for your car, you can, subject to having the appropriate documents, do this through the Club; you can also get help with applying for an age-related registration number. The Club’s expertise in these matters is widely acknowledged, so much so that members of another Club prefer to come to the Octagon for their DVLA registrations.

You will be pleasantly surprised at the modest annual membership fee, helped in no small part by tight cost control and some of the functions being undertaken by volunteers.

THE MG STORY 1923-1980 by Malcolm Green

I’m grateful to Ed Herridge for sending me the information sheet for this wonderful book. It reads as follows:

ISBN 978-1-906133-97-9 * 416 pages, hardback * 270 x 210mm * over 700 illustrations* £50

The first MGs were a small number of cars sold with special bodywork by Morris Garages, but by the 1930s the MG had come to be recognised as the archetypical sporting car. The rapid development of the marque, and the cars’ domination in their class of competition entry lists, is down to the energy, enthusiasm and skills of a small number of key personalities. Here, as well as in depth studies of all models produced, there are biographies of those most involved with MG development, record breaking and motor sport. This book sets out to recount, in the form of a series of articles, the story of the marque from 1923 until the Abingdon factory closed in 1980. At that time this small market town housed what was probably the world’s largest producer of sports cars. Many of the competition efforts by both factory-supported entries and private owners are covered in detail and help show why MGs became so well known. To illustrate the text there are both black and white archive photographs from the author’s collection and a great many modern colour pictures of restored cars. Period advertising material has also been included. The wide range of topics covered gives the reader a real insight into the evolution of the company and its cars, and into the unique character of MGs that is the reason why they remain so popular.

As mentioned in the editorial, there is currently a £10 saving on the price of the book, so it costs £40 with free postage within the UK. Order via Overseas postage costs are Europe £9.00, Rest of World £23.00.

Lost and Found


TC 7162
Glen and Jill Moore, Florida, USA

We found our MGTC in California and had it shipped across-county to our home in Florida.  As a purchase sight-unseen, the TC had some surprises needing time and attention, but we remain quite happy to have this car.  Rather than a car lost, this is a story of a car found, but with a lost history.

One of the sales of TC 7162 was made by the recent widow of the owner.  She did not know where any of the paperwork relating to the car was

document ownership.  A few oral stories were shared, but there was no documentation to back up any of the stories.  Our hope in writing this note is to find someone who knew this car in its past.

One of the stories is that TC 7162 returned to England for part of its life.  There is some evidence built into the car that gives some credence to that story.  The engine is from a 1500 cc Wolseley, fitted with dual 1 ½” SU carburettors.  Yes, you noticed that the carbs were on the wrong side.   There are no Wolseleys in the US and no available engines for an engine swap in junk (wrecking?) yards.  To get a longer-legged rear end ratio, a Morris rear end has been installed.  In the back, Lucas taillights have been nicely mounted in the rear wings.  This was a somewhat common modification in England when the laws regulating taillights were changed.  I have never seen another TC in the US with this modification.  While not firm evidence, a 2007 Silverstone dash plaque is affixed to the dash.

There are other modifications on this TC, ones which may not tie it to England, but might lead to someone recognizing the car.  It is painted duo-red, in a maroon and red.  The bonnet is a one-piece, hand-formed aluminum sheet, secured by two leather straps.  The front mudguard brackets appear to be from a J2, supporting aluminum cycle fenders (US term) with the proper crease in the center.  The seats are bucket-type, formed in aluminum, using a J2 seat as a pattern.  The ash framing in the front portion of the tub has been replaced with C-section steel welded to the body panels.  It is fitted with Brooklands windscreens and a stainless-steel gas tank with a gas gauge on top.

There are also stories of a racing history.  No evidence of racing during its period has been found, but some vintage races in the US, post-2000, are documented through dash plaques given to race entrants and from the oral history of the owner during that time.

Anyone out there with a memory of TC 7162?

1947 TC DJY 597

The following from Rodney Coffin who lives in Exeter rod(at) [please substitute @ for (at)]

“I owned this lovely car whilst living in Bristol in the early sixties. It was very reliable and ran beautifully and was great fun to own and to drive. When eventually sold it was to be completely restored by the new owner, but I am unaware as to whether this was actually carried out. If the car is still in existence it would be great to hear from the present owner”.

1947 TC GZ 9379

Nick Morris, pictured with his brother, circa 1970, learnt to drive in this TC. It comes up from a DVLA search enquiry as ‘Untaxed – Tax due 1 October 1992’. Date of last V5C (log book) issued is January 2019, so it exists in the recent past. Nick’s contact details: nickvmorris(at) [please substitute @ for (at)]

1938 TA MG 59??

The following from Frank Moore:

“I started an engineering apprenticeship with A.E.I. in Trafford Park Manchester in the early ‘60s.

I made friends with another apprentice in the same year intake named Osbourne Vaughan-Williams.  (He took a lot of stick from some of the other lads because of his name and his posh accent). He came from Urmston, Manchester. I was from Salford.

Ossie had completely rebuilt a model TA MG and had made a very good job of doing so. He fitted a TC engine, resprayed the car in British Racing Green (using his mums vacuum cleaner, superb finish no orange peel effect) and re-stitched each panel etc. and tonneau cover.  A most professional job and I think car restoration ran in his family with father and brother.

I accompanied him on many runs out, sharing the petrol costs (Did not do many Miles/Gallon).

Our longest run was to Stratford – upon – Avon and I remember being photographed outside the theatre (by Japanese Tourist) with the windscreen in the down position flat on the long bonnet.

When we finished our apprenticeship, I unfortunately lost contact with Ossie, a lovely bloke. I seem to remember he exported the car to America.

The picture I attach is me in the car. Unfortunately, the whole number plate is not in view. The picture from my computer was scanned in many years ago and this was lost in cropping.

How times have changed! A.E.I then employed 27,000 people and we made power station generators for the world. The site is now a car park for containers!”

Ed’s note: We do not know either the chassis number or the registration mark. Since Frank initially got in touch, he managed to find another photo of the car which (we think) shows the first four digits of the number plate as MG 59**.

Having done some research:

 MG 5915 (blue 1938 MG TA) is listed on DVLA website as having the original TA engine.

MG 5974 (green 1938 MG TA) is listed on the DVLA website as having the original TA engine.

This may rule out Ossie’s TA, but then, on the other hand, he may not have advised the change of engine.

Neither TA is on the road.

Frank’s details are: frank.moore(at)

[Please substitute @ for (at)]

1949 TC7891 (HAA 308)

Liz Moore (no relation to Frank in the previous posting) has been in touch about her father’s TC.

Details as follows:

“MG TC 1949, BRG, reg no HAA 308. Was owned by my father during 1950s or 60s, his pride and joy. DVLA shows it is taxed in UK. Would love to connect with current owner and share photos/memories. We heard so much about ‘the MG’ when we were kids, it was definitely my dad’s favourite car!”

As Liz says, the car comes up from a DVLA search enquiry. Date of last V5C (log book) issued is 17th June 2014, so it looks as though it might have changed hands back then.

Liz doesn’t currently have a photo to hand as she has sent what she has of the car, along with about 500 others to be digitized, but one will be published when it is to hand.

Bits and Pieces

YL5 Paint Code (Sequoia Cream/Ivory)

I recently had an enquiry from Robert Gillam, who is looking to paint his TD MK II in this attractive colour. Robert was trying to establish if there is a read across to a modern RAL or BS paint code for YL5. I made a couple of enquiries, but was unable to answer his query. He came back to me the next day, saying that he had managed to borrow a O.E, (original equipment) YL5 swatch. With a trained eye (he is a professional photographer/printer) he was able to cross reference the RAL chart to RAL code 9001 (Cream). He says it is virtually the same colour….albeit half a tone, (or half a stop) towards the lighter end, it’s a very, very close match.

NTG Motor Services sell a small touch-up can of YL5 for £15.70 plus VAT.

TA/B/C Handbrake Expander Arms

These can crack at the pivot point (see following pictures of damaged one and new one):

Paul Busby has made some new ones. Contact him at pyb.7(at)  [pse substitute @ for (at)]

Wiring Clips and Starting Handle Clips

Available from Paul (as above). Stainless, but can be blackened. Exactly as original. Also available, damper core plugs 1 1/8″ dia 3.5mm thick with a note to owners not to use the water jacket type nominally 1.5mm thick. Best way to remove the core plug is to drill a central hole and screw in a 6mm head self-tapping screw, when it hits the end of the shaft it will then extract the core plug. Note there should be a hard fibre disc behind the plug, often omitted by some rebuilders. Paul is making some new shafts for those who want to rebuild their own dampers and have corroded shafts or damaged splines.

Longstone Tyres

I mentioned Longstone Tyres in the editorial – here are their contact details:

Beehive springs on TD/TF Rear Backplates

It’s quite easy to while away many a happy half hour trying to fit these little blighters! I asked someone who I thought would know how to fit them, only to be told “I don’t bother with them!” Well, they must have been provided for a reason and that is to prevent the brake shoes from moving laterally.

An assortment of new and used beehive springs.

Close-up ‘shot’ of a used spring showing hook end which needs to go through the relevant hole in the brake shoe and hook to backplate.

The fixing points on the brake backplate are shown painted white in the picture below. The picture shows the rear off-side backplate. To fit the beehive spring to the top fixing point on this backplate you would need to position it at 180 degrees with the pliers with the hook pointing towards the back of the car, press hard and twist clockwise. It’s the same for the bottom fixing point, except that you twist anti-clockwise.

Easier said than done, but it’s a lot easier with a used one!

More ‘fun and games’ with my TF1500

As part of the plan to get the car up to the specification I want, I’ve recently bought an MGA 4.3 ratio ‘pumpkin’ by post from the Welsh MG Centre in Wrexham. It was bought unseen, so was a bit of a gamble, but I breathed a sigh of relief when the chap who is going to fit it for me gave it a clean bill of health and said it was in excellent condition. Phew! – after all the problems I’ve had with this car, it was good to have something go right for a change.

So, energized for the task of removing the back axle, with the prospect of checking everything (half shafts, wheel bearings, oil seals) I set about in the garage, putting the car up on blocks. The removal went relatively smoothly but I suffered for a few days after with back pain.

Axle out of the car – not kind to the back!

I have removed J2 and PB axles in the past, but they are mere ‘toys’ compared with this axle. I’ve also removed a TC axle, which is definitely a step up from the ‘J’ and ‘P’, but not as heavy as the TD/TF. I certainly wouldn’t want to remove an 18/80 back axle!

As part of the dismantling sequence, I removed the back springs and placed them on the bench in my large shed. Just when I thought everything was going right, shock, horror…..the curvature of the springs is different!

Spot the difference!

The spring in the foreground is definitely a TF spring as it has the part number 500880 stamped on it. It could well be a new old stock spring.

The stamping ‘Berry’ is interesting as you will find the same stamping on original TC springs (part number 99561 – rear and part number 99546 – front). Berry Brockhouse was a manufacturer of road springs and much more.

To quote from a period advert: “When J. BROCKHOUSE founded J. BROCKHOUSE & CO LTD. for the manufacture of Road Springs for carts and carriages, he was building better than he knew. Within a few years he absorbed one after another of his competitive businesses, and one of them – R. Berry & Son of Smethwick – was destined to become the greatest Road Spring Motor Manufacturers in this country. When motors and motor-cars began, Berry’s made Springs for them, and, so the tale is told: they now turn out Springs in their tens of thousands for light cars, medium cars, sports cars, luxury cars, trucks, lorries, and every form of motor transport.

With Road Springs BROCKHOUSE began, and they still lead as they did years before motors were ever invented.”


The other spring is not stamped, but it seems as though it could be a TD. How somebody could have fitted these different springs beats me, but that’s the story of my life with this car.

Just a few other problems which were found on removal of the axle and its strip down. The U-bolts had been fretting where the axle had not been properly secured – one is pictured below:

The nearside rear wheel bearing and seal need to be replaced and one of the bump stops had seen better days – obviously not replaced as part of the restoration.

I’ll get it all right in the end!

TD/TF Rear Springs

I was recently contacted by a friend who was in the market for new springs for his TD. “Make sure that a hole is drilled at the end of each leaf”, I said. His supplier wasn’t intending to do this, so my friend needed to know the measurements to pass on to the supplier.

Photo 1 – Rubber pad-interleaf, part no. ACG5232

By taking measurements from the TF spring, I was able to tell him that the (9/32”/7mm) holes need to be drilled 7/8” in from the end of each leaf and half way (¾”) across the width of the spring.

Into these holes fit the interleaf pads shown in photo 1. They were originally made of rubber and are available from some MG dealers.

The problem with the rubber is that it doesn’t wear very well; I have seen them having been flattened and protruding outside of the edges of the springs.

On the advice of Barrie Jones, Technical Specialist for the T Register of the MGCC, I have had some pads made from Nylatron.

The question has been posed “Why are these pads necessary?” Well, on road springs fitted to TCs and earlier models (certainly on the front), the leaves had their ends tapered and chamfered to prevent the ends digging in to adjacent leaves. The pads, being fitted near to the end, raise the end slightly (not much – about a sixteenth of an inch or less) so that the same result as tapering and chamfering is achieved.

I hope this explanation is correct.

New TA/B/C Bishop Cam Sector shafts

Andy King is offering these newly manufactured, using EN24T, sector shafts at £120 plus carriage, plus VAT. Both standard and oversize are available (picture shows a Triple-M and a T-Type shaft).

Windscreen wiper repairs

If your windscreen wiper has stopped working/only works if it feels like it, or has never worked, John Hargreaves is the man to go to. He also rewinds dynamo armatures and field coils and does skimming and undercutting of commutators. Jaeger tacho gearboxes overhauls and new cases made.

A lifetime’s experience in this work. jilloggy(at) [please substitute @ for (at)]. John is located in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Tel: 01782 516154.

TC8365 – Geoff Fletcher

Geoff has been sending me pictures of his rebuild on a regular basis. Some pictures were last shown in Issue 57 (December 2019).

I just wanted to show what Geoff has achieved with the body tub, having started with a fire-damaged and bodged example.

What Geoff started with…..

What he’s achieved…..

Geoff had a little help along the way…..

Geoff made the straightforward sections but help came from Andrew Denton Andrew supplied the difficult bits!

Crankshaft rear oil seal (again)

Roger Wilson has written a comprehensive article on the infamous engine leak at the rear of the block in the May 2010 edition of Totally T-Type. This excellent article prompted me to look at a spare ‘Gold Seal’ reconditioned engine block, which has revealed an additional problem and also paved the way for trying out an old remedy. In this article, the term ‘oil scroll housing’ is used to describe that part of the ‘main bearing cap’ that surrounds the oil scroll on the crankshaft.

The first step was to make up the setting gauge (photo 1) detailed by Roger in the September 2010 edition of TTT.

Photo 1 – The setting gauge.

This revealed that Roger may have been optimistic when he suggested that “the oil scroll housing on the rear main bearing cap will have a uniform clearance all round, as it was bored in line with all the main bearing housings”. In this particular block I measured 0.006” clearance on one side, gradually diminishing to less than 0.001” on the other side (photo 2).

Photo 2 – checking the clearances.

My first thought was that the setting gauge was not seating properly, so to eliminate the gauge, the rear main bearing cap was mounted on a dividing head secured on a mill table and a Dial Test Indicator mounted in the chuck was then used to check the concentricity between the oil scroll housing and the shell bearing housing (photo 3). This confirmed the 0.006” misalignment.

Photo 3 – confirming the 0.006 misalignment.

A magnified inspection of the oil scroll housing’s surface suggested that some rubbing against the crankshaft’s oil scroll had taken place. This leads me to believe that wear in the main bearings could have been considerable, thus allowing the crank’s oil scroll to contact the housing; but why double the wear on one side compared with the wear on the bottom of the shell bearing? This might be explained by the tendency of a rotating shaft to climb up the bearing’s side. The location of the excess wear on the near side of the engine seems to support such an idea. Two other possible explanations exist according to a recent comment by Lawrie Alexander; wear could be due to the crankshaft main journals being ground off centre, or the engine has been line bored during a rebuild.

Photo 4 – machining the oil scroll housing.

Rather than have the main bearing cap line bored, I chose to machine the oil scroll housing to be concentric with the bearing housing (photo 4) and set up an increased uniform gap of between 0.01” and 0.015”. The object of this slightly alarming approach was to make use of a suggestion by the late Ray Sales, some 25 years ago.

He ensured concentricity between the crank’s oil scroll and the housing by wrapping a single layer of sellotape around the crank’s oil scroll and spreading a thin layer of JB Weld on the oil scroll housing. The crank, bearings and bearing housings are then assembled, torqued down and the JB Weld allowed to harden.

On dismantling, the sellotape is removed along with any excess JB Weld. Such an approach should set up a truly concentric gap of about 0.002” (0.05mm). The extra clearance machined on the oil scroll’s housing allows a thicker, more robust layer of JB Weld and to improve adhesion, a groove was also machined into the scroll’s housing (photo 5) with a slitting saw.

Photo 5 – machining the groove.

The slinger cap or oil thrower is the die cast Mazac cover plate that sits directly above the crankshaft’s oil scroll and is meant to be located by two 4mm dowel pins and secured by three M6 screws to the engine block. The dowel pins had been removed, perhaps confirming Roger’s comment about the Morris Engine Division (responsible for the Gold Seal reconditioned engines) having to remove the pins to help correct any misalignment. Using the gauge, a gap of 0.004” at the top of the slinger cap and a tight fit at the sides was revealed, suggesting a new cap had been installed. A light skim of the cap’s flat edge on some 320 wet and dry (photo 6) and some judicious scraping (photo 7) set up a uniform 0.002” clearance with the gauge. As Roger has advised, some semi-hardening sealant either side of the gasket would help fix the cap’s location in the absence of the pins, once the cap has been secured by its three screws. The use of some 0.002” shim steel wrapped around the gauge would help true the fixing of the slinger cap to the block.

Photo 6 (above) – skimming the cap’s flat edge and Photo 7 (below) – scraping the cap’s surface.

All the above procedures should secure a uniform 0.002” clearance around the crank’s scroll, and whilst some slight leakage may occur, a well set up oil scroll system should be inherently effective.

My conclusions support Roger’s suggestion that the oil slinger’s dowel pins are not always able to set up the correct clearance and some individual adjustment is needed with the aid of a setting gauge. Although the scroll housing should be concentric with the bearing housing, excessive bearing wear can result in increased leakage as the crank’s scroll abrades away the scroll’s housing. This can be rectified by expensive line boring or by reducing the clearance with a film of JB Weld. For good adhesion of this film to the housing, some care in preparation is needed, such as the use of a “Dremmel” to grind away and roughen up the surface.

If main bearing wear can result in abrasion between the crank’s oil scroll and the housing, then the crank’s oil scroll diameter needs to be checked and the setting gauge dimension modified to be compatible.

When assembling the shell bearings, the ends should slightly protrude by a few thou. above the housing. This allows a slight degree of “bearing crush” to take place when the housing is torqued down.

I hope this article will give encouragement and the reassurance that paying attention to detail, although time consuming, is worthwhile.

Eric Worpe

Ed’s note: This article originally appeared in Issue 5 (April 2011) and has recently been updated by Eric.

Following the article in Issue 62 (October 2020) a number of comments were posted on the website at the end of the article. Some printed copy subscribers who have Internet access might have seen these, but printed copy subscribers who do not have it certainly won’t. It’s also the case with Internet ‘subscribers’ that unless they make a point of visiting the website from time to time and going to the article, they will not be aware of the comments. Therefore, the seven comments are printed below in date order as received.

David B Smith – 8th October:

When the need arose to change the oil seal after 12,000 miles, we did it without removing the engine (TF) and made up 2 legs bolted to the lower bell housing to take the weight of the engine on the chassis rails after removing the gearbox. The original conversion had included a Speedisleeve. The motivation for the seal replacement was not the drip, which was no worse than that from most XPAG engines, but incipient clutch slip and the planned trip to the Isle of Man. The clutch slip was found to have been caused by oil seeping past the heads of the 4 bolts holding the flywheel then running along the gearbox first motion shaft and centrifuging onto the front face of the clutch plate. Lockdown happened the day after the job completed and IOM trip cancelled so haven’t done enough miles to know yet whether the new seal is successful. I was fortunate in being able to use an old-fashioned lift belonging to my local friendly garage.

Sorry am not able to show a picture in this reply.

Lawrie Alexander – 8th October:

The Moss Motors seal kit sold in the USA (p/n 433-421) comes with 9 pages of illustrated instructions and – most importantly – a seal retainer centering tool. Engines which have been line-bored sometimes move the axis of the crankshaft to one side so using the original mounting holes for the bolts that secure the upper half of the retainer locates the seal sideways relative to the crankshaft flange. One engine I worked on (before developing the seal centering tool) had the seal flattened on one side of the crank and not touching the other side! The latest iteration of the 433-421 kit has resulted in a 90% success rate: no oil leaks after installation. The other 10% appear to be the result of crankshafts being reground off-center so that the rear flange actually oscillates. This makes the seal less than efficient (and probably messes up the engine’s balance with the flywheel oscillating, too).

Trevor Short – 10th October:

Eric, I have fitted a Moss seal to my TD. The first one (ptfe type) started leaking after about 200k. On inspection, the seal had a considerable warp in it and I suspect it had been damaged in transit to Australia. I searched for a replacement, but not available in Australia. A new seal arrived from England and it checked out ok. I was a little concerned about the way the PTFE seal is fitted. All the suppliers with this type of seal supply a fitting sleeve, none is supplied by Moss. So, I machined up< a fitting adapter so the seal went on without any manipulation (Moss fitting instructions say – avoid seal puckering). Due to the seal failing I then looked at what I actually purchased. The clearances are at a premium, I think the flywheel location sleeve ended up at about 35 thou. – enough but just enough. I follow you on the PTFE seal 1. they can run dry 2. they can run in oil. Due to the 3/16 return hole they will run in a reservoir of oil due to the height above the seal. And yes, why don’t they now with the PTFE seal incorporate the old scroll seal? If ever the PTFE seal fails, at least the pool of oil under the car will be tolerable until time is available to repair. The pool of oil of the seal failure was about 12 inches in diameter.

David B Smith – 14th October:

I cut the bottom off a PET drinks bottle and used that to fit the seal over the flange.

Eric Worpe – 15th October:

Thanks to the above for their interesting comments. The issue about alignment of the oil seal housing and the crankshaft could be resolved if the housing incorporated the counter oil scroll as provided by the Mazac casting. You’ll be delighted to know that I hope to submit a short post script on the oil seal housing if John allows it.

Michael Balahutrak – 22nd October:

I have just installed the seal and not enough run time to fully evaluate – BUT – in anticipation of flooding the seal area with oil and possibly creating a positive pressure in this area – I have drilled two additional holes -one each side of the drain hole to facilitate rapid pressure alleviation and oil draining – hope this will do the trick.

Eric Worpe – 22nd October:

Hi Michael, You may have a good point! I’ve wondered if drilling the drain hole at an angle, such that the spin direction of the crankshaft’s flange would encourage oil to be swept down the drain hole. The hole’s opening could also be made funnel shaped to offer a greater catchment area. I hope all this homespun theory thinking is treatable.

Ed’s note: As a follow up to Eric’s post of 15th October, he has sent in the following:

“John James managed to obtain one of the currently available oil seal housings for inspection, enabling us to confirm the absence of a counter scroll surface to the crank-shaft’s Archimedes oil scroll, as originally provided by the semi-circular Mazak die-casting, photo 1. Instead, the new housing was machined to leave a gap of some 60 thou. tapering up to a gap of 300 thou.; clearly unable to limit any oil escaping from the crank-case.

Photo 1 – comparison between original oil slinger and new housing.

This seems a lost chance to reduce overloading of the new oil seal system due to oil spray from worn main bearings. A worn engine can also result in a positive pressurized crank-case due to “blowby” past the piston rings, adding to the “load” placed on the oil seal. The crank-case breather pipe fixed to the tappet cover is intended to reduce the build-up of pressure especially when moving forward due to the Venturi/Coanda effect tending to draw fumes out of the bottom of the pipe. This may explain why the oil leak seems worst with the engine running, but the car stationary.

I’ve wondered about putting a funnel on the end of the breather pipe to help extraction and lower crank-case pressure as illustrated in the sketch accompanying the Editor’s note below.  However, the thought of the comments from my T-Type colleagues at yet another modification has stayed my hand.”

Ed’s note: Here’s the sketch referred to above.

Ed’s further note: A further comment (the eighth) was posted on the website by Anton Piller on 26th October:

“I am the one, who in 2016 posted a thread on the International Y-Type Website about this topic and nearly got into trouble because of it. I had bought, many years back a rear oil seal kit from one of the big suppliers – could not remember from whom. When I eventually got around to fit the kit to my XPAG engine, I realised that the green coloured (Nitril?) seal would not work as it should: there was no garter spring with it and the sealing lip protruded over the chamfer on the crank flange’s edge. See photo. (Not posted on website as a comment as not possible to do this, but pic is below).

I then got in touch with a Swiss supplier of lip seals and settled for a brown coloured Viton type seal BAVI 95-12O-12, since in 2016 pressure was not a major topic for me. Otherwise, I might have gone for a type BABSLVI seal with its pressure resistance of up to 10 bar.

After my thread was published, both Moss and B&G contacted me and pointed out that they use improved seals since a couple of years now. I do have a copy of the (presumably uprated) B&G fitting instruction that recommends to chamfer the aluminium retainer’s centre hole to improve the oil flow to the seal and that they now incorporate superb graphite coated Teflon seals that withstand 12,000RPM / 600°F.

I do not add the really good B&G Fitting Instruction Sheet because I am careful about copyright….”

Derry Dickson’s ‘Miranda’ (TC5405)

Derry has owned T-Types (TA2243, MPJG 2494) since 1950, so during the last 70 years he has learnt a thing or two about them!

His first car was a rusty wreck of a TA, which he had to ‘make do and mend’ to keep it on the road. Money was in short supply in those days when we were emerging from post-war rationing, and technical assistance, to which we are accustomed these days was virtually non-existent.

Ten years later he wanted to go faster, so he fitted a new XPEG (F3282 which was the last one available from Abingdon) to his TA2494, and uprated the handling and braking accordingly. This car did over 250,000 miles, which included trips to Naples and the south of France in the 1960s.

Fast forward to 1983 when he bought ‘Miranda’. Since then he has lavished care on the car with lots of uprating, and sensible modifications, always maintaining the car himself.

However, having just celebrated his 91st birthday, he told me that he is finding it “a bit difficult” crawling about underneath the car for servicing. So, he’s pondering whether it is time to pass ‘Miranda’ on to a new owner. He hasn’t definitely made up his mind yet and doesn’t want to part company, but the head may rule the heart.

History: TC5405 was exported new to Kenya on 8th June 1946 and imported back to the UK in 1960. It had had three owners before Derry bought it in 1983. The car was in a sorry state and required a total rebuild as it had been stored in a damp barn for several years.

Derry didn’t start the restoration until 1988 as he had been abroad, but since finishing it in 2000, ‘Miranda’ has been on her best behaviour. Some 40,000 totally reliable miles have been covered in the car since March 2000. This is due, in no small part, to Derry’s fastidious maintenance schedule with always one eye on keeping the car safe for modern road conditions.


All rubber parts replaced
Dynamo, Starter, Distributer overhauled by Lucas Agent
New wiring loom
Chassis blasted and Primed
Painted Rover Nightfire Red
Chrome – all parts rechromed
2x fuel lines with an S U pump on each
“Bluemels” steering wheel
Woodhead Monroe telescopic front shock absorbers
Water temperature gauge
Spares compartmentalised tray over back axle – holds a lot!
Fire extinguishers x 2
37/8 differential gearing (Furneaux)
Original Jaeger instruments – black dials, restored by Vintage Instruments
Walnut veneer dashboard
S/S exhaust system with “Fish-tail” end-piece
1350 cc engine rebuild – “Performance Package” Edney – car has original engine XPAG 6152
Oil filter assembly (Moss)
Alfin front brake drums – Bob Grunau
N/S wing mirror
Etcetera, etcetera!

Maintenance and Modifications since 2000

Twin pan air filters Apr’14
Hydraulic brake-light switch Mar’17
Original clock – digitally modified Jun’17
Bishops modified steering box Jan’02
New steel drop-arm May’03
S/S luggage rack – incorporates eye-level LED strip light Jan 17
New Mohair tonneau, hood & side- screens Dec’14
Amber indicator lights front and rear – LEDs Jan’17
Front side lights – LED’s Jan’17
Brake lights – LED’s Jan’17
Engine bottom end work: Mike Rolls: – included: Crankshaft, with rear oil seal – new from B&G May 2011
Dimmer switch for panel lights Jan’02
Windscreen washer Mar’04
2 L/S front brakes (T D) Nov ‘04~
New stub axles – Furneaux Jan’13
New half shafts with oil seal Furneaux   Jan’13
Roller bearings front hubs – Furneaux Jan’13
Windscreen Washer (electric) Jan’02
Locking petrol tank cap Apr’08
Carburettor heat shield Jun’09
Gearbox rebuilt Jun’18
Bronze master cylinder Sep’05
Rear springs tempered – Brost Feb’06

There are over 300 receipts, covering all work and parts since 1983! the car has always been MOT’d.

Restoration of TD Hennefahrt – update – 2020

The car, as found in a shed in 2003 in Bavaria and as she is now, in the hands of Rainer Kuehner in Moeckmuehl, near Stuttgart, Germany. It is chassis number TD/C3671 EXL Engine no. XPAG/TD/LHX 3517.

The history of the car, a TD MK II Special and possibly the only one of the custom-built bodies made under German post war production which survived in Europe (some may be in the US), was told in Issue 34 (February 2016).

Briefly, the initiator and designer of the car body was almost certainly Christian Odendahl, racing driver and M.G. dealer before and after the war. Odendahl was racing M.G.s at that time and he appears to have placed the order for the manufacture of the body to coach builder Fritz Hennefahrt Co. located in Bad Cannstatt a suburb of Stuttgart, Southern Germany.

Odendahl of Cologne, owned the car from 1951 to 1956, during which time he carried out a number of modifications to the body line with the objective of giving it a more modern look. He sold the car in 1956 to Manfred Schnabel and it went to Frankfurt. It was later registered at Augsburg near Munich / Bavaria until the early 1960s.

At this point in time it ‘disappeared’ and it was feared that it had been scrapped.  However, approximately 40 years later in 2003 when the widow of the last owner asked some workmen to dismantle a utility shed in the garden, the car was discovered amongst a heap of scrap and in the company of a wide range of collected metal items such as agricultural tractors, juke boxes, casino slot machines, etc.

Following the discovery of the M.G. a classic car dealer from the North of Germany acquired it. The car was given a quick reassembly job and a touch of paint to cover up the worst looking spots.

In 2006 it then found a new owner in Bavaria / Southern Germany. This person was prepared to invest in the restoration of the MG and he contracted a panel beating company for the body work. The company started to make jigs for the front and rear wings, and started to fabricate new doors. Part way through the job of restoring the sheet metalwork and after 450 contract man hours, the owner ran out of money and decided to stop all work. No mechanical and electrical restoration work had been done, but all was still intact.

The Hennefahrt MG was now partly dismantled and semi restored and offered for sale on the internet. Potentially interested parties were wary of the cost of completing the restoration (it was, after all, a ‘one off’) and for a long time, no buyer was found. The car suffered the indignity of being stored outdoors under a tarpaulin in front of a home in the Bavarian countryside.

By coincidence, Rainer Kuehner discovered the Hennefahrt MG and in 2013 he became the proud new owner. Being a professional restorer running a car body and paint shop, he was game enough to tackle the job of finishing the restoration project.

With most of the engine/transmission and mechanical work having been completed, Rainer’s activities have been concentrated mainly on the body shell and paint work.  One question which had to be answered was, what was the original colour? After removing several layers of old blue and red paint, he discovered the original colour – a kind of silver grey. The best match he found is a paint spec going by the name of Silverstone Silver.

In preparation, two coats of epoxy primer were followed by a filler coat and then a base coat of Silverstone Silver and finally a clear coat.

The main jobs now outstanding are overhauling the electrics with the installation of a new TD wiring loom, installing the windscreen, finishing of the seat assemblies and leather covers, trim plus various odd jobs and many small finishing details which have to be attended to.   

Rainer hopes that by the end of the year he will be able to fill the TD Hennerfahrt with fluids, fire it up and be ready to tune it up and do his first run.

The timescale for completion has slipped, but don’t forget that he has a business to run!

Article written with help from Rainer Kuehner and Georg Rahm.

Keeping Oil in an XPAG

Many years ago, somebody told me “if an XPAG engine is not leaking oil, there is none in it!” This is very true. Of course, everybody knows why. When the engine was designed, modern neoprene seals were not available. The designers had to stay with the old methods.

The front crankshaft seal is nothing more than a piece of rope. To make matters worse, it is in two halves, making it impossible to get a good seal. There is an oil thrower behind the seal which helps. This is a metal disk which centrifuges away any oil that may get near the rope seal. Even so, leaks are inevitable. If you are rebuilding your engine, make sure your thrower is fitted the correct way. Dish side to the front of the engine.

The rear oil seal is usually the cause of most of the leaks. This consists of a small ridge on the crankshaft that acts as a thrower and a scroll to “wind” any oil back into the sump. To work effectively, the scroll needs to be a close fit in the housing. The housing is in two parts, an aluminium casting that bolts onto the block and the sump itself. Aligning them to give a close fit around the scroll is impossible.

The method I use to reduce the gap between the crankshaft scroll and housing appears to work well.  When I rebuilt my engine, I coated both the surfaces with a thin layer of red Hermetite. I then assembled the crank, main bearings and fitted the sump with its gasket. Once assembled, rotating the crankshaft removes the excess Hermetite from the housing. This leaves a thin coating of Hermetite that is an exact fit to the scroll.

It takes around one day for the Hermetite to “harden off”.  Remove the sump and crankshaft and clean the excess Hermetite from the scroll. When re-assembling take care to ensure the soft Hermetite coat is not damaged.

The result was very satisfactory. Although it did not stop the leak from the rear seal, it reduced it to an acceptably low level.

Nowadays, people often replace both the front and rear seals with modern lip seals. Unfortunately, these do not always stop the leaks. Indeed, I have seen a modern rear lip seal leaking more than my scroll and Hermetite jointing compound.

Unfortunately, my “fragile” seal has been damaged and I am now getting more oil leaking from my rear seal. This article shares my thoughts on what damaged my seal as this offers a possible explanation for the failure of modern lip seals.

When my wife and I travelled to the Alps in our TC, we took the opportunity of driving over some of the more remote passes; one was particularly steep. First and second gear, full throttle at 3,000-4,000rpm. When I got to the top, I noticed quite a lot of oil leaking from the rear seal and around the starter dog. The rear oil seal had leaked quite badly.

When an engine is running, petrol vapour and exhaust gases leak past the piston rings. These gases contaminate the oil; one reason it turns black. They also increase the pressure in the sump. On modern cars there is a valve arrangement that connects the sump to the inlet manifold. When driving on part throttle, there is a partial vacuum in the inlet manifold. As this is connected to the sump, there is also a partial vacuum in the sump. Any gases escaping past the piston rings are sucked back into the inlet manifold rather than pressurising the sump. The partial vacuum in the sump also stops the oil from leaking out.

The XPAG does not have this arrangement. The sump is vented by a breather pipe on the tappet cover (circled in red in the picture). There is a large gasket behind the tappet cover. This stops oil from flowing directly into the breather pipe. The cover is dished to provide a space between the gasket and breather pipe for the gases to vent.

Unfortunately, the gasket distorts, especially the earlier ones which are quite thin. The breather pipe has a ridge on the inside to prevent it getting blocked by the gasket. But…..a distorted gasket can significantly reduce the gas flow, allowing the pressure in the sump to rise.

This is what appeared to have caused my excessive oil leak on the Alpine pass. As the engine was working hard at full throttle, a large volume of gases were escaping past the piston rings. Unable to properly vent through the breather, they increased the pressure in the sump. This forced the oil out of the rear seal and damaged my fragile Hermetite seal. When I removed the tappet cover gasket, there were marks where it had been pressing against the end of the breather tube.

A similar problem occurred with the XPAG engine used to test modern fuel at Manchester University. The results of these test can be found in the book: Classic Engines, Modern Fuel. The problems, the solutions.

This engine had been stripped, cleaned and reassembled using new gaskets. It was run mostly on full throttle for the tests. Late one afternoon it started to leak significant quantities of oil from the rear seal. The next day it was OK. I can only assume the gasket had distorted and partially blocked the breather tube during the earlier tests. It relaxed back overnight allowing the gases to vent.

Excessive pressure in the sump will force oil out even past the best lip seal.

What can be done?

The original gaskets have 4 holes near the edge. The bottom two are to let any oil that gets between the gasket cover and gasket drain out. The smaller middle three holes are for the mounting studs. The larger four holes allow exhaust gas to pass through to the breather tube. These holes are very close to the edge where there is less space between the cover and gasket. Any distortion of the gasket can easily block them. There is a second problem with this design. The holes at the top will let oil pass through. One is close to the breather tube. There is a risk of oil being blown down the breather tube.

One recommendation is to cut one or two holes along the centre line of the gasket. This is where the cover bulges out so there is less risk of them being blocked.

My solution is to replace the cork with a thin steel gasket. The two holes at the top have been replaced by four larger holes along the centre line of the tappet cover. There are thin cork gaskets around the inside and outside edge of the metal gasket to provide the seal. A metal gasket will not distort, guaranteeing an open channel between the sump and breather tube.

Does it work? If my assumption about the cause of  excessive leaks from my engine and that used for the tests at Manchester is correct, it would have prevented these problems.

Should you be interested, let the editor know via the website contact form. If there are sufficient enquiries, I will arrange to get some steel gaskets made.                                                

Paul Ireland

Ed’s note:      As the saying goes, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ i.e. ‘the real value of something can be judged only from practical experience or results and not from appearance or theory’, so there must be something in what Paul says.

I’m going to give it a try – it’s not difficult and it will give me the opportunity to use up the roll of sheet cork that I bought to seal my petrol cap.

On reflection, it will be difficult to cut the sheet cork – a craft knife should do it – but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Postscript: I thought that I would look up ‘sheet cork’ on the Internet and lo and behold there is a stockist within 6 miles of me in Bath. Contact details are:–sheets-1-c.asp

Their product specification ‘BB13 Cork Roll’ reads as follows:

Composition Cork Rolls are made from natural cork grains and therefore maintain most of the characteristics attributed to cork in its natural state. BB13 Composition Cork Rolls are designed for use as economically priced bulletin board material. Also ideal for certain gasket applications, shipping and spacer pads, protective backing and numerous other industrial, commercial and hobby requirements. These cork rolls are available in various thicknesses.

I’ll investigate and report back.

2023 – The 100th Anniversary of M.G. sports cars

 The convention for the celebration of anniversaries is to start from the date when the event first occurred – and the first M.G. sports cars were produced in 1923, so this is the date from which all things M.G. truly began.

Over the years, due to misunderstandings, other dates such as 1924, 1925 and even 1928 have been erroneously adopted as the starting point of  M.G. These errors are easily explained, as will be seen in the following information.

The very essence of the M.G. brand is a true sporting car which incorporates good looks, performance and reliability. One cannot ignore the fact that the Morris brand, from which M.G. products sprang, were noted more for reliability than for sporting prowess.

It was only after Cecil Kimber joined the staff at The Morris Garages, Oxford in 1921, that his enthusiasm for motor sport eventually led him to develop ‘hotted up’ Morris cars. The Morris Garages produced a few Morris cars with bespoke coachwork, (mainly up-market saloons), and then in 1922 began to sell Morris Cowleys with coachwork that they named the “Chummy Body”.

Morris Garages Chummies featured a small 4-seater body, wherein all passengers enjoyed the protection of the hood. Over 100 of these cars were sold. These cars were never marketed as M.G.s and had no sporting pretentions. However, Kimber modified his own Chummy and in March 1923 won a gold award with the car in the London to Land’s End Trial.

Kimber’s success in this event led to William Morris sanctioning an order for six sporting 2-seaters to be produced – and these were to be the very first M.G. sports cars.

The coachwork for these six 2-seater sports cars was made by the Oxford firm, Charles Raworth & Sons. Kimber’s design incorporated various improvements in handling and performance which enabled the car to do 60mph on the flat!

The styling of the cars included several features which were to be iconic on M.G.s for several years – rakish swept wings, a sloping windscreen with triangulated end frames and ‘marine style’ air ventilators on the scuttle.

Adverts for these M.G.s first appeared in December 1923, in which the model was named ‘The M.G. Super Sports Morris’ – featuring the MG Octagon, as shown.

These first M.G.s were available to customers earlier in 1923, and the first recorded sale was in August 1923.

The M.G. Octagon – a history in itself!

The M.G. octagon first appeared in an advert in The Oxford Times of March 2nd 1923 and was subsequently used in virtually every M.G. advert thereafter.

The octagon logo is understood to have been designed by Ted Lee, Cost Accountant at The Morris Garages. The two-letter acronym soon became M.G.’s logo.

The M.G. Car Company was formed in March 1928 and yet, almost unbelievably, the M.G. octagon had never been registered as a trademark! The first application for the image as a trademark was made a month later in April 1928.

Even then, the ‘date of claimed first use’ was erroneous. The date given on the application was 1st May 1924, (probably taken from the earliest advert to hand), whereas the octagon was first used in March 1923.

These errors are responsible for some folk to think that M.G. started in 1924, or even in 1928, when the trademark was claimed.

Further confusion over the 1975 Jubilee MGBs

When in 1975, under British Leyland management, M.G. was desperate to shift stocks of MGB GTs, a model named ‘Jubilee’ was introduced. The management team thought that the production of M.G.s began in 1925 – so 1975 was the 50th anniversary. Sadly, they were two years too late, but the error convinced the uninitiated to believe that 1925 was the start date of the marque.

The 2023 Centenary Celebrations.

Plans are well advanced for a big M.G. Centenary event to be held in England in 2023. All of the major M.Gs. car clubs are involved, including the oldest – the M.G. Car Club in Abingdon – and all of those clubs agree that the first M.G.s were the Raworth-bodied Super Sports built in 1923.

The M.G. Salesmen’s Handbook, issued in January 1928, states that “…the M.G. Sports Cars were first introduced in 1923 …”.

Cecil Cousins, who was Kimber’s right-hand man at M.G., told author Wilson McComb that the first cars that can be considered M.G.s were the Raworth-bodied Super Sports of 1923.

So – that’s why the big celebrations will be held in 2023!

Chris Keevill – Editor, The Early M.G. Society

Editor’s note:

This article was written by Chris for the Newsletter of the Classic MG Club of Orlando, Florida and appeared in the August 2020 edition of its Newsletter ‘The Octagon’.

I had previously introduced Glen Moore, editor of ‘The Octagon’ to Chris; Glen was seeking clarification on early M.G. radiator badges. This led to an exchange of e-mails about the centenary of M.G. – which in turn prompted Chris to write an article about why it’s 2023.

Chris’ article is a useful follow on to “The 97th International Oliver Arkell day”, which was published in the October Issue (number 62). This celebrated the occasion in 1923 when a young man, John Oliver Arkell, came to Oxford to buy a car from the Morris Garages showrooms in Queen Street.

The surname Arkell will be familiar to UK West Country folk, especially beer drinkers, as a brewer based in Swindon, Wiltshire.

John Arkell, born 1802 in Kempsford, Gloucestershire, first started brewing beer in 1843. Brought up in a farming community, he emigrated to Canada in his late twenties with a group of local people, keen to escape the harsh conditions of agricultural employment at the time. The group established the community of Arkell, but John was to return to England after three years to marry and set up home in Stratton St Margaret, near Swindon in Wiltshire, where he grew barley and brewed beer on his farm.

In the mid19th century, beer that was sold in pubs was brewed on site and also in private dwellings. John Arkell saw an opportunity here to supply pubs with beer as well as his own pub, which he had just bought.

Arkell’s foresight was handsomely rewarded with the acquisition of a string of pubs in the town of Swindon and in towns and villages in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. This required a new steam brewery built in 1861, which itself reached capacity by 1867.

John Arkell did not live long enough to see the continuing burgeoning expansion of pubs as he died in 1881. On his death, the business was carried on by two of his sons; Thomas Arkell (died 1919, aged 80) and James Arkell (died 1925 aged 76).

Arkell’s became a private limited company in 1927 with all shares owned by the family – as, indeed, is the case today. Now at the helm were James Arkell’s sons, Thomas Noel (later Sir Noel), James Graham and John Oliver Arkell.

If you’ve followed the genealogy thus far, you’ll see where John Oliver Arkell arrived on the scene.

John Oliver Arkell was born on 28th November 1899. After education at Wellington College, he joined the Royal Navy as a special entry cadet in 1918, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. His Royal Navy service record gives his full name as John Oliver Augustus Arkell. He was a keen philatelist, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, and was author of a number of booklets relating to various aspects of stamp collecting.

A practising solicitor, in between his service in the Royal Navy, (I think he must have been recalled to the Navy on the outbreak of war) he was not involved in the day to day running of the brewing company, albeit he was a director.

Oliver Arkell died in 1977, so he was still around when Wilson McComb was researching his book The Story of the M.G. Sports Car, first published in 1972. The ‘Client Copy’ given to McComb (copy below), held in the archive of the Early M.G. Society, (hence the water mark), was annotated by Arkell (see top right-hand corner) and given to McComb at a meeting between the two.

Note that Arkell signed the order as J. O. A. Arkell.

The Early M.G. Society also holds a copy of the ‘Works Copy’ of this order in its archive. William Morris considered this order to be for the very first M.G. and had it framed and displayed in his billiard room at Nuffield Place. The original framed copy sadly now seems to have been misappropriated.

The surviving copies of the ‘Client’s Copy’ and the ‘Works Copy’ are historically significant because they represent the very first documented sale of an M.G. sports car.

Looking at Arkell’s annotation in the top right-hand corner of the ‘Client’s copy’, I think it says “My first car. I believe it was the first MG as the price had not been fixed (finalised?) and was later said to be £350.”

For those who don’t have a copy of McComb’s The Story of the M.G. Sports Car, here is a précis from the relevant passage of the book which would have been based on McComb’s meeting with Arkell:

Arkell recalled the date of 11th August 1923 when he travelled to Oxford from his home in Highworth, Wiltshire to buy a Morris Chummy [a Morris open 2-seater with a space in the back for occasional passengers] when he noticed a yellow sports car in the window of the Queen Street showroom. He was much taken with the colour “an unusual yellow, the colour of good butter, and it had black wings.” Kimber was in attendance and said the price was £300, whereupon Arkell agreed to buy it, on the basis that it wasn’t much more than a Chummy. 

Having paid a deposit three days later, Arkell’s Raworth was registered FC 5855 in Oxford on 16th August and was delivered on 5th September.

‘Oliver’s Beetle’ as his father christened it, had neither front-wheel brakes or a starter. When Arkell asked about having these fitted, Kimber told him that the weight would spoil the performance; the car apparently achieved 60 mph on one occasion, only for the magdyno to collapse under the strain.

Shortly after the purchase, Arkell was told that the price should have been £350 and this was the figure quoted in later advertisements (see below).

McComb opined that this uncertainty over the price suggested that Arkell’s Raworth was the first one sold to a private customer.

The first recorded advert for Raworth-bodied Super Sports.

The Editor would like to acknowledge the help of members of The Early M.G. Society, Chris Keevill, Keith Herkes and Phil Jennings in the compilation of this article.