Category Archives: Issue 77 (April 2023)

Lost & Found

TC8058 (KKB 676)

The Guarantee plate for TC8058 was recently found in a box of bits by a T-Typer in Australia, who is restoring TC2575. TC8058 is KKB 676, which comes up on the DVLA search facility as ‘Not taxed for on road use’. The date of the last V5C (registration document) is 25th November 1983, which confirms that it has been off the road since then.

This information has been passed to me by Stewart Penfound, who maintains the TA/B/C Register for the T Register of the MG Car Club.

If the registration number jogs someone’s memory would they please get in touch with me at jj(at)  [Please substitute @ for (at)]. I will then pass on the details to Stewart.

TB0273 (BBE 83)

This fine looking TB belongs to Andrew McWilliam. Andrew is seeking details of the car’s early life. He bought the car from Nutley Sports Cars in Sussex, it having been restored by Rees Bros of Aldershot.

Enquiries of the original registration authority (the Lindsey District of North Lincolnshire) appear to have run into the sand.

Any ‘leads’ to me, please at the ttypes address and I will pass them on to Andrew.

TC0465  Where are you now?

The following has been received from Jeffrey Brodrick:

“Just wondered if someone, somewhere, might be interested in a YouTube clip of an early 1946 TC, chassis no. 0465, reputed to be the first TC to be imported into South Africa, which has been sent to me from North America.   The car was then owned in the early 1980s by Guy Gilchrist of Washington State, son of Fred Gilchrist who was a successful businessman and serious car collector in South Africa in the 1970s.  I also have a photo of Fred driving this car at the Kyalami circuit in SA with Niki Lauda sat abreast the passenger seat, as it was raced against the big boys!   It would be interesting to know where this car is now.    I say this because I own a 2nd TC that belonged to Fred, being chassis no. 0542 dating to March 1946.  So, both cars were early 1946 cars, both exported straight to South Africa, and both exported in about 1980 to Washington State, and both cars black with red interiors.”

The YouTube clip is:

The photo of Fred Gilchrist driving this car at the Kyalami circuit in SA with Niki Lauda sat abreast the passenger seat is reproduced below.

If you can help regarding the car’s whereabouts, Jeffrey can be contacted at:

jeffreybrodrick(at) [Please substitute @ for (at)].

TD13025 (KFG 388) and TD27201 (DNH 487)

Nick Ofield has asked me to publish a repeat request for information about two TDs he owned in the past.

First, TD13025 (KFG 388).

Nick owned this TD for nearly 18 years from 1974 until 1992 and would love to get in touch with the present owner. The car comes up using the DVLA search facility as ‘Untaxed’ as at January 2003 and the last V5C change is recorded as 30th January 2003.

Better news (in that it has much more recent history) of TD27201 (DNH 487).

Nick owned this car for one year only in 1966/67 The car comes up using the DVLA search facility as ‘Untaxed’ as at May 2018 and the last V5C change is recorded as 23rd November 2011.

I have received information (I regret that I can’t remember from whom) that one of these cars, probably DNH 487, was at the T Register’s 30th birthday party at the Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Biggleswade, Beds.

If you can help fill in some gaps about the history of either car Nick is at suphanne(at) [Please substitute @ for (at)].

TB0267 (was FOE 890)

Mike Inglehearn is currently restoring this Tickford in France. There was an article on the car in the March issue of Classic and Sports Car. A previous owner (Malcolm Pritchard) saw the article and emailed me with some details of his ownership between 1962 and 1964.

Malcolm paid £80 for the Tickford from someone in the Small Heath district of Birmingham. At the time he was an engineering student apprentice with Girling Brakes. The car was used daily to travel to Girling in Tyseley  Birmingham, for periods at their manufacturing plant in Cwmbran South Wales, and travel to and from Loughborough during college time.

Socially it was used for holidays, including travelling to Newquay Cornwall, where Malcolm can remember stripping and cleaning out the SU carburettors, due to lumpy running.

The car proved to be reliable during this time.

In 1964 Malcolm spent 6 months in USA and asked his father to sell the car, which he did for £90.

Mike Inglehearn is keen to trace more history of the car. Contact details are mingle54(at) [Please substitute @ for (at)]


John Libbert in the US has sent me the following:

“This TC is a home market car. I purchased it in 1990 as the proverbial basket case but it does have the original engine with it. The condition of the car has been the same as when I purchased it for the last three owners. I’m not sure when it was imported to the US nor it’s condition at the time. It sounded like the car was here at least in the 80’s but possibly sooner. The car appears to have originally been black with tan interior that was dyed/painted green at some time.”  Any clues?

John also has the remains of a package/basket case TC he bought for spares (no chassis). The registration number of this is GC? 865 – the  third letter of the registration could be a ‘G’ – if so, it would be a Hampshire registration. Any clues?

John’s contact details are jorolibb(at) [Please substitute @ for(at)].

Bits & Pieces

Steel gaskets (and nitrile bonded cork gaskets) for the tappet chest side plate.

The following was received some time ago from Steve Priston (with apologies to Steve for the late publication):

“I just wanted to let you know that having now fitted and driven the TC a bit since fitting the new steel gasket plate, that it has very noticeably reduced the amount of oil being pushed through the rear main seal, into my catch tray,

This had previously become quite bad, as it would often manage to throw a small amount onto the exhaust, after a bit of cornering.  When we were out last, I noticed that this too had reduced significantly.”

I think we have probably now satisfied the demand for this ‘mod’ which was introduced by Paul Ireland back in December 2020. I have only 4 kits left, so if you need a set, please be quick. I have studiously wrapped and sent out dozens and dozens and I could do with a rest…what’s rest?

The cost for the thin steel gasket and two nitrile bonded cork gaskets is £12.50, plus £3.35 postage. If you would like a set, please send an email to jj(at) [Please substitute @ for (at)] and I will let you have payment options.

The profit on these kits has helped in a small way to bolster Paul Ireland’s funds from the royalties of his book Classic Engines. Modern Fuel which he has used on his project to help with children’s education in a couple of schools in Tanzania.

Paul’s latest email to me by way of an update said that “we were able to give pens, pencils and exercise books to over 1800 children in 4 schools.”

TC Gearbox end plates

Paul Busby has been in touch to say that he has just finished another batch of these. The ali plate is a known weakness, which was not foreseen by the “bean counters” when they switched from a steel end plate.

Paul says that “Other people have remanufactured the gearbox end cover or offer steel splint plates but I have re-visited the issue. Clearly failure occurs through the engine/gearbox combination moving forward through normal traction and braking loads, accident, soft and perished mounting rubbers, flexure in the engine mount plate and chassis mount brackets which do not offer much resistance to longitudinal movement.

Hence the need for additional ribbing around the cantilever section of the end cover.  In addition to increasing the stiffening rib arrangement around the common failure line, I have enlarged the output shaft spigot to accept a modern lip seal. The seal runs on the original, reverse scroll section of the drive flange which is covered by a SKF ‘super sleeve/shaft repair sleeve’. A 36mm repair sleeve is a perfect fit. – see photo. If needed, the end cover can be left bored as original to run the reverse scroll.”

Paul’s contact details are: pyb.7(at)  [Please substitute @ for (at)]. Also, on offer from him, is this new ‘FUEL’ warning light. [Please see later paragraph which gives more details]. Paul’s contact details for these are as above.

Video worth watching

Ted Hack emailed me about this video, which Ted’s friend in Tasmania told him about. The first part of the video will be of interest as it features several MGs in the ownership of Lee Jacobsen. The link is:

Lee’s TA Tickford [TA2969 (EFY 50)] can be seen in the video. It was among the Tickford’s featured on the inside back cover of Issue 15 (December 2012). The picture showed a Tickford re-union at GOF MK XXX1V, Chicago 2012.

Still in the US, Bob Lyell drew my attention to the news that Carroll Shelby’s TC is coming over for the Goodwood Revival in September. The car fetched a hammer price of $495,000 when it was last auctioned.

Happy birthday TD24680

Ian Ailes emailed me at the beginning of February to say that it was his TD’s 70th birthday.

The first picture was taken on the occasion of the car’s 50th birthday.

That was exactly 20 years ago when the first nut and bolt was put on the car.

Ian’s TD graced the front cover of February’s TTT 2, but sackcloth and ashes, I failed to provide a caption, for which I apologise.

TC maintenance 2023 style!

We are used to witnessing our modern ‘euroboxes’ being plugged in to find faults; this isn’t quite the same. David Lewis sent me this picture with the message….  “The detailed steps on the laptop, which you may be able to decipher, were composed by me beforehand! I have just removed the rad and am about to tackle the water leak????.”

Fuel warning light

Further details from Paul regarding the fuel warning light previously featured are as follows:

“I have made 70 in total, after the MG TC boys have had chance to buy one, I will offer to the Mk1 Land Rover crowd as understand they had the same light.   They have turned out really well and a first class copy of original item except that the bulb holder is not included as normally still on the loom, if not present, the classic car electrical boys stock a suitable spring loaded holder that fits a 3/4″ barrel. The lamp comprises new chrome bezel, Green ‘Fuel’ lens, zinc plated barrel, spring and retainer ring. I have made a few lenses in amber with ‘PET’ for early TCs but have never seen an original so may not be a perfect match.. If anybody has a photo of an original amber PET lens that would be a bonus.”

Cam followers

The following has been received from Robert Henry:

“Having thoroughly enjoy the bi-monthly articles, I thought I should contribute, so here goes in Word so you can cut out anything if too wordy!

I have a MG TD 1951, bought back in about 1990, rebuilt completely and fairly well used over the years. Perhaps more mods to make it safer in modern traffic than many purists would like, but I am still alive!

Bare chassis upwards with much woodwork, a few panels, lots of re-chroming and retrimming.

The article is mostly a continuation of Cam Follower’s articles but from my experience.

Originally, I built the engine with a Crane cam which made a very smooth engine. Unfortunately they did not provide new followers so I bought a set from the ‘usual suppliers’.

18000 miles and the cam was wrecked, so another cam was put in with some ‘modified’ followers with grooves to allow more oil to fall on the lobe; good idea in theory but it does not overcome the fact that I have found that ‘new’ ones are simply not up to the job.

Removed after 3000 miles for inspection and guess what? Again, some were breaking up, I mean, not only wearing, but lumps actually falling out.  No one really seemed to have any good answers, saying you could not run steel on steel. So, I went through various ideas to try and solve the problem, including thinking of adding an oil feed so it is sprayed on start up, and then cut the bottom off existing ones and insert a hardened top hat section.

Having spoken to various ‘experts’ I was no further forward until I spoke to David Newman of Newman Cams who gave me a very interesting explanation of the problem.

Most chilled cast cam followers in the UK were made by Clancys in Birmingham. It is a black art and daily depends on experience, knowing how the temperature and humidity will affect the mix. Basically, it seems you throw cast iron into a mould and the bottom is a big plate; it hits the plate and chills, creating the hard surface (hence chilled cast iron) – the skill is in getting it hard but not brittle.

When ‘Elf ‘n Safety’** dictated a newer factory with proper extraction, the scrap rate went up in the corner of each batch; it turns out the fans were disturbing the process.

** For the benefit of our readers for which English is not their first language ‘Elf ‘n Safety’ is slang for Health and Safety legislation. I am not sure if ‘slang’ is the correct term to use –  ‘colloquialism’?

This explains why it is virtually impossible to buy good ones from ‘abroad’ but the upshot of this was Newmans made some bespoke steel ones that were nitrided for belt and braces, also insisting my new cam be checked and yes at 3,000 miles it needed a light regrind.  They have now done 15,000 miles without any apparent wear.

Other mods over the years.

5-speed box, servo, rear LEDs over the top of the number plate so we have higher brake lights and amber indicators to give the younger drivers a better chance of missing the rear end.

Oil cooler, as when cruising at 75 the oil temperature on a warm day rises exponentially. Back in the day there was nowhere to be at high speed for very long in the UK without having to slow down.  Electric fan. Electronic points (with the original in the car just in case).

Bespoke hood with larger zip out window.

Ordinary alternator with dummy shaft to drive tacho. Various relays to reduce the load on the switches.”

Ed’s note: Robert’s article reminded me that a couple of years’ ago, Paul Ireland sent me the following picture of a cam follower which, had only done 15,000 miles on a new camshaft.

XPAG Little End        (Paul Busby)

There has been a fair amount of comment and views expressed on the little end clamp bolt – its strength and correct torque – in recent times, but little on the gudgeon pin (wrist pin) itself.

I recently dug out of my long ago acquired stock of parts a set of +30 pistons for a engine I am in the throes of rebuilding. The gudgeon pins reminded myself of a piston failure I had in the 70’s chasing my TC up the A1 one night eager to get somewhere. The gudgeon pins in this NOS (new old stock) set are as the manufacturers used to make them with a small local groove ONLY to locate them centrally about the clamp bolt. It appears all modern replacement pistons are made with the gudgeon pin  groove machined all the way around which seriously reduces the strength of the pin. Now, even if the clamp / pinch bolt was torqued up correctly, the replacement gudgeon pins with a full groove reduce the effective bearing width  of the little end  eye to fully hold the pin, allowing it to flex.   Obviously if the clamp bolt is loose, this further aggravates the problem – See idealised sketch below.

The photo is of a new ‘old stock’ XPAG gudgeon pin (local groove) and a longer XPEG modern  equivalent.  Taking the assumption that the steel of grade used is the same, the difference in strength will be proportional to their relevant section properties that’s Area for shear and Second Moment of Area (Inertia) for bending. The shear area (in single shear) of the old stock pin is 195mm2 whereas the shear area of the modern replacement is 134mm2. The Bending Inertia of the old stock pin is 0.49 cm4 whereas the modern replacement is 0.29 cm4.  In simple round figures; assuming the same grade of steel, the current replacement pins are only 60% the strength of the originals??

The photo (below the gudgeon pins) of the piston that failed on me (fully grooved gudgeon pin) back in the 70s clearly shows the breakage across the reduced area of the full groove.

Anybody using original rods with clamp bolts is in my view recommended to seek a piston manufacturer that will provide pins with a local groove only and not use ones with a full groove. This is all outside of ensuring your rods are crack free, threads have been cleaned with a thread chaser and new high tensile clamp bolts (12.9 Allen cap bolts) and not set screws are used, and of course correctly torque up.

Note regarding gudgeon pin measurements….

All pins are 18mm dia in the piston. New pins have a waist at the all round groove of 15.7dia with a central through hole of 8.7mm. Old original design pins are 18mm dia throughout with a groove 1.10mm deep in the side perpendicular to the plane of bending. Core hole in original design pins is 8.2mm.

A couple of updates (TA and TF1250)

TA0745 (ABL 406)

This TA was shown in Issue 70 (February 2022) as ‘Not taxed for on road use’. It has ‘emerged from the shadows’ and is now shown by DVLA as ‘Taxed’ and what’s more, has an MOT.

TF4933 (405 BMG)

This TF1250 was shown in Issue 76 (February 2023) as ‘Untaxed’. The owner has been in touch to say that the car has been with him in France for about 7 years. On retirement to the Hautes-Pyrénées, the car went with him. He just couldn’t bear to leave the car behind in the UK as he has owned it since 1965.

TB85 – AN EVENT FOR ALL MG TB OWNERS Following the success of TB80, based at Witney in Oxfordshire in 2019, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of all TB’s, we have been asked by owners who took part to look at the possibility of holding a similar event in 2024 when our cars will be 85. In order to get some early planning underway we have drawn up a short questionnaire to determine enthusiasm for such an event plus give owners a chance to comment on location, timing etc. The questionnaire can be obtained from: Mike Inglehearn mingle54(at) or Jeff Townsend jeff.townsend(at)

Cleaning the magnetic Smiths speedometer (Part 1)

by Laurent Castel (SW France)

One of the pleasures of working on a vintage car is the various activities that you can do, or at least learn a few basics. One day sewing, the morrow welding a fender, the other day electricity, plumbing or paintwork. Today, I propose a bit of watchmaking and micro-mechanic.

Don’t be afraid of getting into it if you are meticulous. You’ve guessed – I’m talking about the speedometer. The late model, with dished glass which relies on magnetic principle.

First, there is a very good paper about these speedometers written by Anthony Rhodes that you can find on several websites. ‘Repairing Jaeger and Smiths Speedometers’

Unfortunately, there is something wrong with at least my speedometer (see that in part two about odometer). You should read Anthony’s paper anyway as it brings much interesting information. I won’t duplicate its information but rather complete this knowledge. The present article will focus on the speedometer whilst the odometer will be addressed in our favourite magazine.

Smith speedometers and odometers are a great piece of engineering.

Just like many other devices in our old MG, fixing very often means disassembly, cleaning and reassembly.

Disassembly begins with removing the bezel and  glass. Just bend a little bit the 8 tags of the back face of the bezel off the housing. You will leave them in that position for reassembly. Clamping strength is enough and you will be able to disassemble and assemble many times now without bending them more.

You can now twist the bezel and the housing to take the bezel apart. Then the seals, the glass and the dial ring come off.

Gently lift the tip of needle just above the stop to observe the actual rest position. Mine is just below the stop. The needle touches the bottom side of the stop.

Now, it’s time to make this useful and very simple tool.

Use the tool as a lever to extract the needle. Two tiny screws secure the dial.

Two other screws on the back face of the casing allow removal of the mechanism after the reset command has been disconnected.

Tricky moment, you have to disconnect the two tiny springs that are attached to the two odometer pawls. They are very prone to fantastic leaps in the workshop.

The speedometer part can now be removed from the whole instrument with 4 tiny screws. Take notes, they are not identical. You need to maintain the two parts in their position with your hand. Now turn everything upside down, so that the number wheel faces the workbench and the input shaft faces the ceiling. Very carefully, you can now separate the odometer mechanism from the input casing. The aluminium cup must remain with the odometer part as it is attached with a hairspring to the odometer mechanism. We won’t go further for  this aluminium cup. I’m meticulous but I know my limits! Put the odometer part in a safe area, always keeping the odometer wheels toward the workbench and the aluminium cup on top.

Now the easy part looks like this:

The centre bearing on this side of the spinning magnet is the bearing for the rotating aluminium cup. The rotating cup directly drives the needle. Here is a mechanical assembly that is quite unusual. Bearing is spinning whilst the shaft is steady (or almost). This bearing needs to be very clean. I used no oil in it.

Remove the two screws that secure the plate. Then you can slide the locking plate which maintains the spinning shaft of the magnet plate.

Remove the magnet plate.

Remove the two fork shaped spring blades that secure the odometer command gears and remove the gears. If you get as far as there, then I remember that you’re meticulous. So, take note of the respective position of each pawl as they are different. Look carefully, one is a pusher, the other is a puller.

Now you can clean everything. Pour a drop of thin oil in the felt reservoir of the main bearing on the casing, under the washer. Smear a very small quantity (half a grape seed) of light grease on both gear shaft recesses. They also act as a reservoir. Then you can reassemble the whole puzzle. Take care of the pawls…

The pegs that move the pawls are out of centre. When inserting the magnet shaft and worm gear, set the two pegs so that they are in opposite position. Set them both away from the casing for example.  We will see in the odometer section that when one pawl acts on  its ratchet wheel, there is an additional resistant torque for the cable. Setting the two pawls in opposite positions ensures that they don’t turn their ratchet wheel at the same moment.

Coat the locking plate with a thin film of light grease. Actually, use a rag with grease and wipe off  any visible grease. Check that the mating surfaces of the casing and the plate are clean The plate might be worn on the side facing the worm gear. Reassemble the same way. Check that everything is free to move and that the end play of the magnet remains below 1/10mm. If end play is greater, then try to put the plate upside down, the worn side toward the casing.

Now, you can choose to wait for Part 2 of the article about odometer or to assemble everything back together. Assembling the speedometer and odometer together absolutely needs no effort. Just careful alignment.

Hold the odometer assembly in one hand with the cup still facing upward. With the other hand fit the speedometer assembly over the odometer assembly. Align the pegs and the screw holes.  There is only one position. No error possible. Fiddling the aluminium cup will allow its spindle to enter the bearing on the magnetic plate. The bottom end of the spindle should have remained in its fixed bearing on the odometer side. Check it. Screw in the four tiny screws that maintain the odometer and the speedometer assembly.

Part two will take you into the odometer wheels but two more topics are often discussed about the speedometer and I can add a couple of tricks that are rarely described.

About calibration.

The physics of the speedometer is based on Eddy currents (Foucault in France). When the magnet turns in front of the conductive cup, it induces a rotating current in the cup itself – like if it was a dynamo coil. This current produces a torque that tends to decrease the rotating magnetic field. So, the cup turns the same direction as the magnetic field but the hair spring stops it when the hairspring counter torque is equal to the Eddy current torque, indicating the rotating speed of the magnet. The Eddy current torque is proportional to the magnet speed. Counter torque of the hairspring is proportional to the angle of the cup.

Hence the formula :

Indicated speed = A x (shaft speed) + B
A is related to the magnetic field, the magnetic coupling with the cup and the hair spring strength factor.
B is related to the rest position of the needle and the initial length of the spring.

Depending on how you want to move your curve to match the ideal curve shown on the previous diagram (1600 TPM), there are two ways of actions.

B: the offset parameter is a function of spring initial length and rest position of the needle : set the needle at a different rest position. Easy.

A: the gain parameter is related to magnetic field, cup/magnet coupling and spring strength factor.

Spring strength factor cannot be altered. It is a function of the spring section and the material.

Coupling is not easy: it would need to change the gap between cup and magnet or the shape of the cup.

The best solution is to modify the magnetic field. This will be detailed in another complete article. 

About wavering needle.

Check your speedometer with a drill running slowly and reverse. if the needle is steady then the cable is the culprit. It is the most probable cause. The cable wears…. As new, it can only twist less than 1/8 turn between fingers in the right direction, less than 1/4 turn in the wrong direction. The external layer of the winding is built so as to tighten itself around the inner core. It is thus more rigid in the direction it is intended to turn.  With ageing, it can twist an entire turn or more in both directions. A small resistant torque at the output of the cable makes it slowing down, stores energy, increases the output torque until it becomes higher than the resistant one. Suddenly the energy is released and the cable accelerates causing wavering of the needle.

The longer the cable the greater the wavering. The furthest the resistant torque from the gearbox, the greater the wavering. So, after checking all the common recommendations, bent, chips, grease and so on, Check the cable for its twist capability and purchase a brand new one. It will be rigid as a shaft.

You’re meticulous but now, you also need to be patient and wait for the next issue of our favourite magazine that will address the odometer part, still looking at the ceiling of your workshop!

Ed’s note:

Laurent owns TD29133 which he came to England to buy. His TD started out in life as NOV 2, a Birmingham registration number, issued in 1953. This registration mark with a low number would obviously have been attractive to somebody with these initials so it was sold and a new number 3966 AD allocated. When Laurent bought the car, it still had the 3966 AD plate, but he was told by the seller that he would retain the number before selling the car to him. The car then sported the registration number 552 UYF.

It is known that the car was in the Plymouth and Penzance areas in the 1960s and also in Cardiff. By 1970 it was in Holywell (North Wales). The longest period of ownership was from 1984 to 2011, when it was ‘living’ in Croydon.

Laurent has been able to fill in one of the gaps in the car’s history i.e. during the 1970s. A request for information in TTT 2 back in 2014 bore fruit. However, he is still missing details of the first owner from 1953 to 1960.

Perhaps this latest mention, might produce something? Laurent is hoping to come to the MG Centenary at Gaydon in May and I am looking forward to meeting him.

TA1326 – Exported from new to USA to race

by Dick Little

When I bought TA 1326 in 1967, I had never heard of a TA. I was looking for a TC, and was told of this car’s availability. I was told the TA was “the same as a TC, only it has a different engine”.  How true!

When I saw the car, it was complete, started up well in its 25 F storage environment, and idled well after warm-up.

Only after I bought it was I told that “the clutch was dicey, but the car was driveable”. I drove it home (about 15 miles) top down in 25 F good weather.

When I looked at the car, it had cycle fenders; I assumed all TAs had cycle fenders.

TA1326 as purchased in 1967

Over the first couple of years, I replaced the clutch and drove the TA to work on good commuting days.

I joined the New England MGT Register (NEMGT) and followed up on leads to help.  As the years progressed, more and more information about MG Ts became available.

I learned that TA 1326 had been built to a special order placed by Thomas Dewart.

Tom Dewart was a member of the Automobile Racing Club of America. This was a club formed by amateur racing enthusiasts from wealthy, college-aged men from the northeastern US. The club’s history is well documented in two books listed at the end of this article. These books established this TA’s authenticity.

There are many things on this car that were not standard TA. It had been built in “Trials Car” configuration:

Aluminum bonnet, cycle fenders, oversize dampers (shock absorbers), special 2nd and 3rd gear ratios, extra instrumentation, very quick steering, heavy duty wheel spokes, and a special cylinder head had been supplied. The cylinder head, I believe, had been replaced years ago.

Extra door locks are on this car, but I don’t know if they were Factory issue.

A supercharger was added in 1938 or 1939. It had been removed many years ago and was not with the car. I have done an amateur frame up restoration over a number of years. The work was finished in 1999.

The following items comprise most of what was replaced: 

Some wood body frame members

Both sheet metal side panels which surround the doors

Upholstery and interior trim

Paint (of course)

Rebuilt wheels with original-type heavier wheel spokes


Engine rebuild, bored out 100 thousandths; rebuilt crankshaft, new pistons

TA 1326’s color is a bright red.  I knew the maroon paint on the car, when I bought it, was not original.

I found an elderly gentleman in Alexandria Bay, NY, who remembered seeing TA 1326 in her first race in 1937. I asked him if he remembered her color.

“The brightest red I ever saw” was his reply!

Accordingly, the car is painted a 1998 Ford pick-up truck bright red.  It has not faded much in almost 25 years!

I have raced the car in VSCCA events, mostly hill climbs as it is too slow on the track. I rarely drive the car now as I am almost 91 and can’t get into the car as easily as I used to.

Richard Little
Amherst, NH, USA

“American Road Racing”, John Rueter, AS Barnes and Company, USA and Thomas Yoseloff, UK American Road Racing in the 1930s, Joel Finn, Garnet Hill Publishing Co., Lib. of Congress Catalog # 95-78147 and ISBN: 0-9647769-0-1

The Creamcrackered MG-TA

by Stanley Daamen

Since I started the restoration of my own MG-TC in 1975, the restoration virus has never left me. From the ‘nineties’ I regularly restored various MGs and parts for club members, including bodies, engines, gearboxes, carburetters, etc. At present, I am mainly concerned with writing articles about the MG brand. I have also picked up an old hobby again, model building and especially making classic car dioramas*.

*a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit.

In February 2000 one of the MG friends from my home area bought an early MG-TA from October 1936 with chassis number TA/0743. This TA was exported to Germany in 1994 and partly restored. From the purchase his plan was to recreate the car as a custom MG racer, his inspiration being the famous Works trials MG team “The Cream Crackers”. He then asked me if I wanted to help him with this rather complicated restoration.

To save weight, we started removing all unnecessary parts. The long fenders and running boards had already been removed by the previous owner; he also fitted a new narrow aluminum body with cycle wings and fabricated a panel to hide the side rails at the front of the car below the bonnet sides (as picture).

The complete windscreen frame plus the convertible top with frame were no longer necessary so were also removed.

My friend decided beforehand that the MPJG engine was not going to be restored because a well-tuned XPAG engine had to be built in; this type of engine was much stronger and could be tuned well. So first, we looked for an XPAG engine and fortunately it was found quite quickly.

Now the overhaul could be started. A specialist bored the block and I did the rest of the engine rebuild myself. My friend didn’t save on anything and the engine was equipped with a billet steel Phoenix crankshaft with a special oil seal, plus a fast road camshaft. A Laystall aluminium cylinder head was also purchased and was gas flowed. Twin HS4 1½” carburetters were fitted together with a special 2” freeflow exhaust manifold with a Simons bomber damper** for a louder racing sound. (Stage 2 MG Works Tuning).

** Simons is an exhaust system brand from Sweden, and the 2″ bomber type exhaust is a round open muffler with a rather loud sound.

The rebuilt engine installed in the car.

The bonnet was also equipped with a special air-intake tunnel. At the request of the owner, I also fitted a Ford 5-speed gearbox type 9, but there was no modified kit for sale at that time. The MG kit from High Gear Engineering Ltd came on the market a  few years later.

For this conversion the entire gearbox had to be disassembled to drill holes in the cast iron housing in which the modified clutch house was attached. I also designed and installed the suspension of this conversion myself. During this period, my friend further modified the body himself. He also had the upholstery reupholstered in the colour dark brown. This TA was then sprayed in the colours cream / brown because it should look like a MG Cream Cracker Works trials car. After the paintjob one of his English friends made the comment that his car now had been Cream Crackered. This gave him the idea to put this text on both sides of the bonnet.

A three-quarter view of the car. The air intake tunnel can be seen.

We then mounted special new halfshafts and aluminum Alfin brake drums with cooling fins.

The brake cylinders, including the master cylinder, were also renewed, and the choice was cast bronze specimens. The wire wheels were also newly built by a Dutch specialist to MG-TA specification and fitted with thicker spokes. I have also fitted the front axle with new kingpins, and the wheel suspension has been converted from standard ball bearings to conical bearings. To keep all this in a straight line, I also mounted a steering rack damper.

In 2004 when the restoration of the TA racer was just completed, the Dutch magazine “British Car” wrote an article about this MG with Front Page photo.

After the first rides with Koni Classic shock absorbers, classic Hartford dampers were mounted afterwards to give the car a more pre-war look. Almost all the original parts that came from his MG were stored in his garage. This MG-TA has eventually become a well-tuned super light race special. A purpose-built aluminum trailer was also purchased, and my friend started to register for various club races of the MGCC Holland and the Dutch Vintage Owners Club. He soon had his first race successes, but trial riding also caught his attention. He then participated several times in the Kimber Classic Trial. This is organized annually by the MGCC South West Centre. The test through the water is called “Alham’s Splash” and that was usually the highlight of this weekend. Especially if the cars entered the water too hard and stopped because the ignition got wet, that happened to him once.

Two views of TA0743 (‘Cream Crackered’) competing in the MGCC S. W. Centre’s Kimber Trial.

During that period my friend also switched to European classic car races. It was then necessary to obtain a Historical Technical Passport with his car as issued by FIA. This was followed by various events, especially in 2005, such as Vintage Montlery, and in Angouleme at the Circuit de Remparts where he achieved a top three ranking several times. He also proved to be a competitive opponent at the Eifel Klassik and Vintage Nürburgring.

At the Circuit de Remparts, Angouleme.

But things also went wrong, like during the Motor Racing Legends at Le Mans 2006. Unfortunately, this race ended prematurely because it got stuck in the gravel.

At the start of the Motor Racing Legends race at Le Mans in 2006 and leaving the track, ending up in the gravel.

I made a special unique diorama of this moment from his racing past in scale 1:18.

After only a few years, my friend stopped participating in racing and trial activities. He then married and moved abroad, during which time he became the father of a young growing family. He suffered from serious back problems and was no longer able to drive races or trials after several operations on his back.

Due to these physical problems, the MG-TA racer has been unused in his garage in the Netherlands for almost 15 years now. Personally, I find it very unfortunate that this beautiful and well-prepared MG-TA racer can no longer be seen during international classic car events. Several times I asked my friend what he was planning to do with his MG, but he couldn’t decide whether to sell his TA. Ultimately, this year, the decision was made and his Cream Crackered TA is now for sale at the well-known Dutch classic car dealer Altena in Gramsbergen NL. for a very reasonable price including many original parts such as the MPJG / 1044, engine block and the special open aluminum trailer and an official Dutch valuation report.

Ed’s note: The car has remained unsold now for a few months. You can see it at: along with some very desirable classics.

TA/0743 also has the high positioned number plates and brackets which have been on the car for hill climbs. Those are not mounted at the moment. Unfortunately, there are currently almost no men in the Netherlands who are interested in racing an old MG. I have written this article especially for Totally T Type readers to perhaps get some more attention in the UK among enthusiasts. Personally, I would be very sorry if this TA racer is rebuilt to the original version as it once left the factory in Abingdon.

That would be a waste of all the work and expense invested in this TA Cream Crackered racer.

Ed’s further note: Stanley concludes his fine article on a note of apprehension regarding the future of “Cream Crackered” but I thought I would lighten the proceedings by publishing this amusing picture:

The picture shows Stanley in Bill Clinton mask (remember him?)  with his ‘bodyguard’ (owner, Frans) wearing a London bobby’s helmet.

The occasion was a MGCC European Event of the Year meeting. The pair of them turned up one morning like this, much to the laughter of the assembled participants.

Classic Engines, Modern Oil

by Paul Ireland

The book, Classic Engines, Modern Fuel describes how modern fuel differs from classic fuel. It suggests solutions to overcome the problems this causes.

In the same way that modern fuel differs from classic fuel, modern oil is very different from those oils that classic engines were designed to use. This article describes these differences and provides advice to owners on how to choose an oil for their classic vehicle.

When my 1949 MG TC was built, the Owner’s Manual listed a choice of two engine oils for each manufacturer. One for “Temperate and Tropical”, the other for cold climates “32o F to 0o F (0o C to minus18o C)”. Why two different grades? The reason …. the viscosity (or thickness) of oil drops with increasing temperature. It becomes runnier. The mono-grade oils of the time were specified with a number (e.g., SAE 40 for summer and SAE 20W for winter). SAE is a standard rating of viscosity defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The higher the number, the more viscous the oil.

A classic, “Winter Grade” oil would be too runny at higher temperatures, causing damage to the engine. “Temperate and Tropical” oil would become far too viscous below 32o F or 0o C and could cause the bearings to overheat. Owners had to change their engine oil twice a year, filling with winter oil as temperatures dropped and summer oil in the warmer months.

Modern multi-grade oils have removed the need for this twice-yearly oil change. Their ratings include two numbers, for example, SAE 20W40. There is a large range of different ratings on the market, e.g.  SAE 0W10 or SAE 20W60. There are also mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic oils. With such a wide choice it is a lot harder for owners of classic vehicles to know which oil will best protect their engine.

Advertisements describe engine oil as liquid engineering. After reading the rest of this article, you will understand why. Formulations balance a set of different additives, creating the optimum oil for a target class of engine. Overall, modern oils offer better protection for an engine than the classic oils did.

Why do we put oil in our engines?

Oil does more than just lubricate the engine, it helps cool it, prevents corrosion and keeps it clean. Unfortunately, any particular engine oil is a compromise between these four requirements. Improving the performance in one area, can degrade the performance of one of the other areas.

We now discuss these four requirements under headings (1), (2), (3) and (4) in more detail.

(1) Lubrication

Why is lubrication important? If you look at even the most highly polished metal surface under a microscope, it will appear very rough, rather like the surface of a road. Imagine trying to drag a piece of wood with a weight on it down a road. Not only would it be very difficult, the wood would soon be worn away. This is exactly what would happen to an engine that is run without oil.

Oil binds to the metal surfaces, creating a film. Where two surfaces are in contact, such as the bearings, this film separates them, providing a layer of liquid for them to slide over. The better the oil binds to the metal surfaces, the better the lubricating properties.

How does oil bind to a metal surface? It is a balancing act between two different forces, adhesion and surface tension. A good engine oil must have a high adhesion to metal and a low surface tension. Adhesion can be improved with tackiness agents; surface tension reduced by adding silicone surfactants. These additives are the start, oils also have a range of other additives to improve their performance. More on that later.

What about viscosity? Up to a point, a more viscous oil will increase the thickness of the oil film binding to a metal surface. It will also need more force to push it out from between two surfaces, improving lubrication. Unfortunately, it will not flow as well as a lower viscosity oil. At low temperatures wax like crystals can form, reducing the flow of a viscous oil even further.

Viscosity of multi-grade oils The viscosity of multi-grade oils is stabilized by polymeric additives (viscosity index improvers). Multi-grade oils are designated by two numbers and the letter “W” (e.g., SAE 20W40). In this example the oil has a similar low temperature viscosity to SAE 20W. High temperature viscosity like to SAE 40.

A lower W number means the oil is less viscous at low temperatures. This helps with starting and will reduce wear until the engine warms up.

A higher second number means the oil is more viscous at high temperatures. This produces a greater thickness of the oil film in a warm engine, helping to protect the components.

(2) Cooling

Lubricating two metal surfaces significantly reduces the friction between them. It does not remove it completely. Friction generates heat. When the two metal surfaces are quickly moving past each other, as in a car engine, this means a lot of heat. As the oil circulates, it removes the heat from the metal surfaces and drains into the sump where it is cooled. Some engines have oil coolers to improve the cooling of the oil, others have fins on the sump that perform a similar function.

An oil with a high viscosity flows through the engine more slowly than a less viscous one, reducing its capacity to remove the heat. A high viscosity oil may improve lubrication, but may also result in heat damage to the bearings. There is a risk of the oil overheating, degrading the additives, or oxidising.

Approximately 40% of an engine’s cooling is done by the oil. Modern fuels are more volatile at lower temperatures than classic fuel. Keeping the engine and under-bonnet temperatures as low as possible is important. Choosing an oil with a lower viscosity may help with this.

(3) Corrosion

In an internal combustion engine, water and acidic gases are blown into the sump past the piston rings. These are called blow by gases. These mix with the oil and can corrode the metal surfaces. When the oil adheres to these surfaces it can provide some protection. Modern oils have additives to further improve on this protection. Unfortunately, these additives can cause problems.

(4) Keep it clean

Along with the blow by gases, particles can enter the oil either from the combustion products or wear. These particles can coagulate and produce sludge or varnishes that build up in the engine, blocking lubrication channels or reducing oil flow. Again, modern oils have additives to avoid this problem.


An internal combustion engine is difficult to lubricate as the parts have different lubrication needs e.g., plain bearings, sliding surfaces, rubbing surfaces….

Plain Bearings

These are the crankshaft main and big end bearings and camshaft bearings, referred to as hydrodynamic lubrication bearings. A pressurised film of oil, fed from the oil pump, keeps the bearing surfaces apart. Each of these bearings is subjected to high intermittent loads ….the crankshaft and big ends when a cylinder fires; the camshaft when a valve is opening. The oil’s viscosity must be high enough to prevent the surfaces from touching when subjected to these high loads. Too high a viscosity reduces the volume of oil flowing through the bearings, reducing the cooling effect. This can lead to damage to the bearings or the oil overheating and oxidising. Furthermore, too high a viscosity can reduce engine power.

It is possible to estimate the best viscosity of oil to use from the bearing clearances. The greater the bearing clearances, a more viscous oil is needed to spread the load over the whole bearing surface. Most engines have 0.001 inch of clearance for every one inch of crank journal diameter. Knowing the crank diameter, it is possible to estimate the bearing clearance. This gives suggested SAE ratings for iron block and steel connecting rod engines as:

For example, the standard 1250cc XPAG engine has bearing clearances of:

The clearances specified in the manual for the XPAG, are consistent with the calculated values. This suggests that the formulae of 0.001 inch of clearance for every one inch of crank journal diameter applies to classic engines.

A conservative assumption of oil temperatures of 70o C to 105o C suggests an oil viscosity rating of:

These values are less viscous than the SAE 20W40 normally recommended for the XPAG. Modern semi-synthetic and synthetic oils are better able to maintain a stable oil film under pressure than classic oils. This allows a less viscous oil to be used which improves the cooling of the bearings.

With an XPAG, there is a potential problem of using a thinner oil; that of oil leaks. There is not a priori reason why thinner oil should be more prone to leak through the crankshaft seals. It will run back to the sump quicker than a thicker oil.

Engines should not be run full throttle at low RPM. This increases the load on the big end and main bearings, reducing the thickness of the oil film and risking damage to the bearings. Much better to change down and run the engine at a higher RPM.

Sliding surfaces

The pistons in the cylinders are an example. The piston rings and piston slide against the surface of the cylinder. Unlike the plain bearings, there is not a high force pushing these surfaces together. The difference is that the parts are only in contact for a very short period of time during any stroke. It is important the oil does not drain away from the surface before the next stroke of the piston. A “sticky” or viscous oil is needed.

Rubbing surfaces

These include the cam-followers and rockers. Like the pistons, this is a sliding contact; the difference is that there is a high intermittent load as the valves are opened. Unlike the crankshaft bearings, which have a high pressure oil feed, these surfaces are only lubricated by a splash feed. This is where anti wear additives play their part. A typical example is zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP).

Emission controls limit the levels of ZDDP in modern oils. An oil with an appropriate level of ZDDP for a classic engine, may not comply with the ACAE or API oil standards.

Other parts

There other components of the engine that are not discussed. For example, the timing chain, chain tensioner, oil pump and distributor etc. Each with its own lubrication requirements.

Hostile environment

Not only does engine oil need to meet these very different lubrication needs, it is working in a very hostile environment.

Blow by from the cylinders introduce acidic gases and particles into the sump that pollute the oil. This is why clean new oil becomes black.

Engine oil is subject to mechanical stresses. The high intermittent loads, splash feeds and churning of the oil by the crankshaft are causes. This stress breaks down the long chain molecules of the additives, reducing their effectiveness.

Engine oil wears out.

ADDITIVES (and types of additives)

Additives are mixed with the base oils for the following reasons:

  1. Improve the properties of the base oil. For example, viscosity index improvers, corrosion inhibitors, anti-foam and demulsifying agents.
  2. Extend the lifetime of the oil in the engine. For example, detergents and metal deactivators
  3. Increase the ability to lubricate under extreme pressure. For example, additives such as ZDDP and tackiness agents.

Some of the additives are polar. They look like tadpoles. The heads are attracted to the surface and the tails repel other agents. These include: particle enveloping, water emulsifying and metal wetting additives.

The percentage mix of additives is important. More is not always better. Increasing the percentage of an additive does not always give any extra gains. Worse, some additives compete with each other for the same space on the metal surface. For example, a high concentration of an anti-wear additive can make the corrosion inhibitor less effective and vice versa.

Some additives are sacrificial or are used up in performing their function. For example, the particle enveloping additives.

Viscosity Index Improvers

Viscosity index improvers are very large (high molecular weight) polymers. These prevent the oil from thinning out (losing viscosity) as the temperature increases.  This allows the use of an oil, which untreated, would have insufficient viscosity at high temperatures. At low temperatures, viscosity index improvers have no effect. The thinner oil reduces wear and improves fuel economy while the engine warms up. These additives are widely used in multi-grade engine oils. Viscosity Improvers look like a spring (see illustrations):

At low temperatures it is coiled up like a ball and has very little effect on the ability of the oil to flow. As the temperature increases, the spring expands, thickening the oil and reducing its ability to flow. This increases the natural viscosity of the oil at these higher temperatures.

Unfortunately, the long molecular chains of viscosity improvers can be broken up by the mechanical stresses in the engine. This damage is permanent and reduces the high temperature viscosity of the oil.

A second problem can occur in areas where the oil is subject to high shearing forces, for example in the bearings. This can prevent these molecules from thickening the oil, temporarily reducing its viscosity.

There are several different types of viscosity improvers.  High-quality improvers are less susceptible to permanent shear loss than the lower quality ones that may be used in cheaper oils.

This is a factor that needs to be considered when choosing the viscosity of the oil being used in an XPAG. A conservative approach would be to increase the high temperature viscosity by 10 points. For example….

Rust and Corrosion Inhibitors

These additives reduce internal rusting and corrosion. They do this in two ways. They are alkali so they neutralise the acids.

Secondly, they form a chemical protective barrier to repel moisture from metal surfaces.

Some of these inhibitors are specific to protecting certain metals. An oil may contain several different corrosion inhibitors. 

By binding to the surface of the metal, they can prevent the oil or other additives reaching the metal. They may reduce the lubricating properties of the oil.

Anti-wear (AW) Agents

These protect the metal surfaces that rub together under high load conditions from wear and loss of metal. This includes the cam-followers, camshaft lobes and rocker arms. These are typically phosphorous compounds such as ZDDP.

(AW) agents are polar additives that react with the metal when metal-to-metal contact occurs. Activated by the frictional heat, they form a wax like film that protects the metal surface. In the process, the levels of these additives in the oil drops.

They also help protect the base oil from oxidation and the metal from damage by corrosive acids. Unfortunately, they can “fight for space” on the metal surface with rust and corrosion inhibitors. The balance of these two additives is critical.

Compounds such as tricresyl phosphate (TCP) can also be used as anti-wear agents. This may not be as effective as ZDDP.

The anti-wear additives only play their part when the boundary oil layer breaks down. A more viscous oil will be better able to maintain the boundary layer under pressure than a less viscous one.

In classic engines such as the XPAG, the pressure between parts such as the camshaft and cam followers is higher than that of modern engines. This makes the addition of anti-wear additives more important for the oil used in these engines.


Detergents are usually alkaline and perform two functions.  They help to keep hot metal components free of deposits (clean) and neutralize acids that form in the oil from the blow by gases. They are often used in conjunction with a dispersant additive.

Like the anti-corrosion additives, these can interfere with the lubricating properties of the oil.


Dispersants work in conjunction with detergents to help prevent the build-up of deposits or sludge in the engine. Remember changing engine oil in the “old days”? There was always a layer of sludge left in the sump. Something you rarely see with today’s oils

Dispersants are tadpole like molecules whose head is attracted to the carbon or other deposits. They stop the deposits sticking together and keep them less than 1 micron in size. At this size, they remain suspended in the oil, blackening its colour. The detergents neutralise contamination, while the dispersants allow particles to stay suspended in the oil. As with the other additives, these are “used up” over time.

The suspended particles displace the oil between the metal surfaces, reducing its effectiveness. Unfortunately, classic engines tend to be “dirtier” than modern ones. It is worth “keeping an eye” on the colour of the oil on the dipstick. Change it before it gets too black and “sludgy” looking.

Anti-foaming Agents

The oil in a running engine is being churned around. It is being squirted out of the plain bearings, flung off the big ends and agitated by the pistons moving up and down. Under these conditions it could foam, reducing the volume of oil in the sump. The anti-foaming agents are usually added in low concentrations. They contain a substance that weakens the oil bubble wall so they burst.

They have an indirect effect on oxidation by reducing the amount of air-oil contact.

Other common Additives

There are other additives that are often added to oil. These are:

•       Friction Modifiers – lower the friction between the components, specifically the pistons and bores, to improve fuel economy.

•       Pour Point Depressants – at low temperatures wax crystals form in the oil and stop it flowing. These additives reduce the size of the wax crystals to allow the oil to flow at low temperatures.

After-market Additives and Supplemental Oil Conditioners

There are hundreds of chemical additives and supplemental lubricant conditioners available.

Important points to be aware of are:

  1. An inferior oil cannot be converted into a premium product by the inclusion of a supplemental oil conditioner.
  2. Increasing the volume of one additive in an oil may give no additional benefits.
  3. Some additives can “fight each other”. Increasing the volume of one additive may decrease the effectiveness of another.
  4. Base oils can only dissolve a given volume of additive.  The addition of a supplemental oil conditioner may result in the base oil being over saturated. The additive will settle out of the solution and remain in the bottom of the sump and never carry out its claimed or intended function.

What oil to Choose?

All these factors make it very difficult to choose the best oil to use in a classic engine. While some are expensive, their cost is negligible compared to that of the petrol consumed between oil changes.

A basic principle is that it is not worth “skimping” on the oil you use. Cheaper oils may use lower quality additives that can degrade more quickly. There is also a range of anti-wear agents that can be added to oil, some more effective than others. Camshaft and cam follower wear is a problem with the XPAG engine. Any oil should contain a good anti-wear additive such as ZDDP.

Viscosity is also an important factor.

The viscosity of the chosen oil will depend on the state of wear of the engine and its use. Classic cars are often only driven short distances. Engine wear is at its greatest when the engine and oil are cold. An XPAG can take more than 25 miles to warm up, even on a summer’s day. Under these conditions it is better to use an oil with a lower SAE “W” rating as it will flow more easily in a cold engine.

Oil Pressure

Once the oil pressure is sufficiently high to prevent the bearing surfaces touching, increasing it gives no further benefits. This is why the oil pump in the engine has a bypass valve to limit the increase in oil pressure. What is important is the volume of oil flowing through the bearing.

The XPAG engine suffers from an interesting “feature”. The bypass valve is too small to take the volume of oil flowing through it. The net result is the oil pressure shown on the gauge can be 20- 30 psi greater than that set by the oil relief valve. This is particularly evident with more viscous oils.

For example, with the oil relief valve set to 40 psi, the engine can run at 60 psi when cold and 45 psi when hot.

This “feature” is useful when choosing the right viscosity of oil. For the example above, a cold and hot oil pressures of 45 psi would be ideal. Running at 5 psi above the relief valve setting shows the oil is sufficiently viscous that there is more than the bearings need. A small volume is still having to flow through the relief valve.

For cars used for longer journeys the second or summer rating is important. Keep an eye on your oil pressure gauge to see how much higher it is than the relief valve setting and how fast it decreases as the revs drop.

Long Life Oil

Some additives can extend the life of the oil. But at a price. They may displace other additives that protect the metal surfaces. As the oil in classic cars is often changed after 2000 miles or less, it is questionable whether such products offer much benefit.

Mineral V/S Synthetic oil

Synthetic or semi-synthetic oils have a more stable oil film than mineral oils, allowing the use of lower viscosity oils, and giving better cooling and protection for the bearings.

Modern High Performance Oils

An oil blended for a modern engine, may not be suitable for a classic engine. Restrictions on emissions can influence the choice of additives. For example, reducing or replacing ZDDP. Also, modern engines are not as susceptible to corrosion from acidic blow by gases. They will have lower levels of the additives than needed in a classic engine.


There are alternative suppliers of oils for Classic or Racing cars, for example Driven Oils (, available from Anglo American Oils. With an understanding of the engineering that goes into producing these oils, classic vehicle owners are better equipped to make a more informed choice.

Editor’s note: I asked Paul how he had researched his article. He replied as follows:

“This article was inspired by an American Oil publication about bearing clearances and the viscosity of oil. The article is based on personal observations of using modern lower viscosity oil in my TC and information obtained from The Complete MG Workshop and Tuning Manual (W. E. Blower) and articles and research papers published on the internet.” 

There is much that I have learnt from Paul’s article and I hope that readers will find it interesting and helpful. I was conscious of its length and with this in mind I have tried to present it in such a way that it flows reasonably well (in harmony with the oil!) so as to maintain the reader’s interest.

Paul originally included some information on ‘Standards’ such as ACEA standards which are based on testing developed by theEuropean Engine Lubricants Quality Management System(EELQMS) and the API Standard which is defined by The American National Standards Institute. Whilst this information is “nice to know” its publication would have made the article longer and there was already enough detail to absorb!

A warning to (excessively) leaky XPAGs

8.4.1. Fluid leaks

You must check for fluid leaks on all vehicles other than Class 3. You should do this with the engine idling. A leak of fluids such as engine coolant, screen wash and fluid required for Selective Catalyst Reduction are not reasons for failure. You should fail a vehicle if a fluid leak creates a pool on the floor within 5 minutes that’s more than 75mm in diameter or if there are many leaks which collectively leak fluid at the same rate. You can refuse to carry out the test if there’s an excessive fluid leak.

(extract from MOT Tester’s Manual).

The Editor

Welcome to Issue 77, April 2023. Front cover pic is of Martin Franklin’s supercharged TC0663 nestled in the Kent countryside.

This is the last issue before the MG Centenary event at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon on 27th May. To book tickets, go to the British Motor Museum website and select ‘What’s on’ then select the month of May. Scroll down to the MG Centenary event and click ‘Find out more’ – then book your tickets and remember if you are coming in an MG you qualify as a ‘Vehicle Exhibitor’ and your tickets will cost £10 for the driver and £10 per adult passenger (£7 per child). Each ticket gives admission to the Show, the Museum and the Collections Centre.

If you are coming on one of the organized runs, these can be booked on the MG Centenary website as can purchases of centenary window stickers, badges, mugs, caps, polo shirts, grille badges and rally plates and the centenary dinner, which is being held a couple of hours after the Show closes in the Sky Suite which is situated above the museum.

There are four organized road runs, starting out from the following locations and ending at Gaydon:

The Abingdon Road Run will commence with refreshments from the Miele car park and first follows the original test route of the Factory. It will then take you along the lanes and byways of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, through attractive villages and pleasant countryside,

The Broughton Astley Road Run, organized by the MG Octagon Car Club starts from The White Horse Inn, Broughton Astley after bacon rolls and tea/coffee, followed by a 38 mile scenic run.

The Longbridge Run will commence with refreshments from the new Longbridge town centre  that was previously occupied by the ‘A’ series foundry. It then diverts from a local road to enter the remains for the former car factory, giving a never to be repeated drive through the central road system, passing the ‘Kremlin’ and the Exhibition Centre, and the exiting at Q Gate where a photo of each car will be taken. Then onward to Gaydon.

The Swindon Run starts from Arkell’s Brewery with bacon rolls and tea/coffee provided at the Kingsdown Inn, opposite the brewery, followed by a scenic Cotswold run of 50 miles to Gaydon.

The entry fee for each run is £20, based on two persons in a car. £10 pp. for additional passengers. Fee covers refreshments at start, route book and limited edition rally plate, along with priority parking on arrival at Gaydon.