In the June issue of TTT 2 I mentioned that Norman Verona had contacted me to say that he had found the TTT 2 website and that he had registered his newly acquired TC on the T-Database. He promised that he would send regular updates of a total restoration which he intended carrying out himself. True to his word, the first update was received on 18th June and is published below.
When I was a kid, about 8 years old and living in Hackney, I would see a chap go past every day in an MG as I went to school. For all I know it could have been a P or a J but I’ve always thought of it as a TC. I fell in love with that car and it directed my life.
I left school at 15 to work at University Motors as an apprentice and loved every minute of it. I was going to get a TC when I was 17 and passed my driving test but an uncle talked me into borrowing money from the bank and getting a new Mini as he said I would “pull the birds” with a Mini. He was right, it was how I met Lynne, my wife, at a Christmas party and she went with me only because I could get her home in time.
I was going to buy a TC when I sold my first company but as I didn’t have a garage I bought a Caterham 7 instead; a TC would have rotted away parked outside in the open air in the Peak District.
Fast forward to the present……………..
We live in France and have two gites which we use for friends and family. A friend from Sheffield booked to come over and told me about a friend of his wife’s whose husband had an old TC in a lock up garage and it had been there since 1967 with a broken half shaft. To cut a long story short, I bought it at the end of March. I arranged for a car transporter to collect it from Sheffield and bring it to me in France. It was due on 28th April so a long wait for me.
The TC duly arrived on time and Steven, the transporter driver, parked up a ¼ mile away in a side turning. We got the car off and towed it into the farm with the Land Rover, Lynne steering and me trying to hold the near side rear wheel in.
Lynne doing a driving test.
I then washed the car before moving it into the workshop and getting it up in the air.
One week later it was completely dismantled and down to a bare chassis.
Then the real work started. I took the chassis outside and started sandblasting it. Took four days to finish but looked good when all done.
I then gave it one and a half coats of POR-15 chassis black. The half was because I ran out of paint. As you can no longer send paint overseas I’m still waiting for the next two tins to arrive (written on 18th June) so have been getting on with overhauling the dynamo, starter, wiper motor and cleaning all the other bits; partly with the sand blaster, partly with the glass bead in the blast cabinet and partly on the 8” wire wheel.
I’ve rebuilt the diff with new bearings and a modified end cap on the pinion shaft with an oil seal. I spent two days rebuilding the shock absorbers and fitting new rubbers into the arms. I’ve had a TABC member from the States here for a week. Norm (that’s two of us then!) has rebuilt 4 TCs and has kept the last one. He uses plastic rod suitably turned down and drilled instead of the rubber bushes. I’ve bought a length of nylon rod 25 mm in diameter and plan to turn it down to the 23 mm required and drill it to see if it’s OK. I’ll report back if it is.
In the middle of all this my little 50 litre compressor gave up and sighed to a standstill. I bought another on eBay, a 1960 model with a huge 400 litre tank which is very heavy and big. So we hire a large van and make our way to the UK to collect it. We are at Ouistreham to catch the early morning ferry and find out that the dockers are on strike so we have to go to Cherbourg and get the ferry from there. No real problem other than it arrives 2 hours later than the Ouistreham ferry. We’re supposed to pick the compressor up and then go on to Peter Edney to collect a lot of parts. Peter was really helpful and waited for us. We got there about 1900, loaded up and went to Newmarket for the night. Had other stuff to collect the next day and we were booked on the overnight ferry back to Ouistreham………. except it was cancelled so we had to book into a hotel for the night and incurred two extra days van hire. This cheap £100 compressor was getting more expensive by the day, and night!
Get it back to France; it falls over as I’m struggling to get it off the back of the van and the gauge and pipe break. Never mind, I find enough bits to fix it. Now we have a problem. It’s supposed to run all the time and has a mechanical valve to stop it pressurising the tank above 60 psi. But when on the compression cycle the lights in the house are going dim and bright as the motor turns. As this is happening all day long I have to do something. Anyone want to buy a cheapo compressor?
I bought a new 200 litre one for £350 in France. Wish I’d looked before getting the one on eBay!
Nice and shiny compressor, only 480€, or £350. It’s not Chinese but Italian.
I’ve now overhauled the carburettors and riveted new linings onto the brake shoes.
We went to Le Mans on the Saturday and watched the start. It was too much for two old geezers like us and we only stayed about 5 hours.
As I write this I’m de-rusting all the fittings that came off the car. All the chrome is cleaned and waiting to go; the body brackets and hinges will be going back to the UK the week after next to the chap making the new ash frame. Assuming the chassis paint arrives for first thing Tuesday morning as it should, I’m hoping to have all the painting done and the car back on its wheels by the end of next week.
To see all the progress of this rebuild go to frenchblat.com click on MG TC and then after the home page click on the months starting March.
I had taken the glass off the tacho and asked Lynne if she could gently clean it. I was going to show her how but, as usual, she had something else to do. When I came in for lunch she had been using an abrasive paste and the rust spots were still there but the numbers weren’t (well a bit faded). The needle was around the 5000 rpm area. So I took it apart to see what I could do. Not a lot. Off they go for refurb and new dials. When I was getting the speedo out of the dash I pulled a bit too hard, the instrument flew out, I tried to catch it but missed. The result was:
(To be continued…)