TCs Forever – More!

Mike Sherrell kindly sent me a copy of the sequel to TCs Forever!

You’ll note that it is sub-titled “A companion to TCs Forever! & an aid to survival in the 21st Century”.

In “FRONT END” (Mike’s introduction to the book), he makes the point that it does not really stand alone, otherwise he would be repeating himself ad nauseam; rather, it is intended to supplement his magnum opus, not correct it. Time has moved on, circumstances have changed and we must rise to the challenge to keep our cars on the road, not stuck in the garage like a museum piece. Your TC does not have to be a Café Racer (but they have their place) and Mike is not suggesting inappropriate modification, going beyond the point of recognition; rather, the aim should be to keep these head-turning time machines fit and healthy and exercised, so that they can be enjoyed in all their Factory elegance and be driven faster and safer.

I particularly like the following paragraph and I’m sure that many of you will empathise with the sentiments expressed:

The gap between us and the Moderns is forever widening, built by robots for God’s sake. Their demand for funny fuel and zinc reduced oil is having its impact, notwithstanding their annoyingly efficient mechanicals and ever more powerful, smarty pants engines. If they weren’t so bloody boring to drive and so bossy with their warning beeps and chimes; so tacky with their snap-on, plastic everything, our game would be up, but it’s not. Oh no, not by a long shot.

Then follows Mike’s ‘call to arms’ that we must adapt and stay ahead of the game.

He pays tribute to two outstanding innovators – John Bowles of the TC Owners Club and Bob Schapel in South Australia. There is also a welcome mention for TTT 2 as being at the vanguard of this leap forward (the shrinking of the world through Internet communication).

The book is divided into eleven chapters, beginning with the first – “A FEW FACTORY FAULTS”. To name those which are examined – oil in the rear brake drums, inadequate baffle in the sump, unplugged rockers, use of little end bolts which can’t be adequately torqued up, the four holes in the inlet manifold underside.

Chapter 2 is entitled “LORE”. In this chapter, Mike traces the beam axle T-Type development from the “arresting aesthetics” of the later TA, through to the short-lived TB (Frank Langridge’s car, which featured in an early issue of TTT 2 is pictured), and on to the TC.

He discusses types of owners; the racers (drawing on pre-war heritage – Allan Tomlinson’s TA won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix), the concours men, the “hoarders” (collectors), the restorers, the runners. All contribute in one way or another to the worldwide club of TC ownership.

Chapter 3 is entitled “RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT” and covers the development of new stub axle spindles, screw on oil filters, diff conversions, higher ratio CW&Ps, tapered roller replacement for the double row bearing arrangement at the flange end of the diff set-up, cure for gearstick rattle, brakes and Datsun steering box. All food for thought.

Chapter 4 is all about “TOURING IN A TC”. Mike recounts some of his, and others’ epic journeys and draws on his experience to advise some useful spares to carry, including electrical spares. Of course, the chapter would not be the same without a picture of his and Daryl Robbins’ TCs with their huge camping boxes fitted to the rear of the cars.

Chapter 5 “CHASSIS” concentrates on this key ‘backbone’ of the car and covers building it up, having checked that it is straight and true. There are some useful notes and photos to digest.

Chapter 6 is devoted to “THE XPAG ENGINE” and is in three parts: keeping the oil in, supercharging and workshop notes. There are particularly useful paragraphs and photos on the rear main seal and the front crank seal. The importance of starting with a good crank and rods if a blower installation is contemplated is stressed. The workshop notes cover cool running, coolant recovery, air filtering and carburettors (establishing the float level).

Chapter 7 is entitled “GEARBOX”, likened by Mike as being “tougher than any Staffordshire pit dog ever bred”. Subjects covered are overrun noise, gearstick rattle, jumping out of third, and to conclude the chapter, two useful tips: one on dis-assembly, one on re-assembly.

Chapter 8 “BODY” will, I predict, be the one most avidly read (they will, of course all be avidly read!). Essential, when read in conjunction with Mike’s first book, for any keen restorer.

Chapter 9 deals briefly with “INTERIOR” and covers trim and weather equipment. The gold standard has been up to now Collingburn (but availability has recently waned). A relatively new supplier, Kimber Creek (Tom Wilson) is given the thumbs up.

In Chapter 10 “ELECTRICS”, Mike defends the products of ‘The Prince of Darkness’, stating that over half a century is a reasonable time frame for him to assess them, including 33 years’ worth of technical expertise in the electro-mechanical field. Subjects covered include, inspection sockets, horn/dipswitch, map readers, fog and panel switches, ignition and fuel warning lights, tank sender, ignition light switch (PLC6), regulators RF91 and RF95/2 – and the generator, SU fuel pump, distributor DKY4A, and lighting.

Chapter 11 gives details, including those of the owner and pictures of “MY TC RESTORATIONS” – all twenty- two of them!

In “REAR END” Mike reiterates his “FRONT END” message with the parting words get in your TC and drive it, as far, as fast and as often as you can. Time is running out on a number of fronts.

Two appendices follow:

Appendix 1 “BOOK LAUNCH OF TCS FOREVER”

Appendix 2 “A SAMPLE OF THE COMPETITION HISTORY OF TC9491”

What more can I say? 150 pages of pure magic!

If you have TCs Forever! (and over five thousand – yes, 5,000 copies have been sold worldwide) you will surely want to get hold of TCs Forever -More! as a companion.

The book launch in Perth is scheduled for 7th May and copies should be available in the UK near to this date, or shortly after. The demand has been truly amazing and Mike has already had to order a second print run. I predict that a third will not be far behind.

Copies will be obtainable from NTG Motor Services Limited, The MG Octagon Car Club and THE MG ‘T’ SOCIETY LIMITED.

JOHN JAMES

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