The Editor

Welcome to Issue 27, December 2014.

I have just finished reading The Healey Story by Geoffrey Healey. I am not really an avid reader but I could hardly put this book down once I had started it. Geoff, a brilliant engineer, died in 1994 before the book was published. His daughters, Cecilia and Kate took over putting the book together from Geoff’s first draft.

Not one to ‘hide his light under a bushel’, Geoff pours scorn on those who have published inaccurate details of Healey history, and is scathing about the immediate post-war Government for berating industry “for lack of investment whilst pursuing taxation policies that leave manufacturers little chance of making anything to invest”.

Production of the Austin-Healey was moved from Longbridge to Abingdon when the ‘100 Six’ type BN4 was introduced. There were concerns at the time that the Factory might not give the marque the same attention to detail as its ‘in house’ products, but according to Geoff …..”we found that everyone at MG took pride in producing good products regardless of the name on the vehicle. The Austin-Healeys that came out of Abingdon required much less preparation for sale and there were never any loose nuts and bolts”.

This must have been hard for some of those at Longbridge to swallow since, according to Geoff, “Many at Austin looked on the MG factory at Abingdon as an anachronism”. Well some “anachronism” – Abingdon lasted almost another 25 years, producing hundreds of thousands of cars!

It was remiss of me not to give credit in the last issue for some of the Isle of Wight Tour photographs so thank you to David Lewis, Paul Ireland and Patrick Michel for sending a selection for publication.

The front cover for the last issue seemed to go down well and drew comment from Michael Sherrell who e-mailed “Just back from the Greek Isles in time to see Mike Killingsworth’s TC1918 in a dramatic location! I later restored this TC (my 7th) for Mike back in 1991. It was my first as a full time restorer, to come out of ‘Mike’s Garages’.”

MG TA road accident

The photograph of the TA getting crushed is reproduced by kind permission of Martyn Knowles, Editor of Car Mechanics magazine. Martyn wasn’t around when the photo was published in the July 1963 issue of the magazine. It featured in an editorial entitled “THREE C’s TO SAFETY” which argued that the roads would be a lot safer if motorists, cyclists and pedestrians would observe “the three C’s – Courtesy, Care & Consideration.” It was suggested that the accident rate would “drop overnight.”

Well, all rather quaint and far from today’s reality of ‘white van man’ hurling abuse at you to get out of his way while steering with one hand and eating something dreadfully unhealthy with the other, ‘dolly birds’ putting on their make-up whilst on the move, and countless idiots either texting or quite brazenly driving along with a mobile phone ‘glued’ to their ear.

Anyhow, thank you to James Burmester for sending me the article. Apologies for my little rant!

The 2015 TTT 2 Tour of the Lancashire Lanes and Yorkshire Dales was fully booked before we departed from the Isle of Wight Tour. In an effort to go some way to meeting demand (there is quite a lengthy reserve list) we have booked all six rooms at The Park House Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Gisburn

The plan is for those staying at this establishment to leave their cars at the Tour hotel and to take evening meals at the hotel with a shuttle service being arranged to facilitate this.

Park House

Plans for the 2016 Tour are not yet on the drawing board but we might have some details by the next issue. The challenge is to find a hotel which is large enough and has adequate parking facilities to accommodate at least 100 guests and 50 cars as these Tours are growing in popularity. Quite a challenge!

It was a pleasure to meet Lachlan Kinnear from Beaumont (a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia) in October. I’ve corresponded with Lachlan over the years and it was nice to meet him in person. We went for a pub lunch in a quintessential English pub, driving to the next village in my PB.



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