|Posted on September 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM|
As September rolls around we normally turn our attention to the Circuit-des-Remparts in Angouleme and this year was no different. I really enjoy visiting France and this race has a special place in my heart. Hundreds of cars turn out for the rally each year and there's events throughout the weekend including the Concours d'elegance on the Friday night. My wife, Sandie, and I set off a bit early this year. We made our way down from Calais stopping at Bernay and Le Mans (briefly) and I think this is what I'll do in future too. We sometimes take the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo but I rarely have a good nights sleep!
We arrived in Angouleme on Thursday and the town was already gearing up. Cars were in the pits for the race on Sunday and there was a proper buzz about the place with all sorts of classic and modern sports cars and exotics everywhere you turned. A particular highlight was seeing Derek Bell's Le Mans car being towed behind his W. O. Bentley, not something you see every day! Speaking to his mechanic I learned that he'd used nearly 1 litre of fuel per mile - the most surprising thing perhaps was that I was not at all surprised.
A couple of our friends who live near Carcassonne came up for the weekend and it was fantastic to be able to spend a decent amount of time in their company. We used the Friday and Saturday as a chance to relax (and shop) and make the most of the trip away. Several pastries were tested, beers sampled and wines tended to. My son Luke came down on the Friday with a couple of his friends - who had surely heard they were missing out. This made for a good group of us and added to the experience.
Sunday, and the race, seemed to creep up on us. There was some confusion with the schedule which meant I cancelled my lie in for nothing (not that I'm bitter about it!) and had more than enough time to prepare the car. Thankfully this consisted of little more than pressing the engine start, unlike last year I'd had a proper chance to run her in and all little teething troubles were long since sorted. Practise was preceded by a demonstration run by Mr. Bell in the aforementioned blower Bentley. Quite how he managed to chuck it around those tight hairpins is anyones guess. When we finally made it out I had a good run and enjoyed being back on the track. There was a brief interuption by the Patrouille Acrobatique de France (I hope that's right, the French red arrows if you will) which will rank as one of the strangest "red flags" I've encountered but it only added to the event.
Back in the pit lane I found out that I'd qualified 6th. I was pleased with the result as my car is very much now set up as a "fast road" car rather than an out and out racer. In truth the grid was a bit of a mismatch, with an 11 litre Aero engined Amilcar looking like the obvious favourite despite only having 2 gears (first to 80mph and second to 140, wow), it only added to the charm though. There was also two factory K3s in attendance which was a lovely to see.
The weather let us down through the day on Sunday, with the rain absolutely chucking down at times. This made for very tricky conditions for some of the races in the interim but thankfully I didn't see any major incidents. We were very lucky that it stopped in time for my race and though the track was still damp conditions were good. The race was very enjoyable, despite a near miss with the Bira K3 on the middle hairpin up the hill (I think he had some trouble and had pulled up) and I held position to finish 6th overall. I don't think there's any shame in admitting to being lapped by the Hispano-Suiza powered Amilcar which absolutely flew round the track (no pun intended) to take the victory. Sitting in the cold light of Monday morning and faced with the long drive home there was only one question on my mind: Which car will I take next year?
|Posted on June 19, 2017 at 4:50 AM|
I had a great time at MG Live at Silverstone this weekend and in truth I enjoyed the journey down every bit as much as the event. The sun was shining and I made a last minute decision not to take the van but to drive down in our red MG TC. It was definitely the right call, although next time I'll wear a hat (I look like a beetroot this morning).
The event has changed over the years and now caters to a wider audience, even the latest MG models are represented, but it was nice to see that there are still a few old cars that make it down. I would have liked to see a MMM (pre-1936) grid but they're perhaps more suited to Hillclimbs than circuit racing. That said I did spot a nice P/Q-Type special on Barry Walker's stand.
The T-Types were flying as always, Peter Edney's TC looked on top form. I also saw a few blasts from the past including MNE4 (the TD) which used to belong to my friend Harry. A good weekend all in all and my TC has been upgraded with the installation of a tube of sunscreen in the toolbox!
|Posted on February 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM|
January's been a busy month for us and I hope it continues in to the year. We've been all over the country (and further afield) collecting and delivering cars and are continuing to find new upgrades and parts for our beloved MG T-Types. Our latest arrival are the pictured H-section Saenz Con-Rods - I have been extremely impressed with their quality and, whilst they would be overkill for the road, the originals can be a weak point for a tuned or race engine. They are £900 for a set of four (we also sell new billet crankshafts at £1550).
Since I last wrote here I've been made aware of an article about the late Jacques Potherat in the Heritage magazine of the MG car club in France. It's a lovely write up and nice to see one of my old pointed tail specials still being used and look after. This was the one I built with a crossflow cylinder head many moons ago. New crossflow cylinder heads are now being manufactured and look very promising indeed. I hope to be able to write about them in more detail soon. We've also been tasked with making a dual outside exhaust system for one so that should prove interesting!
I was also recently sent a lovely email about an MG TD I built for a chap in the late 90s, I'm delighted to say he still has the car and tells me that it has "won literally dozens & dozens of trophies including a Car of the Show as recently as last season" - he must be a bloody good polisher! Whilst I don't have the time to take on projects like this anymore I always enjoy tinkering with good original cars - it's so satisfying to see a proper MG in top nick.
|Posted on November 11, 2016 at 5:10 AM|
Our MG TB racer will be on display at the NEC this weekend. It's on the Octagon Car Club stand in Hall 4.
We will both be around tomorrow (Saturday) and Steve's staying Sunday too so please come and say hello.
A fantastic time was had by all and I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Sir Stirling Moss too. It was a great honour and a privilege and I must say that he is a lovely chap. We spoke about my race car, diff ratios, tyres and even his impressions of the circuit at Angouleme. I owe many thanks to the MG Octagon Car Club for making the introduction and allowing us to show our car at the NEC.
|Posted on September 21, 2016 at 4:20 AM|
Five weeks ago it was in pieces on the floor, five days ago Steve's MG TB arrived in Angouleme and although it's been a hectic month it was well worth the hassle. We had a fantastic time with great company and, as an added bonus, even managed to finish the race. I hope you'll agree that the car looks absolutely spot on, even when operated under "Steve power" as below:
Angouleme is quite a baptism of fire for a new car with several tight hairpins up an incredibly steep hill so I'm very glad that no further pushing was required. We knew we had to tread gently with a fresh engine but confidence grew with every lap completed and morning practise seemed to fly by. Both car and driver seemed very much at home on the track:
The race was always going to be a much tougher test and with a very mixed grid consisting of anything from a twin supercharged Riley to 750cc Austin sevens (and the Prince Bira MG K3 for good measure!) we really didn't know what to expect. The car had developed a gearbox problem towards the end of the practise session, keeping her in second gear was proving problematic and we knew that bringing the car home safely really ought to be the priority. **Spoilers** Steve did well, turning 9th in qualifying in to 8th overall (of about 20), here's the footage from his car: (you can skip to 3 minutes 20 to see the start of the race)
|Posted on August 11, 2016 at 6:25 AM|
Angouleme is 5 weeks away now and my focus is well and truely on having my MG TB special built in time for the race. I've alluded to it before but now I've found the confidence to book the race, ferry and accomodation it seems a lot more real and pressing. A few weeks ago my car was little more than a pile of parts in the corner of the garage:
Thankfully, the body work was sorted last year - it's been hanging up in the shed waiting for the rest of the car to catch up. I've been to-ing and fro-ing on which colour to go for, it had to be a classic colour and when I saw a picture of a K3 in blue (I think it was one of the Mille Miglia cars) I knew what I had to do. Here's the tub below, freshly back from the painters:
|Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM|
I'm forever writing that cars didn't make it to the website, seems a shame to let them slip by unnoticed. For those of you who are interested here are a few cars that have come and gone this year before making it to the sales page in earnest.
We bought the TA below from the widow of it's former long term owner. The gentleman who owned her before us had done a lovely job of restoring the car but it was, sadly, beginning to show signs of age. We promptly set about removing and repainting panels, bolted some new wheels and tyres on and patted ourselves on the back...a job well done!.. but only until we decided to go for a drive, whereupon we discovered a water leak from the block. We knew it would never repair satisfactarily. The engine had to come out. After some deliberation, and a bit of encouragement from a prospective buyer we decided to install fit an XPAG engine (MG TC) and MG TC speed gearbox in to the car. It now drives as well as it looks, I'll let you be the judge:
It's rare to see a TC sporting Clipper Blue but it is very much a factory original colour and turns heads like few others. My wife in particular absolutely loved the blue/cream combination and keeping the car was discussed. Given that I always seem to dismantle my cars, fill them with non-standard components and then abuse them on a race track I think a quiet life in sunny London town is a much kinder fate for this car. The new owner has had an MG before and always regretted selling it, a familiar story I'm sure - let's hope he keeps and enjoys this one for years to come:
Another TC that has been and gone is this red one below. This car was right up my street (figuratively! it was a bit of a drive to fetch her) and sold very quickly indeed. The previous owner had fitted a Volkswagen steering box to the car (shameless plug: I am now manufacturing these!) and also swapped the gearbox for a Ford 5 speed. It drove absolutely beautifully and I was seriously looking forward to driving this one around for the summer but it wasn't to be. A gentleman from Cornwall is now the proud owner - I must concede that it was the perfect setting for a such a lovely car and I enjoyed my brief trip to the seaside too.
Nevermind not finding it's way to the website, the J2 below didn't even make it as far as my garage. I had no sooner bought the car than been told, in no uncertain terms, by a close friend of mine that he was having it. Thankfully there was rather more there than the photograph suggests, a real barn-find complete with dilapidated shed. The gentleman who owned the car told me that he had, all told, spent less than £400 on the car and parts for it. Suffice to say he made a healthy profit!
|Posted on May 25, 2016 at 5:40 AM|
With the rush of summer and the small matter of Steve's car still being in pieces with only a few months to Angouleme (more on that later) I'm afraid we've been neglecting the blog a bit of late. I thought, perhaps, whilst we're locked away in the garage without much to show you that it might be interesting to write an article about a few of the cars we've sold over the last couple of years. We've met some lovely people through our little MG business and enjoy hearing about their progress - I hope you'll find it interesting too.
A few years ago we offered this green MG TC restoration project for sale on behalf of a friend of ours. Sadly Mike had realised that he was no longer able to drive the car and had stressed to us the importance of finding it a good home. It could so easily have become the subject of a TV show being made at the time.. as we had the representatives round to view the car. After much consideration and wanting a clear conscience we really didn't think it would be right to let them undertake an 8 week wonderbuild on such an original car. We needed someone who was going to do a proper job.
It was no sooner than had we decided that they couldn't have it, that Steven arrived looking for a project. It was at difficult time for him as he had been suffering with his health. He wanted a distraction from it all, something to motivate him to push on with his treatments. I must admit we had our concerns that he was taking on a bit much but my God were we proven wrong!
He quickly set about restoring the car, regularly updating us with a number of photographs of his progress and making us smile with lines like "Novice reporting in!". Now that "Nancy" is back on the road she certainly doesn't look like she's been restored by a Novice - the result of months of love car and attention to detail:
Here's another car we sold a couple of years ago:
When Paul bought this TC off us, it had been restored mechanically with the previous owner even fitting a new set of Alfin drums to the car but was starting to look a little bit tired. Paul of course did would any sensible man would do when presented with a car in need of cosmetic restoration.. he fitted a blower! Then he set about making her tip-top once more.
We had originally been told he would paint it green but I think, like Clarkson with his Ferraris, there was only one real option. I'm so glad he opted to go with the red too as I think it looks absolutely brilliant. A truely sorted jem which will give years of pleasure. I just hope he and his lovely wife Heather continue to invite me round to see them enjoying it.
So there you are, two lucky TCs which found loving homes both looking resplendant in red. Now I'm finally starting to think of my own car I will be updating the blog a lot more regularly over the next few months. I've entered Angouleme but at the moment, my rather ambitious K3 Mille Miglia bodied MG TB project is a long way from track ready. September is starting to seem awfully soon - let's see how I get on!
|Posted on February 29, 2016 at 11:05 AM|
I thought you might be interested to see this one, we've fitted one of our supercharger kits to an MG TB and are very pleased with the results. We've made a number of changes to our kits over the last few years, always trying to find little improvements and it's been very worthwhile doing so. As you'll see (hear) she's running well and looking great too (although I can't take too much credit for that).
- before you keel over from shock I should point out that the rev counter was reading about 1000 RPM out at top end, as I've alluded to in the past I don't really trust chronometric gauges for important readings.
Our client decided to drive the car home from us to Gloucester (100 miles or so) and despite a broken windscreen he had a blast and made good time too. It was a bit too cold for our liking whilst testing the car but don't feel I can complain too much about making a living driving around in such a fantastic machine. Great fun, even if I did need to wear a helmet to stop my ears from freezing:
|Posted on December 18, 2015 at 9:30 AM|