|Posted on October 26, 2018 at 4:50 AM|
I would like to start this post by acknowledging the sad death of Denis Derex at this year's event. I did not know Denis but he was, clearly, an incredibly popular guy who's death cast a big shadow over the weekend. My condolences of course go to Denis's family and many friends.
This time we decided to enter my son Luke's MG TB special, which has been rebuilt over the last few year. We had originally planned to re-fit the wings and headlamps but time was against us and so we opted for a rather stripped down look. We were frequently asked which MMM model it was.
Our car was placed in the Maurice Trintignant grid for cars over 1500cc (and supercharged above 1 litre). This put us up against some serious competition, especially on a fresh engine. There were some awesome cars, including this awesome Delage 1500:
What a machine! Peter Edney also set a fantastic pace in his MG TB to take pole position after practice. It was Peter who rebuilt the engine for Luke's car and so I can only assume that he'd kept a few of our horsepowers for himself as I was somewhat further back! I am of course joking, Luke had kindly lent me the car for the weekend but I knew he'd expect it back in one piece. Here's Peter & I before we went out for the race:
The race itself turned out to be fairly quiet for me but sadly Peter's car was damaged in an incident with another Delage under blue flags. Frustratingly that also cost me a position! I finished the race in seventh place which was a good result all things considered and after the events of the weekend I was grateful to be heading home without a scratch. You can see my footage from the race here: Click here to view the race on Youtube
|Posted on May 17, 2018 at 6:20 AM|
I've had the pleasure of owning a great many MG TCs and I can count on one hand the number that had a working clock. It's perhaps not the most important feature of the car but it does, of course, sit right in front of you as you drive. It was that frustration, paired with the decreasing availability of good reproduction and original gauges that lead me to set about trying to make my own rev counters.
It's been several years but I am delighted to finally be able to say that I've cracked it. It's not exactly as per original but I think it's bloody close! I have limited stock available at £525 including VAT. Here's a photograph of the first prototype with the clock still ticking away perfectly 2 weeks after it arrived:
I am also working on a batch of new Speedometers, a project predominantly born of the frustration of trying to recalibrate old gauges for different axle, gearbox and wheel configurations. These will be configured by GPS and much more accurate than an original gauge. I expect to have the first unit in stock within a month and will post details in due course.
|Posted on November 29, 2017 at 6:10 AM|
It's been a busy couple of months for us here, the builders are back in and Luke has just moved house meaning there's parts and cars everywhere. Most of our time in the workshop is being spent on building our MG PA to Q specification. It's a project I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm glad to finally have the chance to tackle a MMM car. It'll have a pre-selector gearbox, supercharger, all the bells and whistles. She's looking well but there's a long way to go:
I also hope to have a lovely red TC finished and for sale in the next fortnight or so, it's been a real labour of love but I think the end result will be worth it. One of those cars where I just intended to make a few changes and soon found it stripped to the four corners of the garage. I've repainted the wings, replaced the bonnet, rewired the car and fitted a rebuilt Peter Edney MG engine. I undertook a similar project on a cream TC last year and funnily enough received a photograph and a kind note from the new owner recently. It'll all be worth it I'm sure.
I've actually received quite a few nice emails over the past few months from people I've sold cars to, it brings me great pleasure to see them being used, restored and enjoyed as intended. Jim has been similarly busy working on his red MG TC which he bought from us a couple of years ago. He's spent a few quid bringing it up to standard but it has surely been worth it. The car (and the owner, of course) are looking fabulous below:
Another transformation which has really made me smile is that of a restoration project which we sold a couple of years ago. JAT104 arrived in need of a lot of TLC and goodness has she received it. Here's JAT104 as she was:
and now after 2 years of careful restoration by new owner Neil:
I hope to see it in the flesh soon. It's fantastic when you have an opportunity to see a car again after a long time and to know that they're being used. One car which has never seemed too far away is Scott Bailey's old MG TB which briefly returned to us last month. I've known the car for 30 years, recently going to Germany, returning to the UK and will soon be in it's new home in Italy. I'm sure I won't look this good at 78!
Despite having quite a lot on we managed to find time to make it to the Classic Car show at the NEC again this year. I really do enjoy going and the MG Octagon Car Club very kindly invited us to display a car on their stand once again. They're a fantastic group of guys and I'd whole heartedly recommend that anyone with an interest in T-Type MGs join the club. It was good to see the stand busy and a real appreciation for the older cars at a show with such a diverse range of vehicles on display.
|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!