Arden MG Club Monthly News. Previous months newsletters can be found in the Newsletter Pages.

 

Newsletter May 2020 Part 2

Hello All

I did say in the last Newsletter that I may send out another one for May and here it is. Although there is nothing to report, there as still some stories to tell but please send me your story for the next Newsletters.

Graham is obviously have trouble filling his time during the lockdown and this time we have not just one but two cartoons. Here is the first, I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do.


Reports:

Nothing to report this time, what have you all been up to?

Future Events:

Club Night - Tuesday 2nd June: As there is no chance of us meeting at the Cross any time soon (although I have an idea for a 'social distance' day out in our MGs if anyone is interested), so it will be another virtual Zoom meeting again. I will send the invitation nearer the time.

Weekend Away 2020 - Dorset - Friday 12th June to Monday 15th June: The latest Government advice is that Newlands will still be closed when we should have been there for our Weekend Away, they have offered us the chance to rebook for next year (although food prices will be higher), however there are a number of people who have expressed a desire not to commit for 2021 and without the full complement of attendees, it has been decided to ask for a refund of our deposits. At the time of writing Nigel was still awaiting a response to our request. I will keep you posted with the developments.

Other Events:

No changes to the calendar, however some organisers are rescheduling events for later in the year, however until we know these will be able to proceed I will not be updating our calendar.

There is one event I have been advised about that some of you might like to participate in which is 'Classics for Carers'. Apparently this was held on the first Sunday of May and is planned again for the first Sunday in June. See the website for details: https://www.classicsforcarers.com/

The info is as follows:

Joining Instructions

Put that tinkering & polishing to a good cause!

On the day of the event, you are invited to share your classic car or bike either online (via social media using #classicsforcarers) or on your driveway, to give those on their daily exercise, a different view on the day!

(Following social distancing requirements of course)

This is a non-driving event and please observe social distancing requirements.

Please visit our JustGiving page to make a donation (perhaps equivalent to a ticket price, or whatever you can) to support NHS carers.

You can buy an event rally plate or stickers for your vehicle (where all profits go to the NHS charity), or save and print a copy of the Classics for Carers poster for display.

Send me a photo if you take part.


Other Matters:

Nothing to report this time.


What Have You Done With Your MG This Month:

David has sent this story , not so much as 'What Have You Done This Month' more a case of last year but still interesting, a good way to use your MG.

What have you done in your MG last summer

1203 miles and a German speeding ticket in a week! On 7 August the B headed out into the morning rush hour traffic headed for the Tunnel, via Newbury to collect my nephew Jonathan as navigator.

I had taken the car to France in 2010 and 2011 to visit the Ramparts event in Angouleme, south western France. Then in 2012 made the journey to the Le Mans Classic. So, the car and I had been suffering with drawl symptoms.

On those trips I had normally used night ferry crossings on the Portsmouth - Caen route which seemed a very civilised way to travel compared to the long haul around the M25 and down to the tunnel. However, as our destination was the legendary Nürburgring for the Old Timer Grand Prix the tunnel made sense.


The Old Timer Grand Prix is far less popular with British spectators so we couldn't play the normal game of spotting other people going to the same place.

The first time I went to Angouleme my wife had assumed that my late son, James, and I were flying. I didn't realise this until James told me about a week before we were due to leave. She didn't believe the B would make it. The car proved her wrong but it did add to my stress levels.

Over time I have become a lot more relaxed about taking on long journeys in the B and am happy to press on when needed. However, driving from home to the 'Ring in one day was going to be too much on what was supposed to be a holiday. Instead we stopped the night at Ghent in Belgium having driven along part of the Jabbeke straight of Jaguar XK120 speed test fame.

One of the strange features of the Old Timer Grand Prix is that you can't book the camp site in advance. So, we left Ghent early so as to get to the 'Ring early afternoon to make sure we got a pitch. We needn't have worried as the campsite was massive and we were arriving on the Thursday afternoon with practice starting on the Friday.

Jonathan hadn't ridden in the B since he was a small boy in 1992 and drives a quick version of the Renault Megan. He seemed surprised at the rate of progress we made in the B. As I had added him to the insurance, I regularly mentioned the need to press the brakes harder than a modern car and that the grip might not be to the level he was used to. On the way back he would find out what I meant as the B waggled its tail coming out of a wet roundabout while he was driving.

So how does the Old Timer Grand Prix compare? Well it's a smaller event than either the Silverstone Classic or Classic Le Mans. However, I was delighted to find there were lots of cars there I hadn't seen before. Some were from the UK but not many. There were 3 MGs.

My brother's children are both at university in Aachen which is 60 miles north of the 'Ring through the Eifel Mountains National Park. So, we took the opportunity of going there for a barbeque on the Saturday evening. My brother and his wife came over from their house near Dusseldorf as well. That was good as Monika brought some nice food!

The roads in Germany are very smooth compared to the UK, France or Belgium and it was late at night when we left Aachen. As we headed through some long and deserted road works there was a flash. Oh dear! Will they bother as it's a foreign registered car? Well the answer was yes. Shortly after returning home an official looking envelope landed on the door mat!

David Witham


Some of you may have gathered that Graham has been having a little difficulty with the starter motor on his Midget, this is the story of how he is trying to fix it!!

Memoires of an Unpractical Motorist . . . Chapter 39

The dead starter motor.

So you may have heard that the starter motor on Bumble is currently not. The key turns nicely in the ignition, and the relay clicks in a very earnest fashion. Mr Battery is alive and well and was tested recently to confirm it is firing on all . . . er . . . cells, as it were.

Therefore it seemed that the necessary action was to get as close to the starter motor as possible and speak jolly firmly to it and tell it to get a grip. Then Lockdown locked down, scuppering the chance of getting professional assistance for the aforementioned Unpractical Motorist.

Chance VE Day conversation brought about the loan of some blooming sturdy wheel ramps. This meant U.M. really had to have a go at it. Said Ramps were accordingly positioned in exactly the right spot relative to the track . . . took a run up with the MG . . . . and then got smartly out of the way as it bounced off from about a quarter of the way up the ramps, which was the measly result of what seemed a perfectly adequate run-up.

History of Production Engineering Problem Solving came to the rescue. Based on the well-tried concept of "If in doubt, gi'it a clout", something "big" was clearly called for. In this a case a Jaguar XF.

So, that bit went really well.

Then, having realised that trying to work underneath a car when it's on ramps constitutes my idea of a torture worthy of the Spanish Inquisition . . . the arrangement did at least it show that when it's ON the ramps it's a more convenient working position when accessing from above, under the bonnet.

So . . . . not only does spannering the square end of the starter motor main shaft reveal it is not jammed . . . . you can, in fact, turn it by hand. Easily.

Admittedly, it's not a very old starter motor, but that seemed a bit surprising. Or perhaps it's a very GOOD motor and something else is amiss.

Therefore, to recap . . . . SYMPTOMS . . . the good ol' relay clicks nicely enough . . . . maybe power just ain't getting to the motor.


At which point we unearth (pardon the pun) another area of personal expertise that is lacking: U.M. doesn't have a circuit tester, rendering it impossible to tell if poke is getting there anyway. ("Poke" . . . Joseph Lucas apprentice speak for volts) (Not to be confused with the "Pisser", which involves a great many more volts and amps and generally results in you ending up on the other side of the room. A rare occurrence with a 12v system).

So, there is your challenge! What's the problem?

Answers on a carefully laundered postcard, please, to Unpractical Motorist c/o UberStumpenFuhrer Dunster, Arden MG Hauptsitz.

Meanwhile I may see if Welford Garage is open for business . . .


My MG

Norman has done a full description of his MG story and of the MGB:





That is the end of all my stock of stories, so I need your input for the next Newsletter, so please drop me a note about what you have been doing (especially in or with your MG) or better still write your My MG story, it doesn't need to be as detailed as Norman's!!

Stay safe, stay well

Paul

----------------------------------- 

Newsletter May 2020

Hello All

The Newsletter is earlier this month and I may well send an interim one again before the end of the month with the invitation to join the Zoom Meeting for June, as it unfortunately looks like we will not be getting together at the Golden Cross for some time yet!!

To cheer us up a bit and give us a smile Graham has again put 'Pen to Paper' and sent in another topical cartoon, great fun, thanks Graham. Keep them coming.


Reports:

There are actually 2 things to report on, firstly what a great day we all had on 'Drive-it-Day' although it was reinvented as 'On Your Drive' day (thanks to Phil F for the idea). There were over 30 of you who entered into the spirit of the day, sending photos and they were posted on the Facebook page (I will try and upload them all to the website if my computer will work long enough to allow me!!). Norman then did a fantastic job of putting together a montage. It has been suggested we produce a 'Tea Towel' or 'Apron' with the Montage Photo printed on to it, who would be interested in having one if they were to cost between £5 & £10? Tea Towel of Apron?

I did put a selection of the comments received with your photos in an email but I think they are worth saying again:

"Got my car out this morning, wiped it down, switched the engine on, closed my eyes and imagined amazing country roads for a few minutes!

Stay safe and well.
Kevin Tasker

Thanks for staying in touch with us all and your efforts on virtual meetings - haven't made one yet but will try to catch one in the future. A couple of photos attached, MGA running bit TC awaiting return of some wheels!
John Woolston

MG photos on the drive today.
What a great day it would have been for the drive - a year for the history books!
Keep Safe
Richard & Fiona

Hi Paul
Hope you are well
Pic for the gallery, if you think it is up to standard.
At least the car is out of the garage, good excuse to polish!
All the best
Alan and Liz Griffith

Doors open for "Morag" on Drive it Day
David Curtis

How's this Paul....sorry we forgot to dress up for the golf club... ..love
Mick & Marg Walker

Hi Paul -what a grand day for it!! Heres my photo for Arden`s Drive it Day!
Best wishes
Andy Bourne

This sunny weather is mocking us
Alan Palmer

All ready for the road but just need the bacon butties to arrive. Yes it did take some time to get them all out but I enjoyed every minute.
Steve Farr.

We would like to thank Alan & Liz for arranging the most unique Drive-it-Day ever, even 'cooking' up the idea of 'do your own lunch'!
Well done
Alan & Julia"

Next was the 'Virtual' Club Night for May. I hope my computer problems didn't spoil too much for you all. The computer problem we have been having is with the 'Pointer' continually moving to the RHS of the screen, after being with a repair man it was working just fine until half way through the Zoom meeting, which made it very difficult to 'Mute and Unmute' people at the required time somewhat difficult! After many trials I think I might have fixed it today, fingers crossed!! There were 14 of us who joined in the fun, I hope you liked the idea of giving everyone a few minutes to have a say about what they have been doing, so computer permitting I will do the same next time.


Future Events:

Club Night - Tuesday 2nd June: Using Zoom, invitation to follow later in the month.

Weekend Away 2020 - Dorset - Friday 12th June to Monday 15th June: The report at the Club Night was that Newlands are making a decision on a weekly basis about cancelling bookings, so we await their response, although the new advice from the Government would indicate that social gatherings of this sort will not be allowed until August at the earliest, it looks like we will not be going, however we need to wait for the response from Newlands to ensure a return of our deposits. 

Other Events:

I have not been updating the Events Calendar, until the 'Lockdown' has been lifted and we know what the future will bring I would treat everything as cancelled, however I have received some notifications of rescheduling of events. Lets wait and see if they will be able to take place.

Other Matters:

I have received this message from an MG owner in Redditch:

"Dear Mr. Dunster.

Due to my osteoarthritis getting more aggressive I am looking to sell my MG. I have owned the car for 5 years after purchasing it from a businessman in Guernsey. it has an agreed valuation with Lancaster insurance of £13.000, I am asking £10.250, there is a photographic record of the restoration and I have also spent a considerable amount to improve the car. it will come with a new MOT for 12months. I would like the car to go if possible to someone in a club who will care for it. The car is in Redditch and I realize it is difficult with the lockdown and any questions please feel free to call me on 01527545615 or 07973328347. The pictures were taken in Guernsey but I will take some here if anybody wishes.

Regards.

Eric Lee"

If anyone is interested please contact Eric directly.

What Have You Done With Your MG This Month:

Phil Ward sent me this message about his MG collection:

"I now have 3 MG's (2TF's & 1MGF). I rescued the latest TF from Blackpool where it had sat (500 yards from the sea) for 8 months after some kind souls had stolen the whole exhaust system!

Took a road trip with trailer and recovered it, it's the sort of car that you would walk away from if it was for sale but hay hoe it was free and I'm a sucker for the under dog, so far I have removed and stripped the front subframe (which has now been powder coated) I've got it back but all the ancillaries are in 'Lockdown' at the powder coaters so work on the front has stopped for the duration.

Started on the rear, stripped brake callipers etc and changed top ball joints, plenty of wire brushing and coat of tough black paint improved the


appearance greatly, next job repair a couple of sheared studs & bolts (never leave a car by the sea everything rusts and seizes) still plenty of time to do the manual stuff."

Looks like you have plenty there to keep you busy during the 'Lockdown', thanks for sharing with us.

Andy has also been very busy - Jobs on the MG during Social Distancing.

Hi Paul -Just a note to let you know how I've been keeping busy! After 3 years in their box, I decided to fit the Spax rear suspension kit I had purchased from MGOC! Only take a couple of hours I thought! WRONG!

Yesterday I jacked up the rear of the Midget, removed the road wheels and started taking off the old Armstrong shocks and lower spring retaining plates, offside went well -nearside not! Nut on the inside of shock was spinning around and there was no room to get my faithful 9/16 box spanner on -good ol` B.L.

After a cup of tea and biscuits (Chocolate digestives I confess!), I jammed a screwdiver between chassis and bolt head and finally it came off as did several layers of skin on my hand! Shut garage door in disgust and had a beer and decided to start again next day .

Day 2 -cautiously approached the garage, in the hope the scrap man had been! No such luck! Finally fitted new kit to nearside, easy peasey -offside not -my lovely Maniflow exhaust system was in the way!! After 1 tin of penetrating oil, blowlamp, pipe wrench, burnt arm etc -finally got it off and fitted the gas strut -shut garage door in disgust and am about to have a G and T. Tomorrow I hope to refit the exhaust system, which also involves moving the number plate 40mm along the bumper! Oh what joy these MGs are, no wonder an ex Garage owner I know, asked me -did I know what MG stood for ? -"of course I replied " -"yes made grotty" he responded and drove off in stitches of laughter!

I hope you are keeping safe and well . Very best wishes Andy

Exhaust removed Exhaust re-fitted with clearance

Hi Paul -I believe you wanted to be kept posted, re the Midget saga-well after 3 days its finally sorted , I had to fabricate a new middle and rear exhaust support brackets and twist the exhaust pipe to gain sufficient clearance (its cranked for that purpose), getting the old exhaust apart was "exhausting" (sorry )-copious use of penetrating oil, blowtorch and violence! To repair the damaged surface, on the parts I had bashed etc, Halfords click and collect service was used to obtain new heat resistant paints. (I incorporated the collection with a much needed food shop -so it wasn't an unnecessary trip out!). Finally had to relocate rear exhaust support bracket, from original location under boot floor -quite a shock how much stuff was in the boot! Lets hope it was worth the effort and neglect of my garden!

The contents of a Midget boot

Thanks Andy, looking forward to seeing the Midget out on the road, lets hope we can do so before the end of the summer!!

Now this looks interesting, how many of you have got one of these to play with:

My MG and Tiger Moth basking in the sun today waiting for the lock down to end

David Philips

Thanks David, I hope we might be able to have a flight with you sometime.

We forgot to mention [during the Zoom Club Night Meeting] that 3rd May was our MGA's 60th Birthday.



Pictures attached of its last trip out of the Garage onto the drive.

Roger& Caroline

Thanks for the photos, I hope the 'A' will finally be on the roads before the end of the year.

VE Day Celebrations

Lech got his Midget out and gave it a wash as the local residents of the 'Alveston Housing Estate' had a VE Day Classic Car Run around Avon Crescent and Dale Avenue.

He was then spotted by Graham S, who were out for the afternoon tea party and commented:

"Lech and Pam on a VE classic drive by this afternoon.

We were enjoying a glass of wine at the end of our drive.

If you look really closely you will spot my TF in the garage, still in pieces!


Regards

Graham "

Andy B also sent me a 'VE Day' message to prove his Midget will move:

Hi Paul -just a quick idea to show my car moves on VE Day ! Keep safe everyone -all the best -Andy

Looks like you had a good day out in the sunshine Andy.

I also received a message from Richard W.

Hi Paul
Trust you and Caroline are keeping fit. Have you been out on your bike? Just a note the wings and wheels has a new date August 31st.
I am under self isolation for 3 months because of my asthma and COPD !!!?? The nearest I get to driving the MG is starting up for a few minutes. Otherwise it's gardening !!!
Take care, Richard.

My MG

Tony B has kindly sent in his MG story:


Searching for a B

"Not a Rubber Bumper model or a White one"

I think I'll get myself a classic car now that I've retired, I thought to myself. Looking back to the cars of my youth, what should I go for? An Austin 7, the standard starting point for many a 17-year-old with a new unmolested licence as he sets forth on the relatively empty roads of the 1960's. Then I looked at the pace the Austin can go and the thought of driving one in modern traffic speeds, took that off the list.

What about having an old Morris Minor convertible, the same as I had given to me by my parents in recompense for relinquishing the use of my mother's car. She was getting fed up with always finding it nearly out of fuel. Well, I like the Minor Traveller and it is the car of the period but it doesn't have much "joy of life" about it.

I know, an Austin Healey 100. I had one for a while as a teenager; it cost me the princely sum of £150 and I did really love that car, but on apprentice wages its greedy consumption of petrol and oil meant that it had to be replaced by something sensible. But now I could afford to put petrol in one so I spent some time looking on the various sites that one uses nowadays. How much! I'm not spending £50k plus on a toy that will sit most of the time in the garage. The car of my youth had gone from being the undesirable early version of the model to being the most sought-after.

I'd liked the MGB and have strong memory of the first one I saw on the road, in Iris Blue and coming past me on my bike with its hood down in the evening summer sun. It looked stunning. I knew someone in one of the walking groups who has a couple of B's and C's so I spent quite a lot of time chatting to him, John, about the various models.

That made up my mind, I'll look for an MGB. I like both the Roadster and the GT so I'll keep an open mind as I look. But I'll narrow my search down a bit - not one with rubber bumpers and really not one in white. Off I go. Auctions, internet classic car sites, classic car dealers, eBay and the MGOC and MGCC classifieds. That should keep me busy for a while and did of course lead to many miles wasted looking at so described "immaculate" vehicles.

I became a regular visitor to Brightwells classic car auctions in Leominster finding the auctions one of the most useful sources. You had plenty of time to look at each vehicle without an owner breathing closely down your neck. Lots of MGs and other classics went under the hammer, but I was only looking for an MGB, so I let pass the absolutely pristine Jaguar XJS convertible for £6k. Well, we've all got stories like that, I suppose.

On the private-sale trail we drove down to Wiltshire to look at a Roadster in Black with chrome wire wheels. It looked lovely and drove beautifully and back at the owner's house we looked at all the paperwork that he'd laid out. A lot of history and he did, to his credit, point out that although it was a Roadster the chassis number and log book bore the reference of a GT. As it had elements of both Roadster and GT perhaps this was the car for me, but then, maybe not.

A viewing of a GT through the MGCC classifieds looked more promising. Not too far, only Oxford this time. Pulling up outside the owner's house things looked favourable. A good-looking GT on the driveway and also a lovely TD sitting in his open garage. Clearly an MG man. "Take it out for a run" he said to us, so we did. A dreadful noise from the gearbox on over-run ensured that the test run was curtailed. "It's not done that before" he said. Another trip to add to the experience of classic car hunting.

That summer we met up with some friends in the New Forest and incorporated a visit to Beaulieu Autojumble. Fields of every automotive component imaginable and some pitches for classic car sales. "Oh, look there are a couple of MGB's on that pitch, let's see them." A very suave gentleman was pleased to show us around them. He was proud to say that he'd now found a new side-line for himself, bringing in cars from the US and converting them to right hand drive, and at the same time he could also carry on with his main job of being a Consultant at a Bournemouth hospital. Importing British cars from America is not new, but it is not usually left to the medical profession to do it.

We were now approaching winter and a lull in the number of classics up for sale. In the following Spring, again chatting cars with my friend John on a walk he casually mentioned that he'd been talking to a woman at an unconnected event who, knowing his interest in MGs, had said that she was selling her MGB. He hadn't mentioned it to me as it was a rubber bumper model and he knew that wouldn't be of interest, which I confirmed was the case.

A couple of months passed and having not progressed my B search much I thought why not at least have a look at the car, especially as it was only 5 miles away in Leamington. That arranged, off I trotted to my viewing. The car had been moved out of its garage and now stood on the drive. It looked alright, rather grubby but certainly straight and looking very original. But it was white.

I took it out for a drive, all was good except for the non-operation of the overdrive switch, easily fixed. Back at the home of the lady owner she brought out all the paperwork relating to the car. And there was lots of it, right back from the original purchaser. All the MOT certificates, the service records and the repair invoices. Some years the car had travelled only the distance to the local garage and back for its MoT Test. The current owner was only the second and the first had been her boss's wife's. At this time it had done only 29k miles, evidenced by the MOT certificates, and was completely original. Right down to the 'deckchair' seats.

Now I was in a dilemma. Not the spec I had been looking for, but where could I go to find such an original, low mileage car which had never passed through the stage that most cars go through at about fifteen years old. That stage when an impoverished young person buys it but cannot afford to run it, and then the consequent mates' bodges and temporary repairs. No-one had put on go-faster stripes, upgraded the sound system, put in leather seats or a Les Leston steering wheel. There it was, just as it came out of Parkside Garage in Leamington on 18th August 1977 complete with its British Leyland Passport to Service booklet.

So, I gave it some thought and pondered the options and I started to look at the rubber bumper models in a different light; they have an attraction of their own. So that was it, decision made, purchase done and collection made bringing it the five miles home from Leamington, the area it had lived in for the preceding thirty-six years.

Now we moved out of the reliability of many years of successive new company cars into the pleasures and vagaries of classic car ownership, especially challenging with a car that had hardly been used for many years, but that is another story!



'Our B' at Show Night, The Golden Cross MGOC Display - Silverstone Classic 2019

I have another story for the next Newsletter but nothing after that, so while you have time during this 'Lockdown' how about writing a few words and send to me with a few photos.

Stay safe, stay well

Paul