Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I had always thought that it was animals that hibernated for the winter but, apparently, Murray thinks that I should try a spot of hibernation as well.

So he has booked me a long-term stay at “The Hotel for Fine Automobiles”, as Storacar call themselves. This is me checking in, and in their loving care I will be dry, snug and warm for the winter.

So, until Murray decides summer has arrived and comes and gets me for another season of shows, runs and picnics – this is me signing off for 2008.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One last summer jaunt and another adventure

The MG Car Club Abingdon Works Centre’s final summer run was set to leave Abingdon at 10 a.m. so we had an early start from London in order to make it there on time.

Murray with his head under my bonnetDropping over the Chilterns into the Oxford valley plunged us into quite dense fog and Murray was still not sure about whether my regulator was working and charging my battery, so turned on the headlights and wipers with some trepidation.

It was still quite foggy as we passed Dorchester when he noticed a problem on my gauges, not the charging but the oil pressure: there was none!

Fortunately a sign indicated a parking area ½ mile ahead so Murray pulled in there to have a look and it was not too difficult for him to locate the problem, he simply had to look above the The AA arrive againdrips that were rapidly covering the ground. The pipe that takes the oil from the oil filter and into my engine block was leaking.

After checking that it was not something really simple like a loose fitting, Murray called up his good friends at the AA; fully expecting that the day was over before it had begun and that we would all be going home on the back of an AA truck.

In 30 minutes the AA man arrived and had a look and said he thought he could make a temporary fix. The MGs assembled in Abingdon Town SquareHe removed the pipe, which had a hairline crack across it, and after cleaning it up moulded some two-part epoxy metal weld putty and wrapped it around the pipe over the crack. He covered this with self-amalgamating tape and then wrapped the lot in another layer of tape.

After refitting the pipe Murray started my engine and the pressure gauge shot back up to 40 psi and there were no leaks from the repair.

Me, in front of the Handley Page Herald 100Fortunately Murray had a 5-litre tin of 20-50W oil in the boot so he was able to replace all the oil I had so carelessly spread along the road and we were off again.

We pulled into the centre of Abingdon just in time to catch the other cars before they left. Once Murray had the route book, it was time to find a petrol station and head off for the run.

The MGs at the Berkshire Aviation MuseumKeeping a close eye on my oil gauge for the 32-mile run we arrived to find the other 25 cars already there with their owners’ picnic lunches well underway. However, the trail of oil drips told another tale; the repair was leaking. So, after lunch and a look around the Museum of Berkshire Aviation, we set of early to find a Halfords and some more oil. Murray poured about a litre in to get the level showing again on my dipstick.

Murray checks out the Handley Page Herald 100The pressure held for the 38 miles home to London but the rest of the 5-litre tin had to be used to restore the level. Clearly a permanent part replacement is required but the AA man made a wonderful job of the temporary repair and enabled us to enjoy the day almost as planned.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kent cruising

An Indian summer arrived and brought a beautiful cloudless weekend with it, so it was time to go cruising in Kent.

An early start meant that we could take the direct route through London without getting snarled in traffic, enabling us to be at Chiddingstone in time for the 11 a.m. Castle opening time.

Murray gets the chairs set up for a picnicAfter a picnic lunch we set off for the second stop at Titsey House.

There was no point attempting the cross-London route in the late afternoon so it was time to tangle with the trucks on the M25. As is apparently typical (I don’t go there often) the M25 was crawling for quite a long stretch so I had no problem keeping up with the flow.

What a busy place, though; the roads are certainly very different from when I first started out in 1950.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wimbledon Windmill

Moring tea at Wimbledon CommonToday's run, although relatively short at 14 miles, was not without incident. Murray and Christine had decided to visit Wimbledon Common, almost due south down the A219. All was going well until we got stuck in the traffic at Putney about three miles short of the destination. It was a warmish day and all the idling and stop-start driving must have been too much for me as I overheated and boiled dry.

Wimbledon WindmillWith some very strange noises from under the bonnet Murray only just made it around a corner and off the busy main road before I gave up completely. This time, rather than call the AA, he simply waited until I had cooled down a bit, topped up my radiator and we were off again.

Going home in the afternoon was trouble-free and I still had a good supply of water in the radiator when we returned home. All very odd, really

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They hadn't forgotten me after all

Picnic at Mill GreenI have been languishing under my cover for simply ages. Apparently they have been all over the place: Moscow, St Petersburg, Edinburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed and so on, leaving me alone at home.

So it was a pleasant surprise this morning to be fired up and on the road. Mountnessing windmillTackling the North Circular early enough makes it bearable and it was not long before we were out at Mill Green.

They left me there and went for a walk, returning for a picnic lunch.

After that we went to Ingatestone Hall, and then stopped at He was way bigger than me so we let him throughMountnessing so that they could enjoy afternoon tea at the foot of the windmill.

Then it was time to go home so we meandered our way back to London via the back routes meeting some rather interesting other road users.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

MG M Group Saloons Day

The day that Murray & Christine came to collect me last year was the day on which the MG ‘M’ Group had their saloons day gathering so, as I reported on the blog, we called in on the way home; and it was just after we left the Saloons day that all my troubles began.
Two Magnettes, a B and me

Flanked by a Magnette and a MaestroThe 2008 MG ‘M’ Group Saloons Day was held today and Murray considered it a bit of a challenge to make it there and back without incident as ‘proof’ that, for the moment, the troubles are over and I was behaving as I should. He also wanted to take me for a decent run to see if the water consumption problem had been fixed with the fitting of my new water pump.

The owners proudly display what is under the hoodSo, bright and early this morning we headed north, out of London and on to the M1. Fortunately the speed limit through the road works up to Junction 9 is 50mph so we did not hold anybody up. From Junction 9 we went up the A5 to Milton Keynes then took the A508 through Northampton and up to the venue at Lamport House.

Outside Holdenby HouseAlthough the weather forecast was for fine, sunny weather there were a couple of light sprinkles and it was quite chilly. I was the only Y there this year; the nearest cousins were three Magnettes – well down on the 10 that were present in 2007.

Because of the inclement conditions we slipped away early and headed Murray checks my oil in Winslowhome via Holdenby House and the back routes and byways to Winslow and then London.

Murray was very pleased with me today: cruising effortlessly at 55-60 mph; fuel consumption , 33 mpg, much better than in the past; and, in 160 miles, I used less than a litre of water, quite a change from the 1 litre per 10 miles problem that started my troubles a year ago.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home again

Well, the pulley did not arrive in time for the weekend and when it did John discovered that the bolts holding it all together were the wrong size. It seems someone has done a bit of a 'bodge' job at some stage and the holes in the spacer have been bored out to the wrong size.
Two YTs and me on the Spring Run
But the lads at Bewley sorted it all out and tonight Murray came and collected me and we went for a short run on the motorway. I simply purred along at 60mph and even made 65 for a short while and Murray was still not pushing me as hard as I could go. I haven't done 65 in years - it is really quite a rush for an old girl like me.

Hopefully this weekend we will be able to get back to the MG Saloons Day, a lot has happened since the 2007 Saloons Day - it has been rather an eventful year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Man the pumps

The vibration was due to a badly worn water pump and the reason that it was becoming more obvious at lower speeds was that the wear was getting worse.

So I now have a brand new water pump to go with all the other new bits but unfortunately the old fan beltMe at Princes Risborough pulley was too worn to fit properly on the shaft of my nice new water pump. Hopefully the pulley will arrive in time for it to be fitted before the weekend, as Murray would like to take me on the Epsom Area MG Owners Club run to the Bluebell Railway on Sunday. We shall see.

It will also be interesting to see if the new water pump also solves the persistent but small water leak that is still troubling Murray. John said that when he took the old pump off there was some evidence of leakage behind it, so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Murray and Christine ended their Sunday at Highclere Castle where there was a gathering of Jaguar cars.

It was a totally miserable wet day for all the enthusiasts who had turned out in their lovely XK open sports cars for the XK Register 40th Anniversary. Naturally there were many more models represented including some pre-war SS cars, before they adopted the Jaguar name.
MG YASS 100 Saloon
Murray is convinced that the Y designers had a picture of a 1938 SS 100 Saloon pinned above the drawing board as they crafted the transformation of the Morris 8 body shell into the Y saloon.

The similarities are striking and although the SS 100 is bigger, longer, lower, and somewhat more curvaceous, given the fact that there was very little that could be changed with the passenger cabin section of the Morris 8, the designers did a grand job of stealing the looks of the SS 100 and making an affordable sports saloon for the driver whose pockets were not quite so deep. We even both have sun-roofs!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Buckinghamshire beckons

Collecting elder flowersReturning from last weekend’s Naviscat, Murray was increasingly concerned about a worrying vibration that was making driving unpleasant.

However, he needed to do a bit more detective work to try and pin down the conditions under which this vibration occurred so he and Christine set off for Buckinghamshire to visit a few places and enjoy the country lanes.

Parked at Long CrendonWe stopped in at Beaconsfield, Princes Risborough and Long Crendon before wending our way back home. While out and about, Murray stopped to collect some elder flowers to make elderflower cordial.

All the while the vibration was getting steadily worse and I had to be driven at slower and slower speeds to keep it under control.

Naturally Murray will take me back to see the lads at Bewley Motors next week.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Naviscat

Getting ready at the startThe MG Car Club SE Centre regularly runs Naviscats, so called because navigation is required and the process scatters cars all over the area as they seek to amass points. At the start some 40 sets of co-ordinates are given to the participants who then rush to plot them on a map, decide on a route between the start location and the given end-point and then set off to the find the answer to a clue at each location. The aim is to visit as many locations as possible, get as many correct answers as possible and make it to the destination in t allotted time, as it is strictly adhered to and points are deducted for each minute over time.
A 'Y', a 'T' and an 'A' wait while their owners hunt for the clue
Murray had read about these outings and since one was advertised for this weekend, the weather was fine and I was not stuck at Bewley Motors needing something done, he thought it would be a good idea to head south and join the other MGs for a naviscat.
The line up at the picnic
There were probably twenty cars at the start, even another Y, a few Ts and a number of our modern cousins. After the briefing it was a mad scramble for the drivers and navigators to plot the points on their maps and then we were off heading in different directions in the quest for points and glory when the results were announced.

1932 F TypeSome of the clues were so easy there was no need to even stop, we simply drove by; others were fiendishly cryptic. It was not unusual to pass other MGs going in the opposite direction as each team plotted the route as they thought best.

The end point was a gathering of even more MGs, possibly 50, where the drivers and passengers enjoyed a barbeque, or picnic, some entertainment and, optionally, took part in a Pride of Ownership or a Gymkhana.

1931 J1 SalonetteThe winner of the Pride of Ownership was a beautiful blue 1932 F Type but Murray and Christine were also very impressed with a sweet little red 1931 J1 Salonette, the only one of its type in the world, which has been lovingly and painstakingly restored by the current owners

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lost in the post

The replacement regulator got lost in the post and did not arrive until yesterday. Murray collected me today Peter Arnell's YB by nightand now my battery charge meter is well into the positive region so hopefully my electrical troubles are over.

While in the garage, the last of my brand new tyres and tubes were fitted. When that was first attempted, one of the new tubes exploded nearly scaring the wits out of James, the mechanic. The tube was replaced and has been waiting for a suitable time to be fitted.

Nuffield PlaceThe delay in the arrival of the regulator meant that I missed the opportunity to join Murray and Christine on a visit to Nuffield Place on Sunday.

Nuffield Place was the home of Lord and Lady Nuffield, formerly Mrs & Mrs William Morris; the man behind the Morris and M.G. motorcars. Ultimately it was not only Morris but Austin, Riley and Wolseley that entered the Morris fold.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Electrics again!

It was not a battery problem at all. This afternoon Murray tried to start me and, once again, there was simply nothing doing in the battery department. So, jumper leads were needed again and off we went to Bewley Motors.

Proof I do get out occasionallyI am really not having much luck in the electrical department. When I my engine was overhauled, a new dynamo, new regulator and electronic ignition were fitted. One by one all these new things have failed. The electronic ignition was replaced and failed again, so was removed. The dynamo failed and was replaced and now the regulator has died.

So, I am waiting at BewleyMotors while John gets the regulator replaced.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Another eventful weekend

Picnic time againMurray thought it would be a good idea for another shakedown run out into the countryside on Saturday so came out to give me a whirl but absolutely nothing happened when he tried the starter button; nada, zip, zero.

So, off to Halfords for some cheap jumper leads, connected me to his other car and presto, I was up and running. The odd CitroensAfter a couple of miles we had to stop to get some fuel and when he came to start me again, not a peep, not a sausage, not a bean.

Since we were not far from home, and far too embarrassed to call the AA once again, he caught a bus back and returned with his other car. Out with the jumpers and I was off again.

The muscle carsFancy having to be assisted by a modern car, and a French one to boot, twice in one morning.

So, that was the end of their run into the country, instead it was a run back to Bewley Motors where John fitted a new battery and my starting troubles were over. Unfortunately so was the sunshine for the day, so no run in the country.

Upstaged by the bearsSunday morning we all went up to Luton to the Luton Festival of Transport: a great collection of vintage, classic, muscle and weird cars as well as a few trucks, buses, motorcycles and military vehicles but the vehicle that seemed to turn most heads was a Model T Ford driven by a couple of bears.

A grand old lady in front of a grander older placeLeaving the car show we jaunted across the countryside to Hatfield where Murray and Christine had a look around Hatfield House before we returned to London.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's my birthday

I was first registered 58 years ago, today. I didn't think anyone had remembered the special day, but Murray tells me that he has bought me 5 lovely new tyres and tubes. Hopefully I will get them fitted tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Off to a Show

Lined up with my contemporariesToday was the Chiltern Hills Vintage Vehicle Rally at a little place called Weston Turville, some 33 miles northwest of home.

We set out bright and early and arrived just before the official opening and already there was quite Using my handy 'picnic table' boota queue of cars waiting to register on the day.

While it was called a vintage rally there were only about a dozen true vintage vehicles; but there were at least a hundred older than me. Then there were a couple of hundred of my sort of era and plenty more modern classics. A Ford affords a different perspective
As well as all the cars there were dozens of military vehicles, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, tractors and a few traction engines that had puffed in under their own steam.

I suspect that the organisers got a few more than they expected, given the fine weather, as when we arrived vehicles were being parked in logical groups. A particulary fine '51 TDLater arrivals were simply slotted in anywhere there was a space.

There were a number of MGs in the crowd but I was the only Y Series representative.

P.S. Did not talk to an AA man all day!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I won Murray an Award

(But I am not sure that I should be proud of the fact.)

At each Y Register Spring Run an Award is given to an individual who against all diversity has made a huge effort before and during the run. It is known as the Dennis Doubtfire Piston Broke Award.

The citation that went with the award said:
`As most of you know one of our intrepid couples ventured to Stratton following a certain amount of adversity en route. They set out from London at 900 on Saturday morning but broke down after just 2 miles due,it transpired to a failure on a newly installed electronic ignition system. They were taken back to the garage by Relay. Problem duly fixed (fitting the original system) they set out once more..but a futher problem arose. Anyhow,putting this all behind them they motored on to Stratton and arrived at 600pm - a mere 9 hours! So in the face of so much adversity they are indeed worthy winners of the Piston Broke award!'

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Y Register Spring Run 2008

Peter's YA, Bill's VA and me, ready to rollFor the first time we were going to join the Y Register Spring Run, an event held in May each year. Last year was the first time that the Run had extended into the Saturday with a dinner to start the proceedings. As it had been such a success, in spite of the disastrous weather, they decided to repeat the pattern this year.

The dinner was held at Stratton House Hotel and 50 MG owners and passengers attended and stayed the night. Next morning we were joined by another bunch of MGs until there were 35 cars in all.

Take a look under the bonnet of Alan Pratt's little beautyI counted 11 YAs – like me; 3 YTs, the open top, tourer version; 15 YBs, the later version like me; a J2; a PA; a VA; a TA; TC and TF. It transpired that I was the third oldest Y series there but the PA was 18 years older than me.

Some of the cars had been the recipients of some fairly expensive dollops of tender loving care and beauty treatment and they simply glowed: Roy Clapham’s 1950 YA and Alan Pratt’s 1953 YB were simply stunning, I was quite jealous. All the non-Y series MGs were also beautifully turned out, a credit to their respective owners.

Having  break at FairfordShortly after 11 we set off with a route book to find our way to Kelmscott Manor by the most convoluted route leading us along leafy lanes, through twee towns and beside berms blooming with wildflowers.

There were a few cars with bonnets open along the route but eventually, I think, all made it to Kelmscott where we had the run of the place as it was opened especially for the Run.

The cool shade was most invitingWhile our drivers went off and had a look at the Manor, which gained fame as a summer home of William Morris, (now there’s a connection with a grand name!) we all sat in the shade of the trees around the car park and had a breather before we headed of in various different directions back to our homes.

Two YAs, two YTs a PA and a TCMurray, again kept an eagle eye on my water level, and even emptied a couple of bottles of Holt’s Radweld into my radiator, to see if that would plug any minor leaks as it is clear there is still a problem somewhere.

But – the good news is – I made it home all by myself. Not a single call to the AA. 40 miles from the Hotel to Kelmscott; and then another 75 to home, and not a glitch. Murray was very proud of me.

There are more pictures of the weekend here.

AA And Again AA

Stuart and Murray check my electricsBright and early Saturday morning, Murray & Christine got me all packed up and ready to set of for Cirencester. That was to be the start of our very first Y Register Spring Run on Sunday morning.

Murray & Christine had a number of side trips planned for the day, as the Y Register event did not start until dinner Saturday evening so it was to be a full and exciting day.

Their planned route was the A40/M40 to junction 5 and then through the lanes and "B" roads to Abingdon, the home of all the great MGs and then on to Cirencester.

Up on the ramps againAlong the A40, about 6 miles from home my engine suddenly died. Fortunately Murray managed to coast into a small pull-off on the A40 as there is no hard-shoulder for some considerable distance along that stretch.

My poor old motor simply refused to fire so Murray called the friendly AA once again. Stuart turned up shortly and it transpired that Stuart knew me well as he spent quite a bit of time with the boys at Bewley Motors.

Murray suspected the new electronic ignition may be the problem and Stuart confirmed that it was not delivering a spark so there was nothing for it but to unfold the trusty towing frame from the back of Stuart’s AA van and load me up again.

AA 2 at CulhamStuart diverted on the way back to Bewley Motors so Murray could collect the old ignition components and then we went back to Bewley Motors, who fortunately were still open, and my old trusty coil, points and condenser were re-instated. Naturally, the electronic ignition is going back to Jolley for a refund.

So 4 hours later we were all on the road again enjoying the byways and lanes until about three miles from Abingdon when there was a tremendous bang from under my bonnet and once again I simply ground to a halt. When Murray tried to restart my engine it refused to turn over at all.

A break at FaringdonSo while Murray & Christine waited patiently for the second AA visit of the day, they considered their options: was there time to get towed back to London, collect their other car and make it back to Cirencester? What was the problem this time? Are they ever going to get a trip with me that did not involve the AA team? Had I simply been a huge mistake?

While waiting for the AA to arrive, Murray had been, unsuccessfully, attempting to undo my radiator cap. Although he had tightened it by hand he simply could not move it. However, for Murray keeping a close eye on my water levelwant of anything else to do, he attempted to start my engine and it responded immediately.

Even with the AA man trying, they could not loosen my radiator cap. Eventually, the AA chap got an oil filter removal tool on the job and the cap was freed.

Murray then poured in 6 litres of water – it seemed my cooling system was almost dry, no wonder I had stopped running.

At the Hotel at lastThe AA man agreed that there seemed to be no reason not to continue to Cirencester and, after shadowing us to Abingdon without problems, he waved us on our way.

We finally pulled into the hotel 9 hours after leaving London for an 85-mile journey.