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.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

To see and be seen

One of the problems with my age is that I was designed for a much more genteel era of motoring, when the roads were not so crowded and people took greater care. Nowadays, drivers are so much more protected from the real world I am sure that less thinking goes on behind the wheel.

My new lightsEveryone expects high-level brake lights, bright brake lights, indicators all around the car – some even have them on their mirrors these days! I have none of these things.

I have some lovely trafficators that pop out like little signal arms, but they don’t flash and no one these days is looking for such items, so Murray went shopping on the web to see what he could find.

Some other Y owners have fitted indicators to the front and rear mudguards but Murray wanted to avoid making changes to my panels if at all possible. He thought of all manner of ways that lights could be mounted but was not certain which way to go. Then he came across Stafford Vehicle Components and their wonderful range of goodies.

The LED indicatorThe clever people there have come up with a cunning way of making my front side lamps double as indicators so a pair of 1130 conversion kits was immediately on the list. Then Murray saw some dinky new LED indicators that could be mounted in my rear window, so they went on the list. SVC also sells high-level brake lights, again for inside my rear window – so one of those. Naturally to make these flash, a pair of flasher relays was required, a couple of buzzers to remind Murray to turn the indicators off and he was done.

The 1130 conversionSo, in his spare time recently, he has built all the bits into a control box; mounted the rear indicators and high-level brake light on some plastic trunking that sits in my very small rear window ledge; fitted the 1130 conversion kits; and run cunningly concealed wires all over the place to make it all work.

Murray is very pleased with the end result and hopefully other drivers will now have a bit more warning when I stop or turn.

Simple securityHe also took up Neil Cairns suggestion of a cheap and effective theft deterrent, a simple tube over the engaged handbrake, padlocked to the gear shift. A few minutes' work, a padlock and £2 for an off-cut of tube. It may not be the prettiest accessory a girl could have but it should do the trick.

Braking the bank

While I was in with the boys at Bewley Motors, Murray asked them to take a look at my brakes as he felt that they were more spongy than usual.

Just as well he did. Two brake cylinders were leaking brake fluid all over the brake shoes and one other cylinder was developing a leak. Now, as you know, brakes work by using friction and brake fluid on the brake shoes provides a lubricant rather than friction: not a desirable outcome.

So, although my previous owner also had the brake cylinders on all four wheels replaced, my lack of use in the intervening 12 months meant that the seals had failed.

So, it was time for new brake shoes on two wheels, the four brake cylinders in the wheels to be reconditioned with new seals etc and the 500-mile running-in service.

This service entailed the running-in oil being changed for regular oil and that meant the oil filter being changed. However, original oil filters are no longer available so a conversion kit had to be fitted.

My tappet clearances were checked and the cylinder head bolts re-torqued after the initial settling down period.

Then, naturally, the reason I was back in the garage; my dynamo was replaced under warranty as it was brand new at the time my engine was re-built.

Finally, Murray had the lads fit an electronic ignition kit from Jolley Engineering.
The end result is that not only do I start better, I also stop better. Murray was amazed at how good my brakes could actually be; he had never experienced decent braking since he first acquired me.

Murray is making muttering noises about the costs of keeping high-maintenance women. I am sure I don't know what he means.