October - The Saga of the Engine Mounts

The biggest job on 'Vee' so far has involved the engine mounts. I started to get an oil leak from the front of the sump area and I discovered that it was resting on the front cross-member and had worn through. As this was the third question mark over engine location (the other two were that under braking the crankshaft pulley rubbed on the (uprated) front anti-roll bar, and the gearbox cross-member was secured in the forward of the two possible positions on one side, and the rearward on the other) I began to wonder if I had a mongrel instead of a genuine factory car. Paul Kile took some careful measurements for me from his car and I realised that the whole engine/gearbox assembly was about half an inch forward of where it should be. I then discovered that the engine mounting plates that fit between the block and the rubbers are handed but can be installed on either side, the result being ... a difference in fore and aft engine position of about 1/2" inch! Getting the mounting plates off with the engine in position - albeit jacked up off the rubbers - was a real pig. By comparison, replacing the rubbers themselves was a doddle. The ironic tailpiece to this saga is that a couple of months later there was a Classic Car Show at the Birmingham NEC rebuilding a V8 into the newly launched V8 Heritage shell. I happened on the stand just as they were slotting the engine and gearbox assembly into the body, and ... they had the mounting plates on the wrong sides. I was a bit hesitant about trying to tell someone else their job, but caught the eye of one of the commentators and told him of my experience. He said "To be honest, we have tried them on both sides and can't get the damn thing in either way". However they did swap them over again and by removing the gear lever managed to get in at last.

August - MGC Day, Hanbury Hall

Hanbury Hall
Worcestershire. A 100 mile road run round Warwickshire and Worcestershire to Hanbury Hall on a blisteringly hot day.

July - Arden Run to Toddington

Start from The Golden Cross
Ardens Grafton. Under the shade of an old apple tree. Classic GPO vans at Toddington. Toddington is one end of the historic GWR ('Gods Wonderful Railway') steam railway, arrived at after a superb route through some of the most picturesque parts of the Cotswolds. On display at Toddington as well as our MGs, were classic buses, lorries and other vehicles. And if you think that MG was the first manufacturer to fit large rubber parts to the outside of a vehicle, think again. In the 1950s the GPO (now BT) had Morris 1000 vans with rubber front wings.

July - Heriot and Heartbeat

Yorkshire Dales .... ... North York Moors ... ... and pretty villages. Mid-point of the North York Moors railway. Goathland
aka 'Aidensfield'. Reputedly the only octagonal lighthouse in Britain.
A weeks freestyle touring of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors in 'Vee'. 'Heriot' refers to a long-running TV series about a vet set in the Dales in the 50's, and 'Heartbeat' to a current TV series set in the North York Moors in the 60's - classic rock/pop and LBCs.

May - MG Car Club, Silverstone

Superb large saloon - Dutch SA Tickford. A bit of track action. Memorial to Graham Hill .... ... and Sir Henry Birkin. Probably the most desirable of the competition MGs - the K Type.
A two-day event we only attended on the Sunday. Bit disappointed to find that all the racing had taken place on the Saturday so there was almost nothing happening on the track.

April - The Kimber Run

Lunch-stop with a TF. 'Main street' at Crich tram museum. 'Main street' at Crich tram museum. Opted for the route that stopped at Crich tramway museum. Nice to see a line-up of MGs in the reconstructed street and to get my first ride on a tram (I can remember trolley buses, but not trams).

January - Gaydon, 70th Anniversary of 'Old Number One' and first sight of the new MGF

'Old Number One' has its 70th Birthday ... ... complete with Birthday cake. MGF under wraps. First semi-public viewing. Stirling Moss tries it on for size... ... and chats with Jean Kimber-Cook and Anders Clausager. Stirling Moss re-visits his EX181 record breaker. As part of the 'Old Number One' birthday celebrations M.G. Car Club and Owners Club members were invited to Gaydon for a private viewing of the MGF. This was a pre-production model, and Stirling Moss and Jean (Kimber) Cook were invited by Anders Clausager to unveil it. Stirling sat in the car and when he got out closed the door with a bit of a thump, another guest turned to me and said "You can tell he was brought up with 1950's cars". Stirling then moved to EX181 and clambered back in, creditably for someone of his seniority, without too much difficulty. He said that when he first got in the car and the Perspex bubble was closed he thought to himself "How on earth am I going to get out of here in a hurry if I have to?". Fortunately, as history relates, he didn't need to.