Thursday, June 16, 2016:
Car show day, collecting more than 800 MGs at Waterfront Park in Louisville. At the front of the crowd were a few special cars in the "Modern MGs" category, meaning cars built after closing of the Longbridge factory. There were a few MG F-TF, which are mid-engine cars beginning 1991. These were fairly popular in Canada, but not sold into the USA. Now that the early ones are more than 25 years old they can be imported into the US.
Next up was the MG 6R4, a spin-off of the Austin Meto (with very few parts in common), produced in 1985 only as the "super mini rally car". Think mid-engine 3-liter V6 with twin overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder (24 valves) developing 410 bhp. Also all wheel drive with three limited slip differentials. How fast can you say R-A-L-L-Y?
Then there was the MG XPower SV, 2003-2005, 4.6-litre V8 DOHC 5-speed. They could be SV, SV-R or SV-S. This one is the top line SV-S, with Ford 4.6-liter supercharged, 430-hp. There were once planned engine options up to 1000-hp.
MG EX-186 made another appearance here, the one-off factory works car that was intended to win Le Mans outright, but was never raced by the factory. It is well documented in the Variants tech session on this web site.
Also here was the 1961 MGA 1600-MK-II police car. There were quite a number of MGA police cars produced. This one took Best Of Show, register Chairman's choice. Follow this with about 15 MG Z-Magnettes, more than one of them being air conditioned, and another passel of MGAs in all models built (certainly more than one Twin Cam). I had at least a dozen pictures of MGA in groups something like 200 I suppose), including several Coupes, a few race cars, and at least a few V8 conversions, all sweet.
There were about twice as many MGB as MGA. Below a line of early pull-handle MGB, an MGB V8 conversion (to go with the tech session on V8 conversions), and one of a few factory MGB GT V8 cars that were present.
North of "the bridge" we found the pre-war MGs, the Midgets, Magnas and Magnettes (triple-M cars). These tiny cars were often supercharged. Top this off with a 1938 MG SA Tickford Drophead Foursome.
In a small step from pre-war to post-war, we get the MG Y-type. This one had independent front suspension, which rolled over into the MG TD, Z-Magnette, TF, MGA, and MGB all the way up to 1980. A good design may survive decades of use. How about the 1938 Y-type Arnolt Special and the MG TD and TF.
How about the valve cover races going on at the side. If you haven't seen enough tag-along trailers, how about the carry-all trailers? There were plenty of MG Midgets (the "modern Midget"), but only one venerable little MG 1100 sport sedan. There were quite a number of vendors offering regalia items, a few with car parts, and one with new electronic regulators to replace the original Lucas control box.
In early afternoon with high sun and heat it was tempting to stick my feet in some water near the show field. Being a bit deeper than expected, my cell phone and camera went for a swim (with me attached), requiring a quick trip to Best Buy. New cell phone, new camera (good that I use cheap toys). And while I was there, a Garmin GPS (new toy for navigator).
No time to spare, back at the hotel for the (separate) MG register annual meeting and awards (5-7 pm), followed by the collective awards banquet, first place and special awards, and the guest speaker Dennis Gage (7-10 pm). Nearing end of festivities, there were the typical midnight tire kicking tech sessions in the car park. This is an MGA 1600-MK-II "Deluxe" that I have touched a few times before. First time in 1989, getting it out of an old workshop in Chicago as it was changing owners. Then again in early 2014, dragging it out of long term storage to get some work started. A bit later it changed to another new owner, now restored.
(More photos and notes at mg2016.htm)
Friday, June 17, 2016:
Mostly a day off, meaning gobs of catch-up work with email, tech questions, BBS. In the evening we had some time to chat with our host (kind of odd). Since Monday evening we had been hanging out (part tie) with Jeremy Nelson in Louisville, KY, (who is son of Eric Nelson near Indianapolis, IN). Jeremy was out of town for a few days while I was doing the car show thing. Late night chat ultimately consumed the possible WiFi catch up opportunity and shortened the sleep cycle again.
Saturday, June 18, 2016:
Ah, there's Jeremy, finally posing with his MG Midget (freshly painted) and his Triumph GT6+. We spent much of the day fiddling with the GT6 to get the engine running properly, disassembling the carburetors to reassemble fuel float parts that were out of place. Front disc brakes got reassembled but it still needs work on the rear brakes.
This was opportunity for maintenance work on my MGA, replacing the factory original rear shock absorbers with rebuilt units, and exchanging one front shock (again).
It was also time to reinstall the fan shroud that has been in the trailer since early April. The 7-blade plastic fans in service for nearly a year could handle the heat without the fan shroud, but going back to the steel fan left a lot to be desired during slow traffic on hot days.
Sunday, June 19, 2016:
Fathers Day, and my birthday, but no time to dawdle. Off early, about 90 minutes south to Nancy, KY, for a family reunion. This is family of my younger daughter's boy friend, so we were just going to crash the party for a few hours. It started out (a few days earlier) at a borrowed 5-bedroom house on a lake to accommodate everyone. When the crowd thinned out some it moved to the family home in Sommerset, KY. Nice "barn" here, a shop space large enough to store a rather long boat trailer (almost hiding in one corner), lots of rattle space, upper deck, just waiting for the power lift I think. Who dreams up this stuff?
In the evening we were off to WiFi for a while, then heading generally west for a couple hours trying to get back to normal, still short on sleep, and still sitting on hundreds of photos not processed for several days.
Monday, June 20, 2016:
Late morning found us in Princeton, KY, not far from our intended destination. Lots of WiFi time here catching up email and tech questions, and finally getting a small start on processing last weeks large collection of photos and notes. In late afternoon a 20-minute hop got us to rural Eddyville, KY, to visit David Gates in a nice quiet place on Lake Barkley.
David has a nicely restored Ford Model A truck and a 1957 MGA (which may need a tune up), and he is into wood boats. For the rest of the evening the object is purely social, come on in, put your feet up and say a while.
When the hosts turn in I get to go to work. After 10-pm and grinding away into the small hours of the morning I managed to catch up on email and get some more done with last week's photos and notes.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016:
Up at a reasonable hour to get motivated with the photos and trip log. Pretty much caught up by noonish, see everything on this page above. Is this really Tuesday? There must be a real world outside when I can hear the birds and the deer are wandering around the back yard.
Then we were off again, a little north and west, then heading south down through Land Between The Lakes
National Recreation Area. The road is Dover Rd/KY-453, running south between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky. Crossing into Tennessee it becomes 'The Trace', TN-49/TN-461, for a total of about 50 miles between the lakes. I spent a week camping here 30 years ago, a wonderful place to soak up nature.
Then heading east, one WiFI stop and one phone call, by evening were landing in rural Sparta, TN to visit Bob Myers We were here less than two weeks earlier, June 11-12, but needed to return for a bit of consulting on his MGA gearbox.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016:
Today we get to find out what's wrong with Bob's gearbox, why it pops out of 3rd gear (among other things). After picking the locking pin to release the 3rd gear thrust washer, the washer and 3rd gear were off. This revealed a broken bronze bushing for 3rd gear, slightly damaged bronze thrust washer, and there was a slightly chipped 3rd gear (result of present owner prying). Also a missing front thrust washer on the layshaft, two missing rollers in the laygear bearings, badly molested snap rings for the laygear bearings, some broken rollers for the input to mainshaft spigot bearing, no shims between front cover and input bearing, and a broken alignment pin for the center main bearing carrier. The center main bearing was also very loose on the shaft, but we can fix that.
After the proper amount of laughing and cursing to the gods of the DPO we set about fixing some of this stuff. By coincidence I happen to have a new original 3rd gear in my magic trailer, as well as serviceable bronze thrust washer and bushing for 3rd gear, and a spare thrust washer for front of the layshaft. Also a couple synchro rings in better condition. Unfortunately no layshaft bearing kit, so the beast will not be reassembled today. We did however get the mainshaft reassembled, and "glued" the center main bearing back on the mainshaft using Locktite 620 bearing set adhesive. Also test fit the laygear with proper thrust washers, verifying acceptable end float. Scratch several items from the "to buy" list, but still needing to order the layshaft bearing kit, shims for the input bearing, and the alignment pin for the center bearing carrier. All is well, as far as we can go here, so clean-up time and off to a nice dinner. Smile and wave to the wife's MGB on the way by a nice daily driver car.
Addendum, July 5, 2016:
Failure is not an option. Less than two weeks later the "go kart" is back on the road.
Thursday, June 23, 2016:
High tailing it east on US-70 through Sparta and Crossville, we stopped momentarily for a 'Scenic Overlook". Not a lot to see here; like someone needs to do some brush whacking. The better view was the other direction where there was a cut through the hill to create the pull-over parking space. After three stops with no luck, we finally found a 'friendly' WiFi spot with a working electrical outlet to recharge the computers in Harriman, TN. After a quick catch-up on email we were off again heading east to Lenoir City for a dinner appointment with Larry Benson (from rural Greenback, Tennessee). Been here a couple times before, September 2014 and March 2016. We think there is more to do tomorrow.
Friday, June 24, 2016:
A trip today to an unassuming warehouse in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to help a bit with a couple cars. The first was an MGA belonging to Mac Lawson with a fitting problem for a 12-volt battery, soon resolved, anchored down and
cabled up. It also needed adjustment of the choke cable, fuel mixture adjustment, re-fitting of the front carburetor fuel banjo which was installed backward and leaking fuel, topping up of coolant and brake fluid, and installation of a light bulb for high beam warning light.
After lunch break we were back to deal with an Austin Healey 3000 belonging to Tom Clary that was
reluctant to start. That turned out to be a stuck choke cable, so it wanted a shot of starting fluid to get going. After freeing up the baulky choke cable the choke worked and it could be started normally. A minor fuel mixture adjustment had it running well. The tachometer needle was a bit wobbly at slow engine speed which could be cured momentarily by loosening the cable nut at rear of tach and moving the cable sideways a bit. Recommend replacing the (cheap) cable before sending the instrument out for (expensive) repair. The speedometer did not work at all, which appeared to be due to lack of drive of the cable drive gear in the tail of the gearbox. This should be investigated later when the car can be put on a hoist.
Saturday, June 25, 2016:
Pointing it northeast today, heading out of Tennessee into Virginia (not too far). Rather hot weather these days, so would prefer to be farther north, but lots of folks to see in Virginia. Last here two years ago, we have collected a bunch of new requests, so this may take a while.
Sunday, June 26, 2016:
Spent lots of time on WiFi reviewing club web sites for current events and sending email inquires. Beginning to get a few replies.
Monday, June 27, 2016:
By mid afternoon we were running back roads into the mountains to visit Keith and Gail Sanders in rural Damascus, VA (close to a tiny town Konnarock). Last leg was 1st gear up a very steep gravel road, and even steeper private drive. Welcome to Sanders Mountain View Lodge. Nothing like sitting on a mountain looking at another mountain.
Keith is ex-curator of American MGC Register (now American MGC Register Association). We had a nice chat about the work load and "politics" involved in national car registers (among other things). Late night came fast, and we need to be somewhere else tomorrow, so short notes today.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016:
Up early (relatively speaking), keyed up for a long drive for most of the length of Virginia. Start with several minutes hauling up hills through the woods out of the valley, followed by another six hours cruising mixed roads, mostly pleasant going. No hitch, we arrived in Williamsburg, VA on cue a few minutes after 5-pm. We were at the Huntsman Grille for a dinner meeting with Williamsburg British Car Club. Timing was good, as we were among the first to arrive. More trickled in slowly for drinks and social until there were about 25 people mostly filling the patio, when we all ordered dinner about the same time. After dinner a friendly club meeting, at which the guru did a five minute presentation on what we do regularly (well received I think).
As the meeting was breaking up we received an invite and followed a sport-ute 30 miles south to Hampton, VA. Here was home of PJ & Faith Peterson with an MGB parked in the garage and another in a trailer. What could be better?
Wednesday, June 29, 2016:
Today we get to unload PJ's MGB from the trailer. It has a few unique features (to put it mildly). Start with an Oldsmobile 215 aluminum V8 with 4-bbl carburetor (a fairly common conversion). To handle the power, larger than original tires. PJ wanted to use modern run-flat tires to delete the spare tire in the boot. Finding the only available 14-inch run-flats to be outrageously expensive, he opted for more reasonably priced 16-inch tires. These were somewhat wider, requiring wider wheels, which were perhaps not the best offset needing wheel spacers to avoid rubbing the inner fenders. This led to flaring the fenders. Also relocate the fuel tank to center to accommodate dual exhaust. And while he was doing the body mods, relocate the fuel filler from the rear to the right side fender with a flush fit pop-out cover.
The interior has a few personal touches as well, like wood dash "MGB" pedal covers, cup holders on the doors, radio speakers in the headrests, and hidden antenna. In the boot there is special bracket with insulated remote terminal posts for the battery, making easy access for battery charger or jumper cables.
In the garage another MGB for his daughter. This one is nearly stock issue, except for some very well done pedal extensions. These are commercial parts procured from a handicap equipment specialist.
Thursday, June 30, 2016:
Now that the big boys MGB is out of the trailer I wanted to get a few more pictures of the special features. That looks like an expensive aluminum radiator, backed up with a wide flex-blade fan on the engine, and an electric fan in front. The wing vents are borrowed from a Buick, and they are functionally vented through from the engine bay. In spite of all this, it is reported to run a little bit too warm in hot weather and slow traffic conditions.
The tires are ContiProContact SSR, 205/55R16 run flats. Wheels are PanasportZ 16x8 (I think that's right). Tire pressure sensors have a dash mounted read-out, but there is a battery in the sensor inside the tire. If you don't drive too much, the batteries may go dead before the tires are at end of life, so you may have to break a bead to change the pressure monitor sensors once during life of the tires.
We stayed over one more day crunching WiFi and email and phone calls, lining up appointments for the next two weeks. This is going to be a very busy time in Virginia.