MG Registrar's Report
I recently stumbled across a copy of the penultimate issue of the magazine “High Road”, dated November 1970, Volume 2 number 11. This was a “THE CAR MAGAZINE OF BRITISH LEYLAND MOTOR CORPORATION LIMITED”, and includes an interesting article by William Boddy on Sir John Heygate’s life with MGs, starting with an F1 Magna, progressing to a K3, thence an MGA and finally an MG1100. With not infrequent trips over to the Continent, and the wherewithal to fully exploit the potential of the cars, one can only whistfully think of his life which we, to some extent, are trying to recreate with the restoration and preservation movement.
Also, there was a fine article by F Wilson McCombe on the development of the MGA, which encompassed many little known facts like the not insubstantial improvements the 1622cc B series motor had over its 1500cc predecessor. This makes me thankful that in the mid 1970s John Mullins talked me into installing a brand new one (intended with three others for Mk IV Magnettes) in my our MGA instead of overhauling a 1500 which I had purchased from a workmate in Warrimoo, along with an original workshop manual. Up until the then the A had suffered the indignities of a Morris Major donk and, for a short period, until it seized a gudgeon pin at Tyndale, the motor out of my Mk III Magnette, whose untimely write off bingle resulted in me acquiring the A. An interesting period, with fettling being done by Peter Hitchen at Carlton and later Rosebery.
Fully explained is Syd Enever’s frustration in 1951. Having improved a specially bodied TD made for one George Phillips in 1951 with a couple of MGA prototypes, the formation of British Motor Corporation and the emergence of the Austin Healey forced him (via the dictates of Leonard Lord) to shelve the project and substitute the TF, until sanity prevailed and the type made its debut at the 1955 at Le Mans.
In the interim several prototype chassis frames were made and one was used in 1954 in a new record breaker, EX179, at Geoge Eyston’s behest. Originally fitted with a time honoured XPAG motor, it ultimately reached 170mph with a blown Twin Cam engine.
On the non-MG front
The last 6 months have seen the celebration at Loftus Tram Museum of the 80th anniversary of the last Kogarah steam tram and the first (replacement) trolley bus. A most interesting day with the Museum’s double deck trolley bus (number 19) being displayed in the sunlight with the Powerhouse Museum’s steam tram motor number 1, just as they might have at met at Kogarah in 1937. The trolleys lasted at Rockdale, Kogarah, and Sans Souci for a relatively short period of 22 years.
For good measure, the anniversary saw two electric trams of the type which ran on the Rockdale to Brighton Le Sands line (L/P 154 & N 728) in traffic, and which were specially placed at one stage for photographers to record a unique reflection of Government street public transport in the Rockdale/ Arncliffe area in the 1920s and 30s. Planned electric tram extensions from Rockdale to Sans Souci and Tempe and Brighton Le Sands to Mascot remained pipe dreams.
This event was followed in late October with the closure of the world’s last right hand drive trolley bus system, in Wellington, NZ, a modern and effective undertaking with silent, pollution free transport replaced by pollutant diesels.
Looking forward to another year of vintage motoring.