Report on Motor Ioway 2004
by Henry and Sue Matejka
We originally purchased the MG Y a year ago after seeing it on the Motor Ioway tour (we were driving a 73 VW Super Beetle). It went through the entire week of about 1,000 miles without a hitch (that was the 2003 tour). We have a friend who grew up near Abingdon, is a British car enthusiast, and knows a great deal about the repair and maintenance of such automobiles. We asked him to go through it, he fixed a few things, and made certain it should be very road worthy for our trip. We drove it in a few parades prior to the trip, and everything worked very well. Bob cautioned us about over-tightening things on the MGY, so we thought we were prepared. And we bought the Whitworth tools Bob told us we should have for the trip.
We trailered "Liza" to our starting location because we were short of time, then started out with her on Sunday morning. She ran like a top. The ride was wonderful. While we had driven her prior to this trip, we had not had her out on a long drive at all. So we were very pleased with Liza and ourselves. Monday, she once again was performing beautifully. Then, at our morning pit stop, we noticed a bit of oil on the pavement in a perfect arch to match the way she turned as Henry backed her into her parking space. So, after a cup of coffee, we went back to the car to go on to our lunch destination, about 70 miles away. Henry added a quart of oil to make certain we would have no problems getting there, and we didn't.
Lunch had been arranged at the site of a new Chrysler dealership belonging to one of our Motor Ioway participants. We went in for lunch and some camaraderie, then back to the car. Henry checked the oil again, and this time it didn't show on the dipstick. We were just sick about it, but knew something had to be done. So, being a Shade Tree Mechanic of the past on American-made cars, Henry decided to tighten the bolts on the oil pump, since that appeared to be where the leaking oil was coming from. Neither of us remembered Bob's caution about tightening the bolts. And now we know first-hand why we should have avoided doing it. One of the bolts broke. Of course, you can't get them out of the oil pump without a lot of work. Needless to say, our tour in our precious MG Y was over. The Chrysler dealer, however, allowed us to haul the car to his current dealership (they moved into their new building after the tour was completed) and keep it under cover while we completed the tour in a '98 Dodge Intrepid.
We had also bought a 1955 Nash Metropolitan (also built in England) about the same time as Liza. We had to have several things repaired on it, including new tires, brakes, motor mounts, ad infinitum. So it appeared to be road worthy. Since our tour was having lunch on Wednesday in a town about 20 miles from our home, we decided to stop by and pick up the Met. After all, it's not much fun to be on a tour when people are standing by the road waving at all of the old cars going by and you're in a '98 Intrepid! So we went home, washed the Met, loaded our "stuff" into it, and headed out for the lunch stop. Everything was going well, but about 20 miles further down the road, the engine started to get pretty warm. We approached 200 degrees, and couldn't seem to get it down. As the temperature continued to climb, we decided we needed to do something. With help from other participants, we removed the thermostat, hoping that would solve the problem. It didn't. We stopped about 3 times from our lunch stop to our afternoon pit stop, then parked in the shade, and did a little shopping in the town while the Met cooled. We had a lot of hills to climb between the afternoon stop and our overnight stop. We moved on, and stopped 2 or 3 times while trying to get to our hotel for the night. All the time we were having these problems, we luckily had two other cars driving with us. We "limped" into our hotel parking lot with one ahead of us and one behind us. Seems the radiator needs to be flushed. And that loud noise we kept hearing that sounded like it might have been a rod going out, we think was something less serious. We called our son-in-law, who very kindly loaded the Intrepid onto our trailer, hauled it to our hotel, dropped off the Intrepid and loaded up the Met, all while we were enjoying an evening cruise on a dinner boat. This was our fourth tour with Motor Ioway, but the first time it took 3 cars to get us through it!
Bob was here today looking over the car. The broken bolt came out without taking the engine out! But, of course, he found a couple of other things that need to be properly fixed. Thank goodness for Moss Motors.
We certainly love the little car. She has her own stall in our shop where she'll be properly cared for during the duration of the winter. Then, come the Spring, we'll get her out on the road again. She has no heater, so we don't drive her this time of year — unless we get a particularly nice day.