An MG YB Pick up
Unique Y type Fully Exposed.
For those with short attention spans, weak hearts, or excessive levels of authento-philia, this news can be summarised as follows (and thereby save you from any risks of boredom or shock ):
The History B.C. ( = Before Conversion)
On the 19th June 1979 Mr Titmus (DVLA Inspector) visited and inspected a newly restored MG YB, chassis YB 0317, body number MG 5962, at the premises of Mr Peter Davey in East Huntspill, Somerset. The vehicle was subsequently registered as a "First Licence" (since conversion/restoration) on 26th July 1979 with registration mark UMG 594.
UMG 594 was a green YB saloon which remained in Mr Davey's care until 1987 when it was sold to Edward John Marston of the MG Saloon Car Club, Telford Shropshire. As will be seen frequently in this 'fractured history' the documentation leaves unanswered questions for the next move of what was still a 1952, 4 door green YB.
Mr Marston notified DVLA in 1991 that he was selling the car to Mr Vic Jones of Uffington, Shrewsbury, although no change in registered keeper (i.e. an amended V5) has been located by DVLA at Swansea. What is known though is that by 1992 the green YB saloon was undergoing another restoration in the hands of the late Mervyn Davies, also in Shropshire.
The Cadfael* Years
In keeping with the medieval monk, Mervyn was decidedly experimental with his newly acquired YB, and after having dismantled it and removed "transplantable" pieces for his YT project he is believed to have entered into some meditations as to what next to do! From photographs taken in 1992 – 93 it is clear that an ambitious project was brewed in Mervyn's workshop, requiring changes to chassis, bodywork and interior before the new model could be revealed.
Rear doors were cut approximately in half (vertically) to provide panels and rear quarter lights; the chassis was extended rearwards by around 15 inches behind the rear axle; sun roof was replaced by a single piece cab roof; and a new back section of the cab was laid out in ash and then panelled.
Still in green (with dashes of primer and rust still visible) the unique style of the metalwork was completed and then sent for re-spray in carmine red. By August 1993 a loosely fitting cab body can be seen on a re-painted chassis and over the next few months a sound timber pick-up bed was built onto the restored chassis.
The cab was re-trimmed in beige, the chrome-work replaced and on 4th July 1995 UMG 594 was registered by DVLA as a red 2-axle rigid bodied pick-up.
The Wilderness Period
UMG 594 was re-registered from Private/Light Goods taxation class to 25 Year Exempt in January 1996 and was sold to Classic Car Connections of Acton, London in June 1998. Moving further east, the pick-up was then acquired in December 1998 by Mrs Jane Roberts of Leytonstone. Mrs Roberts kept the pick-up until June 2000 when she sold it to Classic MG of Chalfont St Peter.
This purchase appears to have been detrimental to the car as firstly her registration number was stripped off and retained for "another vehicle" – thus creating GSL 797 as an age-related mark – and a non-XPAG engine fitted. During mid-2000 the pick-up was also re-sprayed in maroon following the engine and registration mark pillaging.
Mr Kevin Martin then purchased GSL 797, keeping the car between 2000 and November 2004 in Northamptonshire (just a few miles from Silverstone!) until it was sold through a local car dealer to its present owner. (Advertised as a Magnette, the car's history was unknown to the dealer, and at that time only partially known to the purchaser!)
Current Status ...
Sundry items of extraneous metalwork have been removed form the car. These included oversized wing mirror (revealing yet more holes from previous 'modifications'!); an industrial sized air scoop/hopper which had been bolted through the radiator matrix (possibly to work as a heating device?); Morris Marina steering wheel replaced with correct item – as have been the wiper control knobs (when purchased the knobs were finials from a wooden curtain pole). Correct headlights have been fitted, sundry door handles fitted or adjusted – neither door now performs a surprise opening while driving – and through cleaning has been undertaken.
When purchased (on the very day!) the car dealer had a "friend" arriving to glue a vinyl roof patch to the cab roof since the paintwork (over the sun roof location) had cracked and lifted. Just in time a deal was done and the vinyl never left the ubiquitous white van so beloved of dealer's friends. GSL 797 holds an MOT and has successfully completed several hundred miles of 'entertaining' motoring. Bodywork is now being remedied and work will start on locating a suitable XPAG engine and gear box to refit to the car.
On Christmas Eve 2004 the car was driven to a local supermarket filling station at around half past three in sheeting rain. Besides fuel, tyres needed some air and the queue for air revealed another mystery...
From a silver Mercedes saloon a gentleman emerged to state "That's a Y type, isn't it?" After congratulating him on his breadth of knowledge, he then threw in a comment that has still to be tested; "Moss – you know the restoration people – used to own that one. They took it in part settlement for a business debt – from one of those classic MG companies I think!"
With that my air line arrived, and feeling suitably inflated both my car and I returned home!
*The Brother Cadfael stories by the late Edith Pargeter (writing as Ellis Peters) included the books which were later made into a television series. It is said that Shrewsbury Abbey had such meaning to her that the 12th century Benedictine monk was "born in her imagination at the abbey". Even today Shrewsbury Abbey sees a constant stream of visitors from all over the globe following in the footsteps of the fictitious crime-busting monk!
And MG Rover think they are doing something new with the "New" MG Express vans?