I am writing these notes after the Silverstone International, which for us was more of a success than last year's gathering.
With 7 MGCs racing, which as now is expected included the "Youngs" as well as Doug Smith, but at this event also included the
infamous Barry "sideways" Smith and a roadster which is quite unusual since it is nearly always GTs that we see out on the
circuit. The concours also showed improved numbers, with the Cynthia Batley Trophy for the best MGC of the day being awarded
to M. Staples in a yellow roadster WVO 482G and 1st in concours going to R. Lewis in a metallic blue roadster RMO 863F. With
a total of 61 Cs in the register car park along with the weather being typical "Silverstone weather" the event this year was
certainly more of a success than the previous year.
The week after Silverstone saw speculation in the Daily newspapers that Prince Charles was to hand down his MGC SGY 776F to his son Prince William on the occasion of his 17th birthday. For those of you who missed this news item I have, with kind permission of the Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, reproduced their article below. This particular article was written by Callum Frew. Similar articles appeared in other newspapers at the time one of which stated that Ginny Cartmel, as a member of the M.G. Car Club, portrayed any MGC as "an animal" and a disaster to drive. I would like to say that I have known Ginny for many years, she is a true enthusiast and works very hard for the club and the register. The questions asked by the media, which were made by telephone, when she was at work, not the best time to take such calls, were reflecting on the question "Would you let your teenage daughter have a C for her 17th birthday - comparing a C to an everyday modern front wheel drive car with power steering etc. Ginny stated that it was not a good idea to have a teenager behind the wheel, M.G.s are enthusiasts cars and unlike the modern cars that seem to drive themselves, you do need to know how to drive the respective models to understand how to get the best out of them, in different driving situations and in doing so no doubt finish up driving quicker and safer than lots of today's so called safer cars. It was from these statements that animals and disasters were wrongly construed. My own example being that having driven Cs for twenty years and M.G.s for much longer, I have always chosen to drive rear wheel drive cars since their driving technique remains the same the consequence of this is that for my own everyday driving I own a BMW which is one of very few rear wheel drive cars available to us today and this type of set up most definitely has a technique all of its own, as their advertisement reads " the front wheels steer and the rear wheels drive".
In closing I would just like to mention that due to difficult problems in manufacturing our new MGC Register badge we have, for the moment, dropped the idea of cream on British Racing Green and have commenced with the original M.G. competition colours of brown on Cream - these like all the items of regalia are available from my home address - please send a SAE for an up to date list. And finally a note from Bob Quick who has a set of five MGC steel wheels complete with tyres, four hubs and hub caps for sale - if anyone is interested Bob can be reached on 01858 432511
Kings Roadster by Callum Frew
It's 30 years old and has 75,000 miles on the clock, but it's still a car fit for a future king.
With pristine new paintwork, a renovated engine and remodelled leather interior, the MGC GT is the perfect present for Prince William's 17th birthday.
Not only that, but the roadster belongs to Prince William's dad, Charles.
Staff at Manchester College of Arts and Technology were asked to take on the car by the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire.
Bosses at the museum say there are no special plans for the stunning car. But a series of coincidences has led to speculation that the car would be a perfect gift for the young Prince who will be able to apply for his driving licence.
While other vehicles the college has restored for the museum have been given no firm deadline for completion, the college was told to make sure this sporty little number was ready for June - the month of William's birthday.
The college was also asked to ensure the engine ran on environmentally-friendly unleaded petrol - a measure not usually necessary for cars destined to stay in a museum.
David Hayward, tutor in vehicle restoration at the college, said "They said they wanted it for June, but there was no date given. From that I gather, it was going on display and eventually would go back to Sandringham. There is a bit of a thing about Prince Charles giving it to his son. Anything is possible but who's to know?"
Students at the college have been working on the car since February when it began to look a bit tired. But after four months, the students have restored one of Prince Charles' first cars to its former glory. Mr Hayward added, "We have rebuilt it completely. It's had some body work, with new wings and sills - the usual things that rot over the years. Then we took the engine out and cleaned it up. It has had a complete repaint. And it has been retrimmed in leather. Everything has been put back as it was originally because of its historic value. We turned it round in four months, which is an incredible time scale. When you are restoring a car it can take two years."
Fred Coulthas is managing director of the British Motor Heritage Group, which runs the museum. He insisted "There are no plans to my knowledge for it to be used in any other way but to come to the collection."
He said many cars at the centre ran on unleaded petroleum, either because they had been converted or they had been built before the war and could run on the fuel without any modification.
As part of the tie-in between British Motor Heritage and the college, students are also part-way through the restoration of a 1956 Ford Zephyr that belonged to Prince Philip. And, in future, they are to work on a royal Land Rover.
Mr Hayward said the royal cars created a special enthusiasm in the college workshops.
He said "It's the fact that students are working on prestige vehicles like this that puts a buzz into it. There has always been a queue of students wanting to work here."
Batteries Bob Dixon The subject of batteries for use with Cs has been discussed before in "SF" At that time the idea of having more power available to turn a cold three litre engine was simply to use two 12 volt batteries in parallel. The results of which were said to be quite satisfactory. However, when looking into the question of 6 volt batteries it seems to be that those available to us are for use on Bs and Cs alike, although those used by the C are usually! !described as heavy duty. Non the less B batteries are 9 plates per cell and by today's measurements of IEC standard @ -18 degrees C for 60 secs. to 1.4V (cold start) the rate for both Lucas and Unipart batteries are 180 amps each. There is however a further type of battery which is marketed under the brand name of Derwent Classics and is sold exclusively by Ron Hopkinson's of Derby. Their equivalent 12 volt 9 plates per cell battery for a B measures at 210 amps, for the C, the original spec. was an 11 plates per cell battery, and Derwent Classics have available such a battery today. Rated at 245 amps, it turns a cold engine with some power and force, just the job for a C, what more would you expect from an 11 plater. For comparison by the old method of measurement the manuals state for the Bs 9 plates per cell battery 51 amp hours and for the Cs 11 plates per cell battery 64 amp hours whilst the comparison for Derwent Classics is 57 amp hours and 68 amp hours respectively.
Derwent Classics batteries are manufactured in the original type hard rubber case to extremely high specification giving performance and longevity which exceeds other manufacturers, as can be seen in the above notes. The batteries are manufactured to BS 3911 and have a two year warranty - Ron Hopkinson's can be contacted on 01332 756056 or through their advertisements in Safety Fast!
Registar's Notes. Barrie & Ginny Cartmel We have knowledge of some 1200+ plus MGCs on the Register of which nearly 300 can be considered live members. Like anything in this world the information is as good as we get from those owners wishing to fill out the Register forms correctly. The information can even be better with a working amount of detail, because we can check our records with those at Gaydon who in turn can give those wanting more personal details on their car spend an excellent £25 to get a Heritage Certificate - 01926 645076 direct to Archives.
To start the ball rolling we have looked at colours, transmissions and body. The chart has been put together putting whites together i.e. Snowberry, OEW, white and glosso together, the same has been done with mineral blue and blue, BRG and green. Others are non-BMC/BL colours e.g. purples, orange, tow tones etc.
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What we shall do over the next few months is to look at country, county mix, particular cars with history etc. (owners permission of course) and obviously more photos from wherever during the season.