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Now, here is a curious thing. Some motoring journalists have made the point that this car needs very little maintenance and the oil-fingered brigade are going to be most disappointed. Indeed, one gentleman on television made a great play about having difficulty in finding the engine. Another report I read said that M.G.s were all about nostalgia, which may Concise Oxford Dictionary says is "home-sickness as a disease". It was difficult to work out what he thinks of us. But when a senior and well-known Club member remarked that I, a grubby-fingered J2 owner, could not really like the concept of a maintenance-free car and was surprised at my support for it, I felt that it was a suitable topic for Safety Fast.
The point to consider here is the enormous reduction in routine maintenance requirements which have been achieved over the years. The service interval on my J2 is 500 miles. It is probably typical of the time, greatly extended over the typical pre-1914 car where, if a contemporary motorists' handbook is to be believed, a full overhaul was needed after each day's run. Today's recommended service interval is often 12,000 miles. And there is much less to do. This change has been bought about by improvements in oils and greases which do not lose their properties or form sludge under conditions of high temperature or pressure. The oils today are significantly better than even those of the sixties and seventies'. Hand-in hand and helping the trend has been the changes in working surfaces of suspensions from bronze to rubber and plastic, improved oilfilters and better oil seals and gaskets to keep lubricants where they should be and to keep dirt from working surfaces. But this does not mean that MGF owners can sit back and ignore the well-being of their cars between drives.
It is probable that the handbook will exhort them to check fluid levels and tyre pressures weekly. Easy. During the first two years it is likely that only the washer bottle will need to be topped up anyway. But wait a minute, we are keen are we not? If we are to use the maximum cornering power of the car, should we not be extra cautious and check the tyres for nails or splits in the sidewalls? That will take longer on the MGF than on the J2 where all eight tyre walls can be seen without taking the wheel off or jacking up the car. Likewise cleaning the J2 is a pretty simple business. The mudguards do not catch up on all the visible surfaces. In contrast, the MGF has a lot of hidden surfaces under all-enveloping body work. Getting all the mud and salt off and being sure of it will be a longer and more difficult job. Then, if you are contemplating modest competition or a long journey around Europe, a thorough check to make sure that nothing is about to shake loose will take as long on an MGF as on any older car. You may have some things to tighten up on the older car but . . . All in all I begin to think that there will be plenty of opportunity forMGF people to play with their cars and have a general fettle. It is not a car to be bought, run and thrown away although it will be much more forgiving than an older model if only the bare minimum of maintenance is done.
The M.G. Car Club North Western Centre is pleased to announce that the 1995 Cockshoot Cup has been won by John Hewitt. John raced hard to retain the trophy he won in 1994. The Manchester based racer began the season in his faithful modified MGB, but swapped to a modified Midget to the end of the season.
Seven race wins in ten races took John to the title. He was pursued in the modified class by Dave Ecob of Bolton who finished second and Adam Egar of Wilmslow third in his MGB.
The standard class was very closely contested with series newcomer Peter Harrison from the Wirral in a Midget pipping Sale's Graham Jones in an MGB by a single point. Third in his class was taken by Mark Prutton in his Midget.
The championship returned to Oulton Park in 1995 resulting in bumper entries. In total forty two drivers competed in the races with the average grid size being 22 cars.
In 1996 the Championship will visit Mallory Park, Oulton Park, Cadwell Park, Knockhill, and Croft. Full details are available from Championship Co-ordinator, Paul Goodman, 36 Deva Close, Poynton, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 1HH. 01625 876300.
If you tow a race or other competition car, or the occasional wreck, check your driving licence, as from 1st July 1996 there is a weight limit of 750 kg and holders of category C or D licence will have to take a test to tow trailers in excess of this weight. New car drivers passing a test after that date will have to pass extra tests to do this. Anyone who has had a licence for years can carry on as normal, unless your licence is category C or D.
The regulations are complicated and you are recommended to apply to the DVLC, Swansea for fact sheet INF 30th September 95.
Brian Cameron 36, has been appointed the new managing director of British Motor Heritage Limited, a Rover Group company, following the retirement of David Bishop earlier this year.
Brian, a Fellow of the Institute of Management, was previously Commercial Logistics Director at Cowley with the Rover Group where he was responsible for managing the vehicle demand and supply process. He comes to Heritage with 18 years' experience of the motor industry and a personal interest in classic cars, owning several himself, including a Rover P5, Metro 6R4 and an Austin-Healey Sprite.
Fourth place overall on the Pye Motors Illuminations Rally last weekend - and the first mechanical retirement in 22 events for rival Richard Hudson-Evans - was sufficient to give Paul Merryweather the Safety Devices Historic Challenge title with one event still remaining.
Paul and Graham Carter - in Paul's MGB not his more regular Alfa Romeo - finished second Challenge points scorers on the event, while Hudson-Evans and Robin McLaughlan went out with transmission failure in their Austin-Healey 3000 at the start of the night section.
The result gives Merryweather, from Reach, Cambridgeshire, a nine points advantage which Stratford-Upon-Avon driver Hudson-Evans cannot close on the one remaining event, the Britannia Rally held during the first day of the Millers Historic RAC on November 18.
Burton Power Products have been appointed UK Agents for the new range of Australian Yella Terra' roller rockers, which includes kits for Rover V8s, Ford V6 3 litre and Rover B series engines (MGB 1800 etc).
Ideal for all types of engine upgrades, these superior grade roller rockers have, to quote their Australian makers:
Super strong arms, fully machined from special heat-treated, aircraft aluminium, Huge trunnions - guaranteed unbreakable; Huge needle roller bearings which greatly reduce friction and unique roller tips to minimise valve stem and guide wear'.
Yella Terra's own Dyno' Dave Bennett has developed a super strong rigid girdle system for Rover V8 full race applications. Dyno Dave maintains that his rockers are stronger and more durable than any other similar product around and he backs this up with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE for all his roller rockers.
With kit prices starting at around £200 + VAT (Ford V6 kit), it seems that quality does not necessarily have to cost a fortune.
For more information contact Burton Power Products on 0181 554 2281 or FAX 0181 554 4828.
Heritage Motor Parts, has introduced a new range of Gold re-manufactured parts for classic cars. Produced to the highest standards these parts are guaranteed for 12 months with unlimited mileage. More information from the Heritage office on 01865 383510.
"Presented to the person, or organisation, who has made a significant effort to further the use and enjoyment of historic vehicles during the previous 12 months."
Nominations are needed for the 1996 Penrite Award, presented annually to the person or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to the world of historic and classic motoring.
Peter Mitchell was the recipient of last year's first ever Penrite Award for his work in establishing British Motor Heritage and the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon. Now the hunt is on to find Peter's successor.
Penrite Oil is inviting enthusiasts to submit their nominations for the latest Award, which will be presented at the NEC, Birmingham, in May 1996.
Announcing the selection panel for the Award, Penrite director Tim Miller says: "Anyone with an interest or involvement in old, or classic, vehicles can send in a nomination. We want to hear about as many people as possible worthy of selection and these will be considered by our panel".
The Award itself is designed to reflect the spirit of the old car movement as the leading supplier of lubricants specifically formulated for vehicles from the earliest days of motoring to the 1970s.
"Peter Mitchell received a rather special classic' oil can trophy. The 1996 winner can expect something equally evocative and collectable", adds Miller.
Nominations can be sent to Award panel member, or by letter or fax direct to: The Penrite Award, 1 Mustills Lane, Over, Cambridge, CB4 5PW. Fax: 01954 232279.
For many owners of M.G. sports cars on the mainland of Britain, April has become the month to blow away the winter's cobwebs on the Kimber Birthday Run. Since 1988 they have come in their hundreds to Derbyshire for a road run to commemorate the birth of the founder of M.G.', Cecil Kimber. Breaking new ground on the 14th April 1996, the event takes on a completely new and additional international dimension. So well received has the concept of the event become that in addition to the ninth running in this country, several hundred cars are gathering in Adelaide for the simultaneous running of the 1st Australian Kimber Birthday Run!
The 1996 event retains the tried and tested formula of either a full weekend's itinerary with an informal visit to a place of local interest on the Saturday, followed by a pre-event meal at Chesterfield's premier hotel or simply participation in the road run on Sunday. Two completely fresh routed have been devised to take the entrants through nearly one hundred miles of lesser known roads and unspoilt country lanes.
The entry fee which includes the event programme, rally-style board, route book, bumper sticker, enamel finisher's badges (driver and navigator). Parking at Chatsworth, refreshment vouchers and entry to either otter sanctuary or pottery is £18.00. Please send A5 size s.a.e. for application form to Geoff Shirt, Syda House Farm, Holymoorside, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 7HW.