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The M.G. Car Club 'Y' Register

Spring Run 2015 - May 9 - 10 2015

By Jerry Birkbeck


The second weekend of May (9th/10th) 2015 marked the eighteenth Y Register Spring Weekend. It was held in Stone Staffordshire where 35 of us enjoyed an enjoyable meal and an entertaining evening. This was followed on the Sunday with a run to Little Moreton Hall, a fascinating 16th Century property owned by the National Trust, and located on the south Cheshire border.


One of the highlights of the weekend was the presence of Paul and Maggie Grafham, who formed the first Y Type Register in 1979. It then gained its independence from the T Register having been formed to encourage awareness of the Y Type and discouraging T owners from acquiring Ys for their XPAG engines. Very different times from now when the Y model has the status that it deserves in both saloon and tourer form as a well appointed and stylish saloon.


Paul and Maggie met in the 1970's when they were working for different estate agents in the same town. However, it was not just their professional background that drew them together, amongst other thing, but also their shared interest in Y Types with both of them already owning a Y.


At the Dinner they gave an excellent account of how they became involved in M.G.s and how they created the Register and sustained it for 3-4 years until business pressures forced them to return it to the T Register fold, where it was to remain until Dennis Doubtfire rekindled the embers to reform the Register in 1991.

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Older M.G. members will be aware of the trials and tribulations that MGCC endured during the 1980's following the closure of the factory in 1980. The history is recorded elsewhere, although it was run on a shoe string with a Post Box HQ in Boston, Lincolnshire. This area was by coincidence where Paul and Maggie moved to when they sought a change of direction. Maggie recalled that they acquired a house, outbuildings, as well as the local post office in their purchase. The sale also included a number of contracts in a specialist maritime facility!


So they arrived with one of their in-laws, two very young twins, oh and fifteen cars! Their resourcefulness has to be admired with Maggie sorting out the contracts and becoming at the time the only female marine extraction contractor. They had well developed contacts in Holland, many of whom were long term M.G. owners and enthusiasts.


Eventually, they moved and are now living in Herefordshire.


It was very good of them to attend and their humorous account of their journey through life was enthralling.


On the Sunday, the day of the run a total of Ys 11 subdivided into, YAs, YBs and remarkably 4 YTs participated. The numbers were slightly disappointing, though inevitably there were a few missing owing to mechanical problems. Bill Bennett, had not quite completed replacing his master cylinder (which is a bugger of a job) as he said `Time just ran out'. Just so much you can do when you are retired, eh Bill!' Whilst Peter Sharp too had some problems with his Y and decided not to risk it. Both Bill and Helen, who marshalled the parking at Little Moreton Hall, and Peter and Gillie though, were present in their moderns.


Keith and Rita Herkes, who were a delight to see in their YB, were having problems with their clutch and gearbox, which had developed during their travels to the venue. Neil and Janet Cairns in their YB were regular attendees since the first Spring Run in 1997 and haven't missed one (although they arrived in Janet's MG Metro in 2009 when Neil's YB was being refurbished at Brown and Gammon's. It still looks good!


We sadly missed both Jack and Mollie Murray and Peter and Suzie Arnell. As many of you may know Jack is not at all well and we wish him a speedy recovery. Peter had fully intended to be present but was unable to get a room at the hotel so decided against making the trek across from Shropshire. Andrew and Arlene Coulson were spending time in their property in Italy and several others too had commitments that clashed with the event. It was though good to see Alan Chick and his nephew Alan, who did much of the driving in their YB. Sadly Mary, who has been Alan's partner for many years on Y Events, was also infirm and could not make it. Alan looked his usual well turned out self and would have surely won `the most stylish dresser award' had there been one!


It was really good to see Slater Reynolds and Sally his wife, who had motored up from Devon the day before. Their Y (Y0303) is a very early model, the 52nd of the production line and first registered on May 16 1947. It was purchased in 1957 by his family and was restored between 1999-2002.


Suzanne Gibbs and husband Gary, together with Judith Edwards and sister Carolyn made the long journey up from Hampshire. Their `family' Y (Y 5650) has come along way, following an earlier restoration TLC over the subsequent years and I am sure that their late father John (who was a former secretary of the MG Octagon Car Club up until his sad death in 2004) would be delighted to see what they have done to the car. They were pleased to report, when I had a long chat with them on the Saturday evening, that the car was running well.


Another traveller from the south was Richard Knight and Ronnie Patmore, with his excellent YT (YT 3863) a 1949 model that was originally exported to Australia and subsequently restored in 1998. It was later acquired by Neil Quarendon and ended up in Holland, from where Richard purchased the car in September 2012.


We also welcomed a new `face' Robin and Anita Lowery, who arrived in their YA UMG 331, from North Yorkshire. The Y (Chassis No Y6623) was acquired by Robin in 2009 from Syd Cheetham of Anglesey. Syd had owned her since 1999. The V5 indicates only 3 former keepers.


So although the numbers were a tad lower than we would have wished for the quality of cars present and distance travelled by the entrants was to be commended.


Little Moreton Hall

Many of the participants had not visited Little Moreton Hall before. This Tudor Manor House, built over 500 years ago, and now owned by the National Trust is a remarkable building. Its history is well documented and was one the highlights in Nicklaus Pevsners' account of the Buildings of Britain. Remarkably, the house was in the same family ownership until its transfer to the NT. The building defies construction techniques, and although it has had some serious remedial work undertaken over the last 15 years, it is still the timber framed building constructed five centuries ago. Well worth a visit.


The Awards

At the Dinner Neil Cairns was awarded the Dennis Doubtfire Shield for the individual who with his/her Y attends the most events in a year. Well done Neil!


The Piston Broke Award was awarded to Peter Sharp, who had a problem with his Y and couldn't make it to the event (though was present in his modern). This award must have been closely contested by Bill Bennett!


On the day participants are invited to judge which car they would like to take home with them, Cars were considered in each of the vehicle types and there were separate awards for each.


The YA Award was won by Chris Pick in his lovely two tone saloon.


The YB Award was picked up by Neil Cairns for his super efficient YB.


The YT Award was deservedly won by Richard Knight.


An excellent weekend once again well organised by Chris and Annette Callaghan, Their flair and commitment is to be applauded. So a very big thank you from the Register and in particular all those who attended.


These were the folks who attended — some though without their Ys!


Richard Knight and Ronnie Patmore YT, Neil & Janet Cairns YB, Bill & Helen Bennett YA, Chris & Ann Pick YA, Robin & Anita Lowery YA, Alan Chick & Alan Chick (Nephew), Mike & Sue Silk YT, Peter & Gillie Sharp YA, Keith & Rita Herkes YB, Chris & Annette Callaghan YB, Peter Veilvoye YT, Susan Gibbs et al YA, Jo & Jerry Birkbeck YT, Roy Clapham YA, Slater & Sally Reynolds YA, and Paul and Maggie Grafham,


springrun1504Jo Birkbeck is seen here driving the YT, enjoyed a 140 mile venture in the pilot's position, the first time she has done so in a Y since 1979. The reason as a number of you are aware was loosing her licence for medical reasons five years later. New successful treatment two years ago has enabled her to drive again 31 years later! The Spring Run was her first drive in either the YT or MGA that we own. It is strange being a passenger but she drove very well - far better front rather than back street driver which she isn't very good at!