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Period Reports

McCahill Breaks Two More Records

©June 1952 by Mechanix Illustrated

McCahill Records
McCahill Records  
M'GILLICUDDY the Mighty is a stock, black Mark 2 MG roadster, Model TD. It looks exactly like every other TD except for an identifying blister on the bonnet, under which is an engine which has been given a factory hop-up-not just for me but for anybody who wants to pay a little extra for extra performance
M'Gillicuddy became the Mighty in the national speed trials at Daytona Beach last February when I drove it to two new American and, I believe,
world's records as well for Class F production stock cars, in the flying mile and the standing start mile events. In the flying mile M'Gillicuddy got down the beach at a flea hair under 85 mph and came back bucking a very high wind, at 75, for an official, two-way average of 79.49 mph. The two-way average for the standing start mile was 65.15. So far as I can find out, no Class F (meaning cars with piston displacement between 67.1 and 91.5 cubic inches) ever went that fast before in an offi-
  McCahill Records
McCahill Records

cial speed trial anywhere. And the MG displaces just a whisker over 76.
But M'G the Mighty had earned a reputation for unusual behavior even before it was delivered to me by dealer J. S. Inskip in New York City. It almost qualified for a commission in the Royal Navy by making live trips across the Atlantic in the belly of the Mauretania when that ship got caught in last fall's New York stevedore strike and couldn't be unloaded until the dock-wallopers decided to go back to work. Now, whenever I drive past a large body of water, M'Gillicuddy starts burping.
When it finally wound up in my possession, Joe and I discovered that the MG is very specially designed for today's limited duck and goose shooting. On several miserably cold, pre-dawn December mornings in North Carolina, driving to the duck blinds 30 miles away, we found the heater excellent. And on the way home in the afternoons, neatly stowed away with two guns, shell box, lunch basket (empty) and the full day's limit of two Canadian geese and four Black duck, we were as comfortable as a mouse in a cheese factory.
From Carolina I drove to Florida and, no kidding, I never had more fun nor more comfort in a car-except for one thing. The leg room in this little Limey bucket is swell but the foot room is lousy. I wear a 9½ shoe, which is not exactly of Standard Oil tanker proportions, and it defeats me how
those big-footed Englishmen manage. On long trips the only way to keep from riding the clutch is to take off your left shoe! On this break-in junket I also discovered that the top leaks like a two-dollar boat in a hurricane. And the windshield wiper makes you wonder whether it would be better on or off. But aside from these gripes, the Mark 2 MG has plenty to offer.
This factory hopped-up version has eight shock absorbers instead of the standard TD's four. Half of these are hydraulic and the other friction-type. This means the car rides like a 3,000-pound but at the same time straightens out the hard turns like a pretzel-bender in reverse. The Mark 2 engine is the basic TD with larger valves and 150-pound valve springs as against the regular TD's 90-pound jobs. The carburetors are 1½-inch pots instead of 1¼. Two electric fuel pumps take the place of the standard single. The compression ratio for the Mark 2 has been changed several times. Most of the first ones had a 9.3 to 1 ratio. This was reduced shortly to 8.6 and mine is 8.1, which I believe is the best for all-round use with currently available high test pump fuel. The TD standard has a compression ratio of 7.25 to 1.
The rear axle ratios also differ. The Mark 2 sports a 4.875 rear end and the regular TD a high-twisting 5.125. The Mark 2 develops, when tuned to the teeth for competition, about 64 horsepower at 5500 rpm
McCahill Records

McCahill Records
and the standard puts out 54. Both cars weigh just a hamburger over 2,000 pounds. My Mark 2 (excuse me, my wife's) was the first 1952 model delivered in this country with the new tachometers and speedometers. These are magnificent, entirely different from earlier slap-happy MG instruments. My tack is accurate to 50 rpm at 6000 and when the speedometer says 85 miles per hour you are doing between 84 and 85. 1 have seen old MG clocks go as high as 100 when actual speed was 80, and read 90 when doing 75. But these new ones are the best instruments I have ever seen, far superior to those on my Jaguar.
The worst gizrno under the hood is the air cleaner, which is sillier than anything Detroit ever dreamed up. The standard TD air cleaner and branch pipe is used,
which is okay for the TD's 1¼-inch pots. The Mark 2's 1½-inch, bigger carburetors are choked to death with this rig. After I found that by removing the air cleaner the engine picked up a full 1000 rpm, or about 15 mph in top gear, I yelled for help from the factory. They wrote a nice letter saying they knew the air cleaners were wrong and they sent me some leaner needles for the carburetors, which helped a great deal but still were not as good as running with the cleaner removed. (A special tune-up book the factory also sent along says to take the cleaner and branch pipe off for full power. But in another letter I was told it was very harmful to run the engine without the cleaner!) Personally, I say run all Mark 2's without cleaners until the factory makes [Continued on page 153]

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a better one. With the cleaner on as delivered, the standard TD will rip the pants off a Mark 2 because the cleaner is almost right for the TD but all wrong for the Mark 2.
1 also found that removing the fan blades for competition adds one full horsepower and opening the valves to .025 from .019 adds about two and a half more. Believe it or not, the noise increase is not noticeable though its bad on the valving to leave them open like this indefinitely. Removing the muffler, which is packed with fibre glass, and gutting it of all obstructions including the inner tube, and then adding a two and a quarter-inch pipe to the gutted muffler instead of the silly standard one inch, also puts several extra horses in the stable. I did this and after making my tests bought a big chrome tail pipe, made for a V8 Chrysler, drilled four holes in the end and ran brass rods through the holes. When not racing, steel wool packed into this makes it almost as quiet as the original muffler. Furthermore, at a moment's notice you can rip out the steel wool and take on all comers.
While I was in Palm Beach getting the MG ready for the speed trials, Jack Donaldson, MG expert who works for Briggs Cunningham and was formerly with Inskip, helped me with my first tune-up. Alfred Momo, the great Ferrari man also formerly of Inskip, gave it the original going-over that took me to Florida. And, lastly, on the day of the speed trials, George Forman of Palm Beach Foreign Motors gave M'Gillicuddy a final lick and a promise. It was like having Einstein, Edison and Marconi helping you with your algebra.
My closest competition was Jim McMichael who owned one of the hottest TD's in the country and was the defending champion and record holder. Jim made one mistake, however. He likes to drag race before an event. Two days before the speed trials, we dragged down the beach and he trimmed me. So I knew a little high class tuning was in order. Tuning requires tools. The stock MG tools are on the creepy side. As all fittings on the MG are Whitworth (metric) sizes, these lousy tools can prove quite a rub as I have found very few things they fit correctly. However, right here in the good old U. S., the Snap-On Tools Corp. of Kenosha, Wis., makes their famous Blue Point- wrenches in true Whitworth sizes and a few dollars invested will pay extremely high dividends if you ever get stuck with an MG in Roaring Bear, Nevada, and can't find a mechanic in town who has a wrench that will fit your sick pup, I have a whole set of Blue Point Whitworths and they are better than any English wrenches I have
ever see. It would have been impossible for me to have tuned M'Gillicuddy for Daytona without them.
On the day of the official run M'Gillicuddy went down the beach just under 85 mph and came back into the very high wind at 75 for an average of 79.49 mph, a- new record for strictly stock production Class F cars. McMichael averaged just over 77 mph. He and I tuned our cars in my garage and its interesting to note that his car averaged nine miles faster than his record of the year before. Wind is extremely tough on these low torque rigs and on the day of the speed trials we had to return against a 25- to 30-mph head wind.
Three days later in the one-mile acceleration trials I again got McMichael, mainly because he drag-raced me over a mile course the day before and beat me five times out of five. This showed me my timing, perfect for top speed, was just a hair too advanced for acceleration work even though I could whip up to 6500 rpm in third gear. When I dropped it into high, McMichael lugged better than I did. Oddly enough, I could beat him at a half mile, and catch him and pass him at a mile and a half, but he would take me at the even mile. M'Gillicuddy averaged 65.15 mph for a two-way average in the standing start mile against McMichael's 62 even. These are not only new American records for Class F production stock cars but, I believe, world's records and if M'Gillicuddy hadn't been running, McMichael's runs would also have been records. As it turned out, these cars, identically tuned, show just the expected difference between the standard TD and the Mark 2.
If you are interested in sports cars and have never owned one, the MG would be impossible to beat as a starter. Just about all our top American drivers, like Briggs Cunningham and John Fitch, got their know-how racing the mighty midget. When the MG factory realized that competition was breathing down their necks like the bloodhounds chasing little Eva, they introduced this factory prepared hop-up for about $200 more than the TD and dubbed it the Mark 2.
With the few minor objections mentioned, I think the MG is the greatest sports car in the world for the money and size and the Mark 2 MG is the greatest of them all. It is comfortable and plenty roomy for two people and a dog as big as Joe, who likes to ride in something called the boot, especially with the top down. It has a lot of pep and pick-up and truly fantastic, glued-in-the-groove cornering. And its sturdily built and has proven

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itself reliable and trouble-free. What more could you ask?-Tom McCahill
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