MGCC - News (July 96)

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First to matter of law. I hope all you travelling to France realise that their drink/drive legislation is different to ours and that the minimum blood alcohol ratio is lower there as compared to ours 50 milligrams of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood compared to our 80mg/100ml. This equates to 2 units of alcohol, meaning for most of us 2 glasses of wine or two small bottles of French beer. So don't booze up on the ferries as you could be in big trouble with Les Flics Francais targeting you at ports and popular holiday destinations. Sentences aren't funny either, fines of £4,000 or over, and 2 years in prison. Your licence is confiscated as well. The new limit applies in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Holland, Norway, Portugal and Turkey as well. Be good out there!

The USA is renowned for its laws and litigious nature, and its extreme political correctness so it is refreshing to see that speed limits have recently been raised in its various states from the blanker and eminently boring 55mph. Some states may retain that, many have upped to 70 or 75mph, and one state, bless its heart, Montana, has no upper limit at all. It always was a lawless state, from the days of the wild west onwards, and as the unabomber case illustrates, so this was hardly unexpected.

Another state Nevada, declares a speed amnesty, once a year on Route 318, when a sort of race takes place, called the Silver State Classic Challenge. This involves all sorts of motley characters and cars running maximum speed over a 90 mile course. The finish is at a brothel called Ely! I doubt if we will ever see such a thing in this country, say up from London to Ely via M11, A14 and A10. For one thing our Ely doesn't provide all the facilities (legally that is, if at all).

Looking back a bit, that article on petrol that appeared in February's Safety Fast! (page 22) was culled from the works of Dr David Warren, an Australian and retired research scientist who worked for the Victorian Government, drawing on research in other countries, including Professor Lowther in London who had researched the lead fall out factor referred to. Dr Warren also found that New Guinea Highlanders, some remote island and country people had higher blood/lead levels derived from drinking water from boreholes than the residents of Melbourne. The National Society for Clean Air in the UK has withdrawn its support for unleaded petrol. Dr Warren urges us to be aware of alarmists, question so called facts and take note of scientific evidence. (I'm indebted to Peter Seymour, The Octagon Car Club Bulletin, Peter Carrana, Grant Harvey and The VCC News , for this information.)

Our man of Farina Magnerres, Neil Cairns, would like to hear from all owners of these cars, so as to keep up to date his Register's records of this emerging Cinderella of the M.G. family. Please write to him with an S.A.E., so both he and you can benefit: 44 Highfield Road, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 8LZ.

There was an interesting feature in 'The Times' in May. It runs an anniversary feature every day, looking back at a moment in history. On 22nd May 1934 Kay Petre drove a 10 ½ litre V12 Delage round Brooklands at 135mph. Also in the race that day was a Mr W.E. Harker driving a special in his own name, fitted with 24-cylinder M.G. engines set in a V, was this the first V8 M.G.? It was effective, that's for sure as it won the race, beating Sir Malcolm Campbell and Raymond Mays. Also out that day was Ronnie Horton in a K3, lapping at 120.59mph. Several readers picked up this article for me, although it had not escaped my notice. Thank you all.

It is good to see that British road deaths are the lowest since 1976, though of course it is no good to become complacent, despite the fact that traffic has increased fourteenfold since then. The increasing hype about speeding and its so called anti-social effect is really not the issue it is pretended to be by the single issue fascists beating this particular drum. Of course speed kills, 20-30mph is too fast in some circumstances, 60mph or 70, 80, 90 etc. too slow in other contexts. What is important to recognise the difference and drive accordingly - concentration and anticipation being the key. You and I know this. The great unwashed peasantry don't and the increasingly yobbish society we live in has found its way onto the roads. The increasing prevalence of people who pull out just in front of you from a minor road and dawdle off in front of you is the worst manifestation of this. It tires the patience sorely! If I went to phone the police on my mobile and report such inconsiderate driving would the driver be prosecuted, or me for using my mobile?

I wrote some of this just after our Silverstone Weekend. Wasn't it good! Yes, I know you had to queue to get in, but the best meetings have queues. The sun shone - mostly - the racing was well organised - there were 340 cars racing and excellent quality, there were record attendance's of some models, MGB - T-Type in particular, plus the wonderful collection of MGF's. I'm driving one as I write this (if you get what I mean, officer!). What super cars they are. More on this event in the July's issue and here.


Whatever 'classic' trip you are planning you should arrange 'Breakdown and Recovery Insurance'. Everyone says so. If your 'pride and joy' is over 15 years old then many organisations will apply a surcharge.

If you are a classic car club member you can arrange the cover needed through Heritage Rescueline on 0121 455 6644 without surcharge difficulty.

One example - 7 days cover by AA Five Star is £66.50, with Heritage this will cost you £30.95. Ring them now.

This Breakdown and Recovery service is designed especially for classic cars, has been in operation for five years, and has covered the Monte Carlo Challenge since being set up.


Are you having trouble finding suitable 14" tarmac tyres for your MGB?

James Morris might have a solution. He is negotiating with a well known tyre remanufacturing company to produce a run of 185/70 x 14 tarmac tyres with a TB pattern (similar to racing intermediates). The tyres will be road legal and available in a choice of compounds.

Obviously, a decent production run would be required, so if you would like to get your hands on some, or a least register your interest (James hopes the tyres will cost around £45 each), call James Morris on 01525 371397, or fax him on 01525 377197.

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