✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy motoring in 2015!

If you are the proud owner of a well-loved, well-used classic car, I hope you used it a lot this past year and didn't just think of it as your best investment. You’ve got to use them. If you don’t, they just become objects d’art, half the appeal has gone and they get very unreliable. And people love to see them on the road; they've come up and asked me so many questions this past year, I could barely get out at times.

Think of our roads, if you like, as one long ribbon of showcases for moving objects of desire. My message to all those rich investors out there is simple: share the love of motoring!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Car of the Month December 2014 is the MG TC/TD/TF

To get back into production quickly after the Second Word War, MG of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, had no option but to warm up its pre-war model, the TB. Thus the TC of 1945 had the same big 19in (48cm) wheels, fold-flat screen, crude semi-elliptic suspension and slab-tank body with ash framing. The body was wider now to give more elbow room for its passengers, while synchromesh on second, third and top gear made it more pleasant to drive. Hydraulic brakes were another welcome improvement.

1949 MG TC

Traditionalists loved it: it was nippy - 78mph (125kph) flat-out - and fun to drive. Nobody seemed to mind the heavy steering and rock-hard suspension. US servicemen stationed in the UK loved them so much they took them home and gave Americans a taste they never lost for European sports cars. Soon the C was spearheading an export drive to the USA - and that's where most of the 10,000-car production run ended up.

Charming as it was, the out-dated TC couldn't go on for ever, so fir 1949 MG introduced the TD: same chassis, same 1250cc four-cylinder engine, but with the new independent front suspension and the rack-and-pinion steering of the YA. Bumpers front and rear and smaller disc wheel didn't do much for the looks, but the TD was roomier and slightly faster, especially in higher compression MKII form from 1952. The TD was a big seller, racking up 29,664 units in its four-year production run.

1954 MG TD


The final flowering of the traditional MG was the TF of 1953. 

By moulding the headlamps into the front wings, which sloped the grill and fuel tank, Abingdon had gently modernised the shape. Inside, there were individual front seats and a re-styled dashboard. Early cars had the 1250cc engine, but from 1954, a 1500cc unit, giving 63bhp restored some of the performance.

The TF was a holding operation until the MGA appeared The TF looked what it was - warmed-up left-overs - and was really a holding operation while Abingdon prepared its first modern post-war model, the MGA of 1955. Ironically, the TF is the most sought-after of the three "square-rigger" post-war MG's.

MG TC/TD/TF - 1945 - 1955
ENGINE - In-line four
CAPACITY - 1250cc/1466cc
POWER - 54-63bhp
TRANSMISSION - 4-speed manual
TOP SPEED - 78-86mph (125-138kph)
NO. BUILT - 10,000 TC 29,644 TD 9,800 TF

The TD of 1949 was the first MG sports car to have the independent suspension system 

 1954 MG TD - rear

1954 MG TD - grill

1954 MG TD - rear

1954 MG TD - interior

1954 MG TD - interior

1954 MG TD - side view


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

1964 MGB Roadster

Just arrived - 1964 MGB Roadster, very rare pull-handle model, not code 2 or 3, uninterrupted paper trail since 01-01-1965, five 60-spoke painted spoke wheels, new tyres, up-rated 5-main bearing motor plus over-drive. Fitted with new soft top, boot carrier, chrome bumper. Red body, black upholstery with red piping, black mats. Been garaged all it's life, totally original. Needs a bit of TLC. For sale - Contact Dave +27 83 625 4445 or contact me via the CONTACT FORM on the right side of this page.

Out of the blue came this 1964, very rare, pull-handle MGB Roadster from a chap in Port Alfred. After chatting to him, I bought the car over the phone without seeing it. When it arrived, it was true to spec in an unmolested condition. the paper work is unmolested since 01-01-1965, with the last owner having had the car for the past 15 years. After examining the car and taking same for a drive as soon as it arrived, I was amazed at the performance of this almost 60-year-old car, as only the British can produce!

Road-holding is absolutely true to style for a car of the period and a tribute to past motoring.

Engine 1798cc, high compression, aluminium tappet cover and sump, pancake air cleaners, over-drive, twin SU's, modern alternator, 5-main bearing engine


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Car of the month November 2014 - Rolls Royce

The Cloud had everything the traditional Rolls Royce buyer
could have wanted - except perhaps ultimate power in
Series I form. This is a rare H.J. Mulliner convertible.

The Rolls-Royce Siler Cloud and the virtually identical Bentley S-Type were revealed in 1955. Beautifully proportioned, exquisitely constructed and near-silent in operation, they were everything the traditional Rolls buyer could have hoped for.

This was Crewe's second "standard steel" car after the post-war Dawn and R-Type, with an off-the peg factory body rather than a made-to-measure, hand-crafted aluminium item in the pre-war tradition. Mulliner Park Ward, James Young and others all built exquisite special bodies on this chassis, and there was a long-wheelbase version of the standard body with an extra four inches (10cm) of rear leg room and a division.

Park Ward's famous Chinese Eye Continental, here in convertible form - the ultimate in open car luxury.

The traditional Rolls and Bentley radiator grilles were retained - these and a few badges and items on insignia were the only differences between the two otherwise identical cars. They rode on a substantial, and resolutely separate, traditional box-section chassis with independent front suspension and rear damper rates that could be altered from the driving seat to suit whatever type of road you were thinking of taking your Bentley or Rolls down.

The interior was nothing if not luxurious, with superbly crafted leather seats and a magnificent walnut dashboard.

The engine in the Cloud and S1 was basically the same 4.9-litre power unit carried over from the previous R-Type (and Silver Dawn). except that it had a new aluminium cylinder head and twin SU carburetors.

The Cloud as it appeared in 1955 with single headlights and a six-cylinder engine.
The V-eight Cloud II looked identical.

Transmission at the start offered a choice of either four-speed synchromeshed manual or four-speed Hydramatic automatic, manufactured under licence by Rolls from General Motors in the U.S.A. In fact, after just 18 months, the manual option was dropped and Rolls never encouraged owners to order it anyway. While the engine was incredibly refined, it wasn't really that powerful - the maximum speed was 106mph (170kph). It was Rolls-Royce's policy never to reveal specific power outputs, but the estimated 178bhp had 40cwt (2032kg) to pull along.

For lightness, the body of the Continental models was finished in aluminium;
the factory saloon came in steel only.

To own and drive a Rolls is a satisfying and ethereal experience as long as you don't want blistering performance and can afford the expensive maintenance. These days, it's cheaper to buy, but costly to restore.

The HJ Mulliner convertible, heavier, but just as beautiful as the Continental versions.

ENGINE : Straight six and V-eight
CAPACITY : 4887/6230cc
  TRANSMISSION : 4-speed manual / 4-speed auto
  TOP SPEED : 106-116mph (170-186kph)
  Cloud 1/S1 - 3,107/2,231
  Cloud 2/S2 - 2,417/1,932
  Cloud 3/S3 - 2,044/1,318
  Plus 671 Clouds I, II, III


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Car of the Month Oct 2014 - MGA

The A was the first modern post-war MG. As the first new MG produced after the merger of Nuffield and Austin, it was also the first to use the corporate mechanical parts: much of the drive train was derived from the Austin A50 saloon. Its pretty pinched-waist body was derived from a special TD raced at Le Mans and was based on an enormously strong box-section chassis. Some said it was too strong and unnecessarily heavy, but it was certainly rigid.

Above : The A was the first modern MG in years. It had very pretty styling and a stiff box-section chassis, the last used on an MG

There was nothing ground-breaking about the suspension, with its front wishbones and leaf-spring rear beam axle, yet the handling of the A was more than a match for its contemporary Triumph and Austin Healey rivals. Bolt-on steel wheels were the standard offering, with centre-lock wires as an option. On 1489cc and 72bhp from its B Series engine, it wasn't wildly quick, but 95mph (152kph) was respectable, as was the potential 3mpg.

It was joined by a handsome coupé version in 1956 and in 1958 by the exciting twin-cam with its Harry Weslake-designed twin overhead-camshaft 1588cc engine. With 108bhp, top speed went up to 110mph (177kph). It was a highly desirable property, but the engine - based on a modified B series block - had a poor reliability record, with a reputation for burning pistons. It was available in coupé and roadster form and could be recognised by its handsome Dunlop centre-lock lightweight steel wheels. Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels were standard. High prices and its dodgy reputation kept sales low. BMC killed this most exotic of MG's in 1960.

Above : The MGA twin-cam was an exotic development using a new double overhead camshaft version of the B Series engine.

By the time, the standard MGA had become the 1600, with 80bhp, disc front brakes and genuine 100mph (160kph) ability. The only outward difference, aside from badging, was the separate rear indicators. Optional was the DeLuxe, with the standard pushrod engine, but the disc brakes and centre-lock wheels of the slow-selling twin-cam.

The final MKII 1600 of 1961 had a slightly bigger bore 1622cc engine, pushing the power output to 86bhp. You can identify a MKII by its recessed front grille and horizontal rear lights.
Production finished in 1962, giving way to the unitary MGB, certainly a more modern MG than the A, but not such a pretty one.

NAME : MGA (1955-62)
ENGINE : In-line 4
CAPACITY : 1489/1588/12622cc
POWER : 72-108bhp
TOP SPEED : 95-110mph (152-277kph)
NO. BUILT : 101,081


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Car of the month Sept 2014 - Triumph Stag

In 1970, Triumph gave the sporting family man the chance to feel the wind in what was left of his hair while his kids created havoc on the back seats. The Michelotti-designed car was equipped with a 3.0-litre V8 engine that developed a reputation for unreliability, with some owners resorting to fitting a Rover V8 unit in its place. 

This conversion is now frowned upon, and to get yourself accepted in Stag circles you'll need an original-engined car rather like this one at Spring Garage, in Leicestershire.

With two owners from new and just under 46,000 miles on the clock, this car looks great and drives brilliantly. The recent respray was carried out when the Carmine Red paint faded, but the panels beneath are original and unwelded.

Inside, the brown vinyl seats and trim are excellent and the multitude of dials and switches work as they should. Of particular interest here, given the engine's notorious reputation for overheating, is the temperature gauge - which remains steady in all driving conditions.
- Ben Field 

Envisioned as a luxury sports car, the Triumph Stag was designed to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz SL class models. All Stags were four-seater convertible coupés, but for structural rigidity – and to meet new American rollover standards of the time – the Stag required a B-pillar "roll bar" hoop connected to the windscreen frame by a T-bar. A removable hardtop was a popular factory option for the early Stags, and was later supplied as a standard fitment. 

Pic from Wikipedia

Automatic gearbox mutes of-the-line acceleration, but torguey engine delivers plenty of mid-range power once on the move.

Comfortable ride. A little body roll in the corners, but this is more of a tourerthan an out-and-out performance vehicle. Brakes a bit spongy.

Runs smoothly. Oil pressure correct at 45psi. Coolant temperature keeps steady.

Flawless automatic changes enhance the Stag's smooth cruising nature.

No welding torch has ever been near this car. Floor pans still have original factory paint on them. Very solid indeed.

The recent resp0ray is of a very high standard. No signs anywhere of bubbling suggests that the new paint isn't covering up rust.

Chrome work is complete and in very good order. Original wheels have never been kerbed.

Trim is excellent throughout. All electrical items, including windows, are fully functional.

Service history and many bills from new, including original bill of sale. Thick bundle of MoTs help to verify mileage.

A great example of this popular sports tourer. 

 1972 Stage - pic from Wikipedia


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Car of the month - July 2014 - MGB

An early tree-bearing MGB on rare disc wheels. the styling was influenced by Pininfarina.

The MG is still one of the most numerically successful sports cars ever built, with more than half a million made between 1962 and its demise in 1980. At the height of its popularity, Abingdon was making more than 50,000 a year.

The main difference between the MGB and its forebear, the A, was in construction; gone was the rugged and heavy separate chassis, replaced by a light unit construction shell. The car appeared originally as an open roadster, with a three-bearing version of the venerable B Series 1798 four-cylinder engine. Torque was its main strong point - 110lb/ft (149.6Nm) at 3000rpm - but on twin SU carburettors its 95bhp at 5400rpm was creditable, if unsensational. Suspension, steering and rear axle cam straight from the BMC parts bin to keep costs down, so there were few technical highlights, but the B was a genuine 100mph (150kph) car with safe, if uninspired, handling.

It was joined in 1965 by the Pininfarina-inspired B GT, with its tail-gate rear doors and occasional rear seat - strictly for children. It was 160lb (72.7kg) heavier than the roadster, but had the fie-bearing engine and quieter rear axle from the start.

1967 MGB GT

1967 MGB GT

 1967 MGB GT Interior

 1967 MGB GT Interior front

 1967 MGB GT Interior front/rear

 1967 MGB GT Interior - Steering Wheel 

In 1974, MG announced the black bumper cars with grotesque plastic bumpers and increased ride height to keep the aging model legal in North America, where most production will went. Performance was in decline - the GT wouldn't even manage 100mph - and the handling was ruined by its new, taller stance, but the car continued to sell because it was one of few open cars available.

There were two rather more exciting versions of this evergreen sports car to come.

The MGC of 1967 was a three-litre version of the B, designed to take the place of the "Big" Healey 3000 models. Bigger 15-inchwheels and a bonnet bulge differentiated the C from the B and, underneath, thee was torsion-bar front suspension rather than wishbones. With a 145bhp six-cylinder engine, the C was certainly fast, but nose-heavy weight distribution spoiled the handling.

 Four years later, British Leyland answered calls for a more powerful version of the car with the GT V-eight. With its smooth, quiet and very torquey Rover 3.5 V-eight this was a much better prospect, but yet again success eluded this 125mph (201kph) machine. It didn't look different enough from the stock four-cylinder car, and the critics panned its lack of suspension refinement, the wind noise and its relatively high price.

Few wanted the V-eight in its day - only 2,591 were sold between 1973 and 1976 - but today it is a sought-after and entertaining classic, easily the best B of the lot.

1967 MGB Roadster

1967 MGB Roadster Powder Blue

1967 MGB Roadster Interior 

MGB - 1962-80 
ENGINE : 4-cylinder 
CAPACITY : 1798cc 
POWER : 95bhp 


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Almost at the end of winter

The first rains are not far away and farming will soon be starting in all earnest. Tractors are being prepared for serious work and lands are being prepared and ploughed, ready for this season's crops. Those of you who are farmers, may this be a bumper year!

I'm sure all you car enthusiasts have been busy and resourceful in the detail and attention given to your beloved classics over the winter months, and are ready and raring for the coming summer months outings.

Many years ago, in the 1970's, I was at an Austin Healey show day at Patterson Park in Norwood and was impressed with a red Healey 3000 tri-carb on exhibit. My heart raced with excitement and I swore that one day I would own one of those, come what may!

1962 Austin Healey 3000 MKII

A couple of years ago I heard of one of these beauties for sale in Cape Town and without seeing it, bought it over the phone and had it sent up to Jo'burg on a roll-back. You can imagine my anticipation when it arrived a couple of days later - British Racing Green with black Leather and white piping interior - immaculate condition - an ABSOLUTE dream! 

72-spoke chrome wires, detailed engine bay and even a leather Tourneau! Magnificent! Had been a no-expense-spared rebuild back to standard in the U.K. and shipped to Cape Town by the previous owner.

As it came of the roll-back, I fired the motor and boy oh boy! talk about 3 SU growl - the sound is incomparable!

You can imagine that, in 1962, nobody could tune the 3 carbs, so Austin Healey went back to 2 carbs - the E-type proved the rest about 3 carbs.

In my mind, Austin Healey was one of the greatest sports cars ever produced.

Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.
If you're alive, it isn't.
- Richard Bach

Featured Short Story - (author unknown)

The inventor Arthur Davidson, of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Corporation, died and went to heaven. At the gates, St. Peter told Arthur, "Since you've been such a good man and your motorcycles have changed the world, your reward is that you can hang out with anyone you want in Heaven."

Arthur thought about it for a minute and then said, "I want to hang out with God."

St. Peter took Arthur to the Throne Room, and introduced him to God. Arthur then asked God, "Hey, aren't you the inventor of woman? God said, "Ah, yes…"

"Well, " said Arthur, "professional to professional, you have some major design flaws in your invention :

1) There's too much inconsistency in the front-end protrusion.
2) It chatters constantly at high speeds.
3) Most of the rear ends are too soft and wobble too much.
4) The intake is placed way to close to the exhaust and
5) The maintenance costs are outrageous!"

"Hmmmm, you may have some good points there," replied, God, "hold on."God went to his Celestial super computer, typed in a few words and waited for the results. The computer printed out a small slip of paper and God read it.

"Well, it may be true that my invention is flawed," God said to Arthur, "but according to these numbers, more men are riding my invention than yours!"

The less said about that the better. (Extract from 'The World Encyclopedia of Cars')

Go well everybody and happy motoring!

Till next time, Dave


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Car of the month - June 2014 - 1953 Austin Healey BN1 100-4 2-seater

After expectantly waiting for 3 weeks for delivery of a 1953 Austin Haley BN1, it finally arrived in all its glory! Black with black leather interior and chrome wire wheels, it's a beaut!

In 1953, this Austin Healey was exported from the factory at Longbridge, Birmingham, UK, to California, USA and was brought back to South Africa in 1985, where it stood in a workshop for 12 years waiting for restoration.

It was bought by a sympathetic enthusiast and lovingly restored to its former glory, finally being finished in 2003 with Black paint and Cherry leather interior, chrome wire wheels and a modern 5-speed gearbox

 It was crowned a Concourse car in its club in Klerksdorp for several years and enjoyed a loving home with several other Austin Healeys, until now finally being acquired by us in March 2009.

Austin Healey with windscreen in normal position

 Austin Healey with windscreen in racing position

1953 Austin Healey Side View

1953 Austin Healey Side/rear view.

1953 Austin Healey grill

Trying out the seating!

Front view

 Austin Healey Sprite, 1953 Austin Healey BN1 and Tiger Moth

NAME : Austin Healey BN4 (1953-56)
ENGINE : In-line 4
CAPACITY : 2600cc
POWER : 100bhp
TRANSMISSION : 3-speed + over-drive
TOP SPEED : 100mph (160kph)

Production was from 1953 - 1956, when it was replaced by the BN4 100-6.

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