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


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

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