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MG recommission

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
This was supposed to be my summer project, but lockdown has prevented me getting to it until now.

This car was bought new by my wife’s grandfather in 1958.

He was a successful industrialist and owned a lot of the trains on the railway network, including the Sir Nigel Gresley.

This car was purchased for one purpose only, to chase his trains.

The passenger seat was removed and in it’s place he had a full size diesel locomotive horn fitted. He would drive down to railway bridges, blast the horn to get the driver’s attention and write messages to them on a blackboard that he’d hang from the bridge.

And that was it. He had a chauffeur driven Bentley as his main car and the MG never went further than his estate.

He died in 1980 and the car was passed on to his daughter, my wife’s aunt and her husband Roger. The passenger seat was replaced and it became their summer toy, again seeing little use as it was part of a larger collection of classic cars.

Uncle Roger got ill and died about 5 years ago and the car has sat in the garage since then, untouched and forgotten. It now belongs to their grandson. It hasn’t been on the road since 2013.

He’s only 15 so it’ll be a while before he can drive it, until such time, I have been entrusted with it’s care. I have a heated garage where it can sit next to my Landy and Ferrari, I also have the tools to get it running again.

Today I finally got round to giving it a first inspection.

Perhaps optimistically I went over there with a can of fuel and the battery charger, hoping to get it running today. This idea was immediately put to bed when I noticed that both batteries (it has 2x 6 volt ones) had leaked everywhere and were very dead.

It’s a shame I remember helping Roger fit these about 6 or 7 years ago, they aren’t that old.

I know you can get creative with the wiring and fit a standard single 12v battery, but you need to make a new tray and it seems like a lot of hassle. I also think this car should stay as original as possible, so I’ve ordered a fresh pair of batteries.

I tried the starting handle just to see if it has compression, but the handle appears to be too fat to fit into the crank. Not sure if it’s the wrong handle or me being a retard, but I couldn’t get it to fit.

Not a lot of progress really.

Checked the oil and it looks crystal clear. I know Roger maintained his cars meticulously, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d changed the oil before he died and never even started it.

Engine bay looks pretty tidy all round actually. Nice and clean and a lovely pair of twin carbs. There doesn’t appear to be any rot or serious rust anywhere which is good news.

Brake and clutch pedals have good pressure and feel correct, all gears engage with a little persuasion.

Handbrake is off but the ratchet seems to be gone on it, I can’t engage the handbrake. This seems to be the only real fault I can find.

This car has never been restored, the paint, chrome and interior have the patina of a 61 year old car. There is pitting on most of the chrome and a few small spots where paint has flaked off. The boot lid is covered in tiny raised spots and could do with a new rubber seal.

Interior looks good. Original radio, all switches present and correct and........ wait for it.........

Just 13,000 miles on the clock.

She isn’t gonna win any concourse competitions, but she’s perfectly useable and certainly not tatty. In an ideal world she needs a respray, re-chroming, new carpet and new leather.

If I was selling it, I’d describe it as a useable classic with age related marks.

To be honest, a good clean would have it looking beautiful.

Batteries should be here by the weekend so we’ll have a better idea of where we stand then. I’m hoping she should just fire up with some fresh fuel.

Fingers crossed.

In the meantime anyone got any lotions or potions for polishing chrome?

To be continued.........
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Last edited:
This was supposed to be my summer project, but lockdown has prevented me getting to it until now.

This car was bought new by my wife’s grandfather in 1958.

He was a successful industrialist and owned a lot of the trains on the railway network, including the Sir Nigel Gresley.

This car was purchased for one purpose only, to chase his trains.

The passenger seat was removed and in it’s place he had a full size diesel locomotive horn fitted. He would drive down to railway bridges, blast the horn to get the driver’s attention and write messages to them on a blackboard that he’d hang from the bridge.

And that was it. He had a chauffeur driven Bentley as his main car and the MG never went further than his estate.

He died in 1980 and the car was passed on to his daughter, my wife’s aunt and her husband Roger. The passenger seat was replaced and it became their summer toy, again seeing little use as it was part of a larger collection of classic cars.

Uncle Roger got ill and died about 5 years ago and the car has sat in the garage since then, untouched and forgotten. It now belongs to their grandson. It hasn’t been on the road since 2013.

He’s only 15 so it’ll be a while before he can drive it, until such time, I have been entrusted with it’s care. I have a heated garage where it can sit next to my Landy and Ferrari, I also have the tools to get it running again.

Today I finally got round to giving it a first inspection.

Perhaps optimistically I went over there with a can of fuel and the battery charger, hoping to get it running today. This idea was immediately put to bed when I noticed that both batteries (it has 2x 6 volt ones) had leaked everywhere and were very dead.

It’s a shame I remember helping Roger fit these about 6 or 7 years ago, they aren’t that old.

I know you can get creative with the wiring and fit a standard single 12v battery, but you need to make a new tray and it seems like a lot of hassle. I also think this car should stay as original as possible, so I’ve ordered a fresh pair of batteries.

I tried the starting handle just to see if it has compression, but the handle appears to be too fat to fit into the crank. Not sure if it’s the wrong handle or me being a retard, but I couldn’t get it to fit.

Not a lot of progress really.

Checked the oil and it looks crystal clear. I know Roger maintained his cars meticulously, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d changed the oil before he died and never even started it.

Engine bay looks pretty tidy all round actually. Nice and clean and a lovely pair of twin carbs. There doesn’t appear to be any rot or serious rust anywhere which is good news.

Brake and clutch pedals have good pressure and feel correct, all gears engage with a little persuasion.

Handbrake is off but the ratchet seems to be gone on it, I can’t engage the handbrake. This seems to be the only real fault I can find.

This car has never been restored, the paint, chrome and interior have the patina of a 61 year old car. There is pitting on most of the chrome and a few small spots where paint has flaked off. The boot lid is covered in tiny raised spots and could do with a new rubber seal.

Interior looks good. Original radio, all switches present and correct and........ wait for it.........

Just 13,000 miles on the clock.

She isn’t gonna win any concourse competitions, but she’s perfectly useable and certainly not tatty. In an ideal world she needs a respray, re-chroming, new carpet and new leather.

If I was selling it, I’d describe it as a useable classic with age related marks.

To be honest, a good clean would have it looking beautiful.

Batteries should be here by the weekend so we’ll have a better idea of where we stand then. I’m hoping she should just fire up with some fresh fuel.

Fingers crossed.

In the meantime anyone got any lotions or potions for polishing chrome?

To be continued.........
View attachment 501438View attachment 501439View attachment 501440View attachment 501441View attachment 501442View attachment 501443View attachment 501444View attachment 501445View attachment 501446

Bon chance: after your 'Sopwith Camel' project, I'm sure you can manage a doddle like this.
 
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Humble opinion, don't overdo it.

Cars like that deserve preservation, not restoration.
Restored its just another overdone MG, as it is it remains a family heirloom.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Whatever you do do NOT try and fire it up straight away, You need to pre oil it first, if you have a suitably powerful drill and can fabricate a driver use that on the oil pump, I think it's via the dizzy on those, pop the dizzy out and you should be able to see if it is. If that's not possible try and hand crank it a few times with the plugs out etc for ease. If that's not possible spin it with the starter. Sit young master Ravers in the seat and tell him to watch the oil pressure gauge and tell you when it starts to move.
ETA
Drain the fuel system too
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Humble opinion, don't overdo it.

Cars like that deserve preservation, not restoration.
Restored its just another overdone MG, as it is it remains a family heirloom.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Just needs a good clean and a few touch ups.

Maybe a new carpet as the current one is very worn and faded.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Whatever you do do NOT try and fire it up straight away, You need to pre oil it first, if you have a suitably powerful drill and can fabricate a driver use that on the oil pump, I think it's via the dizzy on those, pop the dizzy out and you should be able to see if it is. If that's not possible try and hand crank it a few times with the plugs out etc for ease. If that's not possible spin it with the starter. Sit young master Ravers in the seat and tell him to watch the oil pressure gauge and tell you when it starts to move.
ETA
Drain the fuel system too

Yep, I think you gave me this advice when I first mentioned about this car in another thread. It’s firmly stuck in my head since.

I am a little worried about the oil situation. As mentioned above the oil is completely clear as if it’s brand new. It’s also showing well over the max on the dipstick.

Might drop everything out and refill it just to be safe.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Yep, I think you gave me this advice when I first mentioned about this car in another thread. It’s firmly stuck in my head since.

I am a little worried about the oil situation. As mentioned above the oil is completely clear as if it’s brand new. It’s also showing well over the max on the dipstick.

Might drop everything out and refill it just to be safe.
It wouldn't hurt tbh, a gallon of oil and filter vs trashed motor, not really worth it IMO. It may be over the max level because it's stood so long every single drop of oil in it is the sump, hence why you need to pre oil it.
 
He was a successful industrialist and owned a lot of the trains on the railway network, including the Sir Nigel Gresley.

Wow. The LNER Class A4 was the most beautiful steam train ever built

The Mallard, holds the world record as the fastest steam locomotive

MG A is a lovely car, perfect body lines
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Wow. The LNER Class A4 was the most beautiful steam train ever built

The Mallard, holds the world record as the fastest steam locomotive

MG A is a lovely car, perfect body lines

His company built them or parts of them or something.

I don’t recall the exact connection.

Anyway he was massively into trains and eventually ended up buying the Sir Nigel Gresley.
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
No mechanical genius here (though I do own a somewhat temperamental Land Rover on which I try from time to time to learn how spanners should work). On the handbrake though, my parents have an MG TD of slightly older vintage. This may be an entirely daft suggestion and expect you’ve already ruled it out, but TDs at least have a positive ratchet. Lift the handbrake until it’s ‘on’ to the desired pressure then press the button and release handle. To release brake, pull hardly up and the ratchet pops off - basically the opposite of more modern versions. Or it could just be stuck, as you thought...
 
I went over the chrome guards on my old CB with stainless steel wool and a mix of paraffin and petrol came out really well.
Stunk for ages though..
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
If you are changing the oil and filter, I would pre fill the filter before fitting too, thinking about it
 
As mentioned above the oil is completely clear as if it’s brand new. It’s also showing well over the max on the dipstick.

You probably already know this

Oil will be oxidised, probably fine for turn-over, start and low load running, but not driving. I'd pour some oil down each plug-hole before turning over manually

Before filling with super duper synthetic, check it is compatible. Some older engines don't like modern lubes

iirc Millers and Morris do 'old' oiils
 
Have valve seats been changed for unleaded?
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Have valve seats been changed for unleaded?

I don’t know and I wouldn’t know how to check to be honest.

I was going to see how she runs and add some Redex lead additive if needs be.
 

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