Newsletter No 3 November - The Pre



Newsletter No 3 November - The Pre
Established 1965
ISSN 1447-803X
A youthful Ray Fowler in his legendary J2 in 1949 before "improvements" began.
Photo from Ray Fowler
A Tribute to Jean Kimber-Cook - page 5
Bathurst - the Organisers say "Thank You!" - page 6
Bathurst - the Grande Finale Dinner - page 7
Bathurst - Colour Pictorial Feature - pages 11 to 18
Letters - Ray Fowler and John Gillett say "thanks" - page 19
VSCC 24h Team Trial 24 - 25 June - page 20
Book Review - ONE FALSE MOVE - page 21
Of Dogs and Flying Sand - Eyston's Pendine Sands Adventures - page 22
Reports from our correspondents nationwide and NZ - page 23
Plus all our usual columns………
Subscriptions for 2014 are now due! Don't forget to renew…
Your National Executive
Walter Magilton
Albert Rd Warrandyte Vic 3113
Tony Sloan
22 Mullens Rd, Warrandyte, 3113
Malcolm Robertson
PO Box 3031 Weston ACT 2611
Brian Oxley
PO Box 3031 Weston ACT 2611
Email us at:
Graeme Davies
(03) 9844 3616
(03) 9844 3631 fax
(03) 9844 0919
(02) 6288 9343 or 0408 627 685
(02) 62812351 or 0412 188 409
(02) 6285 1599
[email protected]
[email protected]
Contact Your State Correspondent
The Newsletter thrives on news. You enjoy reading about what the others are doing, the miseries that befall them and
the fun they have, so why not ring or email your local correspondent with your news:
ACT and surrounding region
South Australia
Western Australia
New Zealand (South Island)
New Zealand (North Island)
Brian Oxley
Richard Moore
Ross Kelly
Graeme Jackson
Barry Bahnisch
Allan Herring
Ted Loversidge
Geoff Broadhead
02 6281 2351 or 0412 188 409
[email protected] or 0419 267 106
[email protected]
03 9876 1452
08 8296 3202
08 9341 3210, mob 0408 918 863
+64 03 337 1828
[email protected]
Cover Photo
If you missed our biennial meeting in Bathurst last month, you
missed the treat of hearing Ray Fowler talk about his racing
exploits in his J2 at our presentation dinner. These began
with the purchase of a fairly stock standard J2 in 1949 as
shown in our cover photo which was ultimately transformed
into an MG "special" which could lap the Mt Panorama circuit
in something like 3 minutes and 19 seconds.
Rob Dunsterville apologies to Pre-War MG owners
who received the scam email from his Gmail
address recently. He is not travelling in the
Ukraine, he has not lost his wallet and mobile
phone and he certainly doesn't need your money to
help him get home!
Editorial Contributions to:
The Editors
Pre-War MG Newsletter of Australia
PO Box 3031
COPYRIGHT and Authors Rights
© All content of this Newsletter is copyright Pre-War MG Register of Australia. Authors of specific articles assert their rights
to be identified as the authors of their work in accordance with the Copyright Act. Articles may be reproduced with
permission from the Editor and due acknowledgement of the author where relevant and the Pre-War MG Register of Australia.
Page 2
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Editor’s Soapbox
Hello Everyone
Welcome to our post-Bathurst bumper edition of your favourite Newsletter. This year we have
extra colour pages to help you enjoy the festive season and the summer holidays featuring
some wonderful photos of Pre-War MGs cresting the Mount by photographer Col Poore from
Canberra. We are still trying to get Col into a Pre-War MG, but the closest we've got so far is
his modern Rover 75! Col captured just about every one of the cars that drove around the
circuit at Mt Panorama, often more than once, and it was a hard choice deciding which ones
to feature. I have leant towards cars that we don't see in these pages very often. If you were
there, you are welcome to email me to see photos of your car if you are interested.
Bathurst was an amazing event and the story is nicely captured by our reporters in this issue. The organisers, Tim
Shellshear and Rob Dunsterville, excelled and probably even exceeded their own expectations. They have however,
decided that once was enough in their busy lives and have handed the baton back to our Register's virtual committee.
My reading of the sentiment of those who attended is that Bathurst, like our beloved Beechworth, could easily
accommodate at least one and possibly several more biennial meetings, but we need a group to volunteer to pick up
the baton and run with it. While not quite in the league of the group in Melbourne and Victoria, Bathurst has shown us
all that Sydney and NSW has a strong group of Pre-War MG enthusiasts. Let's hope that they coalesce around the
idea of Bathurst 2015.
Editorial headquarters is fortunate in that it receives a number of publications
from around the world relating to Pre-War MGs. One of my favourites is a
one pager from Ted Hack in the UK specifically relating to the D-type. I was
amazed to read in the latest one that a previously unknown D-type has been
discovered in the middle of India of all places. Pictures of D0414 came from
Venkatram Reddy in Hyderabad, India. The car has been in the family for
some 30 years and is to be restored. Apart from the dashboard and
instruments the car looks in amazing original condition. Ted likes to remind
me that Australia, despite its K3s, R types, Qs, J3s and the like, is one of the
now very few motoring countries that hasn’t got a D Type!! He says that he
keeps ribbing our Melbourne clan about it and remembers a few years ago
when there was great excitement and a major trek to the outback (he means
somewhere near Perth) only to be disappointed in finding it was just a J1!
It was an honour to receive the Kimber Award at Bathurst primarily for the work
that Brian Oxley and I have put into your Newsletter of the past 14 years, but also
for having owned SA1787 for 38 years. I think the latter is not necessarily the stuff
of awards as many of us have owned our Pre-War MGs for at least as long and
many longer. But the recognition of the way the Newsletter acts as one of the
main pieces of "glue" for the Register as Jacko eulogised in his presentational
speech is delightfully pleasing. We have tried hard to make the Newsletter as
interesting to all readers as possible, and the fact that it arrives late into your
letterbox sometimes is an indication of the time and effort this often involves
(given that its production has to fit in around so many other elements in our lives!).
Finally, it was sad to get the news that Cecil Kimber's daughter, Jean Kimber-Cook, had died in the UK in
November. She must be almost the last person who had personal knowledge of her father and so with her passing
we lose another link to the era we hold so dear.
Patron's Comment
Walter Magilton was at Bathurst…
Well 2013 is just about over and our fifth Biennial National Rally has come and gone, and
what a good time it has been for many of us. In this epistle I must thank a lot of people
because so many enthusiasts have done so much to add to the marque and make the
Register the success that it has become.
Firstly thank you to Malcolm Robertson and Brian Oxley and all those who contribute to the
NEWSLETTER – the article writers, the photographers and those who keep turning up historic
information and photos. Truly a splendid and essential part of the Australian and New
Zealand movement – a truly great read. Secondly to our Registrar Tony Sloan for keeping
the register up to date. Anyone who has done this kind of work knows what a huge task this is. With cars changing
hands, being sold abroad, arriving from overseas or being discovered or rediscovered, the task is constant.
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 3
Occasionally cars just ‘disappear’. We now have approximately 375 cars on the register with the most common
being TA (72), PA (58) and J2 (45). Numerically the State numbers are Vic (135), NSW (99), Queensland (52), WA
(42), SA (32), ACT (11) and Tas (4). These figures are only approximate and are now out of date!
Thirdly, a very very big thank you to Tim Shellshear and Rob Dunsterville and helpers for visualizing and producing
an absolute superb rally at Bathurst and Mt. Panorama (but haven’t all our previous rallies been superb?). Thinking
outside the square, an inspired location, lots of problems to overcome, but a great result enjoyed by all. I'm sure all
who attended would join me in saying congratulations and very well done! I particularly enjoyed the relaxed
atmosphere and friendliness of everyone, and seeing some wonderful cars for the first time. The standard of our
cars just keeps getting better and better. I think everyone loved doing laps of this world famous circuit. Matthew
and I certainly did in the NA Magnette. Incidentally, I think the last time I lapped Mt. Panorama in the Magnette was
on way home from the first National Meeting (held in Sydney) in January 1970.
It was very nice to see several family groups attending and taking part in the event –
great for the future of the movement. All States were represented with cars and/or
drivers, some driving (not trailering!) great distances. Tony Basham drove his PA all the
way from near Cairns, but this was only a short trip for him as he had already driven to
Collingrove (SA) last year! Peter and Robin Briggs and Ken and Mary Ann StewartRichardson brought two wonderful cars all the way from WA. Peter brought the very
historic NE (some of whose history was made at Mt. Panorama) while Ken and Mary
Ann brought their newly restored special-bodied NB Magnette. This car did lots of miles
after arriving in NSW just prior to the rally and was subsequently voted the car most
people would like to take home. A fabulous car and a terrific piece of restoration and
bodybuilding. Congratulations!
Very hard to comment on all the notable cars - there were just so many - but I must mention the great line-up of
cars that had an actual Bathurst history – quite an achievement as I think seven was the number including two K3s
as well as the NE. Lots of visitors, some from NZ and USA, some ex-owners (please don’t stop!) and owners of
lesser cars – (Bugatti Brescia!) and TCs for instance. Food for thought – all TCs are now at least 63 years old and
are pre several wars. I remember many years ago even TAs were not eligible for membership of the VSCC (Vic),
because, as I was informed, they were too similar to TCs! All a very long time ago. As in all previous Biennial
Rallies, several owners loaned their cars for others to drive – something very much appreciated. Gary and Heather
Wall drove Colin Schiller’s SA down from Queensland. This was my old car and it still looks splendid.
Question – where were all our M Types? Several owners present, but only one car from Victoria (Ian and Loris
Finally, as I think I can hear reindeer approaching, I wish you all the blessings of the season and 2014. May all
your motoring be safe, exciting and satisfying.
From the Registrar
Tony Sloan comments…
Another year almost over and the Pre-War MG scene seems to be ever gaining momentum
aptly demonstrated by the great response to the excellent Bathurst event. (I must ensure that I
don’t miss the next one).
The number of cars changing hands must be at an all time high and the number of new
members is extremely pleasing. How’s this for a list – all but three of these cars have
remained in Australia which is gratifying and many have been bought by first time Pre-War MG
owners which augers well for the health of the Register. Since last writing, cars changing
hands are as follows:
J4418 ex David Pritchard now Philip Wells (WA)
J2323 ex Diana Dwyer now Allan Wettenhall (Vic)
J3 3770 ex Peter Briggs now in Canada
PA1293 ex Albert Johnson now in Switzerland
TA1430 ex Jeoff Turner now Allan Wettenhall (Vic)
TA1712 ex Rob Baylis now unknown
F0861 ex Harry Hickling now Barry Broom (Vic)
F1316 ex Bryan Harper now Philip Battye (Vic)
L0327 ex John Firth-Smith now Nigel Willey (Vic)
K0411 ex Ross Kelly now undisclosed (Vic)
NB0789 ex John Lesslie now Steve Foldhazy (NSW)
NB0960 ex UK now Ralph Leach (Qld)
SA 0499 ex Moss Upton now Ken Wilson (Qld)
SA1137 ex Alan Robinson now Barry & Dorothy
Shinfield (NSW)
SA1038 ex Ken Richardson now in England
You will notice that there are a few unknowns in the above list and I would greatly appreciate any help in filling in
the blanks. I have run out of copies of the 2011 printed Register, now rather out of date due to the above, and so
have decided to produce a 2014 edition – more information in Newsletter 1 next year.
Finally best wishes for the festive season and safety-fast motoring in your Pre-War car.
Page 4
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
A Tribute to Jean Kimber-Cook
Geoff Radford writes from the Early MG Society in the UK…
On Tuesday 12th November 2013 we received the sad news that Jean KimberCook had passed away, and yet another link with the early days of MG has been
lost. Jean was well-known to all M.G. enthusiasts, both at home and abroad.
She was an ambassador not only for MG but for her father, Cecil Kimber, who
was, of course, MG’s founder.
Jean grew up in a world we can only dream of, when motoring was so different.
She would always be so enthusiastic about her father, whom she adored, reciting
memories of times at Brooklands, and meeting M.G. personalities of the time,
such as Goldie Gardner, George Eyston and Lord March, the future Duke of
Richmond and Gordon. She grew up very much in the vintage and Triple M era.
She subsequently married Eric McGavin and had two children, Kim and Peter.
Jean was aunt to Easter Walkington, who married Eddie Kirkland and their
relationship was always warm. Jean eventually married Dennis Cook, who
shared her enthusiasm for all things motoring and MG, and it was probably in this
era that we remember her most.
The late Wilson F. McComb was probably instrumental in rekindling her active interest when writing his famous
book on the history of MG. Once again, Jean started to move in M.G. circles. In 1984 she responded to a request
from Geoff Radford to come along to the first MG Regency Run that was about to be launched. Jean joined John
Thornley and Wilson McComb, to name but two. Jean’s delight was that she was able to wave off the cars as they
left – the first being none other than her late Father’s MG K1 Corsica, which she remembered from her childhood
days. Jean was very much a supporter of the event after that, travelling the first year in pouring rain in Geoff
Radford’s MG L2 Magna.
From that time onwards, Jean was always to be found at M.G. events, particularly MG car clubs, Silverstone
international annual events and anywhere there was a collection of M.G.s. Jean’s enthusiasm encompassed all of
the clubs, including the MG Car Club, Early MG Society, MG Owners’ Club, MG Octagon Car Club as well as all the
overseas centres and registers covering the marque.
Jean was proud to be invited to the launch of the MGF at Gaydon and took the opportunity to sit in Old No. 1, her
father’s Bull-Nose 1925 Land’s End Trial-winning car. She and Dennis were always a familiar sight at our events,
with Dennis photographing everything and Jean clutching her father’s photograph albums, which held so much
historic information. During this time she was a full-time social worker until she retired in 1989.
In later years Jean had not enjoyed good health and had not been able to get out to any car events for some time.
Her son Kim and grandson Joe, however, share her enthusiasm to ensure that the Kimber family still remain very
much a part of the MG world.
Jean was Vice-President of the MG Car Club and an honorary member of the Early M.G. Society. The funeral will
be a family affair, and a memorial service is planned for early 2014. We send our condolences from the MG world
to the family at this sad time.
Jean at the helm of an MG 18/80, in the company of Elizabeth Gunn, the daughter
of Cecil Kimber’s great pal, Russell Chiesman.
Geoff Radford's obituary for Jean Kimber-Cook first appeared in the Early MG Society's Magazine (December 2013). Reproduced
with thanks to Chris Keevil, the Magazine's editor.
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 5
Bathurst - the Organisers say "Thank You!"
A relieved and rested Tim Shellshear has this to say…
Well it’s over! Almost two years of planning, plotting, scheming and worrying and in the end
worth every bit of it. Everything went exactly to plan and it would not be possible to do better
with the weather. Since the Rally, Rob and I have received many warm emails and telephone
calls from participants from all over the country expressing their appreciation for the
organisation and enjoyment of this fifth National Rally. Thank you all for your kind comments.
I am way behind in responding to them all as there has been much to do in finalising money,
photographs and working on the Post Rally Review. And of course prior to the rally my work
suffered and I came back to overload, but when I’m old (never) and look back on this I’ll
probably have forgotten that bit! This week we have finalised the Post Rally Review and it’s
now at the printers. We are absolutely certain you are going to enjoy this one.
Jeremy Braithwaite, our elected photographer who missed the rally because of the bush fires, has nevertheless
overseen the production of the book and we owe him a huge vote of thanks. You can see many hundreds of the
pictures taken at Bathurst on Jeremy’s web site: It’s the last folder on the web
page following the Aston Martins. The Post Rally Review was ordered by most participants and these may well
have arrived by the time you read this. For those who were slow off the mark or did not attend and would like a
copy we have a limited number available on a first-come-first-served basis at $20 including postage within Australia
and New Zealand and $25 airmailed elsewhere in the world. Please send your cheque or money order made out to
Pre-War MG Register Rally Bathurst to: Rob Dunsterville, 85 Green Point Drive, Forster NSW 2428.
Many people other than Rob and I made this event not
only work, but into the success it was. Our ever
supportive wives, Margaret and Denny, the Jackson,
Steinfort, Mawson clan from Melbourne for their wise
counsel, particularly about insurance matters, Tony
Sloan for providing the membership lists and resolving
many members addresses, Malcolm Robertson for
assistance with the newsletter mailing lists, Mayor Gary
Rush and the Bathurst Regional Council for their
enthusiastic support (there can‘t be many Bathurst
Mayors who have been around Mt Panorama in a K3), Rydges Hotel for their very competent service and attitude,
not to mention the excellent catering, Tim Pike the curator of the National Motor Racing Museum, the wonderful
ladies of the Carcoar P&C, local caterers for the Friday night opening and numerous lesser suppliers, helpers and
musicians who all made it work. Every part of this received detailed attention and was always met with great
cooperation. I must mention the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia which provided the umbrella cover for all our
event insurances and made it a calendar event enabling concessional registration to be simply used and provided
concessional registration for some of the ex Bathurst cars. The Pre War MG Register and the VSCCA of course
have much in common and a shared love of old MGs.
The success of the event of course relied on the people and cars that came from all over Australia. We probably
spent too much time in the beginning in twisting arms and chasing cars that we thought should be there, in many
instances without much success. In the end however there was a great turnout with 61 pre war cars and a good
number of post war MGs to bolster the ranks. We catered for 205 people on the Saturday BBQ. Thank you also to
our two guest speakers, Peter Briggs for bringing the NE from Perth and talking of his participation in this year’s Mille
Miglia, the 80th anniversary of the K3’s success there, and then the wonderful octogenarian Ray Fowler (below) who
told us what it was really like to race a J2 at Bathurst in 1949. Many people were interested in the collection of 500
early MG photos projected during the Sunday night dinner. These are all part of the VSCCA Archives that we have
been building up for many years. Glad you liked them.
Rob and I believe the Register's Sixth
Biennial Rally in 2015 deserves fresh
organisers to provide variety and their
own choices of venue and activities.
Bathurst was near perfect, but
Australia is a big place. If you feel you
might like to have a go you will receive
great support from us so feel free to
make contact with me, Tim 0418 666
952, Rob 0412 314 426 or I am sure
Graeme and Jennie Jackson (03)
9876 1452 will be happy to advise.
Rob and Tim
The legendary Ray Fowler in his J2, timed at 108mph down Conrod Straight
Page 6
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Bathurst - the Grande Finale Dinner - 27 October
Graeme Jackson was at the dinner. Here's his report…
The two hundred odd highly excited and very
happy MG people, and couple of normal ones,
who filled the function room at Rydges track side
hotel for the Grande Finale (French for big end)
had been celebrating the 75th anniversary of the
opening of the Mt Panorama motor racing circuit
and the running of the Australian Grand Prix in
1938. Sixty-one MGs of pre-war manufacture,
including six cars which had competed at
Bathurst, had been circulating the track and
touring the interesting local historic towns, not so gently, all weekend, purely for the entertainment and edification
of drivers and passengers. Later, on Rydges hotel balconies there were those people who simply sat relaxing in
the sun with a glass of bold Australian red wine, absorbing the magic sounds echoing off Skyline, of supercharged
motors with straight through exhaust pipes at full blast. This, together with several days of jovial friendship and
the enthusiasm of the MG mob from all over Australia, really set a carnival atmosphere for the night. For the
younger reader, we wuz stoked.
At the previous night’s barbeque Malcolm Robertson had presented to the
delightful Heather and Gary Wall from New Zealand, the Frances Adam
SVW Award for Australia and New Zealand. Gary is a regular contributor to
the Pre-War Register Newsletter, who, in the interests of equity, and to
rationalise his collection of spare head gaskets, has five MGSA motorcars,
five MG TAs and five grandchildren to whom to leave the MGs. We hope
that in the future his children do not produce quads. The fun, the goodnatured banter, the camaraderie, and the noise level of the function room,
rose steadily as the excellent food was enjoyed and the wine and
champagne steadily disappeared. Bravely, organisers Tim Shellshear and
Rob Dunsterville seized some control from the podium and summonsed
Patron Walter Magilton to propose a toast to MG, the people who built them
and the people who drive them.
Then, Jennie and Graeme Jackson presented the prestigious Kimber Award. The award originated in Victoria
some fifty years ago, and was given annually to the driver of a pre-war MG who had used his/her car the most, but
a cunning and obscure bonus point system for use of an MG in competition, ensured that no push rod car ever won.
Now, and for the last ten years, the Kimber Award has been presented biennially to the person or persons who are
seen to have made the most meritorious contribution to the pre-war MG movement. A couple of months before the
National Rally, a group of self appointed faceless men and a couple of random women, heavily disguised with false
beards and wearing stained long gabardine overcoats, assemble at night at an undisclosed location to decide The
Kimber. There are no rules, there are no guidelines, there is no scoring system, and there is no transparency, the
winner is not even afforded the dignity of being pulled out of a hat, but somehow a choice is made.
The Pre-War MG Register of Australia as we all now know it, has
grown organically from the list of cars competently compiled by the
Registrar Tony Sloan to a strong, active, well connected group of MG
enthusiasts. Given the coverage of the MG Car Clubs around
Australia and New Zealand, the Vintage Sports Car Clubs, Historic
Racing Register and others, a legally constituted body with the elected
office bearers is not needed to fill the pre-war MG niche of special
interest and activity. However, there are three essential pieces of glue
that sticks the Register together.
Firstly, the living list of authenticated cars and owners maintained by the Registrar has been developed to
become a comprehensive reference, with many photographs of the pre-war MGs, which is accessed through the
Victorian MGCC web site ably kept current by Graeme Davies. This forms the foundation glue. Then, the
biennial rally which has attracted tremendous support from the pre-war fraternity from all across Australia and
New Zealand, has been the basis of many friendships and shared MG experiences and a powerful spur for many
owners to get the MG finished and back on the road, as this weekend has proved. The display of sixty-one MG s
was magnificent.
Finally, the biggest dollop of Clag that binds the register is the newsletter, which Malcolm Robertson so
competently produces three times a year. He has regular correspondents from each Australian State and from
New Zealand, attracts excellent photographs of MGs for publication, and somehow finds people to write articles of
great interest to his MG-owning readership. The newsletters are always of a very high standard and eagerly
anticipated. Malcolm knows a reflexive pronoun when he sees one and he never, ever, splits an infinitive. He
has owned and driven his cherished MGSA Coupe for 38 years.
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 7
It was the unanimous decision of the anonymous group that Malcolm Robertson was declared winner of the 2013
Kimber Award. Malcolm received the trophy amid loud applause from the octagonal audience who truly
appreciate his efforts. He was pretty pleased, and felt honoured that his hard work had been recognised.
Anchorpersons Tim and Rob then called upon John Hurst to present the John Hurst Award to the person showing
the most amounts of gusto and panache over the weekend. John Gillett was the worthy winner. John had lent
his spare ENV 75 gearbox to Adam Berryman so that Adam could bring to the rally K3002, a Bathurst car. John
had also arranged for his friend David Gray to bring John and Helen’s four seater NB to Bathurst. He had
transported by trailer his K3030, another Bathurst car, as far as the fair city of Young when the wheel fell off the
trailer. He continued to Bathurst driving the K3. During the weekend he took many delighted passengers for
spirited rides around the circuit. Each lap was recorded on the Hurst Gusto Meter with panache.
As a remarkable coincidence, John Hurst happened to have with him in his portfolio, an oil painting he had done
depicting the Gillett K3030 at Bathurst, which was duly presented.
The Peter Harper People’s Choice Award is given to the owner of the MG that is chosen by popular ballot of all
the rally participants, as the car they would most like to take home. Such is the diversity of interest in the MG
marque; over forty of the cars from the MG display in the fore court of the magnificent Bathurst Court House, had
received votes.
Ken and Mary Ann Stewart-Richardson purchased their
1936 MGNB in boxes from the USA two years ago, and
carried out a meticulous rebuild of the car including the
design and construction of the body from scratch. The
red painted coachwork was inspired by the style of the
Cresta N types built by Bertelli. The lower NB scuttle line
on Ken and Mary Ann's NA0928 beautifully transitions
through the door line and complements the unusual
rounded tail. This results in a distinctive and most
attractive MG. The car was freighted from Western
Australia to Sydney, then driven to Wollongong on to
Nowra, then Canberra and back to Bathurst, a splendid
way of running in a newly built MG. Ken and Mary Ann’s
NB was voted winner of the Peter Harper People’s Choice
Award. The perpetual trophy was presented by Tim
Harper who had appropriately had brought his own NB
from South Australia to Bathurst.
The Bore of the Meeting Quiz papers were cleverly crafted to entertain us as we dredged the dark depths of our
alcohol-befuddled brains for embarrassingly trivial fragments of MG lore. Our table members had minded their Ps
and Qs and our Rs felt quite comfortable. We knew that Old Speckled Hen was a 14/40 fabric bodied factory
demonstrator, but forgot that only five of the unsuccessful 18/100 Mark Three Tigress models had left the factory.
That the S type had been intended as a further 1500cc development of the R type and would bear no
resemblance to the eventual SA model was no news to us. Despite our attempts at cheating and bribing those
others who had smug knowing looks, at the final count our table was beaten by the opposition table headed by
Bombardier Magilton and probably pipped by many others; all good fun.
National Rally Guest Speaker Peter Briggs deserves our gratitude for bringing from
Western Australia to Bathurst, NA0520, one of seven NE s produced at Abingdon in
haste to compete in the 1934 Ulster Tourist Trophy race. It was driven by George
Eyston. The car came to Australia in 1936 and entered the first Bathurst race, the
1938 AGP, punted by John Sherwood. Unfortunately it ran its bearings in practice,
but subsequently enjoyed a long and successful Australian racing career. This
important MG was purchased by Peter from Lance Dixon and has been in his
ownership for over forty years. It has benefited from a total rebuild by John Hunting.
Peter told us of emigrating from England to Perth as a lad. He later became a
property developer and was involved in the mining industry, enterprises that produced
sufficient funds for Peter to become a serious car collector. Peter also owns K3003
and entertained us with a series of overhead images showing him touring through
Italy a couple of years ago, participating in the Mille Miglia.
The Cutting of the 75th Anniversary Bathurst Cake, a confection so large to cater for the crowd, that it cast the
shadow the size of a cammy Midget, was entrusted to Ray Fowler. Ray first drove his fairly standard light blue
MGJ2 at the 1949 meeting at Bathurst. By 1950 the car had acquired a P type motor but Ray said it was still not
competitive and he tired of being passed by a procession of faster cars
down Con Rod Straight. Major surgery was carried out on the J4371
chassis, an offset MGTC engine fitted so that he could sit low beside the tail
shaft which drove the differential mounted to one side in a cut and shut rear
axle. Ray replaced the inadequate eight-inch J2 brakes with some larger
bolt-on improved brakes sourced from a Wolseley. The Fowler MG ran in
this form in 1952, and by 1956 Ray had designed, manufactured and fitted a
SOHC head with hairpin valve springs to the XPAG unit. Controlling the
little car at over 90mph down the straight certainly kept Ray alert.
Page 8
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Ray treated the audience to overhead images of each stage of development of this significant Australian Special,
now sadly resident in Switzerland.
Tim and Rob had chosen well. Ray, who had no trouble cutting a J2 chassis, made short work of the cake and
with one thrust, converted the icing MG octagon to two six sided polygons one of which said M and the other G.
For the Minor Prizes and Awards, Rob and Tim had invested in a crate of Mount Panorama Wines Brock’s Skyline
Tawny, a brew which is made from grapes grown in a vineyard on the inside of the circuit. It exhibits rich complex
flavours of clutch and burnt rubber, with perhaps a hint of Castrol R on the after pallet. Winners in the best
dressed/ novelty dressed/cross dressed/undressed categories were Kay Herlihy, Mike Herlihy, Gwen Bennett,
Mike Trethowan, Kate Stanton and Ron Taylor.
Tony Basham drove down from Cairns and back via Canberra in the green P type, Gary Wall flitted from New
Zealand to drive Colin Schiller’s SA, Claude Harris purchased his TA in 1948, 65 years ago, Graeme Davies
brought two F types and the VA tourer, Graeme and Jennie Jackson, Loris and Ian Mawson brought two cars to
all five biennial meetings, Graeme Davies maintains the pre-war web site, Tony Sloan keeps the register, Malcolm
Robertson missed out on Port because he won Kimber, and Bob and Carolyn Alley abandoned their NB in
California to attend Bathurst.
Then folk who had attended all five rallies with the same cars are Walter Magilton NA, Ed Taylor J3, Ray Skewes
PA, Roger Watts TA, Helen and John Gillett NB, Cathy and Harry Hickling SA, Alan Reid PB, Tim Harper, and
Lester Whiffen.
Tim and Rob ended the night’s proceedings by describing some of the challenges of conceiving and organising
the fifth Pre-War MG National Rally and expressed great satisfaction with the wonderful success of the weekend.
They thanked the gathering for the support they have received to loud applause from the floor. The party
continued well into the night.
Bathurst Moments captured by our roving photographers:
Snoozing Helen Hurst
Skipper Rob Everett
Tony McGrath - proud J2 owner
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 9
Robin Briggs - NE crew
Katlin and Diane - Old No 1 crew
Phil Redhead and organiser Rob D
P-type on P-plates - Belinda Schiller at the wheel
One last drive - Diana Dwyer in J2323 which came with her and her late husband
Dave when they emigrated from the UK many years ago
Photo from Allan Herring
Page 10
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Pictorial Feature
Peter and Robin Briggs in the NE (NA0520)
Photo from Col Poore
Tim Shellshear and Bathurst Mayor Gary Rush in F1254, Tim's supercharged F special
Photo from Col Poore
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 11
Pictorial Feature
Bob and Anne Steele in the gorgeous 14-28 two seater replica MG
Photo from Col Poore
Colin Schiller with his daughter Belinda in the 18-80 (F6666)
Photo from Col Poore
Page 12
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Pictorial Feature
Michael and Suzanne Carr in Michael's beautifully crafted K3 replica (K0434)
Photo from Col Poore
Claude Harris (TA1980) has owned his car for ever…
Photo from Col Poore
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 13
Pictorial Feature
The Bathurst cars line up - cars that had competed in anger at Bathurst - K3, NE, K3, L Special, TB Special
Photo from Robin Page
World War Two: Robin and Jenny Page's J2 "PO Prune" (J3278). The well-dressed couples are Jenny Page
with Michael Herlihy on the left and Kay Herlihy with Robin Page on the right
Photo from Robin Page
Page 14
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Pictorial Feature
People's Choice winner, Ken and Mary Ann Stewart-Richardson's NB has coachwork in the Cresta style
Photo from Robin Page
Malcolm Noad at the wheel of the Bruce family's Old Number One replica, "the Kimber"
Photo from Mark Horsfield
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 15
Pictorial Feature
Graeme Davies' F1 (F0546)
Picture from Col Poore
Ross Starkey enjoying a drive with David Ogg in the Mawson supercharged P-type special (PB0749)
Picture from Col Poore
Page 16
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Pictorial Feature
The John Nind TB Special (TB0417) driven with gusto by owner Dick Willis
Photo from Col Poore
This man is really enjoying himself! Stuart Schofield and Wendy Schofield in the L Special (L0595)
Photo from Col Poore
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 17
Pictorial Feature
How often do you see two K3s on a country road in Australia? Adam Berryman (K3002) and John Gillett
(K3030) en route to Sofala
Picture from John Gillett
New SA owner, Barry Shinfield, with a full complement of passengers in SA1137
Picture from Col Poore
Page 18
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Your Letters
Ray Fowler writes from Sydney…
I just wanted to say to the Pre-War MG community how
much I enjoyed attending your Bathurst weekend and
being part of both the activities and the formalities. I
have to admit that despite being willing to drive my J2
at over 100mph down Conrod Straight back in 1954,
usually being peppered with flying gravel from even
faster cars, I was somewhat nervous when I stood up
in front of 200 enthusiasts. But once I relaxed into the
presentation, it was great fun to relive those days.
I did find it particularly emotional when Tony McGrath
took me around Mt Panorama in his beautifully
restored J2, the first time I had been around the circuit
since those early racing days. The flood of memories
and feelings that the drive in Tony's car brought back
was quite startling and I'd just like to thank him again
for letting me back behind the wheel.
Ray and Tony in the J2 lead the way down the Mountain
I hope I get a chance to meet many of you again at future events.
John Gillett writes from Victoria…
Dear Malcolm - Helen and I were both surprised and delighted to receive the original horn for K3030 at the dinner at
Bathurst. Thank you so much for bringing it from Canberra with you, and thank you for the introduction to Geoff
Venn who had been looking after it for the past few years. It was fun to meet him and to show him the car as we
passed through Canberra on our way home.
Perhaps I don't really understand the situation back then, but I wonder why some parts belonging to K3030 were
given away during the late 1940s. It is especially pleasing when one of these orphaned parts is returned, as Geoff
has done with the original horn. Some items were returned to Phil Bradey, the previous owner, but there are still
some minor parts missing. I remain hopeful that these will be reunited with the car one day..
We had a great run home over the Alpine Way. We stayed at Khancoban and again at Mansfield. Some photos
attached, sent separately. David Gray drove the NB from near Geelong to Bathurst and back and I drove the K3
most of the way home. Great fun had by all and perfect weather. Thanks to Helen and Lesley who drove the car
and empty trailer most of the way home!
John Gillett and David Gray - Alpine Way near Thredbo
Geoff Venn hands over K3030's lost horn
Photo from John Gillett
Photo from Malcolm Robertson
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 19
VSCC 24h Team Trial 24 - 25 June
Tim Jackson reports on the VSCC Team Trial held in June…
One of the delights of the Vintage Sports Car Club is that they
stubbornly stick true to the sporting objectives of the founding
fathers that in 1945 assembled a club of enthusiasts who enjoyed
using their old cars in vigorous competition. Held in alternate
years to the traditional Alpine Trial, the 24 Hour Team trial tests
the skill and stamina of teams of between 4 and 6 cars usually
assembled along a theme such as manufacture or county of
origin. The trail consists of seven motoring sections over the 24
hours and this year it was based in the coastal Victorian town of
Aireys Inlet. Various sections took competitors out along the
Great Ocean Road, up into the Otways and the volcanic lakes of
the Western District, and along the coast past Bells Beach and
through the Bellerine Peninsula.
Pre-war Abingdon entries of Ed Taylor and Neil Cooke in J3762, Tim Jackson and Peter Donald in PA0595 and
Stuart Steinfort and Felix Donald in TA2581 were joined by the two-wheel brake contingent of a minimalist 1916
Trench Warfare Morris and the vast 1923 24/60 Sunbeam to make up a team of “True Brit”. Other MG folk
participating included Graeme Steinfort and Ken Catlow who gave up the delights of pre-war motoring to join the
comfort offered by the all TD team with hoods up, and Allan Wettenhall was up all night assisting the organisers in
the TA. The organisation of such an event is a significant undertaking and as the previous three instalments had
been won by the Alvis team, the VSCC committee designating them as the organisers of the 2013 edition held on
22 and 23 June.
Starting at 10am on the Saturday in Melbourne, the first section was a 3hr regularity trail to Aireys Inlet followed by
a day trail that took competitors on a five hour sweep down the Ocean Road to Lorne, up and over through the
forest roads to Deans Marsh and then via Forrest to Colac, a loop around the lakes and then back to Aireys via
Anglesea heath. The third event was an economy run to a devilish formula where overall economy was calculated
not only as a function of fuel consumed and distance travelled, but weight of occupants, the square root of RAC
horsepower and elapse time squared. Starting at 9pm the Scatter Run required entrants to select destinations to
travel to and collect information and balance the risk of points gained to time lost being late back to control. The
night trail was run in two sections from 1am to 7am using a maze of tulip maps where competitors were never quite
sure where they might be going next. Fortunately a crystal clear sky along with a full moon dancing on the mill
pond sea lit the otherwise deserted cliff top roads better than the dull orange glow from our Lucas King of the Road
lamps. The event finished with a treasure hunt involving two cars searching for crystal glasses commissioned by
Alvis to celebrate their victory in the 1923 200-Miles Race at Brooklands. The pre-war MGs did well, with the Ptype winning both the economy run and first section of the night trial, the TA winning the second section of the night
trial, and the J3 coming home second in the treasure hunt. The mostly pre-war MG team of “True Brit” finished
second overall with the all TD team finishing fourth.
The three Pre-War MGs prepare for the VSCC Team Trial
Photo from Tim Jackson
Page 20
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Book Review - ONE FALSE MOVE
Bravest of the Brave, the Australian mine defusers in World War Two
Graeme Jackson somehow finds time to read…
Robert Macklin has given us a meticulously researched, and highly readable account of a group of Australians who
volunteered at the beginning of the Hitler war to work diffusing the unexploded mines dropped on the English mainland
and in shipping channels by the German Navy and the Luftwaffe. The triggering devices and booby traps designed to
kill the brave men who sought to render them harmless, evolved as the war progressed and included, for instance,
magnetic sensors triggered by the magnetic distortion caused by the steel hull of a passing ship, acoustic actuators,
timed fuses, hydrostatic clocks and photo electric cells which activated when the mine’s primer was removed exposing
the cell to light.
The author has drawn heavily on the diaries, letters and memoirs principally of four Australians, and so each of them
speak to the reader from the book’s pages and chronicle many of their exploits. The reader experiences their lives and
gains a sense of the highly dangerous work and of England’s grim desperate struggle for survival. Four Australians,
who were amongst the most highly decorated naval officers of the Hitler conflict, each received the George Cross for
bravery, the highest honour that could be awarded. They were Leon Goldsworthy who rendered safe 300 mines,
Stuart Mould, and of particular interest to us, George Gosse and Hugh Syme.
George Gosse was a member of a distinguished South Australian family, which “had not been besmirched by the
convict stain.” His great grand father had arrived in South Australia as a medical practitioner in 1850, his grandfather
William was the first European to discover and name Ayres Rock, and George’s father was awarded a Military Cross in
the First World War. In 1934 George Gosse with a number of other motoring enthusiasts founded the Sporting Car
Club of South Australia. He had an original inventive brain and emerges from the book’s pages as an inspired
engineer, but restless and irresponsible, a combination of practical man and dreamer, with an impish sense of humour.
His personality and aptitude were ideally suited to defusing and recovery of mines. He was the first to render safe the
mysterious German Oyster mine, a pressure-activated device with back up magnetic or acoustic actuation. He
achieved this in a diving suit “in dark and slimy waters”.
Our MG PA stalwart, Wes Southgate, from SA has kindly searched the Sporting Car Club records to try to discover
some information about the cars in George’s life. In 1934, George had attempted to drive an International Harvester
buggy from Adelaide to Melbourne in 48 hours, an escapade which ended when the engine failed shortly after crossing
the Victorian border. He is recorded having driven a 1913 Ford in a parade and a vintage Bentley to equal fourth in the
1934 SCC 6 hour Mountain Trial. In 1947 he competed in a red three wheeler Morgan which he later took to
Melbourne to sell and to secure a Victorian driving licence having lost his SA licence ”for repeated breaches of the law”.
His Gosse Special competition car is described as “… spidery, built by George Gosse, chain driven by a 98cc DKW
motor cycle engine and on pneumatic tyres normally found on invalid chairs, bodiless and weighing a mere 100 lbs".
George carried it to Collingrove on the roof of his Citroen saloon. We would have enjoyed knowing George.
Hugh Randall Syme was born at Kew, Melbourne in 1903 into the Syme family who owned and published The Age
newspaper. Syme was a keen yachtsman; fly fisherman, and amateur motorist. Before the war he owned and
competed in the MGJ3, J3767, a factory bodied car that was sold new to University Motors in London in 1933. It was
soon imported into Australia as a Britannia Motors works car, and subsequently passed to Hugh Syme in 1935 when
Britannia Motors went into liquidation. Hugh entered the 1935 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in the J3 under the
name of Hugh Randle because his family disapproved of him motor racing. He was riding mechanic to Tom Hollinrake
and they achieved 7th place overall. Hugh Syme competed in many races at Phillip Island and in club trials, and was
first in class at the first Rob Roy Hill Climb held in 1937. After a long competition career the Syme J3767 survives, has
been restored to a high standard by John Hunting and is currently owned by the Batkin family.
In 1940, Hugh Syme was one of the first Australians to serve in the Royal Navy’s Rendering Mines Safe section. In
1943 he was awarded the George Cross in addition to his previously awarded George Medal and Bar for defusing a
new mine known as the Type T. He endured painful electric shocks while insulating the detonator wires and at one
stage hung upside down in a mud hole. On another occasion he was called to disarm a magnetic bomb that contained
1,500lbs of high explosive. To prevent recovery, the Germans had fitted a dome that, if removed, would expose two
photoelectric cells to light, and explode the bomb. Hugh tackled the monster at night and had just removed the cover
plate when a violent electrical storm lit up the sky, striking a barrage balloon, which went up in flames. Hugh covered
the exposed aperture by lying across the bomb until darkness eventually returned and he could render the mine safe.
Hugh Syme was indeed the bravest of the brave.
After the war Hugh returned to Melbourne and was appointed General Manager of The Age, fathered three daughters,
and continued to enjoy motor racing, fishing, shooting and gardening. The weighty Saturday’s Age, with pages of
advertisements of MGs and other interesting old cars for sale, was eagerly anticipated each week by Melbourne’s car
enthusiasts during the three decades after the war (except those of us with a newspaper delivery round who found
great difficulty fitting The Age into the slitted sugar bag which carried the papers on the bicycle cross bar) and today
serves as a rich archive for people researching car’s history.
One False Move is highly recommended reading.
One False Move by Robert Macklin is published 2012 by Hachette Australia, National Library ref. 9780 7336 2794
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 21
Of Dogs and Flying Sand - Eyston's Pendine Sands Adventures
Graeme Jackson muses on record breaking…
George Eyston’s ambition to become the first person to drive a 750cc motorcar at an officially timed speed of over two
miles a minute, 120mph had eluded him. In December 1931 at Montlhery he had urged MG EX127, the Magic Midget,
to Class H five kilometre, five mile, ten kilometre and ten mile records of up to 114.77mph. Plans were put in place for
a further attempt to achieve his elusive goal on the Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire, which subsequently took place
on February 8th 1932.
The book COMBAT by Barre Lyndon, Heinemann 1933, First Cheap Edition 5/- gives an insight into Abingdon’s
preparations for the Pendine attempt. Clearly, at MG in 1932, R&D had not yet been hindered by OH&S.
"Other record-breakers at Pendine, notably Campbell, had
been troubled by water lying in thin sheets over the surface.
On one occasion, Campbell had driven his machine onehanded, while he used the other to try and clear his screen,
doing this at 170mph. Eyston knew that visibility was of great
importance; his car was so light that he would have constantly
to hold the machine on its course, and the least deflection
from the straight might mean trouble. At Montlhery he had
been assisted, to some small extent, by the banking; at
Pendine he would have to remain upon a course restricted by
the length of the timing tapes, and only clear visibility would
enable him to keep on the measured track.
"Study of the question made it reasonably certain that, before
any run was completed, spray and sand would fog his
windscreen, and discussion of this evolved a new type of
windshield. It consisted of a short, sharply-raked piece of
shatterless glass ending a quarter of an inch below two other
strips, which ran upwards at the same angle and had a space
of less than half an inch between them. The theory was that
the twin glass sheets above would act as a funnel, drawing
between them anything flung on to the lower part of the
screen, while the driver could look out through the open space
between the bottom strip and the upper pair. He would
actually not be gazing through glass at all, and the suction of
the funnel, aided by the rake of the unusual screen, would
prevent anything reaching his eyes.
"An experimental windshield was built and fixed to a fast car.
Jacko straddled the engine cover, with his back to the
radiator, and tossed bits of paper at the new screen, while
Eyston drove at fifty miles an hour over the roads around the
factory. They found that everything hitting the screen was
drawn upwards and whirled above the driver’s head, proving
that the tunnel device worked well.
"Not satisfied with this, a further test was devised. Frank Tayler donned waders and a mackintosh and stood against a
concrete wall, holding the screen before his eyes. Jacko turned on the full force of the most powerful hose available,
when Tayler found that he was able to gaze through the narrow slot without a spot of fast flung water reaching his
eyes. If water, driven straight at the screen, could not touch his face, it was certain that Eyston would not be troubled
either by spray or sand if he used the windshield at Pendine."
To cater for surface bumps on the Pendine tidal flats, the ground clearance of the under tray of EX127 was raised from
the three and three quarter inches used at Montlhery to five and five eighths inches. The reader should commit these
interesting and important dimensions to memory, because it is a certain question for our next Bore of the Year Quiz.
Now let us return to COMBAT. "Volunteers visited every cottage around Pendine, requesting that all dogs should be
kept within doors until midday on the Monday. This preparation was a necessary one; a dog on the course would be a
very real danger to Eyston." Presumably this request only applied to dogs which stood taller than five and five eighths
In the event, sheets of water lying on the Pendine tidal flats retarded the MG during the timed runs, and Eyston
achieved a mean speed of just 118.39mph.
Page 22
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Reports from Correspondents
Ross Kelly reports from Queensland…
Pre-war MGs are on the move in Queensland. I am pleased to report my MG K1 tourer has found a
new home in Victoria. Ken and Ellen Wilson from Harvey Bay have purchased SA0499 from South
Australia; SA1137 has also been sold and is going to New South Wales. The ex-George Eagle NB
supercharged roadster (NA0960) has arrived in Brisbane from the UK. Its first public outing was to
All British Day where it looked superb. Congratulations to Ralph Leach for bringing this car to
Australia. All in all we seemed to have balanced the books on comings and goings here in Qld.
Tony Basham once again humbled us all with his effort in making the trip from Cairns to Bathurst
in his PA. His PA must be one of the most travelled pre-war MGs in recent times. Excluding of
course the heroic efforts of our overseas rally adventurers. It was great to see Tony’s niece Sarah Taylor behind the
wheel of the PA, the changing of the guard is happening.
Ross Letten’s PA was on its maiden outing at the Bathurst meet and was a credit to Ross’s restoration skills in
rebuilding the car in two years.
Recently Col Schiller's and Murray Arundel’s SAs were used for Sarah Hiley's (Rod's daughter) wedding. An
interesting side story being that Col's car was once owned by Rod and used as wedding car for Rod & Di's own
wedding. Both cars were looking resplendent ferrying the bridal party to Newstead House, later SA 1879 (the Black &
White car) took the happy couple off to their honeymoon hotel.
The Montlhery Midget was entered in the Australian Hill Climb Championship held at MG Car Club Mt Cotton course
recently. Taking out two trophies, Norm and I were pleased with the result: Oldest Competition Car and Slowest Time
of the Day.
Peter Kerr and Caz Cooke in Peter’s NA Magnette “Maisie” recently took part in the seven day Queensland Historic
Motoring Council Rally which was held in conjunction with the Sunshine Coast Antique Car Club. Each day
commenced and ended at the Big Pineapple. Happy hour and the evening meal were also held there. The rally was
conducted in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with visits to the historic towns of Maleny, Pomona and Eudlo. Highlights
were visits to some of the areas many museums including private car collections, Queensland Air Museum, the
Teamsters Museum and the Majestic Theatre, which screens silent movies. The organizers arranged for the cars to
be displayed at the local schools on route. The final display of over 500 vehicles was held at the Big Pineapple. Peter
and Caz drove up to 200 km each day and the Magnette was reliable and did not miss a beat.
NA0960, freshly imported into Brisbane from the UK
Maisie and the Big Pineapple
Photo from Ross Kelly
Photo from Peter Kerr
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 23
Brian Oxley reports from ACT region…
The F1 is finally on the road after dramas with the engine rebuild. Readers might recall that the
first rebuild resulted in a major problem with a set of new pistons which had the gudgeons
machined at a 6 thou angle. This led to damaged bores and the discovery of a number of other
bottom end issues. All is now well and the car is performing very nicely. Now that I am driving the
F1 and the J2 each alternative week, I thought my comments on a comparison of the two cars
might be interesting. The comparison is essentially 4 cylinders/2 seats with 6 cylinders/4 seats.
Both cars are at the relatively early stages of the rapid developments at MG in the 30s. The 1931
F1 was the first of the vertical dynamo small sixes and does not have the cross flow head. The 4
cylinder version of that engine was found in the M type. The 1933 J2 has the cross flow head.
As a most basic comparison we have 6 cylinders producing 37 bhp at 4100 rpm and 4 cylinders with 36 bhp at 5500
rpm. With the significant weight difference (15 ¼ cwt v 12 ¾ cwt ) it would seem that the J2 has the advantage.
On the road, the comparison becomes more interesting. The most
noticeable difference is the torque in the F1, no more changing gears
at every incline or corner. It pulls away happily in top gear. Third
gear seems to handle most corners and second is only needed
occasionally. Given the crash gearbox this makes the whole process
more enjoyable. The two gearboxes are quite different. The all
straight cut gears in the F1 ENV box are sturdy, relatively quiet and
easier to select than the J2. The gear lever has a shorter throw and a
much heavier feel. The J2 has a very light feel but you have to get
the revs just right to have a clean change down. In the J2 you have
that dreaded gap between 2nd & 3rd and the noise in 2nd is a bit
In terms of handling, again there is a noticeable difference. The extra length of chassis and the extra weight of the F1
makes it handling less agile than the J2. The J2 is a higher revving and in all ways more responsive car. I would say
the F1 Adamant steering is better than the J2 Marles Weller and also it can be adjusted. Both have 8 inch brakes but I
have fitted special drums to the F1 which are quoted as giving 30% more efficiency. This compensates for the extra
weight so braking on both cars is about equal i.e. a bit scary. Again there are differences in access and comfort. The
rear hinged doors make access to the J2 to easier (but still not easy). The bucket seats of the F1 also tend to restrict
access. Once in, there is more room in the J2, the driving position is lower and for me more comfortable. The F1
windscreen is lower and this restricts visibility a little.
So which is the preferred vehicle? It really depends on your mood. I would class the F1 as a sporting touring car and
the J2 as a sports car. If one had to choose, I think the J2 is a more nimble fun car but thankfully we don’t have to
choose just yet. Maybe in the future I will do a comparison with the 1934 Morgan 3 wheeler which is my current
project. Talk about chalk and cheese!!
Green interior of Brian's F1 is stunning
Restoration of Brian Oxley's F0428 is now completed
Photo from Malcolm Robertson
Photo from Malcolm Robertson
Malcolm Robertson adds…
After the Airy Coupe's ignominious return from Amelia's wedding in Sydney earlier in the
year on the back of a truck, much fettling had been done to prepare it for the short run
from Canberra to Bathurst. New tyres were essential, plus a new hub and half shaft, and
with a bit of cleaning and oiling, the car was running beautifully. Beautifully, that is, until
an exuberant blast over Mt Panorama blew the head gasket. At least we weren't in
Mongolia! Thank you Murray for having a spare in your boot, and thank you James,
Gary, Harry, Amelia and Ross for helping fit it on Saturday afternoon. All part of the fun!
Page 24
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Allan Herring reports from Western Australia…
As I know that there will be plenty of stories of experiences and participation in the immensely
successful Bathurst Rally, I will leave this to others to detail as I was there without an MG.
Suffice to say however, my drive from Canberra to Bathurst via Goulburn and Oberon was a
most delightful route to take, would have been even more exciting in one of the MGs, and a road
not travelled on before, despite the many, many times that I have passed through Goulburn on
the way to Sydney. There was always going to be a downside in attending without an MG,
however, I would have to say that this was barely a dip on the horizon as it gave me a chance to
catch up with many people over the couple of days I was there. A lasting memory was the
appearance of the two K3s descending down into Sofala just as Mike Sherrell and I were leaving
this small town in Mike’s TC, they looked great.
The only Pre War cars from WA were the Briggs’s NE and the recently completed NB of Ken and Mary Ann StewartRichardson. Ken and Mary Ann’s NB not only took out the People’s Choice Award from the Saturday morning display
in Bathurst, but also the pre 1938 award for the Canberra Centenary Rally which they completed from Nowra to
Canberra in the week before Bathurst. Only two days prior to shipping the car over east, they visited my place and at
that stage, the car only had 36 miles on the clock, so this indeed was a brand new rebuild! The TCs of Lou and
Melodie Symes and Mike Sherrell were driven from Adelaide and back and transported the long stretch across from
Perth, nonetheless, a formidable and I believe trouble free trip. We will have to lean on Lou to take the K next time
and try to convince Mike to get into a Pre War car.
Having read Richard Moore’s report in the July issue of the
L Type fitted with six Amal carburettors, had me searching
for, and finding, the attached period photo of an L Type
with three Amals. Is it the same one with a reduced Amal
count? I like to study not only the main subject matter of
these old photos, which appear from time to time in Motor
Sport mag, but background content as well. Note the
clutched pipe in the hand on top of the scuttle, and also
the wheel weights wound around the spokes. I also notice
the blur of the mechanic’s hand, perhaps not so much the
speed at which he is working but more the slow exposure
time of older film and camera capabilities.
Our trip to the U.K. this year was primarily for a family
wedding and so car related excursions and visits were
minimal. We did however visit the Donington Collection of
the Late Tom Wheatcroft, The British Heritage Motoring
Museum and the Cotswold Motor Museum, the latter of
which is in Bourton-on-the-Water, is quite small, and has in
the entrance foyer a J2 which has been there on stationary
display since the 1970s. In the last few days, we paid a
visit to Vintage Restorations to collect the speedo for the
Stewart-Richardson NB.
Western Australian SAs are on the move! The Stewart-Richardson SA has well and truly left our shores, to U.K. I
think, and I also heard a rumour that the Kilcullen SA Tickford is up for sale; just where will it finish up? Martin
Swan’s PA is now fitted with a supercharger and along with some other necessary tweaks, I believe that Martin is
now a lot happier, not to say that he was disenchanted before. The Briggs’ K3 has returned from the retro Mille
Miglia, and although not completing all the course, I believe that there was at least one very late night, I think that I
had indicated that in my last notes in July.
Meanwhile, back here at home, and it is always good to have these trips away, but it does ever so much impinge on
progress in the garage. The NA engine is now back at home and almost ready for painting and final assembly. I
have spent some time over the last few weeks detailing the arrangement connecting the engine to the pre-selector
gearbox. I hope that what I have planned will work O.K. and if so, will provide some details in the future.
Graeme Jackson reports from Victoria…
VSCC Rob Roy 16th August 2013 - The annual VSCC historic meeting always attracts many
competitors and spectators conducting a wide diversity of interesting motorcars. Veterans,
vintage, sports, touring, specials, and invited pre-1966 racing cars fill the car park and assault the
hill; Alfa, Lombard, Bugatti, a clowder of Moggies including a proper Matchless powered three
wheeled Morgan, Vauxhall, Bentley, Alvis, Delage, Riley, Jaguar, air cooled contraptions, and of
course MG. Patrick Ryan is still repairing his TA special following the Winton big bang, instead,
ascended the hill in the big banger 30/98 Vauxhall with over a litre per cylinder responding to his
right foot. Stuart Steinfort brought the Austin Seven, built from the surviving parts of Colonel
Waite’s 1928 AGP winning car. The magneto failed to function, the BLIC was on the blink.
Piloting his genuine LWB Ulster Austin, Tim Jackson achieved 4 cylinder MG times and his son Tristan won his class
in the billycart race despite having dad running along behind holding a securing rope. Tim makes a good anchor.
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 25
Grandma Jennie watched from the Octunga where she had volunteered to sizzle gourmet snags all day to feed the
hordes. The other Cooke, Neil gained a couple of seconds by removing the bonnet sides from the quick MGPB, but
Ed Taylor’s familiar J3 was on song and unbeatable in the class. In between regular bouts of commentating, Walter
Magilton swapped his bowler hat for a stack hat and urged the NA Magnette to a Class 10 win ahead of Henry Kumer
driving Graeme Steinfort’s MGTA.
Jim Thomson took a holiday from restoring his MGM to punt up the tarmac, Madam Flutterby, the yellow Type 23
Brescia Bugatti. David Bell conceded no clangers in the ex Lou Molina, square-rigger XPAG powered TA special.
Shedding enough tyre smoke to require an EPA permit, he stormed the gradient in spectacular fashion in 26.37
seconds, just ahead of Neil Murdoch in his similar MGTB special.
Ed Taylor "on song" at Rob Roy in J3762
Photo from Matthew Magilton
The Jackson P-type and hand-fashioned sump on
display in the Melbourne Club rooms
Photo from Matthew Magilton
Pre-War MG Meeting 5th September 2013 - The gathering of a fine bunch of MG devotees was amply entertained by
Stuart Steinfort, and Marguerite with George Morgan, who, aided by lots of overhead images, chatted about their
recent overseas adventures, centred on things MG. Stuart had been away for 12 months, which is why the dishes
needed washing at Steinfort Mansions, awaiting his return. He enjoyed the delights of Silverstone, Prescott, Shelsley,
and had driven in the Welsh Trials in true Cream Cracker tradition. The Morgans had covered similar ground and had
also opted to test the MG steering by climbing Stelvio Pass, and to test the brakes going back down again.
Sporting Car Club of South Australia Collingrove Hillclimb 5th 6th October 2013 - Graeme Steinfort joined a
contingent of Victorian VSCC people to meet “our” Wes Southgate who motored to the event in the MGPA. They
watched John Gillett give the K3 heaps up the tricky slope, but the very effective MG J2 special of John Payne
needed 4 seconds less to pass Finish. The serious dice between Mark Alsop and son Cam Alsop both sharing the
quick little MG M Type, was resolved by Cam proving his driving ability by pipping dad by 4/10ths of a second. He
has been disinherited.
Motorclassica 26th/27th October 2013 - Robin Page reports that Bryan Harper’s splendidly restored MG Magna,
F1316 won it’s class, congratulations.
Pre-War MG Meeting 7th November 2013 - The excitement of Bathurst still infected the octagonally obsessed
group who told many tales; some true, and universally praised the organisers Tim and Rob for a marvellous National
Rally. The excellent overheads captured the images of MG cars and of MG identities. The car on display, the
Jackson MGPA, had been driven to Bathurst then back through the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps without
incident, in company with Ed Taylor’s J3. Bobbles and Leslie Somerville also had a trouble free drive from Melbourne
to Bathurst in generous Graeme Davies’ MGVA tourer, including a diversion through Canberra on the return trip.
Tim talked about his endeavours to fill the missing post war gaps in the history of PA 0595. By a process of
elimination of the owners and known locations of the Aspinal bodied P types, and by careful inspection of
photographs to identify unique distinguishing features, he was almost certain that the P type owned by Eric Hayes in
NSW in the 1950s was the same MG. To Tim’s delight, he met Eric Hayes at Bathurst at Saturday’s car display. Eric
related that during his ownership of the car he had engaged an expert welder to repair a series of cracks in the
engine sump. The sump was expertly destroyed. With no available replacement, Eric fabricated a new sump in mild
steel. It was still fitted to the “reconditioned” motor in the MG when the Jacksons purchased the P type in 1993,
including the internal thick black sludge, which probably dated from Eric’s day.
The now superseded sump was on display at the meeting and acted like a busker’s guitar case to receive donations
towards fitting the ENV preselector gearbox to the car. It raised $1.85.
Tim thanked the meeting for its generosity.
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Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Ted Loversidge reports from the South Island of New Zealand…
It's November, the VCC swap meet was in October and all is put away for another year. There
were fewer sites occupied this year but I did pick up a brand new old stock 1¼ inch horizontal
mount SU body complete with new butterfly and shaft. Highlight of the weekend was meeting up
with Chris Butler over from Perth to join family and friends and of course do the swap meet. Chris
owned for a number of years a Type 23 Bugatti – well a large box of interesting bits. I did a set of
body drawings for him. A while ago the Bugatti was sold and Chris bought a TC and joined the
very active group in Perth. Chris was a mine of information as to what bits you use to fix what,
who makes crankshafts, where brake drums come from and who does what. A fascinating look
into what must be a very exciting MG scene. Later in the day at the local club stand I was
expounding my new found knowledge to be met with only an interest in installing Toyota five speed gear boxes. I
shouldn’t be surprised. The latest local club magazine had an excited article about a Malaysian make fake TD. A
photo of a pre war MG provided by a non member asking if the car had survived was identified as a TA. It was a PA.
My particular gripe is of a Triple-M run, but not a Triple-M run that anyone from England or the Pre War Register in
Australia would recognise. It is a once a month mid week run to maybe some point of interest, including at least one
visit to a coffee shop and not a single OHC MG in sight!!
SVW News
Bill Brehaut reports on the SVW scene in New Zealand…
Colin Storey's SA 0678 is taking shape with a Keller body after starting life as
a saloon back in 1936. The car was in a shed fire sometime in 1960s and
Colin bought the car some five years ago from Rod Brayshaw who had
acquired the remains about 40 years ago. Family affairs of moving house
and their daughter’s car accident meant slow restoration progress of late
says Colin. At this stage, the bent and cracked chassis has been repaired,
the diff rebuilt, front axle repaired, new hubs and wheels fitted. So the
chassis is back on its wheels for the first time in 40 years and the wooden
frame of the Keller trimmed to fit. In their recent trip to Europe, Colin and
Donna enjoyed the SVW weekend in Normandy, the MGLive! event at
Silverstone and a side trip to SVW Spares in Hull.
The big event for 2013 was of the Pre 56 MG Rally held in Taupo in March. There is an excellent report on the event in
the current SVW Review (pg 37) from the pen of Jim Andrews, Chairman of the SVW Register. As to be expected with
our 75 year-old cars, some troubles did occur along the way but there were eleven NZ SVW cars at the Rally. There
was the experience of tyres delaminating on Derricks SA 0563 at Huntley enroute to the Rally, and the Pickford VA
2270 blew a gasket in Napier on the return travels. SA 2650 had the starter motor break away from the clutch housing
– probably the result of improper refitting following a clutch change out – and so had to be push started for most of the
rally. Colin Storey has since provided another housing for the SA. Gary’s entourage consisted of five SVW cars and
five TAs, a magnificent effort and great demonstration of MG and SVW friendship, recognised at the Rally by Gary and
Heather jointly receiving an impressive art deco style mirror for their support of the rally. Some of Gary’s cars were
driven to placings in the various events – a great success.
Finally, it is sad to have to report the death of David Washbourne in the UK back in October. David
had been a stalwart of the MG Car Club's SVW Register forever, its Chairman for many years, and
together with his wife Rosemary was a regular at SVW events. More recently he has been a major
contributor to the production of the annual SVW Review, rounding up advertisers and writing
technical snippets about the SVW cars. His knowledge was enormous and we will miss him.
Market Place
For Sale:
For Sale:
For Sale:
For Sale:
For Sale:
For Sale:
For Sale:
NB Roadster and L1. Ross Kelly [email protected] or phone 0411 746 215
TC bonnet tops & sides in primer with latches asking $280 David Pritchard 02 9918 0652
Half shafts for MG SA, brand new heat treated. $895.00 each plus postage. Contact Col Schiller email:
[email protected]
Two 2.5 x18" 48 spoke centre laced wheels, plus two 3.0 x 18" rims, un-spoked $250 the lot. Malcolm R 0408 627 685
Rice Trailer - Period covered trailer by the Rice Trailer Company of Victoria. One of only a few built for our Aussie
racing drivers, circa 1960s and 70s. Believed ex-Frank Matich, Rod Murphy. Fully independent suspension, interior
length 4.5 metres. Suit MG, Climax, etc. Mechanically sound but could use cosmetics. Irreplaceable at $7,500 neg
Rod Hiley 07 3844 3604
Collection of pre-war parts including N-type blocks and heads, overhead gear, cranks, various K, N, J and M parts.
Ring for full list. Rod Hiley 07 3844 3604
NA motor - fully reconditioned short motor, sump to head $25,000. Also cylinder head and original triple SU
carburetters to suit if required. Rod Hiley 07 3844 3604
MG J2. Must be good condition, original and running with original English body and cycle guards. Interstate cars
considered. Contact : Paul Acfield phone: 03 9726 4319 email: [email protected]
Beechworth 2007 Review to make up my set. Rob Dunsterville 02 6557 6400
Pre-War MG Register of Australia
Page 27
Pointed Tails
Remembering Mike Hawke
On the anniversary of the untimely passing of Michael, it would be easy to focus on this wonderful friend, as I always
stayed at Bradford on Avon when in the UK, and both he and Ann stayed with me when they were in Australia. We
also shared time together in New Zealand and so on. However, Rod Hiley taught me to focus on the MG, not the
personality of the custodian. I will focus on his cars, and not become emotional about our marvellous times together,
which occurred at least every two years during my career. I also usually phoned Mike on Sunday after he returned
from church and Ann was preparing Sunday dinner. He did not use internet but the phone was an ideal
communication medium.
Mike was a marine surveyor and said the best and luckiest career posting which came his way, was being stationed
in Singapore. He discovered a trailer with K3 wheels and was immediately on the hunt for the missing front half. War
brings out ingenious schemes to protect British treasure from the enemy. K3 031 was bricked up under a sporting
grandstand in Holland. K3007 was cut up and buried after the Japanese invasion of Singapore and ownership in
1942 by an Imperial Japanese Army Officer.
Jeremy Hawke prepares K3007 for the Wiscombe Hillclimb 2012
Photo from Jim Lott
Mike took his treasure back to Bradford and enlisted Ronnie Horton to assist with the reconstruction. K3007 was
delivered new by the MG factory to R.T.Horton in 1933 and began a comprehensive program of racing, mainly at
Brooklands. He set numerous International and National British speed records at the Brooklands track. Speed records
were also set at Frankfurt-um-Main and Montlery. 150 mph was exceeded in a run at Frankfurt and a 200 kph badge
was awarded at Montlery. Mike Hawke lapped at over 125 mph in K3007 at Millbrook in 1989. Long gone are the days
when the MG factory delivered an MG which achieved National speed records which still stand today.
My favourite transport during visits was in fact DG 5405 – J2396. I also liked the fact that
registration for this MG is free in recognition of the historic significance of such British vehicles.
Mind you, this MG is not just driven to the shops to pick up the daily paper. For example, at
Millbrook in 1989, the J2 was driven by Mike and Jeremy Hawke, and J Bannell and is the only
MG to have set an FIA International Class record in the 50 years since Phil Hill set
International Class “E” records at Utah in 1959. J2396 set 2 International Class “I” Records
and 20 National British Class “I” records. The list of achievements is too long to list here but
suffice to say it won the Triple M Car-of-the-Year in 1979/80/83/84/86/95. The best I achieved
was second in my supercharged NA in 1992. Mike said at the time that his MG went well
without a blower! He did enjoy driving my Magnette and looked short and snug in the cockpit.
Son Jeremy is now carrying the torch with these two MGs and, as a footnote to his tribute to his Dad, said that these
were not supposed to have been passed on for at least another 15 years…
Peter Kerr
Deadline for March Issue: Friday 14 February 2014
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Pre-War MG Register of Australia