December already and time to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Delightful new year from Bill and me! Another landmark reached this being the 65th edition – but not quite due for retirement yet!

Just missed the last issue, but a good reminder of the summer we enjoyed on quite a few days this year, is this picture above of Mike Jakeman in D0427 on the start line of the Grimsthorpe Speed Trials in Lincolnshire. This was held over the August Bank Holiday weekend and Mike tells me he achieved 32 seconds for the standing start quarter mile. You can do it in a D Type!

Good period features much like Goodwood Revival so, couldn’t resist this picture from Mike at the same meeting of the Doreen Evans Q Type with D0427 in the background.

Talking of meetings; I noted with some despair that MGCC have booked Silverstone for 2020 for 13th/14th June. An opportunity missed to start somewhere else with an all MG meeting (after the fiasco of the cancellation this year) without so much razzmatazz to attract enough people to cover the Silverstone fees and the need for ‘other makes’ races. We’ve lost Triple M and T type racing from there, will MGAs be next? The smaller bits and bobs traders have long gone having been priced out a few years ago. Importantly however is the fact that this date clashes with Pre-War Prescott which enjoyed a huge turnout of Triple M and T Type cars at this year’s event. I suspect it will be an easy choice for many of which event to support.

The first date for next year though is the MG Spares Day at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on the 9th February. See you there?

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TYRES

I’m overdue in changing my tyres on D0311 and must do so before the next ‘season’. I’ve always used Dunlop Fort – tread illustrated here; the 3 stud original style Blockleys were not available when I finished restoring the car back in the 90’s.

However, it seems Dunlop Forts are no longer available and I’ve heard some comments about the Blockleys not being particularly good in the wet on our modern roads. Does anyone have any comments on that? Does anyone know if Dunlops are still available?
Any information gratefully received!

As most of you are aware the original 3 stud pattern was made by Dunlop as this 1934 advert shows.

Many more side roads in those days had yet to be tarmacked so perhaps the 3 stud pattern was better on rougher surfaces but did they stop making it because roads improved?

FUEL TAP

MG D type Fuel TapThey say one thing leads to another; having replaced the fuel tank on D0311 (see last Dispatch) and playing with the fuel lines the fuel tap decided it had had enough!

The inner ‘cork’ had completely dried out and shrunk so the switch itself was quite loose. I suspect this has been a combination of old age but probably more so modern fuels.

The new ones from Sports & Vintage are specifically for the J2 but are a direct replacement for the D. Quite expensive but use new technology with ‘O’ rings etc. inside. They are also chromed whereas the original D ones were just plain brass but so far so good! (See Dispatch 5!) I’m saving up to change the same switch on D0464 too as this has a ‘loose’ handle but not quite leaking yet!

PLATING

John Emmett noted that the D Spares Booklet stated that the fuel pipe from the Petrolift to the carburettor was 25.1/2” long and ‘dull plated’. The length suggested some sort of coil to take up the excess as the distance between the two isn’t that far. John’s interpretation can be seen in this picture:

It also shows John’s ‘dull plating’ of the pipe itself and he has kindly written the following piece on home plating which will give you something to ponder over Christmas.

NICKEL PLATING AT HOME

JRE Oct 19
Bling has always been sought after by Man, but for the Motorist of the 1920’s that meant chrome plating, especially of the Marque defining radiator surround. Despite the plating process as we know it only starting in the US during 1924, Morris introduced Chrome plating during 1926, and in photographs of the plating plant taken a few years later http://prewarminor.webeden.co.uk/chrome-plating/4586389079 MG radiator surrounds can clearly be seen.

The early Oxford built M type had a chrome radiator surround and windscreen frame, but photos often show black headlamp rims, and the radiator caps were still made of solid nickel silver. From the start, chrome plated brass items fared quite well, but the plated steel items such as horn covers didn’t last, and the steel J2 spare wheel straps were, to put it mildly a disaster, even during the guarantee period.

As a result, MG owners throughout the ages have kept chrome platers busy, despite the metal finishing sector being under increasing environmental and economic pressure. Even by the early 1940’s US car manufactures were under government pressure to ease off the chromium as it was required for alloys and war production.

The difficult question when restoring any car is what is engineeringly appropriate, and what is aesthetically acceptable. I have used stainless steel exhaust pipe to replace my rusty D steering column and gearbox remote tube (both originally chrome plated mild steel), but I have nickel plated the door hinges and smaller parts without anyone commenting. It seems as if a small area smooth satin silvery finish is to be preferred to an imperfect highly polished one.

Several UK suppliers offer plating kits both for bright nickel and “chrome replacement” e.g; https://www.gaterosplating.co.uk/plating-kits and for both time and cost saving they are well worth trying. For me, Nickel plating and powder coating are two remarkably successful home finishing processes.

Just a few observations:
The cleaning, degreasing and acid dip stages are very important. If overplating poor chrome, it will flake off, usually leaving a clean Nickel finish.

The slower the plate (lower the current) the better the finish seems to be. Remarkably little plating time (~15 minutes) produces a lovely result.

A beefy switch-mode variable voltage power supply is invaluable for testing electrical items as well as charging all sorts of batteries.

CHRISTMAS SNIPPET

Looking for something else I came across this piece in ‘The Light Car’ for January 1942. The ‘resignation’, presumably as of 31st December 1941, is perhaps a misnomer as he was famously dismissed by Miles Thomas (then number 2 in the Nuffield organisation, later to become chairman of BOAC) for seeking his own war work contracts for Abingdon instead of going through head office which apportioned the Government contracts throughout the various Nuffield factories.
Kimber was tragically killed in a train derailment in 1945.

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