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A CARE home resident who designed the MGB sports car was paid a special visit.
Don Hayter worked for MG cars for 42 years, becoming the chief design and development engineer, and led the team that created the MGB and Roadster models.
These became some of the most iconic British sports cars of the time – with the MGB even being featured in the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun.
The care team at Millers Grange, Witney discovered that Mr Hayter sketched the original concept and was responsible for the design of the MGB body, and so arranged for him to take a look at his proudest achievement once again.
The team arranged for the MG Car Club, from Abingdon, to visit the home.
Mr Hayter reminisced with members of the MG Car Club and swapped stories about his time working there.
Steve Reader, home manager at Millers Grange, said: “It was a pleasure to see Don revisit one of his biggest career milestones, especially as he had not seen the car for some time.
“We firmly believe that life in a care home doesn’t have to be predictable, and it was lovely to celebrate and reminisce about Don’s incredible achievements – it clearly meant a lot to him.
“We would like to thank the MG Car Club for coming down with their cars, it was a really special day.”
The December visit isn’t the first time the team at Millers Grange has granted a wish – the care home has a Wishing Tree initiative which allows residents to suggest ideas for activities they would like to do.
Don is now back home, now his wife has returned from her holiday.
WELCOME TO THE MGB REGISTER NEWSLETTER
PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 2020 SAFETY FAST
Following a request sent to the MGCC from the Millers Grange Care Home in Witney, the MGB Register and Abingdon Works members put together a convoy of MGs to visit a special person who was there for a couple of weeks.
The special resident was Don Hayter, his wife Mary was on a short holiday to the German Christmas Markets, so we surprised Don in this new development.
The manager Jim MacLoud had made the request, and to make us even more keen to go we were invited to join Don for his favourite lunch, Steak Pie followed by Spotted Dick pudding, which was excellent.
In the group was Geoff Clark who worked with Don at the MG factory, Richard and Gill Martin from AWC, Roger Boys in his new MG TF and Michael Barclay, Geoff Edwards, Neil Hyett and John Watson in MGBs from the MGB Register.
This thought came from Roger Martin. I was piling shopping in my MGB GT recently when I was reminded just how practical the model is compared to many classic sports cars and couldn’t resist
taking the attached photo to illustrate this.
I then thought maybe the Register could use the picture in some way to remind members that MGB GTs are not just for go-and-show events but can still be used for everyday-like purposes.
Classic, Stylish, Sporty and Practical – How many classic sports-cars can you say that of?!
I got this email the other day and am publishing it in this newsletter because it will be of interest to other overseas members.
“ Hi David, I am an MGB owner resident in the USA. Am I eligible to have my car registered with the MGB Register? I follow your updates in Safety Fast! every month and feel that I would like to be a Register member. Thank you, Ian M Crozier.”
The answer is Yes, of course and welcome! Contact Andrew Vigor, the Registrar and keeper of the database, and send him your details. The Register website gives all the details. www.mgb-register.org I read quite a lot of material from many sources that have a direct relationship to MG. Recently the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens have published their policy on the conversion of classic cars to electric power. The full statement can be found at www.fiva.org/en/electrification-
In essence, it states that if the power train is replaced then the vehicle can no longer be regarded as historic. It is not the shape of the body that makes a vehicle historic but the way in which the entire vehicle was constructed in its original form. FIVA would strongly recommend that any changes are completely reversible, with all the original components marked and safely stored. There are also implications for taxation class and certification for roadworthiness viz… MOT.
An article in the New York Times gave me a different perspective on future possibilities for what power vehicles may use. It stated that electric vehicles currently comprise 2% of all the passenger vehicles worldwide and that this is predicted to double by 2025-30. The bulk of the development is happening in China and it foresees EVs being used mainly in cities with high efficiency diesel cars used elsewhere. The USA will stick with “ gas” engines. So, still some life left for your classic MG.
Sunday April 19 2020 will be to the day the 50th anniversary of the start of the World Cup Rally. Starting at Wembley Stadium this 16,000-mile epic car marathon finishes in Mexico City. The Historic Marathon Rally Group (HMRG) have organised an event at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. Not only cars from the Mexico event will be on display, including the winning Ford Escort FEV 1H, kindly loaned by the Ford Motor Company, but also cars from the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon including the Jean Denton MGB now owned by the MGB Register. Other Rally cars old and new are also expected to be in attendance.
Why not pre-order your MGB Register Cap or Polo Shirt for collection at our next event?
We will bring your items to the event for collection, saving you the shipping costs. We will take pre-orders for items with a 30-day cut-off point. https://regalia.mgb-register.org
Orders placed before February 25 will be available for collection at the NEC Classic Car and Restoration Show March 27-29. The MGB Register has a stand space in Hall 5 stand 535.
It is 10m x 6.5m and close to the MGCC, ZR/ZS/ZT Register, MGs on Track and the Young Members stand.
Fancy something for MGLive! – Place your order between March 15 and May 15.
MGB WEEKEND TO BRITISH WHEELS ON THE GREEN
Although the Classic Car season is over in the UK, elsewhere the cooler months of the winter are ‘THE’ season. Although active members of the MGB Register in our MGB GT LE, we also have a 1979, California spec, MGB roadster at our property in Oro Valley, Arizona. We are members of the Tucson British Car Register which is an active club that likes to drive (and eat!). The President of the Club heard about an event being organised by the Arizona MG Club (based in Phoenix), British Wheels on the Green, and organised a weekend trip to attend.
On Saturday November 2, the cars assembled for an 8.00am start at a McDonalds just north of Tucson, close to the I-10 interstate to Phoenix. Ten cars were on the drive from XK 140 / E Types,
an Austin Healey Sprite, an MGA and five MGBs. Our route followed the Frontage road (parallel to the Interstate) for a while but then we joined the I-10 then the I-8 (towards San Diego) to our first coffee/fuel stop at Casa Grande. Having regrouped the “ caravan” (that’s American for a convoy) proceeded to the Dwarf Car Museum south of Maricopa.
The owner of the Dwarf Car Museum makes road-legal and drivable, scale versions of 50s American cars. He uses Toyota engines and transmissions and having decided on the wheel base for his dwarf car, then hand makes every element of the body and interior. He makes dies of all the trim pieces and beats metal to the dies. The craftsmanship is amazing! One of our favourites was the “ Beverley Hillbillies” car complete with graffiti.
From the Museum it was a shortish hop to our hotel for the night at Glendale, just west of Phoenix. That evening the Tucson Club were hosted by the Arizona MG Club and we were greatly impressed with their welcome and hospitality.
Sunday dawned to clear skies and the forecast promised typical autumn weather of no rain and a temperature of mid to high 20s. (Why do you think we live part time in Arizona!!). It was a 10-minute
drive to the venue for British Wheels on the Green in the City of Peoria and we were greeted by a circular, grass-covered amphitheatre to show off our cars. The greenery was a marked contrast to the
dusty desert conditions we had enjoyed on Saturday. It did mean, however, that a quick detailing was required to get our cars to show standards before members of the public started to show up.
The event was the third that the Arizona MG Club had organised at Peoria and was in aid of a local charity, “ Maggie’s Place” . Walking around the field there was an impressive array of Jaguars and Triumph TRs as well as lots of MGAs and Bs, a sprinkling of T Types and Rolls Royces. The oldest car was a pre-war Wolseley in unrestored but patinaed original paint and interior. As is usual at US car shows, all entered cars were judged by a team of judges. An unexpected bonus for us was that our MGB was judged second in class (Rubber- bumpered MGBs) and the MGB’s garage now boasts a plaque to prove it.
The show was wrapped up at 2.00pm which allowed the entrants a leisurely drive home. We took the picturesque route to Oro Valley avoiding the Interstate and were home two and a half hours later. This was our first trip away in our MGB and we were very pleased with its performance, despite the lack of overdrive. Overall, a very pleasant weekend away with like- minded folk who share our passion for British cars.
WELCOME TO THE MGB REGISTER NEWSLETTER
PUBLISHED IN THE JANUARY 2020 SAFETY FAST
And a Happy MGing New Year to you all.
Andrew Vigor, Registrar, is interested that all your car details are correct on the Register Database. If you would care to check, or to add your car, go to www.mgb-register.org/register/ Cars do get sold or moved on, or added even.
This is a quick reminder. April 5, The MGB Register Spring Run is starting at Millett’s Farm, Abingdon and, eventually, going to Stowe, outside Buckingham. You can always go in your other MG if you wish!
MGB with Royal Connection
I first joined the MGCC in 1978 after I bought my MGA Mk11 Roadster which I still own.
The MGB GT was always my next choice as, living in sunny Manchester, a GT would be a sensible alternative, not to mention the obvious room in them for touring.
In 2012 I decided to take the plunge. I wanted a chrome-bumpered GT as near as possible to original. I wanted an all numbers matching car without the aftermarket extras. I put a wanted ad in Safety Fast! but no replies. After a second attempt, another Natter and Noggin member from the North West Centre phoned me. He wanted to sell his.
Along I went and drove it and checked it over. After the Christmas break the car was mine – along with some history and a new Heritage Certificate. I proceeded to put in a period five button Motorola and renew the servo. It still has its original registration number.
Being very curious I wrote to the DVLA to ask for any history they might have. After the statuary four weeks a very large and thick envelope arrived. It looked like the deeds to a house, there was so much paperwork. (Pre D.P.)
The car was first registered to Lady Juliet Townsend (supplied by University Motors). Lady Townsend was Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Margaret. Lady Townsend drove the car to Buckingham, Kensington Palace, Clarence House, etc. She kept the MG for seven years. She lived in Eaton Square. (Google her name for her full life story and what her connection was to the Royal Family.)
After declaring to her family she had decided to sell it, her cousin objected and so she bought the MG from her, so remaining in Belgravia for a further seven years.
After that the B remained in the Ascot area for several more years. It then moved to
Gloucestershire. It has had (only) eight owners. It is now residing in North Cheshire.
Alas, I do not have a mechanical history. I have been to Southern Ireland and several journeys in the North West. I must check if it has been converted to unleaded fuel…
It brings a lovely smile to the North West Centre members, who joke with me saying I have a royal MG!
WELCOME TO THE MGB REGISTER NEWSLETTER
PUBLISHED IN THE DECEMBER 2019 SAFETY FAST
Unfortunately, we have some sad news to start this month’s notes. Our MGB Register committee member Robin Cloke has passed away; a full obituary is on the SF! News Page.
It is not often that one’s home town hits the national news, but the reason mine has is why my MGB is tucked up in the garage and has been since September. Camborne had rain on every day bar two in October and it has hardly let up since. Included in this muddy misery has been the wind which produced peak gusts locally of 113 mph! Needless to say, my main concern has been my yard drains and keeping water out of the garage.
Enough of this! Looking for a Christmas present? Why not suggest an MGB Register Jacket for the winter or a Polo for the summer. We also now have a range of Women’s clothes – visit our new MGB eShop.
Let’s look forward to Christmas and a bright New Year of activities with your MG. Presumably the 2020 Women’s Institute Calendar is already nailed to the kitchen wall (under the remnants of the 2019 edition) and rapidly filling with important dates and appointments so, to help you stake a claim or two, here are some
suggestions you sneakily might insert.
February 9 at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
You could go to the International MG and Triumph Spares Day where the MGB Register will have a stand; come and say hello.
April 5 The MGB Register Spring Run
is starting at Millett’s Farm, Abingdon and,eventually, going to Stowe, outside Buckingham.
I used to live right next to Stowe and it is a stunning place to visit, if you have never been.
September 18-21 The MGB Register Weekend
this year goes to Scotland. It will be based at the Barony Castle Hotel. This already has more than 15 places booked, so if you wish to do this trip you need to act soon and get a place booked.
All details for all the events, together with downloadable entry-booking forms, are on the MGB Register website at www.mgb-register.org
Have a peaceful Christmas. Ho Ho
Ho………from the MGB Register Committee.
A TRIBUTE TO ROBIN CLOKE
Robin joined the MG Car Club in 2006. At the time, he had an MGB GT which rode high as it was a converted RB where the springs had never been changed. Robin was a lovely man and was always keen to help out at events. If you asked him to be somewhere at 6.00am he would always be early.
He helped out on the wet MGB 50 event in 2012 as well as many local AWC, MGB and Midget events. He soon joined the Midget and MGB Register committees where he usually managed to make his ideas heard.
Although he was not a mechanic, nor had much knowledge of MGBs, he decided he wanted to build one. He acquired a late roadster which he stripped down and had it professionally painted. He then rebuilt the car with help from his Midget and MGB friends; we think he must have been Moss Bristol’s best customer at the time. When completed, he loved to have the bonnet open and talk passionately about it, with his famous saying: “ It’s a full nut-and-bolt rebuild” .
Robin had not been well for about 18 months after having a small stroke which left him with a small disability making it difficult to get into the MGB, but he still managed to get to quite a few events.
Earlier this year he was admitted to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford for treatment and was allowed home to Goring where he lived since his childhood. The last month he had help from the McMillian Nurses, and also the Sue Ryder Home in Nettlebed, where he passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday November 2.
Our condolences go to his son Adam, his daughter Olivia and their families.
Mike Parker Midget Register, John Watson MGB Register
Welcome to the MGB Register Newsletter
published in the November 2019 Safety Fast
Rally Day at Castle Combe
The Register was invited to display the Marathon MGB on the “ British Women Racing Drivers’ Club” stand at the Castle Combe Rally Day held on September 21. The BWRDC was formed in 1962 and the connection between the car and the club is Jean Denton who was one of its early members. Jean, of course, was the owner of the Marathon MGB which she drove on the London to Sydney Marathon in 1968. The car was also used for racing before being entered on the Marathon.
The club was founded to promote the interest of women racing drivers because it was felt that they had been treated in a rather derisory manner. The object of the club was “ Prestige” i.e. initially only drivers with full FIA International Licences could join.
There was great interest in the car throughout the day from all ages. It’s very eye-catching and stood out from the majority of Escorts, Subarus, etc on display. Some younger visitors had not heard of the Marathon and were amazed that such a car could compete and finish in such a gruelling event. Without doubt the car helped to promote the club.
MGB Register Weekend
Upholding personal tradition on MG events, Kate and I arrived last at the Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel, Suffolk on Friday evening for this year’s MGB Register Weekend September 13-16.
After changing in record time we joined the others in the restaurant, just in time for a ribbing from Roger Boys followed by John Watson’s brief but important presentation on the horrors of Sepsis.
This was followed by a brief presentation by George on the weekend’s routes, a longish 90 miles around South Suffolk’s rural landscape on Saturday, with a shorter coastal route for Sunday. Both days had fantastic recommended stopping places, of which more later. George personally assured me that no one should get lost.
Saturday morning brought more glorious weather, and most of the MGs had left our dedicated grassy car park by 10.00am, leaving the ‘Speckled Hen’ and ourselves as the rear guard. We managed to recover from a premature left turn on the second stage and progress to Earl Soham. The route through rural Suffolk rural scenery was lovely. The houses and cottages were quite distracting. After Earl Soham things went to Hades in a Hand Basket in the navigation department. After a brief exchange with Speckled Hen, we declared ourselves mutually confused, and pressed on guided by Google Maps. Irrespective, the roads and scenery were first class.
We caught up with most of the group at the spectacular village of Lavenham. Prospering from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was reputed to be the fourth richest town in the country.
The early architecture was preserved by the townspeople falling on hard times, as their textile market was lost to others. They could not afford to upgrade or rebuild their properties. That is to our benefit today. The Guildhall, now in the hands of the National Trust, was our personal favorite.
Continuing our journey through Kersey, which provided the obligatory Register Weekend ford, then Hadleigh, we eventually arrived at Flatford Mills. Those who enjoy John Constable’s work will find this a fascinating place, with the Mill itself and the 15th Century Valley Farm. The cottages and scenery here are famously captured in Constable’s paintings.
Returning to Ufford Park, we congregated in the bar to swap navigation disaster stories before John gave a briefing on the background and restoration progress with the Jean Denton London to Sydney Rally MGB. Following dinner the raffle was held to raise further restoration funds, (the pot is nearly dry!). There were many prizes donated by Register members on offer, including a pair of Petrolhead MG socks, apparently reserved for me. I am very much enjoying them. An unusual prize went to our good friends and regular attendees from Germany, Thomas and Ulrike, tea cups with MG motifs!
Sunday dawned with a bright blue sky. The group set off to cover the short distance – using a number of novel routes – to Bentwaters Cold War Museum on the old RAF/USAF base. The restored ‘hardened’ command post contains a war operations room and ‘Battle cabin’ as well as many exhibits explaining the history of the base. During the Cold War it was used by the USAF to provide A10 ‘Tankbusters’ to NATO as part of the West’s initial response to armoured incursion from the Eastern bloc. Retired Master Sergeant Bob Hale, who was part of the War Room team at the time, offered a detailed description of how this was achieved. A retired A10 along with a Phantom and a Harrier where on display outside the museum.
Two hours passed quickly and we decided to make haste to Sutton Hoo. Others followed the full coastal route north to Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings, a leading centre of music founded by Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten. Aldeburgh was once a thriving fishing and boat building community, before storms eroded the east coast. By 1790 many of streets had gone. However the tourist trade revived the town in the 1800s.
Sutton Hoo, the final stop, is the site of 6th and 7th century Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. This site is famous for the discovery of the undisturbed ship-burial and many important artefacts. The new exhibition hall, cafe and the restored Tranmere Hall make this a very worthwhile place to visit. Fascinating to think that the discovery of the long boat in mound 1 during 1939 was the result of the Hall owner, widow Edith Pretty, commissioning a local archeologist Basil Brown on a spiritual hunch.
Back at the hotel a good crowd assembled for drinks and dinner to discuss the day’s adventures. The MGB Register weekend had delivered great company, excellent weather, great roads, fantastic places to visit and a few navigation challenges to keep us on our toes. Kate and I even found time to try the driving range…
Many thanks to John and his team for another fantastic MGB Register Weekend.
See you next year in the Scottish borders,I hope!
North Coast 500 Route in the Boneshaker
Derbyshire was our first stop for the night during this adventure, and with slightly overcast conditions we set off from Newbury. Our plan was to meet up each evening with our friends, Ian and Sue Deverall, at the hotels rather than travel in convoy. This worked well during the holiday. It was amazing how many times we “bumped” into each other throughout the trip, either in garages or at coffee stops or most important the call of nature! The first hotel was absolutely brilliant, The Lamb at Chinley, near Buxton. When we arrived, Ian and Sue were sat outside in the sunshine taking in the rays with an aperitif. Only three rooms but excellent; well done, Hotels.com Sadly this was to be almost the last of the sunshine that we were to see on our June holiday. It was generally on the cool side 11-12C or just simply cold 7C and damp. Nicky acquired the nickname of “five coats” in an attempt to keep warm. Yes, we did have rain but at a guess we had the roof off for 70% of the driving time.
When we set out the following morning from The Lamb it was raining. We were optimistic that as we progressed to just north of Newcastle we would find some better conditions. It was going to be an eventful day! When Nicky and I were travelling through the heavy traffic of Keighley in Yorkshire, the Boneshaker, our 1964 MGB, who had not been performing too well, finally gave up the ghost and stopped at very busy set of traffic lights and refused to restart. We managed to push it to the side of the road. As we were looking under the bonnet there were huge trucks, coaches and cars speeding by. I decided to check for a spark with my checking tool, after making sure there was fuel in the fuel filter bowl. I turned the starter over and was amazed when suddenly the engine fired up. “Right, let’s move,” shouted Nicky over the noise of the traffic. We struggled through the traffic, fighting to keep the engine running. It was very apparent that the car was not happy running at slow speeds. We stopped in the first layby we came to and Nicky checked on the internet and found that there was an MG specialist in Harrogate, some 16 miles away, so we rang and were told to come over. Thank goodness we did, as the diagnosis was a failing 20-year-old electronic ignition system, which was replaced. So, four hours later and a tidy sum of money gone from our holiday spending fund, we were on our way again. Peter Norman of Snowdens of Harrogate had saved our holiday, as there was no way that we would have been able to travel all those miles and complete the NC500 without him. Our problem, however, was not completely over for the day as when we checked with “Doris the satnav” we found that we had some 92 miles to travel to our hotel north of Newcastle, and it was pouring with rain. Fortunately she found the way to the A19 and we were on our way to the Tyne Tunnel. It took just over two hours to complete the nightmare journey but we made it to the hotel to be greeted by a relieved Ian and Sue. We slept well that night!
The following morning the rain had turned biblical but with optimism in our hearts we set off to Peebles where we were due to join the rest of the party, ready for the main tour. The rain did stop and the roof came off for some of the trip. The evening was fun as we found our fellow travellers, introduced ourselves and had a drink before enjoying dinner together in a room set aside for our group, two Triumph GT6s, a BMW MINI convertible and a Mazda MX5. We were expecting a Porsche which we found out was due to join us the following day.
Saturday we were due to travel up to Inverness to start the actual NC500 route the following morning. The NC500 is a clever marketing idea to promote Scotland in general by focussing on the wonderful coastal drive. This runs for 500 miles from Inverness to Inverness, via Dornoch and Wick, using the A9 which hugs the east coast virtually all the way to John O’Groats then along the north coast to Thurso in Caithness, the northernmost town on the British mainland, and then down the west side of Scotland, passing Lochinver, Ullapool and Gairloch with the islands on the right. Then comes the jewel in the crown, Bealach na Ba meaning “pass of the cattle” , featuring the spectacular road to Applecross, before climbing up and then descending Scotland’s most spectacular road down from its highest point of 2,053ft down to sea level close to Fort William before turning back across country to Inverness. The route is a shade over 500 miles of glorious coastal driving, narrow roads with passing places almost all of the way when you pass John O’Groats, brilliant views ,lovely coastal areas, interesting villages – great fun in any car but wonderful in an open top MGB.
There were lots of great memories but one stands out. It occurred as we were making our way towards Braemar. We were driving on the A9 through some glorious open scenery at a steady 50 miles per hour in fifth gear, the roof was down, we were on holiday enjoying ourselves, when suddenly I felt that the car was beginning to play up again. It was slowing down even though we were going downhill. I didn’t dare tell Nicky! I changed down into fourth and the engine was still struggling so I went down again into third and the revs immediately picked up. It was then that the penny dropped: we were in fact climbing. It was the most amazing illusion; I had been convinced that we were going downhill! In the evening I spoke to Ian and he related exactly the same experience. I have subsequently found out that it’s a well-known fact that open, expansive scenery without a clear horizon can produce this effect.
Our route home was via Carlisle and the Peak District. During the whole of our trip we had a fabulous time with an excellent group of people. We laughed a lot, saw some wonderful scenery, drove on some brilliant roads, all the cars including the Boneshaker performed well, despite the initial problems. It was a well-organised event using some excellent hotels, lots of food, and above all leaving us with some great shared memories. Nicky and I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 days that we were away. We completed 1,750 miles at a shade over 30mpg and Ian did a few more miles, 1,890 at an excellent 34mpg.
Add the North Coast 500 to your bucket list, you will not regret it.
Roger and Nicky Boys