Marathon Car May 2016

Many of you will know of the project which the MGB Register undertook at the beginning of last year when we discovered the MGB Marathon Car languishing in a scrap yard. This car took part in the Daily Express sponsored London to Sydney marathon rally in 1968 to drive a 10,000 mile course in 10 days. It was driven by Jean Denton, later to become Baroness Jean Denton, and Tom Boyce. An amazing journey to undertake particularly when you consider the small budget available for the preparation work, which was completed by Tom, and Jean’s husband Tony, in a mews garage, assisted by Pete Smith. Pete has come forward and is advising with the restoration. The event attracted some 100 cars with the MGB managing a very credible 49th place and being the first sports car to complete the course.

Last minute preparations to the marathon car in 1968

The car when found was in a very poor condition, having been stored for 15 years. When it was discovered it required a considerable amount of work to save it. It was decided by the Register that this MGB was so important in a historical sense that we would do our best to restore it to a usable condition. This was not to be a full nut and bolt restoration because there is so much about it that that evokes a well-used rally car, along with the patina of age that should be retained.

The Jean Denton and Tom Boyce MGB leaves London on the start of the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon

We have been very fortunate in receiving a lot of help from companies involved in the classic car industry, for example BMH, Moss, Abingdon Restoration, Classic & Modern, Pat Jerome, Moto Lita and Burghfield Starter & Alternator Centre to whom we are very grateful. There has also been lots of work completed on the car by Club Members. Malcolm Sayers and Tony Gilbert have undertaken the task of rebuilding the engine for us and Dave Cato has got involved in the rebuild of the gearbox and the badly damaged overdrive unit. So there has been lots of progress made since the discovery of a very sad looking MGB early last year.

Now we are looking for your help please; we need funding to complete the project. If you can spare a few pounds please contribute towards the restoration. The respraying back to the original Nova Gold with the distinctive matt black bonnet will be The Jean Denton and Tom Boyce MGB leaves London on the start of the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon expensive if it is to be completed to the standard that we believe it should be. A donation of £25+ will enable your name to be displayed on the information boards along with the car. Details can be found at

The plan for the car, which is owned by the MGCC, is for it to be displayed at various events. It is destined to be on the MGB Register stand at MGLive! at Silverstone in June. Both the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and the British Motor Museum at Gaydon have expressed an interest in displaying the car as part of major exhibitions planned over the next few years. 2018 will be the 50th anniversary and a special event is being planned by the Historic Marathon Car Association.

Should you require further information please contact the Project Leader, John Watson on 07770 575236 or email who will happily answer any questions that you may have.