Safety Fast February 2017

During these wet and windy months my MGB is under its cover in the garage and our trusty old Land Rover and, so far, equally trusty two-year-old MG3 are doing the necessary for us.
I have had a couple of interesting bits of correspondence this month. David Cleverdon, a member residing in Silverstone, offered me a framed poster featuring the Last Edition MGBs. Naturally, I accepted and asked a friend of mine, who lives in the area, to please go and get it. Subsequently, Neil Hyett, your Register Vice Chairman, has contacted my go-between and has got the poster to Kimber House where it can be displayed as part of the collection. It is, apparently, fairly big.


My second communication came from Michael Bernhard in Switzerland and is a direct response to Graham’s technical thoughts on electronic ignition. Here is what Michael wrote:

I own a 1972 MG BGT, B Register number 12461, purchased in August 1999.

Here is my answer to your question in the recent MGB Register news in Safety Fast! about my experiences with electronic ignition.
Well, I use the very simple device called IGNITOR which replaces the points and fits directly into the original Lucas distributor to my great satisfaction! It was easy to install, is invisible to all those experts who are far too picky when deciding to grant the next period of six years between MoT for what are officially defined as ‘Veteran’ vehicles here in Switzerland! I also installed a new Lucas coil. All that was required was to readjust the timing somewhat. That’s all done in less than an hour! Then last year I changed all the wire leads to and from the distributor, namely from the coil and to the spark plugs. I used copper leads, not the modern leads one finds today on the market, smartly coloured in green.

My, what a difference that made. Since then the engine (revised by Oselli some 20,000 kilometres ago!) runs like clockwork. The idle is stable and regular. Also, the engine pulls far better than before, especially in the lower revs. I can’t ask for more! By the way, the black plastic ‘box’ you may have clearly noticed to the left of the coil against the bulkhead on the ‘before’ photo hides all the electrical wires of the loom that looked so untidy in the engine bay… I found this at a truck trailer store. It is used to connect the trailer wiring leads to the tractor vehicle’s. It is a plastic box with two parts: the base screws onto the car and the lid screws down onto it. After emptying it of its multiple-point wire-connection rack, I just guided all the loose wires in at one end and out at the other!
All the best, and enjoy the MGB experience! I use mine all year round, even in winter when the roads are dry.
Octagonally yours,
Michael A. R. Bernhard, Switzerland

Marque Of Frienship

Recently, there was a celebratory lunch and presentation for Bernard Rengger, who has been a Register stalwart for many a long year. Roger Boys was there and sent the following report to me. Roger Cooper supplied the photographs.

When I read in Safety Fast! of the recently introduced Marque of Friendship Award, I was very impressed with the concept. A Club like ours is so very dependent on a few people stepping up to the plate and helping others to enjoy their car and make the most of an enjoyable hobby. There are lots of people who have and do work very hard on behalf of the Club for no reward except the gratitude of those who appreciate the effort. One splendid example of this was about to retire from the MGB Register, hence I sent in the following nomination.

Bernard is about to leave the MGB Register after 21 years of loyal service. He held the position of Secretary for 17 years, combining this with the role of Chairman for seven years, and then assumed the role of Secretary again for the remaining time he served on the committee. The knowledge and enthusiasm that he brought to the committee has been of great benefit. He led the Register into the difficult period of computerisation, despite having very little personal experience of the fast moving technology that was to envelop all our lives. He was always there to encourage others and appreciated the efforts made.

Bernard organised and supported an incredible number of events that were put on by the Register. If he was not the lead, he was always in the background ready and willing to take on any job that was asked of him. Among others, the Register Weekends, Spring Runs, and Technical Seminars come immediately to mind; these events call for a lot of planning and support, without which they would simply not happen. Bernard was always there ready to ‘get stuck in’. I recall when the concept of the MGB Lectures was proposed by me, he was immediately there with supportive suggestions and encouragement; this despite the fact that due to personal circumstances he was unable to make the journey to attend them. There would always be an email wishing me luck just before the event took place.

For many years he was the Parking Guru at Silverstone, wearing his distinctive straw hat. He would be there pre-event, organising the parking areas and erecting the signage, then on the three days of the event he would assume the role of directing all MG Models, which he was uncanny at recognising, to the correct parking area with a cheery welcome. Three mornings from 8.00am through to 12.00 was hard work, as I know only too well, Bernard taught us well, and led by example. He would then disappear to the main tent and be found on the Register stand, chatting to members on all manner of MGrelated subjects.

The MGB Register Committee will miss his wisdom and enthusiasm when he steps down this year. Inviting him to accept the MARQUE of FRIENDSHIP AWARD, I believe, would be a fine reward for a job well done.”

The recommendation was accepted by the Board of Directors and it was an enjoyable lunchtime when a number of his friends met up in Market Harborough to support George Wilder, MGCC Director, when he made the very well-deserved
presentation of the “Marque of Friendship” badge and certificate on behalf of the Club and all of its membership to Bernard and his wife, Judy, who was always in the background supporting him.
Roger Boys.

Club Director George Wilder (left) present Bernard with his Marque of Friendship award.


Recently, I had a call from a local Natter member asking if the Register would have any idea about when a particular car was built. A pertinent question, to which the answer is “no”. However, the records are held at Gaydon at the British Motor Heritage Trust and, for a fee, they will furnish you with chapter and verse on the origins of your car.


A very frosty November Saturday morning drive to the British Motor Heritage (BMH) factory at Witney was the prelude to an educational experience for 21 of our intrepid members. There, they were exposed to practical workshops covering panel beating, restoration and welding.

Richard Chapman of Manor Garage, Wantage, gave expert advice on restoring MGBs and had a ‘ferrous oxidechallenged’
MGB GT shell to display the weaknesses of our beloved car. He talked through how it can be brought back to life with new panels and a degree of skill. Les from BMH gave a demonstration of panel beating and finishing skills, and finally Graham Dix provided an interactive session on spot welding and MIG welding.
This was followed by lunch and a talk by Christian on Mazda gearboxes adapted for use in MGBs of all years.

The day was much appreciated by those present:
“I really enjoyed it all. I learned a few things and had my interest brought into better focus. The workshops were very good. I enjoyed the welding opportunity as I had not done MIG before. It was a real pleasure to watch a craftsman at work on panel
work and Richard gave a good insight into body rot.” Reg
“I thought it was excellent. I think the format of splitting the participants into groups of six or seven, allowing hands-on practice, was ideal. I found the workshops were very interesting and informative. In particular, I have learnt not to take a welding torch anywhere near my MGB.” Charles
“Everyone in my group thoroughly enjoyed the day and the location was perfect. I am no longer a virgin welder.” Colin
“I thought the day went very well and everybody seemed very interested and people clearly learnt useful things
– I know I did.” Geoff
“Best use for me was Richard Chapman, explaining how the structural parts of the car were assembled. Your welding was of great interest, never having done it before. Thank you. Panel Work: interesting to see a real professional deal with marks that I could not see… until the paint were to go on. Fascinating.” Jeremy
Our thanks go to Martin and Dave at BMH for all their hard work in hosting the day. Ideas suggested for next year’s Technical Day included talks on suspension, brakes and bearings, as well as basic maintenance.


This is an age-old problem of the self-tapping screws fixing the Interior trim door cappings to the door becoming loose. The door panel holes enlarge due to overtightening of the screws. It is possible to fit larger screws but this can mean that the heads look unsightly and foul the door seal. There are probably many solutions, but a quick, easy and effective one I have found is to simply drill the holes out to 4mm and fix a 4mm dia x 10mm long pop rivet. Having fitted it, you can easily knock out the remaining central pin of the rivet using the discarded cut-off piece of the rivet and a hammer. This then leaves a hole that the original capping fixing screws can bite into. The head of the pop rivet stands proud of the door skin by approx. 1mm, but gentle tapping with a hammer will easily depress the rivet to being almost flush. If stripped in the future it can be easily replaced with another pop rivet.


Here we are then, into another year of uncertainty in the world. At least in the MGB Register we have a few things lined up to focus your attention on the important things in life. We kick off with the Practical Classics Show where we will be teaming up with the MGCC, so please come and visit us on the stand. The Spring Run still has a few places available and this year starts at the usual locations of Millets Farm and Hatton Country Park, finishing at Woburn Abbey. Please look at our new website for entry to the Spring Run and for all our events throughout the year. Since Christmas I have had over 100 applications to join our MGB Register Facebook group, these joining the hundreds already regularly using it. Why not take a look and join the group – it is free.
If you feel you could help on the MGB Committee, we’re always on the look out for new members. Please do get in touch.
Graham Dix