I have got my MGB GT out of hibernation and driven it twice. Everything seems fine, though it is coming up to MOT time. It is due in May just after the road fund licence needs renewing, but before the exemption from MOT testing for vehicles over 40 years old comes into force on May 20th. I have attempted to talk to my insurers to find out if they want me to keep the car MOT certificate current and ongoing and
have met with a “don’t know”. I also talked with Tim Kelly, our local expert, and he says it is a grey area.So, is a letter stating that the vehicle is both roadworthy and fit for purpose from a competent motor engineer (eg Tim Kelly) sufficient to satisfy the insurers or do they want some form of MOT documentary evidence from the DVLA?
Or, worryingly, are they happy to just ignore it which supposes that I know completely what I am doing……….
The Grand Unveiling
So there we were travelling to Solihull late in March to meet up when the overhead signs suddenly said “M6 junctions 2 to 3 closed”. Panic, that’s the way we wanted to go – due at 7.30. All the main roads around Coventry were suffering from congestion according to the sat nav. Phone calls from others confirmed this. However some serious cross country navigating using the map and sat nav by my navigator allowed us to reach our destination reasonably on time.
We were meeting up with some of the Marathon MGB Group along with, more importantly, Pete Smith and wife Sharon. Why Pete and Sharron? Well go back 50 years ago – they were members of the small group which built the Marathon MGB for Jean Denton.
The car was built by Tom Denton, Tom Boyce and Peter et al according to the legend on the hardtop. The et al included Pete’s then girlfriend, now wife, Sharon who made a lot of the modifications to the interior to make it more habitable (slightly) for 10000 mile rally. The Marathon Team had asked Pete and Sharon to carry out the unveiling of the restored car at the Restoration Show the next day – this was an opportunity to spend some time with them both.
So we had an evening of questions, of head scratching and antidotes adding more information about the car and its owner to our knowledge. The arrangements for the following day were discussed and agreed.
Action stations in the morning resulted in the covered car being unveiled after a short introduction by the Project Manager John Watson to a large audience. As always events like this bring people out of the woodwork including this time an ex-comps employee who was involved with Jean Denton in developing and testing the car. More stories more antidotes and a little head scratching.
Little needs to be done to the car now to make it roadworthy, (but fund raising continues) so that it should arrive at MG Live! under its own power. It will be on display at the Marathon 50th at Gaydon in July then its future lies mainly as a publicity vehicle for the MGCC. Initially it will be on display at some of the major sponsors premises along with RAC Club coupled with occasional appearances at Kimber House.
Marathon MGB Restoration Group.
The Tour of the Wall
Matthew and I had a great day out on Sunday doing the Tour of the Wall organised by Caledonian Classic and Historic Motor Sport Club http://www.caledonianmsc.com/ . We were using the new MGB as a shakedown to the trip to Ireland in May and I’m pleased to say that it ran without missing a beat all day and took a fairly brisk pace in its stride.
I have yet to fit a new hood so we ran with the roof down all day starting in the dark at 0600hrs when it was frosty but very clear. Matt drove up as far as Berwick where we changed over and took the car up to Dobbie’s stopping for breakfast at McDonalds, Dunbar. It was very cold driving as there was nowhere to shelter your hands despite having gloves. Matthew did not seem to realise that the heater was on full he’s getting soft driving a Mazda MX-5.
First car was away at 0930 so there was no hanging about after a quick cup of coffee and a look at the Tulip Road book we were off.
The route took us down the A7 before cutting onto minor roads to run parallel all the way down to just above Selkirk where we crossed over and headed down towards Bonchester Bridge. We passed Wauchope and down to the end of the C200, Kielder down to the Lunch Halt at Chollerford. For about 1300hrs. How the majority of the field were there before us I couldn’t work out because only a few passed us when stopped for comfort breaks you certainly have to push on to keep up.
We left the route then which was heading along the Military Road to Gillsland before turning North through Eskdale to the finish at Peebles. The CotC reckoned it would take about three hours to get to finish so we went along to the new visitor Centre, The Sill at Twice Brewed for a cup of coffee. Our route was around 280 miles getting home around 1500hrs. I had a cup of tea before giving the car a wash and then sitting down to knock out a few zzzz’s. The car has proved itself reliable and runs quite happily up the A1 at 60mph as well as rattling around the lanes. The renewed front suspension with the V8 bushes and ¾” antiroll bar has made a huge difference the car really feels planted turns into the corners with only the ruts throwing it off line.
I feel as though we can take the car to Ireland with confidence although we have few more runs to test it further.
The MGB GT by contrast feels very similar to drive although it is a much more civilised environment giving it certainly the edge on a long run. Having driven both in the last two days I can see why the GT was so successful. The GT has rested since about October but started first turn of the key and ran perfectly on a little run Saturday afternoon and to the Committee Meeting last night.