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Articles By Mike Rooth


1932 MG J2

The car involved was the first one I owned.1932 MG J2. Lovely little thing I bought for 12 pounds 10 shillings in somewhat dilapidated condition.Of course,there was no such thing as MOT tests in those days,so almost anything went, (and often did).Mind you,the sods saw me coming and introduced the test the next year,which incidentally proved that this particular model of MG had a *much* more powerful handbrake than it did foot brake!

I got this particular car because Father wouldn't allow me to have a 1925 3Litre Red Label Bentley.I could have had the choice of two,both runners,for 25 quid.But,he held the purse strings at the time so the MG it had to be.

It was towed home behind his 2.4 litre Mk1 SE Jag,on a *very* long rope.The reason for this was given as "You don't think I want to be seen with you in *that* thing, do you?" Snob.

Once in the garage,the battery was put on charge for a while,until we decided that the best way to proceed was to power the electric fuel pump from the charger,let the battery handle the ignition, and to turn the engine by means of an electric(mains) motor.
This was achieved by making a straight starting handle with a pulley on the end,which turned in a hole drilled in a block of wood.The motor had another pulley on it,and a vee belt was dug up to connect the two. Switch on the ignition,turn on the charger,plug in the motor,and pull the belt tight.And bugger me,it ran!

So the next thing was to get rid of the woodworm in the doors.I mean it. The ash frames of the doors had woodworm.Not an easy job,but I managed it.The basic driving problem was the well worn steering box.Half a turn on the wheel with no noticeable effect on the steering.
At that time a little thing called the Series1 Morris was a popular donor for things MG,you could usually make bits of it fit.The scrappy yielded a steering box in much better nick so we set to.We made a new bracket and bolted it on.The old box and the steering wheel(four spoke Brooklands wheel,lovely thing)was removed.By about 11.30pm we had thing all right and tight. Father was in the pit under the car. "Right"says he, "Shove the mole wrench on the steering column,and turn the wheels to the right".
"OK" says I. "NO,you half witted prat,I said the bloody RIGHT, don't you know your left from your right yet?"
Well.*I* thought I did.

"Turn it the *other* way"."OK"."Oh bloody hell,cant you do *anything* right?"
"All right,clever dick,come up here and *YOU* do it"

At midnight,my mother came out to see what the devil all the laughter was about,to find us both helplessly rolling round the floor,with tears running down our faces. Turned out the steering box we had fitted had its output arm operating upwards instead of t'other way(or it mat have been vice versa),so that when you turned left on the wheel,the car went to the right!And what's more,there aint no law again it.I could just imagine the driving testers face......

The upshot was that the old steering box was refurbished by metal spraying the worm,to bring it back to original size,and the job was done.

I re-equipped the instrument panel with Rolls Royce Phantom 11 instruments,and a clock out of an Austin Twelve limousine.That clock was a Smith's eight day clockwork movement,and kept perfect time. I trimmed it with black vinyl cut from the roof of various Riley 1.5L RMF saloons.What sacrilege!I parted with it very sadly two years later, not because I wanted to,far from it,I wanted to keep it and put in an MG PA engine and gearbox.But,as usual,Himself wouldn't allow the enjoyment of old machinery and it had to go.
I last saw it five years later,tarted up to look like a modern Lotus or somesuch.Could have cried,should have bought it back.No money. Hence,dear reader,the Land Rover.The only worthy successor to that little MG I've ever had.

 

   
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