A BRIEF account of experience in the running of my 1930 M-type M.G. Midget, as far as the petrol allowance has permitted, may be of interest.
The car was first registered in March, 1931, and is a genuine M-type M.G.; chassis number 2/M 2620, engine number M.G. 2399A. I am the fifth owner, and have had the car since the summer of 1945, running it at first only while on leave, then, after demobilisation, continuously, covering over 2,000 miles in the first year of ownership. When I bought the car it was in very good mechanical condition, but in need of a coat of paint to disguise the faded “Bugatti-blue” that adorned it at that time. Apart from a routine cheek, no work was carried out before putting the car on the road.
JV 291 handles very well, steering being accurate and rock-steady at all speeds, but needing fairly frequent adjustment and check-over. The suspension is traditionally hard at low speeds, but more comfortable higher up. On one occasion I came upon an unexpected roundabout at close on 55 m.p.h. and managed it without sliding, though, needless to say, such cornering methods are not habitual!
The driving position is excellent, both sidelamps being visible at all times. The cockpit layout is also pleasing without grouped instruments or plastic abominations, and a complete absence of “gadgets” on the steering column. The gear-lever is well placed and the “plain” box demands clean use, otherwise the cacophony emitted from it is a little startling. I have made no alterations to the original specification, and added only a fog-lamp and pass-light on the dumb-irons.
Under the bonnet, strap-secured to prevent rattles, the layout is again quite standard, and much care has been lavished on polishing the aluminium valve cover and copper feed-pipes. The only troubles have been a tendency to get through coils rather quickly, and a set of camshaft bearings ran owing to an undetected blockage in the overhead-camshaft oil feed. Petrol consumption averages 35 m.p.g. on longish, fast runs, oil 1,200 to 1,500 m.p.g., the level seldom requiring to be topped up between draining the sump at the 1,200-mile mark. Oil pressure is good, about 40 lb./sq. in. when thoroughly warmed up.
Performance is very good, although the maximum speed is nothing startling. High average cruising is perhaps the best feature. I drive regularly from Worcestershire over the Cotswolds on A 44, where sustained speed is a delight. Acceleration is good, 2-40 m.p.h. being possible on second without “over-winding.”
Weather protection is nil, as being tall, I find the view hopelessly restricted, with the “lid” up, by the V-screen and low side pillars, and have therefore dispensed with the use of the hood.
Externally the car is finished in British racing-green, with black wings and silver wheels. I have retained black for the wings as it is easier to ” patch ” stone chippings with black than to match the green exactly. Tyres, 400 by 19, are treated with tyre paint; the spare, carried on the boat-tail, with two coats. The general appearance and the very “healthy” exhaust provoke quite a deal of comment, particularly when getting away from traffic lights of a country town in the evening!
I have contemplated sundry alterations, but have not carried them out, rather having decided to keep the car in its original state. I have seen quite a number of modified M-types, and they have not pleased me nearly so well. Tinkering with old sports cars should not be lightly embarked upon, as the result is so often a conglomeration of unrelated shapes!
Rumour has it that this car, JV 291, has appeared at Brooklands, and I should be glad if anyone could confirm this, or give any news of the earlier days of the car.
Finally, I have enjoyed much sport in this car, which has won a very warm place in my affections for its all-round qualities. — Lieut. A. B. Demans, R.N.V.S.R.