Fond Memories

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Sir,

I very much enjoyed the report on the MG’s, TC and TD what fond memories they brought back. My first sports car was a 1951 TD which I traded a 1951 Pontiac coupe even to a fellow that needed to pull a trailer. Had great fun with that little MG, got involved in rallies, gymkhanas, bit of racing, and just enjoying open-air motoring. In rallying in the southern California area, one often found the route was part mountain and part desert and I soon found it difficult to make up lost or down time in the hills. When the engine began to get noisy, we took it apart for a rebuild, which included a bore to 1,305 c.c., raised the compression ratio to 81 to 1, a different camshaft, and the old South California hot-rod detail of polishing and relieving the intake and exhaust ports. This improved the performance a bit, could stay with the L-head Ford V8s of that cra, and run up to about 92 m.p.h. at about 6,200 r.p.m. But I still envied my friend’s Jaguar XK 120’S effortless power in those mountain rallies, so I bought his 54 roadster in 1957 and sold the TD. I still have the Jaguar and enjoy it immensely, using it on rallies, speed events and concours. I drove it in the Historic Car Races at Monterey in 1976 when it was the tribute to Jaguar but had some slight mechanical ills that meant a DNF as I had to drive it 360 miles to home the next day. The problem was loose timing chain, two stuck or sticking valves, and a broken-off shift knob (fixed with a large nut and a small file and an hour’s work). I’ll be back with my XK 140 next year as my ISO has a concours 3 weeks after the races and it is hard to run a speed event and show your car at the same time. I have thoroughly enjoyed Motor Sport magazine since 1954 and hope to continue (if I can get Standard House to use my corrected street number) for twice as long. One final thing I might add, I am on the lookout for an MG TD to restore for my wife to drive, she liked the old one and is too short for the Jaguar, but adjusts nice and easy in our XJ6. Incidentally, the Jaguar XJ6 gets my vote for the best handling 4-door sedan, on a trip down California’s Coast Highway One from San Francisco to Monterey, it easily out-cornered a Porsche 911 Targa that was really trying.

USA, California BRUCE CARNACHAN