THE TRUTH ABOUT THE T-TYPE
[So much tripe and twaddle has been published recently about the T-type M.G. Midget that we are glad to print these notes by Pat Salley, about his 1939 ” T.A.”—Echj TBIS particular sports car is one of the o most popular n the road to-day, and I decided to pureltase sine only after a very close study of its successes in trials and rallies in the hands of private owrers over a period of two-and-a-half years. Before continuing any further witit this article, let me assure all readers of Mtaroa fikoaT that I am not going to make any fantastic claims for speeds in the region of 90-96 m.p.h., although I must confess
that, as this particular car will be baying a very strenuous time after the war in trials, speed events, sports car races, and rallies, etc., I would be very grateful if anyone could inform me how to reach speeds in the 90s.
The :apeedi given below were taken by stop-watch, and the maximum speed over the flying quarter was accomplished with two up, under ideal weather conditions. The car was purchased new in April 1939 ; and to ensure that it had the very careful running-in that is so necessary for troublefree motoring later on, I decided to go dawn to Abingdon and take personal delivery of it. Right from the very start, Duckham’s ” Acoids ” have been used as an upper-cylinder lubricant, and after four-and -a-half thousand miles had been covered ” Rettex ” was mixed with the oil in the sump, gearbox, and back axle, and occasionally injected through the carburetters.
A careful ruaning-in period covered some 2,000 miles in which great care was taken to ensure that the engine was never given the chance to labour in high gear at any time, and all nuts, belts, screws, etc., on engine, chassis and coaclavork were constantly tightened as the car begat) to bed down. When the speedon.eter read 2,000 miles, the engine had been taken up AS far as 5,000 r.pan. in very short bursts. A modification also carried out ‘during the running-in was the fitting of a silencing System that gave just a little bit more bark than the standard. The Burgess Silencer and piping was taken Off, and the Silencer was re-sleeved straight through With 2-inch copper ; from the silencer I had 5 ft. 8 in. of copper pipe leading out to the back of the car, capped with a 9-in. Derrington ” Brooklands ” aluminium fishtail. A very smooth and pleasing note . was the result, and on the overrun a nice healthy crackle. It Ni. as quite amusing to uatelt the expressions on the faces of other ” T ” owners as I went by, because this particular model is usually vela (pact as regards exhaust noise. One of the first things I found out was that the speedometer was actually 6 per cent. fast at 80 m.p.h., i.e., when the speedometer was showing 80 the actual Speed was 74 m.p.h. The revolutiontaunter was found to be geared to run in sympathy with the speedometer. Before I de-coked, these were the best figures obtained : Acceleration through the gears to 50 maple, 15.84 sees, ; through the gears to 60 m.p.h., 19.28 sees. Maximum Speed Over the flying quarter, 80.45 m.p.h. Al! these figures were obtained with a stopwatch, and the car carried two up, and had the windscreen folded flat, but aero screens in izOsitiOn To be perfectly honest, I was not satisfied with these results, aad decided that perhaps a de-coke might improve matters. At 8,000 miles this NV a S carried out, although when the cylinder-head was removed I was surprised to see so little carbon, and the valves were not pitted in the slightest. The cylinder-head was polished up, valves carefully ground-in
and finished off with metal polish, the inlet and exhaust ports were smoothed out, the ignition was slightly advanced, a.rtct the carliuretters reset. ‘1’lle sump, gearbox, and back axle were given a quantity of Redex mixed in with the oil. After everything had been reassembled again the following figures were obtained, again all against the stop-wa Through the gears to SO m.p.h.. 15.00 sees. (Later improved to 14 secs.) Through the gears to 60 to .p.h.,18.03 secs. Maximum speed in 3rd gent., 69.38 m.p.h. „ „ 2nd „ 48.2 I P/ „ „ Top „ 88,27 „ I was so pleased with these results ob
tained by nothing more than a careful de-poke that I immediately got in touch with the dealers who supplied me with the car, and took their chief tester out for a run on which a practically identical set of figures were obtained, the only differenee on this occasion being that I managed to get 0-50 in 14 seconds. He was quite surprised on handlina the car for himself, and admitted that it was the snappiest ” T ” that his firm had ever sold. Now for actual ” dist-ups ” on the road. I ant afraid that I often used to go deliberately out of my way to find these. The pollee in Derbyshire use ” 1′ ” M.G. Midgets for patrol work, and I have
ilssays been curious to see what these cars could really do ; there is a particular stretch of road leading out of Derby on which it is possible to exceed 90 m.p.h. ith complete safety, but unfortunately it is built up and ” 30 ” signs have been erected. The police cars patrol this road regularly, and always chase anytt ling that looks the slightest bit sport v ; I was well acquainted at it h their hal tits, 1111 always knew where to look when passing side roads. One day I went along this stretch at just on 70, and sure enough out they came after me. I naturally slowed clown to 29.99 stritieht away, whereupon they tueked themselves right hi behind me. Approximately 500 yards from the de-restriction sign I slipped into third, and upon coming level with it gave the motor all it had I The acceleration was really phenomenal, arid I ant afraid I rather left them standing. I sle Veil d WU to the 50s, and then they caught up and passed me (no attempt was made to gong). I tucked in behind and followed ; the fastest that they ever reached was a genuine 74 m.p.h. (They had time hood and side-seams up.) I pulled out on a nice straight stretch and passed them, pulling away with the greatest of ease. They soon disappeared front my driving-mirror, so I pulled up and waited for them to come along. It
aasn’t long before they came upon the smile, stopped, and CAMe across to talk to me. The funny part was that they really seemed to have enjoyed the blind, and were under the impression that my car was blow it ! They admitted that they had been flat out when I passed them, but argued that their car was capable of 85 m.p.h. Nothing I said vvould alter this opinion, so I left them to it.
I vividly remember another occasion, only this time it was a Yank ” and not another M.G. This car had been chasing me fer quite a few miles and I had been motoring in the 70s. The road was rather twisty, so I did not have the slightest trouble in keeping ahead with plenty in hand. I took ti particular corner at 55. I think that that fellow could thank his lucky stars that there was an open grass field bordered by a small hedge Opposite the corner, because he tried to follow me through at the same speed, but couldn’t get round, so had to take the hedge into the field. Luckily there were no fatal results to him or the car, but it just goes to show how positively unsafe sonic of this American ” tinware ” is at times. When the war came along, the M.G. was just being prepared for a strenuous winter of trials work. I had planned lightening the body, fitting cycle-type wings, and retuning the engine, but unfor tunately I was in the Territorial; and was mobilised on 1st September, 1939. During the first year of the war I was stationed near to my home, so continued to use the car regularly, and whenever the
petrel rations permitted. During this time I fitted oversize tyres On the rear wheels, and found that this :greatly helped the road-holding and comfort, but with the ” Pool ” petrol did not improve acceleration in the slightest. In October 1940 my unit was posted up north and I took the Midget with me ; she had a very hectic six weeks up on the N.E. coast in simply vile weather, and never gave the slightest trouble of any kind. Then I am afraid the petrol situation became serious, and I found that I could hardly use the car, so I reluctantly brought it home with me when I came on leave, used it for the period of leave, and then laid it up ; and now every three-and-a-half months, when I get that coveted ” seven days,’ it is dusted up and takes the road again. The maximum speed is still a genuine 80 even now, and if anyone looked at the car they would think that it had just come out of the paintshop. It is quite it fetish with me to keep it spotless, underneath as well as on top, which often causes gasps of wonder when 1 raise the bonnet, as people seem surprised at the beautiful finish. The coachwork has stood up remarkably well, and there are no rattles at all. I attribute this to really regular maintenance ; greasing of the chassis has always been carried out regularly every 500 miles. Oil is always changed every 1,200 miles, and the Tetalemit Filter renewed every 5,000 miles. Petrol has worked out at 32 miles to the gallon (even on Pool), oil after 16,500 miles still well over 300 miles to the pint (Castrol XL has been used exclusively). The only trouble that I have experienced, and still experi ence, Is an excessive heaviness of the
steering. Taking the 1939 ” T.A.” M.G. Midget all round, I think it is a very remarkable little car for the money, and if properly looked after gives a really good performance with reliability. I am now undecided whether to sell it and have a “
11 h.p. M.G. Midget or not ; as I don’t knew anyone who has had any practical expend cc wi th this model, can any MOTOR SPORT readers quote experiments? In conclusi( in, let me say thatI have the greatest admiration for the M.G. Car Company in being able to produce such
an outstandingly good little car at the price. Being rather a “die hard “enthusiast., and having previously ()tined one of their ” K “-type Magnettes, I must admit that I was very sceptical when the original ” ” model was introduced. You will gather_ that since owning One I have altered my opinion. Now all that I am waiting for is the war to finish so that we can get back to the good old days at Donington and Brooklands.