Sadly, I am no longer able to drive – not that there was much pleasure to be had from that activity from the 1970s onwards, but back in the 1960’s, when motoring could still be fun, I was briefly the proud owner of a pretty little restored 1937 TA MG. Reg. No. BAB 101. she was supposed to have been an 18th birthday present from my father, who had always wanted one as a wartime RAF Officer, but had to make do with a huge black Talbot saloon. (see his unfortunate experience with the Wilson epicyclic gearbox in this conveyance related in the (http://www.britishtransporttreasures.com/product/railcar-progress-1958-self-changing-gears-ltd-ebook). This was required for use in the Black Market egg racket which he ran in partnership with another Officer, aptly named Crook, subsequently Mayor of one of the Lancashire mill towns and the RAF station Medical Officer later to come to grief as an expensive abortionist to the upper echelons of Liverpool and Manchester society. But I digress. Secretly, my father hoped to be able to do a fair bit of motoring in the MG himself.
My ownership was brief, because the restoration was largely cosmetic. She gave much mechanical trouble, and had a terrible thirst for petrol. With only 8-10 mpg , even with petrol at 4/6d gallon (22.5p!) on my then salary of £4/10/6d per week, she became an impossible luxury.
In those days there was a wide range of back-street mechanics in business under railway arches, in old Nissen huts – even in premises which had originally been built to house a different kind of horsepower. Sadly I went the rounds of these one man bands, having the twin carburetors balanced – never achieved, timing adjusted, new plugs, etc. all to no avail . The thing that struck me was that although these establishments enjoyed different levels of prosperity, their prices were all very similar. Now I know why – this (dating from 1921) or a similar updated publication must have been available to them. Over 90 years ago, the motor trade was already gearing up to rip off the unsuspecting motorist!
What happened to the MG? My father met a man in a pub, and sold it to him for£100 and a 1958 3-cylinder two-stroke DKW Auto Union Cabriolet… No, I had never heard of such a thing either. It had been brought over by a serviceman from BAOR on returning to England, and as far as I could establish, was the only one of its kind in the whole of Yorkshire. A whole new set of troubles were about to beset me…
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