A Tale Of Two MGB GT’S Part Three.

Heading Home, Initial Problems

 

For the first two instalments, please follow these links. A Tale of Two MG MGB GT’S Part One   

A Tale Of Two MGB’s Part Two.

After connecting the sat nav I headed home, ahead of me 250 in changeable conditions and it with it getting dark. For the first few miles it spat back, misfired and generally misbehaved.  

As the engine started to settle down the next issue rose it ugly head. What seemed like smoke started to rise from the dash board. As I pulled over, I prayed to Lucas, the god of old British cars not to let this one burn. 

Now, I have a confession, my sense of smell is not that good, never has been. So there  I was trying see if it was water vapour or smoke. Seeing how it condensed on the windscreen, it must be vapour.  Not ideal. Thankfully I had a few litres with me and it is fairly easy to get more if needed.  This being Britain I could just hold the bottle outside… 

Reading Rush Hour Traffic, Teething issues.

I was guided towards and through Reading. It was now 6 pm and it seemed the city is just a collection of junctions with traffic lights, mostly red. 
When I put the headlights on the fan belt squealed, an indication I should have tightened it. Apart from that and the steam coming from the dashboard the car was settling down.  It wasn’t fair of me to ask it to cope with heavy traffic so soon after getting revived, yet oil pressure was good as was the temperature. 

Finally The Motorway, First Stop, Adjusting The Fan Belt

 

Finally getting to M4, I opened her up. Nothing silly, but this was the first time I’d felt that lovely long-legged cruising ability that MGB’s are renown for. The overdrive clicked in and we sat at 65 mph. After about 15 miles we approached the next service station. An Ideal place for me to tighten the fan belt, check her over and of course stretch my legs. 

The Belt adjusted, wheel bolts checked and I visited the services.  Feeling more confident once again we found ourselves turning west. The next couple of hours was a question dealing with the endless road works and average speed check zones and heading towards my next planned stop at Exeter.  Morris Minor Road Trip Part Two.

 

 

Flat Tyre On The Motorway

 

Entering the roadworks ahead of junction 29 I could hear a flapping, trying to work out what the noise was, for once I was thankful of 50 zone. After almost clearing them, the front right tyre popped. The B was still very controllable and stable as I eased my way towards the hard shoulder. Pulling in behind I large concrete barrier and with road work cone on my right I quickly changed it. Thankful of my foresight of packing a scissor jack. 

A few miles later it started to rain and the drivers wiper  didn’t, the passengers seemed good. It could wait for us to get to Exeter to swap them over.  I pulled into the petrol station not far from where months before I bought Mog from. Finding the best wheel and tyre among the many in the back I used the free air to pump it, then topped the tank up.

 

Diversion, Beans On Toast

 

At this point I should have been heading down the A30, but instead I went down the A38 a few miles to see my friend Jude. After some much needed beans on toast and a mug of coffee. It was time for the final 100 miles or so. Deciding to head back to Exeter and the A30,  rather than the shorter route through the Glynn Valley.

 

Final 100 Miles

 

With the conditions getting worse I carefully eased my way onto the A30. Rain was interchanged with fog. The going was slow, but steady. The rain came down sheets and the fog was thick. The B plodded on, each mile west taking me closer to home. 

Parking her in an unrestricted area, I thanked her,  locked her up and headed to my bed. We made it home, it was 2 am and easier trip than the previous one with Jess.

 

 

Morris Minor Road Trip Part Two.


Part Two.


Mog and I where heading north to see my mother. For part one, please click on this link.Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.

Fixing the Minor Issues.

After saying goodbye to my friend, Mog and I headed off towards the motorway about 15 miles away. On the way stopping to fill up with fuel and hopefully find a good motor factor. 
Being directed to a real gem of one. Karparts of Cainscross (01453 758282.) I wondered why the proprietor smiled so much as I pulled up. After walking into what must be one of the last proper old-fashioned car parts suppliers. The owner knowing every single part and exactly where it is.  After explaining my problem, he suggested I tried this type of leak sealant and perhaps a new radiator cap. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d find one unless I called into a specialist  and the nearest one of those wasn’t accepting over the counter customers.  

After quickly getting both the cap and sealant the owner came out, asking me about Mog. It turned out he has a slightly earlier 1952 Morris Minor. Talk about landing on our feet.  I changed the cap, checked Mog’s levels and headed off after thanking the gent.

Problem Solved. 

Stopping twenty miles later, the cap had fixed it. The leak sealer can stay in Mog’s boot until either I or one of my friends need it.  We headed off to drop in at the Morris Minor Owners Club at Derby to say hello.  The further from Cornwall more Mog and I caused a stir.  To see an early car on the road is unusual.  To add a paddleboard on the roof and people when driving slow down, take pics, wave and generally make us feel very welcome. The majority of other drivers showing consideration and allowing us out to overtake. Sadly, a few having no idea of braking distances would pull into the larger than normal cap.

Meeting the Morris Minor Owners Club. 

We made it to Derby and a very warm welcome from Ray, Liz  and Kate. They were more than slightly bemused to see a moggie with such a large board on the roof. With sensible covid restrictions taken into account I had a guided tour that included seeing the progress of the restoration of the last ever car.  If you have a Morris Minor, please join the club. https://www.mmoc.org.uk/

Arriving at Redcar. 


After another cup of coffee, we left, heading through the centre of Derby towards Redcar and seeing my mother for the first time in 18 months.  
 

Now with confidence in Mog, it was simply a question of taking our time.
We arrived at 5 pm, tired but pleased. My mother’s neighbour even let me borrow his garage to put Mog into. A kind act which was much appreciated. 

I’ll write about our time up there on another blog post.  

Return Trip.  

Yet it possible to include the return trip.  The following Sunday we set off, Redcar to Penryn in a  single day, 440 miles.   It would have been nice to see friends in South Wales, but with restrictions becoming stronger that sadly not possible.  We made good time, reaching Bristol for 1 pm after leaving at 9. I was sure we would be back for an early-ish dinner.  

 

In the past I’ve written about the state of driving on British Roads. How it is possible to drive across France and arrive within expected times. Yet in this country, any long distant journey is like playing Russian Roulette.  This time I lost, the signs warned of delays, up to an hour, but they lied.  

 Motorway Shut at Bristol. 

A big accident at junction 19 meant that all southbound traffic was being directed up and over the junction. We reached the tail of the jam at quarter past one.  After 3 hours of virtually sitting still Mog and I headed off at junction 18 and towards the southern edge of Bristol. Any movement being better than none. The traffic crawled and Mog behaved well. Clearly her cooling system was fine. Finally, by 5 we picked up the southern M5 again near Weston Super Mare. We had lost over 3 1/2 hours.  

Moving again. 

After a quick comfort stop and filling up at Exeter, we headed home down the A30. Finally arriving at 8.30 pm.  A twelve hour trip. Those last few miles being hard on both of us. Mog’s only major breakdown being my fault for running to many amps through a switch never designed for it.  Coming to a halt outside my place. Thankfully my neighbour moved his car to allow me to freewheel back into a parking spot.

 

Arrival and conclusion.

After all the problems I’d never thought it would be possible to drive a 68-year-old car so far. Yet the only major problem was due to me.  We proved that a small economy car designed over 70 years ago is still capable of long-distance travel.   
It makes me question what we have lost and gained in those intervening years. For some reason I struggle to imagine in 70 years time a Toyota Yaris inspiring the same passion, let alone the more disposable modern cars. 

Yet, it would be possible for  a Morris Minor to still be going and that makes me smile.

Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.


“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.” Wrote Robert Louis Stephenson in 1881. Red in the Shawshank Redemption narrates at the end of the film, “I feel like a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.”
 

Before leaving.

Two weeks ago, I loaded Mog my 1952 Morris Minor up and prepared to leave on a long journey. Here was a car that hadn’t been on the road for ten years until only a few short months before. After I completed the initial welding work had an immense amount done as what could fail did. The fews week prior had seen me change a gearbox, passenger front wing, weld in two large repair panels due to a bodge creating a rust trap, a rear axle, two brake pipes, several oil seals. Oh, and another oil change. Buying a Morris Minor.

 

In the days of tall ships, the saying was, one hand for the ship, one for the sailor. The modern version went, the boot is for the car, the interior for me. Carrying more spares and tools than some mobile mechanics.   Yes, I was overprepared, but still  not enough.  With my paddleboard on the roof, clothes, paddles, wetsuit on the backseat off we set.  Filling up at Truro the next stop would be just before the M5 at Exeter, not far from where I got Mog from.  MX5 Goodbye.

Initial 100 Miles.

Those first 90 miles were a shake down, and if not shake they certainly rattled. We headed off up the A30. Where I found to my pleasure that with all the work completed Mog would sit at 55 to 60 MPH, well unless the hill was steep… The Paddleboard affected her crosswind handling a little, ensuring a mild tail waggle in certain conditions. Nothing to worry about, just to be aware and take account of.  

Early Issues.

 No, the biggest issue was the rattle coming from the gearbox selector cup. One that amplified leading  to a deeper understanding of those who suffer tinnitus. Running locally not an issue, but after an hour or so, wearing.  Working out that the lightest pressure damped it and remembering that I had a couple of shorter bungee cords in the boot it meant that when we stopped, I was sure it could get sorted.  
 

We pulled into the well known supermarket at Exeter, 90 miles into an initial 230. Filling up cost £14 of the premium fuel, not too bad considering. After giving Mog a quick visual check over followed by her oil and water off we headed for coffee stop at Taunton Deane. With the less steep gradients on the motorway Mog would easily keep up with the slower traffic. The rattle from the gear lever fixed with a combination of bungee cord and hairband. Yet my radar pinged.

Loosing water.


It is said that those who have been around older machinery often develop a sixth sense when it comes to problems. I pulled to a stop mine was on overload. Popping her bonnet, oil was fine, but water was down. Clearly there was an issue with her cooling system. After checking all the hoses and fastenings and topping her up we pulled tentatively back onto the motorway.   Running the heater and pulling in every 20 miles or so. On the second stop there was a discarded 5 litre container.  For once being thankful for our selfish society I quickly wiped it down and refilled it.

For the next 100 miles or so that was how we travelled, slow but steady.  Thankfully not to far to our stop,  a deluxe garden shed high up on the hills in Gloucestershire.  

We had made it, tired, I  even had a paddle on the Stroudwater canal. 

Tomorrow could wait, time for a beer and dinner.