Butch Works, David & George do Inventory

Butch Howe

Butch checks a wiring harness before installation

George and I are engaged in the end of the year ritual known as “inventory”.  We have quite a bit of it and is extremely compressed and I’m hopeful but not very confident that we can get through it in about a week.  Some of it can be seen to the left of Patrick’s toolbox and to the right of the window this afternoon’s high winds sucked the glass out of which is  now temporarily covered with cardboard.

On the upper shelves are instruments, mostly tachometers and oil pressure/water temperature gauges, and then in descending order, temp. senders, voltage stabilizers, speedometer cables, mirrors, “P” clips, seat belts, lights, lenses and sub-harnesses for things like headlights & overdrives.  You get the idea.  It will take about two and a half hours for the two of us to do this shelf.


installing a wiring harness

And installs it in the gunmetal grey E-type

It’s not as bad, however as it used to be when I worked at Abingdon Spares and we did inventory in June because it was the end of the fiscal year, which coincided very nicely with the busy season, and we counted every last nut, bolt and chrome pan head screw.  It’s much more efficient to weight them, but Abingdon Spares was, and is, very Olde Worlde about that kind of stuff.  Well we have our own challenges based on space, or more accurately the lack thereof, and some of our bin boxes have as many as 20 different small parts in them.  Think carburetor parts, for instance.


Jay & Nate @ W.C.C.

The rapture (see text)

As planned, I did make it down to the blasters in Agawam on Monday  to retrieve the MG TF frame, and later I did deliver it to Windham Coach & Carriage in Brattleboro, where Jay is seen here dancing a small jig because he already has a shop full of work.  I offered to bring it back on a date certain, but he allowed as how conditions were unlikely to substantially improve between now and whenever that turned out to be, so it was best to just leave it, which I did.  Jay & Nate (on the right) will measure it up and the next time you see it, it will be in chassis black.  Hopefully, we’ll also be seeing the E-type’s front suspension back from Westfield Electroplating next week and that  will allow us to turn the gunmetal grey E-type back into a roller again.

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MG TF Progress Report

MG on a winter road

Rush Hour

Around here we were greeted with a heavy snow fall the day before Thanksgiving and we haven’t seen bare ground since.  The weather pattern of the last week has been a little snow, a little sleet, a little freezing rain ad naseum.  This is the driver’s view from  what may be the last MG in daily service in the Northeast at this time of the year.  An MGB GT on studded snow tires that starts easily in cold weather, as this one does, is entirely suitible for winter driving conditions.  I speak from experience, this car has been in service since 2007, replacing the one which entered service in 2001.  Not much heat, but entirely competent in limited traction situations.

parts hangine to dry

Not Mistletoe

First up on next Monday’s agenda is to retrieve the TF chassis from the blasters in Agawam.  The plan is to drop it off woth our friend Jay at Windham Coach & Carriage in Brattleboro to check it for straight and then bolt the suspension back in inorder to turn it into a roller again at which point we’ll ship it off to Mark Goyette to reassemble the body.

In this picture most of the front and some of the rear suspension is hanging from the main carrying beam in the cellar of the shop.  that big lump in the back corner is an XK 140 chassis suspended like the Sword of Damocles over my Moggy.

MG TF axle casings

Work in Progress

While George was painting I was blasting the rear axle housings which I pulled apart and washed up yesterday.  The left housing has been blasted while the right housing awaits (in the foreground is a front spring pan and some a-arms).  Once the R/H housing is done they we’ll send them out to be pressure washed before painting them.

Butch spent part of the day today stripping and cleaning the steering rack for the Gunmetal Grey E-type.  You can anticipate a more complete report on that next week.  With pictures.

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We Do It All, Sort of

Ernest Hillier & Butch Howe

Butch expounds, Ernest listens

Ernest Hillier is a skilled upholsterer.    Fortunately for us he’s taking fiddle lessons from Amy across the road, and one day Ernest said, “Amy, what’s with all those sports cars down there ?”,  and she told him.  In as much as Ernest is also a member of The Loyal Order of Owners And Admirers  of The Immortal and Ubiquitous MGB, we bonded immediately.

This solved a huge problem for us because we’re going 10/10ths on the series One 4.2 E-type in the foreground and we really wanted to conquer the rest of the world by the time we’re done.  If you’d like to know more about Ernest’s resume just google him at Ernest Hillier.com.

George & Butch

George scatters while Butch gazes upwards

George got the MG TF rolling chassis from Glens Falls, New York pulled apart last week, and because space is always tight around here, Saturday morning Patrick and I hung up the frame above bay #1.  Although Butch possibly looks startled, and it may appear as if George is fleeing for his life, it’s  the third time in the last few years we’ve utilized the space for this exact purpose. In point of fact we were just setting up to retrieve it from its temporary domicile in order to load it on the truck for delivery to the blasters  earlier today.

roadside relics

Out on the Lonesome Highway

The temperature dropped quite precipitously overnight so your scribe decided to take advantage of a  small window of opportunity in  the middle of the spate of  sloppy weather we’re going through right now.  So it was down to the blasters in Agawam and from there to the plating shop in Westfield with the E-type front suspension, a drop-off of the XPAG TDC block from the failed rebuild for cleaning, and finally a stop to see Jeff at Keene Driveline about the installation of a Thornton Powr-Loc into the rear axle of my XK 140, all accomplished by noon today.

The roadside relics seen here were on Rte. 22 in Granville, New York on the way back from Glens Falls two weeks ago with the TF.

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We Pick Up Where Others Leave Off

MG TF body tub

Former MG TF

Tom Hoy was a mighty lucky guy.  When he sensed a ‘lack of progress’ he pulled his MG out of the restoration shop shortly before the fire that burned the place down.  In fairness they’d done a pretty good job of tearing down a pretty good car, and apart from the driver’s seat and the front & rear valances it looks like it’s mostly all there, and if push comes to shove, we can always convert it to right hand drive.  Seen here are Patrick & Warner walking the body tub over to the barn for storage.

severe camber

Allard-like Suspension

This photo is from Tuesday.  We had just unbolted the front shocks while they were clear of the bump stops to relieve the stored energy in the front springs.  This makes disassembly a bit safer.  As of Wednesday the chassis has been torn down to the bare frame which we’ll send  out to the blasters to strip the surface rust.  After an application of chassis paint it will be time to start putting everything back together.

pedal shaft assy.

George got it

I like this photo because it reminds me of an Allard trials car with the front suspension fully unloaded at the top of a hill in the English countryside somewhere around 1948.

A common wear item on TD’s & TF’s is the clutch pedal shaft.  The grease fitting on the end of it, which is outside the frame on the driver’s side is commonly neglected with the result that the brake pedals often times have a sideways wobble of a couple of inches.  This is a miserable job when done in the car because there’s not much room for your hands, head, droplight, wrenches &  elbows in the small amount of space between the steering wheel above you and the pedals underneath it.  Failure to attend to it when the body tub is off the frame with the  superior access which results is a very big mistake.

MGA on test Monday


Spitfire in snow


The weather took a 90 degree turn this week.  Monday saw the temperature hit 60 in the afternoon, and by late Wednesday afternoon we had a foot of snow and counting, courtesy of an early season Northeaster.  This did not stop us from getting the long dormant Texas Spitfire out for an initial test, Butch ran it out onto the Westminster West road and up into the barn as we’re taking a long Thanksgiving holiday break now.

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