1934 Minor two seater
This car has an extensive history as a trials car up to 1939 and the story is told in an article in Autocar. The picture shows it in 1935 with J.C.G. (Jack) Bond at the wheel and some of the modifications that he made are visible. These include the badges, extra lights and wheel spinners as well as the Andre Hartford shock absorbers and Brooklands steering wheel. A year later he added the larger headlamps that are still on the car. Other modifications that were made were a tuned engine and an MG M type prop shaft because of vibration at 70mph at 5000rpm. Before he sold it he did 78,500 miles with only one engine rebuild which says a lot about the strength of the side valve engine which only has two main bearings.
Nothing is known about the car after the war until it was bought from a scrapyard in Southampton in 1977 where it had been stored under cover. The picture taken at this time shows that apart from the loss of its running boards and front wings it retains most of its original components including those headlamps. The steering wheel and modified dashboard can be seen clearly in the original photograph and the scuttle mounted side lamp is fitted where the spot lamp is in the earlier picture. When the original door casings were remade a tax disc dated 1957 was found in one of the pockets so it is likely that that was the last time the car was used. Certainly the state of the tyres suggests that it is unlikely to have passed the MOT test which was introduced in 1960.
By 1990, when I bought the car it was described as restored but needing paint and trim. The mechanical parts had been overhauled and with the body in primer it looked a quick and simple task to get it back on the road. These pictures show it after assembling all of the components to see what it would like when complete.
The engine is not the original which would have had a different head and manifold. The car came with a spare engine in pieces and the original gearbox. The high mileage and heavy competition use meant that the original engine was worn as was the first motion shaft of the gearbox. The blue ignition leads and moulded suppressers are clearly not original and have been replaced with more appropriate components. The galvanised steel clad plywood bulkhead appears to be the original and contains many extra holes. When a 6v Scintilla coil was found which matched the one that is described in the article it was found that one pair of holes was an exact match for the coil which was mounted on the bulkhead rather than the more vulnerable factory position on the steering column. A new battery was fitted and the engine started easily on the starter despite standing for a couple of years. Now that the battery is 10 years old it is much more reluctant to start!
After some hard work on the panels the body and wings were ready for painting. What the lead oxide didn't show was the state of the rear panel. This is fairly flat and it shows the marks of the help that it needed going up hills during its trials career. The picture shows the high spots that became apparent during this part of the process. Not all of the contours were made by willing helpers as there were a couple of places where heavy items in the boot have made their impact. The bright yellow primer was good for finding uneven areas but it shows up well when the black top coat is chipped, grey primer isn't quite so bad.
With its paint competed and most of the other body components reattached it is starting to look like its 30s pictures. At this point (1992) it looks as though it needs only a small amount of work to get it on the road again. New tyres were needed and the observant will have noticed that the front and back tyres were a different size. At some time in its time as a trials car new rear wheels were made up from the original hubs with Eight rims to take 4.50x17 tyres. The spokes were laced to the inner flange and the well resulting in an increased track. The standard lacing for the Minor is all spokes are laced to the well, while the Eight's are laced to the outer flange and well. This probably means that the wheels were made at a time when the blank rims were available (1935-7) and may indicate that the Minor team cars had unofficial factory support.
By the end of 1992 five correct wheels and tyres had been bought. The wiring and lights had been installed so the car looks looks as though it would soon be roadworthy. The only items missing in this picture are the windscreen and the hood. The original brass frame for the windscreen needed to be brazed as it had broken in the past and the repair did not have the correct profile.
Although although of the original interior trim came with the car it was well worn as this picture of the seat shows. Sunlight had dried the driver's side which was extensively cracked. It was decided to make exact reproductions of the trim using the originals as patterns. Although the seat base and backrest were leather the remainder of the trim was in leathercloth (Karhyde). Examination of unfaded parts of both materials showed that the leather was considerably darker shade of brown that the leathercloth. Although the difference looked slightly odd when the trim was new, five years wear and weathering make the differences difficult to spot.
1996 and finished at last, this picture was taken on return from it's first MOT test ever. The main reason for the delay was that soon after the previous picture was taken we moved to a new house. This meant that the Minor sat in the garage until the new house was sorted out. The windscreen was brazed, the only item I could not do myself as my efforts gave the correct shape but I found it impossible to do the work with an arc welder, it needed gas. The chroming was carried out, (slowly, does anyone know a plater who works to a reasonable timeframe and doesn't lose parts?). The badge bar also serves to help to prevent the front wings from flapping as the original wing supports were lost when the cycle wings were fitted. Surprisingly the hood shown in the 1977 picture could still be fitted although it had shrunk in storage.
This is one of its first events although it didn't have to travel very far, it has just emerged from its garage. The two seater Eight on the left is a pre-series car and the sporty looking four seat tourer on the other side is a 10/6 special.
This picture was taken on the same day (1997) as the view from the members bridge at Brooklands on the home page. Nearest to the camera is a '34 four seat tourer which is next to an early ohc equivalent. AYF has its original hood erected and there are some badges on the badge bar. At the far end is the immaculate 10/4 tourer who also owned the 10/6 special.
Since then the car has been on a number of club runs and now has a new hood and the correct V shaped radiator grille. It also has a rev counter driven from the back of the dynamo and even the block of wood which raised the front of the seat has been put back to provide a more comfortable position even for my 6ft frame.