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1949 MG TC
(Built 4/22/1948)

"Wildflower"

TC5308/XPAG 5993

'The Red Car'
turns out
to be
Yellow
 

 

The Restoration of TC5308 in photos!

TC Tech & Library Page

June 3, 2017 - Local Drive - I had thought you could register day of the event, but found out that the Moss Brit Fest was pre-registered only, and that had to be done back in May!   Rather than spend 3 hours on the road just to leave Wildflower in general parking, I decided to skip the show and attack my laundry room, which was stuffed with old car parts.  I found a box of new parts for the 1967 Cougar I sold 2 years ago, plus a nice Raydyot chrome spotlight I had forgotten about!  However, poor Wildflower was all cleaned up with no place to go, so I took her for a nice long drive out to Richard's, and then to a party at a friend's house out in the country.  She ran great, as always, and got a lot of attention on the road.
June 1, 2017 - TCs Forever More -  Long before I ever thought I could drive, much less own a TC, I heard about a terrific new book called TCs Forever, written by Michael Sherrell of Australia.  As I happened to be in Australia at the time, I called him up and bought a copy.  That was back in 1991, 18 years before I bought Wildflower.  The book was a great resource and fascinating read, and is now widely regarded as the 'bible' for MG TC restoration.  Mr. Sherrell just published a sequel titled TCs Forever More, and I snagged a signed copy that arrived today.  As a tribute to Mr. Sherrell, one of the few badges on the front of Wildflower is a club badge for his TC Owner's Club - wrangled through some trading of other club badges.  I took some time tonight to get Wildflower ready for her first long drive in a good while - an outing to Moss Motors in Petersburg this weekend.  They are having their annual British Car Fest, and Eleanor will be rolling up as well. 
May 4, 2017 - Time for Change -  Of oil.  It has been a while since Wildflower had her engine lubricant renewed - it was a dark black color, and looked pretty nasty.  Her high-revving engine tends to dirty oil up fairly quickly.  She has a Moss spin-on oil filter adapter and uses a PL201095 or PH 3600 filter.  Makes for a much simpler oil change!  Anyway, the TC is all ready for this weekend's Square Car Tour.
March 26, 2017 - Drip Deterrent -  As often happens with ladies (and gentlemen) of Wildflower's years, she has a minor issue with incontinence.  Most of these are limited to spots of oil or grease, which is considered normal for her family.  However, she has also had a long-term drop from the petrol tank which is not so normal - or safe.  I pulled the drain plug and the fuel tank adapter (at right) to clean up threads and install new fibre washers.  I also sealed the threads with Hylomar, a special fuel-proof sealant I used with great success on the sending unit.  I added 3 gallons of gas and put white paper towels under the area it has been dripping.  After about five hours, the towel was still dry and clean.  I have hopes that Wildflower will drip fuel no more!
January 22, 2017 - Ready to Go - Amazon actually got the replacement tire to me within a week, but then I mislaid the valve stem tool and had to get another.  Weather and other activities have kept me busy, but today I finally made the trek to Northern Tool and then attacked the spare.  Wildflower is all back together and ready to go now - though given the really ugly weather (damp, cloudy, cool) I am not planning to get her out any time soon.
January 3, 2017 - Evil Nails and Bad Tubes - I finally got around to working on Wildflower's flat spare.  The cause was pretty obvious once I checked the tire over - don't know how we missed that long staple or nail before.  I had ordered a new tube and liner from Amazon and got it in a few weeks ago.  I pulled the tire completely off the rim last night and checked it carefully just to make sure there was nothing else wrong, then put it back together with the new tube.  However, the end of the tube stem snapped off when I mounted the tire!  Never had that happen before, and if have mounted a LOT of tires for Wildflower.  Luckily, Amazon warranties the tube and is already sending a replacement.  I'll pay close attention to the stem this time.  Must be a weak link in Kenda tubes
November 27, 2016 - Deja-Vu? - Some of my MG buddies were up for another fun run today, and we rolled out with Wildflower in the lead for a drive to Chesapeake's Northwest River Park and then Blue Pete's Restaurant in Virginia Beach for lunch.  The Hall's were in their MGB-GT, and this time Hilary and Jack Pavlidis were in Jack's MGB-GT.  The Bonds were traveling back form holiday visitation.  All went well until Wildflower started an oddly familiar weaving.  When we pulled into Northwest River park, the left rear tire was flat!  This is with a brand new tube.  I'll have to pull the tire off and inspect it for a hidden nail or other issue that caused the repeat flat.  A quick change, at least, and we finished the run with no other troubles.  And lunch was not only great, but paid for by Jack!
October 29, 2016 - Fun Run - Some friends and I took advantage of today's beautiful clear skies and mild temperatures for an old car fun run to Coinjock NC and back. Richard and Sandy Hall led the way in their MGB-GT, with Terry and Sue Bond in their near-twin MGB-GT, me in Wildflower (49 MG TC), and Hillary and Jack Pavlidis in the 1967 Mercury Cougar that used to be Wildflower's stable-mate. It was a fun drive, with great food at the Coinjock Marina. On the way back, Wildflower started weaving and I stopped to discover that the left rear tire was flat. It was easy to change out, and we finished up with no further incidents. I found out that the tire had slipped on the chrome rim and torn the valve stem off - too much torque from the 54.5 HP 4-cylinder engine! All fixed now with a metal-stemmed motorcycle tube.
October 16, 2016 - Gas-stick distress - I made an unhappy discovery the morning of Classics on the Green - the stainless steel fuel level stick had come apart and fallen down into the tank.  The cap and pull were set aside until today, when I got brave and used a flashlight to see just how bad it was.  Turns out the TC fuel tank has full baffle plates and the stick was upright and within easy reach of needle-nose pliers!  (far left image)After fishing the stick out, I put it back together, this time putting Loc-Tite on the screw.  Hopefully it won't back out again.
September 18, 2016 - Classics on the Green - We rolled up to New Kent at a steady 60-65 and Wildflower never missed a beat up or back.  Not that she doesn't usually run well, but it was a good sign that the Pertronix does at least as well as points with no adjustment needed.  Another plus was a much cleaner engine bay after the 150+ mile round trip thanks to the new oil filler lid and valve cover gaskets.  Not so great was the show itself - the special display had a bunch of nondescript American cars stuck in it, with more on the field, including a 2005 Pontiac G8 sedan.  A sad indication that what has been a really classy event is becoming yet another 'shopping center parking lot show' where they will let in anyone who is willing to pay the registration fee.  This may be Wildflower's last trip to New Kent.  However, there was a friend on the field - Richard and Sandy brought their 1959 MGA roadster Ginger (aka The Blue Nun) out from Chesapeake for its first show.
September 16, 2016 - Spare Care - A slip of the hammer when I was putting the cleaned spare back on chipped the enameled MG badge, so I ordered a new one from Moss.  Getting the old one off turned out to be harder than expected, and I ruined it completely.  Turns out it is not only threaded on, but has a cotter pin hidden inside that locks it in place!  The replacement cost me $60 - I will be a lot more careful with the knockoff hammer in the future!
September 14, 2016 - Original Wheel - Wildflower is pretty much ready for Classic on the Green this Sunday, other than  final wash-up.  Her original three-spoke black steering wheel is in place, she has a new valve cover gasket and a hand-crafted new cork gasket for the oil fill cap, new Pertronix electronic ignition, carb leaks fixed, and a new tire. She is part of a special display this year for 'Trendsetting Designs in Automotive History' - should be a fun time.  A 70-mile drive to New Kent will start the day off, as Wildflower is not a trailer queen!
September 13, 2016 - Re-tired - Thanks to a solid front axle, extreme toe-in, and possible damage in the distant past, the TC eats front tires up pretty quickly.  Granted, I've put close to 7,000 miles on the car, but that's three left front and two right front tires.  Bias ply doesn't last like radials, of course.  At least I can do the job myself in such a way the chrome wheel doesn't get scratched and the tube doesn't get pinched.  The right front tire had worn down almost to the casing in the center - it started out just like the new tire in front.
September 10, 2016 - Idle Gossip - The TC has had a very high idle for a long time now that did not respond to adjustments of the carburetor or hauling back on the gas pedal.  Which indicated an air leak at the carbs.  Best Bud and SU Guru Chip came over and supervised as I went searching and we found the culprit(s).  The carb base bolts had no washers (I think from the factory) and had dug into the carb bases enough create some small leaks, and the bottom bolt on the rear carb was loose enough to allow some carb wiggle when the top bolt was removed.  I added stainless steel flat and lock washers to all four bolts, tightened things down, and now have a nice, steady 800 RPM idle!  I also got the rear wheels and fender wells cleaned up, along with the spare and gas tank straps.  Just need to get the new tire mounted for the right front and finish cleanup before next Sunday's Classics on the Green Show in New Kent, VA.
September 5, 2016 - Pointless Effort - Back when I first bought the TC in 2009, I ordered a Pertronix electronic ignition conversion kit.  It took me seven years to finally install it.  As you can see, the difference between the points system (top left) and the Pertronix system (top right) is pretty drastic - the Pertronix kit completely replaced the entire points/condenser plate.  The original ground wire from the coil to the distributor now goes directly to ground - I coiled it and tied it to the fuel line out of site.  The entire setup can be easily converted back to the original setup - I even have a spare TC distributor ready to drop in.  The car started right up afterwards - the conversion does not change the timing, only eliminates the issues of dealing with points.  It also eliminates the occasional issues I have had with the tach gearbox rotating around, as the distributor points stud is no longer there to ground out. I also changed the oil in the transmission and rear axle, using the factory specified straight 140 weight.
August 20, 2016 - Garage Tour - My antique car club has a tour of four really amazing member garages today, and more than one person on the tour had British iron.  In addition to the propane-V-8 Morgan on the right, you'll see Eleanor's blue backside in the center, and a bit further back, the Bond's MGB-GT.  We got places of honor at one of the stops.  Wildflower did great except for a minor hiccup when the tach gearbox loosed up and rotated down to ground out the distributor lead.  An easy fix, just annoying.  I need to insulate the distributor lead so it doesn't happen again.
July 24, 2016 - Mosey to Moss - The TC has not been out much due to threats of rain almost every weekend.  So given a (very) sunny day and an antique car club trip that included a stop at Moss Motors in Petersburg, I  rolled her out with Chip along for the ride.  The TC was by far the oldest car on the run, with the next oldest being a 1961 Mercedes 190 that turned tail and headed home after the first stop. The only other 'antique' to make the whole trek was a 1991 Mercury Marquis!  Despite 200 miles in 100-degree heat running highway speeds, Wildflower ran perfectly and got her usual horn honks and waves from other motorists.  When we got to Moss, she was given a place of honor at the front doors under the canopy.  She also graciously consented to bringing back parts for the MGA.  Other than some bumps from rough roads and potholes, the ride was smooth and comfortable, and since we kept rolling most of the time, even the heat was not an issue.  This was a good warm-up (pun intended) for the Classic on the Green show on September 18th, where Wildflower has been invited to be part of a special display "Trendsetting Designs in Automotive History."
May 14, 2016 - Square Car Trio - OK, the MGA isn't really 'square', but we were all on our car club's "Square Car Tour,' a 60-mile cruise through country roads.  Susan had Eleanor out, and the red MGA belongs to Jack Pavlidis.  His is a a couple of years newer, but pretty much what I am hoping to end up with my MGA.  Anyway, after sitting since the end of January, Wildflower fired right up and carried me and buddy Chip almost flawlessly.  The only glitch came when some of the wires in the turn signal switch came loose, and I had to wait until I got home to get them hooked back up.  So I used hand signals and we zipped along with no real issues at all.  All fixed now.
January 31, 2016 - This is Winter? - Today was sunny with a high of 69 degrees, so I figured Wildflower was due for some road time.  Luckily I decided to make a long-overdue check of fluids and discovered that both the transmission and rear axle were low.  An easy fix as the appropriate gear oil was in stock.  Then it was of to Richard's via Interstate and some nice two-lane country roads.  I even got a couple of slides in!  Once at Richard's we got 3/4 of the way through rebuilding the seats of his 1972 MGB-GT - the last seat back still had wet paint. I also got to see Fred, my former 1967 Cougar, whose owner brought the car by Richard's while we were working.  She is sprucing him up quite a bit - though I should also note that 'he' has gone back to being 'Miss Kitty.'  I headed from there to my parents', and home tonight.  One minor glitch - the wire for the left turn signal came loose from the switch on the way home and will have to be put back in place. Other than that the car ran perfectly, and of course, got plenty of waves and honks from other drivers.
December 26, 2015 - MG-MC December Drive - With record-setting warm temperatures and a long holiday weekend, the MG crowd gathered at Richard's this morning for what is becoming a regular event - an MG Drive.  Richard drove his MGB-GT because his TC was acting up, Terry and Sue had Eleanor, and Jack had his MGB-GT.  This time we added Hillary's Miss Kitty (formerly Fred), a 1967 Cougar that used to be Wildflower's stable mate.  Mercury Cougar = MC. Sandy rode with Hillary.  Richard led us on a great ride through country roads, with no traffic and almost no lights.  The weather was perfect for British cars - misty, then partially sunny, then fogging up.  After a pleasant and uneventful drive, we ended at a great seafood restaurant in Sandbridge called Margie and Ray;'s.  Scallops, shrimp and she-crab soup.  And then home again.  It was a great way to spend the day and catch up with friends.  And three of the five cars are or were mine at one time!  Bob and Pam, we were thinking about you!
December 15, 2015 - Xmas Light Run - The local MG Club had its annual run through the Holiday Lights display at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  We started off at Franco's Italian Restaurant for a chance to socialize and have a great dinner.  If you look on the far side of the while MGB, you'll see Eleanor, who brought her two humans for the event.  Wildflower and I ended up rolling home after dinner, as I had already seen this year's light display, and idling for an hour through the show is a little hard on her clutch.  It was unseasonably warm for a change, in the upper 60s even at night.  We have made this same run at 21 degrees!
November 28, 2015 - Tired Battery - It was beautiful today, and I decided to take Wildflower for a drive.  However, when I turned on the ignition the fuel pump barely clicked and the starter wouldn't engage at all.  The battery was almost dead.  A quick check confirmed it was the one I got nearly 6 years ago (February 27, 2009) the day I first got the car.  I didn't bother trying to charge it - just pulled the old battery and bought a new one at Sam's club tonight.  Dropped it in and she fired  up first try.  Naturally, it's supposed to rain tomorrow, but she's ready for the next pretty day that shows up.
September 20, 2015 - Eleanor Triumphs!  er... MGs? - Last year Wildflower got Best in Show, this year it was Eleanor's turn to shine by taking Best Vintage MG over Wildflower and another TC that had been restored at a cost of over $150K and was offered for sale for $95K.  (Not a good price even for a concourse car, and this one had been incorrectly restored).  Anyway, it was a beautiful day and a great show, and I don't think Wildflower begrudged her 'sister' some time in the spotlight.  So far, we've been swapping off wins every other year!
September 19, 2015 - Unnecessary Maintenance - After more than 5,000 miles you'd think the TC would need a valve adjustment.  So I decided that it would be a good idea to perform one before heading off to New Kent for the big car show tomorrow.  Guess what?  The valves were still in perfect adjustment!  On the plus side, the valve gasket was leaking, so I cleaned everything up and installed a new one.  I got the car all spiffed and packed for the show - Dan Ciccone is heading up with me.  I made up a new display board for the TC, and also found that 19x12 aluminum roaster heat tray pans make a perfect liner for the picnic basket so it can serve as a cooler.  Looks like a fun day tomorrow!
August 15, 2015 - Twosome Tour - An antique auto club outing turned into an MG-dominated Twosome Tour today.  All of the cars were two-seaters and three of the six were MGs.  Wildflower's sibling Eleanor was there, along with a 71 MGB plus a 57 T-bird, an 1930 Model A Ford, and a newer Porsche.  We had a nice cruise through the back roads of Virginia Beach and visited a couple of micro-breweries.  The weather was perfect and the drive was fun. (Photo by Terry Bond in Eleanor)
August 15, 2015 - Khedive Show - A beautiful day and the promise of a great time drew me and Wildflower to the annual Khedive Fun n' Shine in Chesapeake.  I strapped on her picnic basket and off we went.  There were close to 400 vehicles to fit every taste, from original cars from the twenties to some that probably rolled off the dealer showroom last week.  There were lots of friends from the Tidewater Region AACA also present, though Eleanor was not around.  Wildflower earned a second place trophy, losing out to a Jaguar XKE in the Sports Car class.  However, she was first in the hearts of many junior enthusiasts who took the opportunity to sit behind her steering wheel and pretend - that grin makes it all worthwhile.
August 4, 2015 - Family Gathering - Wildflower got out for the monthly gathering of family at the Tidewater MG Classics meeting tonight.  Twenty-three MGs showed up, including sister TC Eleanor (just visible in the back), a direct offspring TD, two great-grandchild MGAs, and a slew of great-great-grandchild MGBs!  She ran great as always and got a lot of thumbs up and waves on the way to and from the meeting. 
July 25 2015 - T-Time Again - Perfect weather and friends with MG T-series sports cars came together today for a terrific country drive through winding country rounds in Virginia and North Carolina.  From left to right are me and Wildlfower, Richard and Sandy Hall with TC5908, Jack Pavilidis (Fred's former owner) with his 1952 MG TD, and Terry and Sue Bond with Eleanor (Wildflower's former garage-mate).  All four cars performed flawlessly, and the back roads provided almost no traffic and nice scenery.  Thanks to Richard for leading the way!
July 24, 2015 - Yeah, that's a Racing Turtle!  Ben Cordsen, who restored the TC's original steering wheel to like new, occasionally does special castings - including this unusual TC radiator cap mascot.  He also has a lazy Hare version, but since most of my hair fell out I wanted the one more likely to stay put.   The mascot is really well done, and has a threaded insert with a stainless bolt and rubber seal.  I found a spare cap and drilled it out, then got the mascot installed.  Just in time for a run tomorrow with the TC Crowd: Richard and Sandy in TC5908, Terry and Sue Bond in TC5624 (Eleanor), me, and Jack Pavlidis in his recently acquired TD.
July 5, 2015 - In a show of sympathy, Richard's TC5908 also developed idle problems that we traced to point gap issues today.  At first it looked like the same point tab issue had occurred.  The points would not open up enough to get a correct gap.  This time, however, it appeared to be an issue with the hardware - a misplaced lock washer was catching the adjuster plate and preventing it from moving all the way back.  Richard located a box of Lucas sundry distributor parts and we replaced incorrect round-head screws with the proper, wide flat-head screws that should have been there.  This time we had plenty of gap, and the TC is running great again.  He dug out an extra set for me to put in Wildflower.
July 4, 2015 - Wildflower was running a little rough at the end of our TC run in May, but she got me home with no real trouble.  How she did it is a mystery, as I opened up the distributor today and found that the points were totally closed up (see inset left) and needed to be adjusted.  Not a big deal, except that the points had broken!  The tab that rides on the distributor cam was about a 1/16th of an inch short (see inset right), which means that even at maximum adjustment, the points would not separate.  I put in a new set of points and got them adjusted properly, and she fired right up and ran perfect as usual.  I can't figure how the car kept going - sheer willpower?
May 3, 2015 - The TC team followed up the national car show with a 90-mile tour of parts of Virginia and North Carolina.  Above, left to right, are Sandy and Richard Hall with their 1952 MG TD, me with Wildflower (1949 TC), Terry and Sue Bond with Eleanor (1948 TC), Pam and Bob Bond (no relation) with their 1946 TC, and Sharon and Al Mercer in the Hall's 1949 TC. (Sandy and Pam actually took Sandy's Corvette.).  The original plan was to take the Knotts Island Ferry to Currituck NC and make our way back, but when we got to the ferry landing, the posted schedule was wrong.  Susan Bond did a quick check and found out that the weekend schedule meant a two-hour wait, so we revised plans and stopped back by the airport for the group shot with a Stearman biplane, dinner at a great seafood restaurant called Blue Pete's, and finally, a visit to Terry and Sue's amazing garage with a 1920's auto parts store recreated on the second floor.  Even more amazing was that this was the first real road trip for Richard Hall's and Bob Bond's TCs and everyone made it home without incident.  Pretty good for group of vehicles 62-69 years old!
May 2, 2015 - We managed to gather all four MG TCs in our MG group for the 2015 Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Eastern Division National Spring Meet held at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.  The three local TCs (Wildflower, Eleanor, and Richard's TC5908) were joined by Bob and Pam's Bond's black 1946 TC all the way from Pennsylvania!  Wildflower took a moment to say 'hello' to her old friend, the Waco biplane (See the 9/9/2009 entry) that she had shared a national centerfold with, and then took pole position for Class 25A (pre-1960 convertibles).  Bob and Pam's TC got a preservation award, both Eleanor and TC5908 received third Junior awards, and Wildflower took a break as a 'Do Not Judge' because of things like chrome wire wheels, the luggage rack, wind wings, nerf bumpers, and other bling that are not quite accurate.  She already has her Grand National, so she really didn't need to worry.
April 4, 2015 - I swapped out Wildflower's new spare for a worn left front tire some time ago, and though I have had the new replacement tire sitting in her garage for quite a while I had not put it on.  So tonight I dragged out the tire tools and fired up the compressor.  I remembered the trick I used last time - insert the tube and inflate it slightly before you put the new tire on.  That way the tube is already in place and you are far less likely to pinch it.  The tire went on with only a little struggle, and aired up fine.  All ready to go now!
December 20, 2014 - I finally made it out to Richard's for the tonneau cover installation.  As usual, what we thought might be a couple of hours turned into 4 hour's work.  Wildflower's tonneau cover has bugged me since I got the car.  It bunched up around the seat back, didn't really fit very well, and the edges were always fraying.  However, it did the basic job of covering the top boot and new ones are $650.  However, a recent business trip netted me some extra cash for expenses (per diem goes a long way when you eat at McDonald's) about the same time a new tonneau cover showed up on eBay.  I got it for $400, which saved more than a third, and it was in perfect unused condition.  Unfortunately, the old cover had been whipped up by an upholstery shop that did not have proper specifications, so the mounting pegs for some of the fasteners did not work for the correctly tailored item.  Yes, I had to DRILL HOLES in Wildflower!  Just little ones, and they came out fine.  But it was traumatic using a punch on the body panels, and even more so watching the drill bit cut into metal.  We installed the fasteners one at a time, removing the tonneau each time and reinstalling after to make sure everything lined up.  Our care was rewarded with a really nice installation that stayed on when I drove Wildlfower home at 60 MPH on the Interstate tonight (37 degrees - Brrrr).  On a side note, we worked on Richard's TD after the tonneau was done.  It started running badly exactly a year ago after a long drive and Richard has tried new spark plugs, wires, cap, setting points, new fuel filters, etc.  We discovered that the needle valve in the back carb was stuck and the bowl was bone dry.  After cleaning the needle valve, the car started right up and ran great!
December 10, 2014 - We went out tonight for the Tidewater MG Classics Annual Holiday Light drive at the Norfolk Botanical gardens.  A friend from the antique car club rode along despite the top-down, no-heater ride in 30s temperatures.  Wildflower got lots of waves and compliments, and of course, performed flawlessly.  I just got in a new tonneau cover from eBay to replace the ill-fitting one that came with her.  It has bugged me for 5 years - time to take care of it.  The new one is an NOS Moss Motors product with the snaps to be installed.  I'll try to get out to Richard's this weekend to see if we can get it done.
September 14, 2014 - I took Wildflower to the Classic on the Green British and Import car show today in New Kent, VA.  About 65 miles, mostly cruising at 60, with nary a hiccup.  The day was beautiful, and the turnout as impressive - close to 300 cars that included about 40 Ferraris (the featured marque of this year's show), Maseratis, Jaguars, Porsche's, etc.  Sibling Eleanor also showed up with her human Susan Bond.  Wildflower was the first vintage MG to arrive and got the prime location on the crest of a hill where she could be seen clearly - I had put together a set of flagpoles with an MG Flag and Union Jack and they made the perfect touch, along with her picnic basket complete with MG TC labeled wine bottle, and a new display sign I made up yesterday.  I thought the preparations might have been for naught when Eleanor was awarded Best in Class, but a big surprise was in store.  Wildflower was selected as Best in Show!
July 26, 2014 - Today turned out to be quite a workout for Wildflower - we started off heading for a car club event about 40 miles away and ended up having to make a much longer back route to avoid heavy traffic.  Rolling 65 with traffic was no issue, and she got plenty of honks and waves from admiring drivers and passengers.  The event itself was great fun - rolling through the Yorktown battlefield site and looking for clues to questions.  There were over 100 people taking part, with lots of old cars to look at.  None as pretty as Wildflower, of course, but still...  Anyway, a group of us took the Jamestown Ferry and back roads to avoid the ever-present Summer traffic, but despite switching route several ties en-route, Wildflower and I got stuck in several long bumper-to-bumper jams.  Happily, she put up with the high temperatures and creeping pace with no complaints, and we completed the normally 45-minute drive in 2 and a half hours! 
July 23, 2014 - Wildflower hasn't been quite her peppy self lately, so I checked the points and found that they had closed up almost completely!  It's probably 3,000 miles or more since I cleaned and adjusted them, which I did tonight.  She is running great again - minor maintenance that I tend to forget in these days of electronic everything.
July 11, 2014 - I am a sucker for spare parts, especially when they are very hard to get and can be a critical item.  Case in point is Wildflower's gas tank- stuck on the back and easy prey to tailgaters.  Most, including mine, have also had rust issues over the nearly 70 years they have held fuel.  This tank came from MG TC 3737, and had been professionally cleaned, stripped, and sealed before being stored some years ago.  I saw it on eBay and was amazed that it did not get snapped up quickly. It's one of the most critical major items on the car.  Anyway, I ended up buying it (OK, it was not cheap, but a really good buy) and the seller did a super job of building a crate to protect it. 
June 24, 2014 - I took Wildflower down to the car display and had a great time.  The weather was a little hot, but no rain and a slight breeze made things bearable.  Even admitting my own prejudice,  the TC was the prettiest car in the local display and got a lot fo attention.  Then the Great race cars started to show up.  The one I most wanted to see was the Leslie Special, driven by hero Tony Curtis in the wonderful old movie 'The Great Race.'   Hard to believe the movie is 50 years old!  Anyway, I was able to bring the TC over for a shot with the movie car.  Despite appearances, Wildflower is close to 20 years older!
June 23, 2014 - I took the Jag out to Richard's tonight and got the box of TC carb parts I had left over there while we sorted out his car.  As I thought, a brand new pair of carb top nuts were there.  I cleaned them up and put them on after topping the carbs with a bit of oil.  We are going over to take part in a special display for the Great American Race, which is stopping in Portsmouth tomorrow night.  One of the cars in the race is the 'Leslie Special' from the 1960s movie 'The Great Race'!  (Great film if you haven't seen it). 
June 14, 2014 - Wildflower made the dash plaque for a local car show, along with her sister 1951 Studebaker, so both got driven over this morning.  It was a nice show and a beautiful day.  The TC got a lot of attention as usual, but I noticed that her performance was down a bit on the drive over.  When I opened the hood to show off the engine, I saw that the top cap of the rear carb had come off.  It probably vibrated off during the rally last week.  That means a major air leak.  I have spares in the carb parts box I left over at Richard's so I'll get it replaced soon.  I was reminded how well the TC makes use of its 54.4 horsepower. The car next to mine was a (very) midget racer that had twice the horsepower of the TC, 
June 7, 2014 - The Williamsburg TC Group held a rally today that started at the Jamestown Ferry.  Sue Bond decided to take part with Eleanor, and Wildflower and I met them at the Surry side docks.  The cars regrouped at the Surry House restaurant for a staggered start on the rally route.  Happily, it was simple directions only - no timing or tricks.  The weather was perfect and Wildflower ran perfectly (of course).  She flipped over 5000 miles, which means I've put about 4500 on her since she arrived from Florida in 1999.  The roads were great - almost empty of traffic, twisty, and very scenic.  I had great fun tooling along at the 45 and 55 mph speed limits, though I ended up catching and passing the car ahead of me (they missed a turn, I didn't pass).  The rally eventually ended in Smithfield, VA at the Smithfield Inn.  They had monster soft shell crab sandwiches, but I opted for the club sandwich, followed by some very good key lime pie.  Sue and I headed home after a side trip to see the equine Wildflower that the car is named after.  It was a great day and a great time!
June 5, 2014 - The MG TC came with a wire mesh air cleaner element permanently embedded in a long tin can (on the left).  Difficult to clean, not very effective, and until recently, impossible to replace.  Thanks to Doug Pelton of From the Frame Up, that is no longer the case.  The reproduction he provides (on the right) is not only a great reproduction visually, it includes an easily replaced paper filter.  The new filter is also much better looking than the slightly battered original.  Of course, such things do not come cheap - at $340, the new air cleaner made a large dent in my current disposable cash.  However, I rarely deny Wildflower anything, especially when it is both functional and pretty.  Getting it installed was not quite a direct bolt-in, mostly due to the heavier construction.  The original is more recycled tin cans compared to the new one's rigid aluminum casting, which meant nothing flexed.  The center bolt at the top is also a size larger, which meant the retainer straps from the valve cover had to be drilled out slightly.  The overall canister is also slightly wider, which stretched the straps a bit, but they worked OK.
June 1, 2014 - I have been looking all over the car for a turn signal relay box that was used in TCs and TDs to have brake and turn signals share the same bulbs.  I figured something in the complex relay box had gone bad.  However, while tracing the wires to find it, I pulled back the interior kick panel and discovered the brake light feed wire caught under a body bolt.  Turns out it's the other side of the bolt that I used to install a hood prop brackets - I was working blind and did not know there was a wire there, and ended up pinching it.  The washer gradually ate through the insulation, which started shorting out the brakes. And ironically, it was the point I was using for ground to check for shorts!  The other discovery I made was that the car does not have a relay box - it has never had turn signals in the original lights at all!  The car came with a plug-in LED rear light bar that has the turn signals.  The connector plug had been damaged when it fell on the tailpipe, so I rewired everything with a new plug and conduits, and zip-tied everything well away of the tailpipe.  I now have excellent lights, which will be a big help at night. 
May 3, 2014 - The Mini-GOF car show was supposed to have cars arriving from 8-8:30 AM, so Wildflower and I arrived at 8:15.  We ended up being a one-car show for almost another hour, as the rest of the show field had decided to sleep in and didn't even leave the hotel until just before 9!  There were some great cars there, including Eleanor and two other TCs, four TDs, three TFs, a YA, and a 1966 MGB-GT.  We also had an Austin Healey 3000 and a 1952 XK-120 Jaguar coupe!  After the show, most fo the TCs, a TD and the MGB-GT did a nice drive along the Colonial Parkway before returning for the awards banquet.  Wildflower received First Place in the TC class, but also earned me a 'Flaming Floorboards' book for losing her brake lights due to an electrical short.  (I think she has been talking to the Jaguar!)  Despite the electrical glitch the drive up and back was easy and uneventful, and the weather was great.  A wonderful day to own a TC!
April 30, 2014 - With the Mini Gathering of the Faithful (GOF) in Williamsburg this weekend, I decided to get the windshield fixed.  The chip was pretty nasty, with a jagged white center and some cracking all around.  I pulled the windshield before going to work and dropped it off.  While they were not able to make is vanish, the folks at Safelite in Hampton did an amazing job of cleaning things up. I put the windshield back in and started cleanup for the show.  It's going to rain tomorrow, leaving me just Friday night after work to wash and polish.  Then it's back to Willilamsburg for the GOF!
April 12, 2014 - There were ten T-Types in the car show today, but Wildflower once again took first place.  We had a great drive up, picking up a stray TMGC member in a 1973 MGB who didn't know how to get to the field.  He followed me to the show, but commented "What have you got under the hood?  I could barely keep up with you!".  I've also had that complaint from a friend in a Mustang V-8.  Wildflower is bone stock in every respect - she just makes very good use of all her 54.4 horsepower!  We had a great time at the show - I packed a picnic lunch of sliced fresh-baked French bread, butter, and sharp cheddar cheese, with bottled water.  Friends Sue Bond, Jack Pavlidis, and Melanie Kordis joined me for our plowman's lunch.  I had lined the bottom of the picnic basket with silver foil, but a bottle of cream soda came open on the way, and I had to clean off the back end of the car when I arrived.  Note to self - no sodas in the picnic basket!  One sour note - on the way home, a truck threw up a stone that chipped the windshield.  Hopefully I can get it fixed.

April 10, 2014 - With the Williamsburg show just a couple of days off, I took an hour early from work and spent some time cleaning Wildflower up and making sure she was ready for the drive.  One tire was low, but everything else was good.  Bad news is that Eleanor is down with leaky rear wheel seals - her owners are in the middle of a seal replacement and won't have her done in time for the show.  And Richard's TC is all better, but he is recovering from a medical procedure and won't be there either.  So Wildflower may be the only TC there.  Oh, well.  The weather looks like it will be great, and I am looking forward to a long run.

March 29, 2014 - Nearly three months of nasty, cold, wet weather later, I finally got the nerf bumpers on Wildflower!  I actually got a start on it after the January Show, but needed to make rubber gaskets for the nerf bases and couldn't find anything that would work.  With the Williamsburg British Car Show just a couple of weeks away, and next weekend taken up by the Charlotte Auto Fair, I figured I had better get busy.  A rubber wheel liner strip turned out to be perfect for the gasket material, and I got them cut and punched out the holes with a deep socket and a hammer.  You have to take the wiring out of the horn and light to pull the badge bar, but I was able to juggle things and get it all back together while being crammed between the back bench and Wildflower.  It was raining all day, so I had to do the work in her garage.  I also finally got her tax disc mounted - this is a reproduction of the British road tax disc the car would have had from the factory, with all the correct numbers and stamps.  All that is left is some cleaning.  I fired her up today and let her run for a while - purred happily - I think she was pleased to be in her private garage all snug and covered up while the rain, wind, and snow came and went.
January 12, 2014 - It's all over, and though Wildflower was very popular, she did not win the Grand Prize.  That honor went to a lime green 1972 Barracuda convertible that none of us thought anyone was paying attention to!  However, I did get $100 as a finalist, and it was great to have the TC out where so many people could enjoy her.  I talked to families, retired couples, lots of small kids who wanted to sit in her (they did), and a fair number of teen motor heads who probably identified more with her 4-cylinder engine than the big V-8s in the other cars.  The picnic basket was also a big hit.  And I got her replated Nerf bumpers back from Hanlon Plating yesterday, so they can go on this week.
January 09, 2014 - Tony Scarpelli and I drove over to the car show this morning - 30 degrees and 60 mph makes for some frozen fingertips, but the TC didn't seem to mind.  Expected traffic was missing, and we got there a half-hour early.  That put us first in line, which normally didn't mean much since spaces were assigned.  However, this year you picked your own spot, so first-come first-served!  Being at the front of the line when the door was pushed open, I snagged the prime spot on the outside left in the glass main entrance, while Tony snagged the opposing spot on the right.  I installed her Midge radiator ornament and was encouraged by a couple of the ladies to set up the picnic basket.  I also put together a display sign to tell Wildflower's story, since I won't be there most of the time.  She looks pretty spiffy, though - I think I have a good shot at the $1,000 grand prize!
January 08, 2014 - I gave the TC a quick bath Saturday when the temperatures got higher than freezing and it wasn't raining, but did not have time to get her undersides cleaned up.  Our long drive a few weeks ago left dirt and tar under the fenders and on the wheels, so I went out last night (it was a balmy 30 degrees, compared to 15 degrees of the previous few days).  The knock-off wire wheels make it easy to get things apart, and I had all four wheels and fenders cleaned up in short order.  I also took the precaution of wiring the picnic basket to the rack as a backup to the leather straps.  We roll over to the Hampton Roads International Car Show tomorrow morning - she is ready to be admired!
January 01, 2014 - The license plate frame and plate are now attached, and I got some nice leather ladies belts that make perfect luggage straps for the picnic basket.  Wildflower is pretty much ready for the show next week, except for getting her cleaned and detailed. 
December 30, 2013 - The WLDFLWR license plate came today, and since it was relatively warm and dry for the end of December, I wasted no time getting it cleaned and painted.  The plate came with masking tape already covering everything (top).  I used an Exacto blade to cut away the background tape (center), and then gave it three coats of satin black (bottom).  Then the plate got baked in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes - should be very durable.  Looks like good weather on Wednesday, so I'll get the backing plate and plate installed then.
December 28, 2013 - Another unseasonably nice day today - sunny and 60!  Santa did indeed bring the wind wings, and Moss got the new luggage rack and license plate holder to me Tuesday, so I got a start on sprucing things up.  The wind wings were a 5-minutes job.  However, the luggage rack prompted a detour to Ace Hardware for stainless washers, bolts and acorn nuts to replace the standard hardware that came with the rack kit.  The acorn nuts match a lot of other standard TC hardware, and the stainless bolts will hold up better on the vertical mounts where they attach to the frame.  And everything got a dab of Locktite to keep it from vibrating loose.  The new picnic basket fits great.  I also cleaned up the Midge radiator ornament, which needed a bit of thread cleaning and a new retainer bolt.  The 'WLDFLWR' British stamped license plate won't be in until next week, but I did get the mounting plate.  That was a plain flat steel backing, and the mounting bolts would push the plate out.  So I created recesses in the backing plate using a large bolt clamped in the vise and a big socket.  The resulting dimple in the metal will let me attach the backing plate and keep the actual license plate flat.  I cleaned up the metal and gave it a fresh coat of satin black - looks almost factory!  Happily, I had the Whitworth bolts needed to attach the plate to the car - they are neither US Standard or Metric!
December 23, 2013 - Because Wildflower was having to go through shows where originality was important, I put the fun 'goodies' on Eleanor (at right) - said goodies being wind wings, nerf bumpers, and the luggage rack that all went with her.  Now that Wildflower has her Grand National, I decided it was time to even the score.  I have it on good authority that Santa is bringing her wind wings, and I ordered a luggage rack from Moss.  And today, I drove all the way to Richmond (about an hour from work) to get a really nice picnic basket with full service for four that will fit perfectly on that luggage rack.  It even has wine glasses in a special inner case, plus matching napkins and tablecloth.  I also dropped the nerf bumpers off to be replated, along with a hood ornament for the Pontiac.  Those won't be ready for the 'Ultimate Convertible' car show, but the rest will be!
December 21, 2013 - This may be the first day of Winter, but it was mostly sunny and 75 degrees! The T-Some Three-Some (Terry and Sue Bond in their 1948 TC, Richard and Sandy Hall in their 1951 MG TD, and me in my 1949 MG TC) took a long drive out through Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and eastern North Carolina. We had lunch at the Coinjock Marina Restaurant , and came back on the Knotts Island Ferry.   (I have to note that one small boy on the ferry, after being given the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of each of our cars, said he liked Wildflower best.  From the mouths of babes....).  I started the day off with a photo shoot for our 2014 dash plaque (We used John Heimerl's 1935 Imperial airflow coupe) out at the Military Aviation Museum, which was a good 35 miles away. I drove the TC out there, so all told today I drove over 160 miles! Wildflower did super, as did all three cars. An absolutely fantastic day!
December 11, 2013 - It looks like all eyes will once again be on Wildflower!  She was selected as a finalist for the 'Ultimate Convertible' display and contest for the 2014 Hampton Roads International Car Show, being held January 10-12 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  I almost didn't enter because she was selected for the 2012 'Ultimate Car' display and didn't think they would pick her twice.  Silly me - how could anyone resist the allure of those sweeping fenders and sparkling wire wheels?  Anyway, cleaning and polishing ensues!!
November 21, 2013 - Poor Wildflower has been largely ignored the past few months - between a lot of work-related travel, a bunch of car events, and messing with the new Porsche, I have done little more than pet her hood every couple of weeks.  So I bought her some jewelry as an apology.  I always liked the 'antenna' bumpers I had for Eleanor, and was able to get a really nice set off eBay Saturday.  The seller had them boxed and to the Post Office the same day, and they arrived yesterday.  Hopefully she'll forgive me for my lack of attention.
September 15, 2013 - I spent all day yesterday cleaning and polishing Wildflower, and also replaced the leaking valve cover gasket.  This time I used a new gasket sealed with clear enamel and windshield sealer/gasket maker that finally worked to stop the oil seeping out.  I also installed some hood prop rods that I have had for years - they hold the sides up without folding them over - makes for great display and access for working on the engine!  The TC ran perfect up and back to New Kent, a solid 140 miles at mostly 65 MPH.  When I got there, I ended up parked next to Eleanor, the 48 TC that I sold to Sue Bond.  Despite dozens of other MGs, nearly a hundred other British cars, and a total of well over 300 exotic imports, our TCs enjoyed a lion's share of attention.  However, when awards time came, a lady pulled up to let Sue know she had won, and that I 'didn't win this year.'   A minute later, a man came over to let me know I had won.  Turns out Wildflower got Best Vintage MG, and Eleanor got Best of Britain!  So we both went home winners.  You just can't beat a TC.  (And I have to note that we both drove our cars there, unlike a lot of the 'losers'.)
September 8, 2013 - Next weekend is the big Classics on the Green car show at the new Kent Winery, and I spent some time today getting Wildflower ready.  One item that has been languishing for years is the reproduction NOL oil can and bracket.  Wildflower had the holes for the bracket welded up when she was restored, and I was reluctant to try drilling them back out.  However, I bit the bullet today and VERY carefully redrilled the mounting holes with great success.  The can looks nice, and is what would have been there when she came from the factory.  I'll be spending evenings this week cleaning and polishing.
August 8, 2013 - I recently had the embarrassing experience of running out of gas (again) in the TC.  Without a gas gauge, I have to rely on remembering to check the tank with a wooden level stick before I leave.  Unfortunately, I have been driving the car spasmodically with all the odd issues that kept it from running properly, and I (rather obviously) have not checked the fuel as often as I should.   While i still have to remember to check the tank, I just got in a metal tank stick that stays in the tank all the time.  Instead of peering in and guessing when I am away from home, I can get an accurate fuel level reading.  Of course, I still have to remember to check it.  Plan B?  Get a leak-proof 1-gallon can to keep in the back.
August 6, 2013 - Wildflower is running great - took her to the MG Club picnic tonight and had a smooth run.  The new gasket is leaking a bit in the back - I tightened the thumbscrews a bit more and will have to keep an eye one it.  Even so, it's great to have the car back to her old dependable self.
July 30, 2013 - The valve cover gasket has been leaking a bit so I got a new one from Moss.  I'd used Permatex gasket sealant before, which did fine for a while.  But I used the hardening flexible sealant instead of the non-hardening and it eventually started seeping.  Hopefully the non-hardening sealer will hold up better.
July 27, 2013 - Looks like I may have finally solved the high-speed stutter.  Wildflower has been stumbling at high RPMs for a while, and resisted efforts to be cured.  I've always used the reproduction coil from Moss that looks like the original Lucas coil, but is made in China.  I have three of them as it turns out, having bought them at different times trying to cure ignition woes.  This time I decided to go with the new Lucas Sport Coil from Moss instead.  It doesn't look correct, but Wildflower's high-RPM range is sputter-free!  I drover her around enough to get her warmed up, and tried Interstate and city driving.  She seems to be back to her old, reliable, and sporty self!
July 20, 2013 - I took Wildflower out for a short run to test the steering, which felt great.  Tracking fine and no play.  However, I decided to go further and rolled out to a local cruise-in I had been to earlier in the day with the Cougar.  She sti;ll has some stumble as high RPMs.  I am beginning to suspect the condenser.  I'll try a total electrical tune-up, with new coil, condenser, points, plugs, and adjustment of the timing.  However, while I was at the cruise-in I decided to go further and help out a friend who was having computer problems.  After a couple of hours there, I headed home on the Interstate and had the car sputter and start to lose power.  Then she started missing.  I made it to an exit, but she stalled at the next stoplight.  Some guys stopped to help push the car across the intersection, but when I tried her she fired up and ran long enough to make it on her own.  Only to die as soon as I was safely in the 7-11 parking lot.  It was only then I heard the rapid ticking of the electronic fuel pump.  It does that when you first start the car... or when it is out of gas.  Wildflower has no fuel gage and the low fuel light doesn't work.  And I drove the car a LOT further than I had originally planned.  Happily, a friend in the car club lived close by and arrived with 5 gallons of gas in short order (Thanks, Mickey!).  Wildflower started right up and zoomed home without further issue.
July 15, 2013 - Back under the hood for some more maintenance - this time to correct some excessive play in the steering wheel.  Again, this was a 5-minute fix that involved nothing more than loosing the adjuster locknut, turning the screw in a bit, and retightening the locknut.  One annoying thing - I wanted to check and top off the oil in the steering box, but the rubber plugs (she has a VW Bug conversion) you have to pull are coming apart.  I need to get new ones before I try removing them, and only one place so far has them.  So-Cal Imports lists the plugs for $1.89 each.  But you have to order a minimum of $25 online.  Guess I have to call tomorrow.
July 8, 2013 - I took Wildflower out for a run at the end of May and had some minor issues with her - stumbling and loss of power.  I thought it was vapor lock from a long stint of rush hour traffic.  Then things kept me busy and her in the garage until yesterday, when I took her for a nice long run, eventually ending up at my parents'.  No issues except for some stumbling on acceleration, at least until I got within a mile of the house on I-64.  She started stumbling, losing power, and backfiring.  I just barely got her home, running on what sounded like 2 cylinders, and with a very obvious exhaust leak.  My guess was a bad intake/exhaust manifold gasket, but I put off checking things out until tonight.  I opened the right side hood and could find no looseness or play in the manifolds, and no signs of an exhaust leak.  Then I opened the left side and saw..  what you see on the right.  Count the plugs - see the one laying on the generator?  It had vibrated loose and blown out.  Two other plugs were also very loose.  I put the escapee back in place, torqued everything down and she fired right up with no issues at all!  That's the kind of car trouble I can take - got me home and was fixed in 5 minutes!
May 18, 2013 - A 50-mile 'Square Car Tour' for my antique car club was threatened today by rain and thunderstorms, but both Eleanor's owner and I figured the cars wouldn't melt.  It was actually a 35-mile drive just to get to the starting point, but the rain let up while I was getting the TC ready and stayed away except for a short period where the car was inside a barn!  The pre-check turned up a low left rear tire, and more importantly, a tube valve stem that was twisted and under stress.  I pulled the tire off the car and was able to turn the tire around on the wheel to center the stem again, and then get everything back together in a matter of minutes. Then it was off to Pungo, a backwoods region of Virginia Beach.  The two TCs and a 57 T-bird parked in a barn, which prevented them from getting wet during a short downpour while we had donuts and coffee.  Amazingly, even more folks turned up for the run than had signed up, and by the time we were ready to roll out, the rain had stopped and stayed away for the entire run!  Wildflower did great - I suspect the bad carb float has been an issue for a long time.  And it was good to see Eleanor out and in use, along with all the other vintage iron.  Would you believe the tour was led by a 90 year--old 1924 Model T Ford?  That's the REAL joy of owning an old car - using it!
April 13, 2013 - The TC contingent for the 2013 Williamsburg  British Car Show looked pretty familiar:  Eleanor (TC5624), Wildflower (TC5908), and Richard Hall's TC5908.  Both Wildflower and Richard's TC were running fine after the float transplants.  Richard trailered his car, but Wildflower and Eleanor both arrived under their own power with nary a hiccup, running about 50 or so miles one way.  Terry and Sue have been doting on Eleanor and she showed it - and also took first place for the T-series class overall!  While Wildflower would have preferred to be first herself, she was happy to see her younger sister shine both literally and figuratively today.  (Though her human had to suffer many comments about how he 'sold the wrong TC'). 
April 9, 2013 - Ah, the joys of working on 65 year-old cars.  Moss got the Nitrophyl floats to me today, along with the gaskets and washers I ordered on Sunday.  Unfortunately, the new floats (black one in the center) were much bigger than the old floats (small brass one on the left).  Either I have TA or TB carbs with smaller bowls, or the wrong bowls were used somewhere in the past 6-plus decades.  Luckily, I had the original carbs and TC manifold I took off just over a year ago with the correct bowls.  I just swapped the setup back around, though I did put the new floats in (That's one of the correct TC brass floats on the right). I also have a couple of sets of correct float bowls and lids to fix the set I took off.  The car started right up and ran smooth and steady, with no leaks.  After warming the engine up, I shut her down and pulled the drain plug and oil filter.  She'll get fresh lube tomorrow - with the back carb dumping fuel, some of it may have gotten into the crankcase.  After that, a cleanup and we are ready for the Williamsburg British Car Show on Saturday.  I'm hoping to get TC5908 fixed tomorrow.
April 7, 2013 - TC Tantrum?  I took Wildflower out to visit TC5908 today.  Richard's TC has had some stumbling and missing issues that we thought might have been timing issues.   I've had some trouble recently with erratic performance that I thought might be plugs.  We took the TCs out for a short run, and Richard immediately ran into trouble.  Then my TC started missing and sputtering.  We stopped to swap out spark plugs and discovered a bad coil wire end that made no difference when corrected.  I swapped out for a new set of plugs in Wildflower as well - both cars continued to sputter.  However, when we finally got the cars back home, Richard noticed that the overflow tube for my back carb was spitting fuel.  Turns out the float had a leak and was slowly sinking.  I was able to get her home, and have ordered new plastic floats from Moss - seems that Ethanol eats away the solder seals on the brass floats.  I dug up some new wires, cap, rotor, and points for Richard's TC - we are hoping to have both cars back on the road for the Williamsburg British Car Show this Saturday!
March 10, 2013 - All three TCs got together today for some fun in the sun.  Wildflower and Eleanor took their humans out  to cruise on country roads and picnic lunch at a local park.  We stopped off at Richard's on the way back and soon enough, his red TC joined the tour for an encore performance.  It was great to see all three TCs rolling along.  It was a great day for cruising, though still a little brisk.  But for early March it was amazing! 
December 30, 2012 - TC5908 got some attention today.  Richard has been hard at work getting a new carpet kit installed, and was ready to get the seats back in.  However, we faced a minor dilemma when it came time to install the driver's side bracket.  The Brooklands steering wheel was a tight fit going on and we didn't want to risk damage to the hub trying to get it off.  Problem was that I order to install the screws, we had to flip the bracket up perpendicular to the floor.  Richard came up with the obvious solution that hadn't been so obvious to me - we had assembled the Brooklands wheel, so it was just a matter of undoing 4 10mm bolts to disassemble it again!  With some careful measuring of the old holes, we got the rest of the assembly done in short order and put the wheel back together.  Richard did a great job with the carpet, which is from Moss Motors.  The interior looks great!
November 23, 2012 - A crisp, clear Autumn day and a nice country road - add an MG TC and you have the recipe for a really pleasant drive.  Wildflower and I took a ride out to Richard's where we installed a new Brooklands steering wheel on TC5908.  I haven't had her out for a couple of months due to other things going on.  She performed flawlessly (I did check the petrol level before we left) and got her usual honks, waves, and smiles from other motorists.
October 12, 2012 - This doesn't look like much, but it is apparently rarer than hen's teeth.  My friends, feast your eyes on an original underdash wiring cover for an MG TC, complete with mounting brackets and oak stiffeners!  They were usually removed and thrown away after the first dashboard problem.  This one was hung in a garage about 1952 by the seller's father.  It was the only MG part the guy had, and it was pure dumb luck that I checked it out.  I had two other TC owners stop me to take photos as I was walking it back to the car.
September 16, 2012 - Two cars, two awards!  I drove Wildflower to the show today and had friend Terry Bond take Rodney.  She performed perfectly, running cool and smooth at 65 all the way to New Kent.  She got a lot of waves and honks, and earned First Place in Vintage MGs - following in her sister's tire tracks, as it were.  Rodney got 2nd place for MGB-GTs.  Wildflower had a bit of trouble on the way home though - turns out her rather doltish human had not checked her petrol level and ran her out of gas!  Once the situation was remedied, she resumed her effortless cruise home, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Rodney did not do so well, but that story is reserved for his page.
September 15, 2012 - Wildflower is entered in the Classics on the Green import car show in New Kent, VA tomorrow, about 70 miles away.  Eleanor won first place last year, so she has a lot to live up to.  Anyway, I have been wanting to get a power adapter rigged up so I can use a GPS in the TC, and finally got busy today and put one together.  TCs have a power socket set in the middle of the dash for hooking up trouble lights.  I got a plug to with the sockets, then got a single-to-dual outlet splitter and cut off one of the extension outlets to hook up.  You have to be very careful about polarity - the TC has positive ground, opposite of modern cars.  I tested the polarity and then painted the plug red for the matching side.  It seems to work fine.
August 5, 2012 - I've had a couple of emails from site 'regulars' who noted it had been months since I posted anything about the TCs.  It's true.  I have been neglecting all of my other cars to focus on Mildred, the 1937 Pontiac I bought back in June.  However, today was Wildflower's.  I got her ready to go (a bit of air in one rear tire) and took off for Richard's.  She ran perfectly and got plenty of attention as always.  We ran through a light sprinkle at one point, but the rest of the drive was sunny and pleasant.  I'm sorry to report that the man who performed the wonderful restoration on her in Florida has closed up shop and is heading back to the UK.  It's a shame that someone who did such perfect work couldn't make it as an inexpensive one-man business, while other shops I have seen turn out incorrect and sometimes sloppy 'restorations' and charge a fortune.  I was fortunate to benefit from his attention to detail.
June 3, 2012 - Wildflower had a couple of minor problems that were getting annoying - her driver's door had lost that 'one pull' solid latching quality, and required multiple attempts to get it secured.  And her horn had gone silent.  We had promised to attend a car display with the TRAACA this afternoon, so a few hours in the morning were devoted to solving these niggles.  Having 'suicide' doors, the latch was my primary consideration.  They are new, and pretty basic, so the first thing was to remove, clean and lubricate.  However, the culprit turned out to be the upholstery piping behind the latch, which had rolled a bit and was binding the simple lever.  A well-placed tack in the piping and the door has resumed its solid latching.  The horn was even easier - it just needed a slight turn of the adjustment crew and it produces a bright, clear tone.  Then it was off to the car show, which was held on the lawn of Westminster Canterbury retirement community.  It was a beautiful day, and Wildflower had plenty of admirers.
May 31, 2012 - It's nearing the end of Drive Your MG Week, so I got Wildflower out for the Tidewater MG Classics Ice Cream Run in Virginia Beach tonight.  It was a beautiful evening, but thanks to having to work late, I ended up meeting the group at Handel's Ice Cream.  The service was so slow I gave up and just visited - my waistline thanks me.
May 20, 2012 - Back to Richard's today, this time to work on TC5908.  The 25+ year-old Dunlops looked great, but were not something you'd want to trust for highway driving.  he bought all new tires and tubes, and is going to get his wheels stripped and powder-coated.  So we pulled all the old tires and tubes off - but they are NOT getting tossed.  With a bit of cleaning they will look just about new, and are getting installed on my powder-coated show wheels which are currently naked and boxed up in the garage.  This will give us a complete set of show-ready wheels and tires that can be swapped out in ten minutes!  We also installed new clamp bolts for the rear axle - the car would veer right when you let up on the gas, and it turned out that one side was loose enough to let the axle slide on the springs!  All tight now.
May 12, 2012 - The ride out to Williamsburg boosted my confidence in Wildflower enough to take her out on my antique car club's annual Square Car Tour - this year's event rolled through more than 60 miles of back roads and highways in two states.  She performed flawlessly, reaching illegal speeds a few times to get ahead of the main group for photos, and idling long periods while we tried to sort out woes of other cars.  She got a solid 25 mpg, and even provided some windburn and bugs in the teeth for me and my co-pilot Curtis as we motored with the windshield down at 60 mph!  Then we rolled over to Richard's to say hello to TC5908 and Richard's TD and took time for a group shot - only 'slightly' edited.
April 22, 2012 - Happy Birthday, Wildflower!!  64 years ago today, TC5308 rolled off the assembly line in Abingdon.  Bet none of the workers would have guessed that so many of their cars would still be driven and cherished.  As for Wildflower?  Last weekend was proof she is still catching people's eyes, and she's as spritely a performer as she was new!  And to answer the Beatles, yes  I will feed her, yes I will need her, now she's 64.
April 15, 2012 - Two for two - Wildflower won First Place in the MG T-series class at the Williamsburg Import Auto Show today.  There were close to 150 sports, exotic, and other foreign cars on hand for the event, which had spectacular weather and a bunch of folks from the local MG club.  We had a great trip home using the Jamestown Ferry and back roads.  This was the first long trip I've taken Wildflower on since her freeze plug and head gasket issues, and she performed flawlessly. 
April 14, 2012 - Wildflower was getting annoyed again at the continued fuss over TC5908, and decided it was time to bring the focus back to where it belonged - on HER!  We had a really nice time at the 2012 Virginia Chevy Lover's Spring Dust Off Show today, and she had plenty of admirers.  And in this case, her popularity resulted in a repeat win of the "Best Import" trophy.  No rain this time, and I was able to get a head start on cleanup for tomorrow's Williamsburg Import Car Show!
March 31, 2012 - Richard's TC (TC5908) is just about finished, but we could not cure a leak at the head pipe/manifold joint. Using an MGB donut did not solve the issue, and a new copper flange gaskets even with the cup washer, made it worse. We finally pulled the head pipe and took a closer look. Turns out the head pipe itself was the issue. The sides above the flange were too high, so that the bevel washer did not make contact and the MGB donut had no pressure on it. We ground about 1/8" inch off all the way around and went back to an MGB donut - leak cured!
March 19, 2012 - While I am pretty much past the 'show' stage for Wildflower, I've wanted to get a complete original-style tool roll.  They usually rin $300-$350 but this English reproduction set showed up on eBay last weekend for $125 Buy-It-Now.  It's really nice, and has all of the items including feeler gauges, a point tool, and a tire valve stem tool.  The tube is for bleeding brakes.  The set is as new, used only for display with the Seller's MG TC.  It arrived today and I am very pleased.  It may remain a 'show' item, but it's nice to have on hand.
March 16, 2012 - You never know when or where something 'MG' will pop up, which is why I check both eBay and the local Craig's List every day.  Sure enough, someone on Craig's List had a pewter sculpture of a TC put out by the Sports Car Club of America in 1979.  Called 'Taking the Curve', it's is a limited-production piece that can bring $150+ on eBay.  I got it for $35 and the gas it took to drive over.  She also had the Jaguar XK140 from the SCCA series that I also got for the same price.
March 11, 2012 - Back out to Richard's today to finish up TC5908's top.  We got the hidem strip installed and the top bow straps secured with bolts.  The top looks really good - we benefitted from experience putting on TC5308's top 3 years ago.  Guess we didn't forget it all! 
March 1, 2012 - An incredible day for the first of March (76+ degrees and clear skies) prompted me to play hooky from work today and get Wildflower out for a nice long ride in the country.  This was the first time I have had the car out on a good drive since i did the carburetor swap, and she did great.  The ride, of course, ended up at Richard's house.  We attacked the top on TC5908 again, this time pulling another inch of top fabric before getting the final tacks in place and the front edge trimmed.  Now all that is left is installing the correct Hidem strip to cover the tacks.  Richard ordered one today, and we'll get it installed as soon as it comes in. 
February 26, 2012 - Deja-Vu?  Hard to believe it has been three years since Richard and I put a new convertible top on Wildflower.  And now it is time to repeat the job on Richard's red TC5908.  Richard cleaned a repainted the frame, and we pretty much followed the same process we did back in 2009 - including letting the top sit and stretch out for a week after the initial fit.  We'll re-stretch the top this Sunday for the final fit and get her finished up.  Richard's TC will be making her debut at the 13th Annual British & European Car & Cycle Show in Williamsburg on April 15th.  If Eleanor is back on her 'feet' from a brake overhaul she'll be providing company, otherwise Wildflower will be sharing the field with TC5908.
February 18, 2012 - Chip stopped by today and gave the 'new' carb setup his blessing, so I got her buttoned up again and took her for a short ride.  For the first time since I have owned the car, the idle is a nice 1000 RPM instead of 2000+.  She always drove well, and that has not changed.  We'll eventually go through the original carb setup and have it ready in case either of the TCs develops a need.  And lest Wildflower get in a snit over not being taken to the Concours d' Elegance, I cleaned up the entrance of her bedroom today.  The vinyl flooring was put in when I first got the garage and 12+ years of rolling cars in and out had taken their toll.  I got a new full-width trim strip and trimmed off the ratty end - the garage is once more acceptable quarters.
February 17, 2012 - Wildflower received an invitation to participate in a Concours d' Elegance at the British Car Week National Meet in Arkansas, being held May 30th-June 3rd.  Since this is a National 'invitation only' event, I am really honored to be offered the opportunity, but Arkansas is a long way from Virginia.  I've already decided to judge at the AACA Grand National/National Dual Meet in Shelbyville, Tennessee in the middle of June.  Add the fact that I don't own a trailer and the answer becomes pretty obvious.  Still, it was nice to be asked!
February 5, 2012 - It appears that the intake leak was probably caused by a scraped manifold gasket (see highlighted photo on left).  I must have dragged the intake up over it last time.  While I had the manifolds off, I cleaned and repainted the studs and the exhaust manifold, and got some much-needed stainless lock washers so that the manifold bolts don't back out again.  Then I installed the new setup.  It went together easily, and once I got everything cinched up, had no fuel leaks under pressure.  I had to use the choke to get her going, but it was fairly nippy.  Once she started, however, the car ran really well.  I'd like to get Chip to give it a once-over and maybe tweak the jets.  But the whistle is gone and she runs smooth.  You can see a video of it here.
January 24, 2012 - Chip came by tonight and inspected the carb setup - he was duly impressed and confirmed that everything was properly set up and ready to go.  I'll attack that job later this week or the weekend.  It's been cold and wet the past few days, and I decided to see what I could do with some old computer pieces friends had given me in lieu of tossing them in the trash.  Although I sometimes take a laptop computer out to the garage, it's usually in the way and hard to work with.  I was able to fix an old CPU that my neighbor across the street had given up on, and combined it with a old but decent LCD monitor another friend had replaced in her office and some speakers that had also been salvaged.  A little Photoshop work and I even have the right  look to the screen.  The system will allow me to run AOL, cruise the Internet, and even play movies and audio CDs, all for a total investment of..  well, nothing but a few hours time!  And I was able to set it up in a corner that is out of the way, but still visible and accessible. 
January 22, 2012 - Richard brought back the box of carb parts and the manifold we used to get his carbs set up, and I pulled out the rebuilt set that came with Eleanor.  The SU box held a pleasant surprise - the original lever-type linkage was also included, giving me the entire setup.  The carbs look great.  I replaced some worn hardware for cosmetic purposes only,  and polished up the bronze and parts leaving the carbs undisturbed.  They were only run a month after a total rebuild, and I am hoping all the settings are still good.  The manifold got cleaned and painted, and I got new stainless bolts and washers to mount the carbs, using new gaskets as well.  I plan to pull the old intake/carb assembly off intact, install a new manifold gasket, and then put the replacement assembly on.  Looks like I have all parts in stock, so I should be able to do the switch one night this week.
January 15, 2012 - I finally got around to changing Wildflower's oil - I went with a synthetic blend, and already had a spin-on filter painted engine color.  I drained and flushed the block, so she should be nice and clean inside.  The oil pressure is good and no leaks.  However, the car has a high-pitched whine caused by an intake leak.  I discovered that two of the four manifold retainer bolts were almost off, and another was getting loose.  Tightening everything up caused occasional silence, but the leak remains.  Wildflower's carbs have been an issue since I first got her, but a solution is at hand.  I have a spare manifold and Eleanor came with a spare set of fully rebuilt carbs that have less than a month's use on them.  I plan to set up the spare manifold and carbs and try them on Wildflower.
January 8, 2012 - The Car of the Century display ended today, with the top honors going to...  the mammoth 1933 Packard positioned just below Wildflower in the photo on the right got the most votes.  Considering the Packard is a half-million-dollars of classic automobile and probably three times the TC's size.  Officially, everyone else came in 'second',' so Wildflower can maintain her claim to that position.  The crowds over the three days were amazing - a never-ending stream of spectators who were still buying tickets with just a couple of hours left in the show.  Wildflower was much admired, and as usual, very popular with kids. Oh, and with ants.  Roses were given out to ladies at the Thursday night VIP dinner, and I placed a couple I found abandoned in front of Wildflower for a 'cute' photo.   A number of other people must have seen the flowers and decided to add their own tributes, so that a good half-dozen were in front of her the next morning.  That would have been no issue, except that these particular roses must have been home to a large number of ants.  They were crawling all over Wildflower's fenders until Dot Parrish (who had the lovely blue Corvette next to Wildflower) began cleaning them off.  By the time I was able to get back to the Convention Center with bug spray and polishing cloths, she had cleaned most of them off.  I noted that the ants were attracted by such a  'sweet' ride.   Which she was on the way home tonight.  No oil pressure issues, which was a relief after the scare on Thursday.  She's safely back home in the main garage.  I'll get her oil and filter changed this week.
January 5, 2012 - Wildflower is safely housed in the main lobby of the Virginia Beach Convention Center for the 'Car of the Century' display.  She is one of 11 cars representing automotive development from 1900-2010, including the behemoth beauty 1933 Packard V-12 parked next to her.  One of the 11 will be voted 'Car of the Century' by attendees, and the owner will be awarded $1500!  There are some beautiful vehicles in the running, but Wildflower's charm and eye-catching colors give her a chance.   I was wondering if I would be in the show at all this morning.  She ran flawlessly all the way out, and was happily idling in line to get in with the new cars.  Then I glanced down and saw the gauge was showing ZERO oil pressure!  I shut down the engine and restarted my heart.  Oil level was good, no leaks, no odd noises, running smooth and cool.  I tried again - zero.  Once more, this time with a 'blip' of the throttle, and the oil pressure came back strong and steady!  Whew!  A small clog in the oil tube feeding the oil pressure gauge.  I'll blow out the line and change the oil and filter when I get her back home.
January 3, 2012 - OK. there is a limit to graciousness, and Wildflower informed me that while she doesn't mind sharing the spotlight occasionally, this is HER web page, after all.  I spent tonight polishing and cleaning in preparation of the big car show this weekend.  Although the hood won't be open, I took care of her inner fenders and firewall anyway just in case.  The interior got a thorough detailing and leather treatment, and furniture polish for the burled wood dash.  Then I moved on the outside.  She was already pretty clean from the last show, but I polished everything up on the body.  The left headlight felt loose, and I was surprised to find that both of the inner mounting bolts were missing!  Happily, I had the correct new Whitworth bolts in my hardware collection.  The other side was very loose as well, and I tightened them up.  I'll pull the wheels and do the underside of the fenders and treat the tires on both sides tomorrow night.  Then it's off to the Virginia Beach Convention Center and the 'Car of the Century' display from Thursday through Sunday!
January 2, 2012 - TC5908 Breathes Easier - As it turned out, TC5908 was having some respiratory distress caused by severely messed-up carburetors.   After spending a whole day last weekend trying to adjust and tinker, it was decided that we needed to regroup.  Richard ordered gaskets and other parts, I dug and my garage for more spare parts, and Chip and I went back today for a major attack.  Chip had been doing research all week, and it paid off - as did the spare parts.  One of Richard's carburetor bodies was badly worn where the butterfly plates closed, and the needle assemblies were damaged.  Enter Wildflower's treasure trove of parts, which provided a good body and new needles.  The carbs were field-stripped and built back up from scratch, with careful attention to getting good seals.  I'd also brought my spare intake so we could bench assemble the whole carb setup and linkage, which proved to be a major help.  We were able to transfer the whole assembly over to the car and finish hookup pretty quickly.  Chip's initial settings worked out perfectly.  The car fired right up and idled smoothly at 1,000 RPM!  Chip got passenger rights this time, as he had done the lion's share of the work.  The car drove and sounded wonderful.   Click here for a video of Chip and Richard rolling out for the test drive.  And click here to see them rolling back with great big grins!
December 29, 2011 - Familiar digs - Wildflower has her big 'Car of the Century' show next weekend, so I moved her back to the main garage for more space while Eleanor took up quarters in the 'private' garage.  I took care of some maintenance this week that I've been planning on for a while.  I retorqued the cylinder head with the shiny new torque wrench I got from Santa, and put Alumaseal in the radiator to stop some long-term seepage I have recently discovered.  I also put in fresh antifreeze - I don't want freeze plugs popping out again this year!  Despite having sat for a couple of months, she fired right up and idled for over a half-hour with her usual poise.  The Alumaseal seems to have done the trick - no drips after I parked her tonight.  I hope it holds - pulling the radiator on these cars is a big job.
December 18, 2011 - TC5908 on the Road! - I should probably put together a page just for TC5908 - but she was instrumental in my owning TC5308 and TC5624, so I don't think Wildflower minds sharing.  In any case, Richard's TC is finally complete and roadable!  We took her out for the first time as a whole TC - click here to see the video of her first drive.  There were some minor hiccups that had to be expected after more than a decade off the road and having most of her systems disassembled and redone over the past 4 years.  Still, it's just a matter of minor adjustments now - TC5908 has arrived!
December 15, 2011 - Car of the Century? - I got an email today notifying me that Wildflower has been selected as part of a special display of antique vehicles at the 100th Hampton Roads International Car Show.   She'll be in the running for the Car of the Century award and $1500 grand prize. 
November 27, 2011 - TC5908 Coming Together - Richard is making great progress on TC5908, the first TC that I had ever sat n the driver's seat of.  Because of her, I realized I could drive one of these cars even with my 14EEE feet, and got Wildflower, then Eleanor.  We got the hood, front valance, and badge bar on today.  She's looking like a TC!  Scroll down to April 23rd's entry to see her as she was until just a few days ago.
October 15, 2011 - Big Day! - The Wings and Wheels show was today, and Wildflower obviously charmed the judges.  She was awarded the Best British Car trophy in a very respectable field of UK Marques.  Even the ride out to the show was fun, a 30-mile drive with a lot of twisty country roads and incredibly good weather.   And when we got home, my copy of ME AND MY MG had arrived, complete with a chapter on how I found her on eBay.  It was rather coincidental, actually - the SPORTS AND EXOTIC CAR magazine that featured Wildflower arrived the day of last year's show!  All in all, a very pleasant day!
October 10, 2011 - Torn Tube -  I finally found the tire changing tools in the garage and fixed Wildflower's flat.  The tube had gotten low and pulled inside, literally ripping the stem out of the body.  There was no damage to the rim, and the tire looked fine as well - the rolled and plated rim didn't cut into the rubber anywhere.  Getting the new tube in was more of a challenge than before - not sure why, but it took quite a while with the mosquitoes chewing on me before I got it all together.  However, she has a spare again and is ready for the show this weekend.

HERSHEY FOOTNOTE - Got unhappy news yesterday.  TC0469, shown below, was sideswiped by an antique fire engine Saturday night and suffered damage to the front and rear fenders.  All repairable, and no one was hurt, but condolences to Bob and Pam and best wishes for a speedy recovery for TC0469!

October 6-8, 2011 - HERSHEY! -  The annual swap meet and car show at Hershey PA is always a treat - thousands of vendors with old car parts and over a thousand old cars to look at - and this year was better than most.  The weather was perfect, I found some cheap treasures, and got to visit with TC0469 and her humans, Bob and Pam Bond.  Best Bud Chip and I rolled up Thursday and had a smooth trip, hitting the fields at Hershey by early afternoon.  Chip earned his ride by discovering a trove of MG parts one row over from where we parked - an XPAG camshaft and dipstick for $5, and a neat Raydyot windshield-mount spotlight for the T-series for $10!   I picked up a new MG polo shirt and a Franklin Mint Rolls Silver Ghost for $25 each, and then found a guy with Whitworth tools on a $1 each table!  The trip ended up to be cheap fun - my parts total ended up under $100 including the new shirt, and the York Days Inn provided terrific lodging with breakfast for $87.20 for both nights. 
October 3, 2011 - A smaller flat issue -  I like to snag models that match Wildflower, and this die-cast TC made by Top Marques in England certainly fit the bill.   Usually very pricy (Most start at over $150 each), this one got damaged when the display case it was on fell over during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.  I was able to get it on eBay for $21, and after a little patient wiggling and a few drops of SuperGlue, she's proud and happy on MY display case.  Not perfect, but certainly nice enough to make me happy.
October 1, 2011 - Running Flat -  Wildflower has been sitting for a while, so I took her out to the Christian Broadcasting Network's 50th Anniversary Celebration today to be part of a car display.  She was eager to go, but pulled to the right as I rolled along the Interstate at 55.  I thought I might have a low tire, but when I got to CBN, I discovered the new right front tire was completely flat!  Worse, I had taken the knockoff mallet out and not put it back.  Luckily, a friend in the club was able to provide a rubber mallet and the tire got changed out easily.  It was a cool but pleasant day, and Wildflower played hostess to an ongoing parade of kids (and a few adults) who I invited to sit behind the wheel.  All were respectful and most just grinned and pushed the horn button a couple of times.  But the kids who really got into the spirit of things were the brother (lower right) who got in and promptly began turning the wheel back and forth making car racing noises.  I can remember when I did that...  I think it was sometime last week.
August 14, 2011 - Tiny TC -  Yet another TC has joined the group, but this one won't require reorganizing the garage.  It's a 1/87th scale MG TC by Busch, a European model railway parts supplier.  Despite the size, the car is quite detailed and is even in Wildflower's color combination!
August 2, 2011 - Family Picnic -  Wildflower and I went out tonight for a family picnic with the Tidewater MG Classics Club.  She was the oldest MG, of course, but a TD showed up a little later to keep her company.  She handled the 90+ degree heat and some heavy traffic with nary a complaint, and got a lot of compliments.  It is amazing how different the car drives from Eleanor.  She has much better brakes due to the Alfin Drums, and much better acceleration due to the standard rear axle ratio.  On the flip side, the VW steering box is not as responsive as Eleanor's original Bishop box.
July 11, 2011 - Famous again!  The story of me and Wildflower has made it to print as one of the featured tales in Gordon Thorburn's 'ME AND MY MG', just out in hardback.  Available through Amazon UK, the book description starts as follows:  Read about the Berkshire restorer who saw a heap of old iron in the bushes and realised it used to be a 1926 bullnose Super Sports, and the seven year old boy in Norfolk, Virginia, who read a book called The Red Car and knew that, one day, he would have to have a TC....  OK, I was probably more like 11 years old, but he picked up the story of Wildflower from this web site, and has photos as well.  I ordered the book today - what the heck?  For $48 including shipping, I have a unique display item.
July 10, 2011 - Wildflower went on a long run today for the first time since I installed the new tire- she drives great with no vibration or pull.  We did some highway cruising, and then took a drive down a real country road.  Lots of smiles and horn honks from other drivers.  It's amazing how much difference the lower rear axle makes in this car over Eleanor (TC5624).  She is faster and more fun to drive, and her brakes are quite a bit better.  I may have to bite the bullet and get those Alfin drums for Eleanor.  $1200 or better a set, but they are a big improvement.
June 25, 2011 - The worn tire I noticed last month got replaced today - the top photos show the same tire on opposite sides.  Looks like the tire was defective, made out-of-round so the tread was thinner on one side.  I put a new tire on tonight, and will put the spare on the other side so both front tires are new.  The left front tire is still in good shape, and will clean up to make a good spare.  Wildflower also got some exercise in the form of my local car club's Ice Cream run.  We drove through some nice older neighborhoods, and then ended the tour at Doumar's, a Norfolk Landmark that features the world's first ice cream cone machine (made in 1903 and still in use!).
June 19, 2011 - I got a call from a neighbor while I was out helping Richard put the starter back in TC5908 - the back wall of the old bank building that backs up to my yard had collapsed, and fire and rescue crews would not let her into my yard to see if Wildflower's private quarters had been damaged.  Her garage sits at the very back corner of my property, so I was understandably concerned.  A quick trip home resulted in the happy discovery of no damage or debris at all on MY side of the fence.  It was a different story on the other side.  The old bank was being gutted and renovated, and the two-story back wall had fallen in on itself instead of coming straight over.  Whew!  I gave Wildflower a pat on the hood and made sure nothing had gotten shaken down. 
June 4, 2011 - Wildflower rolled out today for a run around town - she fired right up and ran great as always.  However, she has a bit of smoke and/or steam at startup that may be signals of a head issue.  Either a head gasket or valve guides.  The trouble goes away once she warms up a little.  I think this is residual damage from overheating when the freeze plugs came out - but she has great oil pressure and no other symptoms.  I plan to pull the head and have it checked eventually, but for now i'll keep an eye on things.
May 14, 2011 - Another show, another potential enthusiast.  Kids really like the TC, probably because she is more their size.  And of course, they have incredibly good taste to pick out Wildflower.  I guess it helps that I'm one of the few owners who encourages them to get in my car.   Wildflower had a good outing - threats of rain and thunderstorms kept turnout low at the weekly gathering at Genro's in Virginia Beach,  However, this time the weathermen lied and we got there and back without any rain.
May 7, 2011 - Wildflower made a lot of new friends at the 58th Annual Old Dominion Meet held in Lynchburg, VA.  Several future hobbyists tried out her front seats, and this fellow went for a ride around the parking lot (He is looking forward to restoring a 1966 Ford Thunderbird).  The judges also liked her, and she earned another First Place award to add to her badge bar.  Although I trailered her up to the show (3.5 hours is a bit much for my feet), the TC got plenty of exercise as I tooled around mountain roads and city streets visiting various relatives.  Naturally, there was a rain storm as I rolled out of the show field the first day, top down, but it didn't last long.  She did get pretty dirty, and I spent a couple of hours getting her spiffed up Saturday morning.  More than a few people laughed when I took her wheels off to clean inside and under the fenders.  One surprise - I had noticed the right front tire looked more worn, but as I was cleaning I discovered it was actually bald in one spot.  The tire was defective, with an out-of-round casing.  I just rotated that to the bottom for the show, and the replacement is already in the garage!
April 23, 2011 - An exciting day today - friend Richard Hall, who has done so much to help me with my TC, drove his TC (TC5908) for the very first time today!  We got the clutch hooked up and decided to give her a test run.  The video is on You-Tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUC0SD5SVwQ
April 17, 2011 - MONKEY FEET! - I wear 14EEE shoes (translation for those who don't know American sizing - MONSTER FEET), which creates some difficulty when I am driving TC5308. I have figured out the right contortions to drive the car, but they make any distance driving less fun. A couple of weeks ago I saw someone wearing the weirdest shoes I have ever seen - they were close-fitting, like martial arts slippers, and had individual toes. I bought a pair Friday in hopes of solving my fat-foot dilemma, and they are fantastic! As you can see by the direct comparison at left, the design takes about an inch off both the length and width of my overall 'footprint', and the tremendous flexibility makes it easy to get my feet positioned. I wore them all  weekend on my car club's Spring Tour to North Carolina and they were very comfortable even with a lot of walking, and I had no trouble on gravel. The shoes are called 'Vibram Five Fingers' and they will get as many looks as your TC. I got mine at a local shoe store I located on the Internet (a block from my office), and they are also sold at Blue Ridge Sports Outfitters in Virginia.
April 3, 2011 - After the wet and windy drive home yesterday, I was ready for a FUN drive in the TC.  So I got her out of the garage and spent time cleaning her up from yesterday's storm, and also investigated some bad handling that turned out to be two tires with low pressure.  Then it was off to enjoy a sunny day and some twisty back roads to Richard's house, where we made more progress on TC5908.  Wildflower served as a model for the location of various chassis bits.  She is running and driving well, and the new valve cover gasket took care of a long-time oil seepage and splatter issue inside the engine compartment. 
April 2, 2011 - Into every life a little rain must fall...  at least in this case, the rain came after Wildflower was presented with The "Best Import" trophy for the Virginia Chevy Lovers Spring Dust Off show.  The day started off with light drizzle that prompted me to use the Studebaker for an early morning parade, and then come back to drive the TC to the show under the expected sunny skies.  Of course, the expected turned unexpected, with spits of rain off an on during the afternoon.   As usual, the TC was a magnet to kids, and I had a good dozen climb in and out and try the big button on the dash that goes 'BEEP!'   The real storm held off just long enough for the last awards to be handed out, with wind and rain hitting us even before we got to our cars.  I can't see out of the car with the top up, so I used the tonneau over the passenger side.  It's not like the TC has never seen rain before.   She ran really well, except for a high idle.  I need to get the carbs adjusted in now.
March 28, 2011 -  Wildflower has always had a noisy valve train - most of the upper end has been replaced or rebuilt, and according to receipts, she has a new cam and lifters.  A member of the T-ABC online group I am a member of noted my comments in other places in this online journal of car repairs, and suggested i may be using too big a valve adjustment setting.  It turns out that while .019" is emblazoned on the rocker cover, the recommended setting is quite  a bit smaller.  In fact, for later engines, the valve lash adjustment is just .012"!  So tonight, I pulled the rocker cover and set the valve lash to .012" hot.  When I put her back together and started the engine, I was much happier with the sound.  Curiously, the exhaust note seems to have picked up a rumble that has been missing from Wildflower, but noted in other T-series cars.  Could be psychological, but I am happy with the engine sound for the first time since I got the car.
March 20, 2011 -  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up an olive drab wooden footlocker dating back to World War II for $10.  It was well built and had a top drawer inside for smaller parts.  I decided to fix it up as a 'jewelry box' for Wildflower, something to keep her spare parts and nick-knacks in.  I was able to get a large Union Jack sticker and started to stand the rough olive drab paint smoother for a repaint.  However, the lid cleaned up to nice wood, so I decided to keep it natural.  Some stain/urethane provided color and sealant, and I bead-blasted and clear coated all the hardware.  I did the main chest in gloss black - it came out looking pretty spiffy for a few hours' effort. 
March 12, 2011 -  The TC is all back together and running well.  I actually had her done a couple of weeks ago, but today was the first time I took her out for a run.  She ran strong and cool, with no signs of seepage or leaks.  I found out that her rattly valve train may be due to incorrect adjustment of the rockers.  I had been using the .019" setting which was factory set for TCs.  However, the TC has a later engine that probably needs .012" settings.  I'll give that a shot and see if it makes a difference.  In any case, she is running and driving well.  The next adventure is my car club's 'Square Car Tour' on March 26th.  Wildflower may end up spending some time at friend Richard's immediately afterwards to serve as a guide for putting TC5908 back together.
February 20, 2011 -  Mostly done with the fixes, except that one of the float bowl joint gaskets tore when I was putting the manifolds back on, so i have to order some in from Moss.  A friend who owned a machine shop recommended JB Weld to seal the plugs, so I used the epoxy again.  This time everything sealed up well and the leak test came up negative.  After another shot of paint, I got her back together and running, if leaking fuel.  I also installed a nice grab handle purchased from Doug Pelton - it uses the existing holes for the dashboard, and adds a bit of glitter.  Once I get the bowl seals, she should be ready to go!
February 16, 2011 -  Even I can learn from past mistakes.  Before I put the engine back together, I figured it would be smart to test the seal on the new freeze plugs.  So tonight I filled the radiator and let the car sit for a while.  When I came back, the center and forward freeze plugs had water seepage (blue circles).  Ironically, the one I was worried about in the back (green circle) was tight and dry.  I'll pull the two incontinent plugs and install new ones, this time with a bead of JB Weld to ensure a good seal.  An easy fix, though, especially since I haven't put the engine back together again.  One delay had been questions about the exhaust joint, which had shown evidence of leaks as well.  The flare of the header is too large for the cone washer that is supposed to provide a good seal, and the T-ABC Group recommended using an MGB exhaust donut.  Said donut being in stock, I should have both water and exhaust leaks sealed up soon.  We have good weather predicted for the weekend, so with luck, Wildflower will be back on the road by Sunday.
February 14, 2011 -  A warm sunny day prompted some 'sick time' off from work, and I attacked Wildflower's freeze plugs.  The manifolds came off easily, revealing not one, but three plugs needing replacement!  The center plug was partway out, and the forward top plug showed a little seepage near the top.  However, the bottom rear plug had fallen out completely!  Lucky for me, I had ordered a full set of the new brass plugs from Tom Lange for the spare engine.  I cleaned the opening out with a Dremel tool an wire brush, then wiped it all down with brake cleaner.  The bottom rear plug proved to be slightly larger and I had to flatten the plug a little to get a close initial fit, but the others were snug.  After dimpling them in place, I cleaned everything back off and repainted the side of the block.  I have all new gaskets, and plan to put her back together later this week.
January 23, 2011, 2010 -  Wildflower has been somewhat ignored the past month due to a surprisingly busy time at work and other projects.  A kind fellow who checks the site (Thanks, Richard!) put me in touch with Tom Lange, who had sets of heavy brass freeze plugs made up for the XPAG engines.  Tom sent me the plug I needed the next day (Even bigger thanks, Tom!), but I haven't had time to put it in yet.  With temps in the low 20s, I suppose Wildflower is just as happy to stay in her private garage for the time being.  I did buy her a bit of jewelry as a make-up present - one of Doug Pelton's (From the Frame Up) classy grab handles that mount using the existing dash screws.  Things have settled down at work finally, and I'm hoping to get the plug in soon.
December 19, 2010 -  I have come to the conclusion that Wildflower is a Grinch.   Either that. or she just doesn't like traipsing about in the cold.  I went out today and started her up along with all the other old cars, and noticed she was running a bit warmer than I would expect.  I shut her down and came back later.  The radiator was not showing coolant, and when I added more, I heard an unhappily familiar splatter from the engine compartment.  The large freeze plug behind the manifold appears to have popped out again.  I'm at a loss on how this could have happened, but at least I didn't find out after driving her on the Xmas Lights Tour on Tuesday.  Same event this came up on as last year.  I am giving serious consideration  to pulling the engine and dropping in the spare this winter.
November 27, 2010 -  Ever see a $150 cotter pin?  I have it circled in red.  I didn't really pay that much for it - I bought the whole tie rod end.  BUT when I went to install the new one, I discovered that the reason the old one was so loose was the cotter pin holding the castle nut in place had fallen out, and the nut had backed off enough to allow a lot of slop in the ball.  When I'd looked at it before, I had thought the ball was moving in the slot.   Oh, well.  I went ahead and installed the new tie rod end anyway, which took care of the excess play.  Especially when the tie rod ball is secured properly.  On the plus side, I can use the parts of the tie rod for any of the other tie rod ends that might go bad later.  In any case, Wildflower is ready to roll again.
November 20, 2010 -  The loose steering turned out to be a bad tie rod end.  Buddy Chip came over today and turned the wheel while I peered underneath.  I could see the left tie rod end on the drag link move back and forth a good inch with no movement of the wheels.  TC tie rod ends are unusual - they are spring-loaded and can be adjusted and repaired, unlike modern one-piece assemblies.  From the amount of play, it looks like the tensioning spring has broken.  I will order in a new one (Doug Pelton's 'From the Frame Up' carries the correct part, while Moss Motors sells one with an incorrect thread - why?).
November 19, 2010 -  Wildflower showed off at the Portsmouth Holiday Open House tonight - a group from the Tidewater Region AACA provided a vintage car display in the center of activities.  Getting there was NOT half the fun, though.  Thanks to accidents all over the place, we ended up in bumper-to-bumper traffic for about an hour (and the TC doesn't HAVE bumpers!).  She took it all in good stride, but I noticed the steering felt odd.  We set up from 5 pm until 9 pm, with a good variety of antique vehicles.  The TC got filmed by the local TV news crew and earned a lot of looks from the passers-by.  On the way home, I realized the car had developed excessive play in the steering.  I have checked the steering box before and found no play at all.  I'll have to check it out tomorrow.  . 
November 13, 2010 -  It's been a quiet month for the TC - between rainy weeks, work, and out-of-town activities, I haven't been able to do much.  However, this week I finally gave her some quality time.  The passenger side mirror finally came in from Moss - they had to have them made up, and it took about 4 months.  It was worth the wait - driving a RHD car with no left side mirror has been - interesting.  Not to mention a workout for my neck.  I also attacked the oil filter setup, which has been dripping.  I put a new gasket and Hylomar under the adapter plate, and changed oil and filter.  That seems to have cured the oil drip.  I drove the car to our local AACA region's Chili Cookoff, and she did great.  Richard Hall was there with his TD, so the two MGs were able to visit while their owners stuffed themselves.
October 16, 2010 -  Twenty-six MGs showed up at 8 this morning for the motorcade to Fort Story - five T series, one Midget, one MGC, Five MGB-GTs and fourteen MGB roadsters.  We actually had two no-shows, but best bud Chip decided to follow me over in his MGB-GT (tan with a red hood) and one other 'extra' person showed up, giving us exactly what we needed.  Although you'd expect directing a bunch of MG owners around would be much like herding cats, the formation was set up in record time, and we even did a second grouping as the MG Octagon, and still finished up an hour early.  Wildflower is the bottom of the 'G' (center right) in this photo, taken by intrepid photographer Donald Ladd.  It was really windy on the ground - he used a strap to secure himself on the rail at the top of the lighthouse.  Afterwards, we motored down the strip at Virginia Beach as our own MGB parade, getting a lot of waves and thumbs up, to a great lunch at one of the local seafood restaurants that opened early for us.  All in all a great day!
October 15, 2010 -  I got sidelined by a bad cold the past couple of days, but with the photo shoot tomorrow it was tonight or never for sorting out the carb issue.  I checked the needle valve, and it did seem to be sticking a little.  I adjusted the lever arms a little and put it all back together.  The carb still pumped out fuel.  This time there was gas in the bowl, and I could see that the float was floating.  However, just before I put it back together, I realized it wasn't floating very high.  When I pushed it down, it rose...  very slowly.  Aha!  After coaxing it out of the bowl with a small screwdriver, I found out the float was a better gas can than a float.  It had fuel sloshing inside.  Lucky for me I had some good spares, and once I dropped a good float in the problem was solved.  I made a quick run to Advance Auto for some new spark plugs (Thanks, Jack!)  as the old ones had gotten fuel fouled.  She is VERY happy now, and ready to roll in the morning.
October 12, 2010 -  RCS tested the generator this morning when I brought it in and declared it 'dead as a hammer'.  That was a relief, actually, as the idea of sorting through switches and wiring for another culprit was not pleasant.  I got a call about 2 pm - the generator was ready to pick up, with a bill of just $42.  Turns out one of the brushes was stuck.  They took it apart and checked everything just in case, but some fitting of the brush got everything working again.  I installed the generator as soon as I got home tonight, and the light went out and she registered an immediate charge as soon as the engine started.  However, the front carb is dumping gas, probably a stuck needle valve.  Once I get that straight she will be ready to participate this weekend!
October 11, 2010 -  Polarizing the regulator didn't work, so I am going to take the generator out to RCS electric tomorrow morning.  Turns out that I do have the correct TC generator, probably original to the car.  It can be replaced with a TD unit if I get a new pulley, but that's a last resort.  I'm hoping it's an easy fix with the generator. My MG club is planning to create an MG logo on the green beside a local lighthouse on Saturday for the 80th anniversary of MG cars and get an aerial shot.  It would be nice to have Wildflower in the mix, but Rodney is standing by just in case.
October 4, 2010 -  I dropped the generator off at Brownings Electric on Wednesday with the promise they'd check it out Thursday.  As of this afternoon, they hadn't even looked at it, so I picked it up.  That's the last of MY business they'll see.  I'll check it myself using a voltmeter - and I am going to try polarizing the new voltage regulator.  I can always take it to RCS in Chesapeake.  And I leave for Hershey Thursday!
September 26, 2010 -  I took Wildflower out for a good run yesterday - out to Richard's (he wasn't home) and then to my parent's.  She ran great and got a lot of smiles and waves.  On the way home last night, the red light came on indicating no charge in the ignition circuit.  A quick check confirmed a negative reading on the ammeter as well.  There was no issue getting home even with the lights on.  I pulled the generator and checked the brushes first.  They look new, as does the rest of the generator.  I have an NOS Lucas voltage regulator on hand, so I installed that.  No change.  The next step is to pull the generator again and have it tested somewhere.  The issue has to be something simple. 
September 19, 2010 -  The Classics on the Green show was great - set on a golf course with hundreds of amazing import cars all around.   (CLICK HERE for photos of the show) Wildflower took Second in the Vintage MG class, losing out to a sister TC fresh from a $140,000 restoration!  Even so, we got a lot of compliments, and 5 people recognized TC5308 from the Sports and Exotic Car magazine feature.  (10/2010 issue).  There were a few glitches.  The starter jammed up again yesterday when I was getting her cleaned up, and I had to pull it to free up the Bendix.  All was fine today, but I'll probably go ahead and order a new starter.  Then I got a nasty surprise this morning as I loaded her on the trailer.  I was using a stout-looking ramp inside the trailer's wide-spread ramps for the driver's side wheels - it bent under Wildflower's weight and I scraped paint off the running board and fender when her back end dropped down.  No sheet metal damage (Whew!) and I grabbed the touch-up paint and a brush from the garage.  After polishing the area I touched her up and the damage pretty much disappeared..
September 11, 2010 -  Wildflower got a brief run today just to keep things loosened up - next weekend is the big Classics on the Green import car show where she gets to show off her new chrome wire wheels and alloy valve cover.  I'd thought about driving her up for the show (about 80 miles), but have decided to borrow a friend's trailer and keep her pristine for the show.  It's not like she hasn't had plenty of exercise this summer!
August 29, 2010 -  I've been holding off on a couple of jobs for the TC - converting the leaky canister oil filter to a spin-on setup, and reinstalling the original alloy valve cover.  Both jobs are simple, but I never trust simple jobs when I have something I want to use the car for.  With the big local show done, I attacked both today. The oil filter conversion setup is very simple - you pull the canister and the retaining flow-through bolt, clean everything up, and install the adapter with a new gasket and flow-through bolt.  The instructions recommended a large Phillips screwdriver to get the flow-through bolts on, but there was no room for the handles.  Instead, I found the perfect tool to be a large offset screwdriver.  Then I discovered the cause of the leaks - there was an old gasket crushed and petrified in the canister cover groove.  It took a lot of digging with a narrow screwdriver to get it out.  Since I didn't want the conversion to stand out, I painted the adapter and filter with the same Moss engine paint I used on the canister filter cover when I'd detailed the engine.  I installed the gasket with a light coat of Hylomar sealer and put Locktite on the flow-through nut.  In the sure knowledge that all was right with the world, I pulled the drip pan out from under the car and started the engine - only to have a Niagara of oil cascade over the new filter setup.  Happily, nothing had time to set up and I was able to get the conversion kit off easily.  Turns out I hadn't done such a great job of seating the gasket in the groove.  No damage to the gasket, so I put it all back together a bit more carefully and this time had no leaks at all.  Whew!  The alloy valve cover is actually a rare original item that came on the first TCs before Accounting had them switch to the stamped steel versions.  Wildflower must have gotten hers as a 'hand-me-down' from a slightly older sister.  The alloy version is much spiffier, but had some scratches that I couldn't get out.  Hence the restored and correct stamped metal cover I used for shows.  As expected, even that simple job had a slight complication - I had bought reproduction chromed hold-down nuts and fibre washers.  The nuts wouldn't go on until I used a bolt to clean up the threads.  However, everything is done, the engine has fewer oil leaks, and looks very spiffy. 
August 28, 2010 -  A busy day today - took the TC to our big show, and it turned out way bigger than expected.  We had about 300 cars and a huge crowd of spectators.  The TC was popular as always, and had a good number of kids try out the driver's seat.  The car ran great for the 60+ miles to and from the show site, so the distributor plate fix appears ro have solved her running issues.  When I got home, the October 2010 Sports and Exotic Car magazine with the article on the TC's restoration was in the mailbox.  I was disappointed to see that they had not corrected a lot of major errors I'd identified in the proof version, but it's still 6 pages of great photos.

August 12, 2010 -  Good thing I didn't have a flat - the new chrome wheels would not fit on the spare tire rack due to interference from the anti-rotation peg.  I got brave tonight and attacked the peg with my grinder, then followed up with some of the original touchup paint.  Then I swapped the tire and tube over to the new wheel.  Everything came out great - you can't tell the peg has been flattened with the spare in place, and the new wheel looks great.
August 10, 2010 -  The new chrome spare wheel arrived, and much to my relief, was exactly the same as the other four.  I'll get the tire moved over and have the car cleaned up for out local show in two weeks, and the Virginia Classics on the Green show next month.  Of course, there will be a lot of driving in between!  I do plan to put together a more comprehensive travel kit, though.  And get my tools in order.  I plan to get a spin-on oil filter conversion for the TC - the original setup leaks and I can paint the spin-on filters engine color and make them almost invisible.
August 8, 2010 -  I  brought my box of distributor parts out to Richard's this morning and we got her tightened up with new screws and Locktite, Champion bakelite spark plug ends, and more gas. She made the 20-mile trip from Richard's without a hiccup, rolling 60-65 the whole way. And yes, Richard, I filled up with gas and reset the trip meter.
August 7, 2010 -  I took Wildflower on a 90-mile MG club tour yesterday. The day started off well, nice weather and the car rolling along nicely at 60 all the way to pick up a friend. And I had driven the car just Tuesday with no issues. After picking up the friend, we rolled off to the rally start point, and the car started losing power. I made to my parent's house (just a few blocks away by happy coincidence) and swapped out the distributor plate, thinking it was a points or condenser problem. Everything is new from the coil to the spark plugs, but it was the fastest way to check. Sure enough, the car started right up and ran perfect again - until we were about 20 miles into the rally. I kept her going, sometimes OK, sometimes sputtering along at 30-35. Happily the rally was a low-speed run through back country roads, and I didn't hold things up too badly. When we got to the restaurant that was the end point, I reset the points just to make sure they were not closing up, but couldn't find anything wrong - until I saw that the Number One plug lead was dangling. Turns out the copper clip had separated from the brand new spark plug end. I got it back on, and tried to nurse it to friend Richard's.
We actually got within a few miles of his house (the home of TC5908) before she really started giving me a fit. The car would idle OK, but any load and she would die. I decided to try swapping the distributor plate out again and clean the plugs. Two other spark plug ends (all new reproduction items) came apart - happily Richard had three Champion bakelites in the tool box of his TD, and this time the car roared back to life and ran perfect - until she died completely about a mile away. After sitting a minute, she fired back up and zoomed along for about another half mile, then died. The fuel pump was clicking away, and I realized I had added yet a third mishap - she was out of gas. While I was waiting for the faithful and long-suffering Richard to come back with gas (naturally we were still in the back country roads), I suddenly remembered that one of the distributor plate mounting screws had felt loose. Loose mounting screws, loose plate, bad ground for the points. With gas the car fired right back up and ran perfectly. Richard had me put the car in his garage overnight and loaned me his Suburban to take home.
August 3, 2010 -  Lots going on, but not much driving until tonight.  I took Wildflower to the local MG Club meeting and was surprised to see every postwar MG sports car represented: my TC, a TD, a TF, an MGA, a slew of MGBs, and even a Midget!  The car ran great, but on the way home the tachometer stuck at 4600 rpm.  I'll have to see what is causing the stuck needle.  That won't keep her from the club tour this weekend.  I ordered the 5th chrome wheel for the spare on Saturday - ouch.  Almost $600 for the one, but attempts to find anything cheaper failed.  I registered the car for the Classics on the Green show next month, which replaced the Browns Island Show in Richmond.  And she'll being going to my big local antique car club show on the 28th.  I also got the proofs for the Sports and Exotic Car article - it will be six full pages in the October issues, which should be out at the end of this month (I got the September issue last week).  Oh, and I got the eBay distributor cleaned up and it looks like it will be useable pretty much as-is!
July 21, 2010 -  The MG parts at the sale Saturday were pretty well scavenged by the crowd of club members, but there were still a lot of useable, if used, parts in drawers and boxes.  Granted, I am likely to buy most anything I need new for the TC, but sometimes it is really nice to have gaskets, bolts, springs, clips, etc. on hand.   So I went back tonight and sorted through the leftovers, culling out anything that was XPAG engine (TC/TD) related.  I also grabbed empty old Lucas boxes to use for decorations on the TC garage shelves later on, if and when I finally sort all this mess out.  The Pertronix setup came in today, and I had my interview with Jim Donnelley of Sports and Exotic Cars magazine.  Busy day!
July 18, 2010 -  The rather unlovely-looking distributor on the left is my latest prize for the TC.  Considering I bought TWO distributors yesterday for $30, $48 for this one might seem foolish.  However, the dual point Mallory is not original, and the correct distributor I got was missing some critical and expensive parts - just two of which cost more than $100 from Moss and are on this one off eBay.  I can combine the two and have one really good distributor plus parts for $58 - not bad overall. 
July 17, 2010 - PARTS PARADISE! - My MG Club was invited to a special garage sale clearing out the MG parts collection of Vince, a local 'MG Guru' who passed away earlier this year.  He was the 'go-to' guy for pretty much any MG issue, and had an impressive number of parts covering everything from TCs up to MGBs.  One item I was particularly interested in was a TD XPAG 1250 engine in the back shed.  No one knew anything about it, but the crank turned, it had some compression, and was complete with oil pump, so I bought it for the $500 asking price.  There were also some amazing bargains - a complete NOS TC Quinten-Hazel clutch set in the boxes for $25 ($300 from Moss), a starter for $10, a complete water pump assembly with fan and pulley for $10, and two without pulleys for $5 each, a set of TC/TD 1-1/4 inch carbs in pieces for $10, most of a TC/TD distributor for $10 and a Mallory Dual-Point racing distributor complete with spare cap, points, rotor, and condenser for $20!  When I got the engine home I did some more checking - pulling off the valve cover revealed what looks like a lightly-used rebuilt head, and the oil looks new.  It's possible the engine was rebuilt before Vince got it.  I'll hook up a starter and check compression.  If it's good, I may just clean her up and drop her in when the time comes!  Oh, got an email from Sports and Exotic Cars - they want to do the article interview on the phone Monday afternoon.
July 7, 2010 - We had a double event tonight - the Tidewater MG Classics group stopped off for a show at a local retirement home and many of the residents came out for a look.  Wildflower was quite a hit with the ladies, and I am glad I took the keys out - these two were threatening to make off with her!  Then it was off to the club meeting, held at a member's home nearby.  The car ran great, and as usual, was the oldest MG present.
July 6, 2010 - Got the last of the spark plug ends in and finished up the plug wires.  All nice and soldered up (better than I did the condenser lead).  Also checked the rear axle oil - it was over the fill plug, so no leaks there.  The editor of Sports and Exotic Car magazine emailed me last week, by the way.  They are planning to run the photo feature next issue, so they'll be in touch soon for more info.  Looking forward to that!  Gotta decide if the TC goes to the MG Club meeting tomorrow or the tour to Eastern Shore Saturday, or both.  The poor MGB GT is getting ignored - but as long as the weather holds, the TC is gonna be on the road.
July 4, 2010 - I rolled out for Williamsburg, VA and a parade appearance with the Historic Williamsburg MG Touring Society.  The car faltered in the middle of the tunnel, but recovered for about 3 miles before dying completely.  I suspected the tach drive had dropped down to short the distributor terminal, but this time the fuel pump lead had fallen off - the bolt had vibrated loose.  I crimped the end with pliers and she ran fine the rest of the way.  We had 11 T-type MGs in the parade, all led by a Rolls Royce.  It looked like a second British invasion!  Wildflower got lots of compliments, and rolled along the parade route nice and cool. However, on the way home, she started with the ignition stumbling again.  I am gong to try installing a NOS Lucas ignition plate set I just got off eBay and see if that is it.  The Pertronix ignition setup is looking better every day.  Still, she got me home and I had a good time.

Aftermath:  I put in the NOS point plate and she ran perfect. Turns out I had not done a good job soldering the lead on the condenser and it was just laying loose on the contact post!)

July 3, 2010 - The TC got a good test today - participating in the 2010 Independence Day Parade in Chesapeake, VA!  She ran perfect and never showed any concerns at all about idling for 7 miles.  The temperature stayed a very nice, cool 70-75 C.  Wildflower prompted a lot of compliments from parade watchers, but the most common comment was 'Hey, he's driving on the wrong side!"  There is a certain irony in driving a British car in a July 4th celebration - should be even more strange tomorrow when we go to Williamsburg for the Colonial 4th of July Parade with the Williamsburg TC group!
June 27, 2010 - Found one of the tune-up sets this morning, the Lucas stuff, and put the condenser in.  Rather than improving things, the car wouldn't fire at all!  I went back to the main garage and started trying to make paths through the MGB parts, only to find the 1950's generic tune-up set I bought at Hershey.  Plus, two NOS distributor base plates in a box of TD parts a friend gave me several months ago!  (I gotta get organized).  Anyway, after soldering a lead on the condenser and soldering it in place on the new base plate, I put everything back together.  As the kid in the Mazda ads used to say - ZOOM ZOOM!  She fired up the first touch of the key, and gave me a spirited (but mostly legal) run around the neighborhood.  I ordered a new condenser for the original setup (at left) and will put it together to use as a spare.  Figures that the 50+ year-old generic stuff would work where the much newer (green package) Lucas parts failed.  And I usually have good luck with the Prince of Darkness!
June 26, 2010 - Although it won't mean much to most folks, I was really happy to get my badge for the TC Owner's Club.  Based in Perth, Western Australia, the TCOC was formed in 1961 with 'TC's Forever' author Mike Sherrell as a charter member.  They believe in driving the cars as well as showing them, and I had hoped to join as an absentee member.  Alas, the TCOC only accepts participating members, but I was able to work a badge swap with one of the TCOC fellows.  OK, so it's false advertising.  I put the new coil, distributor cap, plug wires, and rotor on the car today.  She is still sputtering.  Naturally, I can't find either of the two new condensers, but I'll check again tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure it's electronic, but could be a fuel issue.  She needed a full tune-up anyway, as the cap and plug wires were quite old.  And I don't mind having a known good spare coil.
June 21, 2010 - Back from a week in Orlando FL, and even there I was able to accomplish some things for the TC.  First of all, I was able to actually meet the man I bought the car from for the first time.  He was very nice, and actually had a back of leftover red upholstery material and piping  from Wildflower's restoration that he gave me, along with a key fob that belonged to the previous owner and an axle hub setup for balancing/painting the wire wheels!  He also told me the previous owner was only the 2nd.  Then it was off to a wonderful visit and dinner with Shelley and Andrew Culley (at left).  Andy was the craftsman who is mostly responsible for TC5308 getting her Grand National.  A terrific couple who I really enjoyed spending time with.  Andy told me that the car's color scheme was researched by the body tag number and is how she came from the factory!  I also took time to order the parts I need for the major tune-up, and they all came in while I was away.
June 12, 2010 - And here she is (at Richard's, of course) with her fancy new chrome 'shoes'.  I took the car out for a long run with some extended Interstate driving at 55-65 with nary a vibration, even though none of the wheels have a balance weight on them.  As expected, the chrome wire wheels really look snazzy, especially with the polished 'Alfin' aluminum racing brake drums.  The car is running rough, though.  I thought I traced the problem to a jury-rigged repair on the coil wire.  A soldered copper disc had been replaced with a small nut.  I soldered a replacement disc in place and the car fired up OK, but still ran rough.  So it looks like a complete tuneup in in store, starting with a new coil.
June 11, 2010 - The TC finally got her chrome wire wheels installed tonight.  It was easier this time, since the tires had been lubed up recently to go on the powder-coated wires.  The original wheels are wrapped in plastic and boxed up for future shows, but I doubt they will get used again.  The chrome wheels really look good individually - looking forward to seeing the car tomorrow.  I also got the auxiliary light bar back on.
June 3, 2010 - Threatened thunderstorms never materialized, so Kitty and I took the TC out for the Tidewater MG Classic Doumar's Run, a short jaunt from the site of the original Doumar's Drive in at the old Ocean View Park to their 'new' (circa 1950) location in downtown Norfolk.  She was the only non-MGB in the group, but was content to burble along with the great-great-great grandkids.  Good thing I remembered to check the gas before we left - she had a gallon left after the long ride on Monday.
May 31, 2010 - On the road again!  I actually took the car out for a short run last weekend, but today I put over 100 miles on the car.  The requisite trip to Richard's, of course, followed by a run further out in the boonies to visit friends I haven't seen in a while.  It was a warm day, somewhere in the mid-90s, but the car ran cool and strong the whole way, including a long stint at 55-60 on the Interstate.  She got lots of smiles, thumbs-up, and waves, quite an improvement over the gestures and attitudes I usually see on the Interstate going in to work
May 30, 2010 - More than a week since I did anything with the TC, but after nearly 6 months straight of daily tinkering, it was time to give her a break and make progress elsewhere.  However, I swapped out steering wheels and spark plugs tonight in preparation for a planned long drive tomorrow.  Sports and Exotic Car editor Jim Donnelly sent me confirmation he'd gotten the CD of photos they needed, so I didn't have to hold off any more.   We've had evening rain the past few days, but tomorrow is supposed to be clear and sunny.  I have the fancier Brooklands steering wheel and NGK plugs instead of the NOS pink Lodge plugs I put in for the show.  Next is getting the tires swapped over to the chrome wires.  We have an MG club run Thursday that I expect to take her on as well.
May 22, 2010 - Weather finally allowed me to get the TC out and take the interior shots requested by Sports and Exotic Car magazine.  I also got her out for a nice ride around the city, giving her the first real exercise since our run back in December - to the same place:  Norfolk's Botanical Gardens.  I'll start getting her dressed up in her finery now that the photos are all done.  Her Brooklands steering wheel is first, and then I'll see about getting the tires moved over to the new Chrome Dunlops!
May 18, 2010 - Back in her own home at last - Wildflower spent the past few weeks in the main garage so I'd have a bit more room and direct access to the big toolbox.  Tonight I wrapped her top in a clean sheet to prevent staining and folded it up for what might be a very long time, and got the tonneau on.  Then off to the gas station for a tank of high test and home to her private quarters.  I'm hoping for good weather this weekend - it's high time she hit the road again!
May 16, 2010 - The AACA Grand National - After months of sliding around under the TC cleaning and painting, I was not feeling all that hopeful about getting my Grand National First award.  I've judged two prior Grand nationals, and know the caliber of restorations I was going to be pitted against, and the vast majority of the cars are trailer queens from professional shops.  Still, I wanted to give it my best effort, so I brought the car over to the hotel so I could keep cleaning and detailing (not to mention getting it out of the dust bowl of trailer parking).  As I was working on the car, a van parked nearby with the Hemmings logos all over it (If you have not heard of Hemmings, stop now and go find a dancing baby on You Tube - You are on the the wrong web page).  The two fellows inside came over to admire Wildflower, and turned out to be none other than Hemmings Editor-in-Chief Richard Lentinello and Senior Editor Jim Donnelly (pictured at right).  They were in New Bern to cover the Grand National, and after some kind words about Wildflower, wandered off.  About an hour later, they returned and said they were glad I was a slow worker - they wanted to do a photo feature on the TC for the Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car magazine!   (I'll be a subscriber tomorrow)
Detail shots were taken on the spot, with glamour shots staged later that afternoon in front of the hotel.  Naturally, I was rather pleased by their good taste in cars, though they did risk their camera lens by taking a shot of me with the car.   I hope to hear more about the feature soon. 

Anyway, I was feeling good about the car most of the evening, but late that night as I was showing her to Bob Bond (fellow TC owner), I saw dried wax in the heads of the hood latch screws and a spot of paint on the driver's floor mat where I had been touching up under the dash.  Both minor details, right? I could fix them in the morning.  I went to bed about 11, and woke up at 2 AM thinking about the wax and paint spot.  At 3 AM, still awake, I got up, got dressed, and found a well-lit place in the parking lot to fix the problems.  I finally was satisfied at 4 am - and we had a wake-up call for 5, so I grabbed my computer and sat in the lobby for an hour  cruising eBay and shopping for tires for my sister's car. (Tracy came all the way from Raleigh to see me and the car - what a great sister)

The show area opened at 6 am, so I went ahead and rolled the TC out to her spot in Class 25A (Sports Cars 1945-1960) and walked back to the hotel for the Judges' Breakfast.  I was assigned to judge Classes 25B-E, the newer sports cars which kept me close.  There were a couple of hours free between the Breakfast and judging, all spent doing more cleaning.  Pam and Bob Bond, great folks with a beautiful TC (I can say that because they were going for a different award) showed up, and we were able to visit a bit before I had to run off and judge my classes. 

There turned out to be 14 cars in my class, and all but two were going for the First Grand National like me.  Worse, there was a 1950 Aston Martin convertible that looked like a perfect 400-point car.  In AACA Grand National Judging, you have to be within 5 points of the highest scoring vehicle to get the First Place award.  So this Aston was like the nerdy kid with thick glasses who always got 100 and blew the grading curve.  Only this 'nerd' was also a super jock with movie star looks.

As you might guess, I went to the banquet convinced I was there for a Second Place - nothing to be ashamed of, but only a First Place gets the car badge.  All my friends told me how great Wildflower looked - "but that Aston... wow."    It was a long night, but when they announced the First Place awards for Class 25A, my name got called.  I'm told I leaped up so fast they thought I might launch myself into the ceiling.  It was a terrific way to end the TC's trophy days - from this point on she goes back to being a DRIVER!  Not that I wasn't quick to mount the Grand National plaque on the TC's badge bar tonight. 

It's been a wild ride to this point, and I couldn't have made it without the help of folks like TC Buddy Richard Hall, Bob and Linda Pellerin, Dan Ciccone, Neil Sugermeyer, the amazing MG T-ABC Internet newsgroup, and of course, neighbor Kitty Ledsome, who was caught in the middle of decorating the driveway as we pulled in this morning from New Bern.

May 12, 2010 - The trailer is inspected and everything is ready to go for Friday.  I may see about leaving early to make sure we get decent trailer parking.  I will be taking a box of cleaning and detailing stuff with me to keep working on the car until the last minute.  I chose to judge so I wouldn't have to stand around and wait for the judges for my class.
May 11, 2010 - A busy night with my car club board meeting and then picking up the trailer, but it is outside in front of the house now.  Nothing done on the TC, though I did pick up a really nice original TC sales folder that I won on eBay.  Turns out I knew the fellow selling it, and he lives just 20 minutes from my office.  So a quick lunchtime drive and I had it in hand.  Probably a silly (and expensive) thing to do, as I already have the sales folder in electronic format, but I wanted to have an original.  Tomorrow I'll see about getting the trailer inspected.
May 10, 2010 - Got the tow car inspected today, and will get the trailer tomorrow night and see if I can get it inspected Wednesday.  Got the inside/outside of the hood polished, along with the front fenders, and touched up around hinges and edges.  I'm pretty much at the point I could put off the rest until we get to New Bern Friday, but I'll keep at the car a little very night anyway.  I don't want to get there and suddenly find I left too much to finish up!
May 9, 2010 - Another day of cleaning and paint touch-up, but I got the engine bay and chassis done, the left front wheel well finished, and started on compounding the exterior.  I'm going to try to get the Buick tow car inspected tomorrow morning.  If it passes, I'll go over and get the trailer tomorrow night and get it inspected.  This is a busy week, but I still have time to finish up the car before Thursday.  The plan is to load her up Thursday night and be ready to roll out at a reasonable hour on Friday.
May 8, 2010 - It's been a busy day today - picked up the Buick tow car this morning and did some cleaning and minor repairs to get it read.  The rest of the day was spent  working on the engine compartment, especially the %$#@! cooing hoses and clamps.  I ended up removing all of them, the cooling fan, the generator, etc. so I could do some radiator detailing.  The fan had chipped paint, so I carefully media blasted it and repainted it outside - only to have the wind blow the box I was using as a paint stand over just as I finished up.  Had to clean and redo it.  However, the engine is all back together and looking good.  Still some engine and chassis detailing to finish up, but I am confident that I can get her all ready to go.  If things get really tight, I can probably take a half day Thursday, but I should be ready to load her up Thursday night.
May 7, 2010 - The new hoses came in today, and with tomorrow looking less than wonderful weather-wise, I went ahead and rolled the TC outside so I could flush the cooling system.  The bottom radiator hose had been seeping, and both the hose and clamps were looking rough.  Also, I did a pretty terrible job of cleaning up the radiator hoses when I put them on last time - that green paint and the 'Made in Mexico' lettering just doesn't look quite right for 1949.  I solved the issue on the replacement hoses with some brake cleaner and steel wool.  You can see the difference in the new long hose on the right.  All three are now plain black with shiny new hose clamps all around, plus a freshly stripped and painted connector pipe.  I'll finish the engine compartment tomorrow, and spend Sunday doing the exterior and interior cleaning.  (I installed new pedal pads tonight).
May 6, 2010 - Got the right front fender well and frame area cleaned up tonight - it was surprising how many nicks there were in the paint when you really stuck your head up under there.  Happily, I have plenty of touch up paint from the original batch used to paint the car - it has been a tremendous resource.  One more wheel well, then the final attack on the engine bay before I clean the outside.
May 5, 2010 - The back end and left rear wheel well are done - I even replaced the missing bottom bolt on the gas tank side panel.  That leaves the front inner fenders and frame for detailing, then the engine compartment gets another major pass.  The interior needs a little bit of cleaning but is mostly ready.  Last will be the exterior clean and polish - actually the easiest part since it is all exposed. It's the hidden nooks and crannies of the engine bay and chassis that are the most work.
May 4, 2010 - Tonight was spent rewiring and cleaning up the back end of the car - there were a lot of wires hanging loose back there, so I got some period tar-tube wire loom cover and got busy with snips and a soldering gun.  I also cleaned and painted the back frame tube.  Not quite done, as I need to let the paint dry before I do the final positioning. but it looks a lot better.  Hopefully I can finish the back end and do the left rear wheel well tomorrow night.
May 3, 2010 - As if Richard's notes weren't enough, I discovered that the radiator hose clamps were corroding!  New hoses and clamps are on their way from Moss Motors and should be here tomorrow, along with a few other small bits.  In the meantime, I pulled some of the mismatched and discolored and/or rusting wood screws from the rear fenders and replaced them all with new brass screws and  cadmium-plated fender washers.  Then I cleaned, compounded, and polished the left rear wheel well and underside of the fender, touched up the paint on the frame and springs, and polished up the brake drum.  One wheel well done - three to go.
May 2, 2010 - Richard showed up bright and early and began to pick Wildflower apart - three pages of notes later, he headed home and I started work.  As expected, the car needs a lot of cleaning and touch up.  He also pointed out some fasteners that could stand replacing, and the top had some stains and wrinkles from where it had been folded up.  The top was first - I had just enough of the canvas cleaner I used to clean the tonneau for the top, and it did a great job.  I cleaned off some paint overspray, and washed the underside of the car, and did more detailing of the engine compartment.  The rest of this week I'll be doing touchup and cleaning.
May 1, 2010 - Two weeks from tonight it will all be over - Time is moving quick, but I am pretty well along.  I got the last wheel and tire on the TC and she rolled out of the garage for the first time since December 28th!  She is running well, and I am very pleased with the redone wheels.  Still, with all the work and money that has gone into the car over the past 4 months, most people won't be able to see much difference.  It's all in the details - the gas cap release, new hardware in the engine compartment, a few bits of new chrome here and there, a new spare tire.  There's still a good bit of detailing and touch-up left to do, but I should have that done by the end of the week.  Richard will be here tomorrow morning to give her a critical review, and I'll see what he comes up with.
April 30, 2010 - I didn't get in until fairly late tonight, but spent a very productive couple of hours on the TC.  First of all, the last wheel was delivered today and I got the tire mounted up.  Then I replaced the door latch covers (at right).  They looked fine from most angles, but I caught them from the right (or wrong) vantage point and realized they were pretty scruffy!  Doug Pelton's 'From the Frame Up' provided a beautiful reproduction set that I installed tonight.  Then I cleaned up the tailpipe and installed a new rear exhaust bracket, and repainted the rear spring shackle. My goal is to get the last of the 'fixes' completed tomorrow, and begin the final cleanup.  Richard is coming over Sunday to do a walk-around - the goal is to have him look for 'wah-hoos' that I missed - anything that might cost a point when I get her to New Bern.
April 29, 2010 - A bit more grinding was required, but the gas cap release lever is installed and working well.  It looks a lot nicer than the blob of yellow.  And I started to put the new hardware on the rear spring shackles and changed my mind.  Why change a perfectly good and correct setup and make it less authentic?  The MG assembly line at Abingdon had a fellow who painted all of the exposed hardware so it wouldn't rust.  So mine is back on and will get a fresh coat of paint.
April 27, 2010 - One of the reproduction parts I got in was a new gas cap release lever - the original was unlikely to survive replating.  However, while the new part looked pretty, it didn't fit!  Note the 'legs' sticking out from the bottom.  A few calls to the major suppliers confirmed this was the only reproduction available, so tonight I clamped it in a vise (protected by tape) and started grinding away with a Dremel tool.  I also used the same vise to close in the sides, which were too wide.  After getting the lever to fit and work properly, I cleaned and repainted the mounting ears on the gas tank.  I'll finish the job tomorrow after the paint dries.  Also got the front wheels and the original steering wheel installed.
April 26, 2010 - Chip stopped by tonight and helped me get the hood (or bonnet for you Brit purists) back on the TC.  She is secured and fitting just as nicely as it did before.  The fifth wheel is still being worked - I should have it back in a few days.  I may go ahead and get the sixth wheel done - just have to finish cleaning the spokes.  Looks like the weather may be nice this weekend - I want to get the car out and washed up - she still is a bit muddy from the last frigid ride in December.  Some small fixes to do yet, but all of the big items are mostly done.  Two weekends to go before New Bern!
April 25, 2010 - Been a busy few days with a good bit of progress.  One of the wheels had a rough area on the outer rim, so I took it back for more work by the powder coater.  However, all four other tires are now mounted and ready to go.  I also repainted the radiator top, cleaned up the carbs, and spent some time blasting the extra wheel in case it is needed.  One item I have been worried about was the air cleaner manifold - a two-part alloy casting with some deep scoring on the largest piece (photo at right).  They are expensive to buy new, so I tried cleaning it up with very good results.  I put fine emery cloth on a pad sander which I clamped upside-down in a vise.  That gave me a flat moving abrasive that let me grind the facing smooth.  Some polishing and buffing and it came out pretty much like new.  Just about finished with the engine compartment now - I should be able to reinstall the bonnet this week.  Oh, after looking at the rear spring bushings again, I just need to clean, paint and replace hardware.  The bushings are fine - not surprising since they only have about 2,000 miles on them!
April 22, 2010 - Success!  The right tools and the right approach make a big difference.  It's been a VERY long time since I ran a tire store, and I actually got a hint from Charlie Woolford (Chip's dad), the man I used to work for even before that!  Insert the tube in the tire and inflate it.  I got a valve stem installation tool to pull the tube stem through the wheel and hold it in place.  Then the new motorcycle tire installation spoon flipped the bead on the rim without damage to the finish or the tube.  The rest will follow now that I have the formula worked out.  I cleaned and repainted the coil, and added the reproduction Lucas sticker I got from Moss Motors.  It's the details that make a car restoration stand out - I figure as long as they are available, I might as well make the car as correct as possible.
April 21, 2010 - Picked up some better tire tools and have another being provided by a friend at work, so I'll attack the tires again this weekend.  The big news is that the gas and exhaust leaks are fixed!  Best Bud Chip, long time MG owner and mechanic, came over and we determined that the front carb had a bad jet locator nut and gasket.  Off to the TC carb parts box, plus new gaskets from Joe Curto, and the carb stopped dripping.  I put a new exhaust flange gasket in, and got it all tightened up.  She fires right up, runs steady, and doesn't drip gas.  All good things!  New Bern is three weeks away, but I am not quite so anxious now.
April 20, 2010 - I started mounting tires tonight - um, make that tire.  The new one, which was a monster to deal with.  I finally got it on - and the tube had a leak.  So I tried again with a tube I checked ahead of time.  And guess what - I must have damaged the second tube when I installed the tire.  So I packed everything back up and came inside.  Sometimes it's better to give up and avoid mental trauma.
April 19, 2010 - Got the new oil filter and oil in, the battery hooked up, and finally, the car running for the first time since December.  I need to work out some carb and exhaust leaks, but the oil pressure was good and the valve train was finally quiet!  It's a relief to have her going.
April 16, 2010 - I got the valve cover and the coil finished up today, and did a lot of cleaning and sorting in the main garage to prepare for the arrival of the MGB-GT and parts on Sunday.  I have to adjust the valves and finish changing oil - After that I think she'll start right up.  Hope so, anyway.  The fan blades need to be removed and repainted, and I want to touch up the radiator paint before I get the hood back on.

 

April 15, 2010 - One month left before New Bern and the Grand National.  I got the wheels and valve cover back this morning and they look terrific.  The powder coating looks like a perfect paint job, something that would have been nearly impossible with spokes.  As long as I use reasonable care remounting the tires (which I still need to clean and dress), they should be flawless for the show.  And the valve cover will look great with the original brass valve clearance plate and polished valve cap.  I'm hoping to get the car going this weekend - that will be the other big issue before I begin the final detailing.  The rear bushings still have to be done, but I don't think that will be difficult.  The rest is detail, detail, detail!
April 11, 2010 - The engine is now mostly back together - I cleaned and painted most everything, and used all new gaskets.  I still have to adjust the valves and finish changing oil, but everything else is hooked up.  The new brass drain petcock not only looks great, it works.  I media blasted the head pipe to get the heat discoloration off and then used Scotchbrite pads to get the finish back - it looks like a new mild steel system rather than stainless steel.  As usual, it's taking a lot longer to get things done than I expected, but the car is coming together.  I dropped the wheels and valve cover off for powder coating last week, and they should be done this week.
April 3, 2010 - Most of the day was devoted to the TC - I was wondering why the blaster setup wasn't working so well on the last wheel - then I thought to check the tip and saw that it had been eaten away.  A fresh tip restored the effectiveness and I I finished cleaning the wheels and have the new valve cover also stripped. The engine is mostly back together, but I have to get the oil pan cleaned off before I can bolt the exhaust down pipe back on.  Someone painted the alloy  oil pan to match the engine, but it is supposed to be natural.  I have been attacking it with wire brushes and paint stripper - if it doesn't clean up well I can always repaint it.  I still have to adjust the valves.  I'll feel a lot better when she runs.
April 1, 2010 - I filled the radiator and did a careful check for leaks - looks like the TC's block is water tight again.  So I cleaned it down with wire brushes, rags and brake cleaner, and then repainted it with the correct Moss Motors T-series red paint.  The block drain cock was frozen and snapped when I tried to open it, so I left it in place while I painted.  A nice new brass replacement is already on hand to install.  I also cleaned the starter and manifold clamps for refinishing.  I'll be cleaning and repainting everything as I put it back on.  I'm hoping to have the engine back together and running Saturday, then attack the rear spring bushings Sunday.  Next weekend is the Charlotte Auto Fair, so I'll only have Sunday to work on the car.  Time is running out!
March 28, 2010 - Part of the Model A's purchase price was a full-size media-blasting cabinet from TP Tools, complete with vacuum to keep dust down.  I got it set up today and was very pleased to find that my 20 year-old 3 HP Craftsman compressor works fine for cleaning parts, though you have to let it rest fairly often.  The cabinet is great - that's one of the TC's 19" wire wheels inside!  Oh, since I now have the chrome wires for driving, another flip-flop on the original wheels.  I'm getting them powder coated, along with the steel rocker cover. 
March 24, 2010 - The chrome wire wheels came in today and they are beautiful!  (That's one of the stripped originals below) I have to wait until after the Grand National show in New Bern before I can use them, but they'll really be snazzy!  I have most of the original wheels back now and can do the final cleaning and painting.  A nice original TC folder showed up on eBay (right), but I lost out with a bid of $126!  It is frustrating, as there is almost no literature available for owners to use for reference.  I'd love to get a scanned library together of the old factory literature and photos, but whoever has it isn't sharing.
March 17, 2010 - I had ordered freeze plugs along with some other parts from Moss Motors, but was warned they don't sell the correct metric size and ordered a set from Doug Pelton's From the Frame Up instead.  Both sets arrived and look the same, but I feel safer with Doug's parts.  Why the plugs came out is still a mystery - you can see the bright green antifreeze, and while we got down to the low 20s or upper teens, there was no chance the coolant froze.  I used a Dremel tool to wire brush the openings, and then put a bead of JB Weld on the inside edges of the plugs before knocking them in place.  The larger center plug didn't go in as tightly, so I put a thin bead of JB Weld around the outside edge as well.  It won't show behind the manifolds anyway.  She should be water tight now!
March 13, 2010 - Two steps forward, one step back - I started the morning off with a major eBay purchase - a set of four new Dayton chrome wire wheels for $1300 including postage.  Painted wheels sell for $499 each, and the chrome wheels are $642 each, so even if I painted them I'd be way ahead.  Wildflower's wheels are all 60+ years old and are her one big weak point.  I plan to continue refurbishing the existing wheels for the show, since chrome is incorrect.  Afterwards, I can go for sparkle.  Then car club buddy Ken Talley came over and we got the damaged cylinder head hole helicoiled and the rocker arm assembly in place.  I planned to get the valves adjusted and start the car, but when I added water to the radiator, it dumped out again.  Turns out the big freeze plug behind the manifold also came out!  So I pulled the manifolds and will replace ALL of the ^%$#@! freeze plugs with new.  On the plus side, Ken helped me take the hood off and I have open access to really clean and detail the engine bay.  Annoying, but that's all part of working on old cars!
March 7, 2010 - What started as a simple job got a little messy (don't they always?).  The new pushrods and rocker assembly was first up - looks great and feels smooth and tight.  However, one of the 8mm bolts started to strip.  It did unscrew and the threads on it were weak.  I'll try all new bolts and using a tap to clean up the threads and see if that will hold.  If not, then I'll have to drill, tap, and helicoil the head.  I did get the new freeze plug in - someone had used JB Weld to 'glue' a slightly small plug in place without adding a bead outside.  I cleaned it all off with a Dremel, put a thin bead inside the correct plug, and pinged it in place.  Also got the three broken spokes replaced in the bad wheel.  Not much accomplished today.
February 20, 2010 - The new spare tire, liners, and tubes came in from Coker, and I picked up the first two wheels from my friend in Newport News.  It appears that Wildflower had a very mixed set of wheels - the first one went to base metal, the next to gold, the next to yellow, and the 4th to green.  We are wondering about the last wheel - he'll tank it next week.  Also got in the spokes to repair the damaged wheel - that's the one that went to bare metal.  Having gone back and forth for months on the refinishing, I'm now back to a good prime and paint rather than powder coating.  Enough folks in the MG club said bad things about powder coating for the spoked wheels that I decided it was smarter to clean them up and paint.  I can always paint over the one already powder coated.
February 16, 2010 - TOPLESS CENTERFOLD! - Wildflower got national exposure as the centerfold of this month's The Sacred Octagon, the magazine for the New England MG T Register.  I took the photo at right back the fall at our car club's Wings and Wheels show.  Extreme luck, as the 1940's Waco biplane was not only the right vintage and a complimentary color - it was parked on the grass there for only about 15 minutes.  Our local MG club sent the photo in to TSO, and they opted to use it as the feature photo.
February 15, 2010 - Most of the TC parts arrived over the past week, including the rebuilt rocker assembly and new pushrods.  They look great, and should cure the excessive tapping when the car is running.  If not, well, I gave it my best shot!  Also arriving, but probably never to be used, is a very nice original steering box and column. The wheels are being hot tanked and I'll be working to get them cleaned up and ready for powder coating as soon as I get them back.  Other goodies include new rear spring bushings, bolts, and washers, and some new chrome bits for the interior, engine, and body. Gonna have to get busy and start putting her back together now!
February 7, 2010 - I dismounted all of the tires today.  Nobody around here has a machine that can handle 19" wires, so I pulled out my handy-dandy period manual bead breaker and tire irons.  I used to run a tire store, and remembered a couple of tricks - including spraying the bead with tire gloss spray to help it slip over the outer rim.  I managed to get them all off without damaging any of the tubes, even the old Dunlop spare.  An inspection of the wheels turned up a rather startling find - one of the road wheels had 3 broken outer spokes!   The others were pretty good, with only one having noticeably loose spoke and none with broken spokes.  Considering my enthusiastic driving this summer, I'm happy the wheel stayed together.  I am taking all of them over to a friend's to be hot-tanked.  Once I get them back, I'll tighten up the loose spokes and replace the broken ones.  However, I have the extra wheel already done, so I don't need to buy any new ones to have a solid set on the road.  I'm going to order a new Excelsior tire for the spare to match the four on the ground, and a new tube. 
February 6, 2010 - Been a busy week, though not with any visible progress on the TC.  Her rocker assembly is done and on the way home from California, and the new pushrods should be on the way from Missouri soon.  I also bought a correct original TC steering box/column off eBay for $306.  While I may never use it, the VW steering conversion is the only non-authentic part on the car and it's nice to have the correct item on hand.  I loaded up the wheels in the back of the trick and took them over to a friend's to sandblast, only to get a call from another friend who owns a motor exchange shop.  He offered to tank the wheels and strip the paint for me.  A much nicer and easier solution to getting the old paint off!  Oh, I have a parts order from Doug Pelton's From the Frame Up - new rear bushing, shiny new bolts and washers,and some new chrome door latch covers, plus some other odds and ends including a new engine freeze plug. 
January 27, 2010 - I got an email from a kind fellow (Thanks, Richard!) in the MG T-ABC group who saw the previous post about putting Wildflower up on jack stands.  He let me know that a friend of his had experienced issues with door fit after leaving a TD on stands for a long period.  I confidently told him I was OK there, as I had the car jacked up on the frame rails.  However, I decided to check tonight and discovered that the door would not shut properly!  I did some shifting of stands so that they are now supporting the axles.  The doors shut easily with the double snick, just like new.  The car is also more secure with the jack stands spread further apart.  Look at that filthy undercarriage!  Good thing I have 4 months left to clean her up!  Yeah, I know that's silly - it's more detailing now, getting overspray and touchups done in case one of the judges actually gets underneath!
January 24, 2010 - Wildflower is finally perched on 4 new heavy-duty jack stands in her private garage, ready to be primped. The old mismatched pressed-steel stands I had did not inspire confidence. After all, if the car fell on me, it might get damaged! 
January 23, 2010 - Wildflower has another trophy on her shelf - the Ivie Lister Award, presented by my Antique Car Club to the British car that has earned the most points in shows that year.  So in effect, she got a trophy for her trophies!  I also got my spare wheel back on Friday.  After a lot of deliberation and input Pro and Con from other folks, I went ahead and tried powder coating.  I am very pleased with the result - it looks like a really good paint job and the color is a gray-silver that looks correct.  I'll clean and tighten the 5 wheels off the car and have the guy do them as well.  There's an original steering box on eBay for $400 - I'd love to get it, but that's a lot of money for a part I never plan to use!
January 19, 2010 - Sent the rocker assembly off this morning to Rocker Arm Specialist in Anderson, CA.  They promised a 7-10 day turnaround plus shipping and a cost of about $135.  Then I contact Smith Brothers Pushrods in MO and found out they will make a new set of pushrods for the TC for $56!  I sent off one of the old pushrods for them to go by this afternoon.  They were recommended by Joe Curto, who made the brake handle chrome cover I bought back in April.  I can go ahead and get the rest of the engine cleaned and things like the freeze plug taken care of.
January 18, 2010 - It took me a while to get back to the TC - some other projects came up, but I finally got the rocker assembly off the car and ready to send out to California tomorrow.  I also dropped off the extra wire wheel to get an estimate on powder coating.  Oh, I found the missing freeze plug under the car.  It looks like the plug was a little small, and contracted enough with the sub-freezing temps to fall out of the block after the Christmas Lights Run.  The block would have taken longer to cool down, being much heavier and thicker.
January 5, 2010 - I decided to stretch the TC season out to one more event - the January MG Club Meeting.  Temps had warmed up some, at least to the mid 30s, and it was a clear night.  However, the TC apparently took my original plans to take her off the road after the Xmas Lights run to heart.  While I was warming the car up, I checked the coolant and found it was low.  So I added some...  and added some...  and added some more.  Nothing was leaking from the radiator or hoses, but when I walked around the back of the car coolant was running down the floor.   Turns out that the rear freeze plug had come out!  The car ran fine for the Xmas Lights ride, never overheated  at all.    In any case, that marks the season end for driving the TC.  I'll add new freeze plugs to the list of things to do before May.
December 29, 2009 - It was 29 degrees, but clear tonight, so the TC took part in the Tidewater MG Classics Xmas Lights Tour at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  At least 15 other MGs showed up, as well as a Morgan and an Austin Healy, most with the tops down.  We had dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant first, then headed over to roll through the elaborate lights displays.  The TC started right up tonight and was flawless as usual.  Neighbor Kitty Ledsome was brave enough to go with me, and we had fun looking at all the other drivers who obviously figured we were crazy.  Well, could be, but we had fun anyway.
December 23, 2009 - Richard finished up the wire wheel this week, touching up the spokes and hub.  The inside of the rim will take some more serious attacks with a wire wheel.  I am flip-flopping again between paint and powder coating.  Now I am leaning towards having this wheel powder coated to see how it turns out.  There were mixed messages from TC owners about using powder coating, but some of the new wheels come powder coated, so it can't be all that much of an issue.  Also checked into getting the rocker assembly rebuilt - $135 plus shipping, which is an excellent price.  I am going to try taking the TC on one last outing - the MG Club Holiday Lights Tour this Tuesday (30th).  Then the rocker assembly gets pulled and shipped off, and I'll get serious on the wheel issue.
December 20, 2009 - I worked on the spare wheel I got at Hershey today - pulled off the petrified Dunlop tire and bead-blasted it.  The wheel turned out to be even nicer than I hoped.  There was no rust at all inside the rim, the spokes are all clean, tight, and straight, and the hub splines are excellent.  One curious note - the wheel had been pale yellow at one time, and that seems to have been the only color paint on it.  There was even yellow paint under the original-looking spoke strip.  I am planning to finish bead blasting it (the spokes take a lot of time) and then get it painted with silver polyurethane to see how it looks.
December 11, 2009 - Just got back from the Tidewater MG Classics Xmas Party - and what is likely to be Wildflower's last run for a while.  She did great, but with the actual temperature at 27 degrees on the drive home, the enjoyment factor suffers a bit.  There may be some warm days I can get her out for a short run, but I'll start making the parts list and setting up for her winter Grand National makeover.  The rocker assembly is getting overhauled, and the wheels need attention.  I'm debating all new wire wheels versus having the old ones cleaned and powder coated - cost is a big factor.  I'll pull the wheels and check them over for damage and wear.  If they look OK, I'll replace any bad spokes and get all six that I have done up at the same time.  Other than that, it's just going to be a matter of a new chrome bit here and a new bolt or bushing there.  And LOTS of cleaning and touchup.
December 6, 2009 - It's pretty close to the end of the TC season around here.  I had a nice drive today with brisk but enjoyable 46 degrees and sunny skies.  However, once the sun went down and the temperatures dropped ten degrees, driving an open 60 year-old British sports car quickly lost some of its charm.  I'm too tall to be able to drive the car safely with the top up, especially at night, so it won't be long before Wildflower gets put up on jack stands for her winter primping in preparation for the 2010 AACA Grand National in New Bern, NC.
November 29, 2009 - It was sunny and in the low 60s today - I got Wildflower out for a long drive in the country.  Some steady Interstate cruising at 55-60 was followed by some nice twisty back roads with almost no traffic.  At one point, I was rolling along with a mid-50s Porsche Spyder - we waved at each other and I guess we both grinned at having two such different antique sports cars.  (Yes, I did pass him once, but I think he was just being nice).  Wildflower performed flawlessly, and got plenty of waves and 'thumbs-up' from other drivers.  As usual, I ended up at Richard's, where we got the new front shocks installed on his TC (TC5309).  It was handy having my TC parked just outside for some quick references.
November 4, 2009 - I got a pleasant surprise tonight at the MG Club meeting.  Chuck Hudson, a local TC owner who let me ride in his 1946 TC for an autocross back in 2000 (photos below) was there - the first time I have seen him in almost 9 years.  He had several boxes of MG Club magazines to give me, and also gave me a bottle of wine he got back in 1991 with an MG TC on the label!  He helped rekindle my TC love affair , and more importantly, showed me that the cars could and should be driven for fun, not locked away in a garage.   It's the enthusiasts like Chuck who make the car hobby such a great place - encouraging others to take part instead of plastering 'Don't Touch' signs all over the cars. Happily, I had TC5308 out at the meeting - first time I've run her in a few weeks, but she was flawless as always.  Driving in rush hour Interstate traffic at night wasn't as much fun as weekends on country roads, especially when it started raining on the way home.  But we both survived and it was great to be behind her wheel again.
November 2, 2009 - Bad weather and a new automotive family member (1976 Dodge Aspen) have conspired to keep me away from the TC for several weeks - the longest break since I got her. With the local MG Club meeting two days away, I wanted to get the distributor hold-down clamp taken care of.  As you can see, it was closed all the way and still not holding the distributor in place.  I took a photo of the distributor ahead of time to make sure I got positions right afterwards.  Everything came apart and went back together with no fuss, though I did have to adjust the timing afterwards.  She's running great again - should be ready to go Wednesday night!
October 10, 2009 - HERSHEY!  I don't usually go, even though it's the  biggest antique car flea market in the country.  By the time you factor in gas, meals, and hotels that start at $150 per night, and having to take time off from work, it's a pretty sizeable investment.  Still, I hadn't been in a few years and they needed judges for the AACA National car show. So buddy Chip and I rolled out at  6 am Thursday.
We had a smooth trip up and were on the field by noon.  It's an amazing site - thousands of vendors all hawking car parts.  Even so, I didn't have much hope of finding the spare wire wheel and distributor hold-down I wanted for the TC.  Hershey is mostly pre-war and American - I've been hard pressed to find MGB parts there in the past.  I got a great start Thursday when I found the New England T Register tent.  Dick Knudson, one of the 'movers and shakers' in the TC world, was there and had an NOS TC distributor hold-down assembly!  Better yet,  when I pulled out my wallet to produce the $65 asking price, he 'negotiated' the cost DOWN to $55 for me with the admonition that 'this is a flea market.'  Friday was even better - a complete tune-up kit still sealed in plastic was found for $10, and towards the end of the day, we found a TC wheel!  The seller had it marked at $175, which wasn't bad since the spokes and splines were all good.  However, I did a bit of haggling this time and got the wheel for $125.  And as I was pulling out my wallet, the seller offered a NOS Lucas voltage regulator in the original box for $100 (reproductions usually go for $275).  Even though I had a new spare, it's a non-Lucas part and this one even had the Lucas paper fuses (if you look close, you can see the factory smoke still sealed inside - :grin:).  So I got the wheel (complete with bald Dunlop) and regulator.  By another stroke of luck, the vendor was located across from where my car was parked  (You'd have to see Hershey to really appreciate how important that was).  With parts located, we started walking the car corral.  There were some really nice cars out there, most of them grossly overpriced.  One of the cars was a TC almost identical to Wildflower - it had an older restoration showing some wear, and chrome wire wheels with a bit of rust showing here and there.  I thought the $37,000 asking price was a bit steep, but it was sold Friday!
Just to show how really strange my automotive tastes are, out of hundreds of cars for sale, the only one I gave serious consideration to was a 1973 Chrysler Imperial Lebaron 4-door hardtop.  This ocean liner of a car had 44K miles and looked pretty clean. They are unusual and make wonderful road cars, and this one could be had for maybe $5,000.  A friend from my car club looked it over with me and offered to loan me the cash to buy it.  Aaaarg!  Paul, the owner, was a great guy who was very forthright about the car - it had a bad A/C module which is about $500.  More of an issue, the power steering pump was leaking badly.  That made the drive back to Virginia iffy.  Combining those problems with hard starting, what looked to be tired valve seals, and some rust bubbles in the front lower quarters, I decided to pass.  I came CLOSE, though.
On to Saturday's Car Show.  I ended up judging the Class 25 D/E cars, which had open and closed sports cars from 1970-85.  However, the car I really wanted to see out of the 1200+ there was Bob and Pam Bond's 1946 MG TC.  Not just because of the car - the Bonds are great folks that I met through mutual friend Richard Hall, and I was looking forward to seeing them again.  They showed up despite early morning rain - luckily the weather cleared up into a beautiful day.  The Bond's car is stunning - I took a lot of photos to aid in my winter clean-up of Wildflower.  They will also be at New Bern in May 2010, but fortunately for me they already have their Grand National award - I won't be competing against them.  Another TC was supposed to be there, but didn't show.    We headed back right after the show and got back home before ten - a great weekend overall!
October 3, 2009 - I made a last-minute decision to join the Historic Williamsburg MG Touring Society's Wilderness Tour this morning.  Williamsburg is about 45 miles from my house, so I left early to get there ahead of traffic.  The car did great most of the way, then started to sputter and die.  I got her off to the side and lifted the hood.  Happily, the culprit was the tachometer reduction gearbox, which had loosened and dropped down to short out the power wire to the distributor!  30 seconds later she was purring again, which she did for the rest of the 150+ miles I put on her today.   Passed the 1,000 miles mark driven since May. For pictures and a brief story on the HWMGTS Wilderness tour, CLICK HERE.
October 1, 2009 - It was a beautiful day here (sunny and 70) and there was nothing going on at work, so I called in sick.  Got some errands done, and then decided I needed to take Wildflower out for a good run.  I rode out to Richard's but he wasn't home.  The TC was so upset that her Tach quit working.  After about 100 miles of tooling around, I went back home and checked out the tach reduction box.  Sure enough, the generator driven shaft had come out of the gear.  I used the vise to distort the end and drove it back in - that fixed the drive, but as I was tightening the retainer clamp for the generator mount, the tiny screw snapped.  A new mount set is $27 plus postage, and I'd have to wait until Monday.  So I drilled out the old screw and got a new stainless steel screw and locknut.  With the locknut to the engine side, it is invisible, so there is no harm done.  And the tach works fine again.
September 26, 2009 - WINGS AND WHEELS!  - Today was my annual Regional AACA club's car show, a 'wings and wheels' event held at a local airport and aircraft museum also known as 'The Fighter Factory.'  The magnificent collection of World War II aircraft is especially amazing because they are all flyable! A couple of the aircraft took to the skies today, including a stunning red Waco biplane.  I took advantage of a great photo opportunity that turned out to be the best shot of the day.  Wildflower rolled the 40 miles to the show with no complaints, though I did not enjoy the morning arrival with the top up due to predicted showers as much as the top-down cruise home (no rain!).  Even better, I had a new trophy on the passenger seat - TC 5308 took the Best Foreign Car award for the show!
September 20, 2009 - Wildflower made her debut at the Brown's Island Import Car Show in Richmond VA today and won First Place in the Vintage MG class!  She was also selected as one of the cars featured in a parade of MGs that showcased the development from K-series to the rubber bumper MGBs.  There were some amazing old MGs there, including TWO blown six-cylinder racers from the thirties.  Some friends also took their 1936 Volvo, one of only three know to exist world-wide.  (And they own two of them).  They won Best European Car. 
September 12, 2009 - After just over a MONTH dealing with the leaky fuel sending unit, she's still tight and dry and the tank repair is pretty much invisible, especially with everything put back together.  I took Wildflower out for a nice long drive today - to Richard's, of course.  Interstate and curvy country roads on a beautiful sunny day.  The car ran flawlessly - 70c the whole way, running at 60-65 on the highway and snorting around curves.  I needed to check her out after sitting for more than a month, since I plan to drive her to the big Brown's Island show in Richmond (about 100 miles away) next weekend.  Richard waved me up in the yard to check something out, and then suggested a photo op with TC5908.  So I backed TC5308 in and got the photo on the right.  Richard's car is coming together - he's working on the rear suspension now.  I'm looking forward to being able to roll around with him and Sandy with dual TCs.  Oh, I had planned to install the NOL bottle and bracket this morning and discovered that Andy had done a perfect job of filling the holes.  I'll have to redrill them, something for later.
September 9, 2009 - I checked the TC tonight and was very happy to see the new paint on the tank dry and clean.  The seals are all holding, and have had plenty of time to set.  I am looking forward to driving the car this weekend.  I put her all back together last week, then took off for a trip to Boston.  However, I did make some eBay purchases while I was gone, including a pair of good used rear axle shafts for just $46 including shipping and a magazine with a good TC article.  A member of the T-ABC group responded to my questioning the price of a NOL oilcan and bracket set on eBay by offering a really nice set he had for $100 - a little over half the cost of the eBay item.  The set arrived today and looks wonderful - it has just enough patina to look authentic while not being a point-loss worry.  I'll get that installed this weekend.  The TC's garage has gotten a  thorough reorganization now that the Packard parts are gone, and is now quite nice.  Oh, and a very important note - the sale of the Packards netted enough to pay off the TC, which I did on Saturday.  She's all mine!
August 30, 2009 - Success!  No leaks this morning, and I tested it with another three gallons the rest of the day.  Tonight the tank was still dry, so I sanded and primed the damaged area and used an old aerosol sprayer and the touch-up paint I had.  The finish doesn't have the high gloss of the rest of the tank, but you have to look very close to see the difference. Given the old stains from previous leaks, it looks better now than it did before!  And that part of the tank is behind the spare tire anyway.  I'm very pleased with the results.  I'll reinstall the carrier and spare tomorrow, and the TC should be ready for the road again.  I also have NOL oilcan and bracket coming for the firewall - it should be in this week sometime.
August 29, 2009 - Drip - drip - drip.  The tank unit was leaking again when I checked it the next morning, but now it appeared to be seeping from the top of the base gasket.  I took it off again, grumbling loudly, and then figured I'd go back to the plain gasket and Hylomar around the base.  As I was cleaning off the old sealant from the unit, I started to remove what looked to be a small bit of sealant next to the contact screwpost.  Except it was the remains of the rubber O-ring that keeps fuel from seeping past the screwpost.  Which is at the top of the sending unit casting - which in turn, might dump gas over the cover plate and also create the illusion of seepage at the top of base gasket.  The old unit has a solid plug around the contact lug with no O-ring.  I matched up a new one at the local hardware store (1/4 x 1/8 x 1/16 DANCO #35774B) and added some Hylomar to be safe.  After letting it set overnight, I reinstalled the improved base gasket with more Hylomar.  I added gas just over the top of the sending unit and let it set - I'll check it tomorrow morning to see if it is still dry.
August 24, 2009 - I installed a new cork gasket with Hylomar on both sides and let the car sit for a few days to make sure the seal cured completely.  Tonight I went ahead and added gas to bring her up to about 6 gallons - well over the sending until top, and watched.  And watched.  An hour later, there is still no sign of a leak, but I made that mistake before.  There's a pan under the tank and I am letting it sit until tomorrow.  If she remains dry, I'll take her over and fill up the tank, and let it sit for another day.   If she's still dry after that, I'll go ahead and clean and touch up the tank and frame as a stop gap until this winter, when I pull it apart and get the end panel bolt replaced and the tank repainted properly.  Oh, it looks like the Packards might be sold!  If that goes through, I will be able to pay off the credit union and Wildflower really will be mine! 
August 19, 2009 - Hylomar sealant was recommended by several T-ABC club members as the cure for my sending unit, so I ordered some on Saturday.  The TC has gotten her longest rest since I got back from Gettysburg, but I am hoping to have her all back together by Sunday.  Depends on when the Hylomar gets here.  Since she is laid up, I got the Studebaker and Model A running and back up to snuff to drive to events.  They have both been largely ignored since the TC arrived.  Still, I'm anxious to get the TC back on the road.  Been some pretty sunny days with her sitting forlornly in her garage.
August 9, 2009 - Even if it IS broke - The sending unit looked tight and dry after I put it in and even after she had a full tank of fuel.   However, I went out driving yesterday. Richard, my TC buddy, noticed a gas smell while I was visiting him, and I saw the unit was dripping. I got her home and found that the unit was leaking from the inspection plate, not the mounting gasket! Tightening the screws did not help. I drained the gas, but the paint had already been eaten away on the tank and frame under the unit.  So my attempt to 'fix' things didn't quite work out.  If I'd left it all alone all I'd have had to put up with the Fuel light staying on. Now I can't drive the car at all until I figure out how to get the inspection plate to seal up. :sigh: So even if it IS broke, if it doesn't keep you from driving, DON'T fix it!
August 7, 2009 - I've been driving Wildflower to get the fuel level down low enough to replace the bad sending unit and decided to stick the tank today to see how much further I had to go.  She had less than a gallon in her!  The old unit was pretty nasty, and as expected, the float was full of gas.  There was so much old gasket cement on the old setup I was afraid the paint might be damaged, but it came off clean.  The new sending unit from Doug Pelton came with a gasket (bottom), but I had also opted for his improved (vastly) version (top) with double flanges and nice tight screw holes.  I used a light coating of Form a Gasket 1 on both sides just to be safe - the installed unit shows no signs of leaks even with a full tank, and the light went out after I added a couple of  gallons, so all is working well.  Not so good on the next project - I had also gotten some new chromed acorn bolts for the lower tank panel - the ones that take 30 minutes just to position?  Well, the first one I tried went in finally, but then snapped off while I was tightening it!  Happily, it isn't even visible and isn't important.  Gonna  wait until winter and pull the tank so I can drill out the broken stud.
August 4, 2009 - Another nice evening drive for Wildflower - on the way into the meeting I fell in behind a really pretty MGA and a B also heading for the club gathering.  The car ran great as always, though she did sound better after last night's valve adjustment.  Wildflower got special mention at the meeting for 'her' club newsletter article on the Two Stoplight Tour June 21st.  (Written from the perspective of a Family Gathering by the Great Grandmother.)  Heading towards 700 miles on the clock from my driving!
August 3, 2009 - The TC has had a short rest the past week or so while I took care of the Model A's brakes, work, and other stuff.  However, tomorrow night is the local MG club meeting, and she HAS to make it to that.  The engine has been a little rattly, so I decided to adjust the valves.  That made a big improvement.  I also pulled the seat back off so I can measure the bottom tracks and take photos for Richard Hall, who is close to getting his TC interior back together.   After doing my yard, adjusting the Model A's points, and adjusting the TC's valves, it was time to call it a night.  I'll get the measurements and photos tomorrow before I head off for the MG Club meeting.
July 21, 2009 - As promised, Andy and Shelley Culley, the couple that restored Wildflower, sent me scans of photos taken when they got the car and during the restoration.  Yep - that sad-looking Earl Scheib green TC is TC5308 circa 2002.  See the start to finish images on the TC Restoration photo page by clicking here

You can see the web site I put together for Andy and Shelly by clicking the link for ARC Vehicle Restoration Services.

July 19, 2009 - Today started and ended fine, with some gut-clenching excitement in the middle.  I started by installing the new parking lights.  As you can see in the photo, the body of the reproduction light from Doug Pelton (lower lamp) is pretty much an exact and really nice piece.  I couldn't use any of the rest of the lamps, but  the old guts were fine.  I got everything installed and got a nice shot of the TC by one of my Crepe Myrtles, which has a really nice dark pink flower.   Then I hit the road with a number of stops to fix computers, cut down some Model A brake rods, and get the borrowed parking light s back to Richard.  All went well until I got about 5 miles from my first stop.  Coming to a light, I realized the exhaust was louder that normal.  Sure enough, the tailpipe slipped out again.  The stainless system requires a lot of torque to clamp down.  I got it back together and secured in just a couple of minutes.  However, just a few miles further, I was rolling at 45 on a straight stretch when I suddenly noticed that the 'MG emblem on the steering wheel was upside down.  My first reaction was wondering how I could have possibly installed the wheel upside down?  Then I moved the wheel to adjust for slight drift and nothing happened.  Happily, there were no cars around and I had clear lanes to both sides.  Swinging the wheel in both directions did nothing, and I figured that the steering knuckle had broken.  But the steering wheel didn't feel completely disconnected, and when I swung it a lot, the wheels turned.  I was able to get her safely off the road and started looking for answers.  With the bonnet up, I could see that the entire steering box was turning when I moved the wheel.  Some more investigating revealed that the steering box itself, a VW conversion, had popped off the frame mount.  It is held on by a clamp that had loosened up.  Whew!  Though I didn't have the correct 11/16th socket or wrench, a Whitworth socket got the clamp tight enough to get me to my destination, where I used a borrowed socket to get everything cinched down tight.  That fixed everything, and I completed my errands without a hitch. 
July 18, 2009 - I got an unexpected phone call today - from Andy Culley, the gentleman who restored my TC!  He was very nice, and quite interested in how the car had held up.  The restoration is six years old, and he had done everything except for the engine.  He also has photos of the car before and during the restoration, which he is going to scan and send me.  It sounds like the car was a basket case when he started.  Some tidbits of information included the PPG Global paint he used on the car - it's a commercial heavy-duty product that was quite expensive.  Given the durability and finish after six years, I'd have to say it was worth it.  Andy restored the car for the man I bought it from, and from the odometer, the car only had 500 miles on her before being laid up, most likely due to the broken rocker shaft.  Andy has a shop to restore cars at his home now.  Wildflower is a testament to his quality - she won a national Senior against cars fresh out of restoration shops six years after he did the work. I am anxious to see the photos!
July 16, 2009 - The owner of my company is also a car nut who has followed Wildflower's progress on this web site.  He came into town today, so I decided to drive the TC out to the office and give him a first-hand look.  However, I chose to move her every two hours to a different street parking location visible from my office window rather than leave her in the parking garage.  He enjoyed the car and a ride around the office park, but declined an offer to drive her.  As expected, the car handling the long commute (40 miles of Interstate and a bridge-tunnel) with no problems.

The new parking lights from Doug Pelton came in - they look great, but have hard-wired sockets with pigtail leads that would require cutting the TC's wiring harness.  So I am going to use the original guts with the new shells.  Too bad the Moss internals and Pelton's shells can't be married up - you'd have a perfect reproduction!

July 11, 2009 - Another weekend, another run for the TC.  She actually got out for a drive Wednesday night, too, but today was her debut with the Tidewater Region of the AACA, my primary car club.  It was a fun event, just a local jaunt to eat and socialize and admire two phenomenal garages.  She charmed even the Chevy owners, and got a lot of compliments from folks who know old cars.  As usual, she performed with nary a hiccup.  Oh, I got the refund from Moss for the parking light set, and promptly turned around and ordered a new set from Doug Pelton.  I have confidence that he'll provide some nice units.  Then I can return the pair borrowed from TC5908 to Richard, who generously loaned them to me while his car is being built back up.  Still working on the TC history list - may never be more than a waste of my time, but I am enjoying seeing where all the other TCs ended up.
July 7, 2009 - Funny how things can work out - I have been trying to dig up some history on Wildflower since I got her, but the seller has not responded to emails and has no phone, so I pretty much had written off any hopes of digging further into her past.  Yesterday, I got the bug to try building a list of all known TCs and their histories by combining old and new rosters, magazine and book listings, etc.  A long-term project to be sure.  As I was building the table today, I came across another TC owner in Spring Hill, Florida, where TC5308 came from.  That sparked an idea, and I searched the MG T-ABC roster for other TC owners in the same area.  Then I sent emails to the four that came up.  I actually got responses from three of them - and one of them actually provided the name, address and phone number of the man who restored her - Andrew Culley!  I called today and spoke with Shelley, Andrew's wife, who not only remembered the car, but said they had just been talking about it and wondering where it had ended up!  Andrew is out of the country right now, but they will be back in touch as soon as he returns.  Talk about luck!  Oh, I took Wildflower out for a nice long drive Saturday, bringing her up to a total of more than 500 miles driving in the past couple of months.  It isn't a huge amount, but she is definitely no trailer queen!  And we have the TRAACA Garage Tour this weekend - she'll make her region activity debut!
July 1, 2009 - Another Tidewater MG Club meeting and another outing for Wildflower.  She and a TD were the only older cars there - all of the others were MGBs and MGB-GTs, with one Midget for variety.  There was a chance of showers, but I figured the car would not melt if it got wet.  Happily, even though lighting was flashing and clouds were rolling in by the time we broke up, I got her inside before the storm hit.  The downpour overcame pumps at our local bridge-tunnel (the one I use to get to work every day) and flooded one of the tubes!  I don't think the TC's top and side curtains would have been a lot of help - and I don't want to even think about the windshield wipers!
June 27, 2009 - Richard and Sandy Hall and I were invited to a cocktail party in Williamsburg to meet Bob and Lynne Douglas, an intrepid couple who have just completed a 40,000 mile tour of South and North America in their MG TC, The Wanderer!    That's right - 40K miles and close to two years not only driving, but camping much of the time!  Although it was another hot day and Williamsburg was a good hour haul on the Interstate, I figured it was a must to take Wildflower.  The car did fine, rolling 55-60 right up to the five-mile parking lot we encountered about halfway there.  However, even creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there were no issues at all.  And when we rolled up to the house where the party was, there were four other TCs and three TDs in the driveway, and even another TC in the basement!  The hosts and most of the guests were members of the Williamsburg MG T Club, an informal group that made Richard and I members just for showing up.  Really great folks with some beautiful cars.  Bob and Lynne Douglas were terrific - they took time to explain and demonstrate the different modifications to their TC that made the trip possible.  There are storage bins and cubbies everywhere, plus a custom-built box hanging off the back.  The car rolls on 15-inch wires that maintain the exact same height as 19 inch standard wheels thanks to the much taller radial tires.  It also has a 5-speed Ford transmission and a Datsun steering box.  We left Williamsburg and decided to go back roads and a local ferry service home to avoid the even worse snarl on the Interstate heading home.  It was a much nicer roll through country roads, and the Jamestown ferry was a nice break.  Then dinner at a little restaurant in Surry, VA, after which we went our separate ways home.  Richard laughed at dinner, saying he and Sandy were having trouble keeping up with the TC (they were in Sandy's V-8 Mustang convertible), and that he was concerned that I must be out of oil - the car never smoked once and didn't drip when we parked.  So far, even with the carbs still needing rebuild and adjustment, Wildflower is doing great!
June 25, 2009 - I got the new parking light assemblies in from Moss Motors just in time to get them installed for a TC gathering in Williamsburg this weekend.  EXCEPT they both had damaged chrome and the light bases were coarse thread while all of the mounting bolts (including the ones that came with the lights) are fine thread.  After a lot of other issues with Moss items, I think it's time to make them the parts source of last resort rather than first choice.  They are quick and convenient, but that doesn't mean much when the parts are not usable.
June 21, 2009 - Tidewater MG Club Two Stoplight Tour - More than 160 miles in 95+ degree heat, and Wildflower didn't miss a beat all day!  I started off early with a run on the Interstate out to a friend's business to work on his computers, then had a short trip to pick up Tyler, a 15 year-old car club buddy who rode with me on the MG run.  We got to the starting point early and had a chance to kick tires with about 20 other MG owners.  The run was really nice - country roads through several cities, lots of corn fields and trees, and even some gravel roads!  At the first stop, Tyler asked if the windshield folded down, and since I'd been itching to try bugs-in-the-teeth motoring anyway, we finished the run with it flat.  The car was flawless all day, except for the very minor glitch of the tailpipe coming loose from the muffler when I went over to pick up Tyler.  A few turns of a 9/16th wrench and we were set.  I did some cleanup on the car today - she did not use a drop of oil or coolant, got about 20 mpg (with a lot of Interstate rolling at 55), ran cool with strong oil pressure, and was a blast to drive!
June 19, 2009 - Things have been busy with work, and also with Wildflower.  I'd planned to drive her to our car club picnic last weekend, but it was raining pretty hard and I chose to take modern iron instead.  Then I discovered that the front carb had a steady leak - not good when the gas is dripping inches for the exhaust manifold.  New seals for the leaking jet were on my doorstep Wednesday thanks to Moss Motors now being in the same state, but they turned out to be worse than the old ones!  There was no point in ordering more from Moss - all of their gaskets would be the same.  So I searched through my boxes of parts and found a complete lower carrier assembly in a spare carb and tried it.  No leaks!  A good thing, since I have a sports car rally with the local MG Car Club on Saturday!
June 7, 2009 - I was planning to take Wildflower out for a run today, but the starter suddenly quit working.  I pulled the handle a couple of times and determined that the cable was getting warm but the starter wasn't moving.  Electrical short, no doubt.  I had planned to order a new starter tonight from Moss, but held off long enough to ask Richard if he wanted to order parts.  He suggested that the starter might have locked up.  When I got home tonight I checked, and sure enough the engine was not turning.  I unbolted the starter and used large screwdrivers to get it to pop free.  Then I reinstalled it and everything is fine for now.  (Thanks, Richard!)  Gotta toss what I 'know' out the window and start learning about MG TCs!  I may go ahead and get a new starter eventually as a backup, but it is an ugly job that requires unbolting the exhaust system.  I'll hope the original holds up for a while.
June 6, 2009 - Wildflower has had an annoying whine since I got her running that sounded like rotating parts not getting enough lubrication.  When I asked for suggestions on the MGT-ABC email list, one of the members said there was a slight chance it could be bad intake gaskets.  It sounded a bit far-fetched, but I decided I needed to check out ANY possibility.  So tonight, with the engine running and whining, I grabbed the intake and pulled up.  The whine changed pitch.  I got out my Whitworths and tightened the carb to manifold bolts.  The noise vanished and the engine idle, which has been sitting at 1800 rpm, dropped right down to a steady 1000 RPM.    Two problems solved in as many minutes.  It really pays to connect with other owners - that kind reply saved me a lot of time, as I might never have thought of checking the manifold for that kind of noise on my own.  I also reinstalled the Brooklands steering wheel - the restored original is tucked away in bubble wrap for the next show.  I like the look and feel of the Brooklands wheel better, and I don't have to impress any judges.  Also, driving the car has improved it - the front engine oil seal had been leaking and throwing oil - it has sealed up now, and the inside bonnet is staying clean!
June 2, 2009 - Out of the garage and on the road for the second real drive I have had in the TC.  Our local MG Owner's Club had the monthly meeting tonight and I decided Wildflower was ready to start getting some road time.  The car did great, and seems to appreciate being driven.  She used to sling oil from the front seal, but that appears to have cleared up.  I expect the seal was dry from sitting, and semi-regular running is putting it back to sorts.  The tach is still working, as is all the instrumentation.  I took her on the interstate at 55-60 with no issues, though she did let me know where the uneven joints were.  As expected she was by far the oldest car at the meeting, though one MGA did also grace the lawn.  The rest were all great-grandchildren MGBs and a Midget (malnourished as a child, perhaps).  There are various activities coming up all the month of June, and TC5308 should be at all of them.
June 1, 2009 - The tachometer quit working a few weeks ago - it was annoying, but not something that mattered for the show.  I checked it out tonight and found that the tach reduction gearbox was the culprit.  New replacements were not too awful ($82), so I tried taking it apart to see what was wrong with it.  The first thing I saw was that the cable end opening was bunged up enough to grab the cable end when the retainer was tightened all the way, locking the cable in place.  Then I found that the driven shaft on the generator end would pull out of the unit - the gear end had lost the friction fit.  So I peened the gear end of the driven shaft to get it to grab the gear and tapped it back into place, and used a large drill bit to open the inside of the cable end opening.  I put it back together and have a working tach again.  May not last long, but it was interesting to play with.  I put the top down, and have her license plate, period frame, and TRAACA tag topper back in place.

May 31, 2009 - SAFETY SENIOR FAST! - Gettysburg proved to be a terrific show and one with some stiff competition for Wildflower.  There were 15 cars in Class 25A (Sports cars to 1960) including five going for Senior awards.  One of the five was a very sharp looking 1951 Jaguar Mark V drophead coupe, as well as a 1960 Mercedes roadster and three MGs: my `1948, a 1946 TC, and a 1953 TF.  I had pretty much resigned myself to losing out, but when awards were announced the three MGs were the winners!  Hard to believe that it has been less than three and a half months since I received the car from Florida. 

There was a huge amount of luck, hard work, and help from friends that made it possible for me to go from nothing to Senior award in such a short period, but I have to give most credit to Richard Hall.  Besides providing advice, parts and help, he single-handedly saved the Senior award by trailering the car up for me.  We ran through heavy rain on the way and after we had parked the trailer.  I'd never have been able to clean the car up in time. 

There were actually three TCs at the show, more than I have ever seen at an AACA show before.  The other car going for Senior was a red 1946 that was nice but somewhat incorrect.  Happily, the rather stunning black 1946 TC (and a car I had seen at the Hilton Head Concourse) was going for a Preservation award.  After determining they were not competition, I found out that the owners were wonderful people who also happened to be friends with Richard.  They have been following the development of Wildflower on this site (Hi, Bonds!) since I got the car.

We got back this afternoon, and discovered that my neighbor Kitty had decorated the front porch with balloons and banners.  The Senior tab has now been installed, and TC5308 is officially ending her reign as 'Trailer Queen'.  From this point on the TC is going to be wearing out roads!  (The glamour shot above was taken by the Gettysburg show field - gonna have to make that one an enlargement!)

May 29, 2009 - All dressed up and somewhere to go - It's been a frantic week, with an unexpected business trip to Seattle taking up a lot of time I had hoped to spend in final cleanup.  Got back late Wednesday night, and went over yesterday to get the trailer.  Friend and fellow TC-er Richard Hall went with me to get the trailer and gave the TC a look over when we got back to my house.  Then he announced that she was NOT riding to Gettysburg on the open trailer.  He was taking her there in his enclosed trailer, pulled by him driving his Suburban.  (I think my little Mazda pickup's sigh of relief was audible).  It was a tremendously generous offer, and with the threat of rain all the way up today, I was not about to turn it down.  So I took the trailer back, came home and polished the car, and have her all cleaned up and waiting in the driveway.  If she doesn't get her Senior, it won't be for the lack of trying or support from some great friends. 
May 23, 2009 - Time is running out quick, but I've made good progress.  Today started off with Richard Hall coming over to look the TC over and point out anything he saw.  Being both a TC owner and an AACA Senior Grand National award winner (Model T Ford), he knew what to check.  A lot of what he noted was expected - I hadn't had time to detail the chassis or clean the car.  Still, he came up with a long list of things that I need to touch up.  The parking lights are rougher than I thought, so he is going to loan me his good ones for the show.  Other than that, the body and interior are good to go.  The vast majority of his notes were on the chassis, and I spent all day today with the car up on jack stands with artist's brushes and different paints and cleaning materials.  Her underside is now pretty well sorted out in case one of the judges lifts her skirt for a peek.  (Cheeky devils!).  Tomorrow will be spent hitting some details in the engine compartment I missed, and then going over for a trial fit of the trailer with my truck.  Then off to Seattle Monday through Wednesday.  Thursday is gonna be pretty frantic, as we are leaving Friday morning for Gettysburg!
May 21, 2009 - Although Richard Hall's generously loaned gas cap was just about perfect, I was happy to get Wildflower's cap back from Royal Silver, the local plating company.  Not cheap, but they do really nice work.  I reassembled the cap tonight and swapped it back out.  You can also see the new end panels and the great paint job Mike did on them.  Really helped to have the leftover paint from the original paint job.  I also got in a Union Jack flag to hang in the garage.  Have to devise a portable flagpole to fly it at car shows!
May 20, 2009 - Side curtains are assembled and just need a final polish of the Plexiglas - took a bit of figuring on the blind rivets that hold the bottoms of the rear side screens in place.  Not to mention a couple of squished rivets - but I had enough to do the job.  They were last of the big jobs to get the car ready.  All I have to do now is touch up the frame and springs and do a good clean and polish.  I cleaned and polished the interior stuff, cleaned the windshield, and got the top up last night.  Richard Hall is coming over Saturday morning for a once-over to make sure I am not missing anything obvious.  The next two nights are busy, but I still have Saturday and Sunday for detailing.
May 18, 2009 - The engine compartment is pretty much done now - I repainted the generator, rerouted and shortened the coil wire, installed the correct gas line clamp on the firewall, and installed a set of period British Lodge spark plugs (at left).  The pink porcelain and black bases are unique to the Lodge plugs - these are NOS off of eBay.  Just have the two rear side curtains to finish up, and then a last go round of touchup, cleaning and polishing.  Just found out I will be in Seattle for THREE days next week - aaarrg!  I usually never travel for the company - figures they would pick the week I have the big show to send me to the other side of the country!  Oh, well.  The car should be ready to go.
May 17, 2009 - Things are coming together now.  As you can see, the end panel chrome (top) was pretty bad - the new pieces (bottom) got painted yesterday by Mike and came out really nice.  Getting the old ones off was a snap, but installing the new ones was a test of patience.  There is just about enough room for two of my fingers between the fender and gas tank to work the bottom bolts back on.  Took about a half hour each, but the panels are on, and the back end is touched up and back together.  I started overhauling the side curtains, stripping them to the bare frames and repainting them the correct dark tan.  The fronts are done now with all new stainless trim and hardware.  Just the back ones left.  I also pulled and repainted the generator, which had thick, rough paint that had to be stripped with a wire brush.  I have weeknights this week to finish the back side curtains and get the chassis touched up.  Naturally, my company is sending me on a short-notice trip to Seattle Memorial Day weekend, so I will be losing some of the prep time I was counting on.  Oh, well - gonna make it anyway!
May 13, 2009 - All done with the interior - the rubber transmission cover was hard to get back in place, but that turned out to be a good thing.  While I was struggling to get the firewall bolts in, I heard a spring pop loose - the retainer ring for the anti-rattle cover had not been installed properly and required pulling the cover and the chrome shield.  (You just can't get good help these days).  Anyway, after getting the retainer properly seated this time, I was able to finish up with the tunnel and carpet and then cleaned and vacuumed to finish things up.  Pulled the spare and touched up the rim and spokes in a few places where I saw nicks..  I also pulled the side curtains out of the storage bin and will start on those tomorrow night. I got my order from Doug Pelton with some small detail stuff like the correct screws for the tonneau bar and rivets for the side curtain frames.  The gas tank panels should be ready by this weekend.  Hopefully they won't be hard to install.  Sorta scary to think that Gettysburg is just two weeks away now.  At least I have a three-day weekend just before.
May 9, 2009 - The transmission is back together now, but before I bolted the top plate back on tonight I took some photos of the gearbox insides - I can't get my fat head in there to look directly.  Looks like all good news.  The gear teeth are clean and sharp with appreciable signs of wear, the shafts have no wear, and everything looks pretty much new.  Once I had the tranny cover on, I ran through the gears - very tight and stiff, as it was before, so I didn't mess anything up.  The new shift lever looks very nice, and I also got a nice new locknut for the gearshift knob which is solidly positioned with the shift pattern in the correct orientation.  I am going to clean up the transmission cover (black rubber) and put the rest of the interior back together and cleaned up.  The only big project left is a major cleanup of the side curtains, but I have most everything already on hand for that job.  The new gas tank end panels are at the paint shop, and my gas cap is at the chrome plater.  The rest is touchup and cleaning!
May 7, 2009 - I finally got the new shift lever installed in the remote tonight. Had to pull the remote/shifter assembly off the transmission and then ground down a couple of small screwdrivers to work as levers. It took a good while, but better to be slow than break the lever remote housing. There are two extra parts in my shifter setup (highlighted in the picture) - a flared spring and a spacer that goes between the extra spring and the base of the shifter handle. These parts do not appear in any of the supplier's books. My best guess is that the extra spring is an oil channeling setup - the coil is flattened and is just under the oil hole in the top chrome cover. When oil is squirted in the hole, it will run around the spring and deposit at the center of the shifter base. In any case, I put it back the way it was. I'll reinstall the cover this weekend and finish getting the interior back together. Three weeks to Gettysburg!
April 28, 2009 - More unsuccessful wrestling with the gear shift lever tonight - gonna have to look at that carefully.  I do NOT want to break the aluminum remote housing.  However, I picked up some silver high-heat manifold paint and found that it was a perfect match for what was already on the car.  I used a camel-hair artist's brush and the result is smooth and even - you'd never know there was a bad spot on the manifold.  I was able to cut in by gaskets and bolts with nary a drip or smear.  It looks like I pulled the manifold and did the whole thing off the car.  The order from Moss arrived today - I am really happy they moved to Virginia! I get one-day service from standard ground shipping.  The new radiator cap really shows up the original.  It didn't look that bad until I put them side-by-side.  The gas tank side plates and side curtain trim were sent from California, so I'll get them in a week. 
April 27, 2009 - The tonneau bar got installed tonight, and the seat back is in place.  Still have not gotten the gear shift done - I'll need to play with that tomorrow.  You have to press out some steel pins that are not being very cooperative.  I ordered new gas tank side plates, side curtain trim, and a radiator cap today.  Ouch.  On the flip side, I sold some MGB parts and covered part of the costs.  That should be the last of the major expenses.  I looked at the manifold, and I think all I really need to do is touch up the existing paint rather than try redoing the whole thing.  Depends on how good a match I can get to the current silver.  If I can't get a good match, I'll pull it and redo the whole thing.
April 26, 2009 - It was sunny and very warm today - perfect weather to take Wildflower out for a run.  I grabbed my camera and made a trek out to the local botanical gardens for some photos that didn't have my garage or driveway in the background.   Besides, the proper place for a Wildflower is a garden.  Anyway, she ran great and got lots of attention everywhere I went.  It was funny to see people admire the car and give a thumbs up, then do a double take when they realized I was sitting on the wrong side.  Which was the right side, no matter how you look at it.  I installed the clips behind the back seat for the hand crank, and pulled the seatback to install the tonneau bar.  I also started to replace the gear shift lever, but didn't find out until tonight some needed disassembly details.  Maybe tomorrow.  Looks like another big order from Moss coming up - Ouch.  I did get a great price on a spare Catseye lens from the man who sold me the original pair.  I really do like the 'new' setup better than the P700s now that I am used to them.
April 25, 2009 - I finally finished up with the headlights today - had to grind down the locating lugs on the headlight main shell so the rims would fit over.  With everything replated, the various pieces are thicker and had to be adjusted.  They are aimed and working well - I think I'll end up leaving them on and holding onto the P700s as emergency backups.  The larger CatsEye headlights look quite different - even a little strange after having the car all this time with the smaller tripods.  Richard Hall loaned me his nice gas cap to use, and I am looking at replacing the gas tank end panels now.  I think Moss is getting another big order coming up.  Oh, well.  regardless of if I get the Senior award, the car is going to be very, very nice when I am done.  Tomorrow should be spent mostly doing chassis paint and detail, though I'd like to find a good spot for a nice photo of the car.  Something out of the garage and with no houses or other cars in the background.  Hmmm - methinks I'll have to drive her somewhere!  Oh, the sacrifices we make...
April 23, 2009 - I gave the TC a pat on the hood and started replacing the driving light assembly last night, but needed to get some supplies.  I finished up the driving light tonight, and also adapted wiring for the original CatsEye headlights.  I have the driver's side on and working, but have to grind down some mounting ridges a bit to get the rim all the way on.  It looks really nice, though, and really changes the look of the car.  I should finish up this weekend with the headlights.  I also got an overview of things that cost me points during the National judging in Charlotte.  The driving light which I had guessed and replaced already, the radiator cap (enough pitting to stand out against the perfect shell and headlights), engine paint (already touched up) and the exhaust manifold (need to paint it aluminum silver), and touch up of nicks and rust on the chassis and springs.  No deductions in the interior, though the battered side curtain trim cost some points as well.  They didn't even notice the pitted brake lever or shift lever, but since I am fixing them anyway it doesn't matter.  I think I have a real shot at a Senior!  But lots of work between now and May 30th.
April 21, 2009 - Wildflower turns 61 years old tomorrow.  According to production records, she was one of 10 cars (TC5305-TC5314) built on Thursday, April 22, 1948.  I plan to fit her new correct headlamps in place of the reproduction P700 lamps she has been wearing.  The clips came in and I have the lens/reflector/rim assemblies done up with new bulbs.  All that is left is making some wiring adapters from spade connectors used on the P700 lamps to original-type bayonet fittings.  I installed the new handbrake chrome kit this weekend, and it came out great.   Next is the gearshift lever, which will require some disassembly. 
April 18, 2009 - Most everything has come in for the car except for the headlight retainer springs.  I spent some time today cleaning the main garage and getting the Model A back in the corner so the TC could be moved back from the little garage.  The main garage gives me a lot more room for working, plus direct access to tools, lights, and supplies.  Steve LaPaugh, the friend who kick-started my TC search with his email at the end of January, came out today with his wife to see Wildflower, and of course, get a ride.  She started right up and ran great, and has his wife anxious to get their MGB going.  The mounting plaque for the AACA national Award badge came in, and I drilled it for a badge bar mount and put it on the car.  I also started on my efforts to fix potential deductions for the Senior Award.  First up?  Removing the modern license plate frame, incorrect hex-head bolts, and the club tag topper.  I found a period stainless steel frame in the garage that cleaned up great, and bought a nice slotted-head screw/bolt set to remount it all.  Sounds pretty minor, but just those fixes could save 3 points.  I plan to take photos and record all of the changes I make just to show the kind of detail you have to watch for in national judging.
April 15, 2009 - About all I've done with the TC is spend money on her this week.  The spring clips for the headlights were incorrect, so I had to have Moss send a different set.  The new handbrake set is on the way, and I already have the new shifter lever and driving light body in hand.  I sold some MGB parts this week - the last of what used to be a collection of everything from engines and interiors to complete front ends.  I gain space and some funds to put towards Wildflower, both good.  I registered the car for the National AACA Meet in Gettysburg May 30th, and have my hotel reservation and a trailer arranged.  The weather is warming up, and we have a good weekend forecast.  I may see if I can do some painting and touchup on the chassis - I'll be working on parts of the chassis the judges won't be able to see, but -I'll- know they are pretty.
April 10, 2009 - AACA wasted no time getting the engraved car badge to me - I ordered the brass mounting plate so I can display it on the badge bar.  Now for Gettysburg on May 30th.  I got in a bunch of parts today from Moss Motors, and have other items coming  from all over to take care of the areas where I saw potential point deductions.  Most of the problems were chrome issues on the handbrake, gearshift lever, driving light, and gas cap.  I think the P700 headlights were optional, but I'll have the correct Lucas Catseye 8" headlights in place when she goes for her Senior.  And I'll get even more serious about touch up and cleaning on the chassis. 

The car moved to the little garage last night, former home of the BCW Replica TD.  The TC is noticeably smaller, which allows room to work.  She gets to rest a bit, as the TRAACA Square Car Tour is tomorrow, and I am taking the Model A Truck out for that.  As parts arrive over the next couple of weeks, I'll get back to the TC. 

April 5, 2009 - The First Real Drive - It seems pretty odd to think about, but the past seven weeks have been so frantic getting things fixed up for the Charlotte show that I haven't had the car out for anything further than a couple of spins around the neighborhood!  She ran out of gas idling while I was getting the driveway opened up to put her in the garage last night, so I took her around to the corner gas station to fill up. I decided to try her for a short jog on the interstate. Then a good run. With everything still looking good, I kept on to friend Richard Hall's about 30 miles away, with some nice country roads in between. We took her out along some more back country roads, and I rolled back home at 55-60 with no effort at all. She drives wonderfully, very smooth, no shakes or rattles. The total for the first real drive was about 75 miles - and I had a blast. Just wanted you guys (and gals) to know she isn't going to be a trailer queen!
April 4, 2009 - NATIONAL AACA FIRST JUNIOR! - Wildflower earned highest possible honors for her first time out in National Level AACA judging, receiving a First Junior Award at the Southeastern Winter Meet in Charlotte, NC.  I had actually braced myself for a possible third after seeing what looked like a perfect XK120 roadster and a really nice TD also in my class. along with a couple of TFs.  I had thrown my back out Tuesday and lost the two evenings I panned to spend finishing up some detail work.  Worse, it rained most of the 6-hour drive  to Charlotte with the TC exposed to it all on an open trailer.  However, Friday was sunny and warm, and my back had healed up enough to get to work.
Cleaning was high on the list, but two other fixes needed doing first:  the driver's kick panel had come loose and the front shocks had not been painted and were showing some light surface rust.  Sounds petty, but remember that in AACA, the wrong hose clamps or valve stem covers will cost you a lot of points!  (I picked up the correct metal valve caps on Wednesday).  I had brought everything I needed, and started my 'show field restoration' about noon.  Four hours later, the shocks were black, the panel was secure, and the car was clean and shiny all over.  Even so, I was still very surprised when I got the call from a friend who had stayed for the awards banquet.  Next stop is the National AACA meet in Gettysburg PA May 28th.  I am already  fixing the issues I spotted as I worked on the car at Charlotte - every point saved brings me closer to the Senior Award!
March 29, 2009 - I finished up the engine compartment, fitting the air cleaner assembly and getting all the cables routed and connected.  I also installed the restored steering wheel - looks great.  Then I got her outside and did a basic careful wash of the engine, underside of the fenders, and topside in preparation for touch up, polish, and wax over the next three evenings.  The top looks even better in the sunlight, and fits really nice.  However, the new top made the side curtains look even worse.  Although a good cleaning proved them to be surprisingly usable, the white vinyl was stained and had green paint on it, and looked pretty awful.  Figuring I couldn't make them look worse, I polished up the outer trim with steel wool, touched up the frames with some black, and then used tan fabric/vinyl paint to recolor the covers.  I was amazed at the results.  The tan is a bit lighter, but still blends nicely between the top and the cream body.  $4.95 and some masking tape sure beats $1100 for a new side curtain kit, especially as little as I plan to use them.
March 28, 2009 - Yesterday proved to be a bonanza - I came home to find a pile of packages on the front porch that included everything I was waiting for, including items not due until Tuesday!   The most important of these was the Hidem strip to finish off the top, though I was also glad to see the restored original steering wheel and correct NOS headlight lenses and rims. While putting on the snaps earlier this week, a friend who is a professional upholsterer had mentioned the top needed to be tightened up.  Richard returned for  second fitting today.  We were able to pull another inch or more across the entire top and improved the fit a great deal.  The result is a huge improvement over the original and badly worn white vinyl top that had been reinstalled using about a thousand staples through the rear cover strip.  The top windows are not quite right, being higher and more rectangular than the actual TC dual windows were, but they are far more useful for a 6'1" driver like me.  In any case, the top is going to be down 99% of the time.  The headlights will have to wait, as I didn't get some expected retainer clips with the lenses and rims - no biggie - the Lucas P700s were available for the TCs. Pretty much down to detailing and chassis touch-up now.  Cutting things close, as we leave Thursday.  Hard to believe the car wasn't even mine two months ago!
March 26, 2009 - I took advantage of warmer temperatures to get the air cleaner can and brackets painted, and also repainted the steering column and starter where leaking fuel had curdled the paint.  Looks much better now. 
March 24, 2009 - A friend came over tonight and installed the snaps for the top corners - that's all I need before I finish fitting the front.  The Hidem hasn't come in yet, but the paint arrived from California.  Took 6 weeks to get it reunited with the TC.  The original valve cover came in from eBay - in better shape than expected, but it will take some time to remove an additional hole someone also brass brazed a fitting on.  Just over a week to finish up!
March 22, 2009 - The new top is mostly done - Richard came over this morning and we started with the header bar /weatherstrip seal.  Took some experimenting, but we finally got a good fit and attached it with 3M adhesive and tacks.  Then the webbing straps went on, followed by the main top.  Some stretching and tugging resulted in a very presentable fit, and it looks really nice.  Of course, it will look even better when I get the front corners done and add the Hidem strip, which should arrive Tuesday.  The sides measurements to the door tops are exactly the same, so we did a good job of maintaining center.  The remaining work is pretty much all detailing now - some touchup on the engine and frame, painting the air cleaner can, and doing a very thorough clean and polish over the next week and a half.  Then it's off to Charlotte!
March 21, 2009 - Plans to install the top today got sidetracked by the need to clean up and paint the old frame (I hated to remove obviously the original factory electrical tape on what is left of the header), and then do some fitting of the new header.  Plus the discovery that the local hardware store sells lousy screws.  I ended up going with all stainless after two standard screws broke off in the header, even though I predrilled the holes to avoid stressing the wood.  I also got the rubber side curtain bumpers installed, and ground down the screws so the tips didn't stick through to cut skin, or worse, the new top!  The finished frame looks really nice and folds smoothly.  TC buddy Richard Hall is coming over tomorrow morning to help install the top.  I have snaps, lift-the-dots, tacks, and 3M adhesive, plus installation tools for the snaps and lift-a-dot fasteners.  I am planning to use snaps instead of screws for the top attachment to the tack strip - allows for cleaner folding of the top and less bulk under the tonneau.  Last thing I did was spread the new top over the frame so any wrinkles can settle out overnight.  Gonna be an interesting day tomorrow!
March 17, 2009 - As promised, the new top arrived today - it looks wonderful.  Tan Haartz Stayfast with black underside, and the dual windows are double-stitched with tan piping on the outside and black reinforcements inside.  With the new top here, it was time to take a deep breath and rip off the old one.  The top fame was obviously removed and redone in correct color - they reinstalled the old top.  Good thing I got the new header bar - the one on the car was held together with electrical tape under the top fabric.  Both ends crumbled apart.  I am going to remove the frame and clean/repaint the header bar mounting area.  It has some surface rust, but is otherwise in good shape.  I'll also see if I can find some new top thumbscrews - the ones on the car are rusty.  Fitting the new top looks like it will mostly getting the header bar set up correctly.  I have some good instructions, so I'll start reading up for the weekend.
March 16, 2009 - The new tach cable came in today, and that's all it took to get the gauge going.  I went ahead and shot some graphite lubricant in both ends to ease things along.  Got some good news on the top - I called the vendor to make sure they would be able to deliver within the 2-week window promised in the ad, and found out it had already been shipped and was due to arrive tomorrow!  That is very good news, as it gives me two full weekends to get the top installed before I leave for Charlotte!  Ordering some odds and ends for the car as I spot the need - some small gaskets, a new parking light lens to replace one that is cracked, and lens gaskets.  I got in the side curtain bumpers that go on the top frame today, along with the mounting screws.  Also, the replacement floor pedal spring set for Bob McClaren.  The weather is supposed to be a lot warmer later this week, and Sunday looks great.   I can get some touch up painting done, and also paint the air cleaner can which I have been cleaning and straightening.
March 15, 2009 - Not much going on today - I did some maintenance on my bead-blast cabinet, replacing the tip and hoses, and more importantly, the dust that used to be blasting media at least five years ago.  Amazing how much difference that made in the performance.  I took the TC's air cleaner canister apart and blasted it, then touched up some small dings with spot putty.  It's too cold to paint - I need to start going over the chassis and engine compartment to do touchup, but will wait until we get a warmer day.
March 14, 2009 - Running Again! - As you can see by the before picture, the cooling system was pretty ugly with corrosion and bad paint.  Plus the fan was the wrong color.  I pulled it all apart and checked the various restoration guides for correct colors (black fan, engine color tubing).  TC buddy Richard bead-blasted the fan blades to bare metal for me, and I installed the redone water pump, new thermostat (thanks, John!), hoses, and clamps today.  It took some fiddling with the hose clamps to get the leaks stopped - the wire type are correct, but they sure don't work as well as the modern aircraft bands.  Everything finally got tightened up, and I ran the car a while to check it out.  No more 'tinging' and potential loss of the fan blade - that's a good thing!  Got in some beautiful top wood pieces from Craig Seabrook, and also picked up some more Whitworth tools from eBay.  I have started restoring the original air cleaner, and will probably spend tomorrow cleaning an detailing.
March 12, 2009 - A member of the MG T-ABC group got in touch with me and offered a new thermostat assembly (the kind with the replaceable thermostat!) for a great price, which I took him up on.  However, given these things range from $120 to $170 and the thermostat was still working, I was curious to see if I could fix the old one.  The thermostat housing was badly corroded where the upper hose attaches, with sections missing and the wall so thin it had holes through it. After bead-blasting the unit, I cut a soda can to make an outer form, spray-painted the contact surface so it wouldn't stick, and wrapped it tightly around the outside of the thermostat neck using masking tape to secure it. Then I spread JB Weld epoxy around the entire inside of the neck, being careful not to get it on the thermostat itself. I peeled the aluminum off the next morning so it could harden completely. That left a smooth outer wall, but it was too thin. So I spread more JB Weld inside last night and used the same piece of aluminum (repainted) as an inner form. This kept the epoxy in position to form an even wall. I pulled the aluminum out this morning and am very pleased with the result. After some grinding and smoothing, the old unit is pretty much good as new. Always nice to have a spare.
March 9, 2009 - And back OFF the Road! - The water pump pulley and shaft have a taper fit with a woodruff key - the pulley is worn enough that it slid down too far and locked against the body when I tightened it.  I remembered a trick an old aircraft mechanic showed me for worn taper bores when I was a kid - cut aluminum foil to fit, making sure you keep it smooth, and use it as a shim.  The pulley tightened up fine with no play and it turns freely.  Thanks, Mr. Wilson!  Of course, that wasn't the whole story.  The car has a thermostat/housing assembly that was badly corroded inside, and has some damage to the area where the upper hose clamps down.  Looks like about $170 for a new one.  Ouch.  There are ways to rescue this one, but it's such a critical part I think I will go ahead and get something new.  I ordered the new top (Tan Stayfast with the dual rear windows) today for $375 from a vendor on eBay - it's $300 cheaper than the same top from Moss Motors, and I checked with someone who had gotten a TD top from the same vendor who said it was as good as any he had used in the past.  I'll keep fingers crossed and hope it works out OK.  I went ahead and registered the car for the National AACA Southeastern Winter Meet in Charlotte just three weeks away.  Gonna be busy!
March 8, 2009 - On the Road! - Richard and Jack, fellow MGers from my car club, came over today just as I making the attempt at moving the TC under her own power.  My main concern was the brakes.  However, after a couple of test stops, I realized the brakes were not only good, they were terrific!  I took her around the neighborhood (probably a little faster than appropriate) and had a blast.  The steering is quick and light, and the gearbox snicks into each gear with no noise from it or the rear axle.  I ended up rolling around the neighborhood several time, giving Richard his first ride in a TC (and he OWNS one).  Then my parents showed up for a look, and I took my dad around the block (mom took the photos).  Only a couple of minor issue now.  The water pump pulley bolt is loose and the fan blade is 'tinging' against the upper water outlet. I was planning to replace all the hoses anyway, so I'll pull the water pump and get the bolt retightened at the same time.  Bob McLaren. a local friend in the MG group, had a new set of brake linkage springs that cured the brake lights.  I still want to get the turn signals fixed, but they aren't critical as long as I can do hand signals.
March 6, 2009 - A trip to fellow TC-er Richard's house netted the loan of a TC crank handle, which made adjusting the valves quite a bit easier.  As expected, opening adjustments cleared up the miss.  Probably some carb fine-tuning is needed, but she is running smooth and cool.  The brake lights turned out to be badly jury-rigged connection between the switch and pedal - I can probably duplicate the correct setup with parts from the hardware store.  I may go ahead and get a new top - the white vinyl really doesn't belong, and the tops look pretty simple to install.  Oh, I'm gathering the parts needed to get the headlights converted back to the Lucas Cat's Eye 8" setup.
March 5, 2009 - Got the new bolt in from Moss yesterday, and installed it last night.  However, an MG Car Club meeting kept me from working on the car until tonight.  I cleaned out the fuel lines and also cleaned and checked the points.  Then I took a deep breath and pulled the starter knob.  She sputtered a little, and it took a few tries, but she finally caught on her own and smoothed out with no smoke, no leaks, and 50 pounds of oil pressure at warm idle.  She has a miss that is probably due to misadjusted valves, which I will take care of. tonight.  You can see and hear her run by CLICKING HERE.  I haven't taken her out of the garage yet, but the clutch felt smooth and the transmission snicked nicely into all gears - the brakes held when I let the clutch out.  All I need now are brakes lights!  WOO-HOO!!! 
March 1, 2009 - The valve train is assembled and in place, but one of the 8mm bolts stripped as I was torqueing it down - I'll look for one at the local hardware stores, and if I can't find it, order one tomorrow.  The rest of the bolts, including the head bolts, are all torqued down and ready.  I did discover that the new bolts from Moss are just a tad longer - enough to bottom out just before they tighten.  I solved the issue by installing hardened flat washers under the lock tabs - that made the difference.  The valve adjustment looks good, and I installed some new spark plugs.  A big can of high test is ready to dump in, and the tank is closed up.  Once I get the bolt in place, I'll finish up with the fuel system and see if she will start.
February 27, 2009 - Car bud Chip came over tonight to help remove the hood, and I decided to make a stab at getting the broken bolt out.  I've been unable to find an extractor tool small enough for the 8mm bolt, so I made one of my own using a jury-rigged setup that combined an old piece of tubing, a small spring, and some left-hand bits. The tubing was scrounged from one of my junk drawers, and just fit inside the top of the bolt hole to protect the threads. I used a small drill bit and put the spring around the drill bit to center it in the tubing. The left-hand drill bit set was just $7 at Harbor Freight, by the way! I drilled a pilot hole, but it was too small for even the smallest of my extractors. So I switched to the next larger size bit - as soon as it got a good bite the remains of the bolt unscrewed out pretty as you please!  I also drained a full tank of bad gas (it's always full when its bad) and have the tank airing out. Over the weekend I'll give her a tuneup, flush the lines with fresh gas, and of course, get the valve train reassembled and adjusted. The carbs look good and I got the drips and leaks all taken care of. Getting close!  Oh, the seller sent $750 instead of $700, which will cover pretty much all of the repairs and parts I need.  That was a nice surprise.
February 24, 2009 - The friend's reverse drill set has apparently walked away since the last time he used it, so I am going to look into buying my own set.  However, I did accomplish something important today - the new Brooklands steering wheel arrived today and I wasted no time getting it installed.  The original and very rare steering wheel in the car was also in poor shape - I have it set aside for later restoration.  The Brooklands wheel is quite a bit prettier, and takes care of the only visual flaw in the TC's appearance.  OK, I am shallow and silly putting a $400 steering wheel in a car I haven't even gotten running yet.  I am still happy enough just looking at it in the garage.  (No, I am not sitting behind the wheel going 'vroom-vroom.' - yet.)  I did get the loan of a good extractor set, so even if I don't locate the reverse drill set I should be able to get the remains of the bolt out.  The rest of the valve train parts should be here this week.  If the bolt is stubborn, I'll have to pull the head and take it to the machine shop.  My goal is to get the car running and checked out in time to register her for the AACA Southeastern Spring Meet in Charlotte coming up in April.
February 21, 2009 - I removed the valve train and got a better look at the broken bolt.  It's a bit inside the head, so there is nothing to grip.  A friend is coming over tomorrow with some reverse drill bits t see if we can back it out.  That would sure beat pulling the head.  The seller responded to my eBay complaint by stating he had never said the car was running in the listing.  True, but he DID tell me he'd had it running a few days before pickup, and also told the dispatch driver the same thing.  Also, the work listed as being new in the ad was done in 1992.  Oh, well. The seller says he is sending a check for $700 to cover repair expenses.  If it comes, I'll be a lot happier.  And I've gotten a lot of support from the T-ABC group to get things sorted out.  At least nothing major has turned up so far -even the head shouldn't be all that awful to get fixed.  We'll see what else shows up.
February 20, 2009 - The TC engine reared an ugly head tonight - literally.  I cranked the engine for the first time tonight, having sorted out the carbs, only to hear a loud clack from the valve cover.  When I removed the valve cover, I discovered that the rocker arm shaft was broken and cocked up in front.  It appears the lock washer on the left tower bolt broke, allowing the bolt to back out.  This put pressure on the right bolt, which broke off in the head. The pressure from the pushrods snapped the rocker arm shaft.  This means the head is going to have to be pulled and taken to a machine shop to have the broken bolt removed, and the threads repaired. Plus a new rocker arm shaft, head set, etc.  A very disappointing turn of events, though I still love the car.  On the plus side, everything looks new, and I can pull and replace the head myself.  And there is a great machine shop specializing in British cars that I can get to do the head work (Abacus Racing).  Guess it will be a while longer before I hear her run.
February 18, 2009 - The carburetors were curiously mismatched - the front carb did not have a piston damper and used a different linkage setup than the rear, which DID have a piston damper ( for the non-Brit savvy, piston dampers are...  uh.. some doohickies that screw into the big metal thing-a-ma-bobs.).   The proper carb and linkage turned up in the parts that came with the car.  Best guess is the float of the correct carb  developed a leak due to ethanol eating away the solder seal, and the seller swapped out what he thought was the same carb.  Ironically, the wrong carb had a new float, so I swapped them out and reinstalled the carb setup. Everything is together loosely - just need to find a small nut for the choke cable retainer. She is very close to being ready for starting, though.  The tailpipe had fallen off during transit, so I got that bolted back up - all stainless steel system, by the way!  And I made a big order from Moss this afternoon - a new Brooklands wheel, a tach cable, oil filters, and some other odds and ends.  I already noticed some small stuff that needs to be ordered tonight.  Oh, well.  Still thrilled with the car - even underneath looks beautiful!
February 17, 2009 - TC5308 arrived here this morning at 7 AM and it is beautiful!  There are a couple of tiny nicks and she needs a good cleaning, but overall the car is as good as I could have possibly expected.  The seller threw in a bunch of books and manuals, and a box of parts that includes a spare set of carburetors and manifold along with many other bagged parts and a box of new Whitworth hardware.  The battery is stone dead and shows signs of age and corrosion, so the first order of business is getting a new one at Advance this morning.  She has a full tank of fresh gas, so it should just be a matter of sorting out fuel flow or ignition problems to get her started.  I called in sick this morning - they probably expected it.  LATER IN THE DAY - The trouble is the carburetors - they were removed and not completely reinstalled.  I have plenty of parts to get them straight - some photos of Richard's car should provide direction on what goes where.  With the new battery, most all the electrics came on - no turn signals, but that is probably a bad flasher.  And the fog light doesn't turn on.  However, the horn, head, tail, dash and parking lights all come on and the windshield wiper works.  And the fuel pump.  She cranked well when I pulled the starter.  Most of the day was spent sorting out books and parts that came with the car, and doing some cleaning.  She is polishing right up, and promises to be quite a snazzy ride.  I think I'll be carrying her down to Charlotte NC for the AACA Southeastern National Meet in April!
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February 16, 2009 - More delays kept the TC from reaching here over the weekend.  Unfortunately, the driver did lose an index finger - and the TC ended up being shuffled to a smaller trailer for a solo ride up from Florida.  The new driver is on the way and expects to be arriving in Norfolk about 2 am, and said he'll deliver the car between 7 and 8 am. tomorrow. (12 hours and six minutes to go...  12 hours and five minutes...) The touch-up paint stored in the original trailer's belly was left behind, but I was able to contact the company.  They will ship it back to me next week.  Oh, the first of what will likely be many eBay purchases for TC stuff arrived this weekend - a dealer showroom reprint of a MOTOR MG TC review.  I don't know what actually is coming with the car, but the brochure looks to be a rare piece and I got it cheap!.
February 10, 2009 - It appears the transport company is having a run of bad luck - I got an email from the driver last night that said they were waiting on another shipper who was running late.  Today I got a phone call saying they were delayed because the driver had lost a finger in an accident yesterday.  I suppose it is possible, but I am hoping it is a ploy to get my sympathy.  The driver sounded like a nice guy.  The car is now slated for delivery this weekend, which doesn't matter since I won't be back from Philly until Sunday anyway.  However, I just hope a plague of locusts doesn't eat the tires off the truck. 
February 8, 2009 - With a proper British lady arriving soon, it was time to do some major cleaning in the garage.  I  took another load to the dump and moving the shelves and parts from along the right wall to the front to the little garage.  It was amazing - I also organized the little garage, and even with the extra shelves and parts, I have more room for the TD!  Anyway, the main garage is now pretty clean and tidy, and I even put in some new light fixtures. 

It looks like the shipping agent at Total Car Shipping LLC lied about the delivery date - I had been very specific about needing the car delivered by Wednesday at the latest, and the shipping agent assured me it would be here Monday or Tuesday.  However, the actual delivery date is going to be Thursday, when I will be gone to Philadelphia.  I'll have to scramble to get some friends to accept the car and get it in the garage.  Oh, well.  Gonna be a very long trip home from Philadelphia on Sunday!

February 4, 2009 - The car is paid for, the title is already in hand, and the car is being picked up tomorrow for enclosed transport.  I got quotes from a dozen transport companies when I sent a quote request out using a web site, but only 2 came back with prices for enclosed transport.  Seeing as the TC is a 60 year-old English roadster and it is winter even in Florida, protection from the elements was a must.  I could have saved some money going with the cheaper estimate, but the company I chose, Total Car Shipping, had the best reviews.  So far, I am very happy with them - the driver has been in touch with me and pickup was narrowed to a 1-hour window.  I started re-reading The Red Car last night - Don Stanford did an amazing job of capturing the spirit of sports car driving and presenting it in a way that not only captured my interest all those decades ago, but also makes for great reading today. 
February 1, 2009 - WAY back in the days I was going to Fairlawn Elementary School, one of my favorite book was 'THE RED CAR' by Don Standford.  It's a bout a kid who fixes up a wrecked MG TC and races it in a local road race with the help of a former Bugatti mechanic named 'Frenchie'.  That book made a lasting impression on me, one that has stuck with me through more than 120 other cars.  The BCW TD replica came pretty close, but there is no substitute for those tall wire wheels and sleek lines.  A large BAP-GEON poster featuring a head-on shot of a TC hangs in my bedroom, but I had figured that was as close as i would get.  Then, last week, a friend sent me a link to an MG web site in England.  The classified page had a 'US Cars for Sale' section, where I found an interesting-looking 49 TC for $24,000 in Massachusetts. I checked into it mostly out of curiosity and the owner for 20 years told me he was selling it because the car had gotten to hard for him to get in and out of.  That made me take a hard look at myself - if I wait much longer, I may find myself getting a TC at a point where I won't have that much time to enjoy it!  So things got serious. 

I bought a ticket to Boston, made arrangements with the Credit Union, and made serious plans to buy the car in Massachusetts.  It was a clean well-maintained original car with 35,000 miles.  It needed tires, some of the chrome wasn't great, and the interior was a mix of green and black.  However, with junkers selling on eBay for $14K, a clean presentable driver for $24K looked like a good deal.  Then I saw the ad on eBay for this fully-restored 49 TC in Florida at $17,100 with no reserve and just a few days left.  I got some more information on the car, looked hard at the pictures, and ended up making a last second (4 seconds to go, actually) bid tonight for $25,166.  That extra $66 made the difference - someone else had bid $25,100!  So the car I've wanted longer than any other car is finally mine! Now comes the fun of making arrangements for payment and transport.  The payment part is scary, but what the heck?  I can drive to the poor house in my dream car!

eBay Description - Vehicle has been totally disassembled down to the bare frame. blasted, painted , dampers [shock absorbers], rebuilt by apple, chrome buckets [lights] radiator surround d-lights, parking lights have all been rechromed. hard to find fog light included, all new interior from moss, new master cylinder and 4 wheel cylinders all new. brake lines are S.S. new wire harness is new from Moss. new Alfin brake drums, new pads. dash is new instruments rebuilt by Moma in New Mexico engine rebuilt note correct valve cover, new fuel pump note dist. has the correct adjusting knob. radiator boiled and rebuilt. new clutch and pressure plate, gear box works fine. new Moss rear end seal.   Tires new from Coker tire as are tubes. spare is not new tire but new tube. additional rear lights are added for safety and are attached with quick connect wire disconnect and magnets for shows. seats are new and not just reupholstered. dash lights are NOS Lucas. tonneau cover included as is car cover. Top is not new but fits tight and has no rips side windows are complete and included. windshield chrome all rechromed ,new glass, wiper motor rebuilt, wipers new.  finish is correct sequoia cream , excuse the spelling,  PPG global , I have small container of paint left over. all body work done by British body man who manufactured all strips under wings. I called them drip edges. car is very good condition. and is being sold to fund new project. as with any 60 year old car there is no warranty.

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