British Coach Works
SOLD March 28, 2009
here for general information
|Looking for a BCW to buy, or information? - Though
it's been years since I sold my BCW and bought a real MG TC, I still
get a good bit of email from folks looking for one of these great
replicas. Just to be clear, Caroholic is my personal blog
about my personal cars. I'm not a dealer, and pretty much all
of cars listed on this site either are or were mine at one time.
However, I am glad to provide help where I can. To save time
and effort on both our parts, here are some of the most common
questions I get, and my answers:
Don't see the answer to your question? Email me at email@example.com and I'll see what I can do.
|May 12, 2010 - Pub Crawl Day 13 - This morning we left Natchez, MS and traveled up the Natchez Trace Parkway to Tupelo, MS. We traveled 270 miles today. Tomorrow we are off to Murfreesboro, TN. Attached are some pictures: cars at the Natchez Grand Hotel on the Mississippi River, an abandon mansion we found in Natchez, and our trip up the Natchez Trace Parkway.|
|May 7, 2010 - On the ferry to Ocracoke NC - More photos (that's the TD at upper left) and an update on the trip: Today is day 7 of our Morgan Pub Crawl and we are having a great time. We are in Savannah tonight and will be in St. Augustine tomorrow. The MG TD is humming along great and getting 32 mpg. One of the attached pictures shows us on the ferry from Ocracoke on the outer banks, back to the main land of North Carolina.|
|April 30, 2010 - Hello Again - I rarely see my cars again after I sell them - so it was a treat to visit with one of my favorites - the BCW TD Replica that still ranks as the car I have owned longer than any other. Ed and lovely wife Susan rolled into Williamsburg today as part of a multi-state 'Pub Crawl' with the Morgan Sports Car Club. They had driven the TD from Florida to West VA, and then to VA, putting about 1700 miles on her in two days. The rest of the pub crawl will be a lot more sedate - about 200 miles a day. He had the engine rebuilt - a jug came loose, and has done a lot of other work to the car. Turns out that the splash pans that never were on the car provided critical cooling, and not having them likely caused the premature cylinder failure. We went for a short drive, and she sounds and feels great. Note the clever luggage rack he fabricated from PVC pipe. He has had a lot of fun with the car (named 'Sally'), and will be putting quite a few miles on her in the next two weeks.|
|March 28, 2009 - SOLD! The TD rolled off to Florida today - the buyer came all the way up from Columbia SC and is planning to use the car in the Sunshine State. He was really nice, and quite forgiving when the BCW threw a temper tantrum after she realized I was planning on sending her on her way. The brakes had gone soft again, the engine was sputtering, the turn signal lever broke off in my hand while I was showing him al the lights worked, and the passenger side door handle came loose. All of this while I was demonstrating the car for the first time! However, we got the brakes and door handle fixed, got the engine smoothed out, and he was happy enough to take her home anyway. I dropped the price another $300 to cover the aggravation and parts, which made us both happy. I am already finding parts that should have gone with the car, even though we packed two boxes worth. I have had the car ten years - I think that's the record so far.|
|March 24, 2009 - With the purchase of the TC, the BCW is an extra convertible I can't really afford to hang onto. So I am putting her up for sale. Looks like I may already have a buyer, so I got home early and took a bunch of photos (40). Also, there is a movie of the car running. I figured I had better put the weather gear up as well, since I haven't used it in probably 8 years or longer. As might be expected, the canvas is a bit wrinkled from being folded up so long, but it all looks OK. (Whew!) She's been a fun little car, and I hate to send her on her way.|
|April 27, 2008 - Finally decided it was time to fix the brake leak. I ordered new wheel cylinders and brake hoses for the car from Advance on Friday, but when I went to install the hoses, they turned out to be the wrong ones. Back to Advance - and I should have them tomorrow. I was surprised by the left drum - it slid right off when I removed the lock nut - these usually require a wheel puller. The shoes are in new condition - she must have had a brake job just before I got her 9 years ago. The wheel cylinder showed no signs of leakage, but I replaced it anyway. Should be able to get the car finished up tomorrow night if the parts come in.|
|December 9, 2007 - Hard to believe I have top-down TD weather approaching the middle of December, but it was 73 degrees today! I rolled out the TD for the first time in quite a while. The brakes went soft again, which I tracked to air in the rear lines. I bled them out and had a full pedal again - it takes weeks fro the pressure to drop. With a sunny day and the TD raring to go, I drove out to a friend's down a long and windy country road. Great scenery, and the TD was right at home on the curves. It's supposed to stay in the 70s through Wednesday - I may take her into work, though the drive on the Interstate isn't as great with a stick as a twisty back road. Still, it was great to get out and remember how much fun the car is to drive!|
|April 23, 2007 - I've had the TD out a couple of times so far since i got the gas tank replaced - holding up fine. The exhaust has been getting a little loud, so I picked up a new gasket set and reinstalled the muffler tonight. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow - I may drive her in to work.|
|March 11, 2007 - I went out to drive the TD on an unusually warm day in February and discovered the tank had emptied itself again. Happily, there wasn't much in it, but patching was obviously not the way to go. I thought about having the old tank repaired professionally, then decided to look for a replacement. A friend in the car club (Thanks, Pete!) heard I was looking for a tank and told me he had 4 VW bug tanks in his back yard. Sure enough, he had one that would work that he gave me. Getting the filler neck cut to fit turned out to be a bit of an adventure, but I ended up using an MGB filler neck and a new chrome cap. Looks great, and no leaks! I took her out for a short spin and cleaned her up today - ready for open-top motoring again!|
|January 12, 2007 - The new new tank for the TD arrived - and was the wrong tank again! This time it was for a CJ Jeep! I called and the guy is going to cancel the sale and send me return packing slips for the incorrect tanks. At least he tried - probably will end up spending quite a bit more in postage than I actually paid total. I'll go ahead and use the tank as is and probably have it repaired over the winter.|
|December 27, 2006 - The new tank for the TD arrived - and was the wrong tank. They sent one for a Super Beetle rather than the standard. I'm waiting now for a reply and RMA so I can get the correct tank in it. My patch is holding, so it isn't really a big deal. The brakes have stayed up for now, and I got several nice days of driving in before it got chilly again. She'll be sitting most of the next few months, unless we get an unusually warm day.|
|December 17, 2006 - I got a couple of days driving the TD, then parked her for a week due to cold weather. This past Thursday it was back in the 60s, so I wanted to take her to work. Opening the garage door brought a strong stink of gas - not good. And when I rolled her out to air out the garage, the %$##@! brakes were out again! Turns out the gas tank had rust pinholes in the bottom - I patched it for now, but found a new one on eBay for $45, including shipping! I'll still have to have the neck cut down to fit under the TD's hood, so fixing the old tank lets me use the car during the continued good weather. Then it was on to the brakes - bleeding out the system turned up air in the left rear. There is no sign of fluid leakage on the hub or wheel - could be the flex hose. But she has full brakes for now. It only leaks down when it sits for more than a week. Something to track down.|
|November 26, 2006 - It's been almost a full month since I discovered the brakes were down on the TD, so I decided to check things out. There was no fluid loss, but the brakes were to the floor. They would pump up, then be gone the next time. Had to be the master cylinder, as the wheel cylinders are all tight. Happily, I got the new one under warranty from Advance. I also went ahead and replaced the brake light switch - also new when I did the master cylinder last time, but there is a slim chance it was leaking at one of the connector spades. Despite being hidden between two body tub bulkheads that require blind access with a 15" extension, I got the two mounting bolts out and back in with very little trouble. I also put new connectors on the brake light wires. After a complete bleed, I had a solid pedal again and no signs of leakage. She's all washed and ready to go now - just took her over for a full tank of gas. I'll probably take her to work the next few days to give her some exercise and take advantage of 70+ degrees and sunny in November!|
|November 1, 2006 - The TD started up and ran great this morning when I decided to drive it to work. The acceleration stumble is gone, and it felt great - until I came to the first stop sign. Seems that the brakes are down again! I had to go back home and put her away. Very odd - the master cylinder is new and the brakes have been fine ever since I redid the line in May. Oh, well. I'll have to check it out and get things fixed!|
|October 3, 2006 - The TD has had low-speed acceleration stumbling problems as long as I have owned it. Annoying, but not that big a deal. On the trip to Richmond, another issue came up - as we pulled off the interstate and the RPMs dropped, the engine stumbled and couldn't pick up again. The culprit was the gas cap - a non-vented item as originally installed on the VW. Problem is, when the tank was changed to fir the BCW, they cut the neck and removed the built-in vent pipe! Pulling the gas cap off caused the tank to pop back out. The car was always pulling against a vacuum. I got a new vented cap for $5 and have already noticed that the acceleration stumble is gone. Sometimes the answer is painfully simple and cheap. After all, I've only owned the car since 1999!|
|September 17, 2006 - Brown's Island British Car Show - A friend and I hopped in the TD this morning and made the 100-mile trek to Richmond, VA for the annual Brown's Island British Car Show. Although I have entered the TD before, this year the event had a special class for German cars. So I registered the TD as a German Spy. Even though I had identified the car as a 1969 VW bug-based replica, the folks parking the car still tried to put me in with the real TDs until I made a point of blipping the throttle a couple of times. That's the real fun of the BCW - even a group of British car enthusiasts still mistake it for the genuine article. Plus, I made the trip at 75+ mph on the Interstate and got about 32 MPG. Better yet, I could still walk when I got out! In a show where lovely Brit and other exotic cars abounded, the TD got more than her fair share of looks and interest.|
|July 9, 2006 - No complaints about the weather today! I actually took the TD into work on Friday, and even survived Friday afternoon traffic heading home at the tunnel. Took the car to a car club event today that was out in the boonies - great chance to have fun on twisty roads. I also realized that I have very few good pictures of the TD, so I took a few today. Sounds like my work on the exhaust messed up one of the donut gaskets - happily, they are cheap and easy to replace on the VW engines. Note the single exhaust instead of the normal twin pipes. I got a transporter single outlet muffler for the car a couple of years ago to help disguise her origins.|
|July 3, 2006 - Naturally, we have had a very wet past couple of months - the days I wanted to take the car in to work, it threatened to shower every afternoon. Then the exhaust pipe came off the muffler - I had tapped the pipe into the Transporter single-outlet muffler, and lost one tip already. I needed to get it welded, something that I haven't had time to get done until today. Finally got her over to a muffler shop this afternoon (I don't have a welder) and go the pipe locked in place now. All ready to roll - when the rain stops!|
|May 4, 2006 - Who need to wait for the weekend? I got home a little early tonight and the weather was nice. I jacked the VW up and got the starter swapped out in about a half-hour, taking my time. She spins normally now, so the starter was the problem. After cleaning up, I took the TD out for a quick run around town - the brakes are still up and solid, and she's as much fun to zip around in as I remembered. She's topped off with gas now and ready for sunny weather! Naturally, it's supposed to rain the next two days...|
|May 2, 2006 - Wow! Been a long time since I posted to this page. The TD actually ended up sitting for most of last year due to a bad choice in changing jobs - long hours and weekend work put most of my car work on hold. When I tried it this past Fall, the brakes were losing pressure. That turned out to be a bad feed hose from the master cylinder, which was easily replaced. I got the car out a few weeks ago and gave her a really good detailing. Only to find that the starter was dragging. After checking the battery and charging system, the issue seems to be with the starter itself. I have a new one to install, and hope to have the car put together this weekend.|
|January 13, 2005 - Got the brakes done tonight - 65 degrees and a light breeze tonight. Hard to believe it's the middle of January! Anyway, the master cylinder wasn't a mutant after all - it was the original! Apparently the 1968-69 models used external pressure valves. After that, VW switched to internal valves, and everyone converted the old style to the new ones when they redid brakes. The TD still had its 36 year-old master cylinder. No wonder it leaked! Surprisingly, the new master cylinder was not hard to get in, even working by myself. I hooked up the brake lines first, bending them closer to go directly into the master cylinder.|
|I had left the last bolt in place along with the extension. As you can see in the picture (above right), there wasn't much room to work in. That's a keychain flashlight and a 13mm socket. Still, it was remarkably easy to get the bolts installed. I installed new brake lines for the front, which were needed badly. After bleeding it out once, I have good brakes but a little play in the pedal - I'll adjust the brakes all around and rebleed later. But I finally have the TD safe to drive again - just in time for winter!|
|January 9, 2005 - Isn't it funny how simple jobs can suddenly get complicated? I finally got around to starting on the master cylinder. It had been leaking a lot more than I thought. I've had the new master cylinder for a couple of months. Getting to the cylinder wasn't too hard, except for the mounting bolts which live in a closed area between the car body and the original firewall. Happily, there is a large enough access hole for the extended brake rod to get an 18" extension and socket plus small flashlight in and still see the bolts. Unhappily, I seem to have mutant master cylinder! There are two different master cylinders listed for VW Bugs, and mine is neither. They all look almost the same, but mine has adapter blocks with one-way valves for the three brake lines. The mounting holes are much larger to accommodate the valves. So I will have to carry it in to some of the import shops and see if I can match up the right cylinder.|
|My car is a 1952 TD replica by British Coach Works, Ltd., of Arnold, Pennsylvania. When the car was built in 1981, the kit alone was $8,200! That did not include the 1969 VW chassis or the extensive labor required. BCW went to great lengths to make the car as authentic as possible. Almost all of the trim from the bumpers, lights, and grille to the taillight lens are reproduction replacement TD parts (Which means that stuff like seals, latches, and accessories can be ordered from Moss Motors). How good a copy is it? I've had owners of real MG TDs come up and compliment me on my great restoration.|
The fiberglass body is as solid as the original steel versions, with much better fit. After 20 years, the original white Gel coat still looks like good paint, and the doors shut with a solid 'thunk." Even the canvas top is in the same style and pattern as the original TD - however, the side curtains zip in to the top and snap to the body, instead of having metal frames which attach to the doors.
This particular car started life in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The original owner went with the basic kit - white with tan interior and top. He drove it sparingly for the next ten years, selling it to a man in Santa Fe. The second owner also drove the car rarely, and when he decided to put it on eBay in 1999, the car had just over 10K miles on it.
When I saw the ad, I did a double-take. After all, most TD replica kit-cars LOOK like TD replica kit-cars. The hoods have clunky top latches, the back end is usually barely recognizable, and the lights are always clunky VW items. Not the BCW. The selling point for me was the windshield. Instead of the aluminum sticks of most replicas, this one had the real chrome folding framework. I contacted the seller, who spoke with me on the phone at length. And when the fateful end of auction came, I dropped in my bid of $4200. And won it.
I sent off a cashier's check the next day (Wednesday), and made arrangements to have the car picked up by a transport company the following Tuesday. However, the seller called Thursday afternoon to let me know that the transport company had just picked up the car. And he had NOT received the check yet. I was stunned that he would have released the car, and a bit concerned that someone might have just stolen my new car! Happily, the check arrived while we were still on the phone, and it turned out that the transport company had discovered a space on the earlier truck.
When the car finally arrived one dark and almost stormy night, my best friend Chip took me out to pick it up. The TD looked as good as I hoped, and I spent the next few months simply driving it. I added some real TD items to dress the car out - wind wings, new hubcaps with MG emblems, and MG floor mats. My only complaint was that the 1500 engine wasn't terribly peppy - a trip to an MG show in Richmond had me falling behind a group of friends on the Interstate. Flat out was 70, dropping to 65 on hills.
Summer 2000 came and I decided to upgrade the mechanics. Camidge Imports in Hampton, VA built me a slightly modified 1600 dual-port that I installed along with a new clutch. That changed the whole personality of the car - it had always handled well, but now it would literally scream. Top end? Well, I had it up to 90 ONCE with room under the gas pedal. More importantly, it will cruise all day at 75-80 uphill and down.
The car now has almost 20K on it - the master cylinder has started leaking, and I have new hoses and a cylinder to install. I added a TD light bar and period driving lights 2 years ago, and an Empi short-throw shifter that made the transmission feel like an MG's. This past year (2004) I put in an Empi electronic ignition, which improved the performance even more, and a single-port VW transporter exhaust to replace the give-away dual-tip bug muffler.