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MG Magnette V8

We were due to go away for three months from mid July to mid October so with the three month gap whilst we were away, the car could be locked in a secure garage and I'd be pretty relaxed, positive that on our return, I could fettle the car and get the paintwork finished, carpets fitted and so on. 

FIRST DRIVE(S)!!!!  June 30th 2013

The certifier road tested the car (with me in the passenger seat) including barrelling down a hill towards a dead end, to test the brakes (scary!) bearing in mind that at this stage, everything was new, not bedded in and brakes effectively untested, you can understand why I thought it scary... However, after a total of three brake tests, he set the front/rear brake bias from the lever alongside the driver's seat.

His comment really was that maybe for track work, the car was a bit soft at the front but for road work, it all seemed fine.  Brakes seemed to pull up well and his cornering was quite brisk and taken much faster than I would have dared at that stage!

On returning  home from the blast around the block, I noticed a small puddle of oil under the car.  That was a first.

He seemed quite confident that we'd have the plate within about 7 days.

However - following his submission of the paperwork to the authorities, there were then still one or two issues to resolve before they would issue the modifications plate, one of which is the amount of bump steer. 

I wasn't really too pleased to have this drag on but I had to accept it.

Regardless, I opted to take the car down to Hampton Downs race track on a 'Play Day", as I really wanted to see what it felt like, running legally without the risk of upsetting either the local residents or the local constabulary.  The track was initially wet and greasy so I took the Marcos out first and it felt pretty good considering the damp track and a well shot front left tyre.  I know the track well enough and taking the Marcos out would give me a reference for comparison. 

Taking the Magnette out on a race track, without really having run it in, was with some trepidation as other than a 50 yard trundle up and down our quiet street, plus the certifier's drive, I had no idea what it was really like.

It sounded pretty good but maybe a fraction noisier than it should be (95db limit) - certainly inside without carpets!. The brakes were pretty good but the car felt a little low geared.  That could well be due to the ex-race car gearbox, but maybe I needed a longer dif?  With no carpets or sound deadening and a whine from the transmission, it was certainly not a car ready for a relaxing long distance tour!

Cornering however highlighted the fact that the castor and steering needed to be set up properly.  It didn't feel anywhere near as well 'planted' on the road/track as the Marcos.  As the certifier noted, it is a little soft at the front for track work.  The steering is also quite direct and it felt a bit nervous cornering.  What stopped the session though, was a whiff of hot oil.  On returning to the paddock, there was more than a trace of an engine oil leak and a larger puddle, most of which seemed to be inside the car, dribbling down from the transmission tunnel. So the car was driven into the garage and there it would have to stay until October. I really didn't want to explore any further.

 From the pics you'll note that the radiator grille and side panels still had to be completed, as did the bonnet and boot lid.  Without sill covers fitted, it looked a bit odd.. Door panel/front wing alignment needed some adjustment too, but overall, it was still a major milestone.  It was with mixed feelings that I parked it, knowing that on my return, there were still three issues that needed dealing to.   

MG Magnette V8

After just one lap, I had to call into the pits as I had forgotten to take out my camera, so I handed it over to "Racing Ray" Williams before heading out again. Fortunately, Ray had the foresight to take a couple of shots to record this historic moment. The car looks a bit odd but was under fairly heavy braking, which merely emphasises the soft front springs!  I was probably braking from an estimated 80mph, taking it quite steadily really, but without the speedo calibrated, just a guess.

MG Magnette V8

JULY 2013

Following the paperwork submission, a new "to do list", or more correctly, "has to be done before we could progress list" appeared...

Three majors on the list to conform to LVVTA's requirements, still needing to be dealt to:

 1) The bumpsteer needed to be further reduced.

 2) The rear door window material (Palsun) wasn't on their approved list and had to be replaced.

 3) The brake bias lever had to be either locked into position or covered.

The car was left in the garage at Hampton Downs, an hour south of home, with the trailer, whilst we were away.

Purchasing a trailer had proved to be a wise investment, as the inconvenience and cost of hiring trailers would have been more than the cost of the trailer anyway.  Meanwhile, as I still had the templates for the rear door windows, I'd get them remanufactured in Lexan - which I knew wouldn't exactly be cheap.