Monthly Archives: November 2014

This week…

I’ve, at last, ordered the new rear suspension springs and stainless steel exhaust that I’ve been planning to change for some time

I’ve noticed, since the weather has become wetter, that the handling of the old suspension wasn’t what it should be, so I couldn’t really put this off any longer.

Also, Murphy’s been sitting low due the worn suspension, and the occasional speedbump has scraped the already worn out exhaust. I’ve been holding out to do both these jobs at the same time, as there was no point risking a new exhaust if the suspension was too low.

Given the exhaust isn’t sounding great at all right now, and the change was long overdue, I’m looking forward to bringing the noise levels down a bit – as no doubt, will my neighbours!

I was tempted to go for the louder centre bomb box over the quieter standard type, thinking I’d benefit from better clearance. After a few calls to various suppliers, it seems there’s really not much in it clearance-wise, so, I went for the standard type after all, as I also felt I’d prefer less noise in the long-term.

As a quick job, I did also, this week, fit new lights to the dashboard dials, but instead of the regular 2.2W bulbs, I went for LED’s – green ones – to match Murphy’s exterior. These were easily available on eBay with the standard E10 screw-in fitting. Although part of me wasn’t sure if this was the best idea, it actually looks quite good in the dark, and uses only 240mW, so I’ll go with it – for now anyway. I may also look into LED’s for the interior lights too. (Note, I’ve since upgraded the bulbs to even brighter LED’s… see post in Feb 2015).

Rear window heater?

Following yesterday’s post where I noted the rear window heater wasn’t working even though 12V was present, I woke up this morning to find everything frozen outside.

I scraped the ice from the exterior of Murphy’s windows before heading off, but I’m now wondering if the rear window heater is actually working after all, albeit very slowly, as I could swear the rear window seemed to clear of condensation faster than usual, (usual being leaving the window open until it clears).

Either that, or the condensation evaporated naturally, as I did have the window for a few minutes, but it wasn’t for that long since it was so cold.

Intriguing… I’ll be checking more closely tomorrow, as if this is working, I’ll be very pleased.

Does anyone know how the rear window heater performs on MGB GT’s?

Is really slow, actually normal behavior?

Should I invest in that hot air fan thingy I’ve seen on eBay for a tenner to blast the rear window clear???

Improvements & MPG

Today I drove Murphy to Chichester to see Nick, as he’s over from Ireland for another two weeks, and was very kind enough to give me a hand with a few improvements I’ve been meaning to do.

It was drizzling/raining in Chandlers Ford, so I phoned Nick at lunchtime to see if he still wanted to meet up, and he told me the weather was “alright” in Chichester, so come on over.

Well, there’s clearly an Irish to English translation issue here, as “alright” in Nick’s world actually means “it’s chucking it down and you’re going to have a fun time getting here as the roads are flooded”. I definitely need one of those translation books!

I wonder if the “book” might also explain the difference in the movement of time between Ireland & England – not a timezone difference per se, more something that makes time run slower in Ireland, and sometimes causes Nick to be delayed by many hours 🙂 Must be something in the tea – but that’s another story!

With limited distraction from the F1 race, and Lewis Hamilton’s well earned victory 🙂 we reversed Murphy under the garage door to avoid the worst of the rain.

The first of the “simple” jobs for the afternoon was to remove the boot door and fit a rubber seal around the boot, which had been missing since I acquired the car. Simple my arm!

Fitting the rubber seal was easy, as was replacing the boot – and successfully proving the electrics for the rear window demister were actually working, even if the demister itself wasn’t (a job for another day!) – but would the boot shut???


This week…

I’ve had to head up to our offices near Gerrards Cross twice this week, which is a 150 mile round trip taking around two hours each way, thus around 300 miles in all.

The SatNav on my mobile phone was set to avoid motorways, so it was A and B roads all the way. The SatNav was set to recalculate the route to avoid traffic, which meant a slightly different route each time, but seemed to favour the A31 on the way back on both days.

I usually go via the M3 then M25, etc, but taking the scenic route was pleasantly refreshing, and Murphy had no problem with this.

Ascot, Windsor, Henley-on-Thames, Wooburn and Burnham Beeches in particular provide beautiful Autumn scenery, (see photo), so even though it’s a bit of a trek, it was all good.

Most surprising was on the A33 between Basingstoke and Reading, where I drove past a giant column with a statue of the Duke of Wellington on top. Not the kind of thing I expected to see, but upon further investigation is a place called Stratfield Saye House – a large stately home which has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.

Reading online, I found that The Duke of Wellington Commemorative Column was erected in 1863, and stands at the entrance to Stratfield Saye on the eastern Heckfield side, and is topped by a bronze statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti.

Steven Spielberg’s film War Horse began with cavalry scenes that were filmed at Stratfield Saye House, where Wellington’s war horse “Copenhagen” is buried.

Now doesn’t that beat the motorway route!

Underside Inspection

Some news & info from the 1970’s

After trying to find out more about Murphy’s first owner, and in particular the showroom from which he was first purchased, here’s what I’ve found so far…

Click here to read more…


18th November 2014

All I know right now of Murphy’s beginnings is from the only 1970’s document I hold, which is the MG “Passport to Service” document that accompanied the car at the time of initial sale. I guess in many ways, I’m lucky to even have that.

What this document tells me is that Murphy was initially purchased by a Mr R.G. Sharpe of Sutton Bassett, Northants on the 10th June 1972, from Latham’s (Leicester) Limited, Belgrave Gate, Leicester.

There are a few service stamps in the booklet, giving an indication of early life, as follows:

Entry 1: 9th June 1972, was a pre-delivery inspection by Latham’s on the day before the sale date written at the front of the book. Interestingly, it shows 1660 miles on this date, which might seem strange for a new car, but I notice this is written in a different pen, similar to the second service entry. I think this was written here in error, and the actual mileage must have been close to zero.

Entry 2: 30th June 1972, 1,000 miles service, also with the Latham’s stamp, but no mileage written here. Give, as mentioned above, the same pen was used, I assume the actual mileage was 1,660 miles.

Entry 3: 6th September 1972, 3,000 miles service, this time serviced by The Regent Autocar Co. Leicester Road, Market Harborough. The mileage written here is 7,118 miles.

Entry 4: 9th November 1972, 12,000 miles service, again by The Regent Autocar Co., and the same engineer, (Andy?). The mileage here was 11,456 miles.

Below are the pages from the “Passport to Service” booklet, as detailed above:

First contact with a previous owner

Today I’ve received a successful reply from Mr Bob Blackstock, Murphy’s 10th owner.

Click here to read more…


17th November 2014

As part of my challenge to unravel the history of Murphy, I attempted to track down previous owners, and this was my first successful attempt.

I managed to find Mr Bob Blackstock, Murphy’s 10th owner, through the power of the web, and he was kind enough to reply to my no doubt unconventional request for help…

My son, Robert, bought the MG from a small car dealer in Nottingham.
At the time he was stationed there when he was a Lt Colonel in the Royal Engineers.
We know nothing of its previous history.
I’m attaching a photo of the car taken soon after purchase.
He subsequently retired from the army and moved to Monmouth to begin a new career in civil engineering.
However, he had done very little mileage in the MG, had no garage at his new home, so sent it to me in Dorset to look after and sell.
David Sothcott bought it, I believe, as a temporary run-about whilst he completed re-comissioning of his own MG.
I have my own 1967 rally MGB GT which I have owned for ten years and which did a Monte Carlo Rally Historique in 2000.
Sorry, of little help to you.
Kind regards

Despite Bob’s message suggesting this was little help, on the contrary I’m chuffed to bits, so thank-you Bob, if you read this 🙂

So I now know that Murphy’s been through a dealer in Nottingham, owned by a former military man and engineer, (both honourable professions, in my opinion), and made his way to the South of England, in the care of a family who clearly knows MGB’s, then on to the owner from whom I purchased the car.  How cool is that!!! 🙂

Here’s Bob’s photo of Murphy, looking good  in Nottingham in 2009…

Bob Blackstock's photo of Murphy in Nottingham, 2009.

Bob Blackstock’s photo of Murphy in Nottingham, 2009.

…and here’s Bob’s 1967 Rally MGB GT 🙂

Bob’s 1967 Rally MGB GT

Classic Car show at the NEC Birmingham

Onur, Nick, (driving his ’88 Nissan Silvia) and I headed up together to the Birmingham NEC on Sunday for the Classic Car Show.

We had a good run up, with very light rain from time-to-time, but it was belting down on the way back South.

Nevertheless, we had a really good day, that proved to be fun and interesting for all of us.

We’d barely starting looking around when Nick met a chap with a Reliant Scimitar SSC, built with the same engine as his Nissan Silvia. Though he may deny it, and I’m certain he lost all sense of time, he slipped straight into the geekzone 🙂

Onur saw a DeLorean just like the one in Back to the Future, KITT from Knight Rider, the Ghostbusters vehicle and Lightning McQueen from Cars – see photos 🙂 That made his day, as it would any 9 year old. To be fair, I was quite amazed at the level of detail these enthusiasts had gone to, but can;t deny some of it was very impressive.

I took the opportunity to join the MG Car Club, (which I’d been thinking about for a while), bought a new baseball cap and a few electrical connectors for Murphey, and took every opportunity to see how the MGB’s in “show quality” looked. I almost drooled when I saw some of the engines in these cars. For the life of me, I can’t fathom how much effort it must take to make them look like that. I bet they didn’t look that good when they left the factory, and I wondered if these cars ever actually hit the road, or are kept wrapped up in cotton wool in a nice warm garage!

All in all, it was a great day out, and I’d highly recommend visiting the show to anyone, whether you’re deep into classic cars or not. Here’s some pics of the day…


You could eat your dinner off this engine, it was so immaculate!

You could eat your dinner off this engine, it was so immaculate!