Monday, March 22, 2010

Owners History

1937 MG Factory - left factory on 4/10/1937
1937 Salmon and Sons
1937 Knott Brothers, Bournemouth
1937 Mr Burnand, Bournemouth, first registered 10/11/1937
19?? Potentially another owner who stored me during WWII
1950/60's USA Airman from a US Air Base in Suffolk (any names welcome here), sold the car as he was returning Stateside
1967-ish Owner based in Epping thence Micheldean
1982 Owner - really a private dealer, purchased to sell. Charfield, Gloucestershire
1982 Current NZ Owner

Monday, March 15, 2010

On the Road Again (With apologies to Willie Nelson)

On 4th August 1984 I was taken apart and put on my side in a shipping container, this was my position in my new home in NZ until 14th March 2010 when I was put back on my feet.
An awesome day ! I have now been wheeled into the garage and my chassis needs light sanding in places and a complete recoat. The next steps are to redo the brake system and recheck the jackalls and all mechanicals prior to a new framework, my last one (new in the UK), has been riddled with borer and huhu grubs - nice tastey English White pine for NZ grubs ! That is another story.

Other VAs associated with me (click photos to enlarge)

VA 2421 Tourer, Engine #2684
SVW Register states that it left the factory as a Tourer on 13 April 1939.
This is a spare engine purchased from a wrecker (1960's) by the owner in Micheldean (found this out 21/3/2010). Now in the spares inventory.

VA 1002 Saloon, Engine #1254
SVW Register states that it left the factory as a Saloon on 17 November 1939.

My owner purchased the rusted heap of body parts, chassis and whatever was left from a well known MG dealer near London who told him the car was driven there in the mid 1960's. It was located up a lane in a forest near Gatwick Airport on 17th October 1982 and recovered on 20th November 1982. One find, deeply buried amongst the soil and leaves, was an exhaust manifold - a good spare.

The engine is (naturally) seized but has many parts and no doubt if needed, could be reinstated. Thin oil mix has been left in the cylinders for 27 years ! Gearbox is still attached. Currently allocated to the spares inventory.

Getting the chassis off the forest floor was a misison hence the hiab lift at the back of the truck, a good mate of my owner (pictured in his younger years) helped and the truck was backed under the chassis and it was all carefully lifted up.

The photo (with my wheels on) shows lots of parts, eg engine, axles, shocks etc. Body parts eg bonnet and guards were traded for other items from SVW Parts.

Of note is that the chassis front cross member now resides in a chassis of another VA DHC located in Christchurch, NZ. The rest of the saloon chassis was too rusty to restore (at the time...).

Reg BPM 59, Tourer (Chassis/Engine number unknown)
SVW Register states that it left the factory as a Saloon in March 1939, chassis number is probably close to VA 2412 above.

BPM 59 was originally black and registered as a private 12 horsepower MG touring car registered to the Chief Constable, Constable Offices, Lewes on 24 March 1939. Kithead Trust confirms the car was last on the road in 1971 and its current status is unknown to the SVW Register. A photo of BPM 59 is in Andrea Green's book "MGs on Patrol".

(I have checked the registers of vehicles licensed by East Sussex County Council and BPM 59 has a ref of VEH 4/10).
When purchased by the owner in Micheldean (when he was a lot younger - a teenager), BPM 59 was white. He and his brother painted it red and sold it to purchase me (DLJ 917)!

There is a note on back of one white photo "VA 1967 Before" and then another of it painted red and "VA 1967" on the back of another photo. All photos appear from the same processing Kodak run of October 1967.

The house in the photos was in Epping (I now have all the details off the blog site). The young lads are brothers and one of them now lives in Micheldean....all the dots now connect...and where my 'modern story starts' with my NZ owner as the next car they purchased was me!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I have no log book, purchased by my current owner in UK in the (UK) summer of 1982, imported to NZ in Mid 1985, parts of me are in three storage areas and now I am being put together.

I am an original MG VA Tickford Drop Head Coupe built by Salmon and Sons after the chassis left the MG factory on 4/10/1937. I was destined to have a hand built body by a coach building firm, Salmon and Sons who gave me my fine figure - a Drop Head Coupe with a body number of #3157! Due to a fire destroying the Tickford factory, no records exist of me leaving the factory however research via the registration plate led to the next part of my background. ........

Two owners ago, I was retrieved from a very run down garage near the Forest of Dean near Bristol, tidied up for sale (painted cream - see below) and purchased by my present NZ owner who was based in Shepperton and spotted an advert in Classic Cars. He had a 1939 Morris 12/4 Series III in NZ and was familar with the MG VA Tourer via a NZ car club event. I was purchased and spent the next 3 years being taken apart and the chassis and running gear reconditioned. That part of the story comes later on......

Once I was exported to NZ, my current owner became very busy with family and business however much time was spent researching my past. Four years after returning to NZ my owner returned to UK on business and over a weekend hunted for the garage and family who owned me three owners ago. This was via a vague description given to him when he bought me. He located the farm at the time the tennats were about to move to France, that week. They had only one photo of me and gave it to my NZ owner. The registration details were on the back of the photo! Awesome.

The photo to the left in my original green colours was taken about 1964 and is the earliest known photo of me AND the only one with a partial registration plate - unknown until that time. (The dogs name was Shandy!) The one on the right has been heavily altered once the plate was known....
I was first registered on 10/11/1937 (37 days after leaving the factory as a chassis!) as DLJ 917 and now have a copy of the orginal registation document courtesy of the Dorset County Council Archives section. Originally sold by Knott Brothers in Bournemouth to my first owner, Mr Burnand.
As a result of internet searches of British Telecom directories and quite a few phone calls to bewildered recipients in the Bournmouth area my owner found descendants of the Knotts, one of which was able to scan a family photo of the orginal Knott Bros showroom. Their slogan (on the side of local buses) was "Buy a not Knott used Car"......(ie buy a new car)!

The younger (now elderly) Mr Knott remembers his uncles well and loved to drive the more sporty MGs in the showroom. The VAs etc, as 4 seaters, did not hold much charm with the younger set in those days.

I have no knowledge of any more of my past history until 1982 as the DVLC in Swansea UK destroyed registration records of cars that were not registered at the time of their computerisation. I am not known by those who managed to grab some of these records eg Kithead Trust.

These are photos of me about 1982 just prior my being sold to my current owner in NZ.

Any further information would be welcome.