On October 13, 2008, I received an e-mail from Lenn Bal. Lenn is one of the founders of the MG T-Type owners club Holland (MGTTO). He once had MGTTO member number 001. Lenn told me in his e-mail that he was working on a new book about the MG TD and asked me if it was possible to make photographs of my MG TD which I have in restoration. My 1951 MG TD was one of the models with details which were not found on earlier or later models. I have invited Lenn to our premises and a whole Sunday afternoon were spend on making pictures of all kind of details and parts of my car. Now, one and a halve year later some of these photographs and many other are published in a wonderful MG TD book.
After Lenn had made the pictures of my car, many phone calls followed about the investigations about originality of the parts on several MG TD cars including mine. The book of Lenn is especially written to show the change in details through the years of production of the MG TD. Parts books describe already some changes during the MG TD production period. Lenn knew already much about the changes in detail on the MG TD. But there have been some nice and long phone calls during the time Lenn was working on his book. New discoveries in changes were done and I assisted Lenn with the investigation on originality of parts as much I was able to do. I can tell you, from out of own experience, this has been real time consuming. Lenn did not make it an easy job. He wanted to make all photographs by himself, so he has made many kilometres of driving just to make the pictures he needed. One day I went to him, my trunk filled with parts of my TD, because he needed better pictures of them. Lenn also has bought an MG TD himself, to make the pictures he wanted from his own car. This is also the main character of the book. Below you see the grille of my MG TD of 1951, as photographed by Lenn when I went with my parts at his premises.
Image Copyright © Lenn Bal 2009
A few times Lenn came to me with disappointing news. Some of the parts of my MG TD seemed not to be correct or there were doubts. Then I told Lenn, that my car is an absolute original car, which is never dismantled, other then by myself. Of course I was not able to tell if all original parts were still on my car. May be due to repairs some parts may have switched to non original items during the lifetime of the car, but nothing seemed to be non-matching. The nicest examples of doubt, during the progress of the book, were the following.
Radiator mounting bracket:
The radiator mounting bracket between the front arms of the chassis can be mounted two ways. Lenn called me that mine could be wrongly mounted. I checked my photographs and found out that I had mounted it in position as it was original. The we started our search how it should be mounted, because If I was correct Lenn had to redo some pictures in his book. If Lenn was correct then I had to dismantle the radiator mounting bracket on my TD. Research found out that Lenn had mounted the mounting bracket as was fitted, but it must have been fitted wrongly. So unfortunately Lenn had to make new pictures for his book. (sorry Lenn)
Brake drums front:
Lenn noticed that the brake drums of his car were different from mine. In the existing books two types of brake drums were described. Early type brake drums were made out of two parts in stead of one. The brake drums of the car of Lenn are different than mine. So this means that there must have been three types of drums in stead of two. Or...... was one of our cars provided with non-correct drums from an other BMC car ? Again investigations found out that there must have been three types of brake drums in stead of the described two only in other books. I was lucky because again my drums were original and correct for my 1951 MG TD.
Oil pressure gauge.Lenn also made a picture of my oil pressure gauge for his book. I have a gauge which is only an oil pressure gauge and not a combined gauge for both oil pressure and water temperature. Existing books describe these two type of gauges only. Only my gauge was indicated from 0- 100 LBS per square Inch, this was again something new because the other early TD gauges indicated 0-160 LBS per square Inch. Furthermore my 0-100 gauge is clockwise and the 0-160 gauge is counter-clockwise. Indeed my gauge is a Jeager, but was it correct ? Again some investigation followed and indeed it seems that three type of oil gauges have been mounted as originals in the TD. Again I was a a happy men, because the gauge in my car seemed to be the original one. Lenn was may be less happy, because this was found out only 5 days before publishing time of the book.
First Lenn was not so happy with the postponed publishing of the book. But now he is happy, because his book is released on 10 November 2009 exact 60 years after the first MG TD left the factory in Abingdon. This makes the book even more special as it already is. The book is available in Dutch Language only for the moment. Lenn might however have future plans to publish it in English as well.
Because of the book, Lenn and I have been in contact quite often. Sometimes we were hours on the phone discussing details. Then I jumped again to the barn to search for all kind of components and details about my MG TD. Sometimes questions were answered already on the phone. I am proud that my MG TD is now one of the characters in Lenns book. In Lenn I have found a friend for which I know for sure that our friendship will not stop because the MG TD book is finished. I can encourage all MG enthusiasts to buy the book. It is a real nice piece of artwork. I have never seen a men who has taken so many time to make a masterpiece like this. The book might look simple, but I have seen how much time it has taken to publish it. It is more difficult to make something simple then something complicated. The book is inspired on the brochures of the MG TD and is designed according to these original literature. Lenn you have done a wonderful job. I am glad that I was able to be of your assistance.