A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


Dreams and What Could Have Been

Wolseley Hornet 1934

Chris lived not far from me and drove a 1934 Wolseley Hornet saloon, a sweet machine if ever there was one.  The family’s second car which Chris and brother Greg shared.

The Wolseley Hornet Special was launched in 1930 and soon after various coachbuilders were fitting lightweight bodies to the comparatively small rolling chassis.  The Hornet was equipped with an advanced 1271 cc, six-cylinder OHC engine and at launch was the smallest capacity six-cylinder car on the British market.

Wolseley Hornet saloon entered the Bay to Birdwood (similar to Chris’ 2 tone gray saloon)

Postscript of Chris’s Hornet.  It was passed to a cousin, a young lad in need of a Dune buggy.  He stripped the body off and onto the sand dunes he and his  Doom buggy went.  A sad ending for that magnificent saloon.

2nd July 1967 Hornet 6-cylinder

I heard of a Hornet 6-cylinder motor for sale, the folk-law was so strong, asking £5, I had to have it.  I bought the Wolseley Hornet 6-cylinder 12710cc, overhead cam, that sound fast.  That might go a treat in the Singer. 

It needed 2 Holley-94 Carbies before we could get it running.  The motor was run with help from a neighbor (Donald’s friend Dean) a novelty for a while but did not find a place in my scheme of things.  I sold it on to a friend, he held the dreams of a 6-cylinder single overhead cam motor, so I passed the batten and the dream was to live a while longer.

MGTD 1950  5th August 1967

My good mate Dave (Daisy) and a couple of workmates had the MG TD stashed away in a shed at WRE Salisbury.  His intention was to restore it for his girlfriend Lynn, however, after some discussion he offered the TD to me. 

The TD was incomplete, with no grill, no motor, no gearbox, no interior and hood, but it was mostly there and I was very, very inviting.  Yes, I’ll take it and I towed it home with help from friends. 

MG TD very similar condition however this has the Grill and Engine gearbox fitted

The MGTD was I believe the best shape of the T series MG’s, wider than a TC and not flattened out like the TF.  Work began on many fronts however progress was slow.  There was a lot of dreaming of fitting a Chrysler V8 engine.  Rumors of the time of a $60 brand new Chrysler V8 on offer.  Dreaming.  Soon there was a wake-up call from Dad, with a congested backyard at home I was given the order to rationalize my projects, the TD was the one with the most work to be done, so, I sold it on to a young lad down Kilburn way, he had a keen father to help with the restore it. 

http://britishsportscars.com/blog/category/mg/ supplied the stripped-down photo

When delivering the engine gearbox combination I was suitably impressed with the progress they were making, in particular, the way they were restoring the part-rotted wooded frame.  Sections of the frame that had suffered wood rot were remanufactured as part sections.  Shaping a small section to repair the larger piece was less work than remaking the complete piece. What a great idea, reducing the work to fix the job.

My guess with their enthusiasm, their fathers know how the TD may well have made it to All British Day looking pristine as the example pictured.

MG TD at All British Day in SouthAustralia

MG KN Magnet Aero Coupe. 1934 The one that got away

The one that got away.  While on the MG theme, I was offered through a chap at work, Charley Thaxton, an MG KN Magnet Aero Coupe for $75 sometime in 1967.  Charlie told me of the car at his local garage, it had been left there with a bill of $75 owing and the garage owner was keen to be rid of it.  Not for me I said I have the Singer and do not need another project. 

When I reported the conversation to my brother Donald, he informed me that Dad’s Business partner George had had one, it was a supercharged six-cylinder, and went like the clappers, just the bee knees. 

Quite the go for a dashing Rake about town, what!  Pooh! yet another bad decision by a young lad with a miss directed passion for his ideal car. 

Today Aero coupes are very rare and well sought after worldwide Photo from the internet.

Yes, some would say a Scatterbrain with no forward vision, well no real money to spend, little knowledge of the classic car market and nowhere to put any projects. But let’s not stop there just yet…

Who said “MGA Twin Cam” hey that not fare, not yet anyway!

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