Octagon Newsletter … May 2001
By Wayne Watkins
Over the years we have seen many members’ MGs and other British cars. How long have they owned their car? Did they have another MG before this one? What got them interested in the first place?
This month we are going to look at a number of British cars that Malcolm Ives has owned. Not all of them, because he has owned seventy vehicles to date! Malcolm’s first car was a 1929 Austin Nippy (Seven) which he bought for 12 pounds, 50 p. The owner would not sell Malcolm the Austin unless he agreed to take the accompanying parts … 2 axles, 3 gearboxes and 2 engines. As we would have guessed the deal was made. The engine in the car gave up the ghost on the way to work. He came home from work and worked until midnight putting in one of the replacement engines out on the street using a trouble light. The next morning he drove it to work uneventfully.
One thing we didn’t know about Malcolm is that he may be a bit of a closet street rodder because his next car was a 1937 40/50 Rolls Royce with a Lincoln straight-8 engine. His mother made him park it down the street as it was what was then called a "hearse following car". Mom did not want a hearse parked outside their home. He then traded the Rolls for a 1935 4 ˝ litre Bentley Sports Sedan. It had a lever between the seats to divert the exhaust from the muffler to a straight pipe so he could blast through sleepy English villages and wake everyone up!
His next car was a 1949 MG TC, which was in perfect condition when he bought it from an accountant for 20 pounds. Well, it was almost in perfect condition, except for the fact the accountant had run it into the back of a bus. The car was fixed, but Malcolm discovered why it had not been able to stop from hitting the bus … the brake shoes were down to the rivets. Like the other cars he bought, this one also had a current road fund license (road tax). He would buy cars with a current road tax license and sell them before the license ran out.
He also bought a 1951 Austin A40 van and took a young lady out on a date in the van. As the story goes, she agreed to go to some place with Malcolm ''to look at the view". Unfortunately the Austin got hopelessly stuck in the mud and it took the rest of the night to try to get unstuck. She couldn’t drive so Malcolm had to dig and drive, which did not work very well. He finally got word to a friend who borrowed the family Land Rover to pull him out, but regrettably the Land Rover was damaged after it slid sideways into the trees. He got her home, both covered in mud, at 1:30 a.m. He never saw her again.
Malcolm’s first British car in Canada was a Jaguar 3.8 Mk II, which was fitting as he was now a mechanic in the Jag store in Winnipeg. He remembers this very well, as he was doing 100 miles per hour (not sissy kilometres according to Malcolm), with a semi trailer truck on his tail blipping the throttle. This was his first experience driving on the Trans-Canada Highway. Many Jags and Land Rovers later, you can now see Malcolm and Sheila cruising in their 1969 E Type Jag 2+2 automatic. He bought it from a very senior gentleman who did not want his Jag to eventually go to his nephews, who knew little about cars let alone an E-Type with 40,000 miles on the clock.
Other cars in progress include a ’74 MGB, for Sheila, which he picked up on a Victoria MG Club garage tour/run. There are plans to drop in a 4 cylinder B21FT Volvo turbo and Sheila says the finish will be the colour purple. He also has a 1969 Jag E-Type 2+2 4-speed in progress which is totally disassembled and is for sale (still). The daily driver will eventually be the 1987 Jag XJ40 he is working on, so the 2+2 presently on the road will be for pleasure only.
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