One day in 1966 Richard Pignatello walked into an Austin Healey dealership in New Jersey and drove out in a new British Racing Green Phase 2 Healey BJ8. About 20 years later he freshened it up a bit with a dark blue paint job, and in the spring of 2002 he delivered it into our hands for a complete rebuild.
Richard had an idea for a new color which he described to us as “Ferrari Fly Yellow”, but when it came back from paint the first words out of my mouth were “Taxi-Cab !”. We rebuilt it from stem to stern and Richard’s done his best to drive the wheels off it in the intervening ten years, but he’s kept it up and it’s still a tight, accurate and powerful car, which is the way we always do it.
Richard just sold his house in Warren and is moving to Florida. Goodbye Piggy !
The drivetrain in my MGB has been getting pretty howly-growly this spring, no surprise, I’ve put 150,000 miles on top of whatever was on it before. At the 70,0000 miles service (2nd time around) all was well, but at 72,500 miles the left rear brake assembly was of the oil bath variety. I flagged this for attention over the weekend, and last Saturday when I stripped off the rear hub it was obvious that the rear oil seal was making its escape. A little further
investigation revealed the near complete failure of the rear wheel bearing. In the second picture you can see that although the balls are still in the races the cages that separate them have almost completely collapsed. I cleaned the swarf out of the axle tube and found a used MG TD rear wheel bearing (Ayuh, they’re the same) and reverse-sequenced the procedure.
Here are your two take-aways: First, like windshield wipers, this kind of deterioration is progressive and a 3rd party look-over every so often is a useful check & balance. Second: BMC rear axles bearings are lubricated by the gear oil. Jaguar, Triumph and some others like Morgan are packed with grease. These need to be stripped, cleaned and repacked every 50,000 miles or 25 years or so. Saves a lot of unscheduled downtime.
Scavanger Hunt: We are decamping en masse to the Berkshire British Motorcar Festival this weekend. All of us (except 2nd Lt. Warner Clark) will be there and we are challenging you to find us. Stop by the Sports Car Services/ East Coast Collision & Restoration tent Saturday and pick up a poster-sized copy of our program ad. Then go out and track us down. The first ten people who collect five signatues on their poster will receive (yeah, you guessed it) an oil filter of their choice, post paid. Thanks to Larry Adams in Barre, Massachusetts who saw a poster where I didn’t. A special thanks to Peter Bayer at Nisonger Instrument who turned around the tachometer for my recently Pertronix converted E-type V12 in time for the Berkshire show this weekend.
Our summer intern Ian Levine started this week. Cor’ Blimey, this young man is a hard worker