Car of the Month
Owners name: Mike Grimes
Owners location: Merseyside, GB
Model: GAN3 Mk2 w/up windows 64 - 66
Engine size/type: 1098cc A Series
Year of manufacture: 1966
Colour: Riviera Blue
How long owned: A Year or so
History of Car and any work or modifications carried out: The car was a showroom model which I saw when I went in to gaze in awe at a new E type Jaguar. It was probably one of the last Mk 11 models built in 1966 but had not been registered when I bought it IN 1967 from Suttons Garage, St Helens, Lancs for around £630 including Purchase Tax! I cannot recall which colour blue it was. Suttons ran a BMC garage but were mainly a road transport company who were involved with a long running strike in the 1970’s. They are now an international road tanker transport group.
The car had the following Factory fitted extras: Heater, Anti-roll Bar, Headlamp Flasher & Tonneau Cover. I carried out a few other modifications to the car myself as follows: Ashley Hard Top, Les Leston streemlined alloy wing mirrors, Aluminium intake trumpets to SU’s, Notek Blue Spot Light for reversing, Twin front Spot Lights, Full Soundproofing Kit (bonnet, cockpit & boot) and Dunlop SP41 Tyres replaced at about 10,000 miles with Goodyear G800’s.
I think I did about 12,000 miles in the car. There were a number of typical BMC penny pinching design faults eg a single metal hanger welded to the centre of the silencer. This very quickly fractured from vibration and road conditions. The Les Leston wing mirrors looked great but suffered from mirror vibration and due to fitting them on the wings the field of vision was extremely small. When the SP tyres were worn down I went for the Goodyear G800’s . They transformed the steering as they were much more grippy but also made the handling very sensitive.
The soundproofing kit worked very well and made it much quieter on long journeys and reduced the heat loss in winter. The original vinyl hood was a pale grey or blue and the stitching started to perish. I had also laid the hood on top of the spare wheel for one journey but then found it was discoloured by rubber staining from the spare wheel. I complained and was asked to take the hood to Watsons in Liverpool as they were the main dealers and would get it examined by BMC. To do this I had ordered the Ashley Hardtop and went down to the factory in Bishops Stortford to have it fitted. At the same time I took the bumpers off. However in 1968 I secured a job overseas and my father went back to Watsons with the car and traded it in against a new Mini.
After returning to UK in 1972 l have had a range of interesting cars – eg 1969 Daimler V250, Porsche 944 and Porsche 944 S2, Saab 9000 2.3 CDS turbo. In 2003 I bought a 1972 TR6 which is our main leisure car (along with a 1982 TR7V8 and a 2001 Mercedes SL320). I have never bought a new sports car since the Midget. The TR6 has been to Le Mans (3 times) Classic Days at Magny Cours and Laon Historique.
Nickname of car: None