The name MG almost universally brings to mind a two seat sports car. This is logical as literally tens of thousands of two seat MG sports cars were assembled in Abingdon from 1929 until production ceased in 1980. These nimble sports cars are certainly what built MG’s worldwide reputation as builder of what became the classic sports car. Lesser known is the fact that more than a few small sporting sedans and some very elegant four seat and four door saloons were also assembled at Abingdon. Our featured car here, the MG Y Type, referred to as YA after the introduction of its successor, the YB, is one of those. While not as sporting as the mini based MG 1100 or 1300, or as elegant as the prewar SA, VA or WA, this compact Y type saloon incorporates features of both its ancestors and its successors. Referred to as the “one and a quarter liter saloon” for its 1250cc engine, the Y Type, to quote the original factory announcement, …”is proudly offered to discriminating motorists, built to the high MG standard…it Maintains the Breed.”
Designed in the late 1930s, the Y type was built to the somewhat archaic R.A.C tax category of a “Ten”. This class of cars of roughly 1100 to 1300cc, with four seat, four door saloon bodies, were rapidly becoming a popular choice for the British motorist. The ”Ten” class had an entry from most major and some minor manufacturers. Austin, Riley, Morris, Ford, Standard, Hillman, and Vauxhall offered their own “Ten”. The original basic “Ten” market gradually began to move upmarket during the 1930s, resulting in a variety of better quality 10hp cars available. This was the market Nuffield was aiming at when it began development on what would become the Y-type. Intended to go into production in 1939 as a new model for 1940, the model was unfortunately on hold for another 8 years and the conflict swept through Europe and the world.
This particular Y-Type was owned and restored by Al Moss of Moss Motors back in the late 1970's, It was then owned and maintained by Skip Kelsey, another well known west coast MG T-type enthusiast. When we bought this car it was in very fine condition, no rust, all electrical systems including the trafficators, working fine. It was converted to wire wheels, the jury is still out on those. But the car needed a lot of the usual maintenance items, brake updating, cooling hoses, fan belt, suspension bushings, etc. It did have a Shorrock supercharger installed, and the decision was made to remove the supercharger and replace it with a pair of SU 1 1/4" carburetors. I think the supercharger was not really needed, and the installation made carburetor access rather difficult, and there was no way to fit even a small air cleaner on the carb. We won't be drag racing anyone in the Y.
So here we go from a fine running car to a completely inoperable one in just a few days work! Bonnet off, headlights off, radiator off, supercharger removed, and the triple pulley for the supercharger and the generator off too. Of course, now the fan, water pump, timing chain cover have to go too! The usual project creep!
Now as they say "installation is the reverse sequence to removal"!
To be continued.....
While we this far in, we needed to replace the exhaust/inlet manifold gasket. But of course you cannot remove the exhaust manifold without removing the down pipe as the manifold is blocked at the bottom by the steering column. So, the nuts holding the downpipe to the manifold need to come off, hopefully without breaking a stud. Of course, once the downpipe is dropped, the manifold still hits on the steering column, it can't back up enough to clear the mounting stud, so 3 of the 4 studs that hold the manifolds to the head need to come out! We will be at the back bumper pretty soon! With all that successfully removed, the exhaust manifold ccan be removed, new gasket installed and both intake and exhaust manifolds back on. Next we bolted on the two SU carbs. We had to rig up a throttle cable mounting bracket, the Y type uses a throttle cable, not the rod like a T Type. So we made a small bracket which conveniently mounts on the head stud to hold the cable, and a small bracket to attach a throttle return spring. Making progress on the carb install now. Just need to set up the choke cable mounting and it should be done, sure...
Timing chain cover and gasket back on, water pump, stabilizer bar, fan, and water outlet back in place. Carbs mounted and valve cover repainted.
Y-type is coming back together. Carburetors are on and choke linkage has been moved lower to work as it should. We had to fabricate a throttle return spring as the Y uses a accelerator cable, not a rod as the TD did. We installed a new TD valve cover, as we are going to use the original style oil bath TD air cleaner also.
Thermostat, water pump and radiator back in place. New polyurethane A-Arm bushings replaced the almost non-existent rubber ones. The dash had a vacuum gauge and a non-working water temperature gauge installed. A new water temp gauge is installed and the other hole filled with a Smiths clock. The Y has a clock in the bottom of the speedo, but it does not work currently and I needed to fill that second hole anyways! Good to have a working clock in a car.
For some reason, the oil pressure gauge was connected to the copper pipe with a hose clamp and a piece of rubber hose. Needless to say this caused just one more oil leak. This was obviously wrong, not sure why it was left that way, but we replaced it with a copper line right from the flex hose to the gauge. Next step is to get the car on the ground and get working on tuning the carbs. We started the car up today, first time since the supercharger was replaced by the dual carburetors. It fired right up and seems to run good, no leaks, good idle, good oil pressure with no oil leaking from the gauge. I need to get it on the road and see how it runs before any meddling with the carbs. A lot of little things yet to do, but real progress.