I was approached by John Watson and asked if I would drive the Marathon ‘B’ to Brooklands for the MG Era Day. He briefed me by saying ‘if its wet don’t brake too hard as the front will lock up, if the water temp gauge reads high ignore it, the speedo and rev counter are very optimistic but otherwise all is good’. So it was with some apprehension that I agreed. Having owned several ‘B’s and a ‘V8’ over the years, they are not new to me. But after a cursory look under the dash where I saw a spaghetti like mash of wires and with the thoughts of what john had told me did not fill me with confidence.
I decided to play it safe and took with me a small tool kit, spare plugs, and bottles of water, rolls of Gaffer / insulating tape and a can of oil. The day loomed and early on the morning of the show I gingerly pulled the B out of the Clubs John Thornley suite. The noise in the car is what I imagine the inside of a jet engine sounds like, so was pleased I took some ear plugs with me.
I pulled out onto the main road and was immediately impressed on how the car felt. I thought it would need a heavy hand to control, but it was positive and responded extremely well. Within ten minutes I felt at home and my confidence had grown so much that I suddenly realised I was actually enjoying driving it. One thing you have to be careful of on the motorway is people driving alongside you eyeballing the car. I went to overtake a slower moving car and just noticed at the last minute a car in my blind spot with the occupants all staring at the car. I wonder why? Only two issues concerned me on the drive to the show. Firstly the sun was very low in the sky and with no sun visor I had to hold my hand up to shield my eyes to able to see the road ahead. The other problem was fumes inside the car. John had told me the tappet cover gasket was leaking oil onto the exhaust which was causing the fumes. This was easily overcome by opening the window.
The journey was uneventful with the car running really well and not missing a beat. On arrival at Brooklands I was met at the gate by a security guard who asked me if I was there for the MG show. I said maybe the car was a giveaway but he was not amused and reluctantly let me in telling me I had arrived too early. I parked the car in the area reserved for ex competition cars and have to say that during the day it was the B that attracted the most attention.
On the return trip the car again ran faultlessly and with the car safely tucked up in Kimber House I could reflect on a very enjoyable day.