The Well Trained Ear

Longtime British car owners have evolved the ability to hear at a very special frequency. The medical name for this ability is long and hard to pronounce, so for the sake of conversation we will simply refer to it as “parts falling off.” The uninitiated might easily think a small stone has been kicked up by a tire and thrown against a wheel arch, but experienced owners will recognize the difference. They can instantly recognize that metal-strikes-metal sound and will quickly glance in the rear view mirror.

While exiting the freeway on my way to work the other day, I heard that sound. Glancing up at the mirror, I caught what looked like a nut and a washer. When the “parts falling off” sound is accompanied by the “parts seen bouncing down roadway in the mirror” look, the unconscious mind makes a snap judgment regarding just how badly that bit is needed. I see a few nodding heads in the audience. Been there, done that, eh?

The washer appeared to be both fairly large and shiny. A large, shiny washer most likely would have originated from that prototype TR4 rear tube shock conversion kit I was trying. Moments later my theory was validated by a new and satisfying clunk from the rear end. “Satisfying” in this instance refers more to psychological affirmation of my superior powers of diagnosis—as opposed to being pleased about parts falling off.

I told you that story to set up this one about another new product from the Moss R&D team. A buddy of mine has just finished building a fresh motor for my TR4. For the first time in my life I’ll have a TR4 with four working cylinders, as opposed to the years I’ve spent driving TR2.8s and TR3.7s. We got our hands on an aluminum oil sump for the TR4, but it didn’t fit properly. This led to a discussion about designing a really cool aluminum sump, which our R&D group has now done…for the MGB.

Now, I know that an MGB sump won’t fit my TR4, but with a little input from Kent Prather, the multi-championship-winning SCCA legend, we think we’ve built a real winner. The die-cast MGB Super-Sump (so don’t give me that job naming stuff in the marketing department) incorporates extensive competition-inspired baffling around the oil pickup, a finned bottom for added cooling, and a slightly increased capacity. The oil pan’s casting is stronger than a stock stamped steel piece, so it provides additional stiffening to the bottom of the block as well. For competition, or serious street performance, we’ve also designed an optional windage tray. Your original dipstick will work fine with the new alloy pan.

Dear MGB owners, I really, really need you to please buy these great new oil pans, because how else will I justify asking R&D to make the TR3/4 oil pan I wanted in the first place?

All joking aside, between Purchasing and R&D, we have some terrific new pieces coming. They run the gamut from sourced products like the new Classic Gold brake pad sets, to some great new R&D projects like the MGB alloy sump. After testing this stuff on guinea pig cars like mine, we expect every new product to give years of service—and without ever falling off.

By Robert Goldman

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