DRIVERS – Peter and Paula

Having committed, in September 2015 to go on the Silk Road 2017 trip, the search immediately began to source a suitable trip car. MG of course and a GT as the preferred vehicle of choice.

At the time, there were not many GTs available (always the case when you want something specific -relatively quickly) and of course other fellow trip makers were also looking. In October 2015, we found our car at Avoca in New South Wales. We had to rely on our friend Ian McCrae, a local Magistrate to check it out for us and he went and visited long time Rally enthusiast David Johnson who had a car for sale. David sent pictures and the car looked good and Ian gave the thumbs up. In early December I flew to Sydney and stayed the weekend with Ian and drove out to complete the purchase on 3 December 2015 before driving the car back to Melbourne.

Although the car was in fairly good condition, Mike Herlihy recommended a complete and thorough overhaul to make it trip ready (approx. 25,000+kms ready) – an exercise which in itself would take a good twelve months.

The car by now christened Shamrock was registered on Club Plates in Victoria and the work began in earnest in January 2016.

Out came the engine and gearbox, radiator, suspension, brakes, exhaust, you name it and it was refurbished or replaced or upgraded. Just like the axe, two new
handles, and three new axe heads but it’s still the same axe. Fortunately, the body was totally sound, it came with all the right bits so we had the basis of a good, sound car. The radiator was re-cored, the suspension including springs were re-tensioned or replaced, new shockers and brake linings were all upgraded. The underside of the car was rust and soundproofed and a sump guard fitted.

The engine was completely rebuilt by Ben Connolly and the gear box re-furbished by Slim. Whilst all this was all going on fellow travellers, Mike, Henk and David all assisted in ensuring the car was made trip worthy. Sean Herlihy helped by manufacturing hard to get bits and pieces and Neil Hopwood lent his expertise to ensure the project went along well. Thursday nights became car build nights with the various helpers assembling for a working bee on the car and others to ensure the re-build ran smoothly.

Internally changes were made. The rear seats were removed to be replaced by a storage unit built by Henk’s son Jan. the front seats came out and the seats from my V8 went in their place as they had been re-built and had head rests. To these seats were added quality sheep skin covers – additional storage areas were also added. A new radio, CB system, Sat Nav and camera systems, bottle cooler, and plugs to run all sorts of computers, iPads, iPhone and the like were included.

Mike re-wired the car, the re-built engine was re-installed as was the gear box and all the other modifications, rectifications and innovations to make this a very comfortable and user friendly G.T.

John Makham then put on G.T. stripes in yellow with Shamrock on the sides which stood out on the British Racing green paint work. The car was almost complete.

A shakedown trip to Wagga Wagga and beyond was undertaken to meet up with other Silk Roaders at the Gathering of the Faithful in September. The purpose of this trip was to identify potential problems. Out came the radiator for a re welding, wiring was re-checked and the car was sent to Ian Edgar’s for five new tyres.

Decals arrived detailing the trip route and identifying our Australian vehicles and there were affixed, then the car was gone over with a fine-tooth comb and last minute adjustments were made. Shamrock was ready to go into the containers along with seven other MGs – five G.T.s and three Roadsters.

On 17 February 2017, the cars were loaded into the containers and two days later were picked up and sent on their way to Bangkok.

So, commences the next chapter of what will no doubt prove to be a great adventure – the Silk Road and Beyond.