Bridget arrived safely into Southampton on the 21st March and Alan and I fetched her back to Abingdon. She started first time which after three months without running was very good. She appeared to drive well for the sixty mile journey.
I had arranged to take her first to Frontline Developments in Steventon to establish whether or not her body had been twisted when she was dropped. If so then the most probable remedy would be a new body shell. Alan noticed when following us back from the docks that she was ‘crabbing’, confirming what Bruce, in South Africa, told me. I wasn’t hopeful.
However, like a fretting father, I was worrying unnecessarily. Frontline pronounced that Bridget was one of the straighest Midgets they have checked for a long time. Her ‘castor angle’ is rather flat!! The castor angle is the angle, measured in degrees, formed between the axis of the kingpin and the perpendicular to the ground, looking at the vehicle from the side; I googled it. One effect of a positive castor angle is lack of steering return after cornering, this is something that Bridget has suffered from eversince I bought her. So the castor angle error may not have been caused on the African run.
They noticed the wear on the inside of the front tyres and checked the tracking, finding it considerable out. They corrected that, then jacked her up to check if there was any damage to her steering. The front off-side wheel moved around as if on a universal joint! The bearing has gone and probably the hub itself. The nearside front wheel also needs a new bearing. The steering rack ends need replacing. No other damage was found on the steering.
In addition to the forgoing, it was already established that Bridget would require a new windscreen, her plastic one having served its purpose. Also, a rear brake light needs replacing as well as one of her reversing lights and her handbrake needs to be repaired.
Next it was the turn of the body panel and paint specialists, Kennington Motors of Oxford. Having examined Bridget I was telling them how it would be nice for Bridget to keep her ‘battered appearance’ for a while so that some of the enthusiasts could see her with her battle scars. She will be on show at Kimber House until the end of March, then at Silverstone for MGLive 2012 and possibly one or two other events. Dave Cook, the owner of Kennington Motors, declared that it would be perfectly safe to leave Bridget in her current condition until later this year, then he would remove her seats and repair her floor panels. Bridget’s boot, that had over a litre of brake fluid leak into it, would have to be washed out and repainted and then she would have a complete body respray.
What has to be decided before then is what colour she should be? Remain the current ‘racing green’, return to her original black or go for Ferrari red with yellow detail. Nothing but problems! As long as she is ready for her next, and final, endurance run in 2013.
Now, I’d better prepare another order for Moss Europe.