24/10/2018 - Once upon a time

I want to tell you a story...
In this section of our site, members will share their stories, anecdotes and happenings in their lives with their Classics.

Check back soon for new items.

Square Wheels Lodge No.9966

29/10/2018 - my little friend

Well once upon a time a little lad travelled Europe each summer in his Dad's Bedford motor caravan
That little lad fell in love (and still is) with just three cars a Lamborghini 400GT, Citroen DS and Fiat 500
Well just over 30 years ago an ambition was fulfilled (no sadly not the Lambo) and he bought a scruffy but very sound 1970 500F (the rubber mats and bakelite steering wheel version)

Turns out the car had just 2 owners and a documented mileage even now of 37500 miles. She has been bare metal sprayed in original Ferrari(yes really!) dark blue and the engine rebuilt to produce twice the original 18bhp
The lad loves his car but spends much time telling his daughter she can't own it yet
It's fun frugal and the ladies love it
Oh the lad's name that's me Peter Hughes

27/11/2018 - A very fine and well travelled Healey

Austin Healey 3000 Mk3
Car was first registered on 08.05.1967 and acquired by me, on 11.10.2002 for £20k
Having travelled to various part of the country looking for a decent Healey at the ‘right price’, the car was spotted for sale under ‘One to Buy’ in Classic & Sports Car Magazine.
A drive over the Chilterns, was enough for me to leave a deposit and head back home, very excited in the knowledge, that I’d bought a car that whilst not perfect, would over a period of time, be brought up to a standard.
Fortunately I have two excellent companies, within about ten miles who deal exclusively with Healey parts. There is literally nothing I can’t buy over the shelf, from body panels to the smallest screw. Also, there are excellent ex Healey staff with good product knowledge to work on the car as and where required.
So, whilst a decent runner, the car fell way short of what I ultimately wanted. i.e. an English classic drop head sports car but with subtle mods, to enable it to keep up with the modern flow of traffic and to take me to where I wanted reliably.
So, to the restoration began.
I gave the engine rebuild to a guy I knew well and had every confidence in, before the engine rebuild, the car was converted to run on lead free fuel and the cylinder head given a stage two tune with polished ports.
When the engine was eventually rebuilt, it was kept pretty standard, except for high compression pistons. The two SU carbs remained standard, as the car was only intended ultimately, for reliable touring.
So, the engine having been totally rebuilt, with balanced crankshaft, the next items in line for overhaul were gearbox and overdrive unit. These were both fully sorted by a former Healey engineer.
A trip to Tours one summer proved a bit of an issue. The engine was overheating and with the inevitable heat transfer from the three litre motor and gear box into the cabin, life became pretty well unbearable.

Geoff Insley’s company, Clayton Classic’s, Coventry, who was with us on that trip, sorted out both the overheating and cabin discomfort. Being stationary in traffic, with outside air temps approaching 40+C and being hardly able to breathe,it needed something radical doing. So, Clayton’s had the car in their workshops during the winter period and cleverly fitted a bespoke air con unit, specifically designed for my car. This pattern, was then used to adapt other long suffering Healy drivers, with the benefit of air conditioning.
I can hear the purists crying out ‘WHAT’ but believe me, either stationary or just cruising along, that flow of cool air over legs and face is a life saver.
Equally in the winter, and this car is used all year round so long as there’s no salt, a nice flow of warm air and on the odd occasion when the hood might be up, mist free windows.
The engine cooling problem has been fully sorted, with a slightly wider radiator, five blade fan, an auxiliary thermostatically controlled fan and header tank. Oil pressure and temperature, has been helped by the fitting of an oil cooler. This has proved a great aid when, as is inevitably the case, stretches of motorway need to be navigated at a sensible cruising speed.
So, on to other refinements, electronic ignition, alternator conversion, 19mm roll bar, new fuel tank, fuel pump and fuel gauge. Even when new, the fuel gauge was not the most reliable. The only way to guarantee how much is genuinely in the tank is to use an old fashioned dipstick as a backup.
The rear suspension has been lowered 25mm. Full harness seat belts are anchored from a 25mm square bar located just behind the front seats. There was a spin off to this, as somehow, the car seems far more rigid now enhancing its cornering performance.
The trim was always in decent condition with the leather seats, which were an option when new, just starting to wear in nicely.
It proved more cost effective to renew bumpers and over riders rather than have the originals re chromed This was also the case for the radiator grille and surround.
New 72 spoke chrome wire wheels, replaced the original grey painted ones and the tyre size increased to 185HR15 Universals, with red lines. The car stands much better now, giving extra ground clearance for the stainless side exit exhaust system.
A full body respray and general tidy up following the fitting of an aluminium, louvered bonnet, has brought the car to where it is today. I just have a thing about louvered bonnets!
Yes, there’s always things to do and money to spend on our pride and joy but for the moment, so far as major items are concerned, this car will stay as it is. Totally non-standard, but extremely reliable for modern motoring use, which suits me fine.

Doug Squires
26th November 2018.

07/12/2018 - A lovely useable classic and a prize winner

MGB Mk 111 Roadster built in 1973 registered 1974.

After 42 years in the Fire service on my retirement a couple of years ago I decided to invest some time and effort and the obvious expense any classic car demands in obtaining a locally built classic car to ensure I had something to do in my soon to be quiet life! …( anyone who is retired will know that there is irony in that statement) anyway, its here that my second love affair commenced , you may guess the first one (excluding the obvious wife and kids stuff) ….
Having made the decision on what I wanted or more appropriately could afford! I started the task of finding the right car at the right price. having put out the word that I was in the market for an MGB roadster I was surprised to be contacted by an enthusiast who was at the very later stages of a restoration of an Mk 3 MGB Roadster and that he may well be willing to sell this to the "right buyer “. I was even more surprised that the vendor lived less than a mile away from me !.. so the negotiation began … and at the end of this two month task he had tears in his eyes and I had a big silly grin on my face that only an excellent classic car purchase can bring.
I have now owned my "B" since 2016, and spent some time detailing the car which was in superb condition having undergone an 10 year rolling restoration by the PO. What was impressive was the car has only travelled 4000 miles in the last 25 years! I also have a heritage certificate indicating that the engine and drive train etc. are original. The car has most of the now excepted upgrades to make the car more drivable, electronic ignition, drilled and slotted front brakes, telescopic suspension and some interior upgrades such as leather upholstery and walnut dash being the most obvious.

The technical bit is possibly quite well known by most classic car enthusiasts but for those who are not familiar the MGB Mk 3 car was an Abingdon/Oxford made car and is Teal blue, it has a 1800 cc "B" series 5 bearing 4 cylinder engine with a Laycock Overdrive fitted , on a 4 speed fully synchromesh gearbox, producing 95 bhp at 5500rpm and a top seed exceeding 100 mph. the car comes in a number of variants the roadster, the coupe GT and a V8. The car was produced from 1962 to 1980 and sold around 1/2 a million cars
I was fortunate to win a number of local car shows with the car last year, including at the largest MG gathering in the UK the " MG live" at Silverstone where it was judged as best MGB roadster, best MGB and best MG in show in their Pride of Ownership competition. The car, although not considered a high end pedigree car is without doubt one of the best known British classic cars, and has a terrific following.
The picture shows the car displayed at practical classic and restoration car show at the NEC in March this year and also on our own Square wheel club stand

David Laidlaw oxfordshire


AC 3000ME
Picture the scene…….. It is 1973, I am 14 and things are dropping with me, including my voice. On my bedroom wall is a picture of Mary Millington (ask your Dad about her) and also the brand-new sales brochure for the AC 3000ME. I’m in awe of them both… and could not afford either.
But dreams are dreams and this car has always been one of my dream cars to own.
First revealed in 1973 but did not actually go on sale until 1979. It was based on a design developed by Lola engineers Peter Bohanna and Robin Stables and features a monocoque perimeter steel chassis with a substantial bolt-on front and rear subframe, a double bulkhead structure, an internal roll-over bar and additional steel beams inside the doors. With lightweight GRP bodywork, chunky Wolfrace 7 x 14 alloys and an aggressive wedge styling the mid mounted Ford 3 - Litre V6 mated to a 5-speed Hewland gearbox gave it a 0 - 60 of 8.5 seconds and a top speed in excess of 120mph ……. and a lovely soundtrack from the twin stainless steel exhausts.
Ride and handling is excellent thanks to precise rack-and-pinion steering, all-round disc brakes and four wheel independent suspension with anti-squat and anti-dive geometry. It was set to be a winner but sadly this was not to be. The combination of a worldwide recession and the poor health of the company owner Derek Hurlock meant that AC went bust in 1985 after just 106 examples had been made.

First registered in May 1986, this Cherry Red AC 3000(cc) ME (mid-engine) is chassis number 210 which makes it the third from last car built (Chassis numbers ran from 104 to 212 but 105 and 107 were never used). I am the third owner; the first owner having kept the car until 2011 (3,760 miles).
The mileage is an incredible 4,333 (June 2018) and very slowly creeping up this summer but is and has always been, part of a private collection. Originally supplied by B&H Motors of Whetstone, London N20, the car retains the original dealer sticker in the rear window and dealer-monogrammed number plates.
The car is a ‘time capsule’ for many reasons not least for its originality but in its rarity by showing the designs and aspirations of a few brave individuals back in the early 1970’s.
Evidence would suggest this car had never been driven in the rain up until my purchase. My good luck no doubt, it still hasn’t seen rain but as I love to drive it, I am sure it will one day. Period features include the original Radiomobile radio with electric aerial...how posh back then! sunroof storage bag, tool roll and wheel changing kit.
I knew of the AC 3000 ME as many will, but they are rarely seen, and this is perhaps the most original and lowest mileage example you could ever hope to find and I consider myself a very lucky custodian.
Did I make the right decision?
Anorak facts:
AC Cars Ltd. formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd., is a British specialist automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest surviving independent car makers founded in Britain. The name still exists and owned by Alan Lubinsky. In 2012 General Sir Jeremy Mackenzie GCB OBE took over as CEO. He can also boast the following accolades; Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Bath, has been awarded the American Legion of Merit twice, the Czech Republic’s Cross of Merit First Class, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary and the Order of Madara Horseman First Class of Bulgaria. I pity the person responsible for the lettering on his office door. Will there be another AC in the future? Sir Jeremy certainly hopes so.

Jonothan Smith.

25/02/2019 - Grace Pace and Style

The car was first purchased by a single lady from Jaguar dealers Henlys of London, she eventually moved to Cornwall and the car subsequently sat in a garage unused for 25 years.

I have been looking for an E type restoration project for a number of years, however I only wanted a Roadster as I feel the joy of driving an E type is with the roof down. Also it had to be an original UK RHD car with matching numbers. It was by chance through a conversation with a person who knew of the E type and it might be for sale.

When I purchased the car I intended to do a full “Nut and Bolt” restoration whilst retaining the originality of the car, the engine was a non runner therefore I collected the car on a trailer. It took me approximately 6 weeks to fully dismantle the entire car, photograph, label and box all components. The body shell was put into a “Rotisserie” and sent for media blasting, this exposed some rust but only the rear wheel arches needed replacing. The car was repainted in the exact original shade of Old English White and lacquered.
All of the Chrome trim was re-plated by a specialist company, and all other brackets and fixing were acid dipped and re-plated. Owing to the age of the car all nuts and bolts were either UNF or UNC, every nut and bolt was replaced with new.

he engine was overhauled and where necessary, components replaced with new. The aluminium components were Vapour Blasted to restore the surface finish, the four Carburettors were stripped and rebuilt with Stromberg overhaul kits. The starter motor, Alternator and water pump renewed, steering pump and steering rack overhauled.
The entire braking system overhauled/renewed, including disk’s. Calliper seals, all pipes, Reservoirs, Servo and master cylinder.

The rear IRS unit was stripped, overhauled and repainted. Front and rear hub wheel bearings and seals replaced with new.

The wiring looms were replaced with new looms purchased from Autosparks and interior trim and seats replaced by BAS international.

During 2018 we attended a few classic car shows around the Plymouth area and have been delighted to win a number of prizes including best Jaguar 1962-1974 sports car at the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club show also Best Jaguar and Best in Show perpetual shield at the Mount Edgecumbe classic car show.

19/05/2019 - A willing helper!!!

One of our members Anthony McGarel Groves was recently able to help with the LifeLites appeal with the Province of Berkshire and is pictured with his beloved Alvis Queenie. Well done Anthony and thank you !

17/02/2020 - help for multiple sclerocis

Peter Manning, APGM, was delighted to present a cheque in the sum of £1000 to Paul Hampton, Fundraising Officer and Events Organiser for the Leamington/Warwick Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. This was from money raised during his year as Primus Master of the Square Wheels Lodge No 9966.

Also pictured is Lottie Campion who is in the early stages of MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that affects your brain and spinal cord. In MS, the coating that protects your nerves (myelin) is damaged. This causes a range of symptoms like blurred vision and problems with how we move think and feel. More than 130,000 people in the UK have MS. In the UK people are most likely to find out they have MS in their thirties, forties and fifties. But the first signs of MS often start years earlier.

22/02/2020 - An MG called ruby

Ruby is a 1951 MGTD, and is an original Right Hand Drive car; the vast majority were LHD and destined for the North American market.
I acquired her in 2018 from a dealer at Bicester Heritage Centre and within a few days decided to give her a shakedown run to the Classic Motor Hub at Bibury, a round trip of some 80 odd miles!
I was accompanied by my very good friend and all round Engineer, Alan East-Jones and all began well as we set off in the company of some exotic cars; Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari etc and sometime after leaving Morton in Marsh Ruby (as christened by my Grandchildren) decided she had had enough!
We lost traction going up one of the lovely Cotswolds hills accompanied by the distinctive aroma of burning friction material!! We limped along to Bibury at a not very graceful pace, and once we were parked up Ruby coughed out a great dollop of engine oil onto the lovely clean concrete!!
The return journey was less exciting; all having cooled down, we took it easy and had a “rest stop” in Morton in Marsh at a local hostelry to ensure things stayed cool.
A new clutch later and all has gone well since; day trips to various local events throughout the year, including New Year’s day run to Stony Stratford and several visit to my family in Derbyshire proved to me how pleasant this car was to drive.

We had a minor hiccup on the way to one of these local events, when Ruby first shed her Carburettor float needle valve resulting in a jet of neat fuel being ejected out of the side of the engine bay!! This was quickly sorted and we joined the rest of the gang and were enjoying a picnic when a stranger enquired as to whether or not fuel should be leaking from the main fuel feed pipe!
Good old metal fatigue had fractured the pipe just above a coupling! – a quick “stick your finger over this please” followed by the donation of some rubber fuel pipe cut from Ivor Hallam’s Land Rover saved the day! (Thanks again Ivor)
Since her early mishaps Ruby has behaved so much better and we have covered several hundred miles with little hassle.
I have made a few cosmetic improvements and recently had a fast road engine and five speed box fitted to make long distance cruising lees stressful for both engine and owner; the rebuilt engine is still being run in but the prospects look extremely promising.
I have currently removed the windscreen assembly which is being totally rebuilt as it was a bit weary and tatty and, as I also discovered, a mix of MGTC and MGTD parts!
All in all, a great car to own and drive; I am looking forward to next chapter in the sage of a MG called Ruby

24/10/2021 - members at large

Member Bruce manning was out Visiting Kentmere Lodge in Dartford the Kent motoring Lodge on Saturday representing 9966, the Northampton motoring lodge were there as were the due to be set up in Nov. Brighton car Lodge