Tired tyre lets the side down
1977 MG MIDGET 1500
MGLive! and I have history. I made it there in the Midget on my first visit, but the weather was lousy. The weather was much better for the event a couple of years later, but the Midget decided to lunch its starter motor before I’d even left home.
I approached MGLive! 2017, then, with some trepidation. What would spoil the party this year – the weather, or the MG? Not the weather, certainly. I rendezvoused with editor Simister and the £500 Challenge MG ZR under azure skies, blazing sunshine and temperatures in the high 20s.
The hour or so’s drive from Peterborough to Silverstone was heavenly and the Midget even survived the long, hot queue into the circuit without getting its knickers in a twist.
Brimming with confidence, I parked it up among its historical siblings with a twinge of pride, bravely leaving the hood down before Mr S and I went off in search of the media centre, sunblock and some cold water.
Seven hours later, after a day spent mostly trackside snapping noisy MGB racers, I strolled back to PCB, ready for the drive home. At which point things started to go a bit pear-shaped.
It started just fine and we hit the road in optimistic mood. Bizarrely, though, far from the weather cooling as the evening wore on, the temperatures actually seemed to be climbing. Yet the old boy just kept on going, and I was starting to think that the journey back home would be a gentle breeze.
Then, the back of the car suddenly jinked violently to the right while I was exiting a nadgery roundabout a few miles from home. Heart pounding, I nursed it to the first layby I could find and climbed out, fearing the worst.
It didn’t take long to spot the flat offside rear tyre, but what had caused it to deflate so suddenly? The nice chap from the AA who came to my rescue provided the answer – the sidewall had a hairline crack in it that wasn’t invisible unless the surrounding rubber was pinched. In short, the rubber had degraded, and the extreme temperatures of the day had probably finished it off for good.
I felt positively sick when I thought about all the exuberant cornering I’d enjoyed earlier in the day, not knowing that there was a veritable ticking timebomb sitting inches from my backside.
I’m getting the other three checked – I’ve a horrible feeling I’m going to need to replace the lot.
’Exiting a nadgery roundabout, the back suddenly jinked violently to the right’
PCB gets comfy in the Midgetonly parking area at Silverstone. Can you see the hairline crack? Neither could Mike.
Little-known classic car fact #462: MG Midgets cast a Batman-like shadow in strong sunlight.
Spare sits on a crusty RoStyle wheel. Bonnet’s open to keep the engine cool.