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Homepage. This page: Rodger's memories of owning a tuned ZB Magnette, a car he re-discovered on this site.

Owning a tuned MG Magnette.

Rodger contacted me with his memories of owning a ZB Magnette that received a number of tuning "mods" over the years.
Rodger's ZB Magnette
Firstly may I congratulate you on a fantastic site. So good I think all new PCs should come with it pre-loaded instead of half the usual stuff. Now for my story, being a 65 year old panel beater/garage owner.
About 1968-9 I bought an MG ZB Varitone Magnette, in Twilight/Birch Grey two tone. TWX 325, I cherished this car as it was my "courting" car. At that time I was a panel beater at Mayfield Garage, Halifax. Whilst there I did a lot of work on "Jezzebell" as she was known. I fitted a Marina 1.8 TC engine with high lift cam, big dome pistons, skimmed head and block, to eradicate some small damage to the top of block. A lot of oil pick-up pipe and oil bath work was needed, being told it was an impossible job by my mechanics at the time. Following the engine's rebuild we noticed that the pistons touched the bottom of the head, so we had to fit two gaskets. No comment please !
The car when back on the road was so quick, I fitted an overdrive to "up" the top speed to around 120 mph.
Next the suspension, being a mere body man I thought it was easier to just put shorter tougher springs on the car. These were modified by Carters of Queensbury nr Bradford. So now I had a car, unique, it was fast with a good top speed and it stuck to the road like stuff to a blanket, with Pirelli Cinturatos all round. Yet I kept her looking standard, apart from the steel sun visor over the screen. Many miles later, in 1973, I got married. I drove my own car to church, with my brother as best man.
After the ceremony and during photos I noticed a man walking round my car. He told me I had overtaken him a week before on the M1 and he was clocking 80mph and apparently he was impressed. It was sheer coincidence he saw my car outside the church. He made me a ridiculous offer which I accepted, going back for more photos with a pocket full of notes. A year passed and I saw "my" MG in a field corner in Dewsbury. Going back two weeks later it was still there so I asked around, eventually finding out the owner had won on the Pools, so he bought a new Mercedes and laid the MG up. My wife bought it back for me as a 1st anniversary present for 25.
Unfortunately TWX 325 was untouched for many years, parked under a tree on my land and it fell apart and collapsed in heaps of rust and scale. I took off the doors and the screens, axles, dashboard and the engine/gearbox unit. The bodyshell, sorry, bootlid, bonnet and roof panels were salvaged but were very sad and rusty. Even the bumpers and overriders fell into piles of rust with no saveable brightwork at all.
I put all this stuff onto pallets in a shed where it stayed for a few years until I saw an identical car in a farmyard near Bacup in Lancashire. This "farm find" had been on fire and had no wheels, the dashboard was burned away, plus some engine bay damage, I asked the farmer if he would sell it to me as spares, he agreed but with no log book due to it having a private reg. number. It was delivered on a truck with a hiab crane while I was away at work and the truck driver opened the 4 doors and passed a sling through the car, therefore he just picked it up by the roof, which folded it badly at both sides.
It was my intention to cut the roof off and make it into a convertible, but married life got in the way, so I sold the whole lot and even the old logbook for TWX 325 went with it all. Any remaining bits of the original shell are now buried on my land in Halifax, along with the number plates for whoever should dig them up in years to come.
How refreshing it was a while back to see the outcome of my convertible idea, carried out by a company near Sheffield, I think a place called Wales Motors (South Yorkshire) or similar. Many months of work paid off as the end product is a very very attractive car. I use your photo [link] as a desktop wallpaper. I had begged an old soft top roof from a Rover 216 sitting in a scrapyard which I was going to adapt. It is a shame the car has no roof at all, but I would like to see it for real, and maybe ask if it is for sale. I have a home in Florida and a modern Chrysler Sebring (convertible of course ) so TWX 325 would be superb in Florida (don't tell my wife). I live in Bradford, West Yorks.
Thanks for sending your MG Magnette story over Rodger, much appreciated. If anyone knows of the car, and if it's for sale, then please drop me a line and I'll forward the details to Rodger.
Visit the motoring memories pages for similar owners' stories. Period photos of ZA/ZB Magnettes can be found on this page of the site.

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