Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline April 2017
 

MGA Guru Gone Mobile

MGA rear axel with a few useable parts in Greenback,Tennessee
Since last report I was collecting parts to fix my ailing differential. We had stopped off to visit a few shops in Knoxville. In Greenback Tennessee, I picked up a slightly rusty MGA 4.3:1 differential with matching halfshafts. The gears were rusty and not useable, but I needed the 10-spline sun gears and half shafts to renew my half million miles worn splines. We had a few packages shipped here as well, receiving some differential parts from Moss, a new heater blower motor from V.B., and a new pair of trailer tires from Tire Buyer very close in Tennessee (toss those in the trailer). On the way, out of town we stopped to visit Sports Car Parts LTD in Knoxville, TN (British car parts, but no service). Also, stopped to check out Knox Custom Chrome in Knoxville, TN, who happen to have a very good reputation for good quality chrome plating).

A small group at BMTA Convention in Charlotte, NC
Then we took a serious non-stop dash east to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the British Motor Trade Association convention (and signed up to be a BMTA member in the process). I will make lots of notes here, because it is an interesting 4-day conference which most of you will never attend. Something like a car show without the cars, but substituting the best and most experienced people in the business of servicing British cars and parts and rebuilding sub-assemblies of all sorts. Guy from Moss Motors gets a little ticked at me on occasion for reporting bad parts, but I usually tell them what they need to do to fix the problems, so all in all they generally like me. Most of the rest of the memberís present end up buying parts from Moss (and other parts vendors), having to deal with the same issues, so those folks are mostly in the same boat rowing along with me, and we get along just fine. It was a little easier environment than I had anticipated. First evening here was an evening informal dinner meeting at the home of John and Ann Jones, owners of Na'Da Dawg Racing, good for initial introductions and meeting new friends.

 
175-mph rolling road in 175-mph wind tunnel with car on top & mechanicals underneath.
Next morning, we had a visit to Streetside Classic Cars (Sales/Consignment) in Concord, NC. Imagine 250 classic cars in inventory, and 15% inventory turn-over per month (and there are a few more branches of this business in other cities). Then we were off to visit Windshear, Inc in Concord, NC. This is a (very expensive) wind tunnel testing facility with a "rolling road" (thin steel conveyor belt) that runs up to 180-mph along with the wind speed. The conveyor assembly with the car on it can be skewed up to +/- 12-degrees left or right to simulate driving at speed in a cross wind. Testing is done on all kinds of race cars, street cars, and even a 1/3 scale model of a semi-truck. We were intending to see Stewart-Hass NASCAR team testing, but the steel conveyor belt was broken, and it requires a few days and a quarter million dollars to change the belt.

After a lunch break we were off again to visit Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts. We had about an hour and a half for a tour, followed by another hour or so for a presentation and question session with Dennis Carpenter, and Matt Agosta from Steele Rubber Products. This tour wasn't just interesting, it was highly informative on what goes into making reproduction parts. Once through the museum we were quickly into the factory (with over 400 employees) reviewing extruded rubber parts, die casting aluminum and zinc (pot metal) parts, punching out and stitching interior panels, stamping and embossing threshold plates, press forming large sheet metal parts, even one-step forming of the "roller coaster" moldings for the side of pickup trucks. They are also manufacturing vintage carburetors brand new, making molded plastic parts, all
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