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Episode Three - A Gleam in the Eye
In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….

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Recognition Lunch for Warren Marsh

by Malcolm Eades

On 6th March the Register Committee and friends got together at The Crossways Inn, North Wooton near Glastonbury for a lunch to recognise the long and dedicated service of Warren Marsh during his 25+ years on the Committee. Warren stood down at the 2004 AGM having served at various times as Historian, International Secretary, Event Organiser and general anchor man. His was the inspiration to begin the annual season with the highly successful Magnettes 'n Steam events, whilst ,with the late Roy Smalldridge, he planned and organised the excellent 2004 50th Anniversary Event on the Somerset Levels. To many overseas members he has been the face of the Register in the UK and a valuable source of those hard-to-get parts. His Magnette has been and still is his daily transport and at lunch he modestly admitted to having put 400,000 miles on the clock since 1975! The far flung outposts that have had the privilege of a visit from KCF 51 are too numerous to list, but suffice to say that the list includes Egypt.

David Johnson, Register Chairman, presented Warren with the Magnetteer of the Year award, paying a tribute to his many achievements, which include very active membership of the Historic Rally Car Register. Warren responded with an entertaining series of anecdotes from his travels and exploits over the years, including losing all his electrics in an eastern bloc city late at night and cutting up the late Morgan Marshall's "Yellow Peril" with an angle grinder because that was the only economic way to get it out of the back garden. Warren was accompanied at the lunch by his wife Janice who has shared Warren's Magnetteering over the years (dare one say "patiently"?) and she was presented with a splendid bouquet by former Chairman Andy Brock.

Naturally the Committee is sorry to lose Warren's energy and experience but fortunately will still enjoy his friendship and good company.

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MG Magnettes in Sri Lanka

It is recorded that only 60 ZA, ZB and ZBV Magnettes were shipped to Sri Lanka between the period 1954 till 1959. Today, it is estimated that a total number of around 25 running cars exist, all of which are ZA and ZB Magnettes. 
Only two ZBV Magnettes were shipped to Sri Lanka. No ZBV Magnettes that were shipped to Sri Lanka exists at this point in time. The only running ZBV car on the road is a subsequent import from Singapore, while there is a ZBV car rotting away rather unfortunately due to a  misinterpretation of a last will left behind by the owner. The other ZBV from the original imports has been scrapped for spares. 
So far I have come across the following cars which are running or being restored. The number is the distinctive identification number after local registration. 

EL - 6402 ZA  The First ZA to be registered in Sri Lanka. Currently in Anuradhapura minus the front windscreen. The current owner plans to restore it fully and not sell it.
EL - 6403 ZA  The 2nd ZA to be registered in Sri Lanka and is with the present owner to be picked up by an enthusiast for restoration. I am currently negotiating for this car.
EN - 2 ZA  One owner car still running, owned by the former Commissioner of Motor Traffic
EN - 358 ZA  This car is in Kandy being restored at present.
EN - 6116 ZA  This is currently owned by an enthusiast, who owns many other classics
1 Sri - 3069 ZB  This car is owned by the brother of the gentleman who owns EN - 6116
2 Sri - 767 ZB  This is owned by the same person as EN - 6116
2 Sri - 7701 ZB  Owned by me and the last ZB to be shipped to Sri Lanka. 

Apart from the above, I can account for another 17 cars, living amongst us in Sri Lanka but do not have the specific registration numbers. I plan to set up a registration process to record the details of all these cars for our Sri Lanka page.
What has happened to the 60 cars that were shipped to Sri Lanka ? Many have gone to the grave yard just like their one time enthusiastic owners, while a handful are awaiting their destinies to be decided upon resolution of family disputes / testamentary cases. Some cars also have been shipped out to certain other countries – UK, Netherlands after restorations.

Dr. Vickum Senanayake,Sri Lanka


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Episode Two - Underneath the Grease and Grime

In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….

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Europe's Celebration of 50 Years 
for the
 MG ZA/ZB Magnette 1954 to 2004

A holiday planned for Europe was programmed to take in: a trip to Germany and meet our very hard working webmaster, attend Silverstone race track and participate in the three day celebrations in Hambridge, Somerset. Plus fit in a holiday of a lifetime looking at Scotland, England, Wales and Southern Ireland. Germany was very nice and the five days spent with Gunter and his family exceptionally relaxing. Being driven around the city of Siegen, visiting Cologne and traveling through villages and countryside in Gunter's very presentable ZB was well worth the trip.

Silverstone being next on the list. I had booked at a bed and breakfast at a fascinating place called Towcester [Pronounced 'toaster'] about 6 Miles from Silverstone race track.
Again this was interesting. Many camped there - Gunter and family tented there - the main events for me were: concours displays, Z Magnette Anniversary laps, class racing, talking to fellow enthusiasts and the many displays; all held over three days.
MG wise a final trip down the M5 got me on the lesser roads to Hambridge for the 3-day 50-year celebration. Many camped on site while others such as myself stayed at pubs or B&B's, booked in many cases via the committee. I zig zagged my way as usual to my accommodation and yes there are more direct ways but they alluded me on the narrow local roads [in the UK].

At Hambridge, Events were well organized and fell into social, fun and light hearted competition. Around the countryside the roads are narrow by Australian standards but great for navigational exercises. The sight of packs of Magnettes convoying through the country- side has to be seen to be believed. Participating were 14 ZA, 12 ZBV and 3 ZB.
Each registered vehicle amongst other things received: Tie-on numbered Rally Plate, Name Badges, Dash Plaque, uniquely labeled Magnette Ale bottle and prepaid vouchers.

David Johnson [has now taken on the role of chairman for the Magnette Z and Farina
Register] was exceptionally generous and allowed me to join him in his ZA in both participating in the Silverstone laps of honour, plus co-pilot/navigate with him around the Hambridge/Somerset levels as part of the scenic drives and tours.

At the end of three days of well organized activities a buffet lunch, speech and prize giving was held. A sample of one prize in the form of a glass tankard with etched Anniversary 50-year logo is shown in the picture. Since mentioning the logo its important to point out this very apt and well-presented logo is at its best in colour as used on presentation key rings and collector Magnette Ale bottle and regalia tee shirt.

In conclusion a thank-you is in order to the organizers of this function and from my point of view a special thank-you to Warren Marsh for his pivotal role from start to finish in the 50 year 'European' Anniversary of our MG Z Type Magnettes [ZA/ZB]. 

Loz [Laurence] Scott Nov 2004

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