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Current Issue - February 2020, Issue 371

FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE: OUR 31st year of publication, CMM is bigger, bolder, brighter, now MORE PAGES, FULL COLOUR THROUGHOUT - and the 2020 Almanac, the 'bible' for enthusiasts is HERE!

Subscribe now and you can get Britain's most comprehensive events booklet - the 2020 Almanac - from just £1.75 extra; a genuine bargain for this essential publication! For more details on this super diary - worth up to £9.95 plus p&p alone, click here. As usual, in our latest issue we've a run down on all that's best in your classic car world!

In the February issue,CMM December, Issue 369  On Your Marques looks at the Project Jay Preservation Group and more. For Magpie it's Not Quite Spot-On, and in the Spannerman column it's Spannerman & Special Tools. Our column by former National Motor Museum Curator, Michael Ware, checks out The Reserve Collection in a busy Wareabouts column, while Peter Love gives us another Commercial Break and Love Steam. There are news snippets galore, our Letters column, and our look at the world of the autojumbling with The Secret Autjumbler. Grant Ford's Fordie's Favourites looks at a special Sunbeam Tiger.  Our events section - the best in Britain - features all the best shows and 'jumbles for you to visit, and we've show reports and previews. Landers Lobby asks Are Your Classics Going To Be Banned? And The Secret Autojumbler, plus his Secret Agent, check out a variety of recent events - where was the best business to be had, where were the best bacon butties? We also look at upcoming events and continue delving into the archive of the much-missed Lock Man. Look out for all the news and snippets, plus all those ads for upcoming events; no better time than now to think about that subscription than the February issue!!

Our letters page has, as usual, your views on the issues of the day and more. We feature more services and spares than ever in our ads section, a look out too for Klaxon's Readers Problems, the CMM Crossword from Alvina Williams where you can win fabulous prizes, On Your Marques, club news, Get Set, news snippets, our fascinating 'All You Wanted to Know' column with Minerva. Plus, our new columns from the redoubtable Barrie Carter - In The Rear View Mirror - and Noggin & Natter with Graeme Forrester. There are book & video reviews, the latest products and services, and the biggest events section of any publication in the U.K., featuring all the events, autojumbles, auctions and collectors swapmeets that YOU want! Why not order your copy today and get the 2020 Almanac for only £1.75 extra - hurry! CMM makes the ideal gift! For subscription info., click here!

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PLUS, this and every month, 1000s bits, 100s of cars, loads of essential services for you in our Classic-fieds to wade through in our Classic Motor Mart & Autojumbler sections, and the biggest Events Diary section of any publication in Britain. Another good reason to subscribe now! Safe, Secure Ordering through CMM! You'll find a selection of last months ads, a sneak preview of this months ads, PLUS the latest ads On-line, by clicking here.

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February Issue Previews...


More British cities are announcing schemes to remove older vehicles from their central areas.

Regional councils have been placed in a difficult [indeed; they would say, impossible] position. Where air quality fails to reach officially set targets - particularly in respect of oxides of nitrogen - councils have been required to produce plans to deal with the problem or else be fined by central government. Clearly; at a time when resources are so stretched, they can’t afford millions of pounds in penalties. So various proposals have been put forward to improve air quality, and (after due consultation) these have either been, or are about to be, approved.

As we know, London was the first to tackle this issue - beginning with the (so called) Congestion Charge; then the Low Emission Zone, affecting larger diesel engined vehicles within Greater London, bordered by the M25. More recently, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was implemented. Currently operating within Central London (ie. the Congestion Charge zone) the ULEZ will be expanded next year to cover the entire region within the North and South Circular Roads. And woe betide anyone living in that zone who owns an older vehicle - unless it’s a historic.

The official Transport For London (tfl) website, under ‘Discounts and Exemptions’, says: “All vehicles that have a historic vehicle tax class will be exempt from the ULEZ... all vehicles registered before 1 January 1973 will be exempt from the ULEZ, regardless of commercial usage or otherwise. If your vehicle meets the above criteria and is registered in the UK, it is automatically exempt and you don’t need to register with us.” But that is not necessarily the case: try entering the reg number of your historic on their ‘free’ vehicle checker. [That’s very generous, tfl. Something for free - sure you can afford it?] The correct vehicle details will come up, but you’ll be told: “ULEZ charge applies to this vehicle”.

When I queried the matter with tfl, using one of my own classics as a test, their check confirmed the correct vehicle make and colour, and also confirmed its ‘historic tax class’ exemption. “Our software is more sophisticated than the software on the website. Our enforcement cameras would know that the vehicle is exempt.” Maybe so - but, with a non-payment penalty of £160, I don’t think that I’d be chancing it: pre-registration is a worthwhile safeguard for anyone taking a historic vehicle into Central London for the first time. (You’d still have to pay the Congestion Charge, anyway.) And the same will probably apply to those other cities that are about to put similar measures in place....

From The Landers Lobby in our February issue; read the whole article, subscribe today!


IT’S RARE THAT WE ARE stuck for something to discuss down at the Chequered Flag, and the last couple of months have proved to be no exception.

Indeed, our menu of discussion topics was added to after our friend Magpie mentioned “..a slim volume that would be bound to polarise opinion down at the Chequered Flag.” It didn’t matter that no one taking part in the discussion had seen a copy of the book, it was simply the title (Fifty Cars That Changed The World) and Magpie’s thoughts on the book that got things going. Needless to say, everyone had an opinion on a car which should have been in there, and there was always at least one person who disagreed with any of the choices. It was after a little research by Know-it-all Ken that we learned that apparently the Austin Allegro was included in the list. Oh well, plenty more to discuss, I suppose.

I’ve had a few people taking the time to explain the working of brake calipers since last month. You might recall that I’d been referring to a relatively modern caliper and I’d wondered whether the caliper piston would rotate along its internal screw thread as the brakes were applied and the brake pads wore down. I’m glad I made the comment “Surely it must do, I thought.” But the most interesting conversations I had were regarding the requirement for a special tool to rewind the brake caliper piston back into place. I was told more than once that there was no need for such tools in the good old days.

Now whilst I know that many a brake caliper piston has probably been pushed back into its housing by a big screwdriver, my memory told me that special tools were recommended to do the job, so I searched the bookshelves to find my copy of “Churchill Special Tools for car service” which is dated August 1974. It didn’t take too long to find Tool Number 18G.590 which is described as “Resetting tool – disc brake piston 1100, MGB, MGBGTV8, Midget”.

Despite my having the catalogue detailing which tools should be used, I must admit that my tool for doing the job of pushing caliper pistons back into place is an old Girling one. Simply described, it’s a metal bar with a flat plate attached at a right angle to the top. The whole thing is chrome plated and there’s a rubber cover at the end which you hold.

Once the brake pads are removed, you insert the flat plate into the gap between the brake disc and the caliper piston and a sideways movement on the handle causes the flat plate to act between the two and the piston moves back into its housing. Or at least it usually does. You do need to take care when using this particular tool to ensure that no damage is caused to either the disc or the front face of the piston, and I often find that moving the handle of the tool alternatively inwards towards the car and outwards away from the car means that the piston retracts equally into its housing....

From Spannerman's column in the February issue; read the whole article, subscribe today!


The genesis of the Sunbeam Tiger is wreathed in myth (explains their owners club website) but one thing is conclusive, the idea originated at the ‘L.A. Times Grand Prix’ Riverside (California) meeting of October 1962; making its first appearance was the 260 (4.3 V8) AC Cobra.

Also taking part in the 3-hour endurance event were Sunbeam Alpines piloted by Jack Brabham, Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren. Post-race, Brabham approached son of Rootes American Competitions Manager Ian Garrad and proposed the installation of the small block Ford into the Alpine.

Garrad ran the idea by Carroll Shelby and the project began with British engineer and race driver Ken Miles confirming the Windsor 4261cc unit would fit; in the film Ford v Ferrari, Christian Bale plays Ken Miles focussing on the GT40’s road to Le Mans. Shelby would build the initial prototype which was delivered to Ryton for Rootes inspection in July 1963; the car at this time was codenamed Sunbeam Thunderbolt.

By April 64 at the New York Motor Show its title had changed, re-named the ‘Tiger’ in memory of H.O.D Seagrave’s 1926 Sunbeam Tiger that set the world’s land speed record of 152.3 mph.

Two Lister built coupes were prepared to attack Le Mans in ‘64’ and using the name Thunderbolt their shells were largely aluminium whilst Shelby tuned the Ford 4.2 to 275bhp; an increase of 111bhp from standard. Running in the prototype class was very unlikely to secure major success, especially with the limited time the project enjoyed.

Both cars failed to finish (retiring after 3 and 9 hours) but one climbed to 18th overall during the race and was clocked at 162.2mph along the Mulsanne Straight. Rootes didn’t possess the capacity for full scale production and development of their new Tiger, whilst Shelby envisaged assembling the model in the States. As it turned out, Jensen in West Bromwich won the contract, the opportunity arising as their existing production of Volvo’s P1800 was concluding; rumour has it Shelby was paid a $5 royalty on each unit sold, totally $35K by 1967.

The Mk1 enjoyed a UK launch at Earls Court in 1964, (although not available to British buyers for several months) priced at £1445 plus £60 4s.8d for a hardtop it undercut Jaguars E-Type by nearly £500; whilst offering 22mpg for the unhurried driver. Production of the 164 bhp Mk1 and Mk1A (2700) would continue for two years and total 6550 units before the uprated 200 bhp Mk2 4.7 litre (289 cu in) arrived in 1967 with only 536 assembled being almost exclusively for export. By June 67 Chrysler controlled Rootes and Sunbeam Tiger production was concluded.

On the 18th November 1966 Sunbeam Tiger JUL 390D became available for the first day on duty at Hampton Police Station near Twickenham, Middlesex having been registered to the Metropolitan Force on the 1st of the month. Part of a 133-vehicle order which included 90 Hillman Minx with 19 Super Minx estates. The West London location allowed for easy access to the A3/A4 plus the new motorways (M4/M40) still under construction but offering completed sections with the temporary 70mph speed limit, introduced just 12 months previously....

From Fordies' Favourites in our February issue; read the whole article, subscribe today!




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