Passing It Along

Dear Son,

Someday when I take to the “Great Sports Car Road in the Sky”, both my cars will be yours. Now, I will leave you instructions on how to drive both cars.

The first car I will describe is the BMW2002. You put in the key, turn it, and go when it starts. That’s It!

Now for the MC-TD.As you’ll see, this motorcar requires a bit more effort.


Two oil spots shaped like amorous amoebas and one looking like a singing raisin are OK. One big spot is not OK.


I have found it easiest to put your butt on the seat first and then tuck your legs into the footwell. Do not wear wide shoes or heavy boots unless you want to scratch the running board and end up with some strange pedal combinations.

Oh yes, while bringing in your legs be careful not to brush up against the SILENT STRIKER (Yes, that is the name of the door latch mechanism. I do not know why it is named that because every time I hit it I curse loudly!). Be especially careful if you are wearing light colored pants; Murphy’s Law applies here. Don’t do as you always do in those clunkers you have driven…don’t slam the door; ease the door shut so that you hear two clicks.

By the way, the doors only open 5/8ths of the way, and are called “suicide doors.” I’ll leave you to figure out why this is so.


Don’t ask why the seats are not adjustable. Just know that to change seat positions you need the tool pouch located in the engine compartment. (Ah ha, this is what that strange hook tool is used for.)


Insert the key, turn and don’t panic. The “ticking” you hear, hopefully, is not a terrorist bomb. That “beetle tap dance” sound is the noise the SU (Suck-um Up) fuel pump makes as it charges the float bowls.

If the ticking goes on and on and you hear liquid splashing on the road and smell gasoline, say oops! Then go un-stick the little plunger by jiggling. Note: There have been cases of men taking years to master this technique. Good luck.

This used to happen frequently after I rebuilt the carbs, but has not happened since I had them professionally rebuilt. I have simply chalked this up as another mystery (Some say that MG stands for “Mystery Goer”). Push in the clutch, but not too much because it broke twice when I did that in the past.

Now for the crossover. Pull the choke with your left hand and hold, then pull the starter knob with your free hand. In 1963, ’66, ’69 and 72 it stuck, and this caused a heck of a racket. Ever since then I push the starter cable “home.” Pushing the car home is something I have done often!


Now that the engine is running, listen. All that seemingly loud, loud noise you hear is supposed to be heard… really. Now you know what valve clatter sounds like. To some this music is akin to the old typewriter piece.


(Always remember her name is Betty. Never call her by another name – especially Ann.)

1.) Check the tachometer to see that it is registering RPMs. If not, then thump the glass just hard enough to free the needle into action. Over the years this can lead to an arthritic finger.

2.) Tighten the wingnuts on the windscreen. I used to select female passengers with strong fingers to help.

3.) If you are wearing light colored pants, then take a paper towel and reach up behind the dash and wipe the line junction to the oil pressure gauge. (Refer to Silent Striker and Murphy’s Law.)


Depress the clutch. Yes, it does feel as if the pedal will fall over sideways, but not to worry: this is another long story. I think I should have replaced the shaft bushing when I last had the engine out. I was told not to bother because in a short time It would end up as you feel it now. Poor design, what? Oh yes, use your foot to depress the clutch and not your tone of voice. The car can be overly sensitive.

As you drive away in low gear, there is a whine. Don’t worry about it. In third gear there is chatter, ditto. It used to jump out of 3rd gear, but now it jumps out of 1st gear! Of all the gears, reverse has never given me trouble – remember that.


Yes, the car has an air conditioner, of sorts. To use it, your face must be in condition to accept fresh air. To get fresh air, simply lower the windscreen, being careful not to break it. To lower properly, push the screen down in the center of the glass, not a corner.

Don’t worry about forgetting to do this properly. Once you replace the broken glass in the frame, you will remember to be careful.


Listen for any unusual noise beyond the symphony of sounds created in and around the car. For example, the sound parts make as they hit the road! (I have never been able to bring myself to display the sign, ALL PARTS FALLING OFF THIS CAR ARE OF THE FINEST BRITISH DESIGN.) I do not know how to classify the “squeak” in the R front wheel area. In the 25 plus years I have driven the car, that sound has been there, on and off, for about 13 years. Ignoring this sound is the best course of action.

Finally, if you ever find out what that tiny “thunk” is in the rear, please contact me through a medium because I have been dying to find out the source.

Well, that is most of it: I’ll leave you to find out the rest.


Love, Dad.


By Daniel Canada

Daniel will receive a Moss gift certificate for his contribution.


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