On the 9th of February 2021, our MG family lost a great friend, a quiet, constant, competitor and participator, always with a smile on his face, always willing to help. Ken enjoyed a long and joyful marriage to Mary Ann, herself fully committed with her 1925 Amilcar and her many roles in various classic car clubs.
Together, they enjoyed 22 years of car stuff: with the Killeen Special, an XPAG engined open wheeler racer with British history, later moved on to New Zealand to make way for another open wheeler, the locally famous Clem Dwyer Plymouth Special. On the MG front, Mary Ann drove and was a custodian of a supercharged MG PB for a time, while Ken had his TC, which he restored in 1994. He also built a radical Leyland V8 TC special, a fearsome beast and a bit much for casual around town driving, so that was moved on after some fun, or was it fear? Early on there was the magnificent unrestored SA in two greens, some of which was almost worn through to primer, but glorious nonetheless. That went back to the UK from whence it came in 1937, but not before Ken supercharged it. The TC was to get the same treatment.
Always looking for projects, another to come and go was a luscious red E Type Jag, which made way for a major effort, in converting a four seater NB from the US to a ‘Cresta Style’ two seater with a lovely swept back, much admired around Australia, and of course, supercharged. That later went to the UK.
After house renovations and unceasing involvement in MG and Pre-War clubs, the couple finally settled down car-wise, to the blown TC and of course the Amilcar.
So it was with great sadness to have to say goodbye to Ken, who was in constant pain for months. Sitting up in hospital only a week before his death, Ken with a smile on his face, put it to me that he wanted his last ride to be in a TC. I nearly fell off my chair! But he and Mary Ann were insistent. I had no idea how this could be done, but assured them I would somehow fulfil his request. Turning to our very own wizard engineer John Bowles for help, he did a few measurements and calculations, consulted with the funeral bods, and came up with a light, simple, three-piece frame to go into my TC and to be screwed to the (thankfully) wooden floor. It had to work first time, and it did without a hitch. The procession from cemetery gates to the chapel was over a good 600 metres, closely followed by Mary Ann in their TC, and behind her, a very early TD Ken had restored as his first MG involvement. Ken’s last jibe “Are we there yet?” on the back of the TC. Rest in Peace mate.
February 24th 2021