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Ian Bowers

United Kingdom
399 Posts

Posted - 17/07/2017 :  19:21:25  Show Profile
In recent weeks there have been several contributions to the Forum which raise questions over the provenance of some MMM cars. These have related to the descriptions used for cars entered for races, cars whose provenance 'of which we dare not speak its name', and whether attributions given in the past would stand examination against the current guidelines.

There are four pages of guidelines on what constitutes an MMM car. At the same time it is clearly stated that inclusion on the Register is no guarantee of authenticity. What then is the purpose of these guidelines? What is it to members of the Register if two chassis share the same marking, the engine block has been replaced three times and still carries the original code, or the body work has enjoyed a long and complex journey to its current host.

Looking through the web sites of other car marques and types, I was unable to find a single one which set out the specific definition of what is to be found in an ‘accepted’ car, how modifications are to be recognised and what was not accepted.

Surely it does not matter how the car is described by the owner in any situation, other than at the point of sale At that point he is at risk of describing the car as something other than the buyer was led to believe, and that is for the courts, a place which we surely will want to avoid.

On that basis I am suggesting the old way was best, we simply took a person's word that they have what they said they have.

I fear that this may be seen by some as Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door, but maybe it is time for a rethink on the Register’s stance on MMM attribution


Ian Bowers
OD 6791
J3 3772

MaGic_GV

United Kingdom
729 Posts

Posted - 17/07/2017 :  21:11:14  Show Profile
There are very good reasons for the Register guidelines, but that is what they are, guidelines. The fact that they are published for all to see means that at least you should know where you stand.

Many cars were accepted onto the Register in the days when you could indeed take somebody's word as the truth, but that was before the cars had appreciated to their present values. We cannot therefore vouch for the credentials of every car but the Register now asks for photographic evidence of a car's provenance when a new owner registers with us. If two cars bear the same chassis number, then licensing will be a problem, and while duplicated engine numbers do not bear the same significance, wouldn't it be nice to know if you have the first, second or later incarnation of that car's engine? We also think people would like to know if they are looking at a genuine K3 or J4 and not a recently made copy. This is not to denigrate those copies, many of them are as well made as the real thing, but they are still copies. That particular battle is likely to go on for ever, is it not good to have someone who knows what is what (more often than not, anyway!)

I have had a number of cases where some history has been passed on by a previous owner only to find that there is no evidence of the car's previous life other than the seller's statements. Is it not better to have a record held and approved by a third party?

The Register has taken a bit of a bashing lately, but strangely in spite of all the negative comments nobody has come forward to say "I can to that and do it better". It was not set up to be 'judge and jury' as was claimed recently, but has had its present role forced upon it by events. The present incumbents are genuinely trying to do a good job for the members and there is no point in just listing names and numbers without some sort of criteria as to what is acceptable. So let those other marques accept two cars where there used to be one, or even none, the Triple M Register does not intend to do that, but will record where possible the facts as we believe them to be.

Finally Ian, I agree, the old way was the best, but if I were spending £25k on anything, I would be checking the seller's claims very carefully.

Regards,
Graham

Edited by - MaGic_GV on 17/07/2017 21:16:08
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Ian Bowers

United Kingdom
399 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  12:26:21  Show Profile
Graham

Thank you for your thoughtful response. It is interesting to note that yours is the only one to date on the Forum, as I have had a number of mails to my personal address all supporting the view I expressed.

The fundamental point is to question why the Committee of the MMM Register has issued guidelines where THEY take and publish a view on the provenance of individual vehicles. Other ‘one marque’ clubs of chassis based cars such as Bentley, Rolls, and Aston Martin have not found the same need, and the values involved are many multiples higher.

To say that ‘it has its present role forced on it by events’ appears disingenuous. It is difficult to see how the Committee can be forced to do anything.

You also say 'Is it not better to have a record held and approved by a third party'. However the Register is simply not in a position to ‘approve’ anything; at best it can give an opinion on a ‘without liability’ basis. This does not prevent it supporting an owner in working with the DVLC.

Your comment 'So let those other marques accept two cars where there used to be one, or even none’, is perplexing in the light of some K and J records. It needs to be put into the context of publishing The Hawke History in Germany to avoid any litigation threat. The Register and the Committee simply cannot be seen in any way as authenticating a car, and its list of Guidelines indicate a willingness to do exactly that.

You ask what we can do?

The Committee can do what the owners of MMM cars are entitled to expect from the Committee, which is what the other marques do. It can stand down from its present role of recording ‘the facts as WE believe them’. It can simply hold and make available a record of cars, current and past owners, with THEIR description of the car along with any supporting evidence the owner provides. This information holding can be done without any suggestion of providing provenance.


Ian Bowers
OD 6791
J3 3772
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Nick Feakes

USA
1964 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  13:20:29  Show Profile
The Register is surely nothing more nor less than a list of specific models of cars bearing the name MG manufactured between 1929 and 1936.
I have not been able to find the word "acceptable" anywhere in the guidelines. So it seems to me, the issue becomes one of how to describe a particular car. The guidelines seem clear and concise to me, it is easy to understand what a particular description in the Register implies, hopefully there is an appropriate category for every possible combination of parts, if not, then I am sure a new category would be created.

Isn't this a good thing for all of us?
Nick
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briang

United Kingdom
176 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  15:01:08  Show Profile
It's a shame the number of folk who expressed personal agreement with Ian didn't post their comments on the forum. If we can't discuss these matters openly for any reason, maybe we all lose out.

If some people can make thousands of pounds by describing a car's provenance inaccurately, then they will do it. Sorry but life's like that!
I for one think that the efforts of the MMM Register to keep as much truth as possible in the old car world is the right approach.

Brian Galbraith

Brian
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Westbury

United Kingdom
136 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  15:01:11  Show Profile
We are approaching the time in a few years when our cars will be 100 years old and identification issues will become increasingly problematic.
Whilst I appreciate that the rules governing identity of our cars have been drawn up with the best of intentions and to which I fundamentally agree,
I have found during my lifetime a great deal of hypocrisy among various motor clubs with regard to vehicle identification and I'm sure there are many of us who know to whom I refer.

What better example is needed than that 'wonderful' E.R.A. R4D, the Raymond May's car of which the only original part is the steering box.(It is currently on it's fourth chassis !! )

Chris.
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Dolts

United Kingdom
780 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  15:24:21  Show Profile
Such a diffciult one this, its always discussed at committee meetings. trying to present the best approach for all parties.

Having been part of the committee for a few years, I can reassure you that there is significant debate and challenge about how this is approached. Come join us!

I m not sure if I understand your opening comment Ian. The recent debate on race cars was simply about what owners call their modified cars? Not sure where the Provence challenge has come from?

With your solution Ian, What happens when a new owner turns up in another car he claims is J3 3772?

Mark Dolton
www.triple-mracing.com

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Ian Bowers

United Kingdom
399 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  16:15:12  Show Profile
Thanks for the input Mark.

Responding to your questions, if you look back, each of the provenance issues was raised over recent weeks; cars entered and accepted for races under descriptions which were questioned, concerns over why cars were missed from Register listings, and questions over whether early register descriptions would bear comparison with today's Guidelines.

There is no suggestion that the Committee is trying other than its best against a difficult target. I am suggesting that the Committee assesing provenance on 'the facts as WE know them' is fraught with problems which other marques studiously avoid.

As for anothe J3 3772 popping up, it would stir my interest, hopefully lead to discussions with the owner which would increase understanding, and that is that. I am not going to sue them for mis-representation! When the time comes to sell, I would make sure I had provided a fair description,set the price against that, and caveat emptor. Would the Committe's views be of help if it came to the courts?

Ian Bowers
OD 6791
J3 3772
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George Eagle

United Kingdom
1998 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  16:32:03  Show Profile
The Triple-M Committee first introduced the Guidelines for Register Listing in the 2003 printed Triple-M Register. There was much debate under the guidance of our then Chairman Peter Green and Registrar at the time Bob Clare; I was involved as Secretary. Over the intervening years the rules have been refined in the light of experience.


In 2003 and before there were some cars being rebuilt on entirely new chassis and then being sold as original with an original Registration number. There were other examples where a crude attempt had been made to re-stamp a dumb iron etc etc. The suggestion that the old way was best is certainly way wide of the mark as far as my experience is concerned, for example we currently have cases where owners are trying to reclaim the original Registration number for their car because many years ago another party had wrongly used the log book to Register their car. Of course this cannot occur now as the DVLC rules are very clear.

I find it strange the debate has surfaced now, why did members not either question the guidelines when they were first introduced 14 years ago or in the intervening years? Each year the AGM Notice asks for questions to be submitted and each year there are none; not even on the Guidelines!

I think Graham, Mark and Nick summarise the position very well.

George
Secretary



Edited by - George Eagle on 18/07/2017 16:50:56
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Dolts

United Kingdom
780 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  16:36:43  Show Profile
Thanks Ian, but lets be careful here about mixing topics...

cars entered and accepted for races under descriptions which were questioned,

on the race topic, nothing to do with provenance. Nobody challenging these cars Provence or register details, just what the owners call them which can be misleading.

M

Mark Dolton
www.triple-mracing.com

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Ian Bowers

United Kingdom
399 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  19:31:33  Show Profile
But, Mark, that is precisely the point; for the owner the car, it is what they call it. You can challenge it, but it is their car.

That the Committee of the MMM Register has its Guidelines and come to a different conclusion on the 'facts as WE know them', may well be of limited relevance to the owner. For the owner what matters is the facts as he knows them. He may seek advice from where he chooses and use it as he may, but there is no categorical source of provenance.

My suggestion is simple, that the Register records the details of a car and the facts which he wishes to place on record relating to his car. These may, in some cases, be questionable to the Register but the claim is explicitly the owners. The committee plays no part ascribing any validity or provenance to it.

As for why the guidance was not questioned earlier; it has developed over the years to the point where its byzantine nature and inconsistencies are, to a fresh eye, needing challenge, and which I have articulated above.



Ian Bowers
OD 6791
J3 3772
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LewPalmer

USA
2005 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  19:40:28  Show Profile
As the Registrar for the NAMMMR, it is clear that I nor any registrar can personally inspect each and every car for its proper identification. We are a country of almost 10 million square miles, so it would be impossible to verify the accuracy of every Triple-M car that gets registered with us.
Thus, two years ago, I adopted a slightly modified version of the main Register's guidelines. This has been accepted by our board of officers, not as a strict set of rules, but rather as a set of guidelines for owners and potential buyers to aid in assessing their cars for completeness and accuracy.
I am totally in favor of such guidelines, as without them it is difficult if not impossible to understand the historical accuracy of a car's identification. It puts everyone concerned on an equal footing of identification.

Lew Palmer
PA1169, PB0560
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Dolts

United Kingdom
780 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  19:57:06  Show Profile
Sorry Ian you ve lost me. I ll leave this to run!

Mark Dolton
www.triple-mracing.com

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ollirichardson

United Kingdom
677 Posts

Posted - 18/07/2017 :  22:23:37  Show Profile
Think you'll find R4D (in R4D form ) has only ever had one chassis change in its life. The front suspension, air pump for the fuel tank are original and several other components are Bourne factory stamped. A car with continuous and fully documented history that can be read about in Macs excellent book on the car. Oliver
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Westbury

United Kingdom
136 Posts

Posted - 19/07/2017 :  01:55:10  Show Profile
Hello Oliver.
There are many original E.R.A. parts on the car but not original to R4D which was the only D series and the most developed of that particular type.

I prefer to believe David Weuglin's super book on the cars from Bourne and which is free from any bias. R4D had several chassis changes it was found that the gauge for the frame at 1/10" was too thin resulting in fatigue failure.The final solution was a frame with formed lightening holes which you see today.

Most E.R.A.s today have the umpteenth engines in them and everything else,a natural consequence of age and extreme competition and in most cases made from brand new parts from which I built mine just a few years ago. Although it contained some original parts I never claimed it was other than a reproduction unit.

Chris.
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ollirichardson

United Kingdom
677 Posts

Posted - 19/07/2017 :  08:30:51  Show Profile
Where do you get the fact that it has had "several chassis changes" as your chosen book on ERAs only states a possible total change of 2 changes after the original 1938 chassis? Yes I know which bits are ERA numbered on R4D having worked on the car on a few occasions , other ERA stamped components ended up being swapped between cars over the years but it's all documented and general knowledge.
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