Friday, April 5, 2013

A source for some Blakely parts

Blakely Bernardi Front turn signal assembly
Over the years, I've addressed my Blakely Bernardi's safety issues. The brakes work, the steering is tight, springs and shocks have been adjusted to keep the car stable on the highways and byways. The long list of things left to do still has all sorts of interesting items on it, though less critical — and sometimes much harder — to fix. For example, I've always been annoyed by a minor cosmetic flaw: the missing turn-signal lens at the front. It's the sort of niggling thing that you'd normally fix the first Saturday morning after you noticed it, after a triple-shot mocha and a quick trip to NAPA or Pep Boys. But there's no NAPA for some Blakely parts.

Every year, once in the spring and again in the fall, I have spent a half-day or more on Google looking for a possible fix. I would accept (in order of preference) (i) a matching replacement lens, (ii) something that could be modified into a matching replacement lens, (iii) a pair of full turn-signal assemblies (period-correct, capable of installation on curved fenders), or (iv) any other good idea. I would look at new stock, old stock (got a nice pair of 1955 Jaguar wind wings in the original, completely decayed, cardboard boxes), new old stock, car parts, motorcycle parts, 18-wheeler parts (those nice lights marking truck roofs are actually a pretty compatible shape, except for being 3 times larger than the Blakely turn signals), boat parts, and even airplane parts.

After giving up on finding something already built, I would also look at cloning the remaining part using (i) careful hand-machining of plastic rod stock, (ii) casting transparent colored resin in a custom lens-shaped mold, (iii) reverse-engineering the lens in a CAD design tool and borrowing a CAD-driven cutting tool to machine a few new copies of the lens, or (iv) any other good idea. But nothing ever really worked out.

Until this spring's search day on Google.

After a number of hours in futile review of military night-vision lenses and the NASA spaceship parts catalog, I stumbled onto a forum site where folk discussed restoring their post-war Triumphs and MG-TDs and whatnot. Someone was hunting front-mount turn signals for his British-spec MG, which apparently did not leave the factory with any front signals installed and needed them before it could be certified for road use in the twenty-first century. After the usual plethora of non-helpful replies, one of the forum members suggested he obtain parts from a California company that supplies new replica parts for the MG-TD kit car clan.

In all my years of searching, I had never heard of the company and their nifty parts. I went straight to the website and picked through photos on the main page, to find a photo of a replica MG-TD front wing that carried a very familiar-looking turn signal assembly. A quick visit to the catalog found the turn signal lens and I called to order two. A week later, the postman delivered the long-missing lens, in duplicate so I could replace the existing one as well as the missing one. Wunderbar!

The company is MG Magic, in San Diego California. Their website is at http://mgmagic.intuitwebsites.com/ and the parts catalog for MG-TD replicas is at http://mgmagic.intuitwebsites.com/MGPL__07-20-2012.pdf. I don't suppose too many of their parts would be perfect replacements for Blakely cars, but there are quite a few that would bolt on without raising any eyebrows: dash-mount rearview mirrors, fog lights, dash switches and gauges, fender-mount mirrors, front and rear bumpers, and more. When the snows of spring dissipate somewhat, I will race out to the garage to install my two new turn-signal lenses. Then I will come back to the computer and order the next critical enhancement - perhaps a period-correct cigarette lighter or some such gizmo.

Next installment: making the car electricals work full-time so the beautiful new lenses can be seen! And cigars can be lighted!

===UPDATE=== It looks as though MG Magic is moving toward online sales. There's a new website up at http://mgmagicclassicmotorparts.com/ with an online catalog and more parts photos.

1 comment:

Carey Davis said...

Thanks so much Warren, this is the kind of information that is so valuable to our fellow Blakely owners.

I strongly urge everyone to submit any information that makes owning our Blakelys easier and more fun.

Carey