YGGN4/58618/695 Verona


Way back in 1980 and 1981, the MG Car Company of Australia had an unbeatable MG Midget race car. Peter Lawson and Geoff McGrath prepared the car, and it was exceedingly well driven by a young lady named Verona Larkin. During 1981, Verona set a lap record at every circuit the car was entered, and finished the year (if I recall correctly) as the New South Wales Sports Car Champion. The car was then retired, and Verona retired to Queensland. (Verona, where are you?)

The Midget has sat in the MGCC workshop since 1982, occasionally being moved around, having things fall on it, all the usual things that happen over 21 years.

Much to my Bride's "surprise" (to use a polite word) I bought the car just yesterday, 23 December, for my Christmas present!

As you can clearly see, there is a bit of work required before Verona hits the track again, but I can see now why it was so fast in 1981.

Triumph 2500cc flat top pistons, 2.940" bore (that's .160" oversize) with stroked crank giving 1480cc
Verona's block - Triumph 2500cc flat top pistons, 2.940Verona's engines - Triumph 2500cc flat top pistons, 2.940

Split 45DCOE Webers
Split 45DCOE Webers

Fabricated upper and lower front suspension arms
Verona's top arm   Verona's lower arm

Giant ventilated brake discs with 4-spot callipers, on what looks like Triumph Herald uprights
Giant ventilated brake discs with 4-spot callipers

Split circuit braking system with balance bar
Split circuit braking system with balance bar

Detroit Locker MGB diff centre grafted into Midget housing
Detroit Locker MGB diff centre grafted into Midget housing.

25 Jan 05
Well we found the real Verona, as cheeky as ever!
The real Verona
Here's what she had to say:

"I am living halfway between Kenilworth & Cooroy in Noosa hinterland on 5 acres and have a small wholesale citrus nursery producing container grown grafted plants for the retailers. Pretty casual lifestyle. I've haven't sat my bum in a car since 1985 with the exception of going to Sydney & Oran Park with Bernie Cashin a few years ago for the celebration of 35 years of Formula Vee Racing before the national titles. Have swapped four slicks for four hooves with two horses - a quarterhorse which is 19 years old and I have had her from a foal and an Arab mare on which I have been doing a few endurance rides -80-100klms in a day. Could become quite addictive if you let it I think, just like motor racing.

Was great to go to the track again, courtesy of my old mate Bruce and had a great time. Bruce wanted me to drive his midget but I chickened out - maybe later on."

3 Jan 09
Verona has been languishing in the storage area, and her time has now come for a complete restoration.  We aim to rebuild her exactly as when she last ran, so it was important to take lots of photos before and during the dismantling process.
Let me start by saying that work wouldn't even have commenced if it hadn't been for the assistance of two good friends, Rob and Wayne.  They did most of the pulling apart, and pushed me to move faster restoring the parts they had removed.

That's Rob on the right, Wayne on the left.
Rob and Wayne

Here are just a few of the many detailed photos we took as the car was being dismantled.
Rear suspension in the car
Rear suspension

this is where the top link fits
Verona's rear suspension   Verona's rear suspension

rear suspension out of the car
Rear suspension out of the car   Rear suspension out of the car

note MGB diff centre grafted into Midget housing
MGB diff centre grafted into Midget housing

front right suspension and brakes
Front right suspension and brakes   Front right suspension and brakes

we have to remember where these calliper spacers go
Caliper spacers

must not forget this spacer on the sway bar mount
Spacer on the sway bar mount

or these ones on the rear springs
Spacers on rear springs

or these ones on the lower control arm
Spacer on the lower control arm

and so, this is what you end up with...
Verona dismantled   Verona dismantled   Verona dismantled

29 Jan 09
The body shell and loose panels all went to The Hills Prestige Car Repairs, for Brendon to work his magic on them. All panels were sand blasted back to bare metal before panel work commenced.
.The Hills Prestige Car Repairs   The Hills Prestige Car Repairs   The Hills Prestige Car Repairs

While the shell was being repaired and painted, work carried on in haste restoring the original parts. Here are a couple of before and after photos.
Front hubs and brake rotors
Front hubs and brake rotors

Split Webers on fabricated manifold
Verona's split Webers beforeVerona's split Webers after

28 Feb 09
In a record four weeks, a re-born Verona returned to the workshop, minus the front mudguards and bonnet that were still a couple of weeks away.  But that wouldn't stop us re-assembling the car.
Verona from the front   Verona from the rear

8 Mar 09
No rest for the wicked. We've made huge progress in the last ten days.
More progress...

Here are some more before and after photos.
Front suspension
Verona LHF suspension and brakes - before   Verona LHF suspension and brakes - after
twin fuel pumps running in parallel
Fuel pumps - before   Fuel pumps after

brake and clutch master cylinders
brake and clutch master cylinders   brake and clutch master cylinders - after

the driver's eye view
Dashboard   Dashboard

Here's what the rear suspension now looks like
Rear right suspension

and the Webers now fitted
Webers fitted

we even re-used the original oil catch tank
Catch tank

a very full engine bay
a very full engine bay

The original race wheels had been stolen from the workshop about 15 years ago, so we had some new ones cast to the original "Hopwood" pattern.

22 Jun 09
After a great start, work has slowed down. I make a commitment to customers that their car comes before mine, and we had a rush of work come in.

Fortunately, we are so close to the end now that there's nothing that can stand in our way.
signwriting and numbers nearing completion
Signwriting and numbers nearing completion

we re-used the original grille from the car, even though it is actually an MGB item
Original MGB grille

in the sun for the first time
Verona front 3/4Verona rear 3/4

Verona looks a bit better than when collected
Remember what it looked like?

Now, it's off to the races!