It's always a thrill to bring you the rare and unexpected and today thanks to Peter M in Switzerland it is a tremendous honour to share with you the photos and the story behind this 'Best Replica' prize winning Brazilian vehicle from the 1978 Geneva Motor Show.
In 1924 William Morris later Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Cars and Cecil Kimber general manager of Morris Garages in Oxford (owned by William Morris) sold their 48th specially modified Morris Cowley 'Old Number One' with bodywork by Carbodies of Coventry with a special octagonal badge, thus launching MG Cars as a marque in it's own right.
In 1936 MG launched the successful 'T' range with the TA an attractive 50hp two seat sports car featuring a steel body on an ash frame. Production of the TB was interrupted by WW2 but it was not until 1955 with exports outnumbering home sales by more than 10 to 1 that production of the final incarnation of the 'T' range, the 63 horsepower TF 1500 with independent front suspension, was halted to make way for the MGA. Some cars when they go out of production are never heard of again but the MG TF has proved over 50 years since production ceased to be an inspiration of sturdier stuff.
After some market research in 1968 a small volume Italian manufacturer Siata, up until then best known for building 40 odd Crosley powered 300 BC Barchetta Sports cars, went in to production of a MGTF replica called the Siata Spring using the mechanical components of the rear engined FIAT 850 ! The Spring continued in production until 1970 when Siata failed and continued under the ORSA name until 1975.
In 1974 the Brazilian furniture manufacturer Lafer created a fibre glass TF based replica again with running gear from a rear engined vehicle the VW Fusca (Beetle to the rest of us) ! Some 4300 MP Lafers were built with 1,000 thought to have been exported over a 16 years production span.
A couple of years later Brazilian racing driver / racing impresario and hitherto racing car constructor Antonio Carlos Avallone put the feeble but fun efforts of both Siata/ORSA and Lafer to shame by constructing his Avallone 11 an MG TF replica with a Brazilian spec Chevrolet engine at the front and additional Chevrolet do Brazil mechanical running gear all round.
The fibre glass panels were so strong that Antonio used to delight in handing potential clients at his factory and at motor shows a large rubber mallet and invite them to do their best to inflict some damage to the body panels.
Unlike the Siata/ORSA Spring or PM Lafer the Antonio Carlos Avallone paid a huge amount of attention to the details of the TF and then replicating them on his Avalone 11 which included not only the instrumentation ...
but also the switch gear.
All of his dedication and hard work was rewarded when probably this very vehicle #A1110 016 was rewarded with the Best Replica Award at the 1978 Geneva Motor Show. An achievement recognised by MG with a letter of congratulation personally addressed to Antonio Carlos Avallone.
The intention of Swiss Importer Huber to introduce Avallone to the Swiss market some how got lost in the midst of time and this vehicle was found lying around in a building in 1982. With a lot of effort the previous owner managed to get the car legally registered for use on the road and drove it for some 20 years until he sold it to Peter M who informs me that the original steering wheel has been replaced with one of larger diameter, the original steel wheels have been replaced by larger wire wheels and that the original seats have been replaced with ones mounted lower in the cockpit.
Just as there seem to be a never ending stream of manufacturers making replica AC Cobra's and Porsche 356's so it is with replica MG TF other notable replica's include the Naylor 1700 of the mid 1980's and even today there is a company, TG, in new Zealand making TF kits using Maita MX5 running gear, yet none, so far as I am aware, of the other TF replica's have been awarded a prize at the Geneva Motor Show.
I'd like to thank Peter M for furnishing me with the details and photographs of his highly praised car.
Thank you for joining me on todays Brazilian edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you'll join me again tomorrow for a look at another award winning French vehicle.
23rd Jan 2011 PS I have a friend who is looking to purchase a Radiator Grille for another one of these Avallone 11 vehicles, if you can help anyway with either the supply or location of such an item please leave a message below or send me an e-mail which can be accessed through my personal profile page.
Thanking you in anticipation of your responses.
23 de janeiro de 2011 PS: Eu tenho um amigo que está olhando para comprar uma grade de radiador para outro desses 11 Avallone veículos, se puder ajudar de qualquer maneira com qualquer fonte ou localização de um item deste tipo, por favor deixe uma mensagem abaixo ou envie-me um e--mail que pode ser acessado através da minha página de perfil pessoal.
Agradecendo antecipadamente as suas respostas.