So, the last you heard about the Cowcher’s MG TC adventure, they were about to head off on a 3,080 mile round tour to southern Sweden. Part II rejoins them on 14 September 2014 as they’re about to set off, the first part of the journey taking Tom, Eva and their daughter Nia 1,000 miles from their West Wales farm to Lund, Sweden.
It was a cool autumn morning when they finally unloaded the MG from the trailer of their Volvo V740. They’d been travelling for two days and to everyone’s relief, the car fired up on the first pull of the button. The family’s first stop was to visit a churchyard in the village of Färingtofta where Eva and Nia’s ancestors were buried. With traditional red wooden houses lining the roads, driving through the countryside was truly stunning.
The MG was proving a real pleasure to drive. All the hard work Tom had put into restoring this beauty had really paid off. So the following evening, Nia and Tom took it out for a spin around Skäralid National Park. The MG was great fun uphill, especially on the corners.
The following evening the family continued its journey to Båstad to stay with Bertil and Stina. Visiting as a family years ago in their Morris 1,000 Traveller, Bertil had warned Tom that with Lucas Electrics you soon learn to drive in the dark! This time round, Tom made sure they put the MG on charge for a good few hours, so that wouldn’t be happening again! Then, in exchange for a traditional vintage car horn, Tom took Bertil for a ride through Båstad. He was all smiles.
Following their retrofitted Sat Nav, the next stretch of the journey was a drive to visit friends in Varberg – 65 miles away. Arriving at their destination, they parked up alongside a gorgeous dark blue Volvo PV544 (1958) – the property of their friends Carl-Olof and Kerstin. But that wasn’t the only eye candy to drool over. In the garage opposite they spied an immaculate 1950s Mercedes 220 Cabriolet. Bought by a student dentist for approximately £150 in the 1960s, the car had been restored and was now worth something in the region of €135,000.
The following morning the MG had a flat rear tyre, but the spare was quickly fitted and the party continued its journey. Flying through spectacular countryside, the day was spent exploring with the Volvo PV, while the evening was filled with delicious Swedish food and a tour of their friend’s 40kW hydropower scheme.
Heading north again, the weather had started to close in, so the troop stopped to close the hood. Driving in the rain was interesting, as the windscreen wipers just about worked! Meeting two road closures, they were forced to do a long detour and got a little lost. But that wasn’t going to put a damper on the Cowchers – the scenery along the small winding roads beside the lake was too beautiful for that. However, due to the delays, the family had to complete the day’s journey with the MG on the trailer until they reached Uddevalla, a further 20 miles away. After a rather wet day, the warm welcome from Eva’s sister and husband was very gratefully received.
The next morning the clan set off to the local tyre depot to repair the MG’s flat tyre. They were interested to discover that the tube required was the same size as regular Volvo’s 600 x 16. Who’d have thought?
As the next destination – Ludvika – was roughly 220 miles away, Tom decided to make a brief stop in Sunne (where the famous writer Selma Lagerlöf had lived) and to add a full can of British unleaded petrol. High in ethanol content, the MG had been running rough on Swedish Benzin 95 for quite a while. What a difference – the car was now flying like a rocket! And just in time to enjoy the climbs and sweeping bends through open forests on their journey north. But naturally an increase in altitude meant a drop in temperature. Now only 7°C, it was too cold for any passengers to continue in the MG, so Tom completed the journey on his own.
Approaching Ludvika, they stopped at a level crossing, only for a rather strange thing to happen. A man walked up from the car behind and asked if he could follow Tom, wishing to admire the car. One mile later, the family pulled in to Ludvika. While the man took a few photos, Tom discovered from the man’s wife that he was absolutely crazy about MGs. He himself had an MGB. So maybe not so strange after all.
That night was spent catching up with Eva’s eldest sister Kerstin and husband Lasse. The following morning Tom joined Lasse and ten other chaps to work on a wolf fencing project. Lots of chatter, a bit of work, food and a beer – what more could you ask for? But there were more surprises… That evening Lasse got his immaculate bright red Jaguar XK120 out of the garage. What a treat!
Tom and the boys then drove in convoy to a large camping park in Borlänge – about 30 miles away – to join in the last meeting of the season with the Classic Car Club. The British contingent consisted of four Morgans, one MGB plus the Cowcher’s MG TC and the XK120. There were also American 50s cars, classic Volvos, and a Volvo EPA-tractor. One chap talked for quite a while about his Singer Roadster which is similar in style to a TC, but very difficult to find spares for. So you can imagine he was really excited about the TC cockpit and particularly the Brooklands Bluemel steering wheel.
The next morning, the family headed south east towards Nyköping – about 140 miles away – to visit Eva’s brother and wife. Unfortunately they discovered an oil leak en-route, so made a quick stop to tighten the pipes to and from the oil filter – problem solved.
The trip was now nearing an end, and as they were only a stone’s throw away from the capital city, they made a little time for sightseeing. An hour’s train ride later and the family was making a beeline for a rather special ship. An incredibly impressive city set around a series of lakes, Stockholm has numerous exciting tourist attractions, one of them being the Vasa Museum. This museum is home to the famous Vasa ship which sank in the outer harbour in 1628 and was lifted and refloated in 1961. It’s the only preserved 17th century ship in the world.
A great day was had by all, but the MG had now reached the end of its journey and was strapped back onto the trailer. The family progressed to its final stop before heading home – Eva’s mother. This visit was a much needed pit stop before a rather long drive back to the Welsh hills.
On Sunday 28 September the family began its 1,400 mile journey back home. Unfortunately they hit bad congestion in Hamburg and missed their ferry from Hoek van Holland, so they diverted to Dunkirk and caught the 4am boat to Dover. After a 3,080 mile round trip, the Cowchers arrived home in time for some homemade sandwiches and a well-deserved cup of tea. What a journey! The MG TC performed exceptionally well and deserves a little rest before its next trip.
(Story and Photos supplied by Tom and Eva Cowcher)
Written by: Margaux Doey