In June of 1985, my wife and I attended the American MGB Association (AMGBA) convention in Santa Barbara, California in our 1974 M.G. Midget. Blaze red, black interior, it was my first British sports car, and I doted on it. We drove the 90 miles or so from home to Santa Barbara with the top down and enjoyed the hospitality of the AMGBA and of a key sponsor, Moss Motors, whose headquarters were just a short jaunt up the road in nearby Goleta.
In fact, one of the events for this wonderful weekend was a warehouse tour and club-member sale at Moss headquarters, with the tour led by Howard Goldman, then head of Moss (and father of Moss' current leader, Robert Goldman). Howard and I had traded "test fits" in each others' cars -- his son, he said, was interested in a Midget but wasn't sure he'd fit in it. I, of course, wasted no time trying on Howard's 1948 M.G. TC, which looked about the way you'd expect the car belonging to the boss of the leading British-car parts house to look -- perfect, with a little patina from loving use.
We wandered the Moss special sale, and the only thing I picked up was a pair of rubber floor mats, deeply grooved (to catch sand if we went walking on the beach in Santa Barbara) and with the M.G. octagon embossed in the middle. I dropped the passenger's side in first and then went to fiddle the driver's side mat over the bottom hinge of my gas pedal.
And I noticed something: a little play in the pedal as I moved it by hand. There seemed to be a lot of clearance in the linkage -- I could move the gas pedal back towards the driver's seat a good inch and a half.
I popped the hood and inspected the throttle linkage. Sure enough, when I reinstalled the carbs earlier that year -- I had rebuilt the twin SU carburetters over the winter -- I hadn't quite got all the slack out of the throttle cable. A screwdriver and an ignition wrench were all that was required to take up the slack in the cable.
When I restarted the car -- having neither affected the idle nor the sync on the carbs, just the position on the cable -- it idled smoothly. But when I pressed on the gas pedal, it went down a good 30% farther than it had on the way there. It meant that full throttle really WAS full throttle -- which doesn't seem like much on a 1275cc A-series engine, but it was immediately noticeable on that light little car!
I told Howard about his company's high-performance floor mats, and we had a good laugh about it. The Midget is long gone, but I still have an M.G. TD (insured by Hagerty) in the same colors, interestingly enough, as Howard's TC. It's an all-original survivor "barn find" that I take to shows and club tours around the Pacific Northwest. Next time I'll tell some of the improvised fixes I've done with that one.