The MGB Cut-away, Heritage Motor Centre Museum, Gaydon

Bob Muenchausen and I have been communicating on MG matters for some years now and in November 2011 he wrote "I was thinking about something the other day. I would think it very valuable for all MGB owners for there to be available a fairly exhaustive series of high quality photos of both sides of the cutaway GT at Gaydon. They could be placed in a PDF file and made available on the internet." I could immediately see the possibilities and thought it was a great idea, and since I live only about half an hour from the museum logistically a simple exercise. But first I contacted the museum as I didn't want to just turn up, cause offence and suffer the embarrassment of being escorted off the premises (not that I really expected that to happen). I spoke to the museum curator, Stephen Lang, who asked me a couple of questions about the circumstances under which they would be published, and when I explained it would be on a non-subscription web-site for the benefit of all MGB owners he gave the project his blessing, as long as I gave credit to the museum which I do gladly and add my thanks.

So a couple of weeks later I take myself down to Gaydon with camera and tripod and set to work. Bob and I discussed what sort of resolution we would need, and although my compact is 'only' 6MP max compared to the 15MP obtainable from a good digital SLR, that is offset by the very large file sizes of 15MP, and we are going to have to put quite a number of these images on a server somewhere. Even so, 6MP is nearly 1.5MB per image. I set up a test page containing a 6MP image of the gearbox I had taken in a past visit (one of several), and Bob thought that would be fine. That had been taken with natural light and no tripod, and did give some fuzziness and speckling when zooming right in such that a quarter of one of the cogs filled the screen, so the tripod should make a difference and I would be experimenting with flash as well. Having taken the photos I find I can reduce the resolution a little with no apparent loss of detail, which together with cropping away unwanted parts, reduces the space requirements of 38 images from some 55MB to a more convenient 20MB.

The last time I had visited the car had been in the stairwell with a number of exhibits, where space is quite tight, and the two halves were quite close together which would limit how much I could get into each shot, and hence how many shots I would need. However this time the car was in the main exhibition space to be part of a 'Ladybird' exhibit (17th September 2011 to 15th January 2012) based on the Ladybird children's book 'How It Works - The Motor Car'. This was first published in 1965, contained it's own sectioned drawings and was used by Thames Valley Police driving school as a general guide. Although it has been out of print for some years the publishers still receive requests for copies from driving schools. As part of this exhibit the two halves were further apart and there was more space around the car making my job that much easier, and the exhibition wall-boards makes an excellent backdrop. Click on this thumbnail for general views of the car and exhibition.

But onto the main event - the high-res images. As well as a list of images I decided to build up a picture of each side of the car from thumbnails of the full-sized images. Hovering over each section should display the title of that image, and clicking it should bring up the high-res version in another browser tab. In Google Chrome this is reduced to fit into the available screen area, but the cursor should be displaying a magnifier icon with a '+', and clicking again expands the image to full size, and displays scroll bars so you can move around the image. Right-clicking on the image should display a list of options, including one to save the full-size image to your own computer. I make no apologies for the fragmented appearance of each side, having been constructed from thumbnails taken from different viewpoints, consider it a piece of 'modern art'

The left-hand side:

The right-hand side:

The full-resolution images can also be accessed from Bob's site via the following lists.

Left-hand side:

Lower Front Section
Upper Front Section
Lower Engine
Upper Engine
Heater
Rear of Dashboard
Footwell
Gearbox
Gearchange
Prop Shaft
Differential
Rear Axle
Fuel Tank
Front Seat
Rear Seat
Load Space
Front Roof
Rear Roof
Tailgate
Tailgate Seal

Right-hand side:

Front Section
Lower Engine
Upper Engine
Heater
Rear of Dashboard
Gearbox
Rear Gearbox
Prop Shaft Section
Differential
Rear Axle
Fuel Tank
Front Seat
Rear Seat
Load Space
Front Roof
Rear Roof
Tailgate
Tailgate Seal