I have a few of the first grey HMGs: 6´ # 4 , 7,5´ #5 , 9´ #10, 9´ #12.
All are original made.
My 2. homemade rod (1981) was on a 7,5 #5 HMG blank and i have a HMG 8´#6 red/brown blank, waiting to be made up.
The 7,5 # 5 is an absolut "modern" rod, beautifull casting, not fast but I throw a DT 5 a long way.
Compared with the Shakespeare graflites ( i have 3 of them), that came on market at the same time, the Fenwicks were/are much better for casting.
One of the original rods, that I bought new 15 years ago, was/is also stinking and nothing helped to get rid of the smell. After washing the bag it became a bit better - but you can still smell its originality