1968 MGB Roadster - the story to date (1985-2014) Nov 7, 2014 0:00:12 GMT
Post by fer4l on Nov 7, 2014 0:00:12 GMT
Well, a fairly run of the mill classic, and very standard by RR, erm, standards, but a very special car to me. I thought I’d got her in 1984, but looking at the logbook it was 1985, and she was my daily for several years. We lived in Central London together, I put her into storage (complete with old-fashioned oil down the bores!) when I went to Australia for 6 months, and recommissioned her (ie charged the batteries and sprayed oil all over the O’S wing and garage wall!) when I got back
One summer we went all round Europe together (I think I was still only 21) – initially with my then girlfriend for 3 weeks, before dropping her at Hamburg to get a train to visit her sister in Oslo, then the B and I spent the rest of the summer travelling round Germany, France and Belgium, staying in campsites for a few days or weeks at a time, earning money picking fruit (the 3am starts and bleeding thumbs will stay with me forever!) till it was time to come home. I had a 4 man tent on a bootrack (it was massive overkill, but the only one I had access to and I couldn’t afford a proper one – as a bonus it provided on-demand and not-on-demand oversteer, particularly in the wet), all the tools I needed to keep the old girl going (ie a trolley jack, AF socket set and a copper wopper), and a keen eye for where to buy the next gallon of 20W50 – she was using about as much of that as she was the good old four star by then
Fast forward a few years and, despite new lower rear quarters and a couple of other holding repairs, the old tinworm was too much to hold at bay – investigation showed she’d already had 2 sets of floorpans and 3 sets of outer sills, with none of the old panels having been removed first – all too common in those days, and the trapped moisture had blown things apart so any form of localised repair was unrealistic – she needed a full substructure rebuild, which would have cost about double what she was worth. So I parked her up intending that Dad and I would get round to it one day, and (via a £350.00 turd brown metallic 2.0L Cortina Estate, which still ranks as one of the most hilariously improbably fast cars I’ve ever owned – it must have had a tuned engine it in as it was an absolute weapon) found love in the arms of a Mars red Mk1 Golf GTi 1600, which was light years ahead of anything else I’d driven. The Golf wasn’t actually any quicker than the Tiddly in a straight line, but was oh-so-nimble and refined – I swear it could turn in mid air…
Then I got into racing and sold the GTi for a GT6 Triumph race car, but that and the other cars that followed are another story. Meanwhile the old B gathered dust in the garage, awaiting the day when life would allow us to spend the time on her that she needed, but which of course never came. Luckily dear old Ma and Pa had the garage space at that time, so I didn’t need to worry about it too much, and I kind of knew that one day she’d be resurrected
Interestingly, she was silver from new, which was unusual for a mass-produced car in the 60’s, and reputed to be one of the original Motor Show cars. By coincidence Dad, who was in the garage equipment business, happened to be at the (I think German) Motor show when the Heritage shells were first shown to the public, and they had a silver one on display. Naturally it caught his interest, and, before you could say knife, a deal was done for it to be his at the end of its tour of duty
By this stage I’d had kids of my own and was flat out building a proper career (having run a race preparation and restoration workshop between Uni and putting myself back through Law School, much to the parents’ horror then relief!) and the deal was done that Dad would fund the re-shell and enjoy the car for a decade or two before passing her on to my Son
In the way of these things, once finished she never really got used, and a few years ago space was needed and I was asked to take over storing her. I popped her on a trailer, into our underground storage, and there she has stayed for a few more years. Al by now is 19, but can’t get insurance on her for a while yet, so there she has sat. Until last Saturday that is, when we agreed we’d use her rather than letting her lie there, so I popped up to Moss Europe and picked up a pair of batteries and a fuel pump, and essentially (with the valued assistance of the good Paulo) we turned the key and off she went, still on 6 year old fuel. Bless her! Didn’t even need the fuel pump!
Full checkover, new brake fluid, etc., then MoT day was yesterday and she flew through after failing only only on the washers (“we can’t even hear the motor trying” – “try pressing the button a few times – that’s the pump” – “ahhhh, right, never come across one of those before - it’s a pass then!”)
Taxed today for the princely sum of nothing, and a Blackpalfrey rally entered in a couple of weeks. Plan between now and then is to get a few miles on her to iron out any bugs and get her running 100% right (she’s a bit rough off and around idle, might be a bit of gumminess from the fuel and I’ll do new plugs lead points etc as a matter of course), fit a Brantz, and start having some fun!
Longer term plans might be a warmer engine, some decent seats and harnesses, and a few more of the bits and pieces for rallying such as proper front and rear lamps, map light, dash mounted fuse board, etc., but essentially she’s staying ‘period modified’, on wire wheels and skinny tyres, and true to her roots. Oh, and in the family!
PS apologies for paucity of pics – more soon I promise, including, if I can find them, of some of her (and possibly even me if you’re feeling brave!) back in the day