Let me start out by saying that my wife and I went to high school together, I took her to the senior prom, we dated all through college and got married in 1970. I am still trying to figure out how she has put up with me for so many years!!
In 1967 I was 20 years old and I purchased my first MGB from Jaguar Cleveland (Ohio). It was a Tartan Red roadster with black leather/red piping seats and wire wheels. I drove the car through out my college years and after graduating and getting married in 1970 moved to Chicago and kept the car for another four years. By then the Ohio and Illinois winters had taken their toll, all the normal rust prone areas were in the advanced stages of slowly being eaten away. I did some mild cosmetic work on the car and decided to sell it since the repairs that I made were not going to last long term. A friend at work that knew the condition of the car insisted that I sell the MG to him. All he wanted to do was have some fun and drive the car for a year or two. He didn’t have to wait very long; about a year later he lost control while driving the car one snowy winter day and ran into a pole. He was OK but the car was gone.
As the years went by, I would always reminisce about the MG. In the late 80’s we had the opportunity to move to Southern California. While reading an Auto Trader magazine in 1990, I mention to my wife that one of these days I would like to get an MGB-GT fixer upper since I had grown to admire the look and lines of the car. She replied you’d better start soon since you’re your not getting any younger! That’s when it all started. Being a do it yourselfer, I ended up finding my fixer-upper, a 1967 GT that was in dire need of some TLC. I started the process of disassembling and picking out the best parts to put the car back together again. The majority of parts that were needed to bring the GT back to life had been purchased new, re-conditioned, found at swap meets or rebuilt between 1991 and 2002. The engine (short block) and head had been rebuilt in 1992. The seats had also been redone in Connelly leather/red piping that same year. Due to career changes in late 1993 and early 1995, work on the MG was very limited for the next 5 years. I had tinkered with the car and some of the components on and off after the move to Nashville in ’95. It wasn’t until 1998 that I start spending more time working on the car. The MG was a very straight California car and all I had to replace were the dog legs, floors, re-skin the doors and hood latch panel after someone tried to use it to jack up the front end of the car. The car still has the original sills (rocker panels).
Once I completed all the welding and bodywork, it was time to paint the car. Since I had already primed the car one time back in California, I was determined that I could also paint the car myself in my garage. After I re-primed and applied the first 6 coats of paint, I re-installed the suspension, brake lines, engine, wiring and dash. Once that was complete, I applied the final 3 coats of paint. The car has a total of 9 coats of PPG Concept Acrylic Urethane Paint; there is no clear coat on the car.
The light at the end of the tunnel was now in sight. The last year was spent completing the installation of all the remaining components necessary to finish the total rebuild and the car was finally started in January 2002. The focus on the attention to detail aspect of the rebuild felt like it added at least an additional year to the finished car. Technical assistance from John Twist of University Motors Ltd. in Ada, MI was a key ingredient to the successful completion of the project.
In 2002 another career move landed us in Grand Rapids MI. At the end of 2008 it was now time to start thinking about retirement. After some lengthy discussions we finally decided that April 30, 2010 would be a good time to start the next chapter of our lives. After I finished the MG in 2002 I always thought it would be great to drive it back home to Northeastern Ohio and drive the ole back roads of our youth. In July of 2009, since we were only about six hours way, we decided to make a road trip of it and drive the MG back to Ohio on our next trip to visit family in August of 2009. Driving Lake Road along Lake Erie between Geneva and Conneaut in the MG brought back so many fond memories that it felt like it was 1967 all over again. In the back of my mind I could hear Kenny Rogers singing “Yesterday when I was young”…………