Oh Man. Serious Sadness. I sold my 1972 MGB today on Ebay to a guy in Austria who wants to ship it over. Bummer.
I bought it four years ago and it was delivered on Father’s Day. A gift to myself. It came to the house on a trailer from the prior owner in Wisconsin. I had been looking for a ’72 chrome bumper B for at least two years…and my son Kevin and I saw this one on Ebay with a realistic…$4,000….Buy It Now price.
I asked him, “Whadda ya think?” And after he shrugged his shoulders, I hit the buy button. Like many married men, I paniced…and said “Don’t tell Mom.” It was to be a project car for the two of us….something the Petrick boys could bond over.
You’d think I’d know better. This was my fourth MG.
I bought my first one…a Teal blue 1972 MGB-GT…back in 1983 when I lived on the upper east side of Manhattan. It was a GREAT CAR! I garaged it in Jersey City for $50 a month…a STEAL!….and brought it into the city every Friday night…returning it on Monday mornings. I went everywhere in it…Boston, DC, Jones Beach, the Jersey shore…..I kept it for two years and loved it….but began to feel that the whole thing about having a B was the convertible top and the wind running through my balding scalp…so I sold it to some yuppie banker who gave it to his girlfriend. Never saw it again.
I replaced that GT with a Tahiti blue ’76 rubber bumper B convertible. Ugly color but it had just 35,000 miles on it….and nowhere near the style of the chrome bumper version. The prior owner was a TV news reporter for Channel 7 here in NYC. I picked the car up on a Thursday without a registration or insurance…I just couldn’t wait to drive it….and two days later, on a misty early April Saturday morning, drove my friend Wass to Ward’s Island for softball practice. I purposely drove on the sidewalk, top down, circling the practice fields, and basked in the envious stares of onlookers at my incredibly cool wheels. Nice.
On the drive back, after crossing the Triboro Bridge, I hit an oil patch and slid straight into the wall, smashing the front right fender into the tire…..and then gashed my fingers deeply trying to pull the metal off the wheel so I could drive it home. No luck. Even worse…..no registration…..no insurance….and people thought the car stolen without them. I had to move before a cop came so I bribed a tow truck operator for a lift to a lot on 106th Street, where the car was ransacked in just one night before moving to a body shop nearby after another bribe. A full 4 months later, I’m back on the road. The irony…. I’ve missed the entire spring and most of the summer while the body gets fixed!
Two months later, in October, another car ran a red light travelling west on 86th Street at Amsterdam Avenue as I am headed north one morning to Westchester County. CRASH…and this time the front end is bent in the other direction. Another bribe and the same body shop guy calls the car “totalled”. I took the $2500 insurance check…and bought a ’79 B from a guy in Mill Basin, NY.
I was way too eager…. this one was a disaster. British racing green. Leaked in the rain. Stopped anywhere, anytime. Surprise! On the Deegan Expressway near Yankee Stadium at midnight. At the G W Bridge toll booth on the NJ Turnpike. In the Lincoln Tunnel. I can’t even remember what sucker took that thing off my hands…..or what they paid.
Years went by…..and I got the itch again for a sports car but wanted to keep the peace at home with something reliable. I bought a first year Miata with 6,000 miles on it from the publisher of AutoWeek magazine, who flipped cars every three or four months for work…..some gig! The car started every time, ran smoothly, sounded great. Boy was it boring. The press hailed it as “the new and improved MGB”. Nonsense. Not even close. I sold it to a neighbor here in Mt. Kisco….and he still owns it and drives it frequently. It’s still boring.
This latest B cost me a small fortune. I paid $4000 and another $800 to get it here. New kingpins, brakes, fuel pump, tires, and driver’s side floor, among other things, were necessary. New interior at my choice. It still needs a new top. And the oil leak is pretty serious. I am easily into it for $10,000 with at least another $5,000 ahead to fix it and then re-paint it.
We have four cars now…and holding the B seems silly. Keeping it running right is costly. I am the sole driver. Kevin’s interest died with the first tune-up and he is at boarding school in New Hampshire. Patty’s patience has gone beyond thin to out….and I don’t blame her.
I still love it. I have held it this long thinking my job search fortunes would change, I’d get some money and plunge ahead. Two more work related rejections this month….maybe its time to shed some of this current thinking.
While just a car, the MG represents far more to me than transport. Its youth. Its freedom. Driving with the top down, windows up, heater blasting, in mid-December…… its middle age anarchy!
I am going to get another one once things settle down a bit. Next time I will find the perfect car….a 1971-1973 Teal blue convertible, tan interior, completely rebuilt, rossi style wheels instead of wires. Let some other fool overspend and then sell at a loss.
In the meantime, I’m the guy in the black Special Edition Honda Accord. Wave when you pass me….but you might have to honk first to jar me from the boredom….