As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve owned my little red MG for just over four and a half years, after being gifted it by a member of my family to complete a banger rally with friends. As it turned out, I ended up being the only person who wanted to complete said rally, so in the end it didn’t happen. With no real purpose the little MG got abandoned with a few other projects-in-waiting.
In preparation for the rally that didn’t end up happening, we’d bought most of the parts needed to get the car roadworthy again. This meant that when I got the car into the workshop a month or so ago, there wasn’t too much expenditure needed aside from a few extra bushes, oil, and new tyres (the Bridgestones were nearly the most expensive tyre for the size we needed, but its worth having good tyres on an old car. The set of four cost just over £250). All in all, the car has had a reasonable amount of welding, a full suspension refresh and replacement of every rubber part, a brake refresh, a service, conversion to electronic ignition, new tyres, a new headlight and a minor amount of electrical work (even if only because there isn’t a huge amount of wiring in an MG B). I’ll also point out that a great deal of the welding work carried out was redoing previous repairs that had been carried out over the car’s life which the MOT tester didn’t deem good enough (rightly or wrongly). These previous repairs were of a standard quality for a car of this age and type, and were most likely carried out decades ago by enthusiast owners. The underside isn’t completely a patchwork quilt, but the car has certainly lived a life. I don’t think that is a bad thing.
Last week the MG passed its first MOT in eight years, and there is no record on the online MOT checker before that, but something tells me this may be the first time that the car has properly been on the road since the turn of the century, having only covered a couple of hundred miles during the period it was MOTd in 2012. I do have a history file for the car, but I haven’t spent much time looking through it, so I’m not entirely sure when exactly the car was last on the road (or, at least, the last time that the history file can confirm that it was on the road).
With J258 in the workshop, the Maserati being kept clean for photographs and a range of other car related problems, the MG was the only real form of transport I had for this weekend (the 6.5l Jag isn’t being counted). Bringing it 30 or so miles home from work on Friday night was going to be the first hurdle, as it was quite possibly the longest journey it has had in more than a decade (or two). Only a couple of miles from work and I decided to get some fuel as it’s never wise to trust an old car’s fuel gauge. Standing and filling up I did think that it was taking more fuel than expected, and must have really been empty – which the gauge wasn’t indicating previously. After coming back from paying for the fuel a man in another car was waving at me and pointing at the back of the car. He needn’t have, as the puddle under and behind the car was rather large. Given that the car has never dropped fuel before, and the fact that I’d just filled it up, its reasonably safe to assume that the filler neck isn’t quite sealed. By the point I’d gotten back to the car it was no longer leaking any fuel and the best thing seemed to be to drive it and reduce the fuel level in the tank (after apologising to the station attendant, who fortunately is very nice and who I know well enough).
The rest of the drive home was pretty uneventful, though it did bring up a few small faults that will be rectified next week. The headlights on the B are great for a car of its age, although their brightness was probably aided by the complete lack of dash lights… The rev counter also does not work, and neither does the water temperature gauge (which is the one I wanted to work most, although the car never smelt hot once during the drive home). The throttle sticks slightly sometimes, though easily rectified with a quick blip to help it settle. The car accelerates well, stops well and handles very nicely. The lack of power steering is a good thing in my eyes, and with nice neutral handling characteristics and plenty of feedback. By this point in the weekend I’ve covered over 100 miles, and the car hasn’t missed a beat. This will never be a commuter car for me, but rather something to enjoy on a nice day when time can be wasted by going slowly and enjoying the lack of speed.
The below video is a short walk around, with commentary for those that prefer to watch than read (and those who can put up with the sound of me blabbering on).