The March 2011 issue of the American MGB Association Octagon’s Queen B is the ’80 B of Jim Lynch. Here is his story:
All who own a MGB with it’s infamous electrical system will appreciate this. I own a 1980 MGB that I have slowly brought back from near death. It is now an everyday car and I even drive it from my home in Massachusetts to Fort Lauderdale, Florida each December and return in April.
Last winter (2009), while in Florida, I noticed the left front headlight dimming. Knowing how temperamental the electrical system can be I decided that as long as it worked at all I would leave it along. I don’t drive at night very often anyway.
I arrived home to Massachusetts in mid April and noticed that the left directional signal was a little erratic, sometimes as slow as molasses and sometimes fast. “There has to be a short somewhere”, I thought, but I hate to open Pandora’s Box. Besides as I thought in Florida if it’s working at all leave well enough alone.
Massachusetts requires a safety and emission inspection every year and the MG was due in May. Because of its age, they only do a safety check and forgo the emissions. I pulled into the inspection bay and turned on my lights. The inspector said “right directional”, I turned it on. “Left directional”, he said and I turned it on. I knew something was wrong when he looked at the front end, looked at me, back to the front end and scratched his head. “Why is your left headlight blinking?” he asked. “I have no idea” I said, “but at least something’s blinking”. Amazingly he looked at me and said “yeh, I guess so” and put a sticker on the windshield indicating the MG had passed another test and was good for another year. I went straight to a friend who deals with Lucas electrical systems. He found the short, fixed it and I now have “normal” directionals and a much brighter headlight.
I guess the moral of the story is, if you’re going to drive a unique vehicle, expect it to do unique things and expect unique reactions from those who see it.