An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’68 B of Ron Raymond from Munnsville, New York. Here is the story:
My MG Story
My first car was a Sunbeam Alpine that my father bought from a guy he worked with for fifty bucks so I could learn more about car mechanics. Learn I did; about hydraulic clutches, valve adjusting, synchronizing carburetors and Truck repair was in charge of the wiring.
With that experience I definitely learned about mechanics but I also learned to love British sport cars and spent the next seven years driving only two seat British roadsters. That was in 1970.
During that time I used to always search the classifieds for suitable cars. Sometime around 1974 or 5 I noticed an ad for a ’68 MGB with only 19,000 miles for a very reasonable price.
When I called the gentleman that owned it he explained that he was in the Navy and only drove the car when he was home, resulting in the low mileage. Needless to say I was excited. His house was only about 25 miles away so some friends and I rode out to have a look.
Angus lived with his wife in a new log cabin house that he had just built. The MG was in the garage and when he opened the door I was a bit shocked. While the car was totally rust free (something I insist upon even in the northeast) it appeared to have been painted with a brush! When I questioned Angus he explained that he had put some dents in the front and rear and decided to try his hand at bodywork. Hopefully Angus was a much better sailor. Other than the horrible paint job the MG was fairly unmolested, ran well and really had only 19K miles.
The deal was made and I drove my latest acquisition home. After licensing and insuring the B I began to enjoy top down motoring around our central New York home. That was in the spring. After putting a few thousand miles on the car, sometime during the summer my girlfriend and her close friend took the MG to do some errands. Less than three miles from home, on the main street of our small town a pickup failed to notice the girls slowing, smashing into the back of the poor car.
The unfortunate mishap left the MG with a crumpled quarter panel, trunk lid and the area housing reverse lights and license plate. Fortunately the pickup’s bumper was high enough to leave the trunk floor unblemished.
The girls and pickup driver exchanged insurance information and called the police. Thankfully no one was injured. I don’t remember if the driver of the pickup received a traffic ticket but he was clearly at fault.
Sometime shortly thereafter I called his insurance company and made arrangements to bring the injured car in for an appraisal. Because MGs were probably a bit foreign (no pun intended) to the insurance adjuster I brought plenty of documentation of the car’s value and the cost of parts needed. The day of the “adjustment” he looked at the car for maybe thirty seconds and said to me “The car’s totaled. We’ll give you $1,000 and take the car.” He really rubbed me the wrong way! I quietly explained to him that my car was not a common vehicle and he was probably unfamiliar with the value. I was trying my best to not tell him what I really thought. I showed him the price of parts, explained the value of the car and told him that I was keeping the car and he was going to give me some money towards fixing it. He must have seen how serious I was because without much discussion he agreed.
At the time of the accident MGs were still in production so I was able to buy new sheet metal from British Leyland. With the money from the settlement I had a body shop replace the crumpled panels and at that point ran out of money. I had another MG to drive so I found dry storage and figured I would fix it as funds allowed.
As is so often the case with projects such as that something always took precedence over the funds.
As time passed I would start and warm the car and even take it up and down the road occasionally. Months turned into years and the MG sat. At least it was always inside, under cover and dry.
Fast forward to 2014 and I’m confined to a wheelchair and fighting a horrible disease. Thankfully I have a wonderful wife and friends who have made this experience bearable, and my love of all things mechanical. As my condition worsened I wasn’t able to care for the MG like I had been so it sat in the barn. Unfortunately some critter decided that the interior would make a good retreat for the winter and took up residence, destroying the seats. I figured that having a car restored was out of the question so I placed an ad online. I had one gentleman and his friend look at my car but he wasn’t interested. During a conversation with a friend from high school she mentioned that her husband worked with a guy that was once the president of the local MG club and restored cars as a hobby. When I called Dave he said that he was the guy who came to look at my car and explained that he liked to have a project for the winter and would do my car.
So in the fall of 2014 I hired a rollback to drop my car at Dave’s. After forty years my MG was going to get the attention it deserved! I was beside myself with excitement.
I believe it was the spring of 2016 when our driveway filled with the unmistakable sound of a British roadster. The pictures didn’t do it justice. The MG was absolutely beautiful, better than anything I could have imagined. It only took forty years! Right after I got the car back there was a car show in Syracuse and my brother took the MG. It won Best of Show Foreign.
One hot summer day, with the help of a Hoyer lift I was able to get my only ride to date. Maybe someday I’ll attempt another ride. In the meantime the MG sits in the garage, covered and trickle charged. When the weather’s nice I peel back the cover and think back.