You know how the tale goes. You find the right person, they come recommended, and so you send it to them. Within a few months your car comes back. In some ways I wish I could tell you that! But we are all too wise to know that dealing with classic cars is like being in a fairy tale world.
I left the last blog on this car with me handing over the keys to a bloke in Coventry in 2002. Over the months my dad kept calling up the bloke . He would often say “yeah, the second coat of primer is on”. To cut a long story short this saga lasted a few years! Why? There were many things going on away from the car. In that time businesses were sold, people lost jobs, other classic cars were bought and sold, people got jobs again, other people went to university, we somehow got a sheddy MkII Astra as a courtesy car to drive around in while the MG was being repaired; yes really! Yes, it was a little convoluted at times.
The MGB GT being at the bodyshop for all that time sat like a beacon of hope even though we hadn’t seen the car for two years! In 2004 my nagging with my father had come to an end. He decided to call the garage who were the custodians of the MGB. We were simply told “Come on down to us”. It sounded ominous to say the least. After all, it’s not like I had been ridiculed for this car not being roadworthy and taking seemingly an eternity to fix.
When we went to the garage the owner appeared to have disappeared, with only the foreman left to run the place! I saw no MGB there either! And so off we went on a convoy to see the MGB. I was looking forward to seeing the car semi-complete. What I would see however would shock me to the core.
The car was not at all how I pictured it. Previously solid areas of the car that I knew were solid had been subject to a trigger happy shotblaster. Worse still it had patches in places that would really throw a spanner in the works. Inside patch welding on a floorpan anyone? Another patch slapped onto rust on a window aperture? The car looked like an abandoned shell without any running gear. Everything of the car was all in boxes. Not in any real order but it was just there. Would I even have all of the fixings there? I guess at least the good running gear was present right?
This unfortunately left us with a problem. Here we had an MGB that we had sunk roughly £2,000 into ; bear in mind a good rubber bumper MGB was around £3,000 back then. It looked like all we were left with was a running and rolling MGB shell ready for the scrap heap. What looked like an ideal father and son project was now looking like its future was bleak.
At that moment in time we didn’t know what to do. It couldn’t be driven in that state and it was clearly going to take alot to get it right again. It’s amazing how £600 cars start out isn’t it? Scrapping the entire car was something I suggested. My dad vehemently went against that idea; I was 18 at the time. I don’t think he truly estimated the scale of the work ahead of us. Maybe it would have been the wise idea ultimately despite the pain. But that is not the point of such projects.
We had some quality time in and on the car. And we hate to lose. It would also be a shame to have a project dissappear purely due to one person. Did I mention that I really hate losing?
Is there a moral to this story? Yes. Always check up on the progress on the car in the flesh. Yes the guy may appear trustworthy, and he may be saying all of the right things. But people lie, pinch things from cars and generally don’t care about you. I hope that no one else has the above happen to them.
With weeks to go for the car to be dropped off to us its fate would be decided.