Not Another Ford!

Memories can be a funny thing really, The same can be said for circumstance.

Many years ago now, I had a Mondeo 3.0 V6 Ghia X Estate. This was not the car to have for if you were doing 5,000 miles a year. However, with diesels back then seeming to have a plethora of issues from dying injectors, fuel pumps, and EGR issues, especially in the Mk3, the V6 was chosen and it converted to LPG when my dad and I used to carry out such conversions.

It was great. OK, it wasn’t the most economical and certainly not the most powerful 3.0 out there with a wopping 201BHP, but it was creamy smooth, made a decent engine note and had a great response about it. The fact that it was an estate meant it was super practical, especially with the high(ish) roofline continuing to the back. It had a lovely gearchange that could shame many Germans, and it went down the road well. A good memory of mine was thrashing it down from Warwick to St. David’s in around 2.5 Hours I am told. I personally cannot believe that, but I did really enjoy the drive down there, especially once I got past Newport. It also did a few LeMans trips too, before finally doing a trip to Lille for NYE shennanegans, before it got written off at 262,000 miles.

On the flipside, my dad had a green 2.5 Ghia X 5 speed Auto Estate. That was a great car when it was working, but he made a mistake in buying one that had been cooked hard before, but disguised with K Seal and being sold during spring. I did learn alot about how well these V6s can go however, and what can kill a Ford V6. After all, this one had almost everything go wrong on it! It meant that my 3.0 would be kept in good condition and not suffer the usual issues these Duratec V6s are associated with.

Fast forward 5 years on, and it seems many cars I now want are very expensive. A £3k Mini is now an £8k one, Z3s seem to be firm on price, even for a 1.9 139BHP narrow body, and alot of hot hatches from the 80s are no longer £2k for something reasonable. I won’t even go into W124s! My S124 E320 5 speed Estate went for £5k 2 years ago, and it seems those days are gone. OK, I may be tight and like a moan, but who doesn’t. But there is something getting a cheap car, and making something of it. Not financing yourself to the eyeballs to get something cool and investorworthy. After all, you still have to maintain it

That’s what appealed about classic cars before the investors entered the game. However, it seemed my chance would appear.

Without even really looking for a car, a familiar car popped up on Facebook Marketplace. An ST220 estate that sat for a year at my local garage. I recalled this car being in quite good condition.

I didn’t know much about the car, other than the owner died who owned it, and from there it was moved on to another garage. How much was this thing up for? £1,000. Would I resist buying this, or would I go and take a look?

I think we all know the answer to this one!

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The Final Curtain : MGB Sebring is No More

So, where was I last time? Ah yes! Speaking about the MGB and the chassis changes I had done. What did these changes entail? Well, the chassis setup was as follows:

-2″ 550lb lowering springs up front, with 2″ decambered leaf springs on the rear
-OEM V8 lower arm bushes up front, with Poly bushes on the upper arms. Rear was all SuperFlex Bushes
-Spax telescopic damper conversion all-round
-8Jx15″ Minilite wheels shod with Kumho 711 tyres in 225/50R15

Some would argue that such a setup would be dreadful. With mid-range tyres, big wheels, and Poly bushes, albeit good quality items, I was made to think that I wasted my cash.

How wrong I was! It drove lovely! The SuperFlex bushes worked wonders on the rear! From a solid rear-end, the back of the car was suddenly pliant, comfortable,yet very well controlled. It was a revelation! Nowhere near as bad as the scare stories made out! It was absolutely brilliant!

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It was finally spot on! The interior was near enough new, the drivetrain was very good, and I had the suspension dialled in to make it drive better than when the ‘B left the factory! It should have been peachy, right?

Well, no, was the answer. It seems crazy to think I put alot of work in and I’d be happy with the result. But I was also aware there was alot of work still left to do! What was left I hear you ask? Quite alot was the answer! The problem with striving for perfection is that the cars soon become a never-ending story. A project that is never finished. As someone who used their cars alot and was then still fairly new to the restoration game, that took me some getting used to. What exactly was outstanding?

  • Seat subframes ; I may have got the seats cheap, but the subframes would soon tot up the cost
  • Engine Transplant: I really really wanted to do a Rover V8 swap into this. I researched it enough to know what I was letting myself in for. But honestly, the days of cheap Rover V8s were ebbing away, and with that, so did my idea of one. Yes, I could K-Series it or Supercharge the factory boat anchor, but all of them entailed costs
  • The paintjob. I know, I heard all of you saying that was obvious. The truth was that I had quotes for over £2,000 to get it painted and then, I had no facilities in which to paint the car with, and considering I sunk a load of cash into it, I could not bring myself to put that much more into getting the car looking spotless from a paint perspective.

So with that, the sales pitches came out. Even from people who did Sebring conversions, I had laughable offers. I’m talking £1.4k for the car. That’s when I had it up for £2.5k. Yes, that’s all an MGB was worth back in 2011. Those who drove it loved it, and tried to haggle me very hard for a deal. One guy saw the car 3 or 4 times, but he could not drum up the cash. While I out of desperation mentioned things like the car having road tax in the sale, as cars did back in 2010, he retorted back with obtaining a tax-exempt V5. He even said there was another car just like mine for less cash ; there wasn’t. It was a waste of my time, and a waste of his time. I soon was getting ready to accept that I might just have to keep it.

So what would happen? Would I keep it? I almost did, until a restorer came to look at the car. After a drive aroung the block and a good going over, he decided to offer me £2250 for the car. A fair price I felt. He couldn’t quite understand why I was getting rid, thinking that paintjob being done would result in a higher asking price. But I didn’t really care. He offered me what I wanted, and after a tickle with the welder to get it another MOT, off I drove the car for him down to Gloucester.

 

 

 

Yes, my welding could have been tidier, but at least it was solid and welded the correct way.

And with that, I mark the end of my time with the ‘B! I sold it back in 2011, after owning it for almost a decade! At the same time, a Triumph Stag would come up for sale. Yes, I thought a £2,000 Stag would be an easy project. But would it be?

While I was pondering over the Stag, this is what became of the ‘B’d Sebring.

 

It’s funny, for years, I didn’t miss this car. In recent times however, I have come to regret not pursuing this car. Will I ever learn my lesson? We shall see.