My passion for MG cars was ignited in 1960 when my father offered to buy me a car if I obtained a university pass. With such inducement, I made sure I did my bit, and the question I presented to my dad was: “So, where’s the car?”
His reply was character-building, to say the least: “Get the tow rope and we’ll fetch it!” We lived in Cape Town then, and he had bought a 1949 MG TC that he had found standing at a garage somewhere in Woodstock … the car was a non-runner. The MG was duly towed home and together we stripped it and started a rebuild of the car.
I am pleased to say that our efforts bore fruit. I drove the MG for several years before graduating to an Austin Healey Sprite.
As life would have it, other more important things like a wife, family responsibilities and a mortgage grabbed my attention and wallet, and it was only in the 1990s when I was shot of these things (except for the wife!) that I was able to once again think of MG cars.
It was in 1992 that I found a 1965 MG B roadster (that’s the open top model) basket case. It had been stripped to the last nut and bolt and when there was nothing else to dismantle. The owner had started stripping off the paint, got half way and that’s how it stood for the next 10 years until I bought it.
Little did I know then that over the next 15 years, I would restore ten of these beautiful vehicles.
There is no greater sense of achievement for me than taking a wreck that has been abandoned and restoring it to its former condition – the condition in which it originally left the factory. I did this with the 1952 MG TD that I found in Zimbabwe that had stood for 38 years! This phoenix that arose from the ashes is featured in the two pictures.
Below: 1952MG TD as found in Zimbabwe Below: 1952 MG TD restored and ready to grace the – 338 years of neglect! cover of a magazine!
That first car was a baptism of fire: there were a thousand bits and pieces and as I had not done the dismantling I had no idea where everything went! I decided I needed some help so I joined the Johannesburg branch of the local MG Car Club.
I was surprised to learn that the MG Car Club was first registered in Cape Town in 1948, and since then seven national clubs have been establish throughout South Africa.
It is reported that there are over a 1000 MG clubs worldwide in more than 85 countries with more than 40,500 members. The MG Car Club is also the biggest single marque car club in the world.
Why are these little British cars so sought after? Click here to find out.