The short history is I bought the car my 1st year in college, 1971, and drove it 18 years. A couple of engine rebuilds and some other less worthy cars along the way, like a new 1978 Z28 Camaro (graduating College), then a few years later a new 1985 Corvette, the one that got sacrificed when the economy failed in Oklahoma. I of course had to keep the MG. We (my wife and a new daughter) chased a job to New Hampshire where this story, one of many in the eventual and now nearly completed restoration, began.
We rented a house outside Plymouth a couples miles up Beech Hill Road on Meadow Lane, looking across the Valley at Stenson Mountain. Breathtaking! Often I’d be driving down through clouds heading to work meandering the 10 miles to the office in Ashland, past Squam Lake, the Texaco Marina where the scene from the movie On Golden Pond was filmed. In the shoulder months by the time I’d get to the office, the heater would even be warmed up.
Plymouth was quintessential New England with a classical town green and gazebo, movie theatre, Model shop, Post Office, Banks, a Steeple Church, Cigar and pipe shop, music store, shoes, Auto parts, deli’s all the mercantile to support a college, the famous 174 across from the Art center and my main-stay full-service-station where I always gassed up.
The MG had by now developed a leak in the top of the 23 year old tank, and I could never completely fill it, otherwise live with the gasoline fumes and heads turning as I drove up the street. The safe zone was $6.00 worth. One could buy a reasonable amount of gas for $6.00 back then and I stuck with it.
One morning on the way to the office I pulled in and the usual attendant came out to fuel her up asking, “what’ll she take today sir?”, as he approached,
“$6.00 regular.” I answered.
He turned toward the station plate glass windows and with a huge grin, fingers in the air rubbing together as if dollars in between, commented he'd just got a free lunch.
" Ya see them 2 Fellas in thah (New England for there), I bet ‘em a lunch you’d buy six dollas regla”.
The secret was out and the MG was becoming a part of the Plymouth lore.
That 1st summer of driving utopia, she stripped the splines on the Left Rear Hub, so I did what any practical Yankee would do to keep her going, I drilled thru the wheel and axle hubs and inserted a bolt till I could locate a salvage hub, I’m not sure I even knew about Victoria British at the time to just simply order a replacement. Thus begins the story of the White Shark in 1988. A bit of preface for this one is required. Read on.
Back in about 1974 in Architecture school, this guy walks up to me in the gallery and said, “You drive my old MG. I used to own that car before you bought it. I loved that car, drove it to Eureka Spring’s (Arkansas) in the summers with my girlfriend. His friends knew him as Mad Dog!
You’ll have to get out your road Atlas for this one.
The photo is a parts car I bought in 1988 in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. I had stripped the splines out of the left rear and tracked down a salvage yard that was supposed to have one East of Lake Winnipesaukee in Ossipee, about 50 Miles from Plymouth where we lived at the time. Now the roads in New Hampshire are a lot like the Ozarks, miles are slow due to all the curves and hills and in early spring it still Can get really cold. The only transportation I had that day was the motorcycle ('81 CB 900F Honda) and 29 degrees outdoors. So I donned the heavy coat, gloves, my formidable Arthur Fulmer, and headed over. When I got there it was a "Midget"
I was about to “blow a fuse” when one of the guys said he had a friend who mentioned an MG behind a barn up in the hills not far from there in West Ossipee, (that’d be Nawh from thah). A few land-line calls later plus hand motions and orally communicated directions, if you can imagine that, and I was on my way to find it.
Lo and behold, behind the barn, beneath the brush and in the mud, (remind me to tell you about mud-season in New England) not only was it a "B" it was a '65. The guy wanted $100.00, and that bought an extra motor with a set of SU’s and 2 sets of roof frames to boot. $45.00’s wrecker fee a week later and she was in our garage as shown. The saga continues.
Now the classic. We had a project under construction in Berlin New Hampshire, 80 miles from Ashland up thru the White Mountains, past Mt. Washington onto the astoundingly beautiful drive to Gorham then to Berlin. My 1st site visit, one of the subs commented, “Well now I guess I’ve seen it all; an Architect driving his Jag to inspect the jaub.” It was the wire wheels of course, sports cars were few and far between in that region of New Hampshire. I almost let it go, but I couldn’t have him thinking an Architect could afford to drive a Jag so I yielded and said,
“It’s an MG, not a show car; a real drivers car.”