Bob Burns & his '60 MGA

Early in my college career I wrecked my old Volkswagen Squareback. I rode my bicycle for transport and mostly hung around on campus. On day in November a friend asked me to go to a poker game with him. I had never played poker before ( he was smiling a lot) so I went along with $100 in my pocket. We played mostly 5 card draw poker and I did more or less ok.

Towards the end of the evening my friend Bruce and I were the last survivors in a hand. I had a pair of Jacks. I didn't know what he had but the odds were on my side. The pot grew to about 200 dollars and Bruce checked. I had 50 dollars in front of me so I bet the whole lot hoping to get him to fold. He was out of money. Then he reached in his wallet and put in the title for the 1960 MGA in the driveway. it was red/Grey/and white. It had bad leather seats and hadn't run in years. but for 50 bucks... Hey, I didn't have a car so I bit and took his bet. His pair were 5's so the car was mine. 

I told Bruce that I'd come back on Saturday and get it. The next day at class I told a guy I knew to be a "car" guy that I'd won an MGA. He had Bugeye Sprites. He and I went to get it on Saturday. Air in the tires, new cap and rotor, and a couple of hrs tinkering with the Carbs and we fired it up and drove it to school. I had wheels! and a hobby... 

Keeping that thing running kept me poor but gradually I fixed almost everything. I rebuilt the engine the following summer and more or less painted it. It was my primary means of transportation. My mother bought be a top for Christmas - I think she was sorry for me driving in the rain with only a tonneau cover and a jacket.
I finally ran out of money and took a year off school to work and save up money. I worked hard and made pretty good money but there always seemed to be work to do on the "A". I had the seats redone. I got a nice paint job. I re-chromed the wire wheels. But I never saved any money.

A year went by and I still didn't have the money for tuition. I did have a really pretty MGA. One summer evening I was driving in Marina Del Rey California sneaking into a party at a Yacht Club when a red Ferrari ran a red light. I tried hard to miss him but I hit him pretty much at the door pillar sideways. that is , I swerved to miss him and hit him side to side. The impact was hard. and it pushed in the passenger side of the MG and pretty well wiped out the driver's side of the Ferrari.

After the dust settled I met the driver to exchange insurance info. I had only liability insurance so he was ok. I would be walking again. The Middle eastern gentleman apologized and said the Ferrari was his but it was better to settle without referring to insurance. he made arrangements to tow the Ferrari and my MG to "his" garage. He asked me to come to his apartment the next day. I thought that was weird but I was young and had never had an accident. So at noon the next day I got a ride over to a really swanky apartment complex. I went to the guys apartment # and was met by three very serious men in dark suits. I was a college kid in shorts and flip flops. I felt very out of place. One of the guys, not the driver, explained that he was terribly sorry for the accident. The Ferrari was repairable but unfortunately my car was not. He went on to say that he knew cars and that mine was well done and worth about 12,000 dollars in his view. I had no idea really but that sounded ok.

The original driver then came to the table with a black briefcase. He opened it and said it had 14,000 dollars in it. The extra was for my trouble. he told me that if I'd sign a release he had with him the money was mine. I signed quickly! and made a rapid exit.

I went on the buy a $200 Motor cycle and paid $13,800 in tuition to finish Engineering school. I still got wet and I still had oil on my clothes. It was a BSA after all. But I finished college and went on to a successful career. I'm still looking for an MGA to restore again. I miss that car.