My wife and I were married in January of 1960. With the choice of our family car being my 1955 Dodge Sedan or her 1958 MGA Roadster there was no choice. We had participated in many road rallies and driving events with the car, so there was no question which vehicle we would keep. It was off to upstate New York to begin our life as a married couple. Strange things happen and by March of the year we were facing parenthood. As great as MG's are they are not suited for pregnancy and/or a new baby. With heavy hearts the MGA was traded for more practical transportation. We eventually wound up with several of those iconic images of suburban living back then, the station wagon.
Fast forward to 1981, we now lived in Lenexa, KS with three teenage sons. Driving by an old farm house one afternoon, there on the front lawn was an MGA with a For Sale sign on the windscreen. My wife, Barbara, had just come into a small inheritance of $3,000.00 and while there were plenty of other places for the money to go, buying back our past was too much of an opportunity to pass up. After some negotiations the owner agreed to take the three grand. In reality the car was in pieces. It was drivable, just barely. Items like tail lights, the rear bumper and other necessary items came home in our station wagon. After a few months of garage mechanics we were ready for license plates and taking our new prize on the road.
By 1988, however, the engine required a much needed overhaul which far exceeded my expertise and wallet. So, again with regret, the car was parked in the garage of our new home in Shawnee.
Now we jump forward to 2005 with another move, this time to Olathe and no room for the MG. Fortunately by that time our youngest son, Brian, and his wife had purchased a home in Lenexa that had a three car garage. We had the car transported to its new resting place where it sat for another eight years. One day when visiting I noticed that the car was no longer there so asked why. Brian told me he needed the storage space and had it a moved. The answer sounded logical so I gave it no further thought. His Mom, my wife of nearly 52 years, had passed way a year earlier and I had more things on my mind than the car.
Now it's 2013 and I was asked over to Brian's house for dinner. The neighborhood was having a community cook out and I was invited. Lots of interesting cars at the event; a nearby neighbor of Brian's is a car enthusiast, his show car was in the driveway and some of his friends with their cars had come to the event as well. After the burgers and beer a beautiful MGA came up the street and stooped at Brian's driveway. Naturally I went over to take a look. I said something dumb like: "I used to have a car like this." and was told this was my car, now completely restored to better than new condition. Yes, I cried. Brian and his wife, Melissa had orchestrated the renovation.
It's Brian's car now but Dad gets driving privileges as we've taken in a couple of car shows and sometimes just take it out for the sheer joy of driving a classic car.
Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here's the rest of the story. That old farm house where we spotted the car in Lenexa was on 79th street at the head of Noland Road. The owner was Leo Long, who was just starting his British car parts business. That business today is, of course, is Victoria British Ltd.