David Noonan 1971 MGB

A long story shortened: I took Mechanical Engineering at the University of Rochester in NY, graduated ’64, a year I bought my first British roadster, a ’64 Triumph Spitfire, a really-dumbed-down model hoping to snag poor guys like me, which it did - $2100 new, traded in my VW bug for $1100, so affordable. Gave it to my brother when I went in the Peace Corps, bought a used Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT in Italy on the  way home. Married in ’68, moved to LA, 2 daughters. Bought and restored a ’65 Datsun Fair Lady, an unabashed knock-off of the MG with 2 SU-like piston carburetors. Loved the car, but it almost killed me when a woman in an Olds pulled out in front of me when I was going 35 – had a lap belt on which kept the injuries to 3 broken ribs, a shattered tooth, and a hundred plus stitches from hitting the non-ergonomic roof latch….but the biggest tragedy was the loss of the car….

 

A divorce, kids moved back east in ’73, I ditched everything in California and followed them. Bought the ’71 MGB in Syracuse in June of ’74 from a guy who almost  cried as he sold it to buy a station wagon for himself and his pregnant wife. Broke at the time, I drove it just that one winter, though I had it Zeibarted, a rustproofing application popular back then (which proved almost ineffective). In 1977 I moved to Ohio with the B in the back of a semi, and settled in June of ’77 in the same home we live in now (though it’s almost twice as big now….). I say “we” as I married Susan in 1976, and we raised her 2 boys and my 2 girls in West Chester, where all 4 of them learned to drive in the MG. We later raised 2 granddaughters, and attempts to teach them to drive the MG were futile as by then, all cars were automatic, or practically all. Next month my 14-year-old grandson will be here and I plan to let him drive the MG in some big empty lots……

 

The MG adventures I’ve had on the road would take too long to recount. I bought it with 11,000 miles; at 21,000 miles, a piston broke and a friend and I replaced the engine with a rebuild that’s still running well at 85,000 miles. We left out one little square 6” gasket, convincing ourselves that it was a redundant seal (hah!), so in the spirit of recalling Lucas (the inventor of the intermittent wiper), let’s just say I helped invent the world’s first automatically self-changing oil……..always a lot of garage spots after a summer of driving, when I take it to the same barn I have for almost its whole life, 5+ miles away, where the owners take very good winter care of it. It was originally owned by two interesting brothers, both living into their ‘90’s, the younger a pilot who built his own plane, an inventor, and the older a concert pianist and a draftsman….

 

So in addition to the engine replacement, I’ve replaced the transmission, about 8 starters, 4 alternators, several water pumps, several brake and clutch master cylinders, and had the entire car stripped to the metal a few years back, had several necessary patch panels welded in, then painted and reupholstered. Not a show car guy, so I’ve installed a Chinese-made radio which works great, and for the most part, I’m as happy as anyone can be tooling around our many country roads in the summer. I have an expensive “work” car (I’m an industrial real estate broker, still very engaged) but mostly in the summer, when I go to look at buildings, I fire up the MG, always with my lifeline cell phone, as you never know…..and you’ll see, there’s a companion Mazda Miata in the garage, another summer-only car, for Susan, who got sick of being stranded in the MG…….wonder why?