Why do we own an MGB or any other classic car that does not have a dealer around the corner or a seven-year bumper to bumper warranty?
I ask myself that question often, plus many more. But there is a type love of affair in play that is difficult put into words. I will try to describe this type of relationship and I will include charts, graphs and even videos (No Slide Shows).
Like with every love affair, there are fleeting affairs (one-night stands), short affairs that break-up within a year or two, longer affairs that often don’t make it through the seven-year line and finally, the true love affair that lasts a lifetime. In our MG club there are a few who have owned their cars since they were brand spanking new, the truest of true love affairs. Like my sister and brother-in-law who fell in love in high school and are still very much in love today, about 45 years later.
What differentiates cars from people is that usually a person meets someone and that is where the magic begins. Normally, the love affair develops shortly there after. Of course, there is the odd exception. But with cars it is all over the map. Perhaps as a child your grandfather took you for a ride in a 1949 MG, or for Christmas you received a collection of British dinky toys. In my case, I had an older cousin living in Toronto who would drive down the 401 in a TR6 to visit us in St. Eustache (north of Montreal). That is where I had my first ride in a British sports car. The exhaust, the engine, wooden dash, gages, toggle switches, and no roof. The look and the style won me over. That is where my love affair began. It is different for everyone.
Eventually this led me to own multiple British cars between 1978 to 1983. I owned the following during that time:
- MGB GT
- Triumph Spitfire
- Triumph TR3A
- Austin Mini 1000
- Austin Mini Cooper
- Austin 1300
Eventually I got a “real car”, a Ford Grand Torino.
Thirty-eight years later I find myself with an MGB shaking my head. Especially when I go to the gas station and put $ 68.00 of Super non-ethanol gas into the car. This after going the last three years with an electric Volt that costs me $ 20.00/Month in electricity and the very odd $ 24.00 fill-up (once or twice a month).
I have owned her since July of this year and to date I have put on 3,800 Miles, YES, that’s 6,115 Kilometers in under two months. During that time, I realize that I have fallen in love with her multiple times, almost as much as falling out of love with her.
Types of MGB Love Affairs
First let’s establish the types of love affairs. I have put it into a chart and according to my own chart I have never had a True Love relationship with an MGB, yet.
If you purchase the MGB and after a year or one season decide it is just not for you, then it is a Fleeting Love Affair. Having it for up to three years but then it may either exceed your budget for repairs, break down one too many times or you decided to move on, then this is a short Love Affair.
Those who keep their MGB between three years but after eight years sell it have had a wonderful (hopefully) long Love Affair with their MGB. Often these long love affairs end with trading up in the world, a life change, or a decision to head into a different direction.
The True Love affair is when you know someone and always have known them to own an MGB. Often, they may trade-up, but they always have an MGB. The truest of true love affairs are those people who purchased their MGB from a British Dealer with zero Miles on it and still drive them today.
The Guiding Principles of a MGB Love Affair
How does one start as a fleeting affair, then move into a short affair to a long-term affair and finally into True Love. Yes, there is a chart for that too.
It starts with driving pleasure. This is obvious, if you hate driving the MGB then it will certainly be a fleeting affair. But if you get into the MGB and glance down at the dash, settle into her seats and smile when you notice the analog clock is still telling accurate time, then this is a beginning. You stare at the multitude of gages and toggle switches, always monitoring the temperature and oil pressure. Again, you are being courted by the charms of your MGB.
As you pull the choke and start the engine, your ears perk up and savour the exhaust node behind you as you ignore the possible smell of fumes. If slapping the stick to the left and down to start reverse gets your adrenaline started, then you are a part of the way there. Once on the road you appreciate the view from so very low as you climb up the gears towards your first real corner with a smile on your face and your adrenaline pumping.
When returning home, you don’t hesitate to jack her up and perform some sort of maintenance or repair. These are all tell tale signs that you are experiencing driving pleasure.
In conclusion, Driving pleasure is really overall pleasure of ownership.
ALWAYS LOOK BACK
This is true of every car. They say if you don’t look back to admire her every time, then she has lost her charm. We are not talking about a short look back to make certain you locked the doors, or didn’t park too close to an adjacent car, no we mean looking back and getting that feeling of ownership pride. Something like this:
As you can see by this video demonstration, you can never really just get out of your car and walk away and miss the opportunity to view her in a different light, angle or place.
LIST OF REPAIRS DUE
This includes the list of repairs needed and/or the wish list of things you want done. Often these lists percolate in our heads, often as we sleep. It involves tireless web surfing for parts, solutions on forums and sharing ideas on social media. Again, this enforces your commitment to the relationship that eventually becomes that love affair.
This means that you can still drive and enjoy your car. Obviously if it is having repairs, updates or work performed we would still consider her drivable. When she is not drivable, she is sitting in the driveway or garage in desperate need of repairs that cannot be immediately done due to either lack of parts or budgetary restraints. This throws a damper on the love affair. It does not mean that it will end, but some serious decisions must be made if this is the case. I am sure there is counseling available at your local MG Club or on one of the many forms online. If you want love affair to continue, go seek this type of counseling immediately.
This is where many love affairs hit a rocky road. This is the most dangerous part of the relationship because it overlaps life. Real life decisions such as marriage, children, jobs, travel and many other such decisions can have a detrimental affect on your MGB’s budget.
Every MGB requires a budget. Its either written down or scribed in our heads. How much we can spend to keep her on the road or how much we can spend before its too much. There is always a limit. For example, if you have a MGB worth $ 10,000.00 not restored and you put a $ 12,000.00 paint job on it, is it worth it? Is it better to sell the car for $ 10,000.00 and buy one for $ 16,000.00 with perfect paint and similar mechanics?
There is a reason that most of us hate budgets, governments hate them, families hate them, so MGB owners are no different.
Why would the “Actual Spent” be different than the “Budget”? Have you ever heard of “in for a penny, in for a pound”? This saying is particularly accurate when it comes to repairs and improvements to an MGB. You may start off with a budget but once the repairs begin, and the disassembly process is started, often other unknow issues are exposed. The ones that you did not budget for. I would say that most budgets versus repairs go something like the graph to the right.
Feel free to double click on this one and have a closer look at the numbers. In my experience I am either a very bad budget maker or the MGB has always exceeded my budget for repairs.
I was trying to explain this the other day. There is really bad, bad and good. But when you repair the really bad, the bad becomes really bad and the good becomes bad. This makes no sense, right? Let me explain. My driver’s seat was broken. It tilted left and the cushion was not supportive. I had driven as a passenger while lending my car and going from my really bad seat to the passenger’s seat I found that the passenger’s seat was good. So, I choose to fix the driver’s seat only. The other day I let my son try out the MGB and sat in the passenger seat after sitting in my new cushion and diaphragm seat. Well, to my horror, I sunk down in the middle and realized that this seat was bad. In an instance, it changed form good to bad (possibly really bad) and I have ordered a new cushion and diaphragm for the passenger seat, thereby exceeding my budget.
This does not mean broke as in a broken MGB, but rather broke as in there is no more money left to maintain the MGB either by choice or by reality. In other words, enough is enough! I will not spend one more dime on that car. This does happen, as sad as it may sound.
For the MGB Love Affair to continue, you must continually go around that circle as explained in the Guiding Principles above. If each step is still favorable, then the love affair continues. Once there is a breakdown, the love affair will end. Either you stop looking back, the driving pleasure is not there, its not drivable or your MGB funds are broke. I am at that Fleeting Love Affair stage, and I have to say that I truly do not know where it will lead.
If you have an MGB love affair, let us know what type it is below.