Falling Again for my Second Love

I’d like to share a story with you. I wish I had a great one. I am just a middle age (48) father of two loving daughters with a desire to have some fun. My first MGB was a 1976 I bought when I graduated Penn State in 1989. I loved that car and my friend and I disassembled it and painted it. My wife of 23 years said it was the  reason she went out with me on our first date! When we got married I had a choice of keeping my 64 Dodge Dart or my MGB. I always drove the Dodge when my MG was broken down. To my great regret I kept the Dodge.

After 15 years of marriage, two children and pining and dreaming for my lost MGB, one presented itself. I bought it from people I knew. The husband of a work associate. He said he would not sell it in the paper and wanted it to go to a good home. He knew how much I missed my former MG from stories I had told him. He offered to sell it to me for what he paid for it 10 years prior! His main concern was to see it taken care of. He had recently had back surgery and knew he could never get in and out of it like before.

My new MGB was my 15-year anniversary present. And with the support of my wife, I was in love even more than before! This is a 1978 MGB. No more wire wheels to bend on pot holes, and it came with the factory original hardtop. In the 8 years since I bought it I have replaced, one at a time, any part that had a blemish or flaw. I had the original paint matched to the engine compartment, and it goes without saying dropped a bunch into this 38 year old car.

I think for me, the fun in any project has always been the labor itself. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling it for something like a used BMW Z series (fast , reliable, automatic for my wife), but couldn’t do it. My girls and their friends have always loved the car, taken it in numerous parades and on day trips. I drive it locally all the time. It likes to be run better much more than sitting. For the last four years the girls have taken turns going with me to the Philadelphia MG show at Strawberry Square, PA.

My all-time favorite thing I do with the MGB is take it on a yearly wine weekend with my first love, my wife, to Watkins Glenn, New York. We are only about three hours away. For a mere $20 you can drive your car, any car, on the Watkins Glenn Race Track called Thunder Road. We’ve done this every year for the past five years. My wife takes me to wineries and she goes on the track with me! What a track to experience shifting and cornering!

As I mentioned before I had thought about selling out. However, the Moss Motoring Challenge has confirmed and deepened my love for the MGB. The Challenge has also given me some very special father-daughter time for each of my daughters as we have plotted many different trips. A days adventure, a promise of a good meal out, and time to talk. In the middle of this, right now,  I am down and out getting a new clutch, rear main seal, and transmission seal. It should be done next week! We can’t wait to get started again! We don’t have great aspirations of winning after reading about all the others in this challenge, but we do hope for at least a fifty dollar prize, but who knows?! The tee shirts will be awesome.

I live in rural central PA. There is one great guy (Sports Car Haven, Danville, PA) who has become a great friend and mechanic for us. There are no MG clubs within a hundred miles of us and I only know of four people within 30 miles of us that have MGs (that actually  drive them anyhow). My mechanic has quite a collection and enjoys spending time talking to me. I am a high school teacher, and my best car conversations come driving to school once in a while and being able to explain to my students what a MG is, what the name stands for and answering questions. Each year I have a new captive audience. *Grin* I am so thrilled to have a ‘mission’ purpose for the this year. It is like a renewal of vows, so to speak with my second love.

By Steve Ritter

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'Falling Again for my Second Love' has 1 comment

  1. April 8, 2014 @ 11:56 am Bacardi DeNoie

    Hi Steve,
    I enjoyed your story – I have a 57 MGA that I bought in 1967 and have driven (between repairs) ever since. I live in Honesdale,PA and used to belong to the NEPA British Car Club out of Scranton. Are you going to Watkins Glenn this year for the MG races?


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