A Family Affair

By Wiley Davis

Riding the bus home wasn’t cool. Getting picked up was much better. A minivan would do, plenty of room. A sedan wasn’t so bad either, much better than the bus. There are, of course, ideal situations that can bend the inclinations of an impressionable child, causing them to make totally irrational decisions later in life. Getting picked up after school in a British roadster is just such an ideal. It’s a sunny afternoon and while the other kids are piling into neglected Dodge Caravans, you are hopping into your father’s 1972 MGB. It’s enough to permanently skew any kid into thinking that a British automobile would make a perfect first car.


Sarah Johnson was skewed in just such a way. When her father, David Johnson, bought his MGB, he was following in his father’s footsteps. At the age of 62, Jerry Johnson bought a 1973 MGB with an improper grille. He was too old for this to be considered a mid-life crisis, but considered himself much too young for a Caprice Classic.

David, meanwhile, under the guise of “my wife wants a roadster,” went shopping for something British and convertible. After scouring the classifieds, he located a Bugeye Sprite in excellent condition. A rudimentary inspection, however, revealed a complication. David, you see, is over six feet tall. He didn’t fit in the car. Some folks at this point, would say, “Hey man, wasn’t this supposed to be a car for your wife?” Perhaps, in the interest of marital harmony, they decided to find a car suitable for the both of them. What they eventually found was a 1972 MGB with a proper grille.


All of this historical meandering, of course, brings us right back to where we started, Sarah Johnson. She is the most recent stop in this familial British automobile saga. Before she could drive, the search for a car began. Never once questioning their judgment, the Johnson family eventually located a 1980 MGB with 68,000 miles on the odometer. The car had been owned by a string of three ministers. This, quite obviously, was an indicator of a good buy. Heaven-sent, one could say if so inclined. After a few driving education lessons involving the use of a clutch and manual transmission, Sarah Johnson was in the fold, a die-hard British car-owning lunatic. Insane and loyal. The envy of all the kids as they look out from dusty mini van windows.


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