“What the heck is that?” a pedestrian on the corner yelled out. I grinned and introduced my ’63 MGB, a car that’s twice my age.
British cars were never completely foreign to me. My dad had a really awesome E-Type. He was a huge British car nut ever since he bought a 1965 Spitfire at age fifteen. Through college, he drove MGBs and Healeys.
I loved the Jag as a kid, always wanted to go for rides in it. He sold it in 2000 due to excessive tappet noise—the motor was getting tired. I think he thought he threw in the towel forever. But when I started looking at my dad’s pictures from college I thought, hey, why don’t I get an MG? I can afford that!
In July 2008, at the ripe age of 20, I purchased a late MGB. Being mechanically inclined, I did the work myself. Original style parts only—I’m a hard line “showroom condition” guy. It turned out to be a great car. I had a ton of fun and I really cut my teeth on it. Bleeding brakes, tracing electrical problems, setting the timing—basic stuff, but fascinating to be exposed to the first time.
The car blew a head gasket, so we decided to lay it up and start working on it. In the meantime, I was exposed to a few more British cars: a TR4A, Series 2 E-Type, Jag D-Type replica, Austin-Healey 3000 … an identity crisis in the making. Which of these cars did I love the most? At the end of the day I kept coming back to the MGB. There’s just something about the shape, the unibody construction, the styling, the venerable B-Series motor. You feel a connection to it. Even in modern times it still holds its own. It’s a love affair. It’s in my blood. Who knows, maybe there’s a tattoo in my future?
In the fall of 2011, I developed an intense itch for a very, very early MGB … and I found the Holy Grail: 1963. Red. California car. Original. Gorgeous. My standards have been raised. This is as close as I’ve come to having a serious girlfriend yet.
I’m pretty sure if I were in any other class of vehicles I wouldn’t be a car nut. There’s just something really special about an MG. From Lucas electrics, to Girling hydraulics, to SU carburetors—the cars are just too cool. Any guy or girl my age can do it—I promise! It’s not hard to keep the carbs in tune and the generator charging. You’ll be unique. Your friends will think you’ve got a screw loose, but who cares. These are truly the greatest cars out there, and they always will be for me.
By Royal Lichter