RUSTEY Rides Again!
I bought my first MGB in 1981, a used 1977 Tahiti Blue roadster from a Glen Ellyn owner. I had no previous knowledge of MG’s or any interest in the marque but needed a work car and wanted a convertible.
I found the 1977 enjoyable and became affiliated with the local owner’s club upon seeking mechanical advice. As my interest in the cars grew, I bought a green 1968 MGB roadster, from a Glen Ellyn seller, with the intent of restoring it as most enthusiasts seemed to feel that pre-1975 cars were more desirable than later models. Before the project could start, I found a 1967 MGB roadster for sale in Glen Ellyn at a very low price; this was in mid 1989.
This car was quite rusted and deteriorated. The seller, Sam Pyne, said that his family had owned many MG’s over the years, had raced them, and also had done all types of mechanical work on the cars but he had now lost interest in MG’s. Because of it’s deteriorated condition, I felt that this car would provide an excellent training ground to teach myself restoration skills before tackling the green car. So I bought it as my 3rd MGB. Sam also threw in extra engines, transmissions, and many other parts – all for $300!
The car quickly came to be known as “Rusty” in the family for obvious reasons. I started working on this car soon but my efforts waxed and waned for several years, with the final completion not occurring until (about) 1998. In the early 1990’s I put my efforts into an entirely different project car - a 1978 MGB with a Buick V8 engine – which I still have; as this project progressed, Rusty went on the back burner.
In 1993, I bought the Merlin Muffler Shop franchise in Naperville, IL. “Rusty” stayed behind in my driveway for several years until, in 1997, I acquired another 1967 MGB that was being scrapped by the owner (the John Gault car). The availability of the John Gault car encouraged me to re-think my attitude toward “Rusty” which was languishing in my driveway: the John Gault car had a recently rebuilt engine along with other good condition parts and could be used as a donor for completing work on “Rusty”. With an infusion of cost-free parts, money could be spent on paint, etc. I made a commitment to finish work on “Rusty” at a good level of quality. I was able to buy many new parts at good prices because of owning the Merlin shop; I was also able to perform work there that would not be possible in my driveway. Now work progressed quickly, and the car was on the road by late 1998. It also acquired the Illinois vanity plate “RUSTEY” at this time.
RUSTEY was repainted at this time from his original color of “Mineral Blue”; the color ordered was “Tartan Red” but the painter may have substituted a similar shade. The paint type is “base coat – clear coat”. Rust’s original Mineral Blue color can still be seen behind the radio speaker console.
RUSTEY was driven occasionally until I sold the Merlin shop in late 2000; he went into an enclosed storage facility for several years and was driven occasionally between 2004 and late 2006. RUSTEY participated in the Lincoln Highway re-enactment in 2006 and also went to the club camping event at Road America that same year. He was then stored again indoors until mid 2013.
At about that time, I decided to scale back on my “collection” (or should I say “accumulation”?) of MG’s and advised my family members that RUSTEY was available for new ownership. My daughter, Amy, spoke up quickly.