MG-“X” – “On The Road Again (Again)!”
This story is about one of my cars, and the title of this piece will become apparent as you read on.
I bought my first MGB in the spring of 1981, a Tahiti Blue 1977 model with very low miles (I thought) and a pristine history (I thought). My earlier youthful background had been with muscle cars so I was a little wary of owning a “foreign car” but, as a longtime convertible fan, I took the bait after just one test ride. The car was used for daily commuting for several years but had developed an exasperating mechanical problem: it would just stop running at random times. This phenomena defied all traditional analysis and shade-tree investigation. After much frustration, I turned to the Chicago Chapter AMGBA recruiting flyer that came with the car. It said: “MG – On the Road Again”; clearly, this was what I needed: assistance from someone who had already discerned my circumstance as evidenced by the flyer title.
A call to the phone number brought the answer to my problem; Pat Amerena said: “All the factory ignitions have been recalled – go to any parts store for a free warranty replacement”. So I went to a shop on North Ave, near Mack’s, named “EconoParts” (still have the ticket) and, by golly, he was right! The counter man said: “Sign here” and gave me a box with a replacement electronic ignition with no charge to me. This is great, I thought, wonder what else these MG guys can help with.
So I went to a few club meetings, and began to enjoy driving the car
now that the fear of an unscheduled stop was behind me. Being a muscle car guy, I was unfamiliar with “foreign car” stuff like rallies, tours, and gymkhanas (muscle cars mostly go straight) and the car became well known in club circles. At about this time, vanity plates were introduced in Illinois and a fellow club member (Mahlon Hillard) latched onto the Illinois plate MGB (which is now held by someone else). I was right behind him in good luck and acquired Illinois vanity plate X MGB X; this car has since been referred to in my family as “MG-X”.
After many fun adventures in MG-X, including road trips to AMGBA conventions in New York and Atlanta, numerous autocrosses at the old Utica track, and an around-the-lake endurance rally, it was time for a restoration and rebuild. This work started in early 2000. It included replacing floor pans, rockers, and other sheet metal. A discount paint job was procured. And then, before finishing the work, the car was put into storage in late 2000 where it stayed for almost 10 years.