Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline December 2013
Feature Article

Tales of the Mongrel
My First “Real” Trip to England
(Story 4 of 4 - PRE-Jaguar Heaven)

NOTE: This story is in 4 parts as there is enough material from 30 days in England to do just that. This is Part #4. Well, I lied as it looks like I have enough material here to split this final article into 2!

One night my sister-in-law Sarah mentioned that her ex-boss, Mark Davenport, had an MG and would I like to see it. Of course I said “yes”!

Mark not only had us over but invited us for dinner which was even better!! Mark has done well in business and his house and hobbies show it. After dinner Mark took us out to his garages. There I saw his MG – a 1958 Twin Cam MGA PRX 7-07 especially built for the Rome Liege and Tulip rallies by BMC. He had bought the car from John Gott & Ray Brooks the actual event drivers. The car is very rare, in excellent shape and is an everyday driver as his wife, Rachel, does use it to pick up their daughter from school.

Mark also has a few other cars which include a 1923 3 liter TT Bentley, a 1934 1.5 liter MK II Aston Martin and a 1935 SS 100 3.5 liter Jaguar. His dad wanted him buy a Jaguar and so Mark did just that. His garage is a showplace and the cars are all in everyday driving condition. The Aston Martin and the Jaguar look concourse but Mark takes his wife touring the “continent” with it.

Mark is an enthusiast and when I first heard he had “…an MG”, I thought, isn’t that great. I can never get enough MGBs in any trip to anywhere. Little did I know I was about to get treated to a stable of beautiful cars, three of which I have only seen pictures of before!

Also, little did I know that this euphoria was only the beginning!! The next higher-than-high came in 2 distinct waves. First Mark said, “Let’s take a ride” and so we did………….in his 1923 Bentley!!! Oh my God! I sat in the front seat and Ted (my brother-in-law) climbed in the back. The thing sounds like an M-1 tank and if you view the picture in this article you will note it has a suspension similar to that of a 1880s stage coach. So off we went tooling down narrow English carriage-ways at 40 to 50 MPH. Scary, thrilling, historic, thrilling, and wonderful and did I mention scary. Mark is an excellent driver but he also explained the Bentley can have a mind of its own….especially the steering. Needless to say this was the ride of life time for me.

Did I say this higher-than-high came in 2 phases?? The third “little did I know” came on way to his father’s (David) farm. This was not an ordinary farm. You see David Davenport is the Jaguar Heritage Global Restoration Guru. The real deal, the big enchilada.

~~Ralph Arata    
NEXT: David Davenport’s restoration complex!!

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