So here I am sitting in the "East Wing" while out side in the cold the little fellow is waiting ever so patiently to start another adventure. As I sit, I am caught up in the idea of how long the little fellow has been with us. Between here and in Europe he, we, have traveled about the distance it would take one to go to the moon and back. Well, with the miles on it now it's on the way back.
This tale is not about the gee whiz maintenance or the neat ways to soup up the little fellow, or even about a visit to all the places he has taken us in the 295,084 plus miles that we have run up together. This is about what it took to get us there and with all due respect to the great adventurer, Eddie McGowen, the normal stress and strain of the miles logged on my mechanical friend have been nothing short of an adventure in the 18 years that we have been together. But then all our drives in our MGs are adventures aren't they? No engine failure, no brake failure, no fear.
I acquired the old fellow with 56K on him and the previous owner did not take care of him as he should have....he was in the fringe medicine industry and he was of the opinion that if you poured oil ON the engine some of it would get to the right places and do something or other to the "things" in there. Also that philosophy went for the gear box and rear dif as well. So now it's mine and in 1979 we started to get used to each other.
Mind you this car was/is driven every day as and whenever necessary. It wasn't one of those cute things that gets put under a silk dust cover and kept from the unfriendly elements and only brought forth in the sun for the adoring public to fawn over and its owner to puff out the chest in pride as if to say "look what I have and you don't". It was bought to be driven and it gets driven! Awards be damned let's move on down the road!
If you, dear reader, followed my adventures in this magazine then you know all about my life with my mechanical friend. So here is what it takes to get to the moon and back with an MGB and I am sure that if you have something older or newer it could take approximately the same items...of course we must stretch the imagination slightly by agreeing to the road surfaces, air, fuel availability and repair shops that cater to us along the way. And of course dealing with real life.
Major Items Replaced over 300,000 miles:
- 2 bored/balanced engines including the original sicko that started out with me.
- 3 complete clutches and that depends on the way you drive.
- 4 to 5 radiators, of course you can have the same one recored.
- 8 sets of brakes and that could vary with the way you stop.
- 6 sets of quality 50,000 mile tires, balanced every 10/20K miles.
- 4 sets of wheel bearings, and if you forget the shims you will need more.
- 4 fuel pumps. They all worked well just wore out.
- 3 windshields (windscreens) depending on who is on the same road in front or if the punk just like to toss a rock now and then and always the pot hole in your town/village that never gets fixed and you hit it while it's full of water.
- 2 sets of head lights (if you are lucky)
- 10 sets of windshield wiper blades
- 3 sets of wiper arms
- 2 heater cores, remember we are traveling through all seasons on our adventure
- 4 exhaust systems including the original then move on to header and the gee whiz stuff although stainless steel would most likely go the limit.
- 2 ignitions systems, after the original bellied up, we went to the electronic - so far so good.
- 2 sets of calipers
- 4 sets of rotors
- 4 wheel cylinder kits until the cylinders were honed as much as possible then replacement
- 2 complete SU rebuild kits and 1 complete Webber rebuilt kit (I switched carbs)
- 2 sets of adjusters
- 2 sets of rear springs
- 3 sets of front springs(I don't know why) that road is not always that smooth.
- 2 radio antennas (the punks again).
- 1 hardtop (fiberglass) and lined with stuff to keep out the noise.
- 2 original body rebuilds (all the seasons take their toll) and heavy rustproofing.
And now for the Odds and Ends...
Keep in mind that 295,000 plus miles took the car twenty five years to accumulate and I was out of the picture until seven years had passed. From then on seat covers, door panels wiring here and there for radios, speakers, road lights and theft proofing all got done in its own time.
Our road to the "moon" was fraught with traffic, hazards, weather, dirt, other drivers that were not as nice as me. All this time jobs (employment) needed to be done, family to attend to, MGOC needed to be joined and all those things that alter and illuminate our lives came into play and were dealt with. The occasional Red Setter rode the passenger seat as did little people (grandchildren not leprechauns) and a myriad of others, great, near great and wanabees.
The miles that have been put on the MG is a story of individuals, machine and human interaction in life and it has been good. There will come a time when I will have to put the old friend away and possibly pass it on to one of those "little people" that is starting to get taller with the passing of each summer and those summers are passing quicker for me and slower for the future driver... they say.
So reader here we are in the present on the return leg of the trip to the moon and back and all that has happened in between the first turn of the key and the present makes for a rich life abundant in gifts for the soul. Happy motoring fellow traveler.
- Jerry Harrington