1969 MG B Roadster
I didn't know what to buy after selling the Porsche, I guess I felt like a convertible again as I went to see a Reliant SS1 1600 with a modified engine, suspension improvements and a private plate (SWO and 3 digits). I'd actually seen the car, at the garage I used to get my Porsche repaired. He wanted £3,600 and I offered him £3,000. He went on holiday and after two weeks he rang me to accept my offer but it was to late I had already bought the MGB.
I saw the MGB for £5000 in a local garage and I said I only wanted to pay £3,500, we settled on £3600 (in 1991) and I drove home in a rust free, white, MGB with a new interior and a decent stereo. I was sold the car in the sunshine and it wasn't until I tried to put the roof up that I realised how tatty and old the hood was.
The 1969 MGB, according to the magazines, was the one to own. It was a Mk I with a leather interior, chrome bumpers and wire wheels. It had the modern 12V neg. earth electrics, so none of the starting troubles and dim headlights of the 6V, earlier cars. Mk I MGBs were changing hands for £8,000 in 1988 so I thought I had a bargain. After 3 weeks the 'big end' went and I spent £900 getting a new unleaded engine fitted. I didn't resent spending the money on the car as I felt I had got it for such a good price and the cars bodywork was in such good condition it deserved a new engine. Plus I hadn't realised at that point that I was a sick man who simply couldn't hang on to a car for more than 6 months. My plan was to hold on to the car so only a new roof (£200) was required then the MG would be perfect.
The car sounded great, one of the best exhaust notes I've ever heard. On the move you felt like you were going 100mph, but in reality it was 30mph. The lack of pace and the 27mpg soon made me realise I wasn't in a modern car.
MGB's: Solid, reliable, pretty to look at. Common, slow and the hood on the Mk I is a bit of a fiddle. Buy a Mazda MX-5!
When I bought a house with my girlfriend I found that I wasn't using the MGB for 'day-trips' as much as I did with the TR7. We now spent time working on tye house instead of roaming around the countryside. I decided to sell the car, a trip to Snowdonia made my mind up, I didn't like the motorway drive at all. I saw a Jag for sale for £5,500 it was a basic model, a 2.9, non-metallic paint, no leather or sunroof but it was very new looking and very well priced. I wanted the car but the dealer wasn't interested in my MG as a part-exchange so I put it up for sale.
To my surprise my MG was up for sale for over 7 weeks. The new interior, good stereo, good heater, wooden steering wheel, wire wheels and the reliability of the new engine, I thought people would be queuing to buy it. What made it more of a puzzle was 4 people came to see the car. I was selling it at £4,500ono which I thought was reasonable but none of the visitors were interested. I don't know what kind of MG they were looking for, I guess it didn't help, that when they came, it was always raining and I hadn't replaced that hood.
The car was eventually stolen. It was taken from my drive one night. They broke into Liz's Metro and moved it, in order to get to the MGB. I think the car was 'stolen to order' by somebody who phoned about buying the car. It was never found and it has not been seen since. I received £3900 from the insurance company who took a couple of months to pay out, and of course, the Jag was long gone.
1983 MG Metro 1300
I looked at an Austin Montego 2.0 HLS, it was in a nice metallic blue with electric windows, a sunroof and a stereo, but it didn't have power steering and I thought it would be difficult to sell when I was finished with it. I bought an MG Metro after a recommendation from a friend at work. He reckoned they were fast, fun and economical.
I saw an advert for one in Barnsley for £1,150 (in 1990), I made an offer of £1000 and bought it. It was silver with a black interior, red seat belts, rev counter, alloys and a good heater! It cornered like a go-kart and sounded great after adding a K&N air-filter. My only disappointment was, it was a bit noise on the motorway without a 5th gear.
It was a good car. It was borrowed many times by the lads I shared a house with. One of them owned a milk float (a Cavalier with a dodge battery so he used to charge it up every night) and the other a TR7 which being a two seater wasn't the best car to take a group of friends out for a game of golf. He would borrow the Metro when he needed an extra seat.
The Metro was a reliable car, it had a manual choke, and a single SU carburettor and never failed to start. The steering wheel was small and thou the standard Metro had a reputation of cornering like a barge, the MG was very different. The 75bhp engine had lots of power and only showed its limits on a motorway. The car was great on a rainy winter's day when you wanted to get home from work, which is what I bought it for.
MG Metro: A good, cheap, reliable car which is fun to drive. Watch the rust!
I did up the Metro and advertising it for £900ono. I got £800 for it (after spending £100 getting it an MOT). Luckily I didn't sell it until after I got the Porsche sorted out. I later saw the Metro on its roof at a junction, the new owner must have cornered to quickly and clipped the kerb, I guess.