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theAutoist
MG Museum

People who visit my garage sometimes ask,
"Are you NUTS? What th'  %$#@  are you trying to do?" 
Well, the answer is simple (at least to me)...


MY MISSION:

    
    To celebrate and enhance the rich heritage of MG automobiles    
and show their cultural contributions by collecting
a complete set of each 'type' car built since WWII.

 

By 'a complete set',
I mean:
          
an MG-T series,
all 3 large MG saloons & the small MG sports sedan, 
an MGA roadster & coupe,
both a chrome bumper MGB roadster & MGB GT,
both a rubber bumper MGB roadster & MGB GT,
a rubber and a chrome bumper Midget,
an MGC roadster & MGC GT,
and an MGB LE.


...at a minimum!

So, To that end...

...there are 19 MG's
 
who reside permanently in my collection
 (in addition to a motorcycle & 4 mystery cars).

    
NO! - NO! - NO! 

NONE OF THESE CARS ARE FOR SALE! 
   
  NOT TODAY!

 NOT TOMORROW!

   NOT UNTIL I'M 6 FEET UNDER GROUND! 
 
&, THEN MAYBE NEVER*!

(*especially as I have a grandson to whom I can leave them.)

NO! - NO! - NO!  
  


So, here are photos and overviews of my collection:

 

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1953 SEQUOIA CREAM MG TD (#27874) 
        Around 2000, a friend told me about a little MG TD languishing in a garage in a nearby town.  Apparently, the car had been the object of an "on again-off again" restoration over the last 20 or so years.  But, when contacted, the owner politely refused my interest in buying or even looking at the car.  
        Then one day several months later--out of the blue--he left a message on my answering machine.  I had almost forgotten about the little car but talking with him refreshed my memory.  So, we set up an appointment for me to see it.  When I got to his house, I found a car that has had its drive train & suspension completely rebuilt (0 miles), a new leather interior, the dash & steering wheel reworked, and all wood in the body professionally replaced during the "body off" restoration that included black lacquer paint that's never been buffed.  The fenders & running boards are off the car & ready for paint, and the windshield, new top & top bows are ready for installation.  There's also a complete set of Whitworth tools & manuals, boxes & boxes of pieces & parts, and a guy who had checked me out to see if I was a "proper caretaker" for the little car.  
        We agreed on a price & it's now a permanent part of my museum.
        ...& its body restoration is documented here: bodyshop .

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1956 MG ZB MAGNETTE
        Answering machines are great things.  Mine brings me all kinds of good news.  Recently, John Allison of Ft. Pierce, Florida left a message saying he wanted to sell a Magnette he had owned for 15 years.  When I returned his call, I learned the car, originally from California, was stored in a barn in Sollsbury, Indiana.  
        We quickly planned a trip & we set off to see what we could see.  To say the least, we bought her on a Friday & on Saturday entered her in the 6th Annual British Car Day on the River show in Newburgh, Indiana where she took first place in class. 
 
01.jpg (153476 bytes) 02.jpg (143051 bytes) 1959 MGA 1500 COUPE
        I've been looking for an MGA Coupe for a long time.  A friend on the internet sent me a Craig's List ad for one available in Phoenix.  So, I hopped an early morning flight, inspected & bought it, and caught the redeye home.  A couple of weeks later, it was delivered to me and is now resting in my garage next to its brother, my '59 MGA roadster.  When I get to it, I'll do a frame-off of both MGAA's at the same time.  This one was originally an unusual coupe-only blue with a gray interior.  It'll go back that way.

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1959 MGA 1500
        When I found this car in 1997, it had been sitting in an airport hangar since 1971.  I finally purchased it in 1998 & towed it home where its been sitting ever since.  
        On the way home, I decided to see what would happen. Turning the key and popping the clutch caused the engine to come to life!  It ran; wouldn't stop itself, but it ran!  The body is solid with no rust though the previous owner covered the wooden floors with aircraft sheet metal. The wires are solid and straight and the side curtains are there and in pretty good shape.  
        If I ever completely retire, this and my MGA Coupe will be my "old guy" projects.  When I do get around to restoring it, it'll go back its original Red.

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1960 BLACK MkIII FARINA MAGNETTE
        "Hey, Tony, check out eBay!"  Thanks, Chuck.  Si, I put down a deposit on another car and headed to Wichita, Kansas early in June 2003 to pick it up.  She runs but needs lots of TLC after sitting in a warehouse for a while.  She's ugly - but rare.  Only about 800 to 900 of these were imported to the US.        
mg1100003.jpg (22542 bytes) mg1100002.jpg (19282 bytes)   1963 STEEL GRAY MG1100 2-door SPORTS SEDAN
        In 1990, I became the 2d owner of this little car that was purchased new from Joe Engle in Kansas City. The car only has 62,000 miles and mechanically is original and perfect.  It has both the very rare dealer fiberglass hood (the one with a Plexiglas viewing area) and original steel hood, both painted to match the body.  The body has been sprayed with BL factory lacquer paint, and the interior completely redone.          
        My memories of the battle to purchase this little car can be found in my "Memories" section.
63blackmgb001.jpg (58627 bytes)  63blackmgb002.jpg (48895 bytes)    1963 BLACK MGB
        Some years ago, in my wanderings, I dropped by a local auto restorer's shop to see what he was working on.  Among the exotics was a little MkI MGB that was getting a show-class paint job.  She was a beautiful little black, pull handle, 2-owner car that was being lavished with the best of everything.  I immediately forgot about her.
        Then, a couple of years later, a friend told me about a local artist who had an MG that he might need to sell.  I tracked him down, and found the little black '63 stored in his garage.  Seems he brought it home from the body shop, rebuilt the suspension, had all the engine machine work done, did the artist's thing on the dash, and then received a DUI that was imposing some financial restraints on the restoration. 
        He bought her in 1971 from the original owner  with 60,000 documented miles on the clock, and put another 350,000 documented miles on her before he decided a full restoration was needed (Yes! 350,000 miles!).  During the process. he accumulated boxes and boxes of new parts to include new crankshaft, pistons, cam, every gear in the tranny, wiring harness, chrome, rubber, etc.  We parted with my offer to "take it off his hands" if he ever decided to sell.   And, I immediately forgot about her.
        Then, several months later - out of the blue - I got a phone call that he might consider selling her.  Within an hour I was at his house.  We talked, and talked, and talked; but, nothing was confirmed except that he wanted in the high 5-figures range; appropriate if the restoration was finished but not right for a partially disassembled car.  I made him what I thought was a fair offer based on the reassembly required; and, once again, immediately forgot about her.
        Sunday, 10 Feb 02, we talked again and he accepted my offer!  So, Monday I went by to pay for her but he was too emotionally attached to let her go.  We talked and talked and talked about her and their travels together (skiing in Colorado, coast trips in the summer, etc.), but I didn't get to own her.  That evening we talked about her again on the phone, and he made the final decision to part with her.  
        Today, she's in my garage under a cover - with her 3rd and final owner!  Oh, she's being converted to a right hand drive car!  And I've installed a black factory 'Works' hardtop on her & have an overdrive transmission for her..
 P6270259.JPG (132744 bytes) 63midget004.JPG (82774 bytes) 63midget002.JPG (48849 bytes) 63midget003.JPG (60883 bytes) 1963 TARTAN RED MkI MIDGET
        By the time Lyndon Akins acquired the little car in May 1983, it had gone through 9 owners since Lakeland Motors of Knoxville, TN sold it new to Charles Witt.  I know this because, as part of his restoration of the car, Lyn researched the car's history and collected copies of every title issued on it.  The little car had, luckily, spent its entire life in the Knoxville area and was virtually original when he bought it.
        A letter from the original owner to Lyn states:
           
"The car was purchased from Lakeland Motors in Knoxville....new and titled as a 1964 model.  However, that was a time when government regulations were not as strict, and if there was no essential change in the car, the dealer could classify it as a new model around October....Original color was red and the interior was black....I don't have any photos, but the one you enclosed is exactly as I remember it."
          When
Lyn & I started discussing the car, he had married (he proposed to his wife in the little car), and had a 5 year old daughter.  To complete the transfer of ownership, Lyn took his wife & daughter out of town on a camping trip, left them to enjoy the Smokey Mountains, & returned to let the car come home with me.  Talk about an emotional moment!
        She's everything one would expect in a restored and much researched car.  Sweet, solid appearance, zippy handling on curvy, country roads, & just a fun car to look at.  Her interior, side curtains, and bright work are as nice as the day the came off the showroom floor.
        And, she's one of the first MkI Midgets to get front disc brakes! Pull starter, pack-away top, wire wheels, no outside door handles, single master cylinder for brakes & clutch, 1098 engine.  Its just a blast from the past to drive her.  
      Right now she's undergoing a complete  bolt-by-bolt restoration.  The 1st photo above (wth the plane) is of the completed rolling bodyshell.
 101_0941.jpg (409685 bytes) 101_0943.jpg (405089 bytes) 101_0947.jpg (474598 bytes) 1964 TARTAN RED MkII MIDGET
      A friend alerted me to this little car that was advertised on Atlanta's craigslist.  A quick trip over to northeast Georgia on the day before Veterans Day culminated in it becoming a permanent member of my collection.
      The last time it was on the road was in 1994 and then as an RV 'dingy' meaning it was towed behind an RV.
 67GT.jpg (25294 bytes) 1967 TARTAN RED MGB GT
        This is probably my favorite car to drive.  Its an almost perfect, original little wire wheeled, red GT I found in 1998 in Madison, Alabama.  The black with red piping leather interior is perfect.  The exterior paint shows some parking lot dings but the body is straight and rust free, and the mechanics are strong.  
        About all I can say about this little car is that it is sooo much fun to drive!
decals03.JPG (92017 bytes) grmengine03.JPG (65499 bytes) 1968 CITRON MGB GT
        I've had this old GT sitting around for a long time.  It really wasn't a parts car but it wasn't one that anybody was knocking my door down to buy either.  So, I've turned it into an SCCA E Modified autocross car.  We started its restoration focusing on the Grassroots Motorsports Kumho 2005 Challenge but it will end up being a 2006 car.  We've really changed it quite a bit.  From the Chevrolet 3.4 liter V6 engine to putting it on a serious diet (down to 1700 pounds) to Lexan windows and gutted interior.  This is going to be a fun car to drive.  You can follow its build by clicking on my Racing section.
greenmgc002.jpg (44259 bytes)greenmgc003.jpg (38955 bytes) 1968 BRITISH RACING GREEN MGC
        Another phone call.  Another car added to the collection.  And, again, with the help of a member of my local car club.  This 1968 MGC has only 77,000 original miles.  I got it from its 2nd owner (he bought it from his uncle when it was 5 years old).  Wire wheels, beautiful black w/white piping leather seats and a rebuilt engine make this the MGC I've been waiting on.  Only thing is the color: Snowberry White.  Though original, I don't need another white car.  And, I've always wanted a Dark British Racing Green MGC.  So, since that color was correct for the year and interior trim, she's disassembled and in the body shop.  You can follow her restoration in My Garage section; however, its going to be an "on again, off again" thing as I'll only work on her after a couple other cars are finished.  She also has a black factory 'Works' hardtop & overdrive transmission..
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        Friends.  Man, they're great.  A buddy of mine turned me onto this little gem.  She's far from perfect; but has an [b]Automatic transmission - one of 484 sent to North America![/b]  Wire wheels.  Been sitting in a basement for 23 years.  Solid, straight, rust free body; dash pad & steering wheel are excellent.  Actually, she says 79,xxx miles & I almost believe that's original.
        In the Fall of 2000, we acquired this solid little car from the Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Alabama.  It was his daily driver that he was prepping for restoration to its original glory.  He is a perfectionist.  The photos are of the car immediately before he started disassembly.  He felt it wasn't good enough (in actuality, it was in as good if not better shape than most on the road today!).  
        The body has now been stripped, sandblasted, and painted in Glacier White.  Once reassembled with black interior & overdrive transmission, it will become Jerri's "Little British Car."

        Women! Can you believe 'em? I've been married to Jerri for 30+ years.  I've owned MG's furing our entire relationship.  She's never gotten excited about them.  Heck, so far as I can remember, she's never even asked to drive one of them.
        Then, out of the clear, she decided she wanted the little 1970 MGB GT! 

        I don't know what caught her eye with this particular little car but, before we could complete the return trip from Tuscaloosa with it, she had made it her personal Saturday afternoon "go to the grocery store car," and was making plans for its restoration.  And, she had some definite plans for the little car.
        She wanted it to be Glacier White car with black interior. She didn't want air conditioning or a sunroof but was adamant about keeping the wire wheels.  Very quickly, I saw that this car didn't have to remain original, and that its rebuild could be fun.  
74Midget.jpg (28124 bytes)   1974 BLAZE MG MIDGET
        I'm the 3rd owner of this little red 51,000 original mile car that's only in my collection as a representative of the Midget.  Its too small for me to drive comfortably, but an MG collection isn't complete unless it has at least 1 Midget & this round wheel arch example is a rare little thing.
        An acquaintance of my wife kept the little car in her garage from when she purchased it in 1978 with 34,000 miles until her daughter came of driving age.  Rather than allow her daughter to drive it, she sold it to me and bought her daughter a Japanese car (go figure!).  
       My wife is proud of this car as she found it for me (see guys, wives are important to have around-just kidding ladies!).
RubberGT.jpg (28378 bytes) 1974 BLAZE MGB GT
        I've wanted a rubber bumper MGB GT since I first saw one in England in 1975 when I was a lowly Lieutenant in the Army.  It took me until 1999 to find a rust free, air conditioned car that I wanted to keep, and it was less than 25 miles from my house!   Remember, there were only 1274 of these cars imported to North America.
        As with anything in my life, there's a story:  John Hubbard, a friend in Pensacola, Florida (I call him a friend, but he got me started building this d*# web site) alerted me to a car being offered for sale on eBay.com. I contacted the owner and asked what price he would need to close the auction.  His reserve was fair so the car came home with me.  
        While its not perfect, it will be easy to bring back to its original condition.  As the urge hits me, I work on it.  So far, I've repainted it, rebuilt the carbs, repaired the wiring harness and installed new OE cloth upholstery.
77yellowmidget002.jpg (25360 bytes) midgettop.jpg (39241 bytes) 1977 CHARTREUSE YELLOW MIDGET
        Early in 2001, at a meeting of the North Alabama British Motoring Society, our president announced that he had been contacted by a guy who had "an old Midget that's been sitting in a barn for 6 -8 years, and just wants to get rid of it."  Well, I took his number & tracked him down.  When I opened the barn, under years of mud, dirt, bird droppings, et. al. was the little Midget.  I figured if nothing else it was a good parts car, so I bought it.  On the way home, I spent about $10 at a car wash getting through the years of gunk down to the body.  "Hmmm, looks pretty straight; don't see any rust.  Better study this one real close."  
        What did I find?  A perfectly original (except for the wheels & a one-barrel Solex), never been wrecked or repainted, rust free, low mileage, excellent interior KEEPER!!!   Since I purchased it, I've also acquired a factory 'Works' hardtop for the little car.   
        This is "my baby".  She's been with me forever, and is permanently retired from the road with the original 96,000 miles I drove her.  She has overdrive transmission, wire wheels, luggage rack, and a factory hardtop (that we've recently painted Vermillion).  When I decided to retire her in 1995 I splurged and had a complete new paint job sprayed over her stripped body shell.  Everything else about her is original and just as it came out of the factory.
        Today, however, she's been revived and served as the 'dinghy' behind our 1995 Airstream Land Yacht LE motor home when we spent 6 months touring Alaska and Canada.  Plus, she's my "car of choice" on those wonderful north Alabama summer afternoons!
        A friend restored this little British car in 1995 and shortly afterwards allowed his wife to drive it!  She proceeded to ram it under a truck.  I came home from a weekend trip, and found it sitting in my drive with a note telling me to bring him a check.  I did!   After a new front fender and hood with a complete body respray by the students at the local high school body shop (6 years ago!), it replaced "my baby" as a daily driver.  First, however, I had to remove its air conditioning.  Then, I had to systematically make it unique.
       
The car is a constant work-in-progress.  Right now, she's receiving a Rover 4.0 V8 transplant.  To see the new specifications, go to V8.


PLUS, every British car nut needs at least 1 British motorcycle,
so..........

 

  tot1.jpg (144604 bytes) tot2.jpg (133384 bytes) tot3.jpg (119474 bytes)  1972 NORTON 750 COMMANDO
        About 5 or 6 years ago, Jerri asked me to sell my Norton because she felt I was getting a bit too old to ride. 
        Well, whadda ya gonna do?
        Ever since the moment it pulled out of my driveway, I've regretted that decision.  And, I think so has Jerri.  Though she never gets on a bike with me, she understood what selling that bike meant.  And, I've looked for another since.  
        Well, eBay is a great thing!  Just up the road in Lynnville, TN was a guy selling the exact bike I wanted, another Norton.  Interestingly, I had decided to buy a BMW bike because I thought I'd never find another Norton.  Jerri suggested I wait.  Then, out of the blue, there it was: 1972 Norton 750 Commando.
        So, its mine - forever!  Now, the fun of putting it back in 'original' condition.
        The photos were taken immediately after I finished riding in the 2003 Trail of Tears Commemorative Ride.  You can also read about my family ties to the Trail of Tears, go to my Memories section.

Then, 
there are the mystery cars in my collection:

 

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1987 JAGUAR XJ6 - ARCTIC BLUE

.    This one appeared in the Classified Section of the British Car Forum.  It has 37,000 original miles, was always garage kept, and is in mint condition.  Even the Biscuit interior looks like its never been sat upon.  And the original dealer window stickers are in an envelope with every piece of paper on it since new - with the protective covering never taken off the glue used to adheer it to the window.    Jerri drove it on the 2-hour trip home and immediately declared it was hers.

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1985 JAGUAR XJ6 - REGENT GREY METALLIC
       I was out of town recently and when I returned home, there was a message from a friend who owns the local foreign car salvage yard.  Come see me when you get home.  And bring your checkbook." was all the message said.  Knowing Jason had probably found something interesting, I dropped by his place.  He tossed me the keys to the yard where he keeps his "prizes" and said, "You'll figure out what you're buying when you get there."
      Boy, did I!  There it sat, a beautiful Jaguar.  Faded paint and a small dent in the front bumper.  65,000 original little old lady miles!  Seems she tackled the corner of her garage door and her son convinced their insurance company to  settle with his mother as he felt she was too old to continue driving.  Jason knew what it was when he bought it from the insurance company, and he set it aside for me.  Now, with a clear original (not salvage) title, a new bumper and paint to go over the faded original and she's a joy to drive.
      When I brought it home, Jerri asked me what I planned for it.  When I told her I'd probably just keep it around, she let me know real fast that she'd be happy to 'allow me to drive her Jaguar' a couple of times a week!  Oh well.
However - & don't curse me too loudly - the next 3 are German - though 1 actually belongs to my daughter, Shannon, and the other to my wife, Jerri...
web003.jpg (22569 bytes) 1971 RED VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA

      Back in 1987 when our daughter, Shannon, was 14 years old (she's 'hmm-mmh' now), we took a family trip to California.  While driving along in Monterrey one day, Shannon yelled from the backseat, "Dad, STOP!!  There's the car I want!"  Turning around, I saw she was pointing to a little Volkswagen Karmann Ghia sitting in a used car lot.  Well, hello!!  Was this fate injecting its head?
      See, we were living in Fairbanks, Alaska at the time while I was teaching Army ROTC at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  It just happened that every day on my way home from school, I passed a forlorn-looking, abandoned little 1971 Ghia.  When we returned to Alaska from California, I bought the little car (it had the optional gas heater!), and proceeded to restore it from the ground up.
      Then, when Shannon was 16, we were transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  She wouldn't have her car shipped to Kansas because she was afraid they would damage it.  So, at the age of 16, Shannon drove the Alaska Highway in that little Ghia! (Watch out guys, she's a lawyer now!)
      Well, she drove the little Ghia all through high school and off to college, putting about 20,000 miles on the restoration without any trouble. While in college, she conned me out of my 1984 BMW 323i (yep, a European model!), and parked her Ghia under a tarp at her grandmother's house. When we retired to Alabama several years later and brought the little Ghia home, that blue plastic tarp had held years of moisture inside itself, and you know the rest...or should I say RUST...of the story.
      We've now restored the little Ghia's body pan, replacing the floors and all its support beams with galvanized metal along with repairing any rust in the body itself. It's stronger now than when it came out of the factory. We're letting it sit out in the open for a couple of years to see if any rust comes back (it hasn't!). Then, we're going to restore it one more time.
      Someday, Shannon will put it in her garage as she begins her automobile collection!

sun04.JPG (52450 bytes) 1973  BLUE VOLKSWAGEN SEDAN
        Actually, it was my mother-in-law's car from the day it rolled off the showroom floor until my wife, Jerri, inherited it.  With only a few hundred miles over 57,000, its a completely original "radio delete" standard VW sedan.  But, as its been sitting for a few years, we're giving it a complete make-over.  You can read about it at Bug.
...and, there is 1 for when I get in a Teutonic mood:  {"Sagen sie nichts - Ich kenne wo sie leben!"}
 380SL.jpg (24015 bytes) 1982 MANGANESE BROWN MERCEDES BENZ 380SL
        I initially found this low mile car through eBay.com ("I'm selling it because I've gotten to where I only drive it about 800 miles a year," was what got my attention!).  It was living in Bowling Green, KY with less than 80,000 miles on its clock.  It's never seen the inside of a body shop, never been wrecked, and was pampered by the previous owner.  
        Now, this 150,000+ mile example is mint in every way (my local MB dealer brought it back to factory new specs & maintains it according to factory schedules); has the matching hardtop, and the cloth convertible top is factory original.  A new factory original tan leather interior compliments the unusual Coffee Brown exterior color--a standard color for MB's but rarely seen on an SL. 

           

 

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