Way back in 1984 I convinced my wife that the ideal second drive would be a sports car.
She now owns it, and I have the privilege of driving and looking after it. It cost AU$5600, and today it might fetch AU$35,000. Pure speculation: it will never be on the market.
My passion for British sports cars dates back to 1954, when I attended my first ever race meeting at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama.
In those far-off days, ‘sports car’ in Australia was pretty much spelled MG TC. There were examples with ‘Grey Holden’ straight-six motors; some had flathead Henrys.
There was even a rear-engined TC single-seater – it was a very pretty little jigger, too. And most of them went like a bomb for the times.
Eventually, at the age of 21, I bought an MGTD, engine number XPAG4889, and for four years I had great fun in that little black car.
Then in 1984, the 80,000-mile A began its career as my wife’s daily commuter, one of many CKD As that were assembled from parts at Zetland in Sydney.
Ours, a 1622cc Mk2 from 1962, has never been fully restored. It has been a work in progress ever since we became its keepers, but it has been extensively rebuilt and attended to over the years.
All of the outer panels came off the car years ago, and at the same time we painted it Old English White, a colour that suits it well.
One of the things we discovered was that one of the F-posts was sitting on top of the chassis rail, with a wodge of putty keeping it in place. I don’t think there is a spot of tinworm in the car these days
Very early on, the rear dampers became telescopic. It acquired an oil cooler at about the same time, but the cylinder block is original.
The crankshaft is a donation from a Morris Major, the block is out to MGB Mk1 size and everything is balanced. That alone transformed the car: suddenly, it would rev to its maximum without the engine trying to jump out of the frame.
In more recent times, it has scored a brand-new lead-free cylinder head. It runs like new on 98-octane.
The gearbox has had new bits wherever they were needed, whereas the diff has never been touched. The engine needs no top-ups between oil changes.
The front end has recently had a full rebuild. The seats, slippery unsupportive things that they were, were replaced years ago by a pair of shapely leather units built on the original frames.
The hood is in good shape. It rarely comes out of its cubbyhole but, when it does, it keeps the weather out admirably.
Like all of its ilk, the A is a bugger to get into. And, with the top up, even harder to get out of. But once you’re in there you know why you went to all the trouble.
Just recently, while stopped at the traffic lights, a young bloke aged 14-or-so with a bicycle circumnavigated the car. He pulled up at my door: “Cool car, mate,” he said.
He was right. Not the newest. Not even the best of its kind. But cool? Hell, yes. I have lost track of the number of blokes who have said: “I used to have one of those, I should never have sold it.”
You can only drive one car at a time, and I have always thought it a sin to keep them locked away, where others cannot enjoy them too.
We use our A a lot, and have put a little more than 100,000 miles under its wheels since 1984.
Buying that MGA Mk2 was one of the best decisions we have made in 40-odd years of married life. It earns its keep just being looked at. It is that thing that everyone wishes they had: a time machine.
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- Owned by Tom and Emily Boorer
- First classic MG TD
- Dream classic The one we currently have