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A car question for my UK friends

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I've owned a 1995 Corvette for 4 years. In June some horrible things happened....transmission went, and it overheated while I was trying to limp home. It may or may not have damaged the head gaskets. I said 'enough' and dumped it for $2000. I paid $6500 four years ago so the repair numbers just didn't work for me. I had my fun. I am reluctant to buy another C4 Corvette, at least one with an automatic (once bitten, twice shy). I might consider an older one (70s) but then there's the frame rust thing...

 

One local dealer has a 2006 Pontiac Solstice, a little red convertible. Nice looking little car that has a huge fan base, and the price is right. However, like the Corvette, it is a 'modern' car with tons of electronic b.s. that is just waiting to explode or at least light the dash up like a Christmas tree.

 

Understand that my main summer car is a '57 Chevy that can be fixed with duct tape and a bent coat hanger. As long as I keep fluids in it, it will run and move, and plow though anything in it's path. With the ghost of Dinah Shore riding shotgun.

 

My question is....I am intrigued by the MGB. There is a 1980 here in town that the seller wants $8995 for....I think he is brain damaged. There is a clean looking 1976 a few hundred miles away for around $3500. I know going from a Corvette to an MGB is a big change, but I never got the Corvette because it was fast, only because it was a cool car. I think it would be neat to drop the top on a 40 year old MG and ride around in the summer.

 

Tell me I'm stupid.

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As a transplanted Brit I would say, don't bother. Just my tuppence but MG's and MGB's were cool, classic British sports cars but they have a reputation for unreliability unless they've been religiously maintained and serviced. And I'm not so sure about the ready availability of spare parts.

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As a transplanted Brit I would say, don't bother. Just my tuppence but MG's and MGB's were cool, classic British sports cars but they have a reputation for unreliability unless they've been religiously maintained and serviced. And I'm not so sure about the ready availability of spare parts.

Yes this...

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First day of fall bargain? Let's say you might be ….. uh, wistful. Yea, that's it. [smile]

 

I want my 1966 Ventures model Mosrite back also, but ………….

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There are alternatives. Some more agonizing than others.

 

There is a collector not far from here that has a huge building full of antique cars. One of them is a car I once owned, a 1949 Oldsmobile. I traded an old truck for it in 1990 and it was my summer car until the fall of '92. Sold it for $1000. Since then it has gone about 20,000 miles. Sill has the tires I put on it in 1990 (yes they are rotten). One of the former owners had the upholstery redone, a nice job by the way. And I think they painted it. It's the same loud Trans Am metallic blue but it looks better...

 

It's old, it has a lot of rust underneath. It really needs work to be 'good' again. I can get it back for $3500.

 

8yrk02.jpg

 

 

Here's my '57:

 

juzlet.jpg

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...Just my tuppence but MG's and MGB's were cool, classic British sports cars but they have a reputation for unreliability unless they've been religiously maintained and serviced. And I'm not so sure about the ready availability of spare parts.

With all due respect I have to disagree.

 

I'm far from being an expert on MGs and have never owned one myself but from all I've read about them over more than three decades watching the classic car market I'd say that an MG would easily be one of the more practical prospects as far as mid-'70s UK fare goes. Strange as it may seem since the late '70s / early '80s it's been possible to build an entirely new MG / MGB from scratch with parts from British Motor Heritage Limited so to keep one up and running is an absolute doddle. Rust is the perennial problem (of course) and electrics need to be spot-on but apart from that an MG / MGB should be able to last as long as we can foretell. Maintenance for any car from that period is necessary and sort-of-continuous but the cars in question were / are far less temperamental that, for instance, the likes of Lotus.

 

Have a look at this little lot which might set your mind at rest as to the availability of spares;

 

http://www.bmh-ltd.com/mgbparts.htm

 

P.

Edited by pippy
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MGs (especially MGBs) exported to USA were a bit different from the UK ones, as they had to pass strict emission laws. I also am not sure they had the 2-battery configuration.

Despite what Pippy says, an older MG will have issues and may end up being a complete PIA to maintain.

 

Our drummer loves and restores them and has many stories. He shows an MGA currently.

As you obviously know, any 30-40 yr old car needs a lot of TLC and parts. Find a good source for parts before you commit yourself. I hope you can weld.

 

My sister had one (hardtop MGB) which was constantly and unexpectedly malfunctioning....sorry but I wouldn't touch one with a bargepole. Highly over-rated IMO.

Edited by jdgm
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MGs (especially MGBs) exported to USA were a bit different from the UK ones, as they had to pass strict emission laws. I also am not sure they had the 2-battery configuration.

Despite what Pippy says, an older MG will have issues and may end up being a complete PIA to maintain.

 

Our drummer loves and restores them and has many stories. He shows an MGA currently.

As you obviously know, any 30-40 yr old car needs a lot of TLC and parts. Find a good source for parts before you commit yourself. I hope you can weld.

 

My sister had one (hardtop MGB) which was constantly and unexpectedly malfunctioning....sorry but I wouldn't touch one with a bargepole. Highly over-rated IMO.

 

I agree. Any older car requires a lot of attention and loving care plus money to put into it and talking over 30 years old, even less. By the way, thats a very nice 57 chevy. I almost bought a Solstice way back but glad I didn't. Today you don't see any of them out there at all and I've heard there not that great. Finding parts is the foremost you should check out before buying any car.

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...Despite what Pippy says, an older MG will have issues and may end up being a complete PIA to maintain...any 30-40 yr old car needs a lot of TLC and parts...I hope you can weld...

msp_laugh.gif

 

Well, I agree with all the above but in my own defence I did say quite clearly;

 

...Rust is the perennial problem (of course) and electrics need to be spot-on but apart from that an MG / MGB should be able to last as long as we can foretell. Maintenance for any car from that period is necessary and sort-of-continuous but the cars in question were / are far less temperamental than, for instance, the likes of Lotus...

I suppose it's a case of one's "expectations".

Until quite recently when I finally and seriously required a reliable car (on the birth of my daughter in 2004) the newest car I ever owned was made in 1971 so I had always expected to be carrying out maintenance work pretty much every weekend. Roadside running repairs were de rigueur and membership of one of the big breakdown recovery organisations was mandatory.

 

But yes; I concede that to consider any car's reliability against a Lotus(*) is hardly a fair comparison.

 

Although I still get the odd twinge to acquire something 'interesting' I must admit there is something very comforting about getting in a car, turning the key and hear the engine start first-time every time and also knowing it will not require the intervention of an AA Patrol Man to arrive back home...

 

Pip.

 

* Famously described as being an acronym for "Lots Of Trouble; Usually Serious".

Edited by pippy
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Sometime in the 1980s, front of my house when I was in Guildford.

I owned both of these, the one in the foreground was a RH drive maroon 2002 touring and an amazing car.

On the street is the bargain I bought to replace it, a LH drive 1802 touring which needed some bodywork repair. This was done by my best friend who sold the car to me.

 

Both were wonderful but expensive to maintain and (of course) the badges got nicked off the white one, which also got broken into.

That car was like a red rag to a bull for some other drivers, being German and LHD. I got fed up with idiots hassling me all the time TBH.

 

Both would be worth about £12-15k now in top condition. Both were excellent autos, superb engines and all-round engineering and very fast too.

 

But I never drive faster than 60mph now and I run a Skoda!!!

 

BMWs.jpg

Edited by jdgm
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Just an anecdote from my family's history.

 

Sometime around 1966 my Dad, then aged 23, met a girl at a dance in Liverpool, who would subsequently turn out to be his wife of 30 years and my mother. It's rather a sweet love story, actually - true "'til death do us part" stuff - they were inseparable until she died of breast cancer in 1999.

 

Anyway, my old man, keen to impress this girl, took her on a first date in his new car of which he was extremely proud - an "old English white" MGB. Traveling from Liverpool through the Birkenhead tunnel to the leafy Wirral and Cheshire beyond, my future mother observed from the passenger's seat, "Oh look, the dashboard's on fire." Which it was, and looked like it was taking hold. The date ended somewhere near Woodside Ferry terminal on the other side of the Mersey where they caught the boat back to Liverpool and went to the pub instead.

 

When the insurance came through on the MGB my old man bought a black Triumph Vitesse. And thereafter a succession of Consuls, Zodiacs, Cortinas, Rover P6s and other assorted British automobolia, some good, most not. As a point of interest, someone in the UK used to run a website devoted to British cars of this era. They called it "Autoshite," which is a name enthusiasts of these cars apparently devote to the objects of their affection. The story of my Dad's love affair with British cars ends in the early 2000s, after an especially disastrous Landrover Discovery episode. Tired of this lemon which the Landrover dealer saw more of than he ever did, I practically frogmarched him to the Hyundai dealership where he bought a Santa Fe that gave him the first 125,000 miles of trouble-free motoring of his life (possibly the first 10,000 miles of trouble-free motoring of his life, too, actually). Thereafter, he has stuck with Hyundais, and the only bone of contention came when I visited him last year and helped him pick out a new one, and, as he's in his late 70s, twisted his arm into getting an automatic - cue: "Do you know I've been driving a manual car since 1961?" "Yes, I know. High time you had a slushbox, old chap."

 

I was interested in the Original Poster's mention of the 2006 car. I've been a US green card resident for 15 years now, and I currently have a 2006 car - a Buick LaCrosse. I'm hanging on to it because it's the last of the simple, big American sedans. You lift the hood and everything is identifiable - the alternator is practically bolted to the top of the engine, GM's old Series III 3800 v6 motor. It's simple, my backstreet mechanic can work on it without any problems, and so can I to an extent, if I'm feeling inclined. All the newer cars have those 2 litre turbo 4-bangers instead of the naturally aspirated v6, and I smell trouble.

 

Anyway, sorry for a rambling post. The Original Poster's mention of MGBs brought back some memories. I guess one advantage to those cars is there is (or at least used to be) a company in the UK called Heritage that sold practically every component you'd ever need to keep them going. But truth be told, I'd leave MG cars alone, too.

 

Now, about that Ford Capri I'm going to buy in the UK and ship to the US one day...

Edited by Lord Summerisle
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Always good to rap about cars and stuff.....[thumbup]

 

2 GFOM's (Good Friends of Mine) have owned MGB's ( the 'proper' ones with chrome fenders/bumpers ) in the past : being seduced by the undoubted cool styling, retro chic etc.....dry.gif

 

Each reported ongoing mechanical and electrical issues and were glad to sell after not very long ownership....

 

What folks really need in this situation is a Mazda MX-5.....:blink:

 

Just like a Kawasaki 650 will provide more road time and jollies than a vintage 60's Triumph Bonneville.....:-({|=

 

V

 

:-({|=

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British cars still had reasonable sales here in Oz in the 70's though they were generally outdated and underpowered by local standards where the big sellers were American company owned and locally designed and produced. We were blessed with cars from all the major producing countries of those days.

 

in the 70's Dad had an Austin X6 and Mum had a Mini van/estate (still in the family). In the mid 80's Dad went continental and had a Peugeot 505 which was quite nice, and since then for the past 25 years he has had a succession of Landrover Discoveries which seem to be bottomless pits of mechanical cost...but he likes 'em.

 

My only British car (in the nineties) was a 1971 Triumph 2000... Not a bad thing if you tended to only drive on dry days, in daylight hours, and preferably within walking distance of home.

Edited by 'Scales
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I've had a few British bikes pass through my hands. One was my main bike in 1985 and 1986, a 1970 650 Bonneville in the original Astral Red and silver.

 

I liked the bike but it just was a whole different animal than Japanese. I had sold my KZ900 to get rid of the payment and buy the Bonnie for cash. My thumbs smelled of gas all the time due to the ticklers on the Amals. The horn button lifted me every time I touched it. It became Pavlovian. A few times I thought my right kneecap was going to pop off when the kick lever dropped too quickly.

 

So yeah, it was not a great experience. I had just grown up in the 60s when teenagers (my brother's age) worked their way up through the ranks with Honda 90s, CB160s, and 305 Dreams. One of the neighbor kids had a Bonnie with straight pipes. I could hear him a mile away. He was the king in my opinion. Buying that Triumph was a lot like being able to buy a LP Custom after staring at the Frampton Comes Alive album cover for decades.

 

It was anticlimactic.

 

Same thing with the Harley. I wanted one forever and I've owned one since 2011. Ridden it about 500 miles total. Big deal. I had more fun on the old Honda 350s.

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My only British car (in the nineties) was a 1971 Triumph 2000... Not a bad thing if you tended to only drive on dry days, in daylight hours, and preferably within walking distance of home.

I always liked Triumphs... The TR7 was one of my dream cars when I was young cos it has flippy headlights like a Ferrari :) (but obviously much much cheaper)

 

ZrmW45h.jpg

 

This popped up on Youtube and seems relevant

Edited by Rabs
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Man, I don't get the knock on MGs. How can they be so problematic? There's not that much to them! My dad used to rebuild MG-TDs and I drove 'em around. Almost a toy car. But I've had a few MGBs. The last one, with the rubber bumper, I'm sorry I ever got rid of. Very cool car. But it doesn't have air conditioning, so in SoCal, that's the only problem.

 

I happen to have a low-miles, very good condition 2005 Cadillac CTS for sale. Here's the ad if you're at all interested.... link.

 

239099-1535644366-649892.jpg

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I owned a couple Triumph cars too, back in '87. One was a 1964(?) Spitfire that someone had shoved a Pinto engine into. It was too tall so they cut and reshaped the hood with fiberglass. It was in primer. I drove it once. Scary mess.

 

The other was a 1973(?) GT6 coupe someone had shoved a Ford 6 cyl into (notice a pattern?) It was white, spotted with red primer, and the seats had been reupholstered in leopard print. There was something also scary about that one....seems like they had tried to make it into a targa type top and then changed their mind and welded it back together?

 

I drank a LOT in the fall of '87 so I'm sure I enjoyed their presence.

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Man, I don't get the knock on MGs. How can they be so problematic? There's not that much to them!

 

There's nothing specifically wrong with them, it's just at this point in their lives they're not exactly daily drivers, are they? They're enthusiasts' cars.

 

Spend half the winter in a freezing, damp garage happily replacing piston rings and generally rebuilding a BMC straight-4 engine. When spring arrives, take your MGB to a car show in a soaking wet field somewhere outside Worcester, and drink tea out of a Thermos in the pouring rain. When the clutch goes on the A41 just south of Chester, call the RAC, have it towed back to your garage, and get back to work.

Edited by Lord Summerisle
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Had a friend who had an MG...the entire time I knew him, it didn't run. Here was the drill; Friday night - roll the car out of the garage. Saturday - Try to fix the car. Sunday - Pulll the car back into the garage. Repeat most weekends.

 

Buy an old VW Bug or Karmann Ghia. Easy to work on and bullet proof (with minimal maintenance).

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I think oddly I agree with the Top Gear people.. If you want a sporty 2 seater with a drop top you are better off with one of these

 

MPftJ4h.jpg

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