During my 35 years of poking around in car graveyards, one thing has remained constant: MGBs keep showing up. Not in large numbers, but the rate at which these lovable-but-not-particularly-valuable British sports cars get discarded has remained about the same during that period. Here’s a purple model, from the darkest days of the British Leyland era, that I shot last week in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)
Despite the scores of new cars available to North American drivers, not every niche is filled. Entire segments of the new car market have all but been abandoned in the almighty search for profitability — or in the case of some OEMs, mere solvency.
Whither the personal luxury coupe? How about the almighty two-door, full size SUV? Buyers would certainly snap up tens of these every year.
Well, that didn’t go as planned. Though, working from a baseball analogy, batting .250 isn’t too bad. More on last week’s picks later — on to the new stuff in sunny Florida!
For years, Carlisle has been shorthand for a series of massive swap meets in a central Pennsylvania town. I’ve not had the pleasure of a Carlisle event yet, but I’m imagining a million-acre orgy of rusty cars and parts. In other words, heaven.
As wonderful as the American marketplace is, there’s an entire world — literally — of cars out there that we just can’t get our hands on. In TTAC’s new series, “Foreign Affairs,” we look at forbidden fruit that you can buy brand new around the world.
As a not-so-closeted Anglophile, I’ve waited for the day that I could walk into an American showroom and drive home a new MG. The iconic octagonal badge reminds me of the MGBs that I restored with my father, and the possibility of a new car with that badge is another link to the man who made me a car enthusiast.
Of course, any time you buy an MG, there are three more letters that will come to mind: AAA. Buy the top-of-the-line package, with unlimited tows. Trust me.
For decades, enthusiasts came to dread new motor vehicle laws, as they typically conspire against the use of motor vehicles for fun. Post-Nader safety regulations that made cars heavier and less nimble came first. Emissions laws came a few years later, which strangled the previously-unrestricted engines into submission. The death of leaded fuel helped many of those old dinosaurs meet their untimely end.
For once, however, a massive new bill has actually lifted some restrictions. The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 (as we covered in June) was passed last week as part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.
The familiar, yet disconcerting sound of a medium-duty diesel was our first clue. It was the early ’90s, a time before ubiquitous cell phones, and my dad and I had been waiting for several hours for my stepmom to arrive in her MGB that we were putting away for the winter. She arrived eventually, in the cab of a rollback.
The engine decided to pop about 10 miles from our storage facility, a garage at my stepmother’s childhood home about 90 minutes from our house. The plan had simply been to keep it there until spring, but it would be a couple years before the old MG would see daylight again. Along the way, I learned about engine rebuilding, the importance of a good engine hoist (ours was crap), proper placement of jackstands (my toe still hurts a bit when it rains), and what happens when a Lucas distributor gets installed 180 degrees out of phase.
What sucks the most? I never got to drive it, as it was sold before I turned 16.
MGBs continue to show up in self-service wrecking yards, with another rubber-bumper Malaise Era example today. In my junkyard expeditions prior to today, I’ve photographed this ’67, this ’71, this ’75, this ’77, this ’77, this ’79, and this ’79 with a Toyota 20R swap, and now we’ve got today’s Denver ’79.
Last Wednesday morning, I received an email about an upcoming event in Portland, Ore. held by classic car insurer Hagerty. Fifty teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 would get to drive a handful of classic and vintage cars and trucks around a marked course. All of the vehicles available would have one thing in common: a manual transmission.
Furthermore, I, too, could participate in learning the art of the manual transmission, having acquired my permit the day before the press release entered my inbox.
All I had to do was head down to Portland Meadows — where thoroughbreds are the dominant form of horsepower between October and February — on Saturday.
Today, I’m asking the readers to look at a couple underappreciated classics. I’m lumping them under the Crapwagon banner, as they are relatively unloved developments of some special British roadsters.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a child of the Eighties, so hot hatches and poster-style supercars certainly appeal to me. However, like many gearheads, my dad influenced my automotive wanderlust. Dad was into Datsun Z-cars as well as the MGB. There was rarely a time in my young life when the garage didn’t hold at least one of these paragons of Nixon-era cheap performance. I never got to drive Dad’s last MG, though, as he sold it (after I helped him restore it) when I was about fifteen.
General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.
The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.
The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.
The steady march of MGBs into American self-service wrecking yard continues, with another black-bumper Malaise Era example today. In this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’67, this ’71, this ’75, this ’79, and this ’79 with Toyota 20R power, and now we’ve got this ’77 with very-much-of-its-time custom paint. I found this car in a California wrecking yard, so of course it’s not rusty at all. (Read More…)
The MGB is not at all uncommon in American self-service wrecking yards these days— perhaps a bit less numerous than the Fiat 124 Sports Spider, but I still see a few Crusher-bound MGBs every year. I had an MGB-GT daily driver about 25 years ago, and so I’m very familiar with this car’s many drawbacks… but I still think the B was a pretty good car for its time, so it saddens me to see yet another doomed one. Here’s an early B that I spotted at a Denver self-service yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)
As a former MGB commuter, I always feel a certain sadness when I see one of British Leyland’s underpowered little sports cars about to get eaten by The Crusher. The B was a surprisingly sturdy car of very simple construction, but sales were undermined by terrible build quality, a primitive pushrod engine, and electrical components made by the Prince of Darkness. These cars show up frequently in self-service wrecking yards, as abandoned project MGBs are expelled from driveways and back yards; we’ve seen this ’71, this ’75, and this Toyota-engined ’79 in this series, and today we’ll look at a very used-up ’79 that I spotted in a California yard. (Read More…)
Last week there was a 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 430,000 miles on it.
I thought to myself, “Well this isn’t news. The quartet of GM/Ford trucks, Honda Cars, and Toyota everything is still cleaning up the charts. I won’t write about it this time”. So I waited…
This week the mileage champion out of 6,945 vehicles was a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 344,400 miles. The enthusiasts among us are probably a bit Toyonda Chevorded out at this point. So this time, let’s focus on longevity.
MG, now owned by Chinese auto maker SAIC, is apparently gunning for Kia and beyond. But despite their lofty ambitions, MG hasn’t made much headway in the automotive world.