Just Another Day In the Life of an MGB Owner

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
just another day in the life of an mgb owner

While scanning endless negatives and slides for the 1965 Impala Hell Project, I’ve run across a few images of other heaps from my past. I’m kicking myself now for letting dozens of now-interesting hoopties pass through my hands without getting any photographic record, but that’s how the pre-digital-photography era worked. My British Racing Green, chrome-bumper MGB-GT, however, served three years as my daily driver, and so it did get caught by a few photographs. Here’s a shot showing one of the many, many repairs this fine British Leyland product needed while serving as my primary means of transportation.

During a drive from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area, the MG’s rear end started to make ominous whining noises. As all British car owners do, I pretended it wasn’t happening at first, but by about Kettleman City I couldn’t turn the radio up loud enough to drown out the increasingly loud howl. Maybe it’s just a cheap wheel bearing and not the diff, I thought, but no. Fortunately, I was able to limp the thing all the way to British Only Auto Wrecking in Oakland (where they had rear ends stacked ten deep, thanks to a vast oversupply of abandoned MGBs in the late 1980s) and then patched the car up until its next major failure (which almost certainly involved the electrical system). Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed the Austin-Healey 3000 in the background; this car belonged to my Jaguar-mechanic uncle, Dirty Duck, who was the person responsible for convincing me that British cars are superior machines.

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  • Ceonwulf Ceonwulf on Nov 03, 2011

    Interesting comments.I served my apprenticeship at British Leyland,Longbridge,Birmingham England in the Disunited Kingdom.I owned a garage from 24 yrs of age until i was 40.I have stripped and rebuilt many cars you mention. I also worked on the early Japanese vehicles and my father owned a beautiful Buick Le Sabre in the early 70's. My current vehicles are a Jaguar 2001 XJ8,Merc E320 cdi.The Jag is far superior to the Merc .The new Jags [Ta-Ta]have finished off the tradition. One of my favourite cars was a Rover 3.5S [P6].Did you guys ever get the Austin Maxi?

  • Retro Fit Retro Fit on Dec 26, 2011

    I drive a 1970 MGBGT. I've owned the car for 8 years. It is my daily driver. i bought it for $300.00. It had been sitting in a parking lot next to MacArthur Park in Los Angeles for 5 years. It was 34 years old when purchased. I had owned a MGB roadster 20 years earlier and had sworn I'd never...ever...buy another. But, I went against my better judgment and bought it anyways. I'm one of those who fully acknowledges that there is a very fine line between MG ownership and psychosis. And I'm not made of money. But I am a Automotive electrician. And I have the tools, knowledge and ability to make my own franken-car from parts of other cars. Soooo, that's just what I did. I retro fit a Nissan KA24E engine + Nissan 5 speed transmission into my GT. I've upgraded the brakes, suspension, electrical system, drive train components. I engineered a modern car with classic Pininfarina styling that has around 180 bhp, takes corners like it is on rails and is reliable. And....all for under 5k (plus endless hours of my labor). Now, she still needs paint and the interior redone....But hey...shes paid for. Cheers!

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.