During 2019 I ended up in Scotland for an extended time – and enjoyed it immensely. After a visit with family and friends in Canada I returned to California just before Christmas. I had a few projects lined up – most importantly a major brake overhaul on a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Out of the blue my son texted me a link to a Craigslist add for a 1958 MGA. I was certainly not looking for an MGA, nor any new car projects at all, but… my son knew I might find this interesting.
My history with MGA’s goes a long way back. My very first car was a 1958 MGA coupe! I cut my teeth in terms of mechanics and driving in that car. My Dad, loved MG’s, Rileys and Austin 7’s and instilled that appreciation in me. So, of course an MG was an obvious first car that I set my sights on. My Dad thought it was a lovely car and the price was pretty low. So I bought it. Me paying half and my Dad chipping in the other half. He taught me the skill of double declutching in that ’58 MGA. As was often the case, the syncros in 2nd gear had given up the ghost. Of course it had no syncros in 1st gear as built. So with a 1st and 2nd gear without syncros – you had to get skillful at double declutching.
Alas, after a couple of years I had to sell the MGA after I purchased a sleek and beautiful 1969 Opel GT. I always regretted letting that MGA go. However, as a student I certainly could not afford to keep two cars. In fact, I eventually ended up with no car at all. By the time I was a student at the University of Toronto I was wholly dependent upon the TTC subway, GO Train and Via Rail.
Over the years I have had a chance now and again to cross paths with MGA’s. Most recently a friend across the road has a wholly original 1960 MGA that from time to time I do some work on for her. Turning a spanner on her car brought back a lot of memories. I do have to admit that when I heard her fire that MGA up and roar down the road I had more than a pang of nostalgia.
So, although I was absolutely not looking for another project… the Craigslist ad indicated the MGA was in the same town as me and when I responded I discovered the car was in a shop within walking distance of my home and shop. Well, why not have a quick look….