In the summer of ’76, I was fresh out of high school. I received a small inheritance and bought the coolest car I had ever seen, a 1952 MG TD. Black with red leather interior. (Pic., July 1976)
I was off to college that fall, Washington State University in Pullman, WA (think of Minneapolis in the winter). Snow and freezing temperatures are not ideal for a windowless MG, but I was twenty and stupid. After driving it for a whopping 300 miles, the car went into storage, for the next forty years. I never sold it!
As my career careened around the world, the MG sat collecting dust. In 2000, my bride was voted onto the board of a local hospital guild in Seattle. The incoming/outgoing boards were having a dinner at a private museum. She insisted that I go. She really insisted! I went. The museum owner loved British autos. His display car at his museum lobby was a 1938 MG TA fresh off the factory floor. Beautiful. Behind the TA was a 10,000 sq ft restoration shop with dozens of British automotive history. I had a great conversation with Pat Hart, the museum owner. The next day, I cleared all of the junk stored on top of the TD and started a restoration.
I took the car apart. Every panel, screw, nut, and bolt. Sent the frame out for sandblasting and powder coating. The body was sandblasted and primed. A Seattle outfit rebuilt the engine. I sorted and tagged every part, hung them on a massive pegboard wall. New brake lines, rebuilt shocks made an impressive rolling chassis. Life got in the way, and the dust started collecting again. (Pic., October 2016)
We moved to Palm Springs, and the car, or should I say parts, followed us south. We got lost one day in 2015 driving through San Luis Obispo, CA. We drove by British Sports Cars garage that had an old, but fully restored Jaguar nose sticking out onto the driveway. Once again, my bride insisted we go in and look around. BSC has a impressive showroom floor with a handful of restored cars for sale and a 10,000 sq ft restoration shop in the rear. My wife insisted right then and there, “Bring your car here!” Justin, working the sales counter, also insisted I bring in my TD, “We’ll put it back together for you!” I mulled it over. (Pictures below, September 2017)
Halloween Day 2016, my grown children helped me load up a U-Haul trailer, and we made the three-hour trek to San Louis Obispo. After eleven months and tens of thousands of dollars, I get the call that the TD is ready. My bride of 34 years has never had a ride in the TD. We spend a long weekend in San Louis Obispo to break in the car, tour the wineries, and get the thumbs up from all admirers. I drove it every day for the next eighteen months. I became a sixty-year-old teenager asking my wife If I could go to the store for her, run any errands, etc. You could not wipe the smile off my face with a putty knife. I love driving that car. It is now up on jacks for three years while we finish a contract job in the Caribbean.
My TD is named “Miss Nancy” after a dear friend. She took my picture with the car the day I bought it.
I intend to drive her daily. Run her into the ground. When I reach 80, god willing, I’ll throw the keys to my kids along with a sizeable check, “Go get her ready for the next thirty years!”
Christmas Card 2017