Car Guys Have No Shame
Car guys are always on the lookout for a rare find tucked behind a garage or in a driveway under a tarp. Sometimes when you find one, you've got to go for it.
By Kevin Jones, CEO/President
Like many car guys, I take different routes in my travels in hopes of catching a glimpse of some rare car tucked under a tarp or stuck behind a garage. One day, just a few blocks from my house, I spotted an early wire wheel MGB roadster parked behind a garage. I started driving that way regularly thinking someday the car would be put up for sale.
My first sports car was a black 1974 MGB convertible. I really wanted a new Mazda RX7 (that’s another story), but the MGB was all I could afford. I grew to love my MGB and later regretted it when I traded it for a grown-up car.
Not long after first spotting it, I was driving by the house with the MGB again and noticed three women sitting on the porch. I stopped, walked up to the porch and asked if the MGB was for sale. The women were obviously from three generations and the middle-aged woman replied that she wasn’t sure. Her father was the owner, and he had just passed.
(Now I have a confession, I have been known to be a little insensitive at funerals. I once told a story at a funeral about the golfer who paused in his back-swing to tip his hat to a hearse passing by. He told his foursome that he would miss that woman.)
I shared with them my love for MGs and spent more than an hour visiting with them about their husband/father/grandfather. I never actually inspected the car except from a distance, but I offered $1,000 for it anyway and promised to restore it to like new if they would like to sell it.
They agreed, and I started to make plans to have it towed to my house. The daughter said she thought it will start, so we walked over to it. For the first time I got a good look at the car. Sure enough the old Walmart battery had just enough umph to start the engine. Being unsure about the brakes though, I went ahead and towed the car home.
After getting it home, I realized it needed a lot of work – a new engine and clutch, shocks, seats and even new fender panels on three of the four corners. I considered selling it, but a promise is a promise. Over the next two years, I had a rebuilt engine and clutch installed, rebuilt the carbs, the seats redone, body panels fixed, new paint in Old English White, new chrome bumper, new wheels and rims, etc. etc. About the only part I didn’t have to replace was the old Walmart battery, which is still in the car today!
Finally, all that was left was the inside door panels. On a beautiful cool day, I finished the car, fired it up and drove it back to see the middle-aged woman that I bought it from years before. When she and her daughter saw the car she had tears in her eyes and said, “Dad would be proud.”
Jones Garage will be a monthly column by Kevin Jones, President of MIDFLORIDA and certified car guy to talk about his cars and automobilia and the cars of MIDFLORIDA’s members. In addition to his stories, we will feature a different member’s car and story each month.