I have had a long association with mainly MG’s having my initials as the same seemed to me to be an indicator! I had always had a desire to own an MGB roadster project, spend time restoring it with the main driving thought of one day finishing the restoration and driving the car with Jan down along the beaches playing and listening to “The Beach Boys” songs on the radio. Well I bought an MGB from MG Sales on Torrens Road through a friend I met who was restoring cars in a shed in Thebarton. The MG had been imported by MG Sales from America and it was a real challenge as it stood on 3 wheels, having been in a prang over there and they had bought it more for parts I think! Anyway being of Scottish descent I decided I could afford this MG if a deal could be struck firstly to get the 4th wheel and for $6000 have its steering wheel ,front end dashboard etc converted to RH drive. The car had been resprayed Black over the original colour, Portofino Gold not a pretty sight!
This friend who helped me get the car moved his warehouse to West Hindmarsh and started painting the body in its correct colour but months went by and he wouldn’t put the bonnet on it, there was also a disturbing pool of oil under the engine, in the end I told him I was taking the car away and literally pushed it into the next door Crash repair shop owned by a man who became my mentor and friend and set me homework each night after work, by the name of Garry. Garry rang me at work a couple of days later to say he knew why the bonnet would not fit! The MG had been hit several times and the chassis was in need of some attention, $2,500 later + 6 week away it came back with a straight chassis and Garry started doing the preparation and painting of the whole car in Portafino Gold, a stunning colour also known as baby shit yellow by the uninitiated! I cannot remember how much it cost (Hint! Never add up invoices! Very painful! ) but he did an amazing job restoring this basket case MGB. I did a lot of driving engine and other parts needed getting the mechanicals ready for the car But hearing that engine run after the rebuild was a real treat!
One Friday night in 1995 Jan Dinan & I walked the MG Car Club Clubrooms in Chief Street Bowden and we walked in to find a group of members at their usual Friday night Noggin & Natter ( this is an English tradition apparently) anyway we enjoyed ourselves very much that evening and we kept coming back as we lived pretty close by. Within a few weeks I became more involved joining the Committee and starting a very steep learning curve on correct restoration of my particular model a 1970 Mark 11 MGB Roadster with a pack-away hood . Over the next year Garry set me’ homework’ having seen what I had done the night before, he even gave me the Key to his workshop and the
security code such was our friendship and the day came when he and I finished the MGB and it went off to Regency Park to get registered, we drove this car for many years and enjoyed the trips to various states and on lots of Club runs until I bought the 1969 MGC Roadster, Champion Red manual with O/D and CWW’s.
After a period being unemployed I found work at the University of Adelaide at their Thebarton Campus in 1991 as a handyman to start off with at the old Faulding’ site just behind the West End Brewery, just me and 2 Alsatians who were put away each morning and evening. Over the next 13 years my role increased to Site Superintendent looking after the day to day running of this small campus with well over 350 people on what became a post graduate research Campus and I had lots
of help bringing me up to speed with technology to enable me to communicate with some 30 different businesses who came and worked in a very happy environment just beside the River Torrens, we resurrected a building brought down by Faulding’s from Terowie, a wooden building which we turned into a café and lecture theatre, we gave all the building on the Campus names and this one was called Einstein’s, lots of pleasant memories of events held there over the years. It was incredible how many University staff and others on campus were into classic cars and I felt quite fortunate having lots of friends who were able to help given that theses old vehicles need lots of TLC. I had a Triumph 2500S at one stage and its ring gear came away from the Flywheel, the car sat in one of the vacant buildings for about 4 months until I told several Mechanical Engineering staff of my plight. A couple of weeks later after work two of these chaps turned up with very special
welding rods and they welded the ring gear back on through the cavity the starter motor normally sits, quite a delicate job . After this I used this lovely machine going over to see my Mum in Sydney a real pleasure to drive. Like us all I should never have sold it!
Jan &I got together in 1991 and had lots of trips in the cars all over the Eastern States to MG National Meetings and in 2000 we joined several other SA MG friends on a wonderful trip to South Africa for two weeks and we stayed in an amazing complex called Sun City as our base and we went on many trips including to Kruger National Park and down to Cape Town. Also using those two letters M & G I emailed some MGC members in New Zealand when Jan & I were going there on a cruise and these MGC owners met us at the dock in a mini-bus and drove us all over Auckland for the day ending up at a lovely old hotel for lunch and then back to their place for afternoon tea and then dropped us back at the boat to continue our cruise, Wonderful and I still correspond with them regularly.
Over the years I have enjoyed getting out into the shed and doing restoration projects on various models of MG’s and still have some now on the go here in Strathalbyn since we moved here in 2012. I try to do as much as I can myself and have also had a lot of help to finish off parts of the processes. Being new to Strathalbyn I needed to meet some of the local Strathalbyn-ites and joining the Strathalbyn Auto Collectors Club was a no-brainer, back then the main event was the Australia Day
event – Cars of Australia and I really got involved and enjoyed seeing all the Aussie cars turn up and watching the interaction between the traditional rivals – basically there was a degree of tolerance as
they stared across the rows. This event was a huge undertaking for us being a fledgling car club of only a few years existence, however so many Club members had not been that interested in the Club
and of the event but once asked they came and they enjoyed the participation and I think this cemented the members in a way which kept the Club on its upward spiral to what it is today, a Club of very friendly members, and one I am proud to be associated with.