(translated into English: You will get what you were meant to have!)
This wee Scots expression perfectly sums up my MG experience! My MG story starts when I was growing up in Scotland and my uncle owned several MGBs. We kids would squeeze in behind the seats and enjoy the ride and the wind in our face! Scroll forward some 40+ years later and I now live in Houston and scan the Hemmings website every other month hoping to find my perfect car.
This summer I took my family back to Scotland, and while in 10 days quarantine I once again turned to scrolling through the Hemmings website. To my surprise I spotted my perfect red 1960 MGA and proceeded to bid. To my amazement and joy I was the highest bidder. To my great disappointment I never made the reserve! I contacted the seller and said that I would get a friend to inspect the car when I returned to the US – although the car was in Toronto, Canada!
I managed to contact an acquaintance who lived outside Toronto and asked if he would help inspect the vehicle. Fortunately, he had a good friend who bought and refurbished old classics, so it was back on again for my perfect car.
They visited the owner the next Saturday morning, and I got a call at lunchtime with all the details. My friend’s classic car guy was a perfectionist and wasn’t sure what standard I was looking for, but he soon realized I was also a perfectionist, and it seemed the car needed a new paint job, re-chroming, and a new soft top. He could hear the disappointment in my voice but said he had been looking online for a few days for comparable cars and had seen a perfect car, to which he promptly sent me a link.
I looked up the link and to my amazement saw the perfect red 1960 MGA, for real this time. My family all looked at it and I immediately contacted the seller up in Idaho for a video of the car running. Ray Myers was the owner, and he duly shot and sent me a video. I called Ray the next day to find out more about the car and got its full history and all the care that he had given the car over the past twelve years. I said I would think about it and get back to him. But I couldn’t wait, so less than an hour later I called back to say I wanted to buy the car and would send a deposit on Monday morning! So in less than 24 hours, and never having seen the car, I let my heart do the talking instead of my brain and hopefully, probably foolishly, bought my perfect MGA.
I sent the deposit and said I would arrange to pay the remainder within the week. Ray was gracious enough to suggest that I come and see the car before I bought it and sent me flight details. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Ray was interviewing my son and I to see if we were worthy of owning his pride and joy! So a few weeks later my son and I flew to Spokane and drove over to Idaho to meet Ray. But not before I had paid the full asking price! This, I explained to my 17 year old son, was something that he should never, ever do and gave him all the reasons why – but the first time in my life I went against my own better judgement. The only reason being my conversations with Ray and the trust I had developed in a man I had never met.
When we arrived, Ray asked questions, but not to me – to my son: Would you work on the engine or put her into a garage? (James wants to learn all about the car and how to maintain a real engine). Would you show her or just keep her in the garage? (James would love to start going to shows and get involved). So while that passed, Ray really got to know us and decided he wouldn’t give me my money back; rather, he would allow us to buy his MGA.
Ray then told me the complete story of his twelve years of tender loving care and refurbishment, including the day he got her, what happened in the local garage, and the time he and his grandson stripped down the engine and rebuilt it together. He also traced the car back to the day of manufacture and received the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certified copy of the factory record.
A few weeks after visiting Ray and transporting the car home, I joined the Houston MG Car Club and entered the 31st Annual Houston All British Car Day on October 9th. We invited Ray and his best friend Frank to come down and see us in our first car show, which they both did. We had a terrific weekend with two new friends, spending Friday examining the car to see if it still met Ray’s exacting standards. The next day Ray and Frank were at the show before we arrived and stayed with us the entire day. We had a wonderful time with them, and James impressed them and the rest of the HMGCC with his ability on the pipes. I’m pretty certain Ray was even more proud than we were of us winning first place in our first show with “his” beauty.
So not only have we found our perfect car after all these years, but also have two very dear new friends from Idaho. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see then down here in Texas at the MG club events! Glasses up to a long-lasting friendship and a beautiful, perfect car for generations to come!
- Story contributed by new member Jim McWhinnie. Photos by Dwight Dawson.