This week’s winner is….
No Cure for the LBC Bug
Corona Competition entry, week 3
By Dwight Dawson
Like most everyone else in Covid America today, I have lots of time to recall important moments from my past.
When I was 20, my future father-in-law, the car dealer, gave me an opportunity to “test drive” one of his trade-ins, with his daughter as a ride-along. It was the low-slung Austin Healey blue and white that we took out. The most memorable moment was at a road-side eatery not far from home, where I managed get the sleek roadster high-centered in the parking lot. Fortunately, all I had to do was step out of the car to un-weight it and roll it a few feet. A nice ride, but what did I know..? I never owned a car until I was 21. I certainly could not afford this one.
My next exposure to little British sports cars was at the end of Christmas break in 1968 as we traveled the 400 miles east back to Washington State University. On the top of Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State, it was snowing but the road was just messy flying road-slush. Passing on our left in the fast lane was a yellow sportster with the TOP DOWN. The clowns in the two-seater were having a GREAT time by appearances. The car was an MGB. On that same mountain pass just a few weeks earlier I also had been attracted to a new Lotus in the ski area car park.
Back on campus, a fraternity brother had a late model Jaguar XKE. When he showed me its speed on the straight road between Moscow, Idaho and Washington, I was once again smitten. At a senior year event on the Snake River in May, another fraternity brother introduced me to the 8 cylinders of his Sunbeam Tiger. Now I was a goner.
I graduated in 1969 and started my first career position in Casper, Wyoming. In August I married my co-pilot Merry Candace. While we had been pleased with our noisy yellow 1969 Toyota Corona with special wheels, 4 speed on the floor and a wood trim steering wheel, another temptation emerged. The father-in-law recognized that his daughter and I had jobs and both needed transportation. After a visit to our home town, we drove a very fun, bright red 1967 Triumph Spitfire from the dealership on Fidalgo Island in Washington to windy Casper, Wyoming. “Dad” insisted on a roll-bar, and who could argue? With the wires on the Spitfire, I learned quickly about the importance of keeping the wheel nuts tight, and what happens to hub splines if you get lazy. A wheel did not leave the car, but it could have.
A year later, I accepted a new job in Columbus, Ohio. Both the Toyota and the Triumph made the trip comfortably in the moving van. While we were still apartment-dwellers, the Spitfire started making worrisome noises in its back end. Young and stupid, we sold a perfectly good sports car because of a simple worn u-joint. After several months of regret, a new possibility emerged. Candy worked with a salesman at Borg-Warner who had purchased a beautiful 1973 Blaze MGB. She told him that if he ever wanted to sell it, we wanted it. A year later in 1974, the original MGB owner got a company car and we took over his monthly payments for the Blaze. Wheee. Life has never been the same.
After household moves to Montana and Oklahoma, we again loaded the MGB in our last moving van for its trip to Houston, Texas in 1985. We finally became members of the Houston MG Club in 1992. In our first driving event, a gimmick rally run by current members Wayne and Dixie Moore, we won Third Place and it was another “hook” for MG-ness. At one point there were three Dawson MGBs on our driveway, including one that narrowly survived a high school parking lot.
So, let there be no doubt. Once you have been bitten by the Little British Car bug, you can never go back. I’d like to hear your stories.