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Almost Forgot About This

I swapped my truck for this little guy for 24 hours last week:

Illustration for article titled Almost Forgot About This
Image: me

It’s a 1974 MGB belonging to a friend who’s now a colleague. All the stereotypes about little British cars are true with this one. It’s cute, endearing, fun, underpowered yet engaging, and also somewhat unreliable, leaky, finicky, and delicate.

I will say, during the several years the owner has had it, he’s been “forced” to drive the MG quite a few times while his mid-00's Tundra was in the shop for one thing after another. I think he got the worst example of a Tundra; he managed to get one with every problem all back to back (like my neighbor with a Tacoma that has had ALL the common Taco issues and hates it). I don’t even know what all the issues were because when I’d ask him, he would grunt, then say “uhh, well ... hmm - hey want to go mountain biking later?” So between a Toyota pickup and a 1974 British roadster, the MG has been more reliable over 5 years. Go figure. (He recently ditched the Tundra for a ~2010 Suburban.) 


In the short time I had it, I found it to be alarmingly low on coolant (to be fair, the owner told me it ran hot last time he drove it but didn’t have time to look into it) and also fluid in the clutch master cylinder. I dropped my daughter off at preschool in it - which was amazing - and I had to take it out of gear to stop, then pop it into first with the engine off, basically driving it without a clutch, to get home and top off the reservoir.

I reported these issues to the owner who basically responded with “Thanks! What do I owe you for the fluids?” My response was “You don’t owe me anything, but your car owes you an explanation. Where did those fluids GO?” There’s no way I’m allowing someone to pay ME for $3 in fluids I put into his car while I was borrowing it, but he seemed thankful for someone who knew enough to address these issues and hand it back to him running, rather than on a flatbed. I still want to know where those fluids went, but I didn’t see anything more than “normal” slow leaks anywhere, so... He said I could borrow it any time.


I’m not sure if I want to drive it more, because it’s so fun, or if I’m afraid of more issues coming up while it’s in my hands. I guess that’s the nature of an old British roadster. Damn, it was fun though.

It helped that we were staying at a family house on the lake, I was feeling pretty stylin’ rolling in and out of the lake house in this car.

Illustration for article titled Almost Forgot About This
Photo: me

Just look at that face. Maybe I’ll borrow it tonight......

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