Run by Greg MacLeman
Owned since July 2013
Total mileage 63,304
Miles since December 2016 report 189
Latest costs £938
FIXED UP WITH A NEW RESIDENCE
The second half of 2016 was never going to be easy for me due to an impending flat purchase. The difficulties were compounded by staying at my brother’s place in Sidcup, Kent until the sale was finalised. A sofa bed was less than ideal, but it was the lack of parking that really worried me – not helped by the MG’s MoT expiry date falling at precisely the same time.
With that in mind, I took the car for an early test to ensure that it was mobile should it require any serious work. Sadly, it did.
The passenger-side sill was the main culprit. After I climbed into the inspection pit, it became clear that the rear portion of the sill was little more than a crusty coating of underseal, feeling more like a damp Weetabix box than solid metal. I knew that there was a problem in the making from the outside, too, where the paintwork was visibly bubbling at the lower corner, covering an area roughly the same size as my open hand. The second issue was a failing wheel bearing – a factor I’ve attributed to the strange, intermittent noise that I’d heard while returning from Paris earlier in the year. On top of those woes there were a number of smaller gripes also needing attention.
With ‘London weighting’ affecting hourly rates as well as pints, I opted to take the car back to South Lincolnshire, where a recommendation from a local garage led me to an excellent bodyshop. They don’t normally work on classics, but made a welcome exception due to me being – in spirit at least – a local.
The MG stayed there for longer than expected, but the work was carried out to an excellent standard. Instead of just using a small repair section, a larger piece was cut from an entire lower rear wing, which was supplied by the MG Owners’ Club, while a repair panel was fabricated for the underside. The paint match is astounding, and if they’ll have the car back, I’ll definitely be putting more work their way.
Despite sitting for weeks on end, the B burst into life at first kick for the blast back to London. A 70mph cruise was just what the doctor ordered, having been away from the car for so long. Not even the blinding low sun, salty roads and a faulty windscreen washer could dampen my mood. The car was pulling so well I’ve resolved to get it on a rolling road to see just how many ponies have been corralled by its performance mods, and to set a benchmark for future enhancements.
I took the car straight to my usual garage to have the wheel bearing replaced, but by the next day it was clear the washer jet was the tip of an iceberg. A litany of niggling ‘fails’ followed, including an intermittent horn, brake imbalance and worn tyres, which, irritatingly, hadn’t been picked up on the MoT just 120 miles earlier. In the end it cost £398, but the B now has a clean bill of health – probably its first since the three-day week and certainly the first during my ownership.
By the time the latest round of repairs was complete my wallet was nearly £1000 lighter, but things were looking up. The new flat has that rarest of London attributes – a garage. For the first time since moving to the capital three years ago, the car can finally be kept away from the elements. Before the paint had even dried I’d cut a piece of carpet to cover the floor, which will make working on the MG much more comfortable. There’s even a ‘spares mezzanine’ (as dubbed by Elliott), although that is currently occupied with decorating detritus. The only downside is a lack of power, which one rogue on Facebook suggested I ‘borrow’ from the ideally located security light.
As well as keeping the GT dry and secure, I’m hoping that having a dedicated space will give me the impetus to take on greater maintenance challenges, as well as tackling a few upgrades. And if that doesn’t, getting stuck with a bill for nearly £400 certainly will. MG fanatics of South Croydon, I will at some point be needing your help…
After three years living outside under a cover, the MG finally has a proper garage in which to shelter from the elements. Note handy ‘spares mezzanine’.
Rear of the sill needed extensive repairs.
With fresh metal welded in, the body is masked up and primed ready for fresh top coat.
B is dwarfed by moderns in a local car park.
Two new tyres were needed for the MoT.