Sports Cars by Geoff Wheatley

Sports Cars by Geoff Wheatley
Geoff Wheatley first MG
Published by: All Car central Publishing
Date published: 03/13/2015

Rick Feibusch Photo


Sports Cars

Ever since I was taken to a car show around the age of eight or nine I have had a love affair with sports cars. Of course like many others this romance was from a distance simply due to the fact that I could not afford to expand my affection... Around eighteen I did venture to the halfway mark and obtain a motor bike, almost like a sports car when it comes to comfort but not quite the same when it rains! On top of that any female companion has to sit behind which rather reduces the ability to converse...etc.

By the time I had enough spare funds to purchase a real sports car the kids were grown up... (A great blessing) and we boasted two family cars in addition to the new toy. I would like to tell you that it was a new Corvette or an Austin Healey but sad to say those toys were still economically out of my league, instead a 1952 MGTD in need of attention of course, was purchased. Not much to look at, it needed paint, replacement seats and a few other required features but it started, and was driven home by yours truly with no serious problems. I have to admit that the stopping ability was rather exciting as you stamped the break pedal to the floor and at the same time pulled the hand break as far as it would go. In short it started but had a problem stopping when required.

The distance from the sellers garage to mine was about thirty miles with a number of stop lights in between to make the drive that more exciting. OK we made it and I put the new member of the family into the garage having managed to move our other two cars to make space...Not that much space but enough as long as you were able to get out , or in, with out opening the doors. Obviously the family wanted to see Dad's new toy including the dog who welcomed the new acquisition by peeing on the front wheel.


To be honest the enthusiasm of the family was at best modest to the extent that I was more impressed with the dogs reaction than the rest of the audience! No matter in a few weeks they would be fighting to go for a drive in Dad's new toy once I had sorted out a few problems and of course given the car a fresh new look with a decent paint job. It had never accrued to me to check the fold away top before my purchase, regretfully a sad error on my part. The top or rather what was left of it had so many holes etc., that it was a wonder that it still remained on the rusted steel frame. Once, in the dim distant past it did have a rear window but that like everything else associated with the top had not survived the demands of time.

On the bright side all the instruments seemed to work except the clock but on the principle that I would seldom be concerned about time as I sped around the country lanes in the new, well new to me, Toy and of course my reliable Timex would always suffice...The next day I awoke early and after a very hasty breakfast hastened to the garage to once again admire my new friend. To my horror the floor beneath the engine was decorated with oil that was certainly not there the night before.

With visions of expensive engine repairs running through my head I called a trusted friend who had TD similar to mine except that it looked better and certainly had all the expensive additions like a sound top without ventilation holes etc. explaining my very recent experience. I was delighted to hear that this display of oil was normal; in fact if that did not happen it would mean that the engine was dry of any required lubrication.

With the assistance of various fellow MG owners and four times as much investment in terms of replacement items that I never knew existed in one old car, the great day arrived. With a state tax sticker proudly displayed on the rear tag, and the fuel tank brimming over, I turned the key, pulled the starter and the engine turned over a couple of times, but nothing else. Someone suggested a push to get started but to me that sounded like defeat. Use the starting handle was another comment which fell on deaf ears...Think, what was I doing wrong? The electrics were working, the little red light confirmed that, I could hear the fuel pump ticking away...Fuel...Of Course...It had been so long since I drove a, for want of a better word, Vintage Car that I forgot the manual choke.

Next question which one of these knobs was the right one? I certainly was not going to ask so, with fingers crossed (Not physically of course). I pulled a knob and pulled the next one and bingo, the engine burst into life...Well that may be a slight exaggeration but it did fire and tick over. Foot on the clutch, into first gear with a resounding sound from the gear box to let me know the clutch needed attention and I was on my way.


As I recall comfort was not a redeeming feature of this model but that could be balanced by the sheer delight of driving the car. Speed was not an option forty five or even fifty when on a downward slope was the order of the day...No speeding tickets in this baby! I kept the car for about four years and during that time it acquired a new coat of paint, a set of tires and of course a new top not that I ever drove in the rain for a variety of reasons including the lack of serious screen wipers. I can only assume that it seldom rained back in 1952. We parted company when I borrowed a MGB from a friend and found that driving sports could be both enjoyable and comfortable. Since that time several models have graced my garage both European and American and I have enjoyed every one.
Geoff Wheatley

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