View Full Version : The car that started it all for me.

02-14-2010, 04:08 PM
I just scanned in this picture, recently given to me by my grandmother. It shows her standing next to an MG TD in March of 1972 (8 months before I was born!). This car belonged to Marshal Smith, a good family friend and my grandmother's eventual second husband. This was the car that first introduced me to the MG marque and LBCs in general, even though I never rode in it. It was always there, though, and I loved getting a chance to sit in it and dream.

Sadly, when they needed to sell it in the mid 1990s I was just out of college and living cheap. I just had no way to afford it. I hope it went to a good home. I'd love to know that it was in good hands today, but don't really have a way to trace it. (They lived in Madison, CT).

My grandmother, by the way, is still with us at 91. Not in good health, but we were swapping stories just this last Christmas.


02-14-2010, 05:19 PM
Geez Drew, your just a pup!

02-14-2010, 05:46 PM
That is so cool. I still remember the cars, but there were no photos.... I was born in 58, and was into cars in general from the start. We lived in Bethesda Maryland, on Garfield street. My parents had a 60 corvair at that time. A neighbor down the street had a 63 TR3, and in 64 got a TR4. He had them both side by side in the driveway. I, of course was waiting for the inevitable 65 TR5. I don't remember if I ever knew the neighbors name, if so it is long forgotten. But he had the coolest cars in the 'hood by far. I am sure he wondered what I was up to, but I went by and had a look every chance I got. We moved in 65, so I never got to see what was coming next, but that is what started a lifelong passion for me. I am so glad you have a picture. Wish I did.

02-14-2010, 06:06 PM
Started it all for me too. Coincidentally I finished cutting up the GT I's parting out and I decided the TD was next on the list. I've had it long enough and I want to finally drive it. Here is my garage 5 minutes ago when I moved the TD to the other side of the garage to work on it.

You'll be seeing a lot more of this in the coming weeks and I'll bet they'll be some questions.


02-14-2010, 06:39 PM
Started it all for me too. Coincidentally I finished cutting up the GT I's parting out and I decided the TD was next on the list.


Scared me when I first read this. Thought you ment you were going to cut up TD. Thank goodness it was a mis-read on my part.

02-14-2010, 06:47 PM
Funny, it was an MGTD that got me interested too. I was in the 7th grade in 1957 and the car was on a car lot near the school, checkerboard radiator.
I had 2 years to go before I could get my license, but I had calculated how much money I'd have to save during those 2 years to buy that car.. I was sick when it was gone in a couple of months. Anyway, 6 years later, I had a red Bugeye and couldn't have been happier.

02-14-2010, 06:49 PM
....I's parting out...

Now there's some goodly English.

Sorry for the scare and they only get cut when they are beyond reasonable repair although to each his own. The GT I cut (not the one pictured) had a caved in roof and pillar damage plus almost every structural part was rotten.

I cannot wait to get my TD going.

02-14-2010, 07:05 PM
I was born in the UK and my Dad got me interested in MG "Ts" at an early age (but he never owned one).
Later, in Canada, as a kid, we had a neighbour who had a turquiose MGA....that's a great memory.

Then I read "The Red Car".......after that book, I had to have something British.

Here's the A40 (below) that started it all for me in terms of actual ownership (and part of the reason I bought an A35 recently).


Andrew Mace
02-14-2010, 07:17 PM
For me, it was this car, a 1959 Triumph 10:


Yours truly (age 5, in fall 1958) in the right front seat, my sister behind me, and Dad by the driver's door. This car went away in January 1964, replaced by a brand-new Herald 1200 convertible (which I still have), and there have been Triumphs surrounding me ever since!

02-14-2010, 07:29 PM
My uncle, (only 5 years older than me) sold cars in London Ontario for Ed Leavens. Every weekend he brought home a different LBC. Once an MGA, then a Bugeye Sprite, etc. etc. I was thirteen or fourteen years old and Irrevocably hooked. Uncle Robin ended up with a Cooper S Mini (1966) and we went to Florida together in it. That trip was to Sebring to see the races. Ed leavens used to race for BMC and was there in 1959 on the Sprite team. He told lots of great stories and this helped reel me in.
I guess we all can tell stories about how we got here, but I, for one, am glad to know you like minded people.
And I don't have pics, story of my life, just memories no photographic proof.

Dave :driving:

P.S. Drew ,I have children older than you.

02-14-2010, 08:23 PM
My horrid and diabolical immersion was while still in diapers. A pal of me Ol' Fella had a TC he raced at Cumberland, but the hill climbs were something I was denied attendance to... 8MM movies an' sill pix were my only vicarious window to th' events. Other passers-by had things like TR-2's & 3s, Jag XK-140's... I got rides in those!

My future was set.

02-14-2010, 08:43 PM
I got the fever at age 3 sitting with my mother in the stands while my dad raced on 1/4 mile ovals. My first event was at Cherry Park in Canton CT.

Later, my grandfather got off his tractor long enough to bring my cousin & I to Lime Rock several times, starting when the track opened in '57.

The LBC sickness really hit when my father bought a TD that had been wrecked. We bought it for $250 in the fall & had it back on the road by late spring the following year.

I, too, have kids older than you.


02-14-2010, 08:59 PM
My first experience with an LBC was 1966. My dad was stationed in Hawaii in the USAF. Our neighbors had a dark green 1948 Austin A40, and an old really eccentric guy down the block drove a tattered old white TC. This guy wore tweed coats, a flat cap and had a big white beard and quite long hair for the time. We kids thought it was great. Not only was this guy strange, in a really cool way, but his car had the steering wheel on the wrong side too. The top was always down, rain or shine.
At about that same time, my mother got her driver's license and she and my father went out looking for her first car. They came back with a beautiful red and white 1958 Metropolitan coupe. My mother drove the heck out of that thing over the next few years. Many times that poor little car was stuffed with mom, a neighbor lady who weighed about 400 pounds, and four or five kids crammed into the shelf that passed for a back seat. Luckily, we lived in the middle of nowhere on the north shore of Oahu and there was very little traffic.

02-14-2010, 09:11 PM
For me it was sitting in one of the James Bond Aston Martin DB5's they used in Goldfinger. Apparently they were promoting the film and it did the round of country fetes and carnivals. I was about 8 and as they say now, "I gotta get me one of these".

02-14-2010, 09:17 PM
Drew, check w/ the DMV, you might be able to trace the VIN to the new owner. See if GM still has something w/ the VIN on it. If not, DMV should be able to give you the VIN # from her records.

02-14-2010, 10:24 PM
My Uncle had a Skate Key Triumph....TR2.
His dad (My Grand Dad) had a 1957 3.4L sedan (now called a Mark One).

I got use of that MK1 for two weeks in Palm Springs, two weeks after my 16th birthday (and license).

First time A) 120MPH, and B) road racing (with an XKE) and I caught the blighter.

Took another 43 years of working on Limey Limos of all ilk to get me one.


02-14-2010, 10:34 PM
My first experience with LBC's was freshman year in college. Upper classman had a BN1 in which I rode with him to my first auto cross. Thats all it took and within two years I was sportin' around in my almost new TR3A.

02-14-2010, 11:31 PM
For me, it was the sister of the car in the picture.

My dad's car was S184PM - Springfield built, Brewster bodied 1928 Phantom I Riviera town car. I used to sit in it for hours, touching, smelling, feeling. The front seat was black leather, the passenger compartment was taupe(?)broadcloth. The car was dove grey and yellow. It had a single tail light with three different colored lenses - much like the "eye" of the "Martian" ship in the original War of the Worlds movie. Yep, I was a gonner before I was born and didn't even know it! <<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/grin.gif

02-15-2010, 02:03 AM
Wow!You guys are lucky!I llok back at my Dad's cars-
'49 Mercury,'53 Buick,'60 Catalina wagon,'64 Cadillac -
Coupe deVille.
He did appreciate the TR6 before he passed.Requested
a ride "sometime",but it never happened.He passed in '05.
Make your own memories,before it's too late!

- Doug

02-15-2010, 10:50 AM
Drew, check w/ the DMV, you might be able to trace the VIN to the new owner.
Unfortunately, she didn't keep any of the old records. I've got a few photos with the last plates the car had on it, but that's is. Not a big deal, it would just be neat to know it's in good hands, and I may eventually have some pictures I could pass on to the new owner.

My family was not a car family, but my grandmother had a great appreciation for fine cars and passed that on to me. I'll have my own TD someday (mine will be RHD, of course :smile: ).

Great stories, everyone!

02-15-2010, 01:19 PM
For me, it was my father's 1952 XK-120 coupe. When my dad bought the Jag to restore, he also got a parts car, which was a rusted old hulk. The car was only 20 years old at the time, and clearly had an unhappy life! When I was a kid in the mid-1970s, we used to let us play in the parts car. We'd sit on the floor boards (there was *no* interior left except for the steering wheel) and pretend that we were driving. A decade later, when I was in high school, I helped with the 120's restoration. I remember the first day we took it for a drive when it was complete. I'll never forget the sound of that XK engine roaring under the hood. What a machine. He eventually got AACA junior and senior firsts, and now it sits proudly in his collection between his Packard and his EMF. As an aside, the parts car sat in our field in Vermont for years, and then was purchased by a fellow in the UK. Not sure what has become of it.

Here's my dad in the 120 before restoration. Dig his 1970s mustache!


Here's the big cat after the frame-off restoration:


The other car that started it all for me was my mom's 1960 Austin Healey. I never had the pleasure of making the car's acquaintance, but I heard stories about it my entire life. My folks sold it in 1963 when mom was pregnant with my brother, and could no longer fit behind the wheel. In retrospect, I think they should have kept the car and waited to have children until *I* came along! Just kidding, of course.

My mom (rest her soul) was super-sassy back in the day:


I credit these two machines with my love of LBCs.

02-16-2010, 12:47 PM
I don't know if this car started it for me, but here I am, 18 months old, at the wheel of a Morris 8.
March 1943 (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1018360&amp;l=39b0ebb1f3&amp;id=1388766436)

02-16-2010, 01:33 PM
Really cool. I wish I had some old shots like this but the first car I remember of my Moms was a 1970 Fury Wagon. Yellow with faux wooden sides. Maybe I should be glad I don't have any pics then :-)

02-16-2010, 11:46 PM
I talked a girl I had just met in high school into letting me drive her TR6. We cruised that car all evening one summer night. It was my first ride in a convertible. I drove that car like I stole it. It was only at the end of the evening that she found out I was only 15 and did not have my license yet! I have wanted a TR ever since.

A few years later my dad picked up a 1500 Midget from a neighbor who thought the transmission was broken. Turned out that the clutch disc was frozen to the flywheel from sitting. Dad made the mistake of letting me drive it to college. It's the only car I ever completely totaled. Flipped it over into a ditch out in the country late one night after one too many beers. I still don't know how I walked away from that wreck.