Sunday, October 28, 2012

A day in the life...

Shootin' Buddy showed up and we headed off to Zest for brekkie before heading off to Iggle Crick for some shooting, as well as to present a major award.

After the range we went down to check out Beech Grove Firearms' new facility, which was neat, clean, well-stocked, and jumpin' with customers.

On the way to drop me off back at Roseholme Cottage, we stopped at the new sushi bar in Broad Ripple, appropriately yclept "Sushi Bar".

The sushi is better than Naked Tchopstix, and it has an advantage over Broad Ripple's other sushi bar, H2O, in that it's open more frequently than alternate Tuesdays after 5:37PM. I tried a "dinosaur roll", which was alternating unagi and smoked salmon on the outside and a tasty core of tempura scallops. Perfect combination of flavors.

Walking back to Shootin' Buddy's truck, a little MG TD came blatting up to the stop light. It added a certain Broad Riparian flavor to the day...

Export versions had their compression ratios bumped up to 8.0:1 since they didn't have to burn crappy low-octane leftover wartime British petrol. Thus fortified, they thumped out almost sixty horsepower (SAE gross) and could accelerate to sixty mph in less than a fortnight. (And sometimes beyond it, too!)

...but not so much as when, 200 yards down the road, a little BRG-with-gold-stripes MGB went zipping into the Kroger's parking lot as we were preparing to depart.

The charmingly eccentric MGB retained the undersquare all-stone peat-burning inline four of its ancestors and archaic "knee"-type dampers (or, as the Brits call them, "spanners",) but added shocking luxuries like wind-up windows. Later versions were saddled with the new US emissions controls and hideous 5-mph safety bumpers that each weighed about as much as a WWII Matilda tank of Monty's army. Never has such a painfully bog-slow automobile still been somehow miraculously fun to drive. You've got to hand it to the Limeys for that.


21 comments:

JohninMd(help?) said...

Sooo, you guys gave a young copper a pea shooter?

The Jack said...

I love that Sushi Bar.

If you're ever sitting at the bar, and you want something special, try to get the chef's attention.

He can do some amazing custom orders.

Robin said...

Sadly the 5mph bumpers of the MGB weren't as durable as a Matilda tank ...

Kristophr said...

Electronics by Lucas, Prince of Darkness.

Ignition system and other electrical system failures would magically be made to vanish by storing the vehicle in a garage and out of the rain for a week.

Anonymous said...



Ha. The whole series of MG's has been described to me as the most fun you have have doing 30mph while watching your rear wheel passing you in a field 40ft away.

Leading to the classic bumper sticker: All the pieces falling off this car are of the finest british manufactures

The electrics... well, there is no excuse.

Kevin said...

I have lusted in my heart for an MGB-GT with a Rover 3500 (215 cubic inch) aluminum V8 ever since I saw that engine swap in an old car magazine. Sort of an early do-it-yourselfer's M-Coupe with British flair.

My family owned a Triumph Herald with a 1500CC Spitfire engine. Slow, frumpy, and goddamned fun to drive.

staghounds said...

My father's mid-life crisis car was a bright red MGB-GT. I remember it although I was small enough to fit into the passenger side foot well.

He bought it new. We call it his mid life crisis car, but since he died at 40 it was more of an end of life crisis car.

Someone got a bargain, he only had it for a few months.

Ajdshootist said...

I owned a MGBGT fun to drive but could not pull the skin of a rice pudding, but i also owned at one time an MGC Roadster 3 litre strait 6
a big slow reving engine with for its
time a fair turn of speed but it had one big fault it did not go round corners too well very poor turning circle and it required 5 star petrol which was being phased out.

Ritchie said...

Those knee type dampeners also work well on a utility trailer, if you have extras.

Leatherneck said...

Tam, Isn't that an MG TC, not TD? The stand-up headlights I always associated with the TC.

TC

Turk Turon said...

I agree with Leatherneck. The TDs had headlamps molded into the fenders (skirts) and the TCs were mounted on pods.

Tam said...

TCs had wire knockoffs, TDs had discs; that's the easiest visual cue.

TFs had headlamps faired into the wings instead of free-standing ones, as well as a raked-back grille.

Good thumbnail spotters guide at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_T-type

libertyman said...

Tam, you are exactly right about the differences between the TC, TD and TF. But there is something about that one you saw that makes me think it is a replica.The wheels, don't look right, I think they are not MG. There are some very close replicas made, plus the original car wasn't that sophisticated to manufacture to start with.

Tam said...

libertyman,

Dunno, I bent double and peeked under it. It sure looked real...

Fred G said...

In 1966 I lived in the Boston area while attending a training school for a computer manufacturer for six months. In the early fall I bought a 1966 or 1967 MGB. Don't remember the year because of the model year change over. It was a British Racing Green convertable. I had a ball with that car in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont. It was not sluggish at all and would corner like a race car. Hitting some of those roads in the mountains or up the coast of Maine at 60-80 miles an hour, riding low to the road and with the wind whipping by created wonderful memories. Unfortunately, in November, 1966 I finished training and was reassigned to Ft. Worth, TX. The following year when the Texas summer rolled in I found I had only two choices with the MGB with no AC--leave the top down and broil or put the top up and bake in my own juices (also learned that I should not pull up beside a semi pulling a double decker cattle trailer at a stop light with the top down--nasty experience). Since I was out and about a lot fixing computers and I had to wear a suit every day, I had to make a change. Bought an air-conditioned Pontiac GTO. Would outrun the MGB but could not take the corners like the MG did. Missed the fun of the MG for a while.

Fred G

libertyman said...

I hadn't seen trim rings like that on a TD, maybe it was a 50's version of "bling"? A lot can happen to a car in 60 years.
With the hat, fleece, and ponytail, that could be you in the passenger seat!

ExurbanKevin said...

... and on a not-unrelated note, I saw a Triumph TR8 on the way home from the range yesterday.

I lusted in my heart for that car in my youth. Growing up in Canuckistan, my car heroes were evenly split between muscle cars form the lower 48 and lightweight Brit sport cars from the Home Isles.

Fun fact: A dozen high-school boys can lift an original Mini Cooper (NOT the BMW copy) down a flight of stairs and into the principal's office.

Ask me how I know this.

Roger said...

If that's a replica TD, its a very good one. Wheels are fancier than original and body looks too good for original. Its owner has (wisely)added extra tail lights. TCs had 19" wire wheels that stood out clearly, TFs had the headlights faired into the fenders.
Modern wiring and Silicon grease on every connection and joint cures 95% of the infamous Lucas problems or at least did on my 120 Jag.

Anonymous said...

Had a '59 Bugeye Sprite, only gauges that worked were speedo and oil pressure, both mechanical. Oil pan had chunks of metal in it. So I cleaned it out, fixed the leaky gasket and drove it 2000 miles from CA to IL, with a broken battery the wouldn't hold a charge and required a push start after every stop. Finally ran out of hills in IL and had to get a cop to give me a jump start. Great adventure for a 19 yr. old kid, wish I still had that car - and several others that I sold stupidly. Larry Weeks

NotClauswitz said...

The Dinosaur roll sounds delicious!

Netpackrat said...

The reason the wheels don't look right is because they would have originally been painted silver, not body color. The trim rings are probably not original (they were offered as factory option on my MGA, but I don't know about the TD), but since the original type hubcaps fit, they are almost certainly the original wheels. They look like the ones on the TD I own with my brother. Somebody has also added a non original third brake light, and I think that must be a fairly early TD because the tail lights are different from ours. Note the wiper motor at the top of the windshield frame. I'd say that's definitely not a replica.

I've been associated with MGs my entire life, and I wouldn't say they are more or less prone to electrical problems more than other cars of the same age. Most of the problems I have personally encountered could be attributed directly to poor maintenance and/or shoddy alterations done in the past.

And the lever type shock absorbers work very well. You just aren't going to find replacements for $29.99 each at your local Vato Zone.