Andy’s MGB GT project isn’t finished in time for Monterey

Andy’s MGB GT project isn’t finished in time for Monterey

But he’s learned a lot more about the car and plans to drive it this fall to Hilton Head

Well, if you have been following my MGB restoration project and, like me, expected to see the car in Monterey, I have some bad news. The car is not on its way west as I’d expected. 

Like many (perhaps most?) restoration projects, the process has taken more time than I had anticipated. This has nothing to do with the quality of the car, but more to do with my time. Writing and traveling to cover events for the Journal, judging at concourss, and working full time in the classic car insurance business at Hayden Wood Insurance takes a lot of time.

However, there has been some progress. I was able to find a NOS left front fender for sale on eBay, and I was able to buy for a very fair price — less than $200.. It is ordered and on its way.

I also was able to find a very nice used rear seat bottom in amazing condition to replace the torn one in my car. Total cost for it was less than $100. I wanted a used one as my original interior is so nice that I wanted things to match and this will work nicely.

Another positive note is that I was able to get the complete history of my car. I had heard from the man from whom I bought the B GT that it was once owned by a person who had worked at University Motors in Michigan.

If you are in the MG community in the U.S. you have likely heard of University Motors. For those of you who have not, it was a shop specializing in MGs and was founded in 1975 by a man named John Twist, who had worked at University Motors in the UK. 

Since the British University Motors was the finest MG shop in the world at the time, he learned his trade from the masters. Although he retired a few years ago, he still holds tech events at British car shows across the country and his website is a tremendous source of expert advice, including how-tos and videos.

Original MGB GT Special advertisement

I called John and asked him who had owned the 1967 MGB GT that is now mine. He said my car was owned by his mechanic, Gregg Pervis. He also told me that that Gregg was the second owner of the car, having bought the car from its original owner in the mid 1980s. He said Gregg was the founder of the 1967 MGB GT Special registry, and that only 1,000 such cars had been produced.

The MGB GT Special was a car that MG built in 1967 to celebrate the first anniversary of the B GTl. All the cars were painted in Dark British Racing Green with black leather interior with white piping. These cars also featured a pair of plaques for the fenders, a wood rim steering wheel, and a wood shift knob. My car has all of these features, including the unobtainium MGB GT Special plaques, and all of this trim info matches the British Motor Heritage Trust certificate I got for my car as well.

John gave me Gregg’s number and I have been able to ask him about the car.

John Twist

The best part of the conversation is that I found that the engine had been rebuilt by John Twist and has been driven only about 18,000 miles since. He said that is why it has so much power and that all I should have to do is replace a few gaskets and the main seals.

All of this info makes me even more excited to own this wonderful car, it is not every day you find an MGB with this kind of documented pedigree. 

When I return from Monterey, I will be head back to The Paddock, where we’re doing the work on my MGB. My new plan is to have it done in time to drive it to the Hilton Head concours this fall. 

The take away is that if you are looking to do a classic car restoration the right way, these projects take whatever amount of time they need and the only way to do one quickly is to spend a ton of money or to cut corners. Cutting corners is stupid as you will only have to do it all again the right way, so if you are restoring a car give it the time it needs to do it right the first time.

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  • Jimmy Moran
    August 12, 2019, 5:49 PM

    John Twist built the motor? The Holy Grail of MG in America.
    Next up…Peter Egan, Charles Runyon, and a run by the folks @ Moss.
    I would never part with the vehicle.
    Cheers!

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  • James McIntire
    August 14, 2019, 6:02 AM

    I love finding out interesting nuggets of information about a vehicle that I own or am working on, such as its history. Many years ago when I lived in Virginia I was attempting to restore (I bit off more than I could chew) a 1970 Dodge D-100 pickup I discovered a VA map dated sometime in the mid-70’s. Now I had already been told by the seller that he believed the truck had been used by the state or a utility company; based on evidence of a lightbar having once been mounted on the roof, and a 2-way radio antenna having been mounted on the left B-pillar. When I was sanding the paint I found traces of bright yellow that state trucks used for so long. Based on other info of what I was told versus what I was finding, all the pieces were falling into place of this truck’s previous life. And It was not a pretty picture! This truck seemed to have lived a pretty rough life and had accumulated many hundreds of thousands of miles and had probably gone through 2 engines before I bought it. When I bought it it had a bad rod knock and needed a new engine. This truck had also been very poorly jury rigged by previous owners to the point where it was going to be very difficult and very expensive to ever make it right again. In the end I cut my losses and moved on. This truck needed far more than what I could give it at the time. I was young and dumb and didn’t know what I didn’t know. Lessons learned.

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