Well, am just home after a trip to Nottingham (price of rail ticket made me choke) to inspect and, all okay, buy a private sale chrome bumper, 1976 MGB GT V8, for my cousin in Australia, elbow out the window all the way up the A1 evidence I managed to beat the bad weather following.
It has been years since I owned and drove an MGB. The long journey rekindled fond memories of familiar great British automotive engineering skills: that distinctive MG interior's musty smell, ill-fitting carpets, no boot liner, marshmallow seats, the shaky rear view mirror, the immobile side mirrors, the squeaky rear hatch hinge, the ugly front seat belt retainers fixed to the rear that lie loose an catch in the door, window winders, the scattered instruments barely legible, pre-war knobs mixed with Seventies switches, the dependably clunky overdrive switch which almost makes the car jolt as it alters revs, the useless headlights, the retractable radio aerial that doesn't retract, and the lightly padded dash edge as a gesture towards crash protection.
What a roar from that V8, a ton of torque in any gear, small, compact dimensions, characterful cabin, the occasional smile from drivers and pedestrians I am driving a "good 'un," a classic, adding to aesthetic satisfaction it is clothed in Rosso Red, a pleasant hue, not an MG-hideous colour of which there were many such as apple green or blech brown.
It took a private engineer to show MG the way when Costello inserted a V8 under the bonnet to prove he could, and by waiting too long, they brought their version out same year as the first major oil crisis and sold a mere 2,500, or thereabouts of roadster and coupe.
The model was deleted, and, bumped by internal politics from Triumph, the "Morris Garage" company closed down, half a million MGs sold worldwide junked to save a company that had sold a mere 37,000 sports cars, and was due to produce the .... Triumph TR7.
I raise my glass to British automotive engineering ... now owned by ... you know the rest.
The MGB GT is in my garage until the trailer arrives to take it to the docks and a happier land.