MG Bloody B - Faine

By: Jon Faine, Photography by: Jon Faine

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I ventured through the garage door and found ADA

MG Bloody B - Faine
The interior is intact, which is a good start.

"Can you help my Mum? We need to get Dad’s old MG out of the garage – it’s in the way. It wasn’t driven for at least ten years before he died," said a friend, a few months ago. "It doesn’t start, the tyres are flat, it’s covered in crap and starting to be really annoying …"

I soon learned that the mustard 1970 MG-B Mk2 with overdrive was bought new in the UK, driven around Europe, then shipped to Australia and used as a daily driver for nearly 40 years. It was last registered in 2014. Nobody else in the family ever liked it, and there was zero interest in its fate.

Wiping away years of cobwebs and risking asphyxiation from dust, I ventured through the garage door and found Ada, as her now lapsed numberplate reveals her to be, wedged between old garden pots, paint tins, garden furniture and empty cardboard boxes. A few minutes clearing debris revealed the all but complete little MG, soft-top buttoned down and three tyres squashed flat to the floor. Both air cleaners were in the boot and a damper had vanished from one of the SU carbs, suggesting a fuel problem contributed to its demise. A torch poked under the floor and around the wheel arches contradicted my expectations of rusty footwells and ruined sills.

Over a cup of tea, I heard stories of the family cruising the motorways of Europe, the roof down and two toddlers nestled into pillows perched on the parcel shelf for expeditions across mountain passes and exotic backroads. An MGB was pretty cool back in the day. 

A few weekends later, equipped with portable compressor, WD-40, a trailer and a plentiful supply of ratchet straps, we persuaded the MG to leave its nest. Thankfully the tyres held air, the handbrake was not seized and Ada was soon blinking in the sunlight. Degreaser and a quick squirt with the Karcher revealed a tidy and a surprisingly good body, ignoring the typical elderly driver parking dings and scrapes.

The body is rust-free. Bonus.

Soon, tucked in my overcrowded garage, with Ada on axle stands and the wire wheels removed, I could crawl underneath and prove there was no rust. None. Nil. Zip. Zilch. Astonishing for any old English car, let alone one that had been in a garage for over a decade. Poking and prodding revealed brakes in fine condition, with pedal pressure and no visible fluid leaks. 

The wire wheels had no broken spokes, but decades of caked grease and grime had to be scraped from both the splines and the hubs. 

 Sprung, but not completely.

 A solid weekend of fettling saw a frenzy of spending money to revive Ada. First task was a set of tyres, then wrestling the new battery into its appallingly awkward cubby-hole, behind the driver’s seat. Only an idiot would instal the battery and then next decide to remove the roll cage that was so obviously in the way! ...  

A coolant flush was followed by a new set of radiator hoses, then the toxic, ancient, stinky petrol was drained from the tank and replaced with fresh juice. Next was a pair of new air filters and reinstallation of the filter boxes, which required a bit of improvisation as some securing brackets were missing. A set of new spark plugs and HT leads were introduced, the old oil was drained and replaced with light flushing oil and a fresh oil filter. Everything seemed ready, so with trepidation I gingerly turned the key. The motor turned but would not fire. As I wondered what was wrong, I could hear something dripping and found fuel squirting out the carbie vents and puddling on the floor.


Stripping the carbie covers and bowls, I found just about everything caked in brown sticky residue from gummed-up old petrol. After thorough cleaning, I tried again – and to my amazement the motor instantly barked and came to life.

A few first-gear only squirts up and down the back lane suggested a temporary registration permit was justified, and with little delay I was off for a spin around the ’hood, grinning from ear to ear. 

Tony the scrutineer for my car club gave Ada a ride on the hoist at his workshop, which revealed one broken leaf on the passenger’s rear spring set and a leaking water pump. The muffler has seen better days and there’s evidence of some repairs years ago to one sill. Although the parkers and indicators all work, the headlights do not. The bulbs, fuses, relays and dashboard switch are fine – and the lights flash on high-beam, so there is some other obscure wiring loom problem, needing to be traced.

Our neighbour David has been restoring an MGB for years, and upon learning of the broken spring, calmly told me he had a near-perfect spare set for his car that he was happy to part with. After a few hours wire brushing then repairing threads with a tap & die set, I carefully put them on to a trestle in the backyard and applied a generous coat of chassis black before turning them over. The trestles promptly collapsed and deposited my freshly painted springs on to the dirt. 

This does not happen to people who know what they are doing. 

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