ARTICLES AND STORIES
'67 B of
Timothy Sullivan from Laguna Hills, California
'67 B of Timothy Sullivan from Laguna Hills, California
An American MGB Association's Queen B is the '67 B of Timothy Sullivan of Laguna Hills, California. Here is his story:
My Life with MG’s
I saw and fell in love with my first MGB back in 1966. I was in the ninth grade and had a paper route. My paper route ran through an apartment complex and one of the tenant’s there had a new, black MGB roadster with a black interior. I was mesmerized by it. I would stop and look at it everyday it was parked there while I was on my paper route. I dreamed about owning an MGB someday when I grew up and got my driver’s license - but that was a very long time off for a 13 year old.
I wrote a letter to the British Motor Corporation U.S. MG distributor and requested a brochure on the new MGB and sure enough they mailed one back to me along with a Retail Price listing dated June 1966. I studied that beautiful, full color brochure for hours and hours. In fact I still have that brochure and price list.
A few years later on, in 1970 when I was old enough to drive, my older brother Pat purchased a well used 1964 MGB painted a beautiful Iris Blue color. I remember one weekend when he was away I took his MGB out for a ride. It had a "glasspack" muffler on it that made it particularly loud and I loved blipping the throttle to hear that lovely engine run. What an incredible car! When I got our of the Service in 1974 I purchased a used 1971 MG Midget and drove it from Detroit, Michigan to Tucson, Arizona on a trip to see my older brother and his new wife. The car ran great because I always kept it well maintained and tuned up. I still have the factory Bentley Service Manual that I purchased for it back then and still consult that manual to this very day.
A few years more down the line, in 1977, when I was a starving college student I purchased a well used 1970 burnt orange MGB roadster. At the time I didn’t have two nickels to rub together but I was able to scrape up the dough because it didn’t cost me too much in light of the heavy body damage to the driver’s door and rear quarter panel. The door was bashed in pretty badly but I was able to fashion a driver’s door window out of clear plastic and good ‘ole duck tape that lasted awhile until I could afford to buy a used driver’s side door. That MGB got me through a couple of very cold and snowy winter’s back in Michigan and it ran great, never letting me down once.
Jumping forward more recently, during 2011 I purchased another MGB, a white 1962 roadster. It was a very early model MGB and was in relatively solid condition but I was reluctant to invest any money in it because I discovered that the manufacturer’s metal ID tag was missing and the Body Number tag was used as the VIN registration number on the title. Something just didn’t feel right even though I had a clear State issued title and current registration, so I sold it on in short order.
More recently I found a 1967 Primrose yellow MGB roadster that spent its entire life in California. I have the original black plates issued by the State of California for it and was able to get it re-registered with those original black plates. I have done a complete restoration of the interior including the dashboard, dashboard instruments, dashboard top, carpets, side card panels and seat upholstery. I replaced both the windshield and the windshield rubber seals because the windshield was deeply scratched. I polished the windshield chrome trim with special polishing compound and it came out great. Replacing the lower windshield frame rubber seal was a real pain taking many hours of painstaking labor sliding it ever so slowly into that tiny groove that runs the length of the windshield base.
I installed a new convertible top on a used top frame assembly that I purchased off eBay and took the engine and trans out so I could install a new clutch, pressure plate and flywheel and several new trans seals and engine gaskets. I had to replace the flywheel because the ring gear was bad and the old starter kept jamming on it. I replaced the old starter with a modern and conventional Hi-Torque starter and all of my starting problems were eliminated.
The car sat for many years and thus I had to go through the entire fuel system and replaced both the fuel tank and fuel pump, cleaned out the fuel lines and rebuilt the two carbs. In addition, I fabricated a new driver side battery compartment frame as I wanted to continue to use both of the existing 6 volt batteries.
One thing I haven’t changed or restored is the exterior bodyor body color. The Primrose body paint is very rough and worn with numerous nicks, scratches and imperfections. But the body itself is virtually rust free having been in California its whole life and thus I’m reluctant to paint or otherwise refinish the body. Its looks old and worn but I just don’t give a darn. I like it just the way it is, warts and all.
With new tires and freshly painted wire wheels it runs great and is a true joy to drive and enjoy. I ended up having to get the wheels balanced at three different shops until I could find a shop that truly knew how to balance the wire wheels properly. Two different shops ended up sticking just a ton of lead weights on the wheels to no avail. Finally number three shop got it right with a proper support flange on the wheel balancing machine and ended up using a couple of very small weights on each wheel. What a difference it made to in getting the wheels properly balanced too, a vibration at higher speeds mysteriously disappeared!
And as you may know, I own a couple of other hobby cars that are much faster than my slow moving old MG but that doesn’t matter to me, I still enjoy the heck out of driving it as no other car comes close in the overall old school feel and touch of the car.
This MG I just might hold on to for a while, perhaps a long while.