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29 March 2005

Establishing Provenance



Just over a year ago I decided to fulfill a lifetime desire to finally own an old classic MG. My search began by looking for a 46-49 MGTC. I chased down all the ads in Hemmings,looked at a few which were in tough shape. I bid on Ebay for one in Florida and one in California, but decided the shipping and necessity to go out and look at these cars was expensive and time consuming. I became disappointed and relegated to the possibility that I would have to settle back and be satisfied in driving my 1971 MGBGT for the summer.

Then a friend/mechanic suggested I check out a local restoration shop here on Cape Cod where he recalled seeing a couple of 'really old' MG's sitting around. The very next day I stopped in to the shop's showroom and there sitting prettily, by itself, in the middle of the room was a fully restored 1932 MG J2 done in original Cambridge and Oxford blue, with all the goodies. THIS HAD TO BE MY CAR.

After a few negotiations we agreed on a price and the car was 'flatbedded' to my garage a few days later, since I was afraid to drive it in traffic. I spent the next six weeks fitting a brake light, directional signals, replaced the head gasket which I blew out on my first test drive. (the gasket had deteriorated from sitting for twenty-some-odd years since the restoration had been done.) After all the additional expenditures the car still cost me less than the TC's I had been looking at.

Then came the interesting part. Since the seller didn't have much past history on the car, except for the previous owner, I began my search for some background on the car. I contacted the MMM Registry in the U.K. and they supplied me with information as to when the car was built, delivered and to whom, the original chassis and engine numbers, color scheme and extra equipment. Also all the recepts of work performed for the original owner by the MG Car'Lt.G.H.C.Dickens,RN' who I recently found out was the grandson of Charles Dickens.

The original registration to the car was RV2595, which is still on the car. While surfing all the MG sites I found my car featured on several european web sites of the MGCC and MGOC in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, etc.

There it was....RV2595. The car had been restored by Brian Wilson (not of the 'Beach Boys") in 1982. It appeared again while I was flipping through the 1982 MMM Register Yearbook, having won the car of the year award that year.

Then when perusing the 1982 Automobile Quarterly Vol.XX No.4, article on '50 Years of M.G.' there's a full page spread of my car. I contacted the photographer and he informed me that my car has been featured in 'many MG books and calendars' over the years. Now I have more searching to do. It becomes more and more interesting!!

The car has been in a few local shows since I've owned it, and has received a 'best of show' or 'first in class' every show. OH! WHAT FUN!!!!!

P.S. Just finished building a custom hauler so I can attend a few shows off-Cape on the back roads of New England.

Jim Healy

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