Roger and Marie Burgess

Octagon Newsletter … December 2002

By Wayne Watkins

Victoria MG Club members' MGs and other British cars - they are the source of many stories and memories. Some members have had many MGs or other LBCs (little British cars) and some only a handful. This month we look at the cars of Roger Burgess.

Roger's first car was an Austin A35 panel van which he purchased in 1967 for 60 pounds. When it was suggested he bought a van for shenanigans other than transport he replied "What - in an Austin A35 panel van? You've got to be kidding. Do you know how small they are?!" The real reason was to enjoy a much cheaper insurance premium than it would have been for a sports car in England in those days.

When he reached twenty one years old and could afford the more reasonable insurance he bought a 1960 MGA. This Old English White model remains his favourite car to this day. He completed a minor restoration and drove it from February to November with no top, as it had come with only a rare factory hardtop which stayed on only in the winter. Roger had met Marie by this time and they both agreed that if you drove fast enough in the rain you wouldn't get too wet! Roger sold the 'A' for what he paid for it when they moved to Canada.

They lived in Montreal and bought a VW, Beetle which Roger did a number on - he painted the body dark blue and painted the newly cut back fenders bright yellow and removed the bumpers. After a year or so Roger met a fellow in the RCAF social club who told him about an underground storage garage at the bottom of an apartment building. Seems that the regular entrance to the garage was cut off due to the road being raised so the only cars in this garage were small British cars that were so low slung they could only be driven in and out using a series of wooden ramps.

In this garage was a pre-war  SS100 Jaguar, a XK150 Jag and a '67 Triumph TR4A. Roger was able to make a deal on the TR4A. It was a great looking car in Old English White with red interior. It took Roger and Marie for many summer trips down the eastern seaboard and through the Laurentians. They drove the TR to Calgary in the summer of 1972 when he was transferred there with his company. Not all that practical as a family car and not appropriate for Roger's corporate image (according to the corporate people), the TR was sold and the garage was then occupied by things like Ramblers, Volkswagen Squarebacks and Tempos.

Then they moved to Victoria. In 1990 after more non-British cars, Roger joined our club and bought and restored the red 1967 MGB he has now. The 'B' has taken Roger and Marie to Portland and Laguna and on many other MG club tours. It also goes fast at Western Speedway slaloms. Roger also bought a tired MGB GT which he restored "for Marie".

Apparently Marie drove it for two hours on the Friday it went back on the road as a restored car and then they took it to the club barbeque that night. A visiting couple from the States showed an interest  in it and it left the Island with its new owners on the Sunday! Roger got "the look" from Marie for quite some time after that.

Now to the long term project - a very early 1956 MGA 1500. Roger found out about the car, which was actually an assortment of two body halves as well as three chassis'. He brought it all back from Vancouver in a two ton truck. It is slowly coming together in the motor house behind Roger and Marie's house in Mill Bay. Roger confirms that it, like many other Victoria MG Club members' projects, will be ready "in the Spring". Stay tuned - it will be a welcome addition to the growing number of MGAs in the club. (Apparently Marie keeps the keys and the registration in her purse so this one will not be sold out from under her!)

1967 MGB

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