Second Car

Octagon Newsletter … September 1987

by Edna Sumsion

When you decide to live far away from civilization, there are many factors to be taken into consideration and you begin to wonder, after having taken the momentous step, whether the advantages of fresh air, open space, infinite views of Mr. Vantreight's cabbage fields, bird song, and the never ending agricultural aroma are not somehow outweighed by the lack of garbage collection, mail delivered to a battery of boxes a good mile (apologies to the metrication system … I haven't caught on yet!) away from the house, which offer a stimulating and enjoyable walk when the sun is shining brightly, but which have all the delights of an assault course when it's pouring with rain (who cares if I don't make the trip to-day, they'll be all bills anyway) and the fact that you HAVE to HAVE TWO CARS!!!

The Municipality has taken the stance that, if you are stupid enough to live in the boondocks who are they to provide transportation. Well, when the subject of this article took place, we were in the happy state of being a two-car family. However, that changed when the "heir to the Sumsion millions" took over the old 'Ford' family station wagon and we were down to ONE car. (The two MGs sitting in the garage at that time did not come into the category 'cars ... people for the use of'. They were "pets" to be taken out on 'special occasions'. So what were we going to do if we should suddenly run out of caviar when the Russian Ambassador happened to be visiting, or the son and heir had just fallen out of one of the trees that made the country such an inviting place to live in and the ONE and only car was being used by the "head" of the household for such urgent and necessary trips as going to the marina to spend a day sailing or such like?

Having given a great deal of thought to this matter (that is one evening), it is casually mentioned that we must have another car and we set about deciding on what it should be. The pros and cons, merits and otherwise of Detroit monsters, Japanese tin cans and European cast-offs were debated, when an earth‑shattering decision was made … we might as well have another MG (not the "looking at" kind but the using kind). This led to further discussion on which model. I said very firmly … "It must have a hard top, there is no way I'm going to break my thumbs putting on a soft top at the first drop of rain, nor am I going to get soaked because I'm too chicken to try to assemble the darn thing" … so it was decided a GT would be just the thing.

Trying to find a GT was not an easy task. We first of all had to decide whether we would get one with a good interior and a fast disintegrating body, or a good body with a tatty inside. The ideal would have been a good body and a superlative interior. but the cost was prohibitive, that is we didn't have enough pence!! So it was with trepidation that we set out on the trail of the MG GT.

Have you ever answered an 'ad' which states boldly "good condition, runs well". If you have, you know what to expect, if you haven't 'don't'. If a heap of rust with an MG badge on it, a gear box with only one gear and sodden carpets is regarded as "good condition" I can hardly wait to see an 'ad' for one in "bad condition". However, I digress.

Each evening we studied the 'ads'' in the Times Colonist, also the Penny Saver, the Saanich Peninsula News and all the other "free" papers we get when we have the courage and strength to visit the mail box (you will remember where it is!!). We followed up a few "good condition" type ads and eventually went to see the one described as being "80% restored", wondering what the 20% was that still required doing. The subject of the advertisement turned out to be a British Racing Green MG GT which was purported to have been stripped right down, had the engine reconditioned and seemed to be in quite good condition, apart from the fact that the owner had, in an over zealous mood, decided to renew the door panels. I'm sure he must have been absolutely delighted with the results, but to us they were a complete disaster. They were to all intents and purposes replicas of the recreation room 'bars' sold in such emporiums as Wosks and Woolco. The vinyl was of a mottled brown hue and padded in large diamond shapes (poor old Bill Morris … sorry 'Lord Nuffield' … would undoubtedly rotate in his resting place were he apprized of this knowledge). Anyway after a lot of discussion (more commonly known as 'dickering' or 'bargaining') we decided that the interior could be restored to its former glory so we stepped beyond the point of "no return" and actually purchased it. Well, this was just the beginning … (Perhaps one of these days I might even bore you with  the end.)

Return Link - Return < Return