The Car Quest -- my ramblings on my quest for cars, bikes, and other things.
Now I really mean it, I am not a collector. It was an interesting winter that saw my sell the Tunebug and then buy a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser as my daily driver -- and then sell the FJ40, and the Fit, and the BMW R/75, and then buy a Kia Forte (hatchback with an automatic) and a BMW F650GS (deal of a lifetime from my father-in-law).
All came down to the simple realization that I'm a one-project-at-a-time guy, no exceptions. So one old project, one newer bike, and a daily driver. Clean and simple. It was a bit like Frink's Quality Used Cars around here for a while, but the effort paid off and my little fleet is back to where it needs to be. Lesson learned. For whatever reason I don't like having more than one project at a time, so that's the new rule. I guess you can teach this old dog a new trick.
A summer with two cars to car for has taught me an important lesson -- I am not a car collector. I really don't like the extra stresses that come with owning multiple cars (and a bike). The biggest resource that was lacking was time; time to work on them, time to drive them, time to enjoy them. So after much thinking it has come down to the fact that I need to sell one of the cars.
I find myself driving the MGB more and more -- it is a car that has really grown on me. The more I drive it, the more I appreciate its particular blend of capabilities. So when the time came to pick which car would find a new home it really wasn't much of a choice. A deep breath, and I put the Tunebug up for sale. I'd like to get it to a new home before winter sets in, but we'll see how the sale process goes. This is not the best time to sell a convertible, so if needs be it can sit out the winter and I'll try again in the spring. For now, it's on the market looking for a new home.
So I've had my MGB for a whole week now, and have maybe 200 or so miles on it. I've driven it back to back with the Tunebug on a couple occasions as well, and now have some initial observations on the differences.
The MGB is in another league as far as comfort goes. Less wind buffeting, far better seats, more legroom than I need (and I'm 6'1"). Shoulder room is better, too. It's a bigger car, and for comfort sake that's a good thing. Ride is much smoother too, no where near as jarring as the Sprite. Funny to think of a MGB as a large car, but it's a Cadillac compared to the Sprite. I really need to redo the Sprite seats some day, as their deteriorated condition doesn't help.
Yes, the MGB has more power, though the Sprite is surprisingly close with the motor that Hap built for it. MGB is stock w/ Pertronix as far as I know, Sprite isn't close to stock. More torque with the MGB as well. No replacement for displacement.
Can you say overdrive? I knew you could! Absolutely transformative. 6 forward speeds (OD on 3 and 4), all useful. I'm finding plenty of times when the OD 3 is just enough lower than normal 4 to the the revs in just the right spot for road speed or a steep hill. The ribcase in the Tunebug is far crisper to shift, but really needs a 5th gear. I'm not really sold on the 3.90 either, at least in the mountains where I drive. I'm thinking the 4.22 and 5-speed would be the perfect combo.
Over the last six years in the old car hobby I've held to one fairly strict rule, that of the one-car-at-a-time. To be more specific, one car and one bike. No fleets of projects, no random stacks of parts cars to litter the lawn. Keep focused.
Well, as of a few days ago I have officially rescinded that policy. For a wide variety of reasons, and with the support long-suffering car widow Jenny, I decided to branch out a bit and add another car. Specifically, I wanted something with right hand drive. For some unknown reason I've always been fascinated by having the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Maybe it's all those British-based car books I read as a kid. Whatever the reason the time had come. With some financial resources set aside it was time to begin the search.
Specifically, I was looking for an MGB: convertible or GT with overdrive, no wire wheels, and definitely not a project. 1967 or earlier would be nice, but certainly pre 1972 or so when the dash changed for UK cars. I figured that with such a specific configuration in mind the search could easily take a few years so I should put the word out to my other car friends. Just a if-you-run-across-one sort of thing. Made the post on the British Car Forum (BCF) on Friday, March 11. Expected nothing to come of it.
Well, my friend JP added a link to a car for sale out of Canada (Windsor, Ontario) that seemed to fit the bill. Figuring I had nothing to loose, I emailed the seller for information that day (Friday). I also heard from another BCF friend named Dave who happened to live close to the car in questios -- he'd be willing to look it over. Heard back from the seller the next day (Saturday), and got Dave in touch with him. Dave and his wife took a little road trip the following day (Sunday) and looked the car over, sending me pictures and a detailed report. I called the seller, we chatted for 20 minutes or so, and I agreed to buy the car. All of a sudden, a possible multi-year search was over in three days.
Main photo from the ad
So now I own another car I've never seen, and that is in a foreign country to boot. Figuring out how to pay for it was the first complication (PayPal was the eventual choice, pricy but quick). Now I'm deep into sorting out paperwork for the shipping company I choose -- they will handle the customs process but need quite a bit of info from me. It's an adventure for sure!
I'm officially out of garage space.
This is not surprising, as we have a truck, two cars, and a motorcycle all stuffed into our standard suburban garage (about 20'x20'). Now a sane person would first think that 4 motor vehicles are really too many for just two people -- especially in light of the fact that one of the people (Jenny) can only drive one of them...
As sanity is overrated, we've (okay, me with Jenny's ascent) have decided to add to our existing garage space. The most likely option is that we'll add an additional outbuilding where the fire pit sits on our property. We'll never use the fire pit so this is just wasted space at this point.
Yellow box is the proposed location, brown box is the new deck
I've done some talking with the city about zoning, setbacks, and building codes and it looks like I've got enough space to put about a 20'x20' garage in this space. That would roughly double the existing covered parking and give me a great space for a workshop. It would eventually be insulated and heated so that I could have a workspace for the long Utah winter. Sounds like a plan to me!
I've started a thread over at the Garage Journal forum for the planning process, so hop on over and follow along.