It has been a few hours over two weeks since I returned from Northern Ireland after crossing the Atlantic on Queen Mary 2.  I got itchy a few days ago, and now have some of my travel  information collections spread across the porch to plan the next sojourn or two, but as I have told you, each day is new, and I never know what will happen.  So, let me tell you what has happened the past few days.

Remember I told you that Black Beauty and I visited Sports Car Services on 15 June, and John told me about a customer’s MGA in the dairy barn?  After I looked at it I chatted with David, owner extraordinaire of Sports Car Services, and he promised me “right of first refusal” saying that the next weekend he and Patrick may have the time to get it started after its 18 years of hibernation.  The following day, Saturday, Black Beauty and I travelled over 200 round trip miles with them to the sports car show in Lenox, Massachusetts, and while I was there I studied all the MGAs and talked with one MGA owner at length.

I have become very adept at keeping myself busy each day with at least one different project or errand.  Doing so makes the days productively go by while also providing a sense of accomplishment.  One thing I decided to do last week was sell the library steel shelving in the middle of the garage and push hard maximizing useable floor space.  The shelves got sold and space opened up.  Before I knew it Saturday was here, “gee,” I reminded myself, “I wonder if David will remember to call me when they get the MGA out of the barn?”  Afternoon came and I had not heard a word, “why don’t Black Beauty and I take a spin over to West West after an errand in Bellows Falls!”  Perfect, and off we went cruising down the back road to Saxtons River to then cut over to West West.  But parked in front of The Dish on Main in quaint Saxtons River was an Austin Healy 3000.  I pulled alongside and parked with 99% surety that David would be lunching inside having road

First roar to life in 18 years

tested a customer’s sports car.  I was correct and sat and chatted with David and his son, Patrick, as they finished up.  We then headed back to his shop arriving around 3PM, and David asked, “would you like to see if the MGA will start?”  I thought he would never ask.  We pushed her from the barn into an open bay in the shop, and Patrick went to work.  I know the sequence from watching my Dad with Model Ts and As – plugs, fuel flow, check carburetors, clean out old fuel, points, etc.  Patrick was methodical, and within 2 hours David was backing her out and off we went.


And off she goes, David turned her over to me a mile down the road

The MGA held the road and performed very nicely.  The clutch pedal position indicates a near-term replacement, and in checking the usual trouble spots in the frame it will need some attention.  As a result, David recommended I offer the family something less than

Cockpit of an MGA

what he originally evaluated the car for to allow for these repairs.  A few other items needing attention (front shocks, tach cable., L.O.F., brake fluid) he would take care of now for his customer.  He said he would contact them.

But, “why” you ask do you need another sports car? “Why not?” I will reply.  The MGA is now a running, acceptable 15-foot driver.  “15-footer?” you ask.  That is a car that looks great from 12 to 15 feet away.  Yes it has been repainted (light blue over the original Alamo Beige) with some bondo repairs, but it is complete and ready to go for 62.5 percent of what I paid for a non-running Black Beauty before she was showered with work, money and love – not to mention 8 months time.  A perfect “knock-around” car for good and inclement weather – I just could not resist, and to be truthful cannot lose in the long-run.

Last night David got back to me, “your offer is accepted and they are mailing me a bill of sale, bring me your check.  But when we went to replace the shocks we found the trunnions shot thanks to a lack of lubrication,” don’t worry he continued, “I’ll take care of that too with no cost to you, just pay for the new battery.”

Blue Belle and Black Beauty meet for the first time on 23 June

Before I started working in the yard today I added Blue Belle (name came to me the other day) to my insurance policy effective tomorrow.  Then I finally began in the garden area outside the shop that I have not touched in four years – it needs major surgery.  Next I disassembled the fountain and moved it in preparation to making the space outside my porch into a garden area for veggies and flowers – yes I will start small with the two raised beds I bought on the way back from Lenox and also assembled today.  Oh, projects and progress with positive visual results – so rewarding.

This morning, 27 June, front end surgery and discovery of a usuable hood (top)

The bill of sale on Blue Belle probably will not be here in time to get her registered before the weekend, but Black Beauty and Blue Belle should be peacefully sleeping together tomorrow or the next day.  Oh, forgot to mention, Blue Belle is younger than Black Beauty by two years – 1960. Now some shunpiking deserving of repetition can be completed in different wheels.

Empty and waiting


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  1. Lee Hentschel says:

    Congrats Ray! You know how I love British sportscars. You’re inspiring me to start searching for another MG or Austin (or maybe crossing to the Italian side for another Fiat)….It’s been 20 years, and you’re making me itch! Have fun with her.

  2. Tara Sad says:

    Blue Belle and Black Beauty look so happy together! Congratulations, Ray!


  3. delores says:

    whimsical story – hope it doesn’t give chas any ideas!

  4. great! blue belle and black beauty look good together and I like the names. Don’t forget …. you’re doing good things for the local economy with your sports car hobby.

  5. shirley boas says:

    ray remember your dad gave me a MG? do u remember the year? it had a removalble top
    (hard and soft) – white body. it was a beauty. sold it so i could get more kids in my car –
    gilr scouts!!!!!!!

    good luck with b.b. – if she doesn’t get along with b.b i could take her off ur hands?????
    love ya shirley

  6. Marian says:

    Congratulations Ray. What a lovely pair. Great going.

  7. Mimsy says:

    Hi, Ray, thanks for your lovely story….and pics,,,,,you’ll need another garage pretty soon. Now, how about a story about the QM2?????


  8. Juanita says:

    Ray – I love Blue Belle. Enjoy! So nice seeing you today! Always my dear dear friend!

  9. 1dclark says:

    We call it “Axle River” ’cause we’re car guys

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