I had just turned seventeen and passed my driving test, up until this point my main mode of transport was various motorcycles ranging from Triumph Tiger Cubs to Honda 400 four.
My mother was not at all pleased at me racing around on these bikes and decided that it was time for me to get a car. There were various discussions on the subject, a Saab two stroke, a variomatic which was belt driven, even heaven forbid a Fiat, nothing materialised, until one evening my father returned home from an electrical job he was undertaking in Helens Bay for a Mr Marshall Pritchard, who owned a garage in the village and had an MGB sitting languishing in the corner of his workshop, you should go and have a look said my father, OK I will.
The next Saturday my sister Barbara and I went down to look at this MG, well it was love at first sight, she was Red, 1964, black upholstery with red piping, and I so wanted her. How much?, said I trying to be all grown up,
Fifty quid was the reply, no guarantee, sold as seen. OK Ill take her, my goodness I didn’t even barter, fifty pound notes were handed over and she was mine, I will put a couple of gallons of fresh petrol in her before you go said the garage owner.
So there I was pleased as punch, my first car, red and a sports car to boot, wow I was as chuffed as a man winning a million pounds.
My sister Barbara said OK its time we made tracks for home and we duly set off, I was on cloud nine, couldn’t believe that my first car was a SPORTS CAR, RED, and an MG, too much to take in.
As I drove her home I started noticing all the things one should look for before buying, Holes in both floors I could see the road passing beneath me, all four shocks were shot, fuel gauge didn’t read anything and some other electrical items were lets say smoking, but hey who cares she was mine and she was beautiful, and yes she was RED.
Everything was going fine until we hit the Hillhall road and passed the pub on the corner, hiccup, cough, splutter, OHHHHHHHHHH dear, engine dead, she coasted downhill into a small petrol garage on the left hand side, were ahem my lovely sister bought me four gallons of the go juice, thanks SIS.
Onwards home to Hillsborough were over the next three years all the wrongs were put right, the paintwork was lets say improved, and I even managed to take seven Scouts from Hillsborough over to Newcastle with all their kit. If I had attempted the same thing today I would have ended up in jail.
Many trips to Dundrum on summer nights with my friends for BBQ`s and listening to the beach boys on old four track Sharp tape players in the sand dunes, those were the good times when life was slower. Now the only thing which is slowing down is myself, funny how the brain still remains stuck at the wonderful age of 18.
I loved this red MGB for the next five years, improving her all the while, and eventually sold her for a reasonable profit at the end.