In August 1972 I was six when Bridget rolled out of Abingdon. A graceful steed in a stable of runners destined for America to buttress the noble name of Morris Garage in the psyche of Anglophile automotive enthusiasts.
In 2005, kismet brought us together: a missed turn by my daughter, an admonishing and then love at first sight. Sixteen months of work later and my wife could see that it wasn’t rose-colored glasses I was wearing, it was a smile. She does not share the dream, but she still loves the dreamer.
Bridget and I spend most of our time running the back roads of Lorain County, from home to golf course, out to a movie or dinner. She is an extension of me and I of her. She’s never let me down. Before I stable her for the winter I let her stretch her legs one last time.
We left Elyria west on US 20 to Norwalk bound for East Harbor. The day was crystal clear and cold. It didn’t matter. This was going to be the last ride of the year and I wanted to run Bridget into a lather.
My deep cup of caffeinated heat kept me warm until I turned north on 250 and stopped for a refill. By now the sun was close to zenith and the 100 ponies under the bonnet were just getting going. They didn’t need extra coaxing. They were running on 93 octane double espresso.
On the stretch between Norwalk and Sandusky I let the horses run free. I don’t know what I topped out at, but by the way the mailboxes whizzed past it was close to 105. I felt like Michael Shumaker testing an F1 at Monaco. Every twist, every turn was anticipated and executed to perfection.
Absolutely heart in your mouth thrilling.
Route 2 and 53 were at a saner speed but the Edison Bridge made for a great open run.
When the fully rested steeds roared back to life and I pointed them east toward Cleveland, they never missed a beat. 53 back to 2 and then 6 west of The Point. The route was the old roadbed of the Lake Shore Electric Railway, a fact given away by its broad expanse. The gentle undulations and easy sweeps passed in an instant as Bridget kicked up fallen foliage in her wake.
Coffee… this time from Caribou in Rocky River.
I met a guy who used to sell MGs for Fred Baker. We chatted for a few minutes and he told me how the cars run better with the parts we have now than they did from the factory. Maybe that’s why BL failed.
With the sun setting and temperature dropping, I opted for the parkway to Strongsville and Bridget’s winter home. I gunned her one last time through a series of tight turns and she never flinched.
Spring can’t come too soon.
By Donald Knapik