Paul Johnson, of Cleveland Ohio and friend of the Moss Motors family for many years, passed away peacefully on October 24th at the age of 66. Paul exemplified the spirit of the true vintage sports car enthusiast by driving his TC and TD perhaps hundreds of thousands of miles all over the continental U.S. and Canada. He attended events as an enthusiast and also as a representative of Moss Motors for many years, distributing catalogs and answering questions for customers on our behalf.
While Paul did more than his share of restorations over the years, it was driving that he loved and driving he did! Fie made dozens of multi-thousand mile trips often simply for the fun and adventure of it. In 1979 Paul and co-driverTom Scott participated in the very unofficial, if not some what illegal, vintage MG “Sea to Shining Sea Trophy Dash”. With a case of beer as the grand prize, Paul and Tom beat out all comers by completing the Staten Island to San Diego run in a total elapsed time of 50 hours and 28 minutes. Paul participated in numerous 1000 mile marathons organized by the New England MG T Register and Ohio Chapters as well as Reliability runs around Lake Michigan, but it was the truly long distance drives that he most enjoyed.
Chris Kepler (Moss Motors Vice President) and I answered Paul and Tom’s challenge for a repeat race in 1980. Somewhat regrettably, the official “Unofficial” event was canceled due to a slim turnout. Nonetheless, 4 or 5 diehard MG-T enthusiasts made the trek from Hershey, Pennsylvania to Lake Tahoe in a leisurely 4 days. Paul was our “Tour Guide” and taught us all a few things about long distance driving and having fun along the way. Paul loved to laugh, loved a good joke and loved to do the unexpected. Whether it was stopping for Mexican food for breakfast in Kansas City or climbing Pikes Peak at 7am to beat the traffic (after driving across Kansas for half the night) Paul was fun to be with. Paul was an excellent and resourceful roadside mechanic who was rarely forced to join the U-Haul brigade.
In more recent years, Paul was my annual co-driver in my 48 TC as we attended vintage MG events all over the west. He became quite the curmudgeon in later years, but a curmudgeon in the most lovable sense. Stopping at a Dairy Queen with a caravan of MGers was not his idea of a good time, but he couldn’t lie happier sitting down to a Johnny Walker Black after 800 miles of scaring heat!
After over 40 years of MGing since buying his first TC in 1948, Paul never lost his enthusiasm for life or of MG’s and would often reminisce about his hundreds of adventures as we clicked away the miles. Paul was a good friend. I’ll miss him and can only pray that he will continue to be an inspiration to me and my TC, and his many other good friends, in the miles ahead.