By Greg Prehodka
I dearly love my classic sports cars. I’ve had MGs in particular since 1967. Driven ’em, rallied ’em, worked on ’em, and raced ’em. Much more important to me, however, are the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know who also own MGs. It is for them that I write this request: be smart and be safe and get your car inspected every year.
The engineers at Abingdon designed our MGs to be road worthy, but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine the cars would outlive them. All cars deteriorate over time. Metals corrode, rubber hardens and cracks, moving parts wear and fatigue, lines clog, fluids break down, and so on. All of this adds up to serious responsibility on our part. Time has a way of slipping by without our notice. It’s time to stop calling work done in 1995 a “recent restoration.” We need to take safety seriously each and every year. Some states have mandatory annual car inspections, and for good reasons. Unfortunately many states also exempt vintage cars from inspections—a policy I disagree with.
I’ve been involved with MGs and MG clubs for over 50 years, and have seen and heard of numerous vehicle failures. Failures of mechanical items, hydraulic lines, fuel lines, tires, etc., have happened—including with my own MGs. I recently had my ’71 MGB inspected, and it was found that the fuel pump was leaking gasoline, something I had not noticed. With just a spark my car could have been toast! I could argue convincingly that I am qualified to inspect my own vehicle, but I know better. This is why I highly recommend that any LBC which sees road or track use gets—at minimum—a thorough annual inspection by a qualified mechanic who knows and understands our cars and their potential problem areas.
Central Jersey Centre MG Car Club had a Safety Inspection Day hosted by New Vernon Coach & Motor Works in New Jersey.
Before I am allowed to vintage race my MGTD (or let my daughter Rachel race it) it has to pass a strict vehicle technical inspection at the track. Does your MG undergo any inspection before you drive it? Probably not, unless it doesn’t start, and then you have to take a look at it. Maybe you are qualified to inspect your own MG, and maybe you do inspect it, but most folks are driving enthusiasts not mechanics. We need to build into our hobby the discipline of appreciating and participating in the art of the inspection.
When I belonged to the Central Jersey Centre MG Car Club, one of our members who owned a garage with three car lifts invited us one day a year to inspect our MGs and to do some minor work on them. Holy Cow—some of the deficiencies we found were accidents waiting to happen!
Consider having your local club stage a “Safety Inspection Day.” As an alternative, suggest having a club meeting where a qualified individual gives a presentation on “How to do a safety inspection of your LBC.” These actions could help save someone from having a really bad day down the road.