This 1962 MGA 1600 MkII, was built in April 1961. An early 1600 MkII, this was the 383rd in a production run of only 8198 MkII open two seat tourers and 521 fixed-head coupés, by the MG Car Company, Ltd., Abingdon-on-the-Thames, Oxford, UK. The car came with a basic trim line, including a tonneau cover, top (Britspeak:“hood”), in black (BMC code BK.1) as a North American export. Production gave way to the 1963 MGB in early 1962.
My Brother Shaun, age ~10, after Mass soon after purchase.
First Owner: I don’t know the original owner or dealer as of now. The owner prior to me was Father John Pack, O.P., Asst Pastor of St. Augustine Parish, Houston. I believe Fr. Pack owned the car approx. 5/67 to late 4/69. I owned the car 4/69 to present. Within a month of graduating St. Thomas High School in Houston, I bought this car from Fr. Pack. He loved the car, but needed a more practical VW Beetle to haul around liturgical materials, books, or an occasional nun. I could hardly get used to the steering at first. The car wandered all over the road. Fr. John told me to quit “driving” it like I learned to in our 1957 Fairlane 500, and a 1966 Chevelle I drove for a Pasadena drugstore. I steadied my hand and the car did likewise. I thought the car was a Jaguar. I got stupid one time in East Texas and did up to 110 MPH somewhere north of Liberty, before I wised up with my self-preservation instincts taking away the fun. A month later we were doing pirouettes on the North Freeway, wetted down in a rain shower making an oil and water mix like black ice. I got off to calm down. Dad and I later looked at the tires. They were bald and hard. How they stayed together (and why I was not arrested) during that stunt in East Texas still amazes me. I figured God had a purpose for me.
Primarily, I used the car for my commute to college, or wherever, plus various road trips. Sometimes my folks would hand me the keys to the “Old Gray Mare” (our 1965 Ranch Wagon) to drive off in the MG for a picnic or a beach trip to Galveston or Freeport in winter, or something. Whenever Dad and I were in the car, he did the driving. Also, I joined the Houston MG Car Club in July 1971, which brought me to further enjoy the car in club events including autocrosses, rallies, gymkhanas, concours, and tours. Club membership always multiplies enjoyment tenfold regardless of marque. Autocross sharpens skill sets. especially in an emergency maneuver. The Houston MG Car Club was always been open to all other marques and provided a place to play for Mustangs, Firebirds, Camaros, Chargers, and other “Detroit Iron” as well as other foreign makes. Mall parking lots were great for these timed driving events. They were closed due to Texas Blue Laws banning dry goods sales on Sundays, as well as our incorporation and self-indemnification for $1M by Lloyds of London.
I actually started disassembly of the MG in March 1975 and paused in March 1977. The place I was doing the work was being sold and my Dad and I built a lean to shed with fiberglass roof, at the back of the house, attaching that to a new fence we built. I believe that was the fall of 1976. We got a truck and trailer to get the MG in the back from a kind neighbor’s driveway. I since went to Penn State grad school in August 1977, and joined the Navy in late 1979.
When I was visiting my folks in Christmas 1995, Dad asked me, “Brian, when are you going to do something with that @@$@!$&*@#^# car !!!???”. They wanted to start a greenhouse in that shed, so K&K Vintage Motorcars and we pulled the car out of there and loaded all on flatbed they sent. That was January 1996 and the job completed in August 1998. I rebuilt the transmission and SU carburetors in 1977.
K&K did a magnificent restoration-real pros. I simply could not do this myself due to: 1. Lack of skill esp. with sheet metal, 2. It was unsafe to do hot work in that shed, and 3. I moved to Kansas City, to an apartment, with duties to the Weather Service as an instructor, and the Naval Reserves.
The coachwork and paint was done by some extraordinary, amazing craftsmen (Britspeak: “panel beaters”, but I beg to differ) from Mexico, led by a master of sheet metal named Antonio. They were paid well and sent money home to their families, as I understood it. They finished with approximately 6 thin coats of black enamel paint (no clearcoat). And all perfectly even. The engine was frozen as solid as Titanic’s iceberg, and a machine shop had to re-sleeve it, fitting new, slightly dished pistons due to lack of high-octane gas15 years of silence does not do well for engines, no matter how much STP you squirt in there. I should have disassembled it in 1977.
Engine: OEM polished & ported head, balanced internals. performance camshaft (adjustable timing sprocket) retrofitted with lightened lifters and pushrods. 1622 CC (98 cu. in), 95 BHP@5500 RPM, Siamese ported (2 inlet and center port of 3 exhaust ports) manifolds polished by restorer.
Driveline: 4 speed aluminum body transmission, wide ratio. First gear non-synchronized. Final drive 3.90:1.
Dimensions, Body, and Chassis: Laminate steel body, hand spot-welded. Doors, hood and rear deck are aluminum. Front independent suspension, live axle rear. Lever action shocks all around. Front anti-sway bar; 60 spoke wheels and radial ply tires (available from Michelin since early 1950s). Lockheed brakes: 11″ disk front, 13″x2″ drum rear. Steering: unassisted rack and pinion, 2.4 turns lock-to-lock, 28 ft turn circle. Curbside weight: 1944 lb Overall Length 156″ Wheelbase: 94″. Height (w/ top up) 50″.
By the way, I first met the Deep South Region on the way to a show in Mississippi, in October 1998. DSR was stopped overnight at the Comfort Inn in Picayune, when I was on my second Navy XO role to help stand up a new Reserve unit at the Stennis Space Center. Most memorable chat was with Patt and Buddy Paquet, whose lovely ’63 Comet was the first to catch my eye when I drove in Friday evening. Soon other American eye candy appeared, and I was like a kid in a candy store. I met them at breakfast in the lobby, I believe Jim and Nancy Henderson, Walt and Martha Fuller, and Foy and Judy Bobo, were among the traveling party.