This car is ANOTHER one of those things that was just meant to be, whether you want it or not.
My partner at the law office was probating an estate of an elderly man, and while reviewing the records with the executor of the Estate, he noticed the title to an old MG. Knowing that I am addicted to these cars, he brought it to my attention. The title simply read "1964 MG" with no designation of model.
I was dreaming that it would be a pull handle, steel dash roadster, and I quickly made arrangements to go see the car. Now usually, when I see a "collector" car in an estate, it is a rusted hulk that has been used for a table while in the garage. Not so this time. I made it to the house and was just a little disappointed to see that it was not the MGB Roadster that I had wished for, but a two door MG 1100. The "disappointment" of finding it to be a little known MG variant was quickly dispelled when I realized that this car was truly cherished by the original owner.
It seems that he was an air craft mechanic for the old National Airlines in Miami, and this had been his toy. He had put just 21 thousand miles on it in the last 38 or so years and the car was in unbelievable original condition.
It has been resprayed, and while not a show paint job, it looks better than most "quickie" paint jobs. The interior is all original and in fine condition and it had some interesting equipment. It seems that the car was autocrossed a little by the prior owner and is equipped with a "wink" rear view mirror (this is a long mirror that goes across the entire windshield and gives 100% rear view with no blind spots), an ANSA exhaust, steel header, twin SU carbs, and it's a 4 speed!
While looking around the garage I discovered an old York A/C compressor which set off bells and whistles. Quickly the hood went back up and lo and behold, the car had been fitted with air conditioning! A very necessary item in South Florida, but I can only imagine how the car must have driven with that huge compressor sucking the little bit of BHP from the 1100cc engine. I'll bet the car went backward as soon as the A/C was turned on!
Anyway, I didn't buy the car right off, but advertised it for several months with no offers. Finally, I decided that I had to have the car and offered the Estate a fair price (getting several estimates of value first). The offer was accepted and "Uncle Bob" came home to live with the Herald, Stag and Jaguar. A few trips were made to give the little car a test run here and there, and surprisingly, it seemed to keep up well with traffic, didn't overheat and everything seemed to work!
This was the first LBC I had ever bought that I could just get into and drive without major restoration (and there have been a bunch of them). I had a local shop do some basic maintenance on the car, changing fluids, flushing the radiator and replacing a leaky brake cylinder, and as soon as we got it back, off we went on our first road trip. Sebring, Florida or Bust (actually, we were hoping we didn't "bust" anything.)
We had planned to attend the 36th Annual MG Gathering of the Faithful (GOF) being held the weekend of April 12th 2002, in Sebring, Florida. This is about a 3 hour drive for us and mostly on back roads, so I felt that the car would do fine, and it did! The highlight of the weekend was when we got to take the 1100 on two laps of the famous Sebring International Raceway! This is probably the first time that an 1100 has graced the pavement of Sebring, and it was a blast. We loaded the car up with 4 people, and "raced around the track". Of course, the MGBs and V8 variants were barely out of second gear, but for us in the 1100 it was truly spirited driving. At least we passed some of the MG pre-war cars and T series cars!
The car was going to go to live in Gainesville with my brother John and his girlfriend, June, but it was replaced with a Boxster, so the little car is still with us, and we really are having a lot of fun with it. And yes, I do plan on re-fitting the A/C.