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J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/4/23 3:46 p.m.
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Every car has a story, and every proud owner loves to share it. Fortunately for you, we have an avenue for you to do so–our forums (and registration is free).

We and our community of classic car enthusiasts would love to hear the story behind your treasured ride. Share your favorite classic&…

Read the rest of the story

BGarlandJr
BGarlandJr
1/5/23 12:16 p.m.

AN ORIGINAL ENGINE FINDS ME (a summary of a story published in the Winter 2020 issue of the SAAC Magazine)

I've been fortunate to have owned two 1966 Shelby GT350's over the years.  The first was an Ivy Green Metallic (yes, rare original color) GT350H ex-Hertz rental car that I bought in 1983.  I sold it in 1988 to get a 1966 Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue stripes GT350.  As you can see from the pictures, this is a period correct modified car with some R-Model parts.  When I bought that car, I knew it did not have the original engine which "had been blown and junked" in the 70's per a letter from a previous owner.  With that information, I never set out to find the original engine.  However, I would occasionally hear from random guys that they knew the location of the original engine, but they never offered a clue other than “somewhere in northern Virginia”.

  Current Engine

Fast forward to 2011 when I got an email from the SAAC Registrar saying the original engine to my car had just been sold!  He provided me with the buyer’s name and contact information.  Against all odds, the engine was now 40 minutes from my house.  I struck up a friendship with the new owner, but quickly realized that, between the purchase price and cost of a significant re-build, I was not likely to purchase it from him.  Plus, everyone was happy – he had a rebuilt Shelby engine for his Cobra replica, and I still had a great engine (with 4 Webers!).

That all changed in December of 2019 when I got a call from the engine owner offering to sell the engine to me at a VERY reasonable price because “It belongs with your car.”  I was flabbergasted at his kindness, but accepted his deal.   He even brought it to me and included an engine stand because I wasn’t going to put it in my car.  Car Guys don’t come any better than this.

So, now it sits covered up in my garage.  I manually turn it over every 6 months (thanks, Google calendar:) so whoever gets it next will have a brand new rebuilt original engine ready to go.   Original engine after rebuild is pictured below:

 Original Engine

The guys (Ben and Ben) at "Gears and Gasoline" did a great video which features this car.  (I'm the old guy:)

 

Warlock
Warlock New Reader
1/5/23 1:32 p.m.

And deprive you guys of a potential article? :)  Well...this one probably wouldn't make the cut....

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving 1991, I was at the Honda dealer in Yuba City CA, picking up some parts for my '84 (2d gen) Prelude.  The salesman on the floor saw my car and grabbed me -- they'd just gotten one of the new '92 (4th gen) Preludes, and was I interested in test driving it?  With a child on the way, I wasn't in the market for a new car with only two usable seats, but he was persuasive.  The three of us stuffed ourselves in the car -- 25 miles on the odometer -- and proceeded to add another mile or two.  Of course, we ended up taking it home.  

For the first six months or so, I never saw another one.  People stopped me in gas stations and traffic lights to ask what it was.  When my son was born, he came home from the hospital in the back seat (just big enough for a car seat).  For the next 15 years, it followed us around the country as my daily driver and autocross car, until I retired it for a Miata...but then my son learned stick shift on it and drove it through high school. 

Now it comes out for joy rides.  It's still rare to see another, although no one asks me what it is any longer.  Since it shared little with the Accord, Civic, or Integra, parts are getting scarce and I've even had to custom-make a few.  But after taking a turn behind the wheel, my girlfriend, no stranger to sports cars, told me, "I understand why you keep this -- it drives amazingly."

Is it a classic?  Through the model's lifespan, Honda used Preludes to bring new technology to market -- new suspension designs, four-wheel steering, active torque vectoring.  The 4th generation cars in particular cemented the model's place in motorsports -- they were front-runners in the SCCA World Challenge series during all five years of production, claiming two series class championships, and later also claimed national championships in SCCA E Production and Super Touring.

Automobilist
Automobilist New Reader
1/5/23 4:23 p.m.

I'm guessing that I've been involved with "classic" cars more of my life than most folks. A true believer, I didn't wait until later in life to jump in the vintage car scene.  I toddled in before I started pre-school...

In 1961, my grandmother died, leaving me her 1940 Pontiac coupe.  I had just turned three years old.   My dad had bought her the car new, and she kept it in her rickety garage in Delano, California.  My earliest memory is sitting in it, honking the horn and holding the steering wheel in that garage.  Every time we would visit her, I raced out to the garage and climbed into the Pontiac.  When she croaked, she left it to me.  My parents brought it to our home, and kept it in their garage for me, occasionally driving it to keep it in good shape.

When the other kids in elementary scvhool were bragging about their new bikes, I told them that I had my own car.  They would come over to play, and my dad would drive us around the neighborhood in it. 

When I was 13, (1971) I got my second classic car, our 1952 MG TD.  I had saved up paper route money, gifts, etc and bought it for $1,100.  I let my dad drive it for a few years, until I got my driver's license. 

I did a kind of schlock "restoration" on the Pontiac when I was 16, and sold it to buy a 1968 Mustang GT California Special (GT CS)  That led to a long series of fun, interesting, odd and fantastic cars for me.

  • '68 Javelin we converted from automatic to four speed
  • '68 Bronco I bought from Bill Stroppe
  • '70 240Z (very cool to have in high school...)
  • '68 Corvette bought from "Rent-A-Wreck" in L.A.
  • Jamaican kit car on MGA chassis with Buick V6
  • '72 Ford van I converted to a sweet surfer mobile. Shag carpet and all...
  • '53 Cadillac with three bullet holes in the drivers door, and a bunch of others. 

22 cars before I turned 21.

Fast forward, to married life, proud to say we've never owned a minivan. Typically Suburban's for my wife, which she still prefers.  I always had something cool, (except for a couple Accords...)  a few Porsches, several Mercedes, Aston Martin, MGB, etc.  Through it all, the MG TD was and remains the constant.  My wife and I beautifully restored it in 1991-1993.  It has a few dings 30 years later, but still looks and drives very well.  Today, it shares the garage/shop with a gorgeous 911, and the Mercedes 450SL I recently restored.  (And a truck and the wife's SUV, etc)

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/6/23 10:17 a.m.

In reply to BGarlandJr :

Fantastic story about fate. I'm glad to hear that you could obtain the original engine for your car. Thanks for sharing!

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/12/23 8:58 a.m.

In reply to Warlock :

I love the story behind your Prelude. It's got a wealth of memories along with it. Thanks for sharing!

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
1/13/23 4:48 p.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

My MGTD is only a tiny bit interesting compared to the other 30,000 made.  
  Except I got it in The spring of 1962.  So it's been with me for 60+ years. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
1/19/23 12:39 p.m.

1958 MGA Twin Cam - matched the Jaguars ( XK-150 and Mk 9) in having four wheel disc brakes  - it was beaten out by  Jensen 541 and Austin Healey 100 M in 1956 although we have to give Jaguar credit for their use in competition only earlier.  Took the Americans until 1965 to get around to that.

The DOHC MG engine was novel for the time - not much else around in that configuration except that Alfas and Jags (which had tried a 4 cylinder version back in 1950 with disappointing output in the XK-100 prototypes).

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/19/23 4:24 p.m.

In reply to Automobilist :

Great story. Some cars are there to stay. Nice collection, BTW.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/19/23 4:25 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Wow, 60+ years is a long time. That certainly makes it special.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/19/23 4:35 p.m.

I don't have any pictures, but the main reason my dad purchased a BMW 2002 is because of the film "China Syndrome."

Watched the film for the first time not long along, and yeah, I can definitely see why someone would want one after watching.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
1/25/23 7:55 a.m.
wspohn said:

1958 MGA Twin Cam - matched the Jaguars ( XK-150 and Mk 9) in having four wheel disc brakes  - it was beaten out by  Jensen 541 and Austin Healey 100 M in 1956 although we have to give Jaguar credit for their use in competition only earlier.  Took the Americans until 1965 to get around to that.

The DOHC MG engine was novel for the time - not much else around in that configuration except that Alfas and Jags (which had tried a 4 cylinder version back in 1950 with disappointing output in the XK-100 prototypes).

 You are aware that the Land speed record set by MG was done with the loan of a Jaguar 4 cylinder aren't  you?  

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
1/30/23 4:35 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Did your father drive it to Daytona? That would have been cool to see there.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
1/31/23 4:52 p.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

Originally sold in Minneapolis Minnesota   Somehow wound up in Japan  for a period .  
  Dad bought it for me and 37 miles later a connecting rod broke out of the block hoping for a vacation?  
     Purchased a replacement and installed it  but shoved in in the corner. 
 Following my first tour in Vietnam it joined me in San Diego. Drove it for a couple of years then put it in North Island Hobby Shop for its restoration. 
   Finished it the day before I got out of the Navy.  Drove it back home to Lake Minnetonka. Camping along the way.  Stopped in Kansas for a little Sprint car experience.  
  Drove it during the winter that year but careful washing post drive  kept it free of rust.   Started vintage racing it  that summer.  Race prep included borrowing a drivers uniform and helmet. Seatbelt, and fire extinguisher 

 Had to cover license plate with duct tape. So spectators wouldn't think it was a street car.  Midday show for Trans Am    Free entry to Trans  Am  and no entry fee for vintage  race.   6 MGT  TYPES  I beat everybody including a faster MGTC with a super charger.  Snookered him  in the last corner.   Won by a fat cats whisker. 
  Vintage raced that same car approximately 20 more times.  Sometimes with my Black Jack spl racing at the same events.  Mainly Brainerd and Elkhart Lake. Occasionally Black Hawk. 
    Today it's mainly collecting dust while I prep other cars.  It's still fun to cruise around the Lake often with the windshield folded down.  Hand crank starting it  to show off to children who'd never seen such a thing.  
 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
2/1/23 8:56 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Wow, what a life for that car! And, its driver, of course.

I bet the hand-cranking of the car is a crowd-pleaser for the youngin's.

P.S. - Thank you for your service!

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/1/23 9:26 a.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

Unfortunately, no.

The short version is that he ended up buying a poor restoration and not quite enough time to get in the garage and fix all the issues–known and unknown.

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
2/1/23 1:04 p.m.

My '58 MGA Coupe, the first car I ever worked on.  My Dad and I built it together .  I've had it for nearly 40 years.

Our old Land Rover.  I say "our" old Land Rover because it belonged to my Brother-in-law.  He used it as a work truck and it shows.  We would tease each other through the years - me trying to buy it and him turning me down in a "more than you can afford, pal" kind of way.  He was killed in a car accident and his widow gave it to me.  In the spirit of who he was, I have chosen to continue using it as it was meant to be used and to never to wash it or improve the appearance in any way.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
2/1/23 1:52 p.m.

In reply to Apis Mellifera :

I love stores like that. You are right to leave it original. Well done!  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
2/1/23 1:54 p.m.
Automobilist said:

I'm guessing that I've been involved with "classic" cars more of my life than most folks. A true believer, I didn't wait until later in life to jump in the vintage car scene.  I toddled in before I started pre-school...

In 1961, my grandmother died, leaving me her 1940 Pontiac coupe.  I had just turned three years old.   My dad had bought her the car new, and she kept it in her rickety garage in Delano, California.  My earliest memory is sitting in it, honking the horn and holding the steering wheel in that garage.  Every time we would visit her, I raced out to the garage and climbed into the Pontiac.  When she croaked, she left it to me.  My parents brought it to our home, and kept it in their garage for me, occasionally driving it to keep it in good shape.

When the other kids in elementary scvhool were bragging about their new bikes, I told them that I had my own car.  They would come over to play, and my dad would drive us around the neighborhood in it. 

When I was 13, (1971) I got my second classic car, our 1952 MG TD.  I had saved up paper route money, gifts, etc and bought it for $1,100.  I let my dad drive it for a few years, until I got my driver's license. 

I did a kind of schlock "restoration" on the Pontiac when I was 16, and sold it to buy a 1968 Mustang GT California Special (GT CS)  That led to a long series of fun, interesting, odd and fantastic cars for me.

  • '68 Javelin we converted from automatic to four speed
  • '68 Bronco I bought from Bill Stroppe
  • '70 240Z (very cool to have in high school...)
  • '68 Corvette bought from "Rent-A-Wreck" in L.A.
  • Jamaican kit car on MGA chassis with Buick V6
  • '72 Ford van I converted to a sweet surfer mobile. Shag carpet and all...
  • '53 Cadillac with three bullet holes in the drivers door, and a bunch of others. 

22 cars before I turned 21.

Fast forward, to married life, proud to say we've never owned a minivan. Typically Suburban's for my wife, which she still prefers.  I always had something cool, (except for a couple Accords...)  a few Porsches, several Mercedes, Aston Martin, MGB, etc.  Through it all, the MG TD was and remains the constant.  My wife and I beautifully restored it in 1991-1993.  It has a few dings 30 years later, but still looks and drives very well.  Today, it shares the garage/shop with a gorgeous 911, and the Mercedes 450SL I recently restored.  (And a truck and the wife's SUV, etc)

Story well told and enhanced with pictures. Thank you 

MiniDave
MiniDave Reader
2/6/23 4:20 p.m.

I got my first real job working at a foreign car repair shop, and while there bought my first Mini Cooper S, I kept it for years and drove it from KC to Colorado when I moved there. 

I've pretty much had them every since.....special in not just the driving (known as go kart handling) but also the incredible camaraderie of the owners.

I'll probably always have one......

 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
2/7/23 11:29 a.m.
Apis Mellifera said:

My '58 MGA Coupe, the first car I ever worked on.  My Dad and I built it together .  I've had it for nearly 40 years.

 

Great cars!  I've owned mine since the 1970s.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
2/7/23 4:55 p.m.

We've owned our Datsun 1200 for a little over 38 years.

Between 1984 & 1988 we took many road trips in it. The car was subjected to monumental abuse bombing down dirt roads and various other holligan antics. In 1989 we started autocrossing and by 1992 we club racing it with SCCA. In March of 1994 it was pictured in a feature about getting an SCCA competition license (15 minutes of fame). By 2010 I'd started vintage racing it.

I said "we've" owned it becuase it originally belonged to a good friend who past away last year. One of the things we always agreed on is how much fun the car is to drive.  Our motto for the car came about when some wag said "I'd never race anything that slow" to which I replied "it's faster then a set of bleachers". The car is affectionately known as the Pokey becuase there was a little Pokey toy in the car when we got it.

To add to the sense of fun I deemed our effort Scuderia Pokey as I'm a Ferrari F1 fan; I even had well known rally navigator Alex Gelsimino transalte the motto into Italian for us (I was involed in rally for a decade).

I've owned several other race cars but every time I drive this one I just feel like a twenty something kid I was when I first drove it. When we bought the car I drove home thorugh the old railroad yards and was chucking into every corner while laughing histerically. I just drove it a a time trial 3 weeks ago and was doing the exact same thing.

Lots of cars do this; so what makes it special?

Everytime I'm on track with it I feel so lucky that I get to have this much fun. Ayrton Senna once said he liked Karting the best because it was just for him and his own satisfaction. That's how I feel about our car and it's recently cuased me to adopt another motto "I O Sono Contento, Sempre" (I am glad always).

 

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/8/23 12:15 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

That's awesome. I always love a car with a good story, especially one that spans many years.

Cool that you got to meet Alex Gelsimino, too.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
2/9/23 12:26 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Well done Tom.  I think owning something you like  for a long time  is your reward for doing a good job.   
     

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
2/9/23 4:52 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

That's awesome. I always love a car with a good story, especially one that spans many years.

Cool that you got to meet Alex Gelsimino, too.

I knew Alex back in the mid-90s early 2000s from when I was involved with the California Rally Series. He did a lot of local events then. I was also notorious for writing humorous gag posts on the Special Stage forums; I once posted about aliens attacking a service break and the attack being repelled with Guinness beer.

I haven't talked to Alex in years as I'm no longer doing any rally events. He was always nice guy and really down to earth. I remember working a night stage at Rim of the World Rally; a car pulled up and in the pitch dark I hear "Hey Tom", it was Alex.

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