by Anura Guruge
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As I outlined in this post this 1968 MGB roadster required quite a bit of work. I knew that when I bought it. We are real glad that one of our Clearlakes Chorale friends, Richard Hale (the photographer), told us about Steve Barlow of Wolfeboro, N.H., having seen in documentary about Steve on WMUR. Thank you Richard.
I had the MGB trailered to Steve’s place, Barlow & Company, on November 21, 2014. Steve, a Brit (like I), was going to work over it prior to Thanksgiving. But we hadn’t banked on the BIG snowstorm. So he had to keep the car till Monday, December 1, before we could pick it up (though we were fortunate enough to get a synopsis of what to expect when we serendipitously ran into Steve in Wolfeboro ahead of the Christmas Tree lighting on Saturday.
We picked up the girls from school and got to Barlow & Co. just past 3 pm. Steve gave us a rundown of all the work he had done. It needed a lot of work, but alas it still needs more. Yes, I knew it was a money pit when I got it — but I have done crazy things like this all my life. I should have learnt. This is my 5th British sports car and we won’t even talk about the Camaro Z28s, Firebirds and Corvettes. Part of it is nostalgia. If I just wanted another sports car it would have been much easier and cheaper in the long run to have just gone out and got a Camaro or Mustang convertible. But in my dotage I want to go back to having British cars.
Steve, from what I can see, wrought miracles on this 47 year old car. It starts first time, at least for now. Yes, I will need a new battery in Spring. It has wipers, the horns work, the directionals blink (and the stalk doesn’t flop about). Above all it has a New Hampshire inspection sticker. The car is now fully legal. Steve had to replace the fuel pump (with a solid state replica), redo the clutch hydraulics (though I need an ‘original’ master cylinder in Spring), repair the distributor and bunch of other stuff.
Compression on cylinder #1 is down. We knew that.
Devanee and I drove it back from Wolfeboro to Alton. It was fun. It goes OK. Doesn’t go very fast! But, then again as those that know me know I don’t drive fast. So it suits me. Would be nice if it had a bit more pep. I know that I am looking at a full engine rebuild somewhere in the future. Yes, it is like a spectre looming ahead of me …
Steve put in nearly 20 hours of work and being the gentleman he is didn’t charge me for all of that. For that I am relieved and grateful. Looks like I will have to get a fourth mortgage on this house to keep this car on the road. Steve wants me to put 93 Octane in it. Am I glad that gas prices are down.
So that is the story. I mothballed it when we got home. Took the dying battery out. Covered it up. Put a quilt over it to keep it warm. Maya barked at it because she has never seen a car wrapped up in a blanket. She can be a smart dog sometimes. I will take it out of hibernation once the snow has melted in the Spring of 2015 and the roads are dry. Will need a new water pump by then. And that master clutch cylinder. And a battery. But that is next year. I can’t think that far.
Thanks Mr. Barlow.
A photo montage, with music, of all the pictures we took on
this the FIRST Steve Barlow works on the Green MGB.
Click to access YouTube slideshow montage.