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For A Few Dollars More

By Joe Mahoney

This is a phrase that anyone who has restored a LBC knows intimately. It is our delight and our dread. We use it to justify the money we shouldn't have spent, but did anyway and will never recover. Winston, our 1972 MGB is the epitome of "Just A Few Dollar's More"

Winston was rescued from a Dallas garage in 2003. He was partially hidden among rusty lawn mowers, old wheel covers and general garage clutter with one of his seats stuck in the boot. He was truly a mess! The engine was frozen, transmission shot, terrible interior, bad paint and rusty wire wheels. But, he was always a Texas car, delivered in Dallas to the original owner who a year later sold him to the second owner (in the same office) who had him for the next 30 years before selling him to us.

Our good friend, Suzy Skinner, worked in the same office as both previous owners and knew I wanted an MGB to restore. My Dad and I bought a 1965 in the late sixties but never got the chance to restore it as we had planned. Suzy told us there was an MGB for sale close to her house. We went to look and although Winston was in a sad state, there was little body rust and most importantly he had overdrive. We overpaid and bought him for $700.00.

I was busy running my business so we had to find someone to help us restore Winston and even though we wanted him brought back to "driver" status, we really wanted the work done to a high standard. We were referred to George Merryweather of Classic Restorations in Lucus, Texas. After visiting with George, looking at some of his projects and talking to his staff we decided we were definitely in the right place.

When he was stripped down and the drive train removed he showed to be in even better shape than we thought. Oddly enough his floor pans and sills were in good shape, the problem was in the trunk floor and one rear fender. So we decided to let George put him on the rotisserie (it was just a few hundred more!) because we decided to restore him to a bit better than "driver status".

Thus began the extensive body and mechanical work. I called George almost every day and kept adding "extra's" like replacing the painted wires with new chrome Dayton wire's and moving up to 15" tires. Before we knew it Winston spent the next year and a half in the Classic Restorations workshops undergoing one of those, "hey, it’s just a hundred dollars more" total restorations. Every nut, bolt, wire, part and panel was removed. He got the best of everything. Tan leather interior from Vicky Brits, Mallard Green paint just as he had from the factory, except it looked an inch deep when George got through with it!

The engine was bored .40 over and a bit of head work done by ET Automotive, long famous for their performance machine work. The transmission and overdrive were rebuilt and performed flawlessly. Best of all, George Merryweather was able to get the first of Moss's new supercharger kits for Winston. Everything else was replaced by new parts, including new Michelin tires, Sunfast top and Sunfast tonneau cover. Although George’s charges were quite reasonable for the high quality and extensive work, my wife has fondly referred to him as George “Money-Weather” ever since. George and I still chuckle about this several cars later.

Winston looks and drives like the super little sports car he is! He's fast enough to beat Triumph TR6's and can still cruise all day long and get 26 plus mpg. His transmission is smooth and crisp at the same time. His steering is easy and precise. The interior is roomy and comfortable, even for my 6 feet 2 inches.

Soon after the restoration was completed, Winston starred as the get-a-way car in our nephew's Hill Country wedding and has become a family favorite. When people look at our LBC’s they almost invariably select Winston as their favorite. (Ours too, but don't tell the other's!)