Interview with Barney Gaylord (Surrey, BC, July 2017)

Photo for Interview with Barney Gaylord (Surrey, BC, July 2017)

Barney Gaylord likes to drive. Since GT-42 in Solvang, CA, in June, he has driven through Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and the Yukon, to be in Anchorage, AK, for the July 4th Independence Day parade. A few days later he drove north to Prudhoe Bay, and then turned south to retrace his route. He arrived in Surrey, BC, around July 26th, where he stopped for four days.

Fortunately, he also likes to talk.

Q: How long have you been on the road for this trip?

A: We left Naperville, IL, on May 5th, 2014, the day we sold the house. I am traveling with my navigator, Elliot (his 27 year old son). One of the aims of this trip around the US and Canada is to visit as many British car repair shops as possible. Reports and photos are being added to the MGAGuru.com website for reference. Shops that have closed are also listed, but with a line through it, so people know it is no longer in business.

Q: How many miles have you driven since May 2014?

A: To date it is around 128,000 miles. In the past month, we have done two oil changes, which is 10,000 miles.

Barney Gaylord travels with all his worldly possessions (almost)

Q: Have you had any major mechanical issues during this trip?

A: In August 2014, #4 piston broke in North Carolina, and this damaged the cylinder wall. We had to fit a thick liner to that cylinder, and fit a +60 piston to match the other three. The car was off the road for a week. The engine has done 100,000 miles since that repair.

In Spring 2016, we fitted a new cylinder head as one exhaust valve seat was receded. We have also replaced 2 head gaskets as they failed between 3 and 4. Early in 2017, 3 mounting studs on a front shock absorber broke, and the 4th stud was bent.

We have also had 2 gearbox lay shafts fail (first one in September 2015) in 80,000 miles. MOSS had a problem with these not being hardened correctly during manufacture, and the bearing surface did not last.

Q: What other long distance trips have you done?

A: In 1989, we drove from Naperville, IL, to GT-14 in Indianapolis. But we took the long way to get there covering 12,779 miles, through 38 US States, visiting all NAMGAR Chapter Clubs, and going into Mexico and Canada on the way.

In 1997, we joined a 5-car convoy to Alaska, and we drove over 19,000 miles in 8 weeks. Posting photos of this trip in January 1998 on a website gave me the idea for my own site, and I registered MGAGuru as my domain name.

Q: Which Clubs are you a member of?

A: My home Club since 1992 is the Chicagoland MG Club, and I am the webmaster for this Club. It was the Chicagoland MGB Club originally until I suggested that they change the name by dropping the “B”. It took more than half a year to petition the members, have a vote, and do the necessary legal paperwork to get member approval and make the change. When it did, the membership doubled to over 200 members.

I am also a member of NAMGAR, although my membership lapsed for a couple of years when NAMGAR decided not to give CMGC Chapter status (another club in Illinois objected). But this was resolved a few years later.

I received NAMGAR’s Mac Spears Award in Reno in 2011, and the MG Drivers’ Club of North America gave me the Cecil Kimber Award in 2007, even though they had no idea who I was. They had received so many nominations for me that it made them decide that I deserved the Cecil Kimber Award.

Q: When did you start the MGAGuru website?

A: In 2002. I had written about 400 pages of tech information, and was answering queries by email, I decided I needed somewhere to post these so that (a) people could reference them, and (b) I did not have to keep repeating the answers to the same questions.

Q: How many pages is it now?

A: About 3,000 pages, but I am not adding pages at the rate I used to, due to having very little time while on the road.

Q: How many visits does the website get?

A: Around 3,000 per day, from all over the world.

Q: How many people have contributed to the website content?

A: About two thirds of all the pages have been initiated by a query from an MGA owner. I estimate there have been about 500 different contributors to various pages, including addendums.

Q: What car are you driving?

A: It is a 1958 1500 model. It has a 1600 block, bored to +60 oversize. It has an 1800 head. The larger valves are the same as those in a Mk II head. The car has the original gearbox, but I have fitted a 3.9 diff.

Q: How do you finance your travel?

A: I get a monthly Social Security check, and we live pretty frugally.

Q: Where are you going next?

A: We don’t plan very much in advance. When we leave Surrey, we will head onto Vancouver Island, with a stop planned in Victoria. Then we will drive up the Island to Port Hardy. Eventually, we will drive Canada from west to east, stopping off at Car Clubs along the way.

Q: How old are you?

A: I am currently 68 years old.

BarneyBarney leaves his mark everywhere he goes.

(You can follow the adventures of Barney Gaylord on his travel blog )

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Reader Comments (1)

Picture of Bud sinnott
Bud sinnott (Waylaid, n.y.)
on August 5, 2017 4:30pm
Always enjoy any reading about our lbc's. Sixty years ago I had a 57 A. Got married, we drove from Buffalo, N.Y. to Fla. on our honeymoon. Still drive British, a 66 B. Keep on writing and I'll keep on reading. Drive On

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Last updated on August 4, 2017.

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