Reunion MGA! Brings Two Old Friends and Their MGAs Together Again

Photo for Reunion MGA! Brings Two Old Friends and Their MGAs Together Again

My sense is that the MGA is a timeless car: the purposeful and sensual styling, the tactile feedback and sounds of the driving experience, the sense of satisfaction and oneness in maintenance, and prep routines all combine to make the MGA captivating.

Couple this with the fact that the MGA is a “drivable” car on modern roads, and I believe the cars will indeed be enjoyed for generations to come. Just as timeless are the personal connections and enduring friendships shared by those of us connected, initially, by our love of the cars. In that context, let me share a happy experience.

The phone rings; the answering machine announces a call from Alaska. We ignore it—can’t recall knowing anyone in Alaska. Maybe Sahara is dialing for dollars, but we are not interested, least of all over the dinner hour.

A couple of days pass and I answer a call—it is the Alaskan caller again. It’s not Sahara after all, but Tom Chapple, an MGA friend I had lost track of nearly thirty years ago.

He and I had restored our cars together in the early days of the Southern California MGA Register. That was the time of the rekindling of interest in the MGA. Restoration was a bit more complicated than it is now—parts sources were less comprehensive, and knowledge and experience not so thorough, and certainly not so easily shared. We were (relatively) young, enthusiasm was high, and strong friendships developed from the shared experience. We tracked down parts, ordered hides and had seats redone, and even found and restored matching factory glass hard tops. Eventually we finished the cars and enjoyed them.

In the early 1980s, Tom decided the future for environmental engineers was in Alaska and headed north in the MGA. A bit later I headed north with my family as well, but a mere 180 miles for us. Tom and I lost track of one another until Tom saw one of those “30 year” member notes in MGA! , noticed my name, and found that we were now living in the same town. It turned out that Tom and his wife, Carla, had bought a “winter” home in San Luis Obispo a couple of years ago, brought down the MGA, and were wintering here among the vineyards.

By a happy coincidence, friendship has been rekindled. We are back kicking tires and sharing MGA and family experiences. The cars and the friendships are timeless, and NAMGAR is the connection for both.

Of course, there is a whole other story here. Tom’s 1500 made the journey to and from Alaska twice, and as we swapped car stories, he nonchalantly paged through his log and said, “Looks like she’s covered about 80,000 miles since we restored her.” Now there’s a timeless MGA story to be told!

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Last updated on August 2, 2012.

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