In February 1998 Mrs Troy was the proud owner of a brand new blue MGF. It was the first brand new car she had ever owned. Both Mrs Troy and I have always had an interest in cars. She, as a teenager, helped a neighbour rebuild a "Frogeye Sprite" and I in my twenties owned 3 MGBs over a period of several years. In particular, I had a rare MGBGT with a V8 3.5litre engine which was my pride and joy.
For many years in the 1980's and early 1990's you couldn't buy a new MG sports car so we were both excited when the new MGF model was announced. On its launch we were straight round to the local dealer admiring the new MGF. However at the time (1995) we couldn't justify buying a new one as I had a company car and Mrs Troy had an almost new car of her own. But it didn't stop us having lustful eyes everytime we saw one on the road. For me it was pure nostalgia for my youthful wind in the hair motoring. Mrs Troy just loved the look of them.
By February 1998 we could hold out no longer. We went down to the dealer in Winchmore Hill, north London and gave them the best part of twenty grand (inclusive of part-ex) for a beautiful new one - Tahiti blue with ivory leather seats and trim. This was Mrs Troy's new baby. Troy Junior was still three years in the future and to me this seemed a cheaper alternative anyway! Mrs Troy used this MGF as her day to day car. In August 1999 Mrs Troy and I went to France in the MGF to see the total ecplise of the sun, a very special experience.
The growing bulge of her pregnancy in late 2000 prevented her from getting in her car. Then for several months, she drove my company Lexus and I drove her MGF. When "TJ" arrived we had a dilemna with the MGF - two seats and three of us. Also MGFs do not readily take prams and pushchairs along with all the other paraphernalia that real babies require. We got a new four seater Mazda 323 for Mrs Troy but she couldn't bear to part with her beloved MGF, so we kept it as a fun car for me (...and her). Here's two photos of it outside our old house back in 2004. Over the course of its life its had 3 registrations - this boring regular one and two cherished (in US "vanity") plates.
It's a cute looking car isn't it? (sob, I mean wasn't it)
Fast forward now to 2009. We've had years of fun motoring with our little convertible. It has still only got 35,000 miles on the clock. Only once did it not start when it needed a new distributor cap. We've put it nervously in for its annual M.O.T. (a check for roadworthy safety for US readers) but each year its passed with flying colours. There were no problems this year. However 22 miles after a service and MOT test I could not get it to start in our garage. It made some rather unpleasant noises instead. The engine fired for a few seconds but sounded terrible. A local motor engineer kindly came to look at it and noticed from the dipstick that the engine oil level was far too high - had it been overfilled during its service? He thought this may have damaged the engine's cylinder head - could be £1,000+ to repair. The company that serviced the car agreed to have it towed back there for examination. I followed in my car as I wanted to be there when they drained the oil to see how much had been put in. The car went up on the ramp the sump plug was removed. Instead of oil, green anti-freeze and water drained out. After about 2 litres (4 pints?) of this, the oil started flowing - the correct amount of oil. The oil had been sitting (floating) on top of this water so the dipstick made it look overfull with oil.
The cylinder head gasket had blown letting the water coolant into the engine. The service centre reckoned it could be £600 to repair, they would strip down the engine to examine it.
Yesterday afternoon we took a phone call. The extra water had completely ruined one cylinder piston and piston liner. The other three cylinders were fine but the damage to the one meant it requires a brand new engine - "loads of money, megabucks". As an eleven year old car, albeit with low mileage, it is just not economical for us to repair it. We'll get it towed back home, get its cherished plate put onto a retention certificate, then put it on ebay for "spares or repair". There are a couple on there now with bids above £500. I've got a hardtop for it which I'll also sell separately pre-winter.
We are fortunate that Mrs Troy now has a real baby (well he's now 8 years old) but I can still see the pain and loss in her eyes. Her little MGF is no more. I'm bearing it like a man but inside I'm crying.[edit : Mrs Troy has just read this and burst into tears]. This blog is therapeutic, I need to get my feelings out. And I'm half tempted to go out and buy one of the new "Chinese" MGFs which have been made in a "Limited Edition of 500". What this space.
MGF 1998-2009 R.I.P.
No flowers please.....but donations are always welcome.