Sunday, 15 March 2009

OUR MGF HAS DIED : 1998-2009 R.I.P.

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.


HelenMWalters said...

Troy, and indeed Mrs Troy, I feel your pain.

Kitty said...

It's horrible parting with a beloved car, isn't it? :-( Many moons ago, I used to catch a bus that drove past the original MG factory in Abingdon. They were lovely cars.


DJ Kirkby said...

Hmmmm...I am not feeling your pain that could be 'cos I am an Aspie or it could be 'cos we are talking about a car here....I am sorry that Chez Troy is feeling upset about it though.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I'm so sorry for you both. What a horrible thing to have happened to your car.

Troy said...

Helen - thanks!

Kitty - I once had a tour of the Abingdon factory. Were you the lady that waved from the bus?

DJ - it could be both.

Debs - it had a good life though and was getting quite old. 11 years for a car is about 77 for a person I think.

Marian Dean said...

I feel for you both. Sorry to hear of MGF's demise.
In the 70's we had a bright red MGB GT and I loved it too. Totally impractical really; we had a saloon car as well as we had 5 children to take to and from school... it was a bit of a squash, even in that.
Love Granny

Tim Atkinson said...

Hey, it's a lovely colour! (Sorry, was).

Lane Mathias said...

That is (was) such a pretty little car. It's horrible when cars go like that:-(

Anonymous said...

Okay, I won't say "it's only a car" because I really don't think you need to hear that.

But the line-up outside your house in 2004 looks like something from a footballer's batchelor pad. It does look very impressive, I have to say. But I'm afraid my Defender 110 might eat it for breakfast!!

On the plus side, you could always look at this bereavement as a new challenge - an opportunity to go one better.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

Sorry, me again. Have just been reading a fellow blogger's post and couldn't help but think of you - here's the link if you want a read, it's very funny and I think you'll agree! The Hunter of the Snark - latest post.

Anonymous said...

I just caught myself muttering Aaahs and Oh Nos while I read your post. I clearly, really do feel the pain. The MGF is a little beauty and yours was a good looking one. I ma sad to see the decline of the British car manufacturing. As a nation we have built some classy cars.

Now, is that an S-Type I see parked next to the MGF? Troy, you little devil! What do you think of it? I like them and am considering buying one here, but I think the harsh winters will kill it. I like them more because of the 60s look and feel, rather than the quality which I think is OK but not as good as the "bigger" Jag models. I went to the Car Show last year and there were huge crowds around the Jag stand and only a few around the Merc and BMW stand.

If it's any consolation, MGs of ALL denominations are a sought after vehicle here amongst enthusiasts. Perhaps your car will end up over here.

Per your request, no flowers. But I have attached a #20 note to this comment. Spend it wisely.

Troy said...

GotW - little MGs stay in the memory don't they? Thanks for your comment.

Dotterel - I had several silver cars from 1984 to 2002 before it became a popular colour. But these shades of dark blue do look smart.

Lane - we saw it again at the undertakers, sorry I mean garage, today and it looked so sad. They are a still nice design and don't look dated. It now benefits from zero emissions too (very green)!

CJ - I'm not sure about a footballer's pad! If so more Berwick Wanderers than Newcastle United. It is not as if I ask myself "the Bentley or the Ferrari?" every morning is it?
I followed your link and enjoyed the read although I had seen that verse before.

Troy said...

Dave - you snuck in whilst I was replying to the others.
The car next to it is an X-type 2.5SE which I no longer own. Not many know but the petrol models are 4x4 drive and it was a lovely car. I p/ex'd it for a 2.2 diesel X-type in 2007. Same colour and I retained its personalised registration plate and the neighbours didn't realise I'd changed cars.
I'll cut and paste your #20 note onto a charity website. Thanks!

Trixie said...

My little VW polo is the same year as the mgf...I'm just hoping it's got many more years on it then what you've had! (the one and only time I bought a 'brand new' car was 20 years ago. Don't think it's worth it.. I'm second hand all the way unfortunately (and dont you mention with blokes as well!)

Troy said...

Trixie - a good little goer with hopefully a lot more years still on the clock. I am of course talking about an R registered VW Polo, what else could it be?

Rob Clack said...

As a motorcyclist, I'm afraid my immediate reaction is "Come on, it's only a car!" However, I can relate to how you're feeling because I'd feel the same about my motorbike if it blew up.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your MGF. It was a beuatiful car. I'm sure you will both miss it. Keep looking for an engine to replace the present one - you may run across one that isn't too expensive.

Eddie Bluelights said...

My condolances for the loss of your car. Came across your comment regarding Gordon Brown on Retired and Crazy. Do not despait Troy I got a photo at my place of him fleeing the country.

Troy said...

Rob - I've never had a motorbike (I guess I missed out). Hope you have many safe and trouble-free years with your bike.

SVB - thanks, we are looking at all the options at the moment.

Eddie - welcome here. Thanks for your comment and I'll come over to your to see your photo - which I assume is just wishful thinking. If you scroll back through my blog you'll see my thoughts on all the Scottish bankers and politicians who have taken our country to the brink of bankrupcy.

Unknown said...

Oh I feel your pain, when I left the UK I had to sell my 1992 Mazda MX-5 (the one with the pop-up lights). It was pristine in silver, with a chrome rollbar, glass windbreak, hardtop...I LOVED that car and my heart aches even typing this now.

I now have a new Maxda MX3 that I love, but that car was my 'tart' car and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

BTW I got GBP700 for my hard-top on ebay after a last 10 minute bidding frenzy!

Unknown said...

Forgot to say my dad has a vintage British racing green MGA from the 1960's - now that's a car!

Troy said...

Sarah - what a sacrifice you made. It is interesting how the comments here split between "I loved my car" and "It's just a car".
I bought our hardtop on ebay for £510. I was dtermined to get one for below £500 but most were going for £600+ so when a local one came up I went the extra £10 above my "limit" and got it.
I really envy your dad with his MGA, they are gorgeous looking cars.

Unknown said...

Ouch. I feel your pain. I wept buckets when my Cooper S (and we're talking original Cooper S, not these new things) went to that great race track in the sky. I wasn't much better when I lost the Alfa Romeo that followed it, either - despite the fact it refused to leave its garage if it was raining.

Sincere condolences to you both.

Sir Bruin said...

My condolences. I'm with Rob on this one, I would feel the same if my bike collapsed in a heap. Not too bothered about my Toyota Coronary - it is only winter transport!

Troy said...

Shirley - your thoughts are much appreciated. The original Cooper S was a great car.

Sir Bruin - thanks. Let's hope your Toyota doesn't let you down though.

cheshire wife said...

I can understand why you are both so upset. It is/was a beautiful car.

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Ladybird World Mother said...

I totally agree with Ed. x