September 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm #233123
I’m new to the forum so forgive me if this topic has been addressed before. I recently discovered these MG replica cars about a month ago and I really would like to buy one–most likely one of the vw based ones because they seem like they would be easy to work on. I’m looking for something in the 3-4k range, so nothing pristine.
My question has to do with storing these cars. My wife and I will be moving to an undetermined city in about a year from now so that I can start Law School. I would use the car mainly to travel back and forth from school. The problem that I have is that being a poor college student, I’m not sure if we will be able to afford a house/apartment with a garage. Worst case scenario, if I had to park this car outside (with the roof and windows up of course) how would it hold up to the elements?
Like I said before, this wouldn’t be a pristine show car but rather something that will need finish work anyway. My plan would be to really get it fixed up after I graduate. What do you all think? Is it a good idea to get one of these cars if there is a chance that I won’t have a garage to store it in?September 12, 2010 at 12:07 am #242202
My Duchess lived outside for the first several years of it’s life. It’s now been on the road with me for 27 and a half years. (You can see it in my pmossberg photo gallery.)
I had a good car cover. An Evolution 3 I think the fabric was called. It was the best of the best at the time.
I made one mistake in that I let the cover get dirty. Dirty fabric acts like sandpaper. I damaged some chrome on top of the grill shell and a headlight bucket. But I left it as is and call it “patina”
You may get some dampness in the car. But a good cover will keep the water out.
Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
2005 Intermeccanica Roadster
If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)September 12, 2010 at 9:48 am #242203
I hesitate to contradict Paul, who knows more than me about almost everything; and I hate to discourage a budding brother. But.
If I were you, I’d move to the best place I could, go to law school, graduate, pass the bar, get employed and then buy the MG. You’re probably not going to have a lot of time to tinker with this thing, and depending on it as regular transportation to and from school is maybe too romantic. Buy a Civic or a Fit or something if you absolutely need a car while in school.
The hobby can still serve you while you’re waiting to buy. Hang with the group here and learn all you can. Come to Carlisle in May & you’ll get to drive one (or two). In a couple years, you’ll know all about the differences among the kits, useful engine and suspension mods, and stuff you totally have to bolt on to be cool–all you need to buy the right car. There will still be plenty around, and $3-$4k should still be a reasonable budget for a fair VW-based one.September 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm #242204Larry MurphyParticipant
Well you have already got advice from an owner showing that these cars can be stored without a garage and some really practical suggestions on why it might be advisable to wait till you have school behind , so now I’ll throw in my opinion.
These cars have little to offer as far as comfort,convience,safety or any other things we demand in our vehicles today. However ,the pleasure of owning one of them cannot be described or valued in dollars and cents or sense either. I’m almost seventy and wanted one since I was twelve and was in my mid fifties befor my dreams became reality.You may need a break from school and a ride in a TD Replica would be just that, even if it was back and forth from home to class.
If you and your wife can agree on the car and you are at least somwhat handy with tools I say go for it . If it doesn’t work out,sell it or put it away till later.They are not for everybody, but for some of us, nothing else will do.September 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm #242205
Just for the record, Ed did not contradict me. I merely offered an answer to Mandolin’s question about storage.
I’ve not always made the best life choices. So I leave those discussions to you counselor types.
Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
2005 Intermeccanica Roadster
If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)September 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm #242206
Thanks for the advice everyone!
I hadn’t even thought about buying a nice car cover, but that seems like an excellent option in lieu of a garage.
I’m fine with forgoing the creature comforts that a modern car offers. I currently drive a pickup with no power steering and no A/C so I am used to it. It has been a good reliable vehicle, but I’m just ready to move on. I could buy a nice newer car, but they devalue so fast. With the TD, sure I will spend money making improvements to it, but the initial cost will be small compared to a new car and I would think that the TD would be likely to hold its value. Plus, it is infinitely cooler than any new car on the market.
But while I am willing to forgo modern comforts, I can’t sacrifice reliability right now; at least while I’m a student. If I bought one of these, it would be to replace my truck as my primary vehicle. How reliable are these cars? Could I trust it to make a 10 mile trek every day to school? That would be mostly what I use it for–we use my wife’s vehicle for everything else. I have a professor that drives his vw to school everyday and he says it is reliable. I’m pretty handy with repairs (I rebuilt vending machines for Coca Cola while I was getting my undergrad degree) so I think I would be able to handle all the tinkering required to keep one of these going.
Thanks again for the adviceSeptember 13, 2010 at 8:54 am #242207
Reliable as any other ’69 or ’73 VW Bug. Which is to say, pretty much so. I take mine to work about once or twice a week–about 20 miles each way–when the weather is fine. It is da bomb! I get thumbs up from people on every trip; everyone likes the car–from the suburban soccer mom to the cop directing traffic to the shamblin’ dudes hanging on the corner outside the bail bonds office. Only got stuck once so far (fuel filter clogged–carry an extra).
Long as you remember to change the oil every couple thousand miles, and set the valve lash every 3000 miles, and tune it up on the regular, the engine will run, mostly. But the clutch cable will break, so you’re supposed to carry an extra. Remember to lube the tube when you replace it. There’s also some kind of wavy washers on the rocker studs that will eventually fail, but not much to do about that before you do a performance rebuild.
When you’re thinking about where/how to store the MG clone, also think about where/how you’ll store your ramps, jack, jack stands and other tools you’ll need for maintenence purposes. And where you’ll set up to work on her when needed. These cars were mostly built in the early to mid 1980s, using chassis that were 10 years older than that. With 40-year-old componants, a lot of little things go wrong.
Shifter linkage can get hinkey. I had to put in all new bushings last
summer. Just a couple day’s down time though. Electrical gremlins will
probably bedevil you (my stop lights didn’t work, the circuit needed going
over). Wipers sometimes work, sometimes not. Usually that’s a fuse. Keep plenty on hand. This is true of any old car. Add to that the fact it’s a kit,
built in most cases by an amateur, and you can understand the situation, electric wiring-wise.
Generator/alternator belt is a good thing to keep handy as a spare.
And the brakes. Remember the brakes. I bled mine this summer and now they feel mushy again, and lock up one wheel if I’m really serious about stopping, so I’m about to replace everything but the master cylinder (meaning, of course, I’m about to also replace the master cylinder after I do all the rest).
Which brings up the issue of safety. Reliability is fine, but these cars are, to quote a great American lawyer, “unsafe at any speed.” Do not kid yourself about the risk.
Consider the brakes. They were made to stop a 2200 pound car with weight distribution in the 45% (front) -55% (rear) neighborhood. You’ll be in a 1700 pound car with about 30-35% over the front. There are fixes to consider to bring the front suspension up to something like par (search this site for “adjustable beam”). Supposedly takes a day for a competent owner/builder, parts are about $350. Mine’s yet to be done, after nearly a year’s ownership. Probably take me three or four days.
Also, the emergency brake is typically not accessible during a panic situation–it’s way up under the dash. Again–fixable, but something of a project.
Visibility on a rainy, windy day with the side curtains up is less than optimal (ask me how I know). Your legs will get wet when it rains–or at least, mine do. Not sure where the water comes in, but it definitely does. If you took a motorcycle to work each day you might not get much wetter and might actually be safer, since they’re smaller and more maneuverable.
You get no bags, no ABS, not even seats with the kind of strength required to keep you fixed in the event of a serious impact. Olde style lap belts (at best), fiberglass with no steel I beams in case of a crash. No crash testing for front, sides, etc. The bumpers are a joke. Most of us have installed huge air horns as the only improved safety option.
Likely you’ll need to buy a new set of tires. My car has a 2008-vintage spare but I can’t find the dates on the main tires. Suspect they’re last decade’s vintage. Probably going to replace them all when I do the brakes. (BTW, everyone, turns out any tires more than 5 years old are bad and should be discarded, no matter how good they look or how few miles on ’em. I learned that only this year, from the Moss Motors catalogue, of all things. They tested an MG with NOS tires (stored, I think, in a heated garage for 8 years with the wrappers still on). It failed every handling test. New tires cured it.)
So, yeah. Reliable enough, maybe. And with a bit of work can be made safe as a Goldwing Honda, more or less.
Mandolin, seriously: I do hope you buy one of these cars. You sound like a young man and we need some new blood. I’m 45 and might be the spring chicken among regular posters here. Just know what you’re getting into. Get into a school, and a place, with good mass transit. Or make sure your wife is down with dropping you off at class more often than not. These cars aren’t work horses.September 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm #242208
Great stuff from Ed. You distinguish yourself sir!
Just a comment on the “climate control” or lack thereof.
Something you will want to check is whether or not the heater boxes are hooked up. They may not even be installed. Some builders repalce them with j-tubes.
The way you plan to use your car…you need them!
You will also want to add a defroster. In these cars, all that really means is a small electric blower fan, with ducts leading to holes or vents along the base of the windshield. That will be enough to move air across the windscreen and keep it free from condensation.
This set-up will NOT provide “ice melting” heat to the windshield. Not sure where you are moving to, so that may not be an issue.
Water-tightness is a car to car issue.
My primary leaks are through the seams of the roof. No matter how many times I redo the seams with tent seam sealer, a hard enough rain will cause water to drip through. Usually right on my head or shoulder!
I might get some that comes in where the side curtains attached to the windshield frame, but that is to be expected. That water may drip a little on my left knee. Sometimes runs to the floor.
But I never end up with puddles. Just some dampness on the rug.
Two other things, what’s your firstname mandolin? And do you play? I’m a guitarist. I’ve tried to learn mandolin, even bought one. I just wish they’d tune the same as a guitar!
Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
2005 Intermeccanica Roadster
If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)September 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm #242209Mark HendricksonParticipant
WOW…great advice from everyone. That’s what’s nice about a being in a “club” like this forum.
My suggestion: First floor condo with a sliding glass door that has access to the driveway…take the door off the sliders and park in the dining room! Problem solved
No matter what you decide…keep in touch here.September 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm #242210
Very good and much appreciated info guys. I guess what I need to do is find out first what part of the country I will be going to school in, and what my living arrangements will be before I decide whether to go ahead and get the car or wait until I finish school. If I end up in an apartment complex they may not want me dropping the engine in the parking lot. Ideally I would like to go to school in Virginia, but Austin, TX is at the top of my list as well, but that hinges on the LSAT which I take in a month; and my daydreams about obtaining this car are taking up much needed brain power that I should probably be devoting to studying. In other words, I have no idea yet what kind of climate I will end up in.
My wife doesn’t even like me to wear my shoes inside, so getting her to go for the car in the dining room might be a stretch, but I think I can pull it off.
Paul, my name is Matt Morgan and I am from Louisiana. I’ve been a mandolin player since I was 13 (I’m 26 now). I used to be pretty serious about it when I got out of high school, traveling and playing in the bluegrass circuit, but I just play for fun now. It’s more enjoyable that way.
It is a jump going from guitar to mando. Have you seen these things? The price is borderline outrageous, but they sound really cool. I had a guitar buddy that played one and loved it. If you want to get into more mandolin stuff, check out http://www.mandolincafe.com . It is the best resource out there for all things mandolin.
mandolin40434.6862731481September 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm #242211James CochranParticipant
Have you taken a look at the University of Memphis Law School? It is a great school, walking distance from Beale Street and the Gibson factory, which is one block over from my office building. I live seven minutes from the law school in a historic midtown district near Rhodes College. Across the street from me is a very nice home being renovated for rental to college students. A large home split into a duplex, fenced backyard with driveway, it is on the far right side of this photo. This house would be better than an apartment and maybe less cost too. It would be perfect for a young couple with off street parking, nearby parks and bike trails that start at the end of our block. At my house, almost directly across the street, is where I work on old cars that are used in movies. I have all the tools, equipment, engine hoists, etc. Currently I have five cars in the works behind old tall solid wood doors on the driveway. The historic neighborhood is an awesome early 1900?s laid back place with front porches and ceiling fans. My home was a country lodge built in 1904. We have potluck neighborhood porch parties every weekend and some week nights with various students and homeowners. We have a lot of fun with several guitar players on the porch, and I play a Washburn bowlback mandolin made in the 1800?s. A lot of off-key singing adds fun after a few glasses of wine . Last night we had a candlelit dinner on one of the porches across the street from us with several foreign exchange students and various professors, lots of laughter and fun. When we are not working on cars we take out either the sailboat or powerboat on leisurely river cruises finishing up with an evening on Beale Street with bluegrass and the blues. I drive downtown to work every day next to the law school. If you want more info, you can private message me. My wife moved here from New Orleans, and we do the Lousiana cooking with Sunday morning beignets and chicory coffee on the porch for everyone. Also we are on a bus route and we are close to the restored trolley that runs downtown to the law school and along the river loop down through South Bluffs and back.
JasCochran40434.7870949074September 13, 2010 at 7:04 pm #242212James CochranParticipant
I forgot to add in my message that I use portable garages for the cars that I work on, including my replica. I have five of the 10 foot by 20 foot units. They will not work at an apartment or on the street, but they have been great on driveways and patios. I always have one over the replica, and the other four move around as needed or stored away. I have fluorescent lights and ceiling fans inside those things made by King Canopy.September 13, 2010 at 8:23 pm #242213
Damn! Matt, if you don’t move there, I will!September 13, 2010 at 10:11 pm #242214
Thanks for all the info on Memphis. I sent you a PM.
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