MGB GT “Red Car” Makes It Around The World and More

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In 2010, Red Car was purchased for $16,000 AUD, as a 44 year old MGB GT for the specific purpose of completing the Beijing to London trip, which was the beginning of a number of MG convoys completing iconic drives all over the world. Since her acquisition she has completed in excess of 100,000 kilometres (62,137 miles) on some of the worst roads in the world.

In order to prepare Red Car for the unknown hazards of this first trip, additional money was spent on ensuring the car was well prepared and comfortable. For example: Mazda MX 5 seats were fitted, carburettors rebuilt, brakes fully reconditioned, an alternator replaced the generator and air conditioning was installed.

Following this initial trip Red Car completed the 2012 Cape to Cairo and on to London drive, the 2015 Pan American drive from Ushuaia, the bottom of South America to Vancouver, Canada, and more recently the 2016 Trans Canada drive from Vancouver to Newfoundland.

Red Car has also travelled the great oceans of the world stuck in a shipping container. Recently she was shipped to Southampton in UK to rest while we plan another adventure for 2017. She turned 50 in July this year but is going too well to be pensioned off, just yet.

So what has been done to Red Car over these journeys from 2010, when she was purchased as partially restored, to 2016?

After the 2010 Beijing to London trip and the 2012 Cape to Cairo trip, Red Car was shipped back to our home town of Melbourne, Australia where major repair work was completed as a result of wear and tear on these drives.

In 2015, after the Pan American trip, Red Car was housed in Vancouver for nearly a year until we returned in May 2016 and completed some minor works at Peter and Anne Tilbury's residence. On this trip the clutch and overdrive failed, repairs were completed at Dwayne Schellenberg's and Jim Herbert's respective home garages in Calgary, whilst a burnt valve was replaced in Chicago at Ralph Arata's home garage. A second burnt valve was replaced in the basement of our hotel in Halifax Nova Scotia.

What follows is a rough breakdown of issues and repairs since 2010.

• Three separate burnt out valves necessitated driving over 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) on three cylinders: from Namibia to Nairobi, Kenya, from Rapid City to Chicago, USA, and a few kilometres in Halifax, Nova Scotia

• One total engine rebuild complete with new cylinder head

• One gearbox change and subsequent rebuild

• Thirteen oil filters and oil changes

• A new sump guard

• Ten new tyres and four tubes

• One set of 4 mini lite wheels.......the spoke wheels collapsed from exhaustion

• A replacement CB radio.....the original was stolen in Valparaiso, Chile

• A complete new bonnet and total respray .........the car was damaged in Cairo by customs drivers. Red Car is now a different shade of red.

• One new overdrive solenoid

• Five front shockers and two rear shockers

• One rear shock absorber mount repaired in Iran for the princely sum of one US dollar

• New upgraded brake hoses all round

• One set of front brakes

• New front suspension rubbers

• New alternator purchased at double the market price, in Argentina

• Air conditioner problems due to poor original installation

• One front light and one rear lens

• Speedo cable has retired itself

• An upgraded radiator and electric fan installed due to overheating in China

• A new clutch when the throw out bearing disintegrated in Banff

• Rear differential oil seals

• A new muffler installed in Cairo after extensive damage in Africa......cost $50, and welded in by man in thongs laying on the road under the car

• A new side mirror after one fell off

• A new crankshaft pulley after one was damaged in Vancouver

• Two new gearbox mounts

• Two head gaskets

• A replacement brake light warning switch

• Numerous nuts, bolts, washers, cable connectors, silicone sealants etc

• A new Scorcher distributor, plug leads, rotor button and cap

• Four sets of plugs

• Two new coils

• A replacement central locking system.......the dust in Kenya got to the old one

My fellow adventurers can probably add to this list having helped me along the way but this gives readers an idea of some of the issues we faced. However, despite all these hiccups, we have always arrived at our predetermined accommodation each night. Red Car, a fifty year old, deserves high praise.

If you calculate the cost of the above it is apparent that we could have easily purchased a modern 4WD and travelled in air conditioned comfort with little or no maintenance issues. BUT!!! It would not have been the same and we would not have met so many interesting people, and shared so many wonderful experiences with our team of MG adventurers and the marvellous MG International Family.

Thanks must go to Peter and Tony in Vancouver, Dwayne and Jim in Calgary, Ralph in Chicago and Trish, Jen, and Todd in Ottawa who managed to scrounge up bits and pieces for us, when required, on our most recent trip. A special thanks to MG expert mechanic, John Twist, in Louisville who advanced my timing by five degrees and gave Red Car a bit more up and go.

We look forward to more travel in MGB GT Red Car in the future.

Safety Fast! Ken & Sue Slater

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Last updated on October 16, 2016.