14th August 2018 -
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When Bonnie sold the MG in Canada to Ricky in the US, James thought he’d never see it again. With the original plan that it would eventually come to him, James relished being driven in it by Rob and had never felt the need to drive it as the original plan was that it would come to him.
After learning of its sale James tracked down the MG and its new owner Ricky. He was offered the car but the sale price was too steep. Having resigned himself to the fact it was beyond reach, James wanted the new owner to have the history folder he had compiled, including period racing pictures, restoration pictures and logbooks. He sold them to Ricky for $700 he then set about selling the considerable collection of memorabilia and spare parts - including 3 original wheels, the original boot lid, damaged alloy head and other items.
Understandably James vividly recalled the moment he discovered the family MG was back in the UK and for sale: "It was the day after I delivered my last item of memorabilia, an MGCC limited edition print of the Dick Jacobs Twin Cams - MTW1 and MTW2 - racing at Goodwood. In handing it over I met father and son Roger and Mark Daniell – who turned out to be the CURRENT owners of both ex-Dick Jacobs cars in the print! We shared an amazing couple of hours talking all things Twin Cam, dad would have absolutely loved it and “had a ball” in his words. Having shared the MG's backstory, Roger and Mark were adamant that I MUST try to buy the car; Mark even offering some of his US shipping contacts.
"The VERY next day, Sunday 5th August 2018, I randomly typed ‘classic cars’ into eBay. Four pages down and my heart skipped a beat. That colour, that registration number - WOW - dad’s MG was back in the UK with a dealer on a timed auction. I messaged the dealer and shared my backstory. I drove up to Bootle the very next day. Ironic as it I drove past the docks that dad had exported the car from all those years previously. A deal was struck, the auction was ended and the MG was finally mine. Bitter sweet as I couldn't give Dad the news; Alzheimers had him firmly in its wicked grip, at that point he didn't know who I was."
James then hatched his legacy plan: "As I was driving home from buying the MG I got a call from the Alzheimers Society. They were checking in as I was imminently taking part in a Memory Walk. After putting the phone down it suddenly came to me and I realised what I needed to do. My legacy plan was hatched. I had previously done up a couple of old vehicles and donated the sale proceeds to the charity. The MG was now my ultimate fundraiser - in honour of my dad I decided to use the MG to raise awareness of the disease. When my time was done it would be sold and all proceeds donated to the charity, hoping I would be around to witness it! In the meantime I myself and the MG would attend car shows and leverage my contacts in the motor industry to raise awareness and funds for dementia."
Rob did not notify the DVLC of the MG's export the 1980’s. The computerised V5 that James sold to Ricky came back with the car to the UK. Despite being an old version, DVLA accepted it and the MG once again bore its 2 CMG plates, some 35 years after it had left UK shores bound for Barbados. James had to apply to have the car’s taxation class changed to ‘Historic’ and took the opportunity to update the colour on the V5 from maroon to green.
James' ultimate plan was to reunite JJJ 888 with the MG. This was the number it bore on the racing circuit and for most of Rob's ownership in the UK. It was not an easy process as James says: "When I applied to retain 2 CMG the car had to be inspected by the DVLA. As the MG had not been taxed since the 1980s, the DVLA inspect cars to prevent valuable number plates being taken off total wrecks. Subsequently, after 2 months, I successfully retained 2 CMG and an age related number was assigned to the MG: 203 XVD."
"Next step was to ensure the car’s original 1959 registration XLW 198 was permanently re-assigned to the chassis. DVLA had no computer record as it was only ever on the buff logbook. It's down to the owner to build a case for DVLA to reunite original numbers. I duly filled out all the necessary forms and involved the MG Car Club to support the application. The MG was inspected by the DVLA again as well as by a member of the MGCC MGA Register. The original buff log book and application form was validated by the MGCC and sent off and the DVLA re-assigned XLW 198 a mere 55 years after it was originally taken off to make way for JJJ 888. I noticed the new V5 had not been marked as “non transferable” by the DVLA, meaning it could at some point in the future be taken off the car and sold. As I wanted to ensure the car and number were permanently connected I flagged this and DVLA quickly sent an amended V5!"
James and his friends then undertook a series of jobs in the early weeks and months. The MG was remarkably untouched in the 2 years it had been outside of the family in the US. The pictures below show the MG at Classic Cars of Wirral through to detailing the various jobs being undertaken and the events it attended.
On this page James added sub-section menu galleries - one for each year of ownership - with a pictoral history of that year's classic car trips, shows and fundraising activities undertaken with the MG.