Have you ever known or kept a former owner's name for your car?
In March 2021, exactly 5 years after dad's MGA was sold to pay for his Alzheimers healthcare, I came across a 2016 forum string on mgexp.com. My heart was in my mouth as the string revealed some fascinating details on my MGA's brief 2 year US ownership chapter - the most surprising being its name:
"I did name him though. RD pronounced Ardie in honor of the guy who owned it for ever and made it what it is: Rob Davis."
Wow. In the 55 years of Davis ownership, dad and I had never called the car anything other than The MG or The Twin Cam. It sure was an emotional moment to read that post and the forum string.
Over the next few days I reflected. I warmed to Ardie. It certainly wouldn't have been my choice, I had never even heard it! The name dates back to Roman times and literally means "Great Forest".
Being a positive person I was at peace with the fact that the MG had to leave us. Yet I randomly found it for sale in 2018 in the UK and bought it back. Then, 2 years into my ownership, a new identity appears, a link to my dad and his 53 years of ownership! @MGAlzheimers will remain as the legacy project name but Ardie it is!
The abridged 2016 forum string - which also details some of the repairs Ricky had to undertake on getting the car home to Virginia from Canada - can be found below (or click this link to read it online):
If Loving This is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right
11 April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot):
"This twin cam was modified to the owners taste you can see lots of it and there's lots of mods you can't see. It'll fly and sounds unbelievable with that side outlet exhaust. When you want to simply cruise just slip it into 5th gear and relax. My newest toy."
11th April 2016 - Wyatt W (wyatt):
"I like it too...and the view"
11th April 2016 - Mike Cox (Coxie)
"Very nice indeed ... plus, I like those special MKII tail-lights to add the "Deluxe-esque" touch-of-class"
11th April 2016 - bob K (bobs77vet)
"very nice i like the smoothed fender welting area and all the toggle switches, good looking car!!! are those extra spark plugs on the heater shelf?"
11th April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
"Sure enough a spare set of plugs mounted on the heater shelf...where the heater isn't. Whoever welded the fenders and smoothed the joints did an incredible job. I've owned twin cams that would foul a plug occasionally but this isn't one of them. This car has taught me something about heaters. I've been driving it in some pretty cold weather and I found a built in heater every MGA has but people don't use. Open the carpet flap on the transmission tunnel and pop the rubber plug out and you're going to get way more heat than the heater could ever produce. To turn it off reverse the turn it on procedure"
11th April 2016 - Dave H (zur)
"That car is perfect! Everything about it. I even have a name for it..."Greenwood". Think about it... Say...look at the rocker panel aluminum "trim strips". I've seen them both painted & un-painted. One even polished bright. Which finish was original? Great post Ricky!"
11th April 2016 - bob K (bobs77vet)
"Ricky lives where I went to undergraduate school in the blue ridge mountains of south western Virginia.....I was a Park Ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway after college...its a beautiful area. Thought my youngest may go to college there also but she just choose another college....oh well no "old school" for Bob. i was routing for my alma mater so i could see Ricky's collection in person.....again that's a stunning car, nice find"
11th April 2016 - Gary Edwards (Gary E)
"It was a brave that did all that to a TC but it looks super"
11th April 2016 - Steven Stockham (Redhawk1869)
"Wow! It looks fantastic! With the cut down windscreen, no over riders, using deluxe taillights and the license plate lowered, it somehow looks more streamlined from the rear 3/4 view. Translation: it looks fast!"
12th April 2016 - Jinno Louie (stagepony)
"This car is the 'IT' car! If I could have only one companion on a marooned island, it will be this car rather than Jennifer Anniston."
12th April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
"Dave: that's a nice name I'll think about it or even better I'll sell it to you and you can name it."
"Bob: my collection is gone except for this beauty, my fun comes from finding, buying and selling these cars more than owning them although I do play with them and tweak the little details while they're here. I've had a couple long term tenants but they all moved on when the time was right. These pictures were taken in my yard yesterday."
"Jim: yes its YD1-2497 formerly owned by Rob Davis since 1961. He's fighting ALZ, I only met him the day I picked the car up but I can say he's a beautiful person and this was certainly his baby for 50+ years. Rob modified the car to his tastes and he had definite ideas on what he liked. The car has tube shocks on all corners, a 5 speed conversion as you can see 3 eared knock offs, widened wheels to name a few. He also bought a set of 5J Peter Wood alloy reproduction Dunlop wheels. Rob posted many times on the Twin Cam Yahoo group email list about this car and his plans for the future with it. Keeping it original was never the plan, having it "his" was what it was all about he even tried to mount a shorrock supercharger in front of the engine for a while before abandoning that mod. The car currently has a "works" engine he bought in 1979 in a crate and finally installed somewhere around 2007. His wife Bonnie said he only changed the engine "because he could". I'd like to know more about the works engine if I could find anything on it, it's smooth and strong and runs cool also seems to be properly jetted with the HD8s and an exhaust header. I got the original engine and gearbox along with most of a BRG alloy hardtop in the sale. Who knows this may be the one that stays."
17th April 2016 - Matthew Fox (Alaskan MGA)
"I like the streamlined look of the cut-down windscreen (and the lowered license plate) but, never having driven a car with one I have to ask, aren't you picking bugs out of your teeth with regularity? Or is that just the cost of admission for owning/enjoying one of the coolest-looking MGAs I've seen?"
21st April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
"Matt: good question I wondered the same thing. When I first got the car the windshield glass was missing and I drove it around without one for a few days. It wasn't too much fun with the wind noise I couldn't hear the pipe and I wondered if that race windshield would make much difference. I'm pleased to say it's just like driving with a std windshield. The short windshield blocks the wind and the accompanying wind noise allowing me to hear that beautiful twin cam engine sing. People are funny to watch around this car It's as much fun watching them as it is driving the car."
22nd April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
"The smoothed lines probably do hurt the value a bit it was definitely a bold move but as you can see and as I've said the owner wasn't the least bit worried about resale he never intended to sell. I can't tell how he had the seams filled he told me a girl at a body shop did the work. She did a terrific job it must have taken forever. This car is totally rust free and I've seen pictures of it with the piping still in place I'll post one."
23rd April - 2016 Wray Brady (wrayg)
"Great looking car and with history of tasteful modifications I feel the value will hold, but more importantly I think driving the car is the real value. You state this one may be a keeper so there is the value In a nutshell"
23rd April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
"Good point Wray, when it comes to MGAs I'm like a small child chasing butterflies I'm easily distracted by the next pretty thing. Maybe this one will hold my attention for a while but no guarantees. When I got it home it had a list of things that needed attention. Brake lights inop, seats just sitting in the floors unbolted not on tracks, fuel gauge and sender inop, speedometer cable broken, windshield broken, 2 dead 6V batteries, basically no lights working, exhaust disconnected significant oil leaks no air cleaners and more I can't remember. That's all in the rear view now so it's just me and the car, we'll see where that goes."
24th April 2016 - Ricky May (plumberpilot)
Like everything I own...make me an offer. I did name him though, RD pronounced Ardie in honor of the guy who owned it for ever and made it what it is Rob Davis.
And there it ends. Until 2021 the man who had bought our family MGA put thought into the history and the man that owned it for so long and made it into what it is today. I hope you approve of the name - Robert Davis - RD - Ardie will always remind me of you dad remind me how we shouldn’t take anything for granted.