1958 MG Magnette ZB.

I once drove my Brother's ZB Magnette from Christchurch up to Cambridge to overhaul the motor. I was very impressed by its handling and steering, and it was in many ways a fairly unique car. Many years later, I found this one in a panelbeaters yard, having some bodywork done. I traced the owner and bought it as it was. It drove quite well, but the body was partially stripped and the paint totally stuffed.

Because it was not our only car, it spent much of its time languishing in various sheds while I accumulated funds to make more progress. Meantime, we managed a trip or two, one up to Pukekohe for the classic motorcycle racing, and from there up the Coromandel. Great car to travel in.

Sometime after that, I stripped it completely. The entire body was sandblasted, and all areas of rot that were exposed were sorted. It was then painted in the two-tone scheme used on the 'Varitone' models. I rebuilt all the suspension, and was impressed with its construction. Coil over shocks and rack and pinion steering made it quite a sporting saloon for the day.

I fitted an 1800 motor, with mild cam and twin SU's - pretty much MGB specs. The gearbox was rebuilt as completely stock. I had the original rims widened and fitted some good rubber. The brakes were reconditioned, but once again, in stock form other than the lining material.

I managed to reserve some numberplates that had the 'MG' prefix, as I had managed to 'lose' one of the originals. Much of the trim was missing or damaged, and parts were hard to find. I bought quite a few parts from the UK, including the centre bar of the grille.

While the car kept improving visually, I had not even begun to attempt the interior - other than having the wooden dashboard restored. It was nice to drive with a bit more power, but as I was not using it seriously, I had not spent any time in tuning it to any great extent.

I even found some spotlights and some headlights with period Lucas internals, so it was looking pretty complete on the outside. Very pretty indeed. At some point I decided that I would never really finish it, so I sold it to a friend to complete what I started. So far, he hasn't..