Motoring: My Worst Car: Martin Frizzel's MGB GT

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Indy Lifestyle Online
WHEN I bought my MGB GT, I was already a big MG fan. My first MG had been a Midget, and it was lots of fun and very reliable. Unfortunately that led me into a false sense of security, even though I took precautions.

You see, I leafed through the classified ads in the Glasgow Herald. I reasoned that an MG sold by the chattering classes should be in decent shape. I couldn't have been more wrong; the British Racing Green MGB GT turned out to be a pig of a car.

The interior was pretty awful, orange velour, but the upholstery I could live with. Its mechanical shortcomings were another matter. The MGB came with overdrive that consisted of an 007-style switch mounted on top of the gear lever.

It was very satisfying to flick it, but unfortunately nothing happened. Instead of picking up speed the engine would just rev horrendously. If I was overtaking, I had to drop back immediately into third gear to stand any chance of getting past a milk float, or a cyclist. I took the car to various dealers, who all failed to fix it.

My girlfriend at the time had a brother with a garage, and suggested that he was just the mechanical genius to make it work. Not surprisingly, he wasn't. A short while after I got the car back the engine seized solid, so I had to pay for a replacement.

Probably the most shocking thing that happened to me with that car occurred the first time I cleaned it. Underneath the front seats were some brown paper packages. I opened them and found what the previous owner had forgotten all about - porn magazines. Not just any old porn either, but lots of pictures of transvestites, mainly grey-haired bank managers in ladies' underwear. Absolutely terrifying. Mind you, that material was probably worth more than the MGB.

After a year of trauma I part-exchanged the car for a Talbot Sunbeam, which may give you some idea of how desperate I was to get rid of it. I vowed never to buy another MG, but broke that promise a few years ago when I bought my wife an MGF. Great to look at, but unreliable. I don't think me and MGs were meant for each other.

Martin Frizzel is chief reporter for GMTV and can be seen Monday to Friday. He was speaking to James Ruppert

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