The Last Dance Felix Wong

The end of an era. Goldie—my (usually) faithful British roadster that was the subject of my very first web pages 12 years ago—is leaving me. Last Thursday was our last drive, the Last Dance, and tomorrow morning will be the Big Goodbye. A trucking company is coming to pick her up and transport her new owner, Steve, in Quebec (yes, Canada!). There she will get to mingle with Steve’s other MGs—including an MGA—and presumably be driven more than under my care, at least when the snow up there rescinds.

The decision to sell the MGB was not an easy one. I’ve been vacillating about doing so for the last three years, and admittedly, a major turning point was during the epic drive from California to Colorado last year when Goldie had gotten three flat tires, was running on three cylinders for the last 500 miles, but nevertheless made it to Fort Collins from Stockton in 25 hours (1150 miles total). During that adventure, I had text-messaged my friend Lisa Z. asking her to “remind me to sell the MG”—something she had not been good in nagging me about, but ultimately, I needed no reminder.

The reasons for selling her include the following:

  1. I am trying to become more eco-friendly. Aside from flying, my biggest offense to the environment has been driving a 38-year-old vintage roadster that spews out 100X (or more) pollutants than a modern sports car. The MG gets worse gas mileage too. (For example, a 2007 Corvette—with over 4X the horsepower and a 0-60 acceleration time of 1/3rd the MG—gets over five mpg better gas mileage on the highway. The MG’s fuel economy is only impressive compared to cars from the 60s or large SUVs.)
  2. I am striving for a lower-maintenance lifestyle. By saying goodbye to the MG, I can also say no more to ignition points, valve clearance adjustments, annual spark plug changes, dual SU carburetors that need oil for damping, wire wheels and their propensity for flat tires, wonky fuel pumps, Lucas electrics, and a whole gamut of maintenance tasks and repairs that could be expected with a vehicle almost four decades old.
  3. Practicality. It would be nice to have a car that can handle some snow in the mountains to go to the ski slopes and carry more than one passenger. I’d also like to have a vehicle where I could just throw a bicycle into the trunk without having to mess with external racks (one thing I miss about my old Porsche 944 Turbo). And I refuse to have more cars than garage space for—which currently is two. [I decided this is what rental cars are for.]

Hmmm, the voice of reason. Guess I am getting older.

One nice thing about classic cars is that it’s not unusual for them to not depreciate. In Goldie’s case, I actually was able to sell her for a few hundred dollars more than what I bought her for 12 years ago even the car is in worse shape now than back then. Of course, during that time (and approximately 75,000 miles) I’ve spent a lot on parts (which are relatively cheap for MGs, but they add up) and labor (even at my labor rate of two cents per hour).

Rationalizations, breakdowns, and practicalities aside, it’s been a memorable 12 years with Goldie, and her departure marks the end of an era for me. Full speed to the next one. The British roadster may be gone, but the spirit of adventure that she embodied remains. I promise.

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Fittingly, Tori -- my best friend of the last seven years -- got to be Goldie's last passenger before the Big Goodbye. (September 15, 2007)My last drive with Goldie, by Terry Lake. (November 1, 2007)The cockpit I had gotten to know so well.  The custom wood center console -- handcrafted by the previous owner -- held up well during that time. (November 1, 2007)On one of the backroads that I've done a lot of running on this year, near Richard's Lake. (November 1, 2007)British roadster on a backcountry road... fitting. (November 1, 2007)The last reunion for Goldie, Canny, and I.  We've had a lot of adventures together over the years.  I'll miss her. (November 7, 2007)

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