By: Tara Feeney
Have you ever seen an online ad for a car and it seems too good to be true? Then when you go checkout said item, you get there, and it was not as advertised. That happened to me when I checked out my first prospective project car earlier this week. It was a 1979 MGB that had been sitting in a barn for the better part of thirty years. The seller said it ran but mentioned that it needed some work to return it to its former glory.
When I was researching MG’s and the MGB’s, I heard great things about them. They were known to be reliable when you stick to the right maintenance schedule, super fun to drive, and overall, just really great cars for the price range. I found a parts dealer that had every single part available for any of the 1960s and 1970s MGs, and I compiled a spreadsheet of anticipated costs to get it to a point where I could sell it for a profit. I put together a business plan and was feeling very excited about the prospect of finally getting my hands on a project car.
My friends and I left McPherson at about 11 a.m. on Saturday and rolled into Elkhart, Kansas, at about 5 p.m. to check out this car (it took longer than anticipated due to a prolonged sandwich stop). We’re looking at the car, and right off the bat, you can see that the interior is totally gutted, and the headliner for the convertible top had more holes than actual material. He goes to start the car for us, and in the process, the starter gets lit on fire – not a promising sign.
Upon further inspection, it turned out that the electrical system was in need of a complete overhaul; all of the bushings needed to be replaced, and all of the brakes were completely rusted over. There was some cosmetic damage to the car, and it absolutely needed a new coat of paint. On the way back to school, I put together a pros and cons list and, in the end, decided to pass on the car. I just couldn’t justify it when the chance of making a profit was so minuscule. I am still in the process of searching for a car that will make the most sense for me and my school schedule, and I am looking forward to more car-finding adventures in the future until I find the perfect one!