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A secret world of hidden treasures

A secret world of hidden treasures

In the heart of Te Awa Village, there lies a secret world of hidden treasures tucked away in the unassuming garages of its residents. These treasures, often in the form of meticulously maintained and lovingly restored cars, represent the pride and joy of their passionate owners. Each vehicle tells a unique story, a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of those who have preserved these automotive gems. As we uncover these hidden delights, we will share the fascinating stories behind these cars, celebrating the rich history and personal narratives that make each one truly special.

A love affair spanning over 46 years

Written by Martyn Dunn 2018 

“Born one morning and the sun didn’t shine, picked up my shovel; “ well you know how it goes,

“Born one morning and the sun didn’t shine, picked up my shovel; “ well you know how it goes,

Really, I was born at Abingdon and after being transported to Nuffield Exports in Piccadilly, it was, I believe, June 28th, 1960, was the sun shining? It was England you know maybe not, still, we can’t let facts get in the way of a good story.  This Australasian bloke and his partner were there, waiting to take me away, little did I know I would still be toiling away in more than 50 years’ time

Here I was, brand new, red with red upholstery, and with my optional tounau cover at 6 pounds two and six, on top of my six hundred and seventy one pounds, two and six, The princely sum was passed over, no tax you see, as long I was out of the UK within one year.  We were away.

Spent several months in my home country going exploring from the top north to bottom south until being ferried across some wet stuff to what they call I believe Europe, full of funny cars and all driving on the wrong side of the road, funny idea?

Send much time exploring up to the arctic circle then back for some skiing in Austria, not me you fool, the driver, much excitement on a border crossing when my luggage rack containing his skies was removed by the border gates, embarrassing, did not do my boot much good either. Did I mention I had to have a heart transplant in Germany, all those autobahns and too much at 90MPH took a bit of a stain on my motor.

Eventually, we got tired of the funny foreign chaps, and another much larger crossing was arranged, ending me in somewhere named New York, and although they spoke some English the driving was still on the wrong side, and those other cars, big buggers they were, and very flashy, all those fins.

I spent a bit of time supplying beer for the Aussies at the New York yacht club, they were doing a bit of water racing I believe, with a boat called Gretel. Amazing how many bottles you can fit in my side pockets, very handy. I indulged in a bit of gymkhana work myself, soon it was time to move on and we drove a very long way, camping in some strange places only to arrive at Seattle, Apparently for an even longer boat ride, a big one this time on something called the SS Canberra., the Canberra  went to LA first and I had a close call, as I was stored in the front hold when the captain hit a barge in the harbour!, what could be worse?, hope I don’t end up in Australia,

Good luck prevailed and I arrived in somewhere called Auckland, New Zealand in 1962, and driving on the right side at last, and the local cars are more my style, a little old but at least there are more Britishers here.

Andrew, the driver took me home to Titirangi where I stayed until 1964, when I was abandoned at 65000 miles, he traded on a hairdresser's car, something called MGB,  well I never, what a shock!.

Had four other owners, a Thomas Scott for one month in Mt Eden, all in Auckland

Alfred Gibson for about 15 months then

Alan Wooler in Devonport for 12 years

And then it was Ian Heath from Devonport, he owned me and several other MGs for 6 about 6 months each! It was April 1978; my speedo read 81000miles, when I was rescued from Charlie Conway car sales in Symonds St for the princely sum of $2000. I would now have a more stable relationship.

You must appreciate that although I had had a bit of clutch and engine work by this stage in my life, to be fair I was looking a little worse for wear, well It’s only natural, a girl gets around, I had been repainted metallic green, my seats were still there, but very sad, the carpet very threadbare and yes, I had developed a bad habit, I had started smoking, well everybody did it then, lovey blue smoke and yes maybe I was getting a little a little grumpy, to be fair I was a bit of a project.

I was forced to make do for one month as I was of course to be regular transport, not a plaything as I believe some of my compatriots have become. But work had to be done and I was to be grounded for several months

Well he removed my guards, rubbed them down and applied many coats of undercoat, ( only to be told by the painter that PA10 stuff is rubbish, sand it all off again!) pulled the heart out, and even my wire vanes, not looking to good, hope he knows what he’s doing. One problem was in this time period, parts were very hard to get, the moss catalogue was skinny and the internet had not been invented, 1588 pistons were made of unobtainium , his mum and dad did their big OE at the correct time and found some from MotoBuild in London, hand luggage on the way back, no x-rays in those days!

New leather was purchased from Ashley tanneries in new Lynn (long gone now), my seats were recovered, new side panels were made and covered, and new carpet was cut and place over my new plywood floor, not sealed of course, you need some way to let the water to get out

He did not know what he was doing, left my body tub on, a mistake, but he was enthusiastic, I was together again by 24 December 1978, what a Xmas present

He was a member of some gang calling themselves the MGCC, he had been with them some time having owned an MGB himself, along with several of those funny cars I saw in Europe, still nobody’s perfect, will  just have to try to look after him

Well you would not believe it, first day out and where did we go, only some track in the middle of nowhere, a place called  Massey (now a suburb with houses, no longer country) and I had to wallow in a mud bath, may be soothing for some but I’m not convinced. And that mud got to some unmentionable positions, I can tell you!

At least he spent some time the next weekend when we entered a concourse and I  came in first, great, I was clean again. The only problem was I had no friends my own age, I was to be the only MGA for some time there was a very nice green one around but I never saw her much. plenty of the square riggers or T Types as you may know them, I believe, many hairdressers including some with what’s called GT with a tin roof, what will they think of next, maybe door handles or even winding windows, what a silly idea, where do you carry the wine bottles. There were a few   smaller cars called Midgets, how un PC, Well at least they were cousins as  a lot of cars in the club were of other breeds, most of them gone these days

Had my first MG Easter at New Plymouth, plenty of new friends down there including a very tricky white MGA called de lux, he was pretty fast that one, girl can’t trust anyone.

Had a name change in June 1985, was AZ8319 now to be known as MG1960

Well I had several good years, with the driver and the navigator doing mud plugs, trials, gymkhanas, Xmas parades wine tours to cooks wines, playing at Pukekohe racetrack and the Riverhead forest on dirt rallies, and yes, I was known to occasionally lift a wheel and show a bit of leg

 Did have some company in the garage in eighties  At one stage had a square rigger mate Ted the TD,  another MGA sister, being restored by the driver, from a truckload of fish boxes and a mighty  Metro for the normal transport, they have all gone now,, ted maybe over north  Shore, maybe do not know for sure. The sister MGA is written of in Oamaru and the mighty Metro ?, disappeared and no, even the Walbran Clan doesn’t own it.

But the time had come, I was still feeling completely well but  I slipped a joint in my back ( tech term a cracked chassis) which was to require a complete chassis off rebuild and more motor work, this meant I was off the road for some three months, back in time for far north in December, It was at this time he was rebuilding the above fish box MGA in his single,  or room for two MG’s garage, the plan being as long as one MGA was together he could see where all the bits go, a good plan. But I sure ruined that, anyone who has dismantled a car knows that the room required multiplies by the power of 3, and of course the budget, think of the worst-case scenario, double it, and you’re in the ballpark, timing is everything, I was very happy.

Sometime in 2001 and about 100,000 miles, I felt a bit weary, a girl gets weary, had a bit of trouble with old no1 bore, bit oval you see too much short cold running and not getting hot enough, best not talk about getting hot, I digress well as I was 60 out by now and finances were as usual short, he pulled out my tired heart and transplanted it with a big block 1622, cheap you see $25.00 for a temporary fix and another 10 year plan till my original motor (still under the house I believe) was rebuild, don’t hold your breath. At least he had it line bored, (sounds nasty, but worth it), and everything balanced, I sure run smoothly now!.

Far north was great fun, went several times, blotted my copybook once, and snapped a tendon you see, (tech term driveshaft) in the middle of nowhere (twin bridges,  Kaikohe about 200km back roads to get home)  it was raining and none too warm, timing is everything you know!. Well the navigator abandoned me and had a ride home in one of those non-leaking tin tops, I had to follow behind, on a short rope, a monster Jaguar XK called “bloodnock”  who was getting a bit tired after several hours and I had to use my brakes to slow him down when he winked at me, an interesting drive that one.

Saw Andrew, my number one owner, he recognised me in a garage in Avondale many years ago,  the driver took me to see him nine years ago, he said I looked better than ever, and it was his comment  r/e the hairdresser not mine! Interestingly enough he only lives half a mile away and has been there all his life, his brother had an MGB as well, the driver saw a photo of his MGB with six others on the drive of the family acreage, this is in Titirangi in 1966, no trees and great Manukau views, now you can’t see the harbour at all, who says forest needs help to regenerate if only car maintenance was so easy.

Well it's now 2012 some 36 years later, still, I think he’s finally being sensible, we don’t do so much now, still I bit of gentle touring punctured by the occasional red mist motokhana,  spend most of my time waiting for action, something to do with the latest restoration in 2002, although it was to be the best yet, he said it was hard work, his drivers body a bit slower getting out from under the dashboard, but no I am not perfect, will never be if he has anything to do with it, always good to have another job to look forward too.

I think he was pleased that the navigator and I won him a combined weekend a couple of years ago, same car, same team, and 10 years apart, maybe in another 8 years?

(combined weekend, four events, navigation, speed, concourse, motorkhana, best overall in series)

I am not really a showgirl, a bit more of a goer if you get my drift, a yes I am still pretty standard as I left the factory, with no tricky modern transistorised ignition or upmarket fuel pumps, ( give me dodgy condensers any day, oh that was in Opononui, don’t want to talk about that) no big valve head, no MGB extractors or even an anti-roll bar! Just the same old girl that left Abington on June 28th 1960.

Oh yes, I’m still wearing my original optional tonneau cover and sidescreen skirt, my spare wheel is a Pirelli Cinturato, it’s at least at least 40 years old but it’s the only size that will fit in the boot slot.

And I’m not a “high maintenance “kind of girl, once I get treated right I am a perfect angel. I will even go 36 miles on a gallon of the good stuff when I’m cruising with the square riggers, although I have been known to gobble it down at 24 when I have to play catch up with the moderns, on say the classic Marathon, can be hard work but it’s still great fun.

All in all it’s been good fun with plenty of MGA Company now. Even if some of them are Australian,  one has gone to the Sunshine Coast to enjoy the  weather, at least one Aussie  has ditched his Toyota motor and gone back to  Abingdon, another deliberately slips his clutch to keep his driver on edge a few other have hard hats on but they are still good company, me old mate “old blue” is out of action and then there’s ol yella (or Karmine as she is sometimes called) they have both been around a while, gosh It’s great to be  an MGA

I think that’s enough winter rambling for now, gosh the sun shining, that looks better, maybe I will even  get some action,

Bye for now


Update time - 2014

2014 returning from a Taupo event, struggled to get up the last few climbs to get home, feeling really tired, typical heart problem. The driver finally noticed a problem and found his trustee compression tester, number four 160 pounds, number three zero, number two 155 pounds, and number one also zero, That darn BMC B series head and unleaded fuel, so much for additive!

Have now lovely steel inserts, having a great time and am back up to speed again, excellent, plus four new tyres, I’m glad he got rid of the old ones, looked good but had no grip when its wet, fun maybe but a bit scary if you’re not ready for the loss of traction, can be exciting, but sometimes a girl can have too much excitement!

See you

Agatha A

Oh Oh ! another update for 2018

We have moved garages again, and now have more company in the new garage in Waiuku village, south of Auckland city, It’s almost country, great to be able to drive half a mile, (old school see, none of the metric rubbish) and onto the open road, with corners even, much better than traffic jams in the city.

Thinking about that. There was a recent interesting drive on the west coast, up to the lighthouse last summer, think “C” road with no tractors or hedgerows, I was being harried by an old timer 1934 C type, so can’t let that happen , there we were just getting in the interesting zone when the navigator had a alternation, either I slow or she gets out, the rumour that the driver did consider this option for some time is a malicious lie!  Maybe anyway.

A bigger garage this time, room for 3 cars and he will never fill that, even has carpet on the floor, but not on my side !, wonder why ? The patented MG anti-chassis rust system still working as planned.

Remember that  I mentioned the truckload of fish boxes, he’s done it again, more fish boxes of assorted MGA parts, now have almost a skeleton of an MGA 1500 sister with me again, she has got wire wheels thou, I know he always wanted wires but by the comments I’ve heard when he’s been working on them, I’m in no danger of an upgrade

Don’t think I will be company forever thou, something about driving it in England and France, well personally, I have there been there done that, but not with him, we will see if he gets it all together!

Agatha A

Waiuku to te Awa 2024

Yet another move, down south over the hills to a cycle town called Cambridge, what’s the plan?

To make it worse I did not get to come down alone, put on a monster car transporter with the almost complete box set MGA from South Africa and the domestic Honda Jazz. Too many cars and not enough drivers!

To make it worse I was abandoned on a strange unknown garage as the new about was not ready yet, bugger!

The day finally arrived, new garage ready even if Morepork Lane is not concrete yet, a boy metal roads again.  So with two MGAs in the garage and two other types outside the joints a bit crowded!

Soon the green MGA is finished and on the way to the south island. Leaving me having to share with a Korean girl. Not sure about this.

This was soon sorted with the arrival of would you believe it, a big MG  HS an SUV apparently?  called “Nellie” and she speaks Mandarin with a British accent. Something about designed in my home land.

Goodness! its been 46 years, he has down a bit of maintenance this year, repaired my rear brake cylinders, and replaced the cork seals in my carburettors’. I was getting a bit smelly you see.

Strangely enough those jobs which would be done in a few hours about 40 years ago, now take several days with much moaning from the driver about why is it now difficult to get up after lying under the rear of my body !

So I’m ready to roll but not much action at the moment, possibly because its winter ? strange it never bothered him before?

If you want to know what happens next - catch up with Martyn Dunn


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