A labour of love

Big decisions

So as I sat there in my partially dismantled car, in its 45th birthday year, and at the start of a brand new decade, I mulled over a couple of decisions about the direction I wanted to take the project.

Paint colour

When I bought the car as a teenager I was completely sold on the ‘bright red sportscar’ idea, and decided to stick with it when I resprayed it the first time, opting for Flame Red on that occasion (an original MG colour, but not correct for the year). However, I’ve grown a bit tired of it over the years and was considering a drastic change when I came to paint it this time.

As I’ve been stripping the interior over the last couple of days, I’ve uncovered more and more of the original factory paint colour, and I have to say, I think I’ve fallen in love with it.

I’ve never actually taken the time to look into this wonderful shade of yellow/orange before, but it turns out that it’s officially called ‘Bracken’, and was only offered as an option in the 1974-1976 model years according to Original MGB, making it somewhat unusual. I honestly don’t remember ever seeing another MG this colour, especially not in rubber bumper form, and a Google image search for ‘mgb bracken’ barely turns up more than a couple of such cars, so I’m kind of excited by the rarity.

I’m a child of the 1970s, and even though I’m not old enough to remember them, I have a ridiculous nostalgic fondness for so many things from that era (you should see my record collection). ‘Bracken’ absolutely screams mid-70s to me, you just don’t get colours like that any more. Everyone else may hate it, but it’s the original colour and I love it, so Bracken it will be.

Rubber bumpers

Speaking of mid-70s throwbacks that divide opinion… let’s talk about rubber bumpers. Growing up in the early 1980s, MGBs were only recently out of production, and most of the ones I remember seeing as a child were of the still pretty ubiquitous rubber bumper variety. I adored them then, and years later when I learned to drive and wanted an MGB of my own, it was a rubber bumper one I went after (OK, yes, it’s the only type I could have hoped to afford, but let’s not let that ruin the story).

Almost without exception, every single restoration project of a rubber bumper MGB I’ve read about in recent years has included a chrome bumper conversion. Each to their own of course, but I find that depressing (and this perhaps relates more to my own 1970s obsession than anything else to be honest). I can understand the motivation for wanting to revert to chrome, since the rubber bumper introduction was driven more by legislatory factors than any aesthetic reasoning at the time, but it’s still not a change I’ve ever considered for my car. So this one is not really a ‘big decision’, just a statement. Rubber bumpers for life, yo.

Fun fact, that picture at the top is a tribute to this picture of me c.1995 restoring JBY the first time round. Only the hairline has changed 🙂

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