How can I compete with this gorgeous blonde???

My husband, in one of his classic British cars.
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My husband, in one of his favorite classic British cars, the blonde 1969 MGC

I admit I don’t like cars- not even classic British cars! Not vehicles, automobiles, hot rods, wee jalopies, Cadillacs, Fords, Beemers, or otherwise. I tolerate them for transportation purposes only. And I especially don’t like lorries, trucks or great big, noisy, petrol/gas-guzzling sixteen wheeler behemoths used primarily to intimidate me on the highway. Sorry, lads.

Now, I know this will seem like a strange aversion to some, and it is definitely not inherited. My father always had a car, even in Scotland soon after the war, when that was something of a rarity. His car was his pride and joy. Back in the day we took family trips in the Morris Minor and later in the Austin Eight- both classic British cars- but the roads were not crammed. The novelty value overrode everything back then, even the carsickness from the fumes (which Dad denied existed.)

My husband and the blonde
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Going for a wee drive was a special jaunt and Sunday outings were a thrill. As we flew along at 30 an hour the scenery was a blur. We never knew what adventures we would run into.

We kids never tired of one particular escapade: The Electric Brae.

In Largs, on our way to Croy Shore, we stopped the car, put it in neutral, and seem to glide up the Electric Brae. Why? The slope of 1 in 86 upwards from Craigencroy Glen creates an optical illusion so a stationary car appears to roll uphill. At least that’s what Dad said, but we kids knew it was magic.

The destination wasn’t always important. Getting there was the thing.

Finally we got to Loch Lomond or Loch Ness or Largs or some other exotic destination where they had an ice-cream stand and the opportunity to paddle in some frigid water.

Ok. I admit to some good times on car rides.

Firth of Clyde
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A view across the Firth of Clyde

The view over the Firth of Clyde looking towards Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre is spectacular, as long as the rain stays away.

Sunday excursion also offered the rare opportunity to be part of “adult” conversations.

“Wis that the road to Loch Lomond ye just made me miss? Och, I’ll have to turn back at the next farm road.” Note the insinuation that his getting lost was our fault!

“Och, we cannae stop now. There’s too much traffic.” Which was rarely true, unless you count a car stopped by the side of the road with a flat, a farm tractor moving at five miles an hour, and a collie taking a nap in the sun in the middle of the road. Unscheduled stops were not welcomed. My father had a destination. He drove; Mum viewed the scenery and doled out caramels.

In the days before fast foods, the stop signals came from Mum too. “Let’s have a cuppa.” When the driver was finally outvoted, the car came to a screeching halt. The boot was opened and the primus started up, and soon the salmon sandwiches with the obligatory thin pink line in the middle of the pan bread (more butter than salmon) appeared. We prayed it wouldn’t rain on our picnic, but possibly since we’d missed church for this spree, our prayers often went unanswered.

My distaste for cars is probably related to the sheer number of them now. In earlier times in the spaces in front of houses children would skip rope, play football, cricket, bounce balls off stone walls, and perform derring-do with a gird and cleat down the middle of the road. Now they are warned within an inch of their lives. “Stay off the road.”

But male members of my family have a love affair with cars. Dad finished up with a big black Daimler as a universal remedy for his midlife crisis.

My cousin I stay with in Balfron, Scotland, owned, as of last month, gathering dust in his garage, a vintage Jaguar, an MGTD, a Morris Minor (and if he doesn’t cut down on the pie ‘n chips he’s going to need a Morris Major!). Of course he doesn’t drive any of those; he gets to work in a station wagon.

My Husband and his Classic British Cars

Classic British Cars- 1969 MGC
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Photo via Joe Johnston on mgexp.com

My husband is off the charts with his car collection here in Florida. Our garage looks like a scene from a Glasgow motor show. He has, as of yesterday, four classic British cars including a 1969 MGC with straight 6, (not sure what that means, but guys are impressed.) This one draws admiring glances from both sexes. It took eighteen months from delivery on the flat bed truck to the final coat of primrose paint. My daughter aptly dubbed it “The Blonde” for its impact on our marital bliss.

Do you see a pattern here? He likes OLD BRITISH things. Which is lucky for me, being an old British person.

Also in the fleet is a 1969 MGB GT, which did not need a paint job as it is a gorgeous shade of “Jewel Green” but “needed” upgrading from a 4-cylinder to a V8. It is now officially a MGB GT V8 Sebring featuring a Rover 3.5. Whatever that means.

AND THERE’S MORE, as the adverts say:

A Cavalry blue 1981 TR 8 Roadster is used on weekends, and in the works is a disassembled 1973 MGB V8 Sebring with the Rover 3.9, color yet to be determined.

Och! It makes ma heid hurt!

Riding farther than ten miles from the garage requires the addition of a toolbox in the boot … or a walk home. (I exaggerate.) But this I do know, these beauties do not arrive in purring, pretty perfection; they need work. Lots of it. These vehicles are not for show and not really for transportation. Their purpose is to be fixed, painted, kept running, upgraded and taken for short drives to test them … and to be polished.

OK, I admit, I don’t get it.

Paul has to actually like a person before he will sell one of these beauties. He has only met one person so far he liked well enough to let one go. That was the one I backed into in the driveway (but that’s another story … a sadder tale.)

But I just got a car that might change my mind about vehicular travel. It’s excellent transportation, shiny silver with grey upholstery; it runs silently most of the time and gets 50+ mpg, answers your telephone, knows when to shift gears, tells you where to go (politely), and the seats adjust perfectly to accommodate a five foot woman. The five CD player will be great on a long trips and the air is thermostatically controlled. And all this with the touch of a button.

I just got a Prius.

I think there is a button for making coffee too, but I haven’t found it yet.

Guess I’ll have to read the manual.

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