Pete McIlvenny, the director of Cherished Cars at Carole Nash, explains how his project to restore an MG Midget involved some twitchy times online.
I was sitting looking at eBay one Thursday evening, as you do, and there was this Midget that had stalled at £650. I popped in a bid of £670 and was surprised to find I was the highest bidder. The auction was due to finish on the Friday lunchtime, allowing plenty of time for the symptoms of Twitchy Bottom Syndrome to kick in! You know that feeling where you are hoping you don’t win the car, but at the same time hoping you do. Well that was me.
Whilst eBay doesn’t allow for the drama of, say, a big ticket Bonham’s sale, it certainly does create its own personal tension. When tick meets tock…Cometh the hour and I emerged as victor and new owner of, well, just what had I got for that dent in my bank balance?
£670 was not a lot of money for a Midget, but it had no MoT and hadn’t been on the road for two years. Thankfully though, the seller proved to be one of the good guys. He’d been very honest, perhaps too honest because, having photographed all the things that were bad about the car, he hadn’t really sold its good points. I mean, although it wasn’t on the road, it had only done 40 miles since its last MoT, had been kept under a cover and was solid underneath.
Indeed the vendor turned out to be something of a diamond. Arriving with a guy to trailer the Roadster home I was in for a pleasant surprise. I was a bit nervous about what we were going to find, but I checked it over and it looked OK. Then the seller said that he had a spare gearbox I could have because the car had a little whine in first – I don’t know, but I think they all do that.
There was also a boot full of spares, and he even gave me the cover as well. I couldn’t see any holes as the car was being loaded onto the trailer, and the guy doing the transporting agreed with me that it looked pretty solid, so I breathed a sigh of relief.