First Car First Profit
‘The 1973 MG BGT V8 we offered at our September sale was purchased by a classic car specialist who wanted a project for himself. And what a project it was: dry stored for twenty three years and with only two owners, the ‘B GT V8’ did indeed require attention to the mechanics, a re-paint and general tidy, but its potential was probably the reason it achieved £12210 at auction; when launched, the model could achieve 0-60 in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 125mph. Equally, as a UK-only market model and with a production run of just three years, the V8 has become the more uncommon member of the ‘B’ family.
This reminded me of my first project which, albeit on a smaller scale, was an exciting prospect for the novice classic car enthusiast. In 1960, the opportunity came along to buy my first motor car, a sit-up-and-beg Ford Ten. I was a sixteen year old apprentice panel beater at S. E. Hamblin Ltd of Sherborne and the Ford had come in with body damage and a ‘slightly’ bent chassis! I purchased the motor for about three weeks’ wages – £7 – and set about returning the Ten to its former glory, utilising the skills I had learnt from my first year out of school. After those essential repairs were completed, I then utilised the skills of a fellow apprentice paint sprayer, who transformed the Ford into gleaming British Racing Green, my favourite colour. I also rather fancied the idea of a wide white stripe across the dashboard to emulate the Rob Walker Team cars – when you are young, you are allowed to dream!
By the time the project was completed, I was learning to drive and a Morris Minor Pick-Up seemed convenient as it simply had much more power, and with better handling, I could drive far too quickly round the narrow lanes of Dorset, loaded-up with a friend and bicycles for our next cycle racing event. So the refurbished Ford Ten was swiftly sold on, making me a profit and whetting my appetite for future restoration opportunities.’