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True Brit my classic MG Roadster


It's no secret that the majority of classic car owners are men. With all the mechanics involved, the endless hours that have to be dedicated to maintenance and the close relationship formed between car and man, it seems this is not a hobby which appeals to many women.

But that doesn't mean they don't exist. Lynne Sewell is proof.

The 54-year-old has owned a 1953 MG TD for the past nine years. And while her father was a mechanic, Sewell says she is far from a car nut herself.

“I was brought up in a family where I knew what a carburettor was and spark plugs but I'm not a rev head,” she says.

“But I do know the bits and pieces under the bonnet. My father did show me how to change the battery and change the tyre. I had a good general idea, more knowledge than the average person.”

So with a basic understanding of cars and a desire to own an MG, Sewell, with the support of her husband Rick, set off to find her own special car in 1998.

“I had always said one day I'd like to buy one of those T types,” she says.

The previous owner had restored the black model after it spent some time sitting in a warehouse in the 1960s. But Sewell decided there was still more work to be done.

“Everyone said, `Dont go there, once you do, you won't stop, it's like Pandora's box',” Sewell jokes. “A club friend worked on it and my husband and I helped. We did a full body restoration, it took nearly two years because of the slow way we were doing it.

“It had an engine rebuild, we put a new clutch in it, it just purrs.

“My father was very proud of me having it. And this model really is a gem.”

It recently came second at a national MG meeting for the second year in a row and has won other accolades. It is also road registered, unusual for older models which are usually just registered through the clubs.

“It's me who does all the cleaning and preparation for events. I'm the registered owner, but I'd be lost without my husband's support,” Sewell says.

And as the ad goes: Initial purchase, around $20,000, value the car is currently insured for, more than $30,000, the many wonderful memories ... priceless.

Among the memories was the driver who continuously honked to draw Sewell's attention and signalled her to pull over to the side of the road so he could inspect her prize possession, then offered to swap his much less expensive average car for hers.

And then there was her daughter's wedding reception, when the happy couple arrived and departed in the MG.

And the time when a group of surfers stopped for a chat, saying, “We love your wheels. It's just fantastic”.

“When else would a bunch of surfers come and talk to a middle-aged couple,” Sewell says.

Sewell and her husband actively embraced the MG owners club and have found there's much more to owning a classic car than just the car itself.

“There are a lot of social weekends away. In the winter I'm known for rugging up and always having the roof down,” she says.

“It enables us to have a social interest as a couple, with other like-minded couples.”

The MG may not be fitted with great security measures, indeed it doesn't even have locks, but Sewell says she is yet to have a problem with that.

“I think people respect the old cars and they like to look at them. We often just park it, the seats are exposed, people look at the instrument panel and interior, it's so different to modern cars,” she says.

And while she loves her car, there are a couple of features which make it difficult to drive. “I joke about the airconditioning, it's very hot in the summer, your feet cook and in the winter, you're cold,” she says.

As with most old cars it lacks power steering and Sewell says she rarely takes it in Sydney traffic as it is a lot slower than modern cars. But in no way is the mother-of-two ready to give it up.

Indeed, she is hoping there will be at least one more MG in her future.

While MG ceased production in 2005, a Chinese company recently bought the brand. It will initially target the Chinese market and perhaps the US, Sewell says, so the couple are looking forward to the possibility of a modern MG in their garage.

“I would look at buying a modern one, because this one is limited in the type of roads and conditions I can take it on.”

 

Fast Facts

1953 MG TD

Value when new: £530

Value now: More than $30,000

Verdict: It may not have all the modern perks, but the MG will no doubt turn heads with its classic style and charm.