SEPTEMBER 2020: 1978 MGB – THE SEARCH FOR DAD’S LAST CAR HAS A VERY HAPPY ENDING

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One of the most difficult tasks in the car hobby is tracking down a long-lost car.

There are many reasons but the biggest one is simple – most cars face an unpleasant future at some point when they have a date with Mr. Crusher.

This 1978 MGB had a much kinder fate.

Phylicia Reed is the proud new owner of this little British sports car for one simple reason – it was her dad’s last car. She explained the history behind this MGB: “My grandmother tells me he actually had a few cars before this, but this is the first car he purchased with his own money. He worked very hard to save up to purchase it. He had it for about 2 years. It was the last car he ever had and the only one I ever knew of growing up”.

Phylicia’s father was a big fan of sports cars: “From what I’m told, he loved sports cars in general. He especially adored this one. It was love at first sight for him. He used to put a lot of time into shining it and washing it. He loved to take care of it”.

She knew she had to own this MGB: “This car has always been very special to me. My dad died shortly before I was born so I never got to know him. This car made me feel connected to him. As a little girl, I would sit and play in it, pretending to drive it. I would dream of the day that I would get my license and get to drive it for real. I always thought it would be my first car”.

Phylicia had a real break in the search: “We never had any information to go on in order to find the car so it was difficult, but earlier this year we found some paperwork with the VIN number on it. Once we found that, we were surprisingly able to find it within a couple of days of looking”.

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She needed the numbers to find the MGB: “You could say I’ve been searching most of my life. The last time I saw it I was about nine years old. I spent years thinking about this car, hoping to find it again someday, but I had never had any solid information on it to go off of. Once we found the paperwork, we were able to find it fairly quickly. If it hadn’t been registered to the MG Experience, it may have been more difficult”.

Phylicia explained how important the VIN was in the search: “Once we found the VIN number, we started our search online and thankfully it had been registered with a car club. When my husband typed in the VIN number into the MG Experience, the page popped up with a picture of the car and all of the details about it. We were amazed to see it had traveled across the country and that it appeared to be in very good condition.

The search was worth the effort: “It was surreal finding it. I cried when I saw the pictures of it. I was in total awe that we were able to find if after all of these years. We really wanted to try to buy it back, but I wasn’t sure if the owner would sell. We contacted him and his wife and told them our story. They never intended to sell the car, but were so touched by our history with it that they decided to sell it to us. It meant so much to us, especially considering that the car was special to them too. The whole process of getting it was so special and sentimental. It all felt meant to be. We flew across the country to Florida and I finally got to be reunited with my dad’s car once again. I cried tears of joy when I saw it. It was exactly how I remembered it! Taking it for a ride for the first time was the best feeling. My husband and I listened to my dad’s favorite song as we took it for a test drive. We knew he would have really liked that. All in all, it was a great experience. Best of all we made some new friends for life out of the previous owners”.

Phylicia has a smart game plan for this legacy car: “Overall, it’s in pretty good shape. It has some minor cosmetic damage, but we do plan on slowly restoring it and upgrading some of the features while keeping with the integrity of the time period. It’s definitely going to be a date night vehicle since it’s a two-seater. We hope to take it for a spin to the local drive in and hopefully participate in some local car shows. My husband may use it to commute to work every so often when the weather is nice”.

Phylicia was emphatic about whether her long search was worth it.

Absolutely! This car is priceless to me. I know my dad would have wanted me to have it. I intend on keeping it in our family forever. We are so blessed that it was so well taken care of by the previous owner, but even if it was a broken down pile of rust, it still would have meant the world to me to have it. Getting it back has given me so much closure and so much joy. We are so incredibly grateful to have finally brought her home after all these years.

PHYLICIA REED

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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