The plan

So what’s it all about? Why does a relatively sensible professional man of nearly 50 suddenly go mad and buy a dilapidated 43 year old car that in all probability isn’t even safe to drive on the roads?

Read on and find out..


This isn’t my first car restoration. I love the 1960’s British sports cars, and have owned several of them in the past.

The first, bought in 1985, was also my first full resto; a 1958 Mk1 Austin Healey Sprite, affectionately known as the “Bugeye”. I learned a valuable lesson with this one; don’t buy someone else’s half-finished project. I got an untrimmed body with half of the car in boxes, and was assured that “it’s all there and the hard work’s done”. Needless to say that wasn’t entirely accurate. A lot of effort later though, I had a really lovely car and had learned a lot.

In 1989 I bought a Mk2 MGBGT which was my regular drive for about 3 years. I rebuilt all of the mechanicals and the car went well but the body and interior really let it down. Eventually I made the decision to rebuild the car, and merrily pulled it to bits. Just as the project started a relationship breakdown occurred and I had to move out of the house I lived in which had a large shed. The Bugeye went into storage and the GT ended up rusting genteely under a tarp on my parents’ front lawn for a number of years.

Just before disaster struck I had also bought a really well restored, fast Mk2 MGB roadster from my good friend Glenn. It had a beautiful motor, 45DCOE Weber and wide wheels and was a thing of beauty. I couldn’t keep all the cars so the Bugeye was sold and went to Japan. This was sad but the B type roadster was such fun to drive. It would pull to 7200rpm in top overdrive and do 120mph, which was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. The GT, meanwhile, went nowhere.

The GT eventually got sold in bits to some poor sod, the roadster went in 1995 to fund the purchase of a wedding ring and the sun seemed to have set on the 60’s.

Time marched on. I bought and sold houses but there was never room for a proper shed. Work, and then 3 children, meant that boy’s toys were a low priority.

But eventually nearly 12 years of home renovations had drawn to a close. This meant that there were finally funds and space to build myself a proper shed. At 6 by 5m it’s not quite big enough but it houses all my extensive collection of tools and has a lathe, welders and a mill to play with. I had always dreamed of being able to use air tools and so I have installed a compressor with a 20m hose reel mounted right in the centre of the ceiling.

And so 16 years after the B roadster was sold I was ready for another car. What I wanted was a faded beauty; something old and worn perhaps but original, that I could make beautiful again.

For a while I toyed with the idea of a pre War MG, a PA or PB. These I eventually rejected as too scarce and too hard to get parts for, as well as being horrible to drive. A Swallow bodied Wolesley Hornet appeared, but it was an unrestored rolling chassis with  the beautiful one piece aluminum boat tail monocoque body in very poor repair.  A Big Healey or an MGA would have been nice but 6 months of watching the local market failed to find me a car that really fired my interest. I found an XK 120 but it was totally disassembled which made it very unapealling.  I even toyed with the idea of a Jensen Interceptor; my brother in law has a Mk3.

Fortunately, I had a discussion with one of my work colleagues, Rob, who has a really nice series 1 E Type. He mentioned that he knew of a series 1.5 restoration candidate that might be for sale. Even though I’d always loved the look of the E Type I’d dismissed them as too expensive.

The more I thought about it though the more sense it made. Any car restoration takes a great deal of time, and also money. The cost of full restoration of a car body shell is fairly similar whether you start with a Morris Minor or an E Type. The thing about the E Type is that you stand some sort of chance at getting your money back at the end.

So to cut a long story short I went and looked at the car, it ticked all the right boxes, and I bought it.