Sunday, September 5, 2010

Frank's Cars: #1--1969 MGC GT

Frank Barnard is the President of Almost Everything Autobody & Aene Automotive Corp. You may have already seen some of his cars on this blog (his 1964 Thunderbird has appear a few times during restoration & then at auto shows.) Frank has owned and driven some amazing cars. This is an occasional series that tracks his automotive history.

I had to get a job when I was 15 so I could buy my first car when I got my driver's license at 16. I was looking for an MGB, Triumph TR6 or maybe a VW Bus. I had never heard of an MGC and drove to San Francisco more out of curiosity than any thought of buying this car--it was too expensive. Driving with my father, we turned a corner and there she was, a mineral blue hard top with wire wheels. I knew it was the car I was going to buy from a block away. The owner admitted that a noise under the hood was the water pump going out. It had body damage from the hood flying open while driving. But it was a 3.0 liter straight 6 in a beautiful, lightweight Pininfarina body. And on my first test drive, in San Francisco, in the rain, the rear end broke loose. I applied opposite steering, the car tucked in gently and we all survived. I was smitten. The owner told me he'd named the car Catherine. My friends and I called her "Cathy." It's the only car I've ever had that had a name. She had so much torque and such a sweet transmission. I would shame my buddies BK (Bernhardt Karlgunter) Maier, in his Camaro, and Chris Holman, in his Mustang, by beating them up the long, steep hill on Ygnacio Valley Road between Walnut Creek and Concord, California. I owned that car for about 20 years--quite a few of those years she did not run. I miss her. And I still have the original "MG" key fob on my key ring today.

Disclaimer: Many of the photos in this series of posts are taken off the web. Sadly, we can't find many or in some cases any pictures of Frank's actual cars. So we've collected photos that look most like the cars he owned including, to the extent possible, correct colors & options. Thanks to the folks that posted these photos. If anyone objects to my use of them, please let us know and we will remove them.

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