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British sports cars bought new

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British sports cars bought new

 
Old 02-01-2004, 06:30 AM
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Default British sports cars bought new

I have always wondered what it was like to own a british car right out of the box. I have owned a few M.G.'s and I'm familiar with Lucas electronics etc. and not leaving for a ride without tools! Has anyone here bought a M.G., Triumph or Jaguar new and if you did what were your experiences with them? I'm figuring they were probably pretty reliable for the first couple of years from new and then they started to become maintenance intensive. It would also be great to hear from anyone here who worked at a british leyland shop when these cars were new and what that experience was like.
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Old 02-01-2004, 06:45 AM
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My 1972 MGB was reasonably reliable for the first few years and not too bad after that until it was vandalized.

My 1976 Triumph TR-6 was a disaster within months of purchase.

My 1979 Fiat X-1/9 was the worst car I've ever owned.

My 1952 MG-TD was 25 years old when I bought it and needed to be restored. I rewired it and enjoyed it for a few years.

My 1988 Jeep Wrangler was fun but junk.

My 2002 Honda S2000 has yet to have a problem (but its not my daily driver).

All of the Accords, my 4Runner and Acura have been very relialble.
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:27 AM
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1963 Spitfire MkI. Red (naturally) with black seats with white piping. Purchased new July 25, 1963 in Paris, France (saved 18%). The Spitfire, introduced in October 1962, was considered a high-value basic sports car of enormous charm. The British built car was styled by Italian Michelotti. It continued in production for 18 years, outselling the rival Austin Healy Sprite and MG Midget combined! But in 1963 there were only 6,224 sold in US, so when I returned to the states with car in September it was still very, very rare. It was the first one the local British dealership had seen! I don't recall ever having any mechanical problems. The heater wasn't up to the northern winter's and ice would form on the inside of the windshield, especially on the turnpikes.
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by robb
I have always wondered what it was like to own a british car right out of the box. I have owned a few M.G.'s and I'm familiar with Lucas electronics etc. and not leaving for a ride without tools! Has anyone here bought a M.G., Triumph or Jaguar new and if you did what were your experiences with them? I'm figuring they were probably pretty reliable for the first couple of years from new and then they started to become maintenance intensive. It would also be great to hear from anyone here who worked at a british leyland shop when these cars were new and what that experience was like.
I bought two E-types new, one in 1968 the other two years later.

I loved the car but it was totally unreliable. Everytime I went on an extended trip I carried spare parts and was always nervous about a break down, which happened with greater frequency that I'd like to remember. I learned everything I know about auto repair from having the Jag, because it needed constant attention. The engine was indestructable, but the electrics (Lucas) and carbs (Strombergs and SUs) a disaster. Getting parts was an impossibility.

Admittedly, auto reliability has improved dramatically since then, but British cars are still relatively poorly made. The Brits can't hold a candle to the Japanese.

By contrast, the S2000 is a dream.
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:05 PM
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I never bought one new. I never had that kind of money as a kid. In any event, most of the 60s cars were superior to the 70s versions. My 65 3000 will be like new if it ever gets finished.
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:34 PM
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altho i certainly didn't buy my old super seven new,it did require a total rebuild.[down to the bare spaceframe]...with lots of $$$$ going to dave bean for new or NOS bits and careful [and total ,i might add] reassembly i have to say it was dead reliable....drove it to work, scoots in the hills, vintage races...just watched the oil and added leaded race gas[locally available]...it never leaked,shorted,died, froze or fried anything...i have to go thru the same drill with my sII lotus elite and expect the same results....while it's hard for me to talk about the factory build quality, i think poor or misguided maintainance was as much [or more] to blame......i would have to say the same about certain limited production italian cars as well....

let's see..cars i've actually bought new..

'68 vw squareback....never a problem
'74 914 2.0....same as above
'75 rabbit..nothing but problems...really junk!
'8? civic wagon...no probs..
'88 crx... same
'91 accord ..as above
'00 s2000...clutch buzz..fixed under tsb..otherwise flawless..
'02 a6 avant quattro...only new german car since rabbit...so far,so good....

i don't expect to buy a new car soon but i do have my eye on a kougar-jag [circa 68ish....we'll see...
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:15 AM
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Originally posted by dbw
....while it's hard for me to talk about the factory build quality, i think poor or misguided maintainance was as much [or more] to blame......
I agree entirely that early British sportscars are too often blamed for problems not of their own making. While it's true the original factory build quality often did not have the close tolerances enjoyed by American cars of that day, the secret lay in topping up the fluids and proper routine maintenance. That was something most American's were not used to doing or if they were, certainly not that often.

The SU carbs for examle were a fantastic simple design that once tuned properly NEVER needed adjusting, yet because they were right there, easy to reach, and oh, so tempting they more often than not were the first thing to grab when in fact they should have been the very last thing to grab. Early on when I started doing my own maintenance I had the good luck to get a lot of solid advice from an outstanding mechanic who once had his own Sprite shop, raced MGAs in Montana, and was then just a car club guy who helped a rookie along. Other than oil the linkage, I think I probably went 15 years without screwing with them, and only then when the needles were showing wear.
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:24 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by dlq04
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:18 AM
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"held with a clothespin."


the state rests it's case......[unless the factory included a clothespin in the tool kit for just such an occasion]
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:37 AM
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Rob, I think the Japanese manufacturer's in the early 70's made their greatest advancements in quality in the "auto electrical" area. No doubt, Mr Lucus played a role in that by leaving them no where to go but up. When properly soldered the Lucas bullet connectors worked as good as anything but too often they were poorly insulated from the elements, poorly designed in their location (ie, in areas were mud might be trapped), etc. Clearly many of their electrical components were not over engineered (lacking a fuse in critical spot) and were lacking in quality. BTW, plastic ties work better than clothespins.
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