Aug 26, 201311:03 AMLitchfield

MG Madness

Aug 26, 2013 - 11:03 AM

Buy an old car, they said. It will be fun, they said.

When Jeff Sienkiewicz’s friends told him that, surely there was a fair bit of sniggering and mirth, knowing the quagmire that is so frequently associated with buying any car that is eligible for antique plates.

The horror stories abound. Best case is a shop visit worth several thousand dollars; worst case is the realization that a particular part is no longer available. Though the bill of sale that Jeff showed the purchase of a 1959 MGA, it probably should have included the future hours – many – of effort and care antique cars need.

The realities of old car ownership did not escape Jeff when he first started his search in 2006 for a car that would help him take back the time that so frequently flies by too fast. He ended up with a perfectly sensible and wonderfully reliable Honda S2000, a small two-seat convertible sports car made in the early 2000s. Defined by its high revving engine and kinown build quality, the S2000 is certainly a future classic – and a fabulous car to drive.

His sports car passion now alight, Jeff got involved with some of the car clubs the northeast had to offer, particularly the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA). Driving and racing clubs absolutely depend on a contingent of volunteers to staff various positions during their race weekends, be it on the grid , in the paddock or even, with a little bit of training, out “on corner,” flagging. That’s where Jeff ended up, manning the flags under the pedestrian bridge in Turn One at Lime Rock Park.

Jeff wasn’t long into his first session of flagging when he realized, “To hell with this corner stuff, I want to be out there!”

Well, to be out there racing with the VSCCA, it meant he needed a vintage car. A late model Honda doesn’t fit the bill, obviously. After consulting with VSCCA members, Jeff decided he wanted an MGA, for as many practical reasons as possible, (considering he was buying a car made in 1959). Chiefly, the MGA he was coveting had been owned by a member of the VSCCA, had been fastidiously maintained and there are plenty of MG parts out there in the vintage racing world.

Then came what can be the most difficult part of race car ownership... convincing the spouse. “I told my wife I’d like to buy it. She said, in no uncertain terms, ‘people with mortgages can’t afford race cars.’”

But Jeff persevered, somehow convinced the wife, and in 2012, took part in his first Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park. He looks forward to returning this year -- so keep your eyes open for the #645 black 1959 MGA!

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