In the beginning…
Hi, I am Eric and this is my first racecar - my 1968 MGB.
I was a late starter in motorsport. Some might describe it as a result of a mid-life crisis when I bought my first MGB sports car. Primrose yellow, with wire wheels and a beefy (possible) 80HP (60KW) engine.
I enjoyed, genteel, top-down cruising in the Hills and wine districts of my current home town of Adelaide, South Australia.
That was until someone at the car club suggested I drive her around a race track.... the next 14 years were then all about going fast and spending money making my little car go faster (and faster)! Some of the changes included a snazzy new paint colour and cool racing wheels. And a lot of engine and suspension work - they call that car development.
After all that time being the fastest 4 cylinder MGB on our local racetrack, I was encouraged to "step up" to a V8 race car - and I was introduced to a lovely (and mean) looking V8 MGB owned by my long time mechanic who was looking to take a step back from the track. I immediately dubbed her Black Beauty... because she was.
This is Black Beauty doing what she should be doing, out on the track, in the hands of her previous master. She already had a competition pedigree.
I couldn't help myself any longer and purchased her from my long-time mechanic after I blew up the engine in my 4 cylinder car.
Unfortunately Black Beauty, too, had just blown up her 3.5 litre V8 engine (it happens a lot in motorsport), so it would not be as simple as hopping in and driving her. There would be some work to be done.
MY Black Beauty…
It was around three years ago when Black Beauty became my "new" car... my new project. Yes, she needed some work, a new engine and some parts to make her the best she could be, but I had the enthusiasm and energy to make it happen - and at that time, I was able to afford some pretty nice "go fast" bits and pieces to bring her back into competition condition.
Soon the new race engine (a 4.6 litre, 200kw, Rover V8) was built and delivered and I, and my long suffering mechanic, worked the skin off our knuckles to bolt it all together and tidy up the Black Beauty and for testing.
Seriously, that last paragraph does not do justice to the effort involved, but we worked at it until we had a car that was ready dyno tuning on a rolling road and then her first real track test.
The Test Day:
As hair raising as it was (you are always afraid of breaking something on a first time out), the test day went well enough, but we went home a little early with some problems to fix - because that is what a test day is for and that is what new cars do.
This was Black Beauty at the track for her test day.
She is certainly a head turner both from her mean looks and the even meaner sound of the large V8 engine out front.
When I pulled back into the garage from the track she attracted quite a few onlookers and and even more compliments.
This was going to be a car to be proud of.
Suddenly my job and my budget ran out...
Unfortunately, we only managed that ONE day at the track and a few laps of testing when I got some very bad news.
After 16 years at the same company my job was made redundant (it is happening a lot these days).
No job means no pay packet... and no race car budget. So Black Beauty was wheeled into the shed in the hope that my circumstances would soon improve, the work to resolve the issue we uncovered in testing would be completed, and we would be back in business.
Little was I to know it would be years before I might be able to get back to work on my car.
Sadly, this is my Black Beauty today - 80% completed but gathering dust in a shed.
Apart from starting her every few weeks and even driving her backward and forward in the driveway, this is essentially how she was when I found I had run out of budget to work on her any more.
And this is how she is today.
Hopefully this is not where she will remain for much longer - check out my project page to see what I have planned!