Usually I don't wait until December 8 to put my 1975 MGB convertible into storage for the winter. Typically, I'm thinking ahead and put it away well before the snow starts falling.
But this year, the days got away from me, and every time I planned on driving it over to the storage facility at Mofoco, something got in the way.
Yesterday, however, I knew it was now or never. I needed to clear the room in our own two-car garage, and the idea of driving a 33-year-old, rear-wheel drive sports car through salt and snow was just plain scary. Yes, the car has a top that can be put up, but an already challenging maneuver of stretching and snapping becomes nearly impossible when it's cold -- the brittle vinyl loses all elasticity.
So after lunch, but before the snow really started to fall, I began the annual tradition of driving the "B" to its winter resting place -- bundled up and with the top down. I was a little surly, and the car wasn't happy, either. Between the 20W-50 oil that's not designed for this season, the weak battery from being not driven for a few months, and the snow already sitting in my alley, I was facing an uphill battle.
Of course I got stuck in my Bay View alley, but I gunned the little engine and spun onto the street. I kept the choke open most of the way, since the dual carbs are tuned for summer temperatures, not ones in the 20s. I nodded and smiled as onlookers on I-43 North pointed and laughed and scratched their heads.
But my trusty, slightly rusty little car made it all the way to Capitol Drive, where it will sit until mid March. This gem of British engineering, which is as manual as they come -- no computers, fuel injection or power steering here -- was up for the challenge and so was I.
Summer may be officially over, but as cold as I was with the top down yesterday, my little sports car made me smile. Again. And as it does when the weather is 50 degrees warmer.
See you in the spring, old friend.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.