NZ Classic Driver
GARTH BAGNALL’S 1966 MGBGT
Having given up motorcycle racing in the mid-1960s and in search of a new hobby, Garth bought a 1932 MG J2 that was sitting on the side of the road in Otara. An F-Type MG was included as part of the deal. The J2 was eventually restored, with an almost completely new body.
Garth joined the MG Car Club in 1968 and subsequently entered both club and local events such as gymkhanas, trials and the Riverhead Forest Rally.
Along with his partner, Gill, Garth used the J2 as an everyday car for several years, eventually covering 85,000 miles in the car during their ownership of it.
In 1974 he fitted a supercharger to the J2 which didn’t do any favours for the car’s economy, but Garth enjoyed the additional power.
The F-Type that had been part of the J2 sale was eventually collected from Feilding in 1970 – 12 months later Garth picked up another F-Type from a swamp north of Dargaville.
Since those early days, Garth has owned three ZA Magnettes, two 1931 F-Types, a J1, 1928 M-Type, a 1934 PA, 1970 MGB roadster, and an MGA 1500. Away from MG, Garth also restored a 1934 Buick Club sedan, although he sold it three months after completing the car as it was too hungry for petrol.
In 1976 he purchased the 1966 MGBGT featured here. At the same time, Garth became self-employed, fixing vintage cars and servicing MGs from his home. This proved to be a successful venture and by the mid-1980s he was so busy that he opened his own workshop in Stock Street, New Lynn.
Through his business, Garth’s involvement with the MG Car Club increased, organising the very first Intermarque Concours at The Sunken Gardens in Cornwall Park.
During that same period, he would compete in autocross meets at Worral’s Farm, racing at Bay Park Raceway, Pukekohe, Manfeild Raceway and Taupō, and VCC hillclimbs – often in his MGBGT.
Garth still enjoys driving his GT, it fills all his motoring needs and is economical to run and insure.