MGS, PORSCHES AND JFK

Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

Your Au­gust 2018 is­sue with its Porsche 1955 356A story and MG 1100 fea­ture was like a hill­climb to mem­ory lane for me. New­car sto­ries are ne, too, but it’s im­pos­si­ble to for­get road test­ing an 1100 MG in 1963 as a young re­porter for a news­pa­per in the USA. It drove nicely com­pared with the Volk­swa­gen Beetle 1200 of that vin­tage but the dealer ve­hi­cle had no ra­dio in­stalled.

At 13h45, as I re­turned it to the dealer, I found the en­tire staff hud­dled round a ra­dio in the work­shop. It was 22 Novem­ber 1963 and pres­i­dent John F Kennedy had just been as­sas­si­nated in Dal­las, Texas. Five min­utes later, I was back in the news­room help­ing tell the lo­cal re­ac­tion to an event that changed Amer­i­can his­tory.

Six months later, I sold my VW Beetle con­vert­ible to buy a 1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Su­per, ex­actly like the one you fea­tured, ex­cept it was bur­gundy red. It had the same or­ange Fram oil lter and blue coil in the en­gine com­part­ment. As good as they were, for road trips, you had to carry a full tool box, spare plugs and points, duct tape, bail­ing wire and var­i­ous clamps, just in case.

It failed me only once when its wind­screen-wiper mo­tor quit in a driv­ing rain­storm. Luck­ily, I could reach un­der the dash­board and op­er­ate the wiper mech­a­nism man­u­ally. I drove maybe 150 km that way, too young and dumb to just pull over and wait for the rain to end. KEN­NETH TIVEN Cape Town

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