Octagon Newsletter … November 2002
By Wayne Watkins
Victoria MG Club members' MGs and other British cars - they are the source of many stories and a lot of history. Some members have had many MGs and other British cars and some have had only a handful. This month we look at the cars and perseverance of Nick Stepushyn.
Nick's first British car was a 1980 Triumph TR7 roadster. When he got it, the two SU carbs were held on with chicken wire! Strangely enough it ran really well, but seemed to use a lot of gas. He sold the TR7 and found a 1964 MGB roadster. With bodywork and paint done he decided to move on and look for another project.
Nick was strolling by a used car lot and spotted a forlorn looking MGA in the very back row. He made a deal and dragged the 'A' home. He discovered that the previous owner had somehow done an "in car - engine rebuild". That means the engine stayed in the car while the head came off (that's not so bad) and the pistons came out for new rings and the cylinders were honed out (that's weird). While it wasn't the greatest engine in that condition, Nick nursed it along for a year and a half while still in school. He then installed an 1800 c.c. MGB engine.
Nick recalls he actually installed it a number of times because the crankshaft kept seizing. The mystery was solved when it was discovered that a bearing cap kept moving. He did all the mechanical work himself except for the machining and is now very happy with the strong and well sorted out 'B' engine. He then had to tackle the bodywork. He stripped the paint off which was a chore in itself - it had about a 1/16 inch thickness of white house paint!
With the paint gone and some basic bodywork completed it was off to the paint shop for the light blue paint job it received over two years ago.
Along the way Nick also acquired a 1967 MGB GT which he realized was not a keeper when he wound the jack up through the floor! Sadly it was too far gone to do much with. However, all was not lost. Dave Ryzuk now has the engine in his MGB and Rich Powell has the transmission and other bits at the ready for his MGB GT. It is true that MG owners are the ultimate recyclers.
In the meantime Nick continues to drive his MGA everywhere, as it is his only car. He is currently looking for garage space in James Bay so he can do some more work on it and keep it out of the weather. It seems his parents' generosity regarding the use of their garage for Nick's cars (and pools of oil, spare parts and greasy things) has diminished somewhat.
Nick admits that the top is up on the MGA sometimes, but that is usually for weather protection when the car is parked. He totally does not like driving the 'A' with the top up, mainly because of his height. It is hard to drive and crunch at the same time. Nick is very happy with his MGA and likes working on it but would like it better in a garage somewhere in James Bay. Garage or no garage, Nick admits the hardest maintenance for him to do is under the dash wiring. At six feet plus many inches, that is understandable. Everything else, however is tackled with the true MG spirit.
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