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About the car, its web site, and the caretaker/companion.
The life blood of this web site circulates around the experiences and adventures of the MGA with an attitude, beginning in 1968 and continuing to the present (and maybe forever more). The early life of this particular car (the first meager 150,000 miles) is mostly obscure, but the rest is fairly well documented here. You can learn about "The Evolution and Reincarnation of Attitude" by reading Historic Tales.
By the mid 1990's e-mail capability on the internet was allowing for shared experiences among MG enthusiasts around the world. Occasionally a few pictures might be exchanged privately by way of attachment to an e-mail message. On the british-cars and mgs e-mail lists many of the messages ended with signature lines proclaiming certain special features of the correspondent's car, such as Aconite paint, chrome wire wheels, Minilite mags, lowered suspension, performance exhaust, full race engine, concours winner, supercharged, or even V8 conversion. Several messages contained stories of this MGA having a number of decisive autocross victories over some very serious competitors. One correspondent finally asked what was special about this car. Being a basically stock MGA 1500 at the time, the reply was, "The only thing special this car has is attitude". That seemed to stick, and even though the car has never had a proper name, it immediately became known as "the MGA with an attitude".
To this day the MGA with an attitude remains fairly close to original configuration and represents how much fun a person can have with a common MG without spending too much money. The bit about "attitude" goes much farther than just being competitive. It is also a never say die attitude that always gets it home under its own power, and makes it reliable enough to drive anywhere at anytime. It is also a friendly and helpful attitude that allows it to lend assistance and occasionally rescue another car in distress on the road. Perhaps the ultimate gesture of that friendly and helpful attitude is the construction and maintenance of this web site in the interest of helping anyone to own and maintain their own MG.
This car (and driver) were eventually "challenged" into taking a trip to Alaska in summer of 1997. When the e-mail friends wanted to see and hear about this trip, a web site was started specifically for posting the stories and photos from the Alaska trip. So the driver and caretaker of the MGA with an attitude also became the creator and caretaker of this web site. Technical difficulties immediately pushed it away from AOL (thank goodness), and it came to be piggybacked on the server of a local internet service provider at <www.ntsource.com/~barneymg>. That was soon followed by posting of a few specialty tech items from unique experience, such as the MGA trailer hitch, the MG B-series three main bearing crankshaft rubber rear seal, and a photo tour and instructions for installation of the MGA convertible top.
When certain tech questions were being asked more than once on the e-mail lists, it became convenient to post some of the answers on the web site, sort of an FAQ list. More tech questions led to more web postings, until it finally evolved into hundreds of web pages for technical information about the MGA (and to some extent MGs in general). A single picture of MGA EX186 on the home page spawned more questions, leading to the posting of more pictures and information on that car. As the web site accrued a certain critical mass it began attracting more visitors, and many of those visitors had more questions, and could sometimes offer more information to add to the knowledge base. Occasionally the caretaker may be cajoled into doing a little research to fill in a few holes in the facts to provide more complete information. Eventually there was a new tech section for information on Faulty Replacement Parts, and what we can do for cures.
In early 2000 the caretaker was "encouraged" (to put it nicely) into becoming webmaster for Chicagoland MG Club (still to this day) and then also newsletter editor (for more than five years). While reviewing and updating links to other MG clubs, the project got a bit carried away and resulted in a web listing of every known MG and all British car club in North America (see links on the CMGC web site). CMGC is a large local/regional MG club with over 300 members and is very active in all things related to MG. In recent years they have been holding lots of MG tech sessions, averaging more than one per month, and sometimes involving the MGA with an attitude. As a result, there are by now many picture pages from these MG tech sessions posted on the CMGC web site, some of them (MGA relevant) cross referenced with links from this web site.
In early 2002 the caretaker was "induced" (temporary insanity maybe) to also take over regular care of the MG Site Ring to fix some broken links and to keep that in constant good working order (now linking 240 member web sites). This eventually let to an extensive web search and a listing on this site of every known MGA specific web page in the world, a list of every known MGA club and British car club with MGA registers or sub-chapters, lists of vendors of MGA parts and services, and other MGA interest information around the world.
From Dec 2007 to Jul 2008 the MGA with an attitude underwent a slight Attitude Adjustment by having the body sills rebuilt and getting its sixth paint job, second repaint with the body off. This led to an entire new secton on site about body restoration with hundreds of pictures and details on how to do it.
In addition to tech questions, curiosity has caused some people to ask how this car and this web site came to be. Repeated questions of this nature finally resulted in the posting of this page and a number of short stories under "Historic Tales". There is also a short "Off Topic" tech section on building your own MG web site. For the most part this web site grows when people ask questions, so its existence and scope is largely attributable to the visitors and MG enthusiasts around the world. Think of this as your MGA web site. You too may help it grow through your questions and contributions.
Best wishes from the MGA with an attitude. Feel free to say "Hi" to the driver occasionally too.