The Way We Were – our TD love story

(Mike & Fran Johnson) MGCC-Cape Town Centre

From childhood Dinky toy days, it was my desire to own an MG. Although there were many other makes, the name MG seemed to be the car synonymous with the term ‘sports car’. In December 1963 at the end of my first year as a poorly paid apprentice, I managed to have saved some money and assisted by my mother with a reluctant loan, I bought my red TD for R320 (then about PDS160). A joyous moment and that first drive home from in a howling south east gale is today clearly embedded in my memory.

The price of the car soon faded but the loan share had to be repaid and in the coming months there were times when I could not afford petrol, which was as I recall, about R3.60 (PDS1.8) to fill the tank. Nevertheless, I was driving my dream and enjoying every moment behind the wheel or under the bonnet. It was particularly sporty driving with the windscreen down and too poor for the luxury of aero-screens which perhaps explains my hairless crown today.

Lunch time on Cape Town’s own Daytona Beach – 1964

Bloubergstrand Cape Town – 1974

At the time of buying the MG, a sweet 12 year old girl named Frances, lived across the road from me. Some 5 years later she started taking a rather keen interest in both the MG and its owner. Thus, began the ‘romantic period’ and the TD, now sprayed racing green became known as ‘Cosy’ for obvious reasons! On 6th February 1971, 50% ownership of my TD was unwittingly relinquished to the ‘girl across the road’ at our wedding ceremony. Later that evening our ‘Cosy’ took us for a short honeymoon to Stellenbosch.

As time moved on, the TD saw only occasional use due to my marine career, purchase of our home and a growing family naturally took precedence. Dear old ‘Cosy’ showed her displeasure at this neglect and eventually refused to budge from the garage due to major defects. Sadly, this is where she then reclined for the next 33 years, but thankfully was not sold, as so often happens.

Eventually restoration began in earnest in 2007/8. After so many idle years and living near the salty air seaside the car was indeed in a sorry state. Those who have tackled a complete restoration know the frustration and disappointment experienced during the course of the project. However, perseverance pays and the end result is an incredible sense of job satisfaction, achievement and pride.

Having owned our now Clipper blue TD for 55 years and after so many years off the road we are once again, at every opportunity, enjoying the soothing exhaust burble taking us back to our younger years.

Who says a ‘love triangle’ will not stand the test of time?

Above: The way we were – the 3 newly weds 1971. Below: The way we are now – still the 3 newly weds 2019.

One thought on “The Way We Were – our TD love story

  1. Jack Diehl says:

    A totally wonderful story about you, your TD and bride through so many years. Glad all three of you are still together! Would love to read more details about your travels in the TD and the restoration.
    Kindest regards,
    Past TD owner, Presently, TF

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