Life on the road: crossing Europe in MG
Imagine yourself in a convertible sports car, winding along a road bordered on one side by steep hills and luxurious villas, and on the other with a sparkling azure ocean.
Imagine yourself driving down spectacular passes in the Swiss Alps, against the backdrop of rugged, snow-capped mountains. Or drive through quaint Italian towns, their terracotta roofs amidst green hills.
For most of us this is the stuff of dreams, but for a Bradford couple such trips have been part of their lives for many years. And they’re all made in a car they have a passion for – the MG.
David and Carol Copeman are members of the MG Car Club Yorkshire Center, with whom they have traveled several times across Europe.
An international club founded in 1930 for owners and enthusiasts alike, it hosts events for its members, including tours in the UK and overseas.
David and Carol’s first trip abroad with the club took place in 2002, in Ghent, Belgium. “There were about fifteen cars from the 1950s to new. We were greeted by some of the Belgian club members, who escorted us in a convoy to our hotel at the roundabouts where the traffic stopped for us. Every year a different country organizes events for us. We really enjoyed it and got the virus.
Each year they have visited Scotland with the club, meeting with members of MG’s Caledonian Center in Stirling.
The Midget suited them. “It’s a great car. If you go over 100 km / h, you can’t talk to each other because of the noise, ”laughs David, a former building contract manager.
In 2002, the couple bought an MGRV8, one of 2,000 examples built, and only the second such model to enter Yorkshire.
The car, made of green wood, had been shipped from Japan, where they are popular. “It’s a great passenger car. It has a 4-liter V8 engine and a plush interior.
Since then they have been on numerous tours, including a trip to Switzerland and Italy, via the beautiful Stelvio Pass. “The views are incredible,” says David.
While on a trip, their car was driven on a train. “Our cars were like in a Poirot movie – each had its own attendant.”
They traveled from the Netherlands to Livorno near Pisa, then traveled to Rimini, meeting MG owners from countries across Europe. “There were 124 cars – we had a police escort and they stopped the traffic lights as we passed. The oldest car, a 1934 MG, was at the front, with the newer ones at the rear. The Italians loved it – people lined the roads to see us. Schoolchildren came to greet us.
They also enjoyed trips through Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Portugal, and traveled across the continent on their own, admiring sites such as the spectacular French Riviera.
Closer to home, David drove his granddaughter Alice to her high school prom in the sports car. “I also used to pick her up from school at – she loves it,” he said.
David, who grew up in the Haworth Road area, was around 11 when he first traveled by car. “It was a little Austin A30 that belonged to a neighbor – my dad wasn’t driving. We were going to picnic at Baildon Moor and Shipley Glen, ”he says. “It seemed like a long way.”
He bought his first car, a 21-year-old Hillman Husky from 1956, a year after his marriage. “I paid him £ 11 which was a lot in 1969.
“I had motorcycles and I already knew how to drive. I passed my exam at 18. I was an apprentice bricklayer at the time and the man I worked for told me I could use his van. I would pick up the men for the job.
His interest in classic cars was nurtured by a former boss, Stuart, who owned seven of them, including MGs. He asked her to accompany him on “scattered rallies”, which provide a list of coordinates that drivers must bypass. “I was useless the first time,” he laughs, “But I liked it. ”
It was in 1999 that David and Carol bought their first MG, a red Midget. “They were affordable and the parts were readily available. Stuart took a look at it and said it was worth buying.
They immediately joined the Yorkshire branch of the MG Car Club and never looked back.
“We went to meetings at the Richardson Arms in Oakenshaw, where we met other owners. The club was so welcoming – we hit it off with everyone and it’s been that way ever since, ”says David,“ no matter how old or the condition of your car, or your background – everyone is really friendly and helpful. . ”
The club offers many benefits to members, notably through its support network of owners with extensive knowledge of MG.
Over the years David and Carol have driven thousands of miles and only broke down twice, once when the battery was not charging and the second more serious issue in Switzerland involved a four day wait. for a water pump from England.
A planned automobile club trip to Germany has been canceled due to the pandemic, but races were held this summer in the UK.
The couple also take advantage of their last form of transport, a motorhome. “We bought it last October and took a few trips – we just went to Filey.”
* The MG Car Club W: mgcc.co.uk E: [email protected]