MOUNT UNIACKE — Margaret Bond wanted to surprise her husband on his 50th birthday with something he'd love.
So, she set out to buy him the car of his dreams.
“My dream has always been to have an MGB and I expressed this to my wife many, many years ago shortly after we got married because when I was a teenager, many of my friends had MGBs and Spitfires and Midgets and I couldn't, unfortunately, ever afford one,” said Mark Bond, while sitting in his red 1972 MGB Roadster parked on the lawn overlooking a crystal clear lake in Mount Uniacke.
“So my wife, unbeknownst to me, went behind my back and contacted a very good friend in New Brunswick who is also a British car buff, and he was able to find this B for her in New Brunswick. It had come from Alberta, apparently,” he said.
The vehicle is a two-door, four-cylinder, soft-top roadster that is characterized by chrome bumpers. Mark, who likes the look of the chrome bumpers, said later models (1974 onwards) were changed to have rubber bumpers in order to adhere to regulations required to meet North American safety standards.
Another unique feature is three windshield wipers instead of the traditional two. It’s somethng that was first added to MGB roadsters in 1969 that Mark says is endearing.
“You don’t see (three wipers) on many cars. It’s kind of individual and rather cute,” he said.
While the vehicle can technically accommodate three people, it’s not worth it, Mark said.
“You can put a third in the back but it’s very, very uncomfortable and not advised.”
Buying the car
Mark was out of town when his wife made the big purchase and the vehicle was still in New Brunswick when he returned home.
“My daughter and I got the paperwork and we got a key made up, just a normal key, and when Mark got back from England, we sat him down and we gave him this special little envelope and we said 'Something for your birthday,'” recalled Margaret. “He went to open it up and he saw the key. He didn't get it at first, of course, and then we had a picture of the car in it and we said, ‘Well, this is for you.’ He just lost it. He was so excited.”
They drove to Fredericton to pick up the vintage British vehicle and quickly discovered Mark would need to become a Mr. Fix-It.
“We drove it back in the pouring rain. Four and a half, five hours in the rain on the highway behind those big trucks in one of these things is not fun,” he said.
“That's when we discovered there were leaks coming in around the top and stuff and Mark had a little bit more work to do than what he planned,” said Margaret. “But it doesn't matter. By doing the work, he made it his and that was really kind of special as well too.”
And the car was instrumental in the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. Mark Bond planned a scavenger hunt and he drove while Margaret figured out the clues. Her eyes sparkled as she reminisced about that special milestone.
“Mark had gone beforehand and had everybody lined up on this plan but the B took us there, took us to every one of these places and it was absolutely sweet,” said Margaret, as her husband interjected: “Didn't we end up in Subway and broke down?”
The pair laugh at the memory.
“Yes! We did. At the very end of the trip the car broke down and Mark had to figure out how to get it going again,” she said. “But it was the sweetest thing to be able to have the vehicle to do that for the 25th wedding anniversary as well. It's been a very special car for a number of years.”
The couple just celebrated 35 years.
Margaret owns a 1979 classic Mini, royal blue in colour that features a Union Jack on the top. When she's not riding shotgun with Mark, she's driving the sporty little number. The pair frequently showcase their vehicles at the annual British Motoring Festival. Mark has taken the roadster to various car shows over the years, including one in Maine a few years ago, the memory of which still brings a smile to his face.
“I had the roof down all the way there and all the way back. It was just spectacular. Great little car for all these windy back roads, especially around here in Hants County,” he said.
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