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April 2010

Finally it arrived. Judgement day. This was the moment I had been dreading. Since the registration on this
car had lapsed it needed to be re-registered to be on the road. This can be a painful process. Basically the
car needs to go off to have an inspection. This inspection is much stricter than the 6 month or yearly WOF
(Warrent Of Fitness) all cars in NZ must go through. Now I had done everything to the rules as much as I
could. The unfortunate thing is the rules are somewhat open to interpretation! It comes down to the person
inspecting the car since they are the ones who sign it off. If they don't like something you're stuffed until
you satisfy them. I even rang the LTSA to ask about this and they even said it comes down to the person doing
the inspection. So taking your car to the right place is very important. I took mine to Tauranga, about a 3 hour
drive, to Neville Lucas who restores MGs and who I got a lot of my parts from after Garth Bagnall retired. Neville
was a great help and arranged not only for my car to be registered but also for my soft top to be fitted.
I borrowed a trailer from an MG car club member and my mate Grant helped me tow the car down behind his
Commodore. We dropped the car off at the top fitter and came home. Then I had to wait.

Now the inspection process can get even trickier. The people doing the registration can insist that the car
gets inspected by an actual car certifier. I think the registration people just check everything matches the
rules but a certifier actually checks everything is done right. If the certifier isn't happy with something,
say a weld isn't done right or they want underseal removed, then the car can't be certified until they
say so. And you can't just take the car to someone else since by this stage the car is in the system. Now
I had made sure I had done everything right. I didn't take shortcuts and wasn't trying to get some death trap
on the road. The certifier actually rang me and we had a nice chat and I honestly told him what I had done.
He was quite happy so that was fine. A few minor things needed to be fixed. One seatbelt fitting was a bit loose
and my number plate lights showed too much white light to the rear. Neville fixed both of these for me.

The car was passed!

So a week or so later Grant and I went back to collect the car. We bought her home, stopping on the way so I
could take the form saying she was legal to the testing station to pay my licensing fee and get new plates. I
couldn't drive her legally till those were fitted. As soon as I had the new plates I applied for my
personalised plates to be made. I had bought these years before but couldn't get them made till I had
original plates to send in to replace.

The plates read "Vic 20". This is for two reasons. The VIC 20 was
my first computer and being in computers is probably what means I can afford to restore cars now. The second
reason is more tricky. This car is actually named Vicky 2. My very first car, a red 1970 MGB-GT, was called Vicky in
honour of a dear friend and my ex virtual web mistress Victoria Waghorn. She is now a famous film maker and I
am only putting her name here to see if it shows up in Google searches! Now Victoria is an odd bird. She HATES
being called Vicky. Partly in a way to get back at her for our on again/off again friendship I told her I was
naming my car after her - but that I was calling it Vicky. I don't know if she felt she should be flattered or
annoyed. Secretly I think she likes it. When the new car came along I was too lazy to think of a new name so
she became Vicky 2.0 in computer geek speak.

The car was finally driveable which was great! It's hard to describe how it felt to be able to drive acar you've worked
on for so long. It's very exciting. There were a few problems though. One, she tended to overheat. I eventually
tracked this down to the fact I had put the thermostat in upside down! That was easily fixed. The other problem was
she stopped starting. I quickly traced the problem down to the new solenoid I had bought. One of the wires in it had
broken where it was spot welded to the body. I soldered this back on and everything was fine again.

I added a few useful accessories too. First a clock. This is mounted under the dash to the left of the centre console. I
used an aluminium plate and covered it in black textured plastic of the front of a file folder. The same as I used on
the small switch panel under the right hand side of the dash. The other was an in car navigation system!

The other thing I added was a pair of new, period Cibie driving lights that I got off TradeMe for a ridiculously cheap
price. These really add to the rally look. I wired them in to work off the high beams as per legal requirements.

The other thing I added was a high stop light. My car, being first registered in NZ after Jan 1st 1990 (it was a US import)
had to have a high stop light fitted. I took a Lucas number plate light and painted the glass red and mounted this
to the boot lid. This is an excellent, not so high, stop light and it works really well. I drive everwhere with my lights
on in the MG for visibility reasons so it is good to have the high stop only comes on when you hit the brakes so the
person in the huge SUV following to close behind you hopefully notices the third light come on.

And the finished car much as she is today! The car is much loved, by me and by those who see her. I get comments everytime
I am out in her from all manner of people. Kids point and wave, people stop to talk to me and dogs chase after me. I am
very pleased with how she came out! I don't drive every day but when I do drive her I tend to go well out of my way. This
is because firstly short trips are bad for cars since nothing gets to temperature and secondly since she is just so much damn
fun to drive! I can't drive past Mt Eden (an extinct volcano) without driving UP Mt Eden. It's become a habit now.
That photo though is up the top of Mt Albert!

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