Big Dog Garage Visit!
The big news for June was my visit to Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage in Burbank, CA. The Big Dog Garage has been our customer for awhile now since they are working on an MG TA. The car is a pre-war MG, and the consensus is that "it must have been in the war and driven thru it!", apparently it was in slightly worse shape than initially described.
The Big Dog Garage is truly an amazing place, as you can imagine. Everything is done "in-house", with a full time staff. I talked to several of the staff, all true car guys, all very down to earth folks. After going over the TA we just talked about cars and car restoration in general, an unbelievable day. I am shooting the breeze with Jay Leno's mechanics, for me, this is as good as it gets!
My wife and I got a tour of all the garages, again, what can I say, unbelievable. Not only are the cars outstanding, the automobilia collection on the walls is outstanding also. Jay also collects steam engines (really big stationary ones) and steam powered tractors, all in working order. They prefer that you not take photos in the garages, and I respect that, so you will have to watch Jay's videos for photos. I did take a few photos of the TA with their permission because we have a connection with it.
They are using an XPAG engine in the TA, not the original MPJG block. We have actually sent them 4 XPAG blocks, the first 3 were unusable for various reasons, fourth time is the charm! I have included a photo of the engine ready to go back in the car, amazing to see it there with the Abingdon Spares parts on the engine, thermostat housing, dynamator, etc., etc. They are slowly getting the TA back together, they admit they have been dragging their feet on this one. Can you blame them when they have Duesenbergs, Lamborginis, and McLarens to work on too!
Bernard and the rest of the staff could not have been more accommodating, answering our questions and showing us around the various buildings. For me this was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. I do not know Jay Leno, and I did not meet him there, he was off filming somewhere, but really, as corny as it sounds, "the cars are the stars" at the Big Dog Garage.
Talking about the TA with George and Bernard, it's not as bad as they say!
The MG TA on the lift, rear axles done, working on front brakes, looks like any other shop, just a lot bigger! A long way to go yet, I assume it will be stripped and repainted at some point.
Nothing fancy here, the engine ready to go back in the TA, it is actually sitting on a moving dolly, various accessories in boxes and buckets around it, just like your garage. And you were expecting an "operating room" type scenario? These are 'car people' working on cars is messy work sometimes