Jim Lieby has always had an affinity for British sports cars. The former middle school shop teacher has worked on an MGA, a Jaguar XKE and an Austin-Healey.
Nowadays, he can be found in his Shipley’s Choice garage putting the finishing touches on his 1969 MG MGB convertible, an endeavor he began nearly 20 years ago.
“The goal was to rebuild this for my daughter, who at the time was 15, and I said, ‘I'll have it for you when you graduate from high school.’”
The MGB uses a unitary structure design, which enabled Lieby to take the entire thing apart piece by piece. A fabricator helped refine the various parts of the body and the structural elements, and then everything was put in primer.
Once he had it in this state, he really started putting it back together.
“I rebuilt the engine and transmission and always had it off to the side of the garage,” Lieby said. “Then I rebuilt everything on this car - steering, suspension, the rear end, brakes, wiring, new door skins - everything.”
Using decades-old manuals and documentation, he methodically went through the car inside and out, making sure everything was good to go.
“You have this diagram that shows this and that, but it’s a lot of trial and error, and you don’t know until you turn the key,” Lieby said.
Meanwhile, his daughter Alison, who graduated from Severna Park High School, now lives and works in New York City writing for Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“Every time I talk to her on the phone, I give her a quick review - ‘All right, Al, here we are. Gonna put black carpeting in it, black interior with red piping, is that all right?’ And when she comes home, she looks at it and checks it out,” explained Lieby.
Undoubtedly she isn’t the only one checking out the vibrantly-painted MGB now that it’s nearly complete.