Niccolò is a friend since long time and I know that he is a real petrolhead. In this article we will talk about him and his “English Girl”. Being both from Sesto Fiorentino (a city not so far from Florence), in this article we decided to pay tribute to our small town taking photos in Villa Stanley and around the hills of our city.
Let’s start from Villa Stanley, on the slopes of Mount Morello. This Villa features the typical architecture of the 1400s, with a doorway and courtyard fence. Beautiful, with its secular garden and a large lawn bordered by cypress trees that surround the villa on all sides.
Here comes Niccolò. This time, with his help, we want to introduce you to a historic British car, an MG BGT. It’s a car that certainly stands out and immediately attracts the attention of all of us with its cream-colored livery, also an Englishman who was passing by chance with his Abarth 500 Cabrio is captured by her, clearly surprised to find here in Sesto a car from his country.
And what a car! We are talking about a coupé 1800cc delivering 95 HP! Niccolò has also made some changes: the INOX exhaust, the double cams Kent Fast Road camshaft, the double-body 45 carburettor and the dedicated intake, together with an additional radiator for cooling the oil. I love this car and the way Niccolò takes care of it. While we are taking the first pictures, Niccolò told me how he discovered this MG.
Their first meeting was on the Internet, as well as it happens with modern love stories. The car is almost forty years old but the price requested was proportionate and Niccolò was ready to invest something for some renovations. The real first meeting happened near Saint Moritz, above the Lake of Como, in a rainy day of January after a 450 km journey from Sesto Fiorentino.
Looking at the results, it worth the effort! But why a car like that? The design of short-tail and long hood, characteristics of the coupés, was the aspect that made Niccolò falling in love with her. During the creation of the B GT this philosophy has been masterfully followed, creating a beautiful car with a timeless line. In the seventies, when it was on the market, in the UK was called “the Aston of those who could not afford an Aston”!
Surely for a design like that you also must consider to pay the price of sacrificing the rear seats. In the rear seats of the MG B GT even a 5 year old would have to complain!
Shot after shot we are glad about the views that this beautiful Villa can give us in this afternoon of September. We decided to start our tour into Sesto Fiorentino, so I seat as a passenger (for the first time in my life in a car with the right hand drive) next to Niccolò ready to begin our tour.
My friend tells me that after 100/150km he started to be comfortable with the right hand drive but the problems are during an overtake, when he have to go a lot on the other lane for taking a look if the overtaking is safe or not. Let’s talk for a moment of this city immediately next to Florence.
Sesto Fiorentino is at the foothills of the Monte Morello, the highest in the area of Florence that, for this, dominates the landscape. This city is mainly famous for its ceramic creations. In fact in 1735 the Marquis Carlo Ginori founded in Sesto Fiorentino the “Doccia Porcelain Manufactory”, one of the first porcelain factories of Europe that brought remarkable economic development in the city.
Even today the Richard Ginori‘s porcelain are famous all over the world, for refinement of the realization and care of the decorations. Another curiosity of Sesto Fiorentino is about the story “The Adventures of Pinocchio”. Mainly because of the family ties of the author Carlo Collodi in this city, it is said that the famous book is set in Sesto Fiorentino!
In fact many are the connections between the places described in the book and some areas of Sesto Fiorentino. Driving around some beautiful roads we are finally going up the hills above Sesto Fiorentino, the sun sets over the city and we take the opportunity to position this fantastic car in the middle of some olive groves for the final shots.
Niccolò tells me that his passion for the Octagon (the MG brand) is now ten years old, he loves the style of these exquisitely British Cars, even with their issues, but definitely full of charm and driving pleasure.
This B GT is not disappointing at all, thanks also to the improvements and its relatively low weight (800KG), is always responsive, giving even some good oversteerings, not easy to manage but definitely fun, thanks to rear wheel drive and the particularly light back. Niccolò also had the opportunity to exhibit his “English Girl” in various car rallies and this year he also decided to participate to the British Day in Arezzo with the B GT, decorating it with a special livery with the national strips but a mechanical issue on the highway forced him to call the tow truck.
Fortunately the spare parts coming from UK are affordable! Another afternoon of photos is about to end and, once again, I am surprised by how many small but precious emotions are able to give these cars. Leaving aside the case of the Lancia Delta Martini, which, thanks to limited edition models, is reaching really important pricing, I discovered even today with you how much it may be easy and cheap to own an historic car.
As the case of our friend Leonardo (now a regular contributor of Car-Shooters) with his BMW 520 E12, with relatively small pricing and minimum cost of ownership is easy to delight yourself with a small “toy” to have some fun during the weekend, embellishing the experience with the possibility of restoring and improving your “bijou” day after day.
By: Edoardo Mascalchi
Photos: Edoardo Mascalchi, Marco Dellisanti