The Aftermath

Following the accident (as Andy has described elsewhere), the situation had to be assessed under the uncompromising glare of the harshly-cold light of reality. Andy needs a car for work - and what ever happened to SF from this point onward, it was immediately obvious that SF couldn't be repaired in a couple of days. And then there was the question of whether SF would be repaired at all. Let's face it, however attractive SF might be, she is still a 100,000-mile, 7-year-old car. Most 7-year-old, 100,000-mile cars are worth less than... well, worthless. An insurance assessor is unlikely to succumb to SF's charms - to him, SF is merely a hunk of metal that would only be worth what the trade would be prepared to buy her for, which in the case of a 100,873 mile 1.8i MGF, would be the princely sum of £4,300. A quick assessment of the damage to external panels and fixtures - front wing, sill, rear wing, front and rear bumpers, bonnet, wheels, head-light, indicator lenses... well, if you bought all that from a dealership, the parts bill alone would come close to the value of the car - and that would be before labour and paint. Frankly, it was difficult to envisage any other outcome from the insurance assessor's visit other than a recommendation that the car be written-off.

So it was with a heavy heart that Andy assumed the worse, and went along to his local MG Rover dealership. Good news is that he got a terrific deal on a new MG. Bad news is that it wasn't one with a folding roof.

A couple of days after the event, Andy decided to let the BBS know what had happened, and to inform the community of the probable demise of Scarlet Fever. Where after, something rather incredible happened. In came the usual posts of sympathy - as you would expect. But there was another, different and unexpected response that no one would or could have predicted. Everyone was adamant that Scarlet Fever should not be sent to the crusher. Equally, everyone was definite that Andy himself should not drift away from the MGF BBS - his good humour and selfless desire to help out would certainly be missed.

Pictures of the damaged SF were then posted on the Internet - and this was critical; it allowed people with more experienced eyes to look upon the damage and declare that this car was actually saveable. Okay, the insurers would not be able to undertake the task, because the insurance-approved workshops are permitted only to use new original-equipment parts, and broadly charge high labour rates. But by using second-hand parts, and by doing as much work as possible oneself, the costs of repair, it was reasoned, would be much much lower - and the work could, therefore, be done within the insurers' assessment of the car's worth.

This was the first time that it was realised that SF *could* be saved.

Andy had been away from the BBS for a couple of days, and could scarcely believe on his return to the board, the level of support that fellow MGF owners were giving, and were prepared to give. All of it was unsolicited: remember that by the time that Andy had first posted, it was to inform the BBS that Scarlet was really no more - and that he was moving onto pastures new with his new MG ZS. Perhaps the BBS community knew Andy better than Andy knew himself? How could he be away from soft-top motoring? How would he feel, without SF, every time he saw another MGF from the comfort of his new tin-top? Both Andy and the rest of his family were incredibly moved by what was and is a clear expression of the age old edict: "MG: the marquee of friendship."

But this presented Andy with a conundrum. He needed a daily driver - not a car in bits - to get to work every day. The new MG ZS that he'd just placed a deposit upon would fulfil that role perfectly, but this car's purchase would mean that the funds released by the insurance company would be ploughed straight into the new car's finance deal and to pay off credit cards. There would be no money available to buy the new car, AND restore SF to her former glory.

But the BBS community had not finished. Offers of help came in to help rebuild SF if the car could be bought back from the insurance company. In fact, not only help was offered, but money too - just to ensure that Scarlet was saved from the jaws of the crusher. At this time, Ted Newman dropped the chairman of the MG Owners Club an email about this sad case. Such is the power of the Internet; Roche Bentley had already become aware of Andy's plight and invited Andy to contact him regarding the future of the wreck. The club, in previous instances, had intervened to ensure that the ruined car was saved from the crusher, and sold back to the original owner, and it was this nature of assistance that Roche had promised to look into for Scarlet.

This was the first time that 'option B' was seriously considered: keeping Scarlet Fever. In fact, it is with this aim in mind that this web site has been created - keeping Scarlet out of the great scrap yard in the sky! How successful this quest ultimately turns out to be remains to be seen, but in a way that doesn't matter. More important is that here's been an opportunity for friends to express support for a friend in need, that MGF owners have not shied away from. And for there to be at least a chance that Scarlet might one day return to the roads of Essex and Europe to scare pheasants and continental motorists alike...