- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005

Charlie Carroccio takes entirely too much interest in his brother’s cars.

Time and again brother Pete would buy a car and within a few weeks Charlie would be deeply involved in the mechanical aspects of that car.

Eventually he would find a twin to his brother’s car and purchase it. This is a pattern that has been repeated so often that, if it were illegal, the police would call such activity Charlie Carroccio’s modus operandi.

In 1999 Pete bought an MGB sports car. Although the lure of a British two-seater was strong, Charlie resisted — for awhile.

A neighbor down the street for several years owned a dark red 1979 MGB that he babied. All the attention lavished upon the car did not go unnoticed by Charlie. He had admired the handsome car from afar, the iridescent gold stripe on each side catching his attention as it did the light.

Upon the neighbor’s death, Charlie inquired about the pristine MGB and at Easter in 2004 he became the owner of a car similar to that of his brother — only better.

Records indicate that, when new, the 13-foot, 2-inch-long sports car cost a pricey $6,550.

When Charlie Carroccio first activated the starter, the electronic ignition quickly fired up the 110-cubic-inch four-cylinder overhead valve engine. with the single S.U. carburetor working flawlessly.

Performance tests 26 years ago clocked an MGB roadster from 0-to-60 mph in 13.9 seconds.

The four-speed manual transmission is fully synchronized and Mr. Carroccio reports an approximate figure of 18.5 miles per gallon.

The speedometer is calibrated to record speeds of 120 mph, but not in this car.

Nimbleness, not brute power, is the strength of any true sports car.

Mr. Carroccio’s MGB is no exception.

With 14-inch wheels supporting the 91-inch wheelbase, the car can easily weave through the most complicated maze with the assistance of precise rack-and-pinion steering.

Mr. Carroccio says that he is the fourth owner of this like-new, all-original MGB that appears to have led a sheltered existence since it crossed the Atlantic in 1979.

The odometer just recently rolled over 41,000 miles and isn’t going to be accumulating any more until spring, after all the salt and chemicals from winter street treatments have been washed away.

At a hair under 5 feet wide, the MGB roadster is 9 inches wider that it stands tall.

While those dimensions may not be good for headroom, they contribute greatly to handling and performance.

Now that Mr. Carroccio has owned his MGB roadster almost a year, he still marvels at the timeless styling that went into the automobile.

“Whenever I take it out,” he says, “it gets lots of looks.”


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