Sue shares the story of REL212M

1ST LIFE – 1974 – 1993

Registration: REL 212M


Make: MG
Model: B Roadster (Coupe)
Fuel: Petrol
Engine: 1798 cc
Colour: Bracken
Trim: Autumn Leaf
Other: Rostyle Wheels. Overdrive

Build & Registration Dates

Date Built: 4th October – 9th November 1973
Date Despatched: 14th November 1973
Dealer: The Westover Garage Ltd, Bournemouth
Registration Mark: REL 212M
Date Registration: 4th June 1974


3rd August 1978 – purchased by 4th owner, John P N Rowe, Frogmore, St Albans
16th May 1979 – purchased by 5th owner, Peter Cornelius (my father), Chiswell Green, St Albans

One of the first things dad did was to put a ‘hard top’ on it. And one of my earliest memories of the car, was looking out of my bedroom window, and seeing below, dad painting the hard top, on the grass in our rear garden!
Was driven regularly to work from Chiswell Green, St Albans, to IBM, at Sudbury Towers, London. Dad had multiple security, handbrake combination lock, crook lock and the hard top.
Only remember going once in the car with Dad, when I was waiting for the bus for work (aged 18yrs). Dad pulled over and offered a lift. My first thoughts were, wow this is low, the window is small, and ………. gosh dad can drive fast!

Dad’s sense of humour:
On the hard top rear window, is a stickergoing across the base of the window: ‘I would rather be riding my Triumph’. Dad being an avid Vintage Triumph man!

Can anyone identify this front window sticker?: this has ‘SY Parking Permit’ on the window. We are guessing this was dad’s IBM Sudbury Towers parking sticker.

2nd LIFE – 1993 – 2021

Registration: SJ9709
1993 Mum and Dad (Peter & Janet Cornelius)
emigrated to NZ

They took with them multiple motorbikes, including the MGB and MGYB.

08.09.1993 Southampton to Lyttleton
27.10.1993 New Zealand Customs Documents
Date: Exported to New Zealand
01.02.199: New registration number SJ9709
Odometer Reading: 53,763 Miles
Regular records of: Warranty of Fitness (NZ version of MOT)

New stickers on the car:
Rear Window on hard top had a conversation of Gallons to Litres. Understand this was a legal requirement in 2020, when New Zealand converted to Litres

Front window: Yellow 25 Police Triangle. Insurance restriction showing only over 25yrs allowed to driver, so if a policeman saw someone younger, they knew it was stolen!

Dashboard screen projection: This connected to the cigarette lighter and projected the KMH onto the windscreen.

Hang up the UK Reg Plates. “Thank you Dad, I needed them 29 years later!”

Dad was a ‘hands on’ for service and repairing all his vehicles, as much as he could himself.

Dad was known to drive the MGB quite regularly – Friends’ comments, and also on Dad’s driving!

Richard, Peter’s Son –‘ I remember my first trip in it, I can’t remember too much, but I do remember being on the back bench, sitting sideways and thinking that it was pretty weird type of rear seat (I also remember absolutely loving it!). It also made me want to get an MGB for myself and in my early 20’s I bought a 1972 MGB GT in red (affordable, but rotten under the doors).’

Gloria – Waimak Classic Cars, North Canterbury – (Meeting dad at Swop Meets and rally) – ‘Your dad was the loveliest of people to be approached by…he was calm and polite and had sweetness in the way he spoke… …he was never rushed or hurried…he always approached with humbleness and always remembered where he had left off in our conversations! As I said it was a shock when you said he passed away!’

Les – Lived opposite Mum & Dad in Ragiora. Memories of daily use & inspired to own an MGBT!
‘Peter’s MGB roadster arrived in our street (Strachan Place Rangiora) along with it’s stable mate the YB from England and a selection of vintage motorcycles in shipping containers. My background is automotive mechanical so my interest in these classic cars was reignited whenever I heard these cars start up and reverse down the long driveway opposite our house, the MGB especially with it’s distinctive exhaust note. Peter and Janet would be traveling off to various events and rally’s. Peter was a believer in using these cars and not having “show ponies” (my words) that only get taken out on dry days.

My association with Peter over the years and seeing and hearing the distinctive sound of the MGB sparked an interest and desire to own my own piece of motoring history. Having Peter a short walk away and his MGB enabled me to first of all check to see if I could actually get myself into the car, (there is
a knack to this). Many questions about the MGB were followed up with spare manuals and books that Peter had in his vast library about the history of the MGB and all manner of reference material on where to get spare parts from and links to all sorts of groups that did help once I had purchased my own MGBGT. We went to a few car rallies and enjoyed each other’s company with common interest in all things mechanical, over the years.
Peter was justifiably proud of his inventory of classic cars and motorcycles enjoying them and servicing them himself. He told me about the “hard top” on the MGB and the work involved in getting it fit for purpose. I don’t think he had a desire to remove the hard top, too cold in New Zealand he would say and a lot of trouble getting it watertight again.

I would hear the MGB backing down the long driveway at least once a week as Peter left for his “men’s shed” nights or other interested groups that he was part of throughout the year, winter or summer. The little mustard MGB was a joy to see on the road and if the car had not been taken back home to England I would have jumped at the chance to own her. Having an MGBT (hard top) for the winter and a MGB (soft top) for the summer would have been the ultimate if I had had the room.

‘John & Kay Daimler Club – ‘Our memories of him were mainly in the Conquest. We remember him taking the MG to the Club on occasion….. we will never forget Peter’s speedy driving though. We still have visions of him coming down off the motorway ramp and heading into Christchurch and zooming past at 70 miles per hour as we were both heading into the Club. Did you find any speeding tickets amongst your dad’s items?’

Chris, Vintage Car Club – ‘Went in it with him on a couple of occasions when he was on the motorcycle committee at the same time as I was, I remember him driving fast and cutting the corners…. The hard top was always fixed even on warm to hot days….Peter was as you well know a heavy smoker … so being a non-smoker I often declined a lift, but I do know he used it regularly as I often saw Peter out and about in the MG, but don’t recall your mother being in the MGB…. But did see them both out in the MGY many times at rallys.’


Registration: REL 212M

1st July 2021: Dad passed away with due to cancer, during the COVID pandemic, and Mum was in early stages of Dementia. The last words he posted on his Triumph website was ‘it has been a good ride’

July/August 2021
My brother Richard and I, despite COVID restrictions on entry to NZ, visited my parents and were there for the final days of dad’s life, funeral and making arrangements for family home that was full of life’s history, items, memorability etc! This was 86yrs of dad’s life, 61yrs of married life. Also mum moved into a new home, and started her new life.

Dad had sorted his motorbikes over the previous few years, but we had the Daimler, MGYB and MGB to find homes for. I asked mum if I could take the MGB back to England (Richard already had couple of dad’s triumph bikes). Mum agreed, and I’m so glad she did!
Gloria Metcalf of Waimak Classic cars assisted with the exporting of the MGB. Gloria remembers meeting our dad at many ‘swap meets’ and Rally’s (see her comments above). Her help made the whole exporting of the car, go smoothly, alongside the already many things to sort for mum and dad, from UK to NZ. A shipping container was booked and the car along with a pallet of boxes full of photos and documents were sent from NZ to UK.

MGB Journey from NZ to UK
20th July 2021: MGB left Mum & Dad’s home in Rangiora
13th August: Car and pallet of items loaded into the container. Gloria photographed and sent message: “when I saw the forklift driving away…feeling of…its done…rest in peace Peter”
24th August depart Lyttleton NZ. Container BMPI2070441 MSC Alabama
15th September Singapore. Changes Ship
5th October depart Singapore
8th November depart Antwerp
14th November arrive at Hull UK. Went to Leeds for Customs
9th December 2021 MGB released from UK customs and arrived at our home in Lincolnshire, on back of car trailer. Emotional. Glove compartment full of magazine, memorabilia. Boot full of magazines and one of dad’s tool kit bags.
Dad’s collection of paperwork, included the history, documents and servicing/parts/repairs for the MGB.
This included the V5 from prior to export in 1993! It had never been removed from the UK DVLA records!

UK Life 3‘Getting onto the Road’ Dates
9th December 2021 Mileometer reading on arriving in UK = 19,955
20th December 2021 DVLA application to re-register into it’s original number (will be 6th owner)
18th Jan – 25th Feb 22 Full service at MGB Mechspec Garage, including removal of dad’s handbrake lock
26th – 28th Feb 2022 Goes to Proteq Detailing for polish ‘detailing’ to help protect on UK roads
1st March 2022 1st time driven again on UK Roads since 1993, 29 years. Lincoln to Binbrook (could not see the dash lights, so used dad’s KM conversion on the screen!)
18th June – 23rd June Car back at the MGB garage to get new soft top fitted.

Discovery of Dad’s extra personalization (along with the KM/Miles screen mentioned above)

Lots of extra switches – not sure what they do!
A chain on right hand side – pulls the blind over the radiator to help cool / heat up.
Switch under dash – turns the extra fan fitted by the radiator to cool it down.
Front of car, under bonnet – has a preheat connection for NZ fitting.
The Hard top has now been taken off the car, and the ‘tonneau’ cover was found in the boot, never used and in perfect to use condition!
The soft top was never used, and not in a condition to be used. This was replaced on 21st June 2022.

Since being in UK the car has been driven:


27th March – daffodil drive, Stainton Le Vale & Caistor in Lincolnshire wolds. Taking 2 cars – one for the dogs!
17th April – Hard top comes off and into storage! Stallingborough Truck & Van – it looked so small next to the HGV’S!
18th April – Market Rasen – collect the curry for dinner!
30th April – fit the Tonno cover for the first time, drive to Worksop to show Richard & Diane the car.
1st May – car is moved into a new shipping container for storing, closer to Alan’s workshop
8th May – treat Nats for a drive for her birthday. Then drive around and show her to local friends.
13th June – Rothwell for Anniversary dinner. Have to choose a seat near the window, so we can see her in the carpark!
26th June – dog walk with 2 cars, then MGB off for a drive to show local friends.
31st July – off for a drive with soft top up and show local friends
7th August – drive to Worksop
14th August – local drive, 2 cars with dogs.
28th August: Drove to Skipton to the canal and Bolton Priory (that was approx. 221 miles, and took us 3 ½ hours each way, as we stopped to be ‘top off, top on’ depending on weather.
Lesson learned: motorways are best with top up as they are noisy and dirty!
18th September – Margaret Waller drive to Grimsby Docks, &Cleethorpes Seafront
24th – 25th September – MGB60 Celebrating 60 years of the MGB. Event British Motor Museum. Stopped overnight near Warwick. Chose hotel carefully for parking car, and saw other MGBS. approx. 248 miles

This car is my ‘wind in my hair’ car. It has loads of history to it. Dad’s gloves and hats are still in the car, so he travels with us!
This is such a happy car. Dad has gone, but the happiness he has passed on is precious. Also the friends of mum and dad’s that I’ve got to know, through dad leaving us, has been more than precious… and Mum and brother Richard get to hear of all the places we go and the joy we have!


Start Mileage 21,274

19th February – Bracken our MGB is taken on back of car trailer to Star Garage, West Barkwith, Market Rasen for Annual MOT, Service and some extra work, including adding spot lights and a rear rack that were purchased at the MGB60 event September 2022.
9th April – Collected from Star Garage and she looks amazing with the lights and rear rack.  We try again to understand how the rear roof folds down, and have extensive tries.

Start of the summer season driving during 2023:

16th April – International Bomber Command Centre drive past, South Lincoln, Market Rasen for a curry takeaway and home.
21st April – surprise friend Ruth with a drive, then off to Worksop.  Nephew Daniel goes for a spin in his Grandad’s car.
7th May – 4pm.  Charles III Coronation Celebration Weekend.  Margaret Waller and Sue have a drive into Binbrook, to listen to the Church of St Mary St Gabriel Church bells, ‘ring out a peal at 4pm, the first time they have rang together in around 30 years’.
4th June – Local drive around, for nephew Elliott to have a spin in his Grandad’s car.
10th June – out for Sunday breakfast drive
11th June – Cleethorpes beach.  Friend Rachel’s 30th Birthday and we fit in her skateboard!
18th June –MGCC Rally at The Red House, Bourne.  First event with rack and picnic hamper, and a new display board – “CHERISH”.  Perfect for Father’s Day.  Friend Julie joined us, along with Duke dog.
25th June – Barton upon Humber Classic Car day.  Drive across to the Old Rope Factory.  A gathering of some interesting local people, including Mally with his hearse!
2nd July – drive to Heneage arms to say hello to local Lincolnshire Automobile Club.
20th July say goodbye to our Jessie Girl dog.
28th July – evening drive to friends Vincent and Gwyneth.  Show Jess book.  Return drive is fresh evening smells and headlights !
29th July – evening visit to friend Paula and mum Eleanor.  Show Jess book and have a drive.
2nd August – MGCC first Natter at Swallow.  Went in Volvo as raining.  Felt a ‘fake’ as others in MG’s!
6th August – Sunday morning drove to local LAC2 club.  Late arriving, as took 45 mins to put up the top for the rain!  Interesting mix of cars, including a dog on small backseat!
13th August – taught how to do ‘wheel spins’ and drive between cones.  Practicing for the AutoTest Sept.
28th August – Watersedge Humber Bridge, Classic Car gathering
2nd September – IBCC Wings and Wheels
17th September – MGCC Autotest
1st October – MGCC Navigational Scatter