The Zombie car that will not die…

Graceful moment between wall-kissing 180 spin & pummeling via 300Z

So imagine it’s late Friday evening, and you have been invited to bring your somewhat infamous MGB-from-hell to the CSRG vintage races & West Coast MG Reunion at Infineon Raceway on Saturday morning. Delusions Visions of eager sponsors flowing with cash, and rubbing elbows with famous Group 44 drivers run through your head, while champagne freely flows and trophy girls swoon.
There is just one problem; the weekend prior the team not only wrecked your car (yet again) at Sears Pointless resulting in a second action-filled photo sequence to rival the first, but somehow also managed to completely destroy the very last of your good motors on day two.
[Editor’s Note: There are times when an automotive story pops up over at our sister site, AtomicToasters, so we’ve given the Toasters crew a venue to do guest articles here at Hooniverse! Today we welcome Sparky, aka ZomBee Racer, to share his recent adventures with his 24 Hours of LeMons racing MG!]
The magic bang-hammer makes quick work of the worst dents, but your driveway and garage are littered with un-useable BMC B-series carcasses, and now you have mere hours before the big event.
What do you do? What. Do. You. Do?!?

Well, if you have ever hung out with the 24 Hours of Lemons team Killer ZomBees the answer should be painfully obvious. Borrow the motor out of Super-Spouse’s unguarded MGB while she sleeps!
BRILLIANT! What’s the worst that could happen?
Deep into the night and well into the next morning wrenches were spun and fingers were quietly smashed, the daily driver’s heart was plucked from its cozy home and drafted into service for the once-again re-undead MGB. From hell.
Be veeewy quiet... bears are sleeping.
Come to Papa

It’s alive! ALIVE!! Bwaa-haa-haa!
“What are you doing out there…?”
“Uh, nothing honey. Just making coffee. Go back to bed. Kiss-kiss.”
And so it came to pass that the flipped, smashed, blown and crashed “car that will not die” complete with bouncing yellow antenna balls made the 1 ½ hour freeway journey all the way back up to Sonoma under its own power as seen in the following video – just in time to miss all the festivities.

Oh well. But hey, at least we kinda made it. The trip home was much faster thanks to a forgotten smashed headlight and a race against impending darkness – under the premise that a small speeding fine was less evil than a fix-it ticket.
And the couch is only kinda lumpy.

One of these B's ain't quite like the others...


(Images Courtesy Roger Iu via Head-on Photos, and the author’s own personal collection)

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29 responses to “The Zombie car that will not die…”

  1. acarr260 Avatar

    I would enjoy just sitting there watching people's faces as the went from pristine MG to pristine MG to… this thing.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq


  2. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    mr. cast iron cooking vessel, i would like to introduce you to ms. kettle….

  3. Alff Avatar

    Sparky, you make me feel bad for cutting up my rolled and t-boned Spider. Any interest in stitching it back together?
    <img src=""&gt;

      1. Alff Avatar

        I bet you do. Pink Hello Kitty Duck tape is more an MG thing than an Alfa thing.

        1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

          I was thinking about making Super-spouse a set of lingerie with it as a token of my appreciation.
          And maybe a matching wallet.

          1. Alff Avatar

            Just be sure to put tape on both sides.

          2. Deartháir Avatar

            Was just thinking that. Applying said lingerie could be fun. Removing it… maybe not so much.

  4. mdharrell Avatar

    Do I mean crazy as in "cool" or crazy as in "dangerously unhinged" in this case? Let's review the evidence:
    (1) You are fortunate enough to have a wife who not only tolerates MGBs, but has one of her own. A running one.
    (2) You took the engine from her MGB for your own car in an all-night R&R effort in order to get to a car show.
    So far, so good. Nothing wrong here. Perfectly reasonable. Just one pivotal question remains, however…
    Have you put the engine back yet?

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      What engine?

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    The Zombee is the racing equivalent of my friend's old Chevy Celebrity that I dubbed "Robocar." Here's his story c/p'ed from another board:
    1986 Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon. 2.8V6/auto
    Bought as a non-runner in '92 with 200K from a friend for the $100 he put into 2 new tires on it. Only bought it because I had the car resold to a local wrecking yard for $350 because they had a buyer for the front clip.
    Decided to mess around with it before dragging it to the JY – found crossed plug wires and a dying ignition module. $40 and a few hours later I had a really good running car and decided to keep it.
    5 years and 130K go by without issue other than a water pump and basic maintenance. Threw a $350 Miracle paint job on it to cover up the peeling clear coat. I'm on my way home from Home Depot and a lady runs a stop sign and hits the RF fender, denting it pretty good and bending the strut. Drive it the 1 mile home with the tire screaming all the way.
    Adjuster from the ladies ins comes out and estimates the car at a total loss of $2700 (including a $500 credit for the "new paint"). I take a check for $2500 and keep the damaged car.
    Replace the strut (leave the dented fender), buy a new set of tires and get the thing inspected and registered (its now a salvage title but I dont care) for about $500, so I'm still up $2K.

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Fast forward *EXACTLY* one month after I get car back on the road and I am on my way to Fresno from Sacramento to pick up a '90 Celebrity wagon with a blown head gasket as a replacement car. I borrowed a friends tow dolly and have it hitched to the back.
      We're in the slow lane, stopped in traffic because of an accident up ahead and a semi truck behind us sees a gap in traffic, pulls out behind me and in doing so clips the tow dolly and whiplashes it against the LR quarter panel. Dolly is completely flattened and is towed off. We're shaken but OK. Other than the damaged quarter panel – car is fine.
      Truckers insurance company comes out and first question is "you want to keep the car?" I say yes and he writes the estimate out just before the total point and stops. (this way I dont have to go through the vehicle inspection and re-registration). I get a check for $1600 and they pay our medical bills without issue. Coworker I borrowed the dolly from gets $1200 for it and he's thrilled because he was gonna sell it for $800.
      I drive the car for another couple years and the odometer gets to 377,000 before the 440-T4 transmission decides it's done. Car is sold within 2 days for $350 to a guy who wants the motor for his Fiero because "it runs so damn good". Never failed CA emissions and other than the water pump and an alternator it never had anything done to it. I never had the valve covers off.
      LTD Scott dubbed this thing "Robocar" cause it just wouldn't die. Stupid $100 car gave me almost 200,000 miles. I actually kind of miss it.

    2. P161911 Avatar

      In Georgia at least, there is a 3-6 month lag between the time an insurance company totals a car and when you can buy it back. My Dad wanted to do this with an old S-Blazer that he had that got totaled from hail damage (no broken glass, just dents). He used it for work and would have been out a vehicle for a few months, so it didn't work out.

  6. Deartháir Avatar

    "Honey… it looks like this engine has been driven into the ground a few times! You didn't accidentally roll your car at high speed, end-over-end, without telling me, did you?"

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      I used to know a street racer that had a car with a good engine and another really good engine. He'd put the weaker engine in, head out to the street scene on a Friday night, and watch the action. When two (other) people with ETs somewhat similar to his car raced, he'd go to the loser, and challenge him to race for $100. They would line up and my buddy would barely lose, and pay up. The next night, he'd come back, and challenge the guy who beat the guy who barely beat him. This race would be for a thousand bucks, though.
      Should be easy money for the opponent, right? Did I mention the guy I knew spent the afternoon playing engine swap?

  7. Eastaboga Avatar

    <img src="; alt="74 MGB engine install"> What a great car, makes me wish I hadn't restored my '74 MGB! Here it is back in 2007 after the engine was plopped back in. However, if I hadn't restored it it would've made a great ChumpCar!
    <img src="; alt="74 MGB in the graveyard">
    Awesome story man, keep the B running and we'd love to have you in Louisville, Ky for the British Bash show first week in June…road trip!

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      You, sir, are clearly among friends here.

      1. Eastaboga Avatar

        Thank you, sir, damn glad to be here…long time listener, first time caller, hahaCurrently run a '92 Integra in ChumpCar and have another super secret Chump project car almost done, but now I'm wondering about a parts car B, a case of beer (and a Weber carb), hahaEastaboga

  8. facelvega Avatar

    It eats my brain to think that you still keep this car running.

  9. Alff Avatar

    Reminds me of my family reunions. The ZomBee is clearly my Uncle Wally, or maybe my wife's Cousin Mike.

  10. alewifecove Avatar

    This is the MG from Hell.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar
      1. alewifecove Avatar

        I think it is still there..

  11. Freds4hb Avatar

    Having actually been in the belly of that crazy beast ("raced it" at willow springs 2010 ChumpCar event). It is a barrel of fun, and working with Pete was simply amazing. One of my absolutely favorite items about the car. It has ACTUAL Lucas electronics and because of that, when you lift up the trunk lid down drops a laminated wiring diagram of the whole car. There is simply no way to explain how hysterical that is when you finally see the car you're going to race, look in the trunk and that nearly drops on your head. Also, that thing at 95mph in a long sweeper feels amazing! Another favorite, I sat in it for the first time looked down, and there was the road,, there are actual holes in the floorboard,, but you never see em when you're racing. I highly recommend the experience! And it is an EXPERIENCE! [too many great stories and that was just one weekend with it!]

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Thanks Fred! That was a great weekend! What made it especially so was YOU guys. and your great sense of humors. I was impressed.

  12. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq


  13. Armand4 Avatar

    You're the man, Sparky Pete. Every time I think your exploits with the ZomBee are so awesome that you'll never top them, you do something like this and raise the bar a few notches.
    Thanks also for your moral support during my, um, "oil pressure episode" with the Alpine in the LeMons paddock.

  14. BRE 240Z Avatar
    BRE 240Z

    As a previous driver of the undead ZomBee (no we did not wreck or blow up while driving the Zombee) I can say "Sparky" is in every way the most gracious and competitive driver/owner. He has allowed several guest drivers thrash this MGB within an inch of it's life (and beyond) and although it looks like the undead, it is safe and reliable. Which is more than I can say for his motley crew of drivers 🙂

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