The societal needs of the early 20th century spawned a new profession: itinerant “tinker”. A tinker would travel from town to town, usually by horse and carriage, offering to repair pots and pans of local residents. Frequently tinkers relied on the generosity of their customers to provide a meal and perhaps overnight accommodations as they practiced their craft across the country.
Barney Gaylord may be the modern day reincarnation of last century’s tinker. If you own an MGA roadster, then the name Barney Gaylord, or at least, his website, www.mgaGuru.com, will be a familiar one.
Barney has hosted his MGA-specific website for some 15 years or more, freely dispensing technical and historical advice, as well as legend and stories galore. According to the opening pages of the website, more than 3,000 technical articles are stored within, and I don’t question that number.
Not only does Barney host the website, but he has a reputation of quick responses to emails from other MGA owners who have questions or issues with their cars.
Until about a year ago, Barney presided over his website from his home in Naperville, Illinois while holding down a full time job. But that all changed with his recent retirement, and the sad passing of his wife of many years. Barney decided it was time to sell the house, and hit the road. So, in the spring of 2014, Barney loaded up his MGA 1500 series roadster, hitched it up to a small trailer, and he and his 25 year old son Eliot hit the road. As the website proclaims, his address is now: “World at Large”.
Barney’s aim was/is to travel the country, in similar fashion to the tinkers of old, choosing destinations and durations based on mechanical assistance requests from fellow MGA owners. His trailer carries a wide assortment of tools and spare parts for the MGA, and Barney’s intent has been to provide his services at no charge, but in hopes that his “customer” will perhaps provide room and board for he and his son, and remuneration on a “voluntary” basis.
This modus seems to be working, as Barney and Eliot are now on their second year on the road, home being the little red MGA roadster.
After reading an article about Barney’s escapades, and having received useful advice on more than one occasion from him, my wife and I offered a place to stay as the two Gaylords were transiting from Houston to parts unknown. Our own MGA was in tiptop shape, so we were not in need of mechanical assistance, but just wanted to be good Texas neighbors to this intrepid pair.
Barney and Eliot arrived, on short notice, one rainy and cold March day, and seemed undaunted by the weather (believe me, I know first hand just how unsuitable an MGA roadster can be in wet weather.
I will say that Barney has a never-ending supply of stories, mostly about MGA’s naturally!
At last sight, Barney and Eliot disappeared down the road, off to the next assist venue. And Barney has stated that he intends to continue the nomadic lifestyle for “at least another 5 years”!
You can contact Barney via his website, www.mgaguru.com
or follow his extensive travelogue at: http://mgaguru.com/tales/mobile.htm