AUBURN One of the most unique and legendary MGA of all-time is currently on exhibit at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. The 1962 MGA Mk II, appropriately nicknamed “100,000”, has an interesting history and is the 100,000th MGA built by British Motor Corporation since the models inception in 1955. The car is currently owned by Fred Skomp of Key West, Florida, whose brother, Russell, bought the car new in 1962.
Pictured is the famous “100,000” in front of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. The 1962 MGA Mk II is owned by Fred Skomp who is at the wheel of the car. Skomp grew up in Kokomo, Indiana and is now a resident of Key West, Florida.)
Once “100,000” was completed with a customized body and emblems to commemorate the 100,000 unit sales mark, it was shipped to the United States aboard the Queen Mary and was featured at the 1962 New York Auto Show.
This is where the story gets interesting. After the New York Auto Show, the car virtually disappeared. It is speculated that British Motor Corporation may have sold the car after its initial publicity was completed. Somehow, the car made its way to an import dealership in Nashville, Tennessee. Russell Skomp noticed the car in the showroom of John Tune Import Motors and knew immediately that he had to have it. The MGA is painted metallic gold, with white leather interior and white lambs wool carpeting, fitted with custom “100,000” emblems mounted on the body. Russell signed a purchase and sales contract on the spot and finalized the sale.
Later that evening, John Tune called Russell and told him an awful mistake had been made. The car was for display purposes only and should not have been sold. Being a stubborn man, Russell consulted with a friend who was an attorney. The attorney encouraged him to enforce the sale. Agreeing with his friend, Russell called John Tune back and enforced the delivery of “100,000.”
Russell drove the car for two to three years until something broke. He added a total of 8,000 miles on the odometer. Apparently “100,000” had a fuel pump problem, and Russell was not successful in getting the problem fixed properly. Frustrated about the car’s running condition, Russell pushed “100,000” to a spot on his property where it sat, exposed to the elements for the next 35 years!
Many MGA enthusiasts thought the car had been scrapped after the New York Auto Show, or re-painted and sold without the commemorative emblems. When the car surfaced again, it was a surprise to many MG enthusiasts who had written the car off and didn’t think it existed anymore.
After Russell died unexpectedly in 2000 his daughter Karen gave what was left of “100,000” to his brother, Fred. Fred transported the car to Carmel, Indiana where it was restored. The car was almost unrecognizable before restoration. It was rusted in most places, the floorboards were piles of sawdust, and only pieces of the original leather interior survived. Restoration of “100,000” was completed in two years. The car is restored to its original condition, much as it appeared as the star of the 1962 New York Auto Show.
Today, “100,000” looks as though it never aged. “It’s like being 19 years old again,” said Fred. “I bought an Irish blue MGA after seeing my brother’s when I was a teenager. I loved that car, but it wasn’t as nice as Russell’s gold MGA. I tried to get Russell to restore “100,000” for years, but he never did. I am glad “100,000” is back to its original condition. Many people say that adults never forget the first car they owned, and nothing gets better than these MGA’s,” stated Fred.
Matt Short, executive vice president of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, is pleased to exhibit this special car, “This car is very significant because the MGA was the first sports car to sell 100,000 units. This car was restored from top to bottom and is worth the drive to see”, said Short.
The not-for-profit Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum is located in the restored 1930 art deco administrative building of the former Auburn Automobile Company. The museum displays 120 classic, antique, vintage and special interest cars in eight galleries. The museum, accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1997, is a National Historic Landmark. The museum is open to visitors daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.