Written by Igal Treibatch 

Edited by Ken Latka
Beauty Photography by Kevin Roberts
On Set Photography by Igal Treibatch

Ever since I was a teenager, I had an image of this MGA on my mind. I dreamt about canyon runs with tires screeching in the turns and seatbelts holding me in the seat. It took a few decades, but I was finally able to achieve my dream.

I purchased a 1960 MGA as a project car in 2006. It wasn’t running but it was suitable for a frame off rebuild. The car sat in the garage untouched until 2016 when work began. The car was completely dismantled and sand blasted. I was pleased that very little rust was found. The frame had to be realigned and was fitted with an updated suspension and a sway bar to help stability in the turns. A new wiring harness replaced the mess that existed when I purchased the car.

We replaced the original 83 HP engine with an enhanced 1964 MGB engine with high compression pistons, a performance camshaft, aluminum cylinder head, supercharger, stainless steel headers, upgraded aluminum radiator (with electric fans) and an oil cooler. The improvements gave us 163 horsepower, or almost double the power, and that was backed up with a five-speed transmission and a good clutch.

The top? Who needs a top when you live in Southern California! I threw it away along with the windshield. I manufactured two small racing type windscreens, which give the car a longer, sleeker profile, and of course it helps deflect the bugs away from my teeth.

When it came to the interior, I manufactured a hand turned copper dashboard, replaced the analog gauges with electronic instrumentation and a great sound system. For the upholstery we contoured the seats to keep the driver and passenger in place, and we topped them off with a beautiful Ferrari type camel color leather.

The lower stance of the car was achieved by low profile (and wider) tires on 72 spoke chrome wire wheels. The finishing touch is the exterior paint color, which is a very deep pearlized midnight blue. I love the way the car turned out, but most of my pleasure comes from driving the car in the canyons (as I had always dreamed).

The car has won trophies at various shows, it has also been used for product photoshoots and television commercials. The topper for me is that my MGA is featured in the third scene of the Academy Award winning motion picture “Ford v Ferrari”. It appears in the scene when we first see Christian Bale who plays Ken Miles in the film.

When I fist started booking my MG in various photo and commercial shoots a few years back, it was exciting for me, but my experience with the “Ford v Ferrari” movie was more exhilarating than I ever expected.

One morning I received a call from my friend Darrin who did all the mechanical work on my car. Darrin owns “Darrin’s MG Services” in Chatsworth, California and I was surprised when I heard him say “Hey Igal, they’re looking for an MG for a movie, are you interested?” I replied “Absolutely! And do they give popcorn with it?” A short time later I received a call from Mike Hoback, who was searching for specific vehicles for a possible “Ford v Ferrari” movie. I confirmed my interest and after Mike saw some photos of my car, he shared those images with the production folks and my MG was confirmed.

I had never been on a motion picture set before and I didn’t know what to expect. We loaded the car on a trailer early in the morning of August 8, 2018 and headed out to the location, a 1950’s type automotive service garage in Highland Park, California that was outfitted to look like Ken Miles’ service station back in the day. When I rolled in, the film crew was already in full motion preparing the area for the shoot. I was allowed to hang out in the background and watch as the shoot unfolded. My MG went through a make-up session as it was prepared for its motion picture debut. No lipstick, just some dusting, a bit more air in the tires and the stunt driver did some practice sessions so he could get the tires to squeal on cue, as specified in the script.

The coordination of the film crew was like a fine oiled machine. I watched Chris-tian Bale practicing his lines and somewhere in between, he and I got to chat. After our talk, he autographed my copy of the “Ford v Ferrari Daily Sheet”.

I am so glad I didn’t miss this opportunity. It was fun, exciting, and one of those lifetime memories I will never forget.

© 2021 TMPCC


TMPCC Media is a division of The Television Motion Picture Car Club, the world’s only car club for those who work in or are affiliated with the entertainment industry. The club not only has members from the television and motion picture industry, but also includes those from music, radio, sports, motorsports and the automotive media.