LOOKING back in time, Peter Webb said wryly he chose his MG TF sports car because it ''fulfilled a young man's sporty pretensions; it was the car of young rugby players''. Three decades later, Mr Webb has the same MG and derives from it the pleasure of a car enthusiast and, what he calls, the enjoyment of ''tinkering''. Mr Webb has just completed a three-year, nut-and-bolt restoration of his car. He set out with the intention of merely repairing a bent chassis member, which was damaged while negotiating badly surfaced Chinese roads. But a closer inspection of the car's wooden structure showed that some serious work was needed. The door pillars, which form a vital part of the ash frame, were in poor condition and a major restoration was undertaken with Mr Webb doing the work. The car is now complete and should last for many years before needing more work. Mr Webb said: ''The next time that car is restored, it will be my son's turn. He's in grade school, but already he's asking about it.'' In 1955, Mr Webb and his brother bought the 1250 cc MG TF, chassis number TF6150. According to British Heritage, which tracks vintage cars, it was the 5,649th TF built out of a total production of 9,600. The car went with Mr Webb to Malaysia and then to Hongkong in 1971. It was the daily runabout, commuting between Kowloon and Peter's office in NT and tallying up miles of wear. In 1983, Mr Webb bought a Macau Grand Prix racer MG with a special fibre-glass body, and, most importantly, the more desirable 1,500 cc engine. The fibre-glass special was broken into parts and the 1,500 cc was rebuilt with new cylinder liners and fitted to the MG TF number 6150. With more power under the hood, Mr Webb took the MG on a five-day Guangdong Province tour sponsored by the Hongkong Classic Car Club. That's where the TF met with the accident that has led to the car's complete restoration. The car hit some raised paving on a concrete bridge, damaging the steering and kinking the left chassis rail. Mr Webb admitted to hesitating before tackling the car repairs, which resulted in an 18-month period of procrastination. Fortunately, most of the parts for the cars are still available. Mr Webb was able to order parts of the 200 piece ash-body frame from MG specialist Brown and Gammons of Britain. But during the restoration, Mr Webb acquired other mechanical skills. He became a welder and was tutored by fellow MG car enthusiast Mr Ken Wong to use a hammer and dolly and attach the wooden frame to the car's separate chassis. He also became an expert at wiring, checking over and labelling every wire on a new cloth-covered wiring harness, before making all the connections. He described the task as ''similar to wrestling with half a dozen octopus''. Today, re-assembled, repainted, the MG TF sits in its private de-humidified garage. It looks elegant with its wings and running boards, spare tyre compartment, tiny hoods and wire stone-guards on the head lights, wire wheels and brass door hinges. Looking at the interior, you can see the mixture of luxury and spartan equipment that attracted the young Mr Webb: red leather seats, elemental dashboard with the three octagonal dials, a red-light petrol gauge and separate starter knob. The windows and soft door coverings lie folded in a box behind the seats. They can be attached into slots in the doors. The canvas hood clips up over them to form a snug and reasonably dry cabin. But Mr Webb preferred to drive with the top down. He didn't take the car out in the rain but when it did go out on the road, he drove it fast. He also speaks enthusiastically about precise steering and ''putting the car where you want it''. This is the analysis of an expert driver who placed his car in the top three positions during the recent weekend trials of the Hongkong MG Car Club.