’77 B of Gene and Sherri Enke from Fort Madison, Iowa

This An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’77 B roadster of Gene and Sherri Enke from Fort Madison, Iowa. Here is the story:

We have owned the car since 1979 and it has been featured in the American MGB Association Octagon before. She might therefore be called “Grandmother Queen B”. The club’s interest and support of our red roadster over the 28 years of ownership is greatly appreciated.

The 1977 MGB roadster was purchased in October of 1979. It is flamingo red and has 97,000 miles with the original drive train and engine. It runs great! It is used during the summer season with the top down in April and back up in October. The body was completely restored several years ago and is in show condition. British Leyland and Morris Garage would be very proud of this roadster.

Visit to Johnson Press

by Frank Ochal

On our way back from Meet 2017 in Alabama we stopped in Pontiac, Illinois to visit out printer, Johnson Press.

This was our first opportunity to meet with the people we have been communicating by phone and email with and to see where our magazine has been printed since 2012.

Bruce Magers and I were led on an informative tour of the plant with our Customer Service Rep, Teresa Masching. It was interesting to see the care that they take in printing each magazine. It was amazing how technology has improved the printing process since the last time I took a tour of a printing plant. The reduced size of the machines is the first thing you notice.

The visit concluded with a light lunch with Teresa and plant manager, Steve “Buzz” Zeller.

Thanks again to everyone at Johnson Press of America for the welcome and the continued fine job done with our magazines!

American MGB Association Meet 2017 and SABCC Festival in Fairhope, Alabama

story by Bruce Magers, photos by Frank Ochal

The American MGB Association (AMGBA) held its 40th annual meet in Fairhope, Alabama on October 14, 2017. The event was held in conjunction with the “South Alabama British Car Festival” which has been going for the past 27 years.

The event began with a

Friday night reception dinner that was an opportunity to get together with old friends or meet new ones. The Car Show on Saturday offered music, door prizes, and food. Fairhope is on Mobile Bay and offers scenic drives and beaches near the Gulf Coast.. Thanks to Brian Daly and Michael King for their cooperation in organizing this event.

The AMGBA officers were kept busy throughout the car show with member inquires as well as signing up new members for the association.

Next year’s Meet is still in the planning stage. Keep an eye on our website (www.mgclub.org) or in future issues of the Octagon for details. The MGB, MGB-GT and Midget Meet 2017 winners were as follows:

CLASS G – MG Midget 1961-1979
1. Steven Whitlow, ’76 Damask red, Jackson, MS
2. Fletcher Thompson, ’73 yellow, Jackson, MS

CLASS I – MGB Mk 1, 1962-1967 Chrome Bumper
1. Charlie & Mary McCrary, ’64 tartan red, Thomaston, GA
2. William Richard Bishop, ’66 white, Fairhope, AL
3. Paula Quinn, ’67 green, Daphne, AL

CLASS J – MGB Mk 2, 1968-1974 Chrome Bumper
1. Jonathan Leslie, ’71 teal blue, St. Louis, MO
2. Ken McIlaney, ’72 green , Mobile, AL
3. Clay Johnston, ’72 harvest gold, Mount Olive, MS

CLASS K – MGB Mk 3, 1974 1/2 -1976 Rubber Bumper
1. Keith Vezina, ’76 damask red, Kenner, LA

CLASS L – MGB Mk 4, 1977-1980 Rubber Bumper
1. Stuart Waddington, ‘7 damask red, Daphne, AL
2. Gene Johnston, ;73 white, Ridgeland, MS
3. Charles Durning, ’74 yellow, Magee, MS

CLASS LL – MGB GT, MGC GT and MGC Roadsters
1. Stewart Reisinger, ’66 British racing green B-GT, Daphne, AL
2. Gene Johnston, ’73 white B-GT, Ridgeland, MS
3. Charles Durning, ’74 yellow B-GT, Magee, MS

1st place B-GT – ’66 B-GT Stewart Reisinger from Daphne, Alabama 1st Place Midget – ’76 Midget of Steve Whitlow from Jackson, Mississippi
1st Place MGB Mk 4 – ’77 B of Stuart Waddington from Daphne, Alabama 1st Place MGB Mk 3 – ’76 B of Keith Vezina  from Kenner, Louisiana
1st Place MGB Mk 2 – ’71B of Jonathan Leslie
from St. Louis, Missouri
1st Place MGB Mk 1 – ’64 B of Charlie & Mary McCrary
from Thomaston, Georgia
AMGBA Officers at Meet 2017 in Alabama: Bruce Magers, Margie Springer and Frank Ochal Brian Daly Giving Out an Award at Meet 2017 in Alabama


’74 B-GT of Bruce Rose from Larchmont, New York

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 B-GT of Bruce Rose from Larchmont, New York. Here is his story and photos:

Slowly getting it together. I have been in touch with 2nd owner of the vehicle who owned it for 20 years. I replaced the SU carbs with a Weber. I have installed a new radiator, heater control and retractable seat belts. I just swapped out the bumper guards for the old style

Auto Insurance

The auto insurance industry is not easy to navigate. There are so many factors to consider when shopping for a provider that car owners often get lost in (or cheated by) the fine print.

On behalf of consumers, a team of researchers at Reviews.com set out to identify the auto insurance providers that rise to the top, “based on their ability to serve customers and actually pay out claims; not just on premium cost.” Take a look at their helpful guide here: https://www.reviews.com/auto-insurance/

They started with 41 of the nation’s top auto insurance companies. These are the factors they considered in their comprehensive review:

  1. Financial solvency
  2. Claims processing
  3. Coverage options
    1. New car replacement
    2. GAP insurance
    3. Uninsured motorist coverages
  4. Discounts
  5. Customer support

Their guide not only provides their overall favorite auto insurance providers based on the above considerations, but also offers recommendations tailored to your personal needs – whether you’re a pet owner, veteran, on a budget, or…a classic car owner! (They recommend Grundy) Find their research process, recommendations, and purchasing tips here.

The Value of an MG

by Art Isaacs

In case you have not noticed, the value of our MG cars has been increasing steadily. Many collector cars have, some to extremes we can never hope to have our cars aspire to, but that’s really a good thing. Why? Well, despite appraisals (and auction selling prices) going into the mid-30’s, the MGB has not reached the threshold where owners don’t drive them anymore for fear of damaging their investment. That’s important and I’ll get back to this point.

Now, $30,000 is not what it was in 1990 when I bought my ’73 MGB for $300. Inflation has taken some of the shine off that sort of increase in value, but at that time, a running big Healy or Jaguar E-Type could still be found in the $10-15,000 range and a well restored MGB for the same or even less. Paying $6,500 for a B you could drive home, clean-up and take to a local popular show in the next week to take 2nd or 3rd in class was not that unheard of.

All you need do is compare the cars pictured in older issues of the Octagon magazine to those in current ones or attend a local LBC show to see the level to which owners are now restoring their cars. Part of this is that the cars are older themselves, have been used and enjoyed, so now need the kind of complete tear-down, including rotisserie body restoration that was barely an option 20 or so years ago, both in finding shops qualified to do the work and the cost-vs-value thing.

Now, the cost of entry has risen as well, but not 100 fold. There are still any number of decent MGs to be found at under $5,000, but get too far below that and you get cars with more serious needs. Midgets can still be found for less, but not much for a rust-free, complete driver. Again, the value of the finished product is such that reasonable investment makes these a good option.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure what I have actually invested in my car. It started life over 25 years ago as a ‘pocket-change project’, as I had a house and 2 young children with no place in the budget for restoring a classic car. I used my ‘lunch money’, asked for parts as birthday presents, scrounged from what others discarded as they restored their cars, bought a lot used at swap meets and sorted through junk yards. Back then, unless the junkyard specialized in these types of cars (anyone in the NY/NJ area remember Stucker’s on Staten Island?) Midgets, MGBs and other sports cars were looked upon as more of a nuisance by the mainstream GM, Ford Chrysler or AMC based yards, as there was little call for pieces from them on a regular basis and they took-up valuable space. I would see a B in the pile and some of these yards would try to sell me the whole car for a bit more than I was willing to pay for the part I needed! Looking back, I’m sorry I didn’t buy some of those, but I just did not have the room (or the money) at the time.

As a result, I’ve had to do things more than once and often do more work to undo the modifications made to fit adapted parts. There have been any number of seat/upholstery changes, carburetors, distributors and suspension work to get where I am today. But if it was not the most direct and economical way to do things, it was fun.

And that brings me back to my point about these cars. They were meant to be fun. Not investments cowering in the corner of the garage for fear of getting wet, dirty or causing wear with use. They are meant to be driven and enjoyed. And the passion, not just for the look, but the feel and joy of what a British sports car was meant for needs to be passed on to our children and grandchildren. Otherwise, they become like dinosaur bones, to be looked at and not touched.

The sports car has had a rebirth and is currently coming around to something closer to what we enjoy. The fact that the Mazda MX-5 Miata has been sold over 28 years of continuous production (8 years longer than the original MGB series) speaks volumes to this. The current generation is now closer to its original roots, which were based in a fondness for the British Classics, like the Lotus and MGB. And we are seeing the return of affordable true sport sedans, like the Alfa Guilia, not to mention that Chrysler-Fiat now offers their own version of the Miata as a new incarnation of the Fiat 124.

We already know and have what they are looking for. Getting into your B is more like putting on your favorite jeans. It fits in all the right places and becomes part of you (and, as WE get older, sometimes presents the same challenges). You feel and experience it as much as drive it.

And just because it is now worth more should not diminish the love for flogging them around the turns of the back roads and running 50-60 miles each way, just to go to a favorite spot for lunch or dinner, oft times more because the ride is fun and interesting than the food so unique. That is the true value of our cars.

They belong on the road, as do we. Get a kid out in them, even if just for grocery run. Let them help you prepare for gathering or show and then come along.

Allow a child to sit in your car at a show. You have no idea the impression that makes on the next generation. Or the spark that kindles.

So whether you’ve put in your money, your sweat or both, get the most out of your investment. Whenever possible, shake the dust off your MG the easy way – Drive!

Safety Fast!

Art Isaacs

31st Annual Chicagoland British Car Festival

Story by Bruce Magers, Photos by Frank Ochal

The 31st annual Chicagoland British Car Festival was held on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois just outside of Chicago. The show is organized by a consortium of British Car Clubs in the Chicago area. It has become the premier event for those interested in British cars.

Each year the show features hundreds of automobiles ranging from those in Concours condition to just normal everyday drivers. This year was no exception as approximately 600 cars were gathered on the field representing virtually every marque produced in England. Door prizes and popular vote awards were presented to the lucky winners.

The weather was perfect – sunny and mild which obviously helped boost attendance. In addition to the vast array of stunning vehicles there was also a display of British motorcycles for those who “like their fun on two wheels”. British food was provided by food stands. Numerous vendors were also in attendance offering everything for the British car fan.

The American MGB Association (AMGBA) was on the field welcoming old members and signing up several new participants. If you have not had the opportunity to attend this popular event be sure to mark your calendar for the 32nd annual event which will be held on September 9, 2017 at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois. For further information go to www.britishcarunion.com or www.mgclub.org.

’77 B of Don Boudwin from Clayton, Delaware

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’77 B of Don Boudwin from Clayton, Delaware. Here is his story:

My interest first started in MG’s in 1979 when a friend of mine showed me his 1976 MGB, after driving his for a few weeks I needed to get my own. I saw a 1977 MGB in the newspaper for sale at Maple Shade Mazda in New Jersey in November 1980, I went to see it, test drove it and bought it on site for $2,350.00. It had 21,400 miles on it.

In the first few years, I had a few what turned out to be common issues, the car would shut off without warning which was the Lucas ignition module mounted on the distributor,

I installed a dual point distributor to end that issue. In 1987 the clutch went out, I planned to fix it myself until I read the first step “REMOVE ENGINE”. I had the clutch replaced at Christopher’s MG shop in Ocean City NJ. The car slowly developed rusty areas and had a few minor operational issues,

In 2012, I decided to bring it back and had extensive body work done. That was about a two year process. I then had engine work suspension work and most recently had the clutch hydraulic’s completely replaced along with some other maintenance issues.

I have been attending car shows for many years and when Don Henderson of the British Car Club of Delaware invited me to the Delaware City show, much to my surprise my B won 1st place. My car was finally, after many years, presentable.

Technical Section – MGB Engine Replacement

Please note: Questions and answers and Upkeep and Performance Hints are provided for information and advice purposes. No liability either express or implied is assumed by reliance on the information presented either by the writers or the AMGBA.

Some or all of the below is from our message board at http://board.amgba.com, Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/americanmgbassociation. This is just a part of what appears there and in the member magazine.

Also be sure to see our message board on our website and Facebook group for immediate help from fellow members.

Q:     I’m hoping you or another member can help. I recently bought an 18GH engine to replace my worn out 18V in my ’78 MGB. The problem is we can’t seem to get the drivers side engine mount to fit correctly. We have both the old style and new style mounts, but neither lines up to both the block and the frame. Is there any modification or kit we can get to accomplish this. Please let me know as the summer is here and I’d like to get back on the road.

Brian Turner, Beachwood, New Jersey

A:     The 18V and 18GH engines are certainly interchangeably replaceable as compete units, but there are differences in the engines and bodies.

While it is said the B was unchanged for it’s entire run, the rubber bumper body looks the same, but was heavily altered to meet later crash standards and there are differences that make the swap a bit more than removing one and sliding the other into place.

In your case, the major difference you see is in those minor differences in the body sheet metal and require that you swap the front engine plate with your old engine’s to assure the mounts line-up and to use the later motor mounts.

In addition to changing the front engine plate and mounts, you may also encounter some interference between the left front motor mount and the bulge of the oil gallery that runs just inside the engine block in that area. So you may have to use a grinder or some judicial use of a BFM (mallet as opposed to a hammer) with a block of wood to move (or remove) the sheet metal flanges and panel enough give you the clearance for it to fit.  You should be able to do this without doing damage to the car.

I hope that helps you.  Take photos to share and let me know what you find when you get into it.

Safety Fast!
Art Isaacs

Q (part 2): We got the “new” engine in and running, but it heats up and over very quickly and the headers became cherry red also. We blocked the hose that would have gone to the choke outlet as described earlier, but it doesn’t seem the coolant is circulating. Is there something we missed about this outlet that is preventing circulation?

Brian Turner, Beachwood, New Jersey

A (part 2): There are any number of reasons the coolant wouldn’t flow or the engine would overheat.  Blocking the choke water outlets is not one of them.  Fast questions:

The cheap stuff to check first:
– Did you check or change the thermostat?  A stuck stat will stop or restrict coolant flow.  Just remove it to see if anything improves.  You can replace it afterward.
– Did you flush the engine before installing it?  You can still do that as you remove the stat.  Take the lower hose off  as well and flush both the engine and the radiator from the top to see what comes out.  Run it with just water now (no fear of freezing) and replace the proper coolant when you are satisfied with its operation.
– Have you removed and inspected, cleaned or changed the water pump? Hoses? Have you checked the heater control valve to see if it’s blocked?  If it is, that often means gunk or corrosion in the engine.
– Have you checked the timing?  That should be set per the engine spec, not as the car would be. Too far off and they do overheat.
– Is the carb running too lean?  Tends to run hot if it is, but not to the extent you seem to describe.
– Have you tried running the heater with the fan on to see if it runs cooler? If it does run cooler, that indicates other possible problems than flow.

The big stuff:
– Do you know the history of this engine?  Why was it available?
– Have you done a pressure check on the cooling system?  Head gaskets leaking internally are a fairly common issue on these engines, as are cracked heads.  A pressure test generally shows this up, even if there is no external leakage.  Often the only external leakage seen might be a moist line of coolant at the head gasket below the spark plugs.
– Having run it hot and had it overheat, is there coolant in the oil? Or white smoke (water vapor) exiting the exhaust?  Or coolant backing out of the overflow pipe? If there is, see above.
– Was the radiator checked for blockages or the cap replaced or tested?

Check these out and then let’s talk further.  Talk to you later.  Good luck.
Art Isaacs

Q (part 3): Here are some pics of a question we have.

What do we do about this?

Brian Turner, Beachwood, New Jersey







A(part 3): Not a major issue.  Of course the difference is the outlet fitting for your water heated choke from the Stromberg 175CD carb on your old engine.

Older engines with twin SU carbs never had them because they all used a manual choke.

If you are continuing to use the single Stromberg, then you would either have to change the heads between engines or covert your carb to a manual or electric choke and blank or plug the other end of the choke heater hose.  The manual choke conversion kit is available from Moss (part number 386-325, about $125), which is more than I can say for the replacement choke heater hoses for the Stromberg.  I have not see the electric kit of late.  These conversions are easier to do than changing the heads.

It is also much cheaper than swapping to an HF44 carb (Victoria British part number 3-740, about $750), which includes a new air cleaner and the manual choke kit, but is otherwise a bolt-in conversion.  But the performance difference may be worth it.

There is also the Weber downdraft conversion, which requires new air cleaner and intake manifold (both included) as well as an exhaust manifold and engine pipe (both not included) and linkage modifications, but you could get the electric choke version of that carb (Victoria British part number 3-450, about $700), which does not require the manual or water choke connections.  Again the performance will be much better than the original 175CD carb.

If you have the twin SU carbs, manifolds and linkages from the donor car, and your local emissions laws allow the swap, that might be the best way to go.  The head on the engine you are swapping-in does not have the outlet, so it’s just the front that needs to be blanked and you need the choke cable, which can be the actual MG part or one available from the universal parts rack at any Advance, NAPA or Pep Boys shop.

I hope this helps you, but write or call any time if you have any other questions.  Good luck.

Safety Fast!
Art Isaacs

Wheaton, Illinois Autojumble

The Wheaton, Illinois Autojumble & Swap Meet was held March 19, 2017 and is organized and conducted by the Chicagoland MG Club alone although it has the enthusiastic support of all the other British car clubs in the Chicago area. The event now includes all marques of European sports cars and motorcycles and is conducted with the goal of providing a meeting place of buyers and sellers of used parts, new parts, accessory items, tools, memorabilia and just about anything else of interest to the European sports car and motorcycle enthusiast.

The 13,200 sq. ft. facility had 65 vendors occupying 85 spaces displaying their wares. Over 550 shoppers participated. The American MGB Association participated with a table where it welcomed members with club information and club regalia for sale.

Chicagoland Autojumble in Wheaton, Illinois Chicagoland Autojumble in Wheaton, Illinois


for MGB, MGB-GT and MG Midget owners

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