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

 

40th Annual AMGBA Meet 2017 in participation with the South Alabama British Car Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

 Online registration and more information at the 2017 SABCC British Car Festival website at www.sabcc.org/bcf2017.htm .

The American MGB Association’s 40th Annual Meet – AMGBA MEET 2017 – for the MGB, MGB-GT & Midget – in participation with the South Alabama British Car Festival in

Fairhope, Alabama – October 14, 2017

MG sports car production as we know it was discontinued in 1980 with the closing of the famed Abingdon-On-Thames works in the United Kingdom. But these modern day classics are being preserved forever here in North America by members of the American MGB Association which serves enthusiastic MGB, MGB-GT, and MG Midget owners throughout the USA, Canada and throughout the world. Each year, the AMGBA holds its National Meet.

The 1978 initial gathering was held in Chicago. In 1979 and 1980 the AMGBA National Conventions were held in New York state, in Ithaca and Glens Falls. The organization’s success led to renting the world famous Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway in 1981 for the AMGBA National Convention. In 1982, the AMGBA held its National Convention outside the USA in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In the years 1983 and 1984, the AMGBA went west for the first time in Lake Tahoe, California and Boulder, Colorado. In 1985, the AMGBA held two conventions in Santa Barbara, California and Abingdon, Illinois. In 1986, we visited Texas during its 150 year anniversary in San Antonio, Texas and in 1987 we visited the Saratoga Springs area of beautiful upstate New York. In 1988, the convention site was Kansas City, Missouri. In 1989, we visited the Great Northwest part of our country in Springfield, Oregon.

In 1990 the convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia which was a first for that area of the country. In 1991 we returned to the site of our first convention in Chicago and in 1992, we returned to the West Coast to the beautiful San Francisco Bay area in Palo Alto, California. In 1993, we traveled to New England at Keene, New Hampshire near the site of the Westminster MG Museum. In 1994, we went for the first time to the San Diego, California area at the Del Mar race track. In 1995 we went to Memphis, Tennessee, home of the blues and Elvis Presley. In 1996 we joined with all of the major MG clubs in North America for MG Indy ’96 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indy 500 track. In 1997 we were on the West Coast in the San Francisco area at Palo Alto, California. In 1998, we were in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Lake Campus of Davidson College. In 1999, we went to Los Angeles, California.

In 2000, we went to Armagh, Pennsylvania and joined with the TRF Summer Party and in 2001 we were in Houston, Texas for the Houston MG Club’s All British Motor Vehicle Exposition. In 2002 we again went to the San Francisco, California area for the Palo Alto British Car Meet. For 2003 we visited Florida and the Space Coast in Titusville, Florida. In 2004, we visited picturesque Cape Cod in Massachusetts for the Cape Cod British Car Club’s British Legends Weekend. In 2005, we were in San Diego, California at Fairbrook Farms in Bonsall for San Diego British Car Day. We were in Maryland in 2006 at the MGs on the Rocks Show and in 2007 we went to Charlotte, North Carolina at the MGs on the Green Show. In 2008 we were in Armagh, Pennsylvania with The Roadster Factory Summer Party and for 2009 we planned for a show in the Central Valley of California.

In 2010 we went to Sussex, Wisconsin for the British Car Field Day. For 2011 we were in Ohio for the first time at Dayton in conjunction with the Annual British Car Day at Eastwood Metropark. We went to the Jersey Shore in 2012 with the Annual Brits on the Beach Show in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. In 2013 we visited Mississippi for the first time to the oldest city on the Mississippi River in conjunction with the English Motoring Club of Mississippi’s Brits on the Bluff Show in Natchez, Mississippi. In 2014, we were at New England’s largest British car show at the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. Meet 2016 was in South Carolina at the Grand Strand British Car Club’s Britfest in Myrtle Beach. In 2016 we were in Virginia for the first time in Waynesboro at the Shenandoah Valley British Car Festival.

For 2017 we will make our initial trip to Alabama in Fairhope which is near Mobile and the Gulf Coast at the South Alabama British Car Festival whose website is www.sabcc.org .

It promises to be a great time and a memorable experience for all that attend. For more information contact the above, write to the American MGB Association, 5433 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60640, call 773-769-7084, email us at info@mgclub.org  or explore our website at www.mgclub.org .

The American MGB Association (AMGBA) is North America’s oldest, largest and best cub for all MGBs, MGB-GTs and Midgets.  It was established in 1975 and has provided continuous services to owners of MGBs, MGB-GTs and Midgets throughout North America since then. National conventions have been held annually since 1978 from New York to California and Texas to Canada. Membership in the AMGBA is not required to attend but it is encouraged. For membership info call 773-769-7084, email: info@mgclub.org

, website: www.mgclub.org or write to: AMGBA, 5433 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60640 U.S.A. Membership is $35 per year or $45 per year outside the U.S.A.

’74 MGB of Brian Childs of Savannah, Georgia

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 MGB of Brian H. Childs of Savannah, Georgia. Here is his story:

My name is Brian H. Childs and my wife completely surprised me this past Christmas with a 1974 totally restored MGB with Sabrina bumpers. It was restored from a junk over four years by a retired Navy mechanic in Atlanta, GA. I am attaching a composite of pictures chronicling the process of restoration and a couple of the finish car including one of the engine compartment. Yes, he installed air conditioning!

I now have this jewel in my garage here in Savannah and my wife and I have enjoyed road trips around the coast and in the countryside. I had one as a young Marine officer and pilot in the late sixties and early seventies and this one brings back fond memories.

I would love to see what my story and photos in the Octagon.

Editor’s Note: You got your wish

British Sports Car Hall of Fame

Celebrating the history and heritage of British sports cars and the people that made them legendary.

The British Sports Car Hall of Fame was established as an
independent entity in 2016 to preserve and perpetuate the legacy and impact of these legendary vehicles and to honor the men and women responsible for their success. Induction into the Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made a significant and lasting impact on the British sports car industry and hobby, making it a singular honor for a lifetime of achievement. By celebrating the memory of the dedicated individuals that played key roles, the Hall can serve as a touchstone for British sports car enthusiasts of all ages and interests, furthered by its various preservation and education initiatives. The Hall is supported by individual and corporate contributions.

More info at www.britishsportscarhall.org .

American MGB Association Advertisers – Insurance, Parts, Service

These are the people and services that help bring information to ourclub members by advertising in our club publication, the Octagon.  Please support them.

Insurance

J. C. Taylor Insurance, 1-888-ANTIQUE, www.JCTaylor.com
collector car agreed value insurance

Parts

Apple Hydraulics, 1-800-882-7753, www.applehydraulics.com
shock absorbers, brakes, carburetors

APT Instruments, 1-877-856-7103 (toll free), www.gaugeguys.com
Smiths instruments, gauges for British cars

British Wiring, 1-866-461-9050, www.BritishWiring.com
wiring harnesses, wire and terminals for all British classic cars & motorcycles

British Automotive, 415-883-7200, www.mgbmga.com
brakes, engines, suspension for MGAs and MGBs

British Car Specialists, 209-948-8767, www.BritishCarSpecialists.com
restoration, service, repairs, parts for British cars

British Car Part Restoration, 951-678-4182, Lake Elsinore, CA, info@british-car-part-restoration.com
restorations, parts and service for all British cars

Little British Car Company, 1-800-637-9640, www.LBCarCo.com
British car parts, their service puts them apart from the restClick here to visit Little British Car Co, LBCarCo

Moss Motors, 1-800-667-7872, www.mossmotors.com
parts, tech tips and more!

Northwest Import Parts, 503-245-3806, www.northwestimportparts.com
quality parts, knowledgeable and friendly service, same day shipping!

Parts for your MGB, MGB-GT and Midget, http://parts.mgclub.org
parts for all MGs and other vehicles!

SC Parts Group, +44(0) 12 93 8472 00, www.scparts.co.uk
parts for all British cars and the 123 Ignition

The Roadster Factory, 1-800-234-1104, www.the-roadster-factory.com
The Roadster Factory Will Pay Your AMGBA Dues!

Victoria British Ltd., 1-800-255-0088, www.VictoriaBritish.com
great prices on original equipment, reproduction and high performance parts and accessories

Publications and Literature

AMGBA Technical Sections, 773-769-7084 , www.mgclub.org/mgreg.htm
Volume I, II, III and IV.  Copies of technical topics published in the AMGBA Octagon.

Books4Cars, 1-888-380-9277, www.books4cars.com
books and manuals for all MGs

British Marque, 401-766-6920, www.britishmarque.com
car club news from clubs across the country and the U.K.

MG original sales literature, 315-432-8282, www.autolit.com
original sales brochures for most cars & trucks

Service

About Time Restorations, 860-301-8621, Essex, CT,  www.abouttimect.com/automotive-restoration-services.html, martin@abouttimect.com
30 years of experience in MG repair and restoration, they also buy MGs and other British cars

White Post Restorations, 540-837-1140, White Post, VA, www.whitepost.com
Sleeve and rebuild brakes: master, wheel, calipers, servo, slave, clutch cylinders and booster, reline shoes

for MGB, MGB-GT and MG Midget owners