26th Annual Chicagoland British Car Festival Delights Hundreds
Story by Jack Feldman, photos by Elliott Dudnick, Rich Ziolkowski, Stephanie Quirk and Steve Partman
Once again British car owners and enthusiasts were greeted by blue skies and gentle breezes. Owners displayed over 500 cars and motorcycles which were appreciated by more that 1,400 British car enthusiasts. The event took place on Sunday, September 9, 2012 at Harper college just outside of Chicago, Illinois. The Festival was sponsored by the British Car Union, a not for profit organization, made up of representatives of over a dozen Chicago British car clubs.
It was an ideal day to explore other marques and meet other lovers of British cars. Vendors came from all over the country selling everything from books to rare parcels for restoration. Entertainment was supplied by bagpiper Scott McCawley, and the graceful Thistle and Highland dancers.
A special traveling coffee mug was waiting for the first 500 registrants, and many automobile related door prizes were awarded. For the hungry enthusiast food vendors presented traditional delights.
The Donald M. Healey Memorial Rally on Saturday started the festivities. Awards for the winners were presented Sunday at the festival.
Mark your calendar for our 27th Annual Festival on September 8, 2013. Next year’s event will again be held at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. It is an event you won’t want to miss. Be sure to watch our website at www.britishcarunion.com for the latest information.
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Historic Natchez, Mississippi – home to American MGB Association Meet 2013
Meet 2013 will be held in historic Natchez, Mississippi on September 20 -21, 2013 in conjunction with the English Motoring Club’s Brits on the Bluff.
The show will be held on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River on Saturday with a pre-show get together on Friday night. Natchez is the oldest city on the Mississippi, the start of the Natchez trail and was a strategic location during the civil war.
The host hotel is The Vue Hotel (phone number: 888-946-4727) which has a block of rooms as the English Motoring Club.
Contact the American MGB Association at 773-769-7084, email: email@example.com, www.mgclub.org or in Mississippi: John Turbeville at 601-940-5288, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.msemc.org
The latest Queen B is the ’71 B-GT of Dennis Haag. Here is his story with photos:
I got the car from Michigan. When the car was unloaded from the carrier the brakes were not working. I have put new brakes, battery, alternator and have replaced the painted wires with some chrome wires I found locally. I have chrome air filters, an alloy valve cover and a steering wheel to be installed. Much is planned for this little car as the checkbook allows.
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The 1973 MGB was a present from my wife in 2006. The 1972 I bought to drive and fix up. This turned in to a complete restoration.
The birth of the MGB in MG’s Abingdon Design & Development Office (Those were the days…)
This is the inside story of the MG Design office, from 1956 until its closure in 1980. Explaining how the various models were drawn, planned, and developed by the small team of engineers, it also shows how the input and control changed from Morris, Wolseley, Riley Group, Austin-Morris, and Austin Rover. The effects of the Triumph-Austin merger are detailed in model changes, alongside the effects of safety legislation, mainly imposed by the United States.
Trying to remain as individual as possible during this period, MG developed record breakers and a unique Competition Department. Special cars were built and tested, and prototypes for the MGB replacement were drawn up – all in parallel with the development of MG production cars using engines from any part of the BMC company.
The continuing support of the American market was essential and much valued, but the company’s market support prioritized the TR7 – a decision that, ultimately, led to the closure of a successful, happy company.
Don Hayter was the chief engineer at MG Abingdon from 1973 to 1980. He also worked on many famous cars earlier in his career including the MGA, MG ZA and ZB Magnettes. His best achievement as an automotive engineer was the body design of the MGB roadster.
The book should be in the library of every MG enthusiast.
“Don Hayter’s MGB Story” can be ordered from Motorbooks International at 1-800-458-8100 or www.motorbooks.com for $24.95 plus shipping. It can also be ordered at Amazon at www.amazon.com for $16.47 plus shipping.
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’80 B of Flo Cyr along with her granddaughter, Casey. She just turned 16 years of age and she is driving now with a permit. This was the first time she had ever driven a standard shift car and when she came back home she said “your car is hard to drive!” but the first time she sat in it she said “Wow!”.
Here is my ’79 MGB with overdrive and under 11,000 original miles. Everything works great on it and it gets 30.6 mpg using premium gas. It is a great car and I had it restored in 2011.
Story by Bruce Magers, photos by Frank Ochal
The American MGB Association (AMGBA) a nationally recognized organization headquartered in Chicago for MGB’s,MGB-GT’s and Midgets held it’s 35th annual meet on September 15th, 2012 in Ocean Grove, New Jersey on the famous Jersey shore. The gathering was in conjunction with Brits on the Beach 15th annual British Car Day sponsored by the Positive Earth Drivers Club (PEDC).
The show was staged on a two block section of the main street of Ocean Grove just two blocks from the ocean and the boardwalk. Ocean Grove is a charming town featuring many restaurants, interesting shops and numerous Victorian homes. The weather was perfect which only added to the already ideal setting.
Approximately 150 cars representing every marque from MGs to Morgans and Rolls Royce to Riley were represented. There was a low-key popular vote. All of the MGB’s, MGB-GT’s and Midget winners received trophies sponsored by the AMGBA.
In addition to the cars there was a DJ playing music ranging from the 40′s to the present which added greatly to the festivities.
The AMGBA officers were busy all day enrolling new members and processing regalia sales. It was great to see our chief technical adviser, Art Isaacs at the show. We were also surprised when the American MGB Association founders, Rick Horan and John Giannasca stopped by to say hello.
In spite of the fact that the event was held on the Jersey Shore and in addition to numerous reports there was no official sighting of Snookie from the MTV Show “Jersey Shore”!! Maybe next year?
The AMGBA wishes to thank Bob Canfield and his fellow members of the PEDC for hosting such a well organized event. Information on next years show can be obtained by going to their website at www.pedc.org. Information on next year’s AMGBA Meet 2013 can be found at www.mgclub.org.
MGB Chrome Bumper
1. Peter Richardson, ’67 B-GT
2. Reg Savoy, ’64 B Roadster
3. Robert Waldron, ’62 B Roadster
MGB Rubber Bumper
1. Carolyn Baranowski, ’75 B Roadster
2. Al Kernagis, ’80 B Limited Edition
3. Barry Shandler, ’79 B Roadster
The long awaited University Motors Summer Party Reunion was held August 17 – August 19, 2012. John Twist, along with his staff, did a great job in organizing this first Summer Party since 2007. It was great to renew old acquaintances and see so many MGs as the photos here show.
by Doug Hamilton
So why would anyone go and buy a 33 year old car without seeing it in person? On top of that, the individual already had a car of the same type and color and 12 years newer. I could have been accused of the old saying, “when they gave out heads, I thought they said beds and asked for a soft one”.
It all started late in 1976 when I tried to order a TR6, but much to my chagrin at the time, these cars were no longer being made. My father at the time was a pilot for TWA and I was able to order a car overseas and save between 15 and 20 per cent of the cost, with additional savings on shipping. When they told me production had stopped on the TR6, I decided to keep it British and go for the MGB. I picked up the car in January of 1977 and have been driving it ever since.
Throughout all the years of driving the ’77, the only thing I wished British Leyland had not done is go to the rubber bumpers in 1975. I like chrome. And it I ever got one, I would definitely get it insured with Aviva.
In the fall of 1998 I attended (for the first time ever for an event like this) the “British Invasion” held the third weekend in September. The event takes over the town of Stowe, Vermont. There in front of my eyes were many, many MGB’s with beautiful chrome bumpers. Yes, that started me thinking.
When I got back from the show, a neighbor, knowing that I needed a part for my 77, offered me a shell for a ’65if I wanted it for nothing. All I had to do was to go and get it off his land. When I saw it, I noticed the car was only good for parts but with it, came a factory optional hardtop in very good condition but not in a good color. Since I already had a top for the 77, I knew this was fate and went on line searching. At this point, my wife was seemingly behind the whole idea.
I could not find a “B” on the net to my liking so I put an ad out there myself in the beginning of October 1998. I received about 5 replies. The first one came from a fellow down in New Mexico with just the one I was looking for. The first line of his note said, “I know this is probably too far for you but …”, my reply to him agreed that it was a little too far but thanked him for his time and effort to contact me. A few days went by and I could not get it off my mind because there was no rust on the car and it had been in the same family since its purchase in 1965. So, what did I do? Of course, I contacted him again and asked if he could send me some photos of the car. He said, “better than that, how about if I make a video of the car and send it to you?” What a great idea!
Now of course, about this time, my wife started to figure I was getting serious and decided to try to bring me back down to Earth by asking, “how can you justify us having two MGB’s?” My reply was quick, “Linda, the first is hard to justify, the second one is easy”.
The video came in about 7 days. Our 16 year old son was at home when I viewed it. The car was in really good shape with a lot of potential for the future. Of course the sobering words of my wife kept coming back to me. When she arrived home, I told her to at least look at the video and then I would send it back to the owner in New Mexico. After looking at the video for only 15 seconds she said excitedly, “You did tell the guy we are going to buy it, right?” Within a minute, I was on the phone sealing the deal.
Now to get the car back to Massachusetts. I looked into having it shipped but because the car had not been run in about 8 years, it would have been much more expensive, approximately $1100. So, being of Scottish descent and therefore basically “thrifty”, I said why not, I will go down there myself and pick it up, put it on a trailer I would soon borrow from a friend and haul it behind my 1994 Ford Explorer.
I left on a Friday morning in early November, made it to New Mexico on Sunday night and started back for home on Monday morning. This included a big detour in Illinois to visit some friends that I had not seen in years. On the way back, I stopped to see my brother and his family in Kentucky for a day. For the trip, I set the back of the Explorer up with some pads, a sleeping bag and pillows, deciding to sleep in rest areas along the way when I got tired. I usually drove until 1 or 2 in the morning and slept for a few hours. I made it back to Massachusetts on late Thursday night, so I was gone on the whole trip for just less than a week. Of yes, and of course 4500 miles and no breakdowns (I knew there was an MG god looking over me).
I put the car away for the winter, changing the coolant and put some “marvel” oil in the cylinders. In June, deciding I had some extra cash, I said to my friend, Steve Curtin who owns a service station, “let’s see if we can get this thing going”. He called me at work a couple of hours later and said, “listen to this”, and in the background was the unmistakable sound of the MG engine purring. After eight years of being stored in a garage in New Mexico, all my friend had to do was drain the gas tank. Drain the bowls on the carbs, drop in some new spark plugs, fill up the tank with new gas, hook up a new battery and it started right up. Yes, all this in just under two hours. I have to admit, I was expecting maybe something a little more. But who is complaining?
Eventually we had to put a new exhaust system in place as well a new top but that has been it. I have driven it for about 2500 miles and have had a ball. I have to admit I have been caught talking to my 77 saying that I was not ignoring it and hat I still liked it just as much as before.
Now after all that has happened and someone asks me if I would do it all over again I reply, “heck, yes, besides, I still have all the maps from AAA. I like chrome even more now.