The MGs in My Life
By Dr. Dean Saluti, Director, Boston Area MG Club
It was the summer of 1966. I had just graduated from high school and I lived with parents in Quincy, MA. My father had decided that I needed a car to commute into the city for my freshman year at Boston University. It was his idea to take me to a small used car dealership in East Milton, MA. He found a 1962 MG Midget. It was red, it was beautiful, and it had neat plastic windows that came on and off the door panels. I was fascinated. We dipped into my “college fund” that I had built up from working hard at a local supermarket, as a caddy at a local golf course, and as a paper boy. For $600, I became an instant MG fanatic.
About a year later, a friend of mine from high school asked me if I would be interested in buying his MGA. I had heard about MGAs, but knew no one who actually owned one. Well, it was blue with a red interior, and I quickly sold my Midget and “upgraded,” in my mind, to the A. The A was older, bigger, and faster. Thanks to my Midget, I had no problem with the removable plastic windows and the wire on the inside of the door panel that served as a “rustic” door handle. What a car!
As an ROTC Cadet, I was required to go to Basic Training during the summer between my junior and senior years at Boston University. Basic Training was to be at Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. I decided that I needed a more reliable car for the long trip from Quincy, MA to Harrisburg, PA. Of course, my idea of reliable was to go back to another 1962 MG Midget. I felt that this Midget was more reliable because it was yellow. My father, a former WWII airplane mechanic and, at the time, an airplane mechanic for Eastern Airlines, helped me make the Midget even more reliable. He put a hole in the dashboard and inserted an 8-track player and put speakers in the doors. I was all set for the long trip – it was 1969 and 18-wheelers wouldn’t bother me; I could listen to the Beach Boys and the Temptations on my 8-track.
After graduation from Boston University and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, I received my first Active Duty assignment. I was to go to graduate school to get a Master’s Degree. I begrudgingly accepted this assignment even though the alternative was Vietnam. My father, the WWII veteran, convinced me that I could go to Airborne “jump school” later. During graduate school, I upgraded yet again to my first MGB. It was blue when I bought it, but I made it better. First, I had it painted white and then, I bought a white top. My friends convinced me that I should put in red shag rugs that I bought at a local rug store. I installed them myself. My father was, of course, appalled at all of this.
It was at this time that I experienced my first “mechanical setback” with an MG. My MGB just wouldn’t start. How lucky was I to have an ace mechanic as a father? He took the entire car apart. The seats came out. The car was jacked up. The wheels came off. The engine came apart. He worked with this car for about a week. After he had disassembled the entire car, he came to the correct conclusion that his “idiot son” had run out of gas. Years later, my father was 88 years old and failing with Alzheimer’s. He was sleeping and I lovingly kissed him good night on his bald head. Suddenly, his eyes opened wide, he awakened, and yelled at me, “Dean, you idiot! You forgot to put gas in the MG!”
Over the years, I have owned 8 MGs. My 1969 red MGB, referred to as the “Red Jewel,” is my very best yet. It’s got a new Moss black rugged interior (not shag), new black leather seats with red piping, a beautiful top that has never been removed so that the plastic windows are perfect, Bluetooth, Sirius radio, and automatic door locks. Recently, I installed a badge bar for Lucas “flame throwers” with Lucas covers and several antique badges. What a car! My wife, Marjorie Cahn, and I are very proud of this jewel. But every time I get behind the wheel and we go off to a car show or an organized ride, I hear that voice lovingly bringing back the reality of my complete lack of mechanical ability – “Dean, you idiot! You forgot to put gas in the MG!”
AMGBA MEET 2014
FOR ALL MGs
September 19-21, 2014
in conjunction with New England’s largest British Car Show – The British Invasion
A Weekend Celebration and Salute to the Great British Motorcar and British Lifestyle
Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa at 1746 Mountain Rd, Stowe, Vermont,
phone: 1-800-253-2232, website: www.stoweflake.com
will offer special accommodation packages
the American MGB Association at 773-769-7084
or AMGBA, P. O. Box 11401, Chicago, IL 60611; fax: 773-769-3240
if you are planning to attend contact the above to
be placed on a mailing list for any last minute details.
The American MGB Association (AMGBA) 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 the convention but it is encouraged. For membership info call 773-769-7084 or write to:
AMGBA, P. O. Box 11401, Chicago, IL 60611 U.S.A.
Membership is $35 per year or $45 per year outside the U.S.A.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The American MGB Association’s 37th Annual Meet – AMGBA MEET 2014 – for the MGB, MGB-GT & Midget – Stowe, Vermont – September 19-21, 2014.
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.
Headquartered in Chicago, the AMGBA 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.
For 2014, we will be at New England’s largest British car show at The 24th British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont.
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, P.O. Box 11401, Chicago, IL 60611, call 773-769-7084, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or explore our website at www.mgclub.org .
90 Years of MG
from Auto Express
We celebrate MG’s special birthday in 2014 with a round-up of star cars old and new
It’s been a roller coaster ride for MG, but 2014 marks 90 years since founder Cecil Kimber registered the company as a car manufacturer. And what better way to celebrate than to bring some classic MGs together with the brand’s current cars, and see how far it has come?
It all started when Kimber was working as a sales manager at Oxford-based car dealer Morris Garages in the twenties. He turned his hand to upgrading the regular Morris models on the forecourt, and these proved so popular, he branded them as MGs through his newly founded company. In the years that followed, the MG badge became synonymous with sporty and affordable roadsters and saloons.
It’s suffered a rocky path, though, with a takeover by Morris Motors in 1935, before being absorbed into the huge BMC conglomerate in 1952. MG suffered in the seventies under British Leyland, and was taken over countless times, until the doors closed on the factory in Longbridge, W Mids, in 2005. But MG is back, with a new owner aiming to turn it into a global brand.
Nine decades separate Old Number One from the latest MG3, and while the 90th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to reflect on MG’s history, the company’s current owners are very much looking forwards.
Car assembly has returned to Longbridge, but perhaps more importantly the West Midlands plant is a hive of activity, with designers and engineers working to develop future MGs. Marketing director Guy Jones said: “Our long-term plan is to establish MG as a global brand. We have a development team at Longbridge because the UK has the talent that will allow us to deliver strong products.
“Having a leading manufacturer [Chinese owner SAIC] behind us gives us the resources to expand.” And development is progressing quickly, with the MG6 diesel already made more efficient, and new engines in the pipeline.
But this progress doesn’t come at the expense of MG’s traditional values, according to chassis man Andy Kitson. “I always liked Cecil Kimber’s philosophy that an MG didn’t necessarily need to be fast, as long as it handled well,” he said. “That’s what we’ve aimed for, and is why the new cars are developed on UK roads. The forthcoming SUV [opposite] will stick with this tradition.”
The company has the foundations for global expansion in the MG3, MG6 and SUV, so when will it return to its roots and build a sports car? It’s not on the cards yet, but is a definite consideration for the future. “Once we’re established, we can think about building a sports car flagship,” said Jones.
An American MGB Association featured car is the Queen B is the ’76 B of Jeff Louis. Here is his story:
I purchased my 1976 MG in Santa Monica California in September 2009. It took a week long journey across the United States from California to Ohio. I am the third owner and the car was 100% original and rust free when I purchased it. It is a 50th Anniversary Edition finished in harvest gold with a black interior and black top. Only North America export MGs, manufactured between June thru December 1975, had the 50th Anniversary trim. This consists of “1925-1975″ Badge on the dashboard, gold & black MG Octagon emblems on the boot lid and front bumper and a gold background MG on the steering wheel hub. My MG was manufactured on October 3rd 1975; and the harvest gold is rare for my model year since it was discontinued in December 1975 and replaced with sandglow.
My restoration started with a complete strip down to the bare metal and a fresh repaint of the original harvest gold in a modern basecoat clearcoat process. My engine had almost 100K on the odometer and was equipped with the California Emissions package. I completely rebuilt the engine and replaced the single Zenith Stromberg carburetor with a Dual SU carburetor set up from a 1969 MG B donor car. I also equipped my MG with a Falcon stainless steel exhaust system. I also restored my interior with a new set of carpet and new foam for the seats. To add to the originality of my car, I added an original British Leyland Bendix radio I purchased on an on line auction.
I am very excited to have my MG B finished in time for the upcoming summer driving season. My MG B is a 50th Anniversary edition and we shared the same milestone in 2013. I celebrated my 50th birthday in July and I can’t think of a better birthday present than driving my harvest gold B.
27th Annual Chicagoland British Car Festival Delights Hundreds
Story by Jack Feldman, photos by Frank Ochal, Elliott Dudnick, Rich Ziolkowski, Stephanie Quirk and Steve Partman
British car owners and enthusiasts were greeted by threatening skies and strong breezes but that did not diminish the enthusiasm. 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 8, 2013 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 British Car Union cap 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 28th Annual Festival on September 7, 2014. 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.
This issue’s Queen B is the ’71 B of Marshall Moore. Here is his story:
All my life I have been a “car hound”, attracted to just about anything with four wheels on it. Having grown up on a university town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I had seen sports cars around town regularly. I grew to know all the various marques from seeing them as well as reading every automotive journal I could get my hands on. After I got out of college and had been working for about a year, I spotted a gold 1972 MGB on the local dealer’s lot. It was just two years old and really caught my eye. Once I drove it, I was hooked so I worked it out with the dealership to trade in my one year old Toyota on the MGB. The B was fitted with overdrive, Ansa exhaust, driving lights and was a real joy to drive (when it behaved itself). It was, indeed, my first exposure to ownership of a British sports car.
A couple of years later, I moved to my first of 7 TVRs, a marque which would become a passion of mine for over 35 years. Then, about three years ago, after selling my last TVR, I decided to look for another MGB, or in essence, to come full circle back to where I started my sports car journey.
I first spotted a very nice MGB-GT out in the Midwest that was very attractive but was sold before I could get to it. Then a friend in the local British Car Club here in southwest Virginia told me about one he had just placed an ad for in our newsletter for someone in his town. It was a 1971, teal blue with black interior and top. The car was reasonably priced so I made the hour’s drive down to see the car. The top was in rough shape, and the interior needed a new upholstery kit. The car drove OK but obviously needed servicing and the front end was loose.
However, I was able to negotiate a good price for the car so I went back a week later with my trailer and picked the car up. I got a new Robbins top for the car and a new seat kit with new foam, etc and that began to really enhance the MG. I had it serviced. The car was grossly out of tune and ran enormously better once it had been properly tuned. The front shocks were worn out so they have been replaced with uprated shocks, the tie rod ends, bushings and steering rack boots have been replaced and the car drives like a dream now.
When I purchased the car, I was unaware that it, like my original 1971 B, was also fitted with overdrive. My mechanic made me aware of it, but it had to be reworked so it would function properly. And I just added a new Touring Trophy wooden 14″ steering wheel to replace the 15″ wheel that was original to the car. And finally, I went by our local British car dealer one day and inquired as to whether he might have a decent used tonneau cover to fit the car. He rummaged through piles of stuff he had in inventory since he had been a new MG dealer back in the day and found a new old stock, factory original, tonneau cover to fit my car for only $150.00!
Now, with winter finally gone, I can begin enjoying my B for many years to come. And, to top it all off, my 2 year old granddaughter’s name is Madison Grace, (initials MG) so perhaps this will be handed down to her when she is old enough to drive it.
story by Bruce Magers, photos by Frank Ochal
The American MGB Association (AMGBA), a nationally recognized organization for MGB’s, MGB-GT’s and Midgets held it’s 36th annual meet on September 20th and 21st, 2013 in Natchez, Mississippi.
The meet was hosted by the English Motoring Club (EMC) of Mississippi which sponsors their annual Brits on the Bluff show each year in Natchez, Mississippi. Natchez is the oldest city on the Mississippi River and also the start of the famous Natchez Trail. Many antebellum homes have been carefully preserved which makes Natchez a “must see” if you are ever in the area.
The weekend got under way on Friday evening with an informal gathering at Bowie’s Tavern located just across the street from the famous Mississippi river bluffs. This location provided an opportunity for this years show participants to greet newcomers and renew old friendships in a truly historic venue.
Unfortunately the “weather gods” interrupted the planned activities on Saturday somewhat and the “bluff” portion of the Brits on the Bluff had to be moved from the grassy (now muddy) field on the bluff to the parking lot at the hotel. The rain did stop at the proper time which allowed the days events to go on as planned. The British tradition of keeping a “stiff upper lip” prevailed and it all went on without a hitch. Kudos to all of the EMC members and their staff!!
The AMGBA officers were kept busy all day enrolling new members and processing renewals and selling regalia items.
The AMGBA wishes to thank Charles Durning, President and John Turbeville, Vice President of the EMC and all of their members for hosting this excellent event.
Information on next years AMGBA Meet can be found at www.mgclub.org.
Here is a list of the winners in the MG categories:
MGB Chrome Bumper:
1st – Clay Johnston, ’72 harvest gold, Mt. Olive, MS
2nd – Blake Sonnier, ’72 yellow, Lake Charles, LA
3rd – Richard Bishop, ’66 white, Fairhope, AL
MGB Rubber Bumper:
1st – Grady & Donna Wilkerson, ’78 red, Brookhaven, MS
2nd – Danny Varnado, ’76 red, Denham Springs, LA
3rd – Armand Breard ’74 red, Monroe, LA
1st – Jim Lynch, ’74 blue, Jackson, MS
2nd – Jim Enzman, ’74 yellow, Meadville, MS
1st – Steve Whitlow, ’74 red, Jackson, MS
1st place Chrome Bumper MGB -
1st place Midget -
2nd place Rubber Bumper MGB -
Bruce Magers with English Motoring
1st place B-GT -
1st place Rubber Bumper MGB -
2nd place Chrome Bumper MGB -
Meet 2013 reception at
MG will re-enter the Australian market officially next month (August). The re-born Brit brand, now wholly owned by Chinese giant, SAIC, will initially offer a single model for sale and expects to appoint dealers in all eastern state capital in the coming weeks.
The first car to go on sale Down Under is the MG 6. Available in liftback (GT) and sedan (Magnette) body styles, the MG 6 is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine matched exclusively to a five-speed manual gearbox. Three equipment grades are available.
The entry-level S is priced at $22,999 (plus on-road costs), with $27,999 (plus on-road costs) buying the top of the range TSE.
MG’s newest model, the MG 3 Light segment hatch, and an as yet unnamed compact SUV model will join the MG 6 in local showrooms in 2014. An auto (dual clutch) equipped MG 6 is also on early 2014 timeline. Meantime, MG’s all-new MG 5 medium car is still on SAIC’s drawing board and is not expected to debut until 2015 at the earliest.
The new MG models are unrelated to the ill-fated re-emergence of the brand in the early 2000s. In deference to the brand’s history, however, SAIC’s MG design and engineering resources are housed at the former home of MG, Longbridge in the British Midlands.
The Australian MG importer is ground-up, all-new operation. MG Motor Australia, has purchased one of the former Rick Damelian sites on Parramatta Road in the Sydney suburb of Petersham. The new company is founded and funded by Chinese automotive interests but is a private importer distributor not connected to SAIC.
MG Motor Australia is headed by automotive enthusiast, Andrew Shaw. According to Shaw, the operation has already invested in excess of $12M in its set up. It expects to commence retail operations at its Petersham within weeks.
Also expected to be confirmed in coming weeks is MG’s first tranche of dealers.
“We’ve very close now to rubber-stamping [confirming] the first [dealers],” Shaw told motoring.com.au.
“We’re primarily looking for: New South Wales and Sydney-based; Victoria, Melbourne-based; and Queensland, Brisbane-based [dealers]…. In the next 12 months, I would see potentially no more than 20 dealers,” he said.
“We don’t want to have too many [dealers]. We want each to have enough of a patch and enough of the [retail new car] sales that we want to see happen — which are probably only going to be something in the region of 400-500 in the next six months,” he said.
Shaw believes the new MGs will attract a wide range of buyers. He says existing MG fans and aficionados will make up only a fraction of buyers. Initially, the brand will seek to appeal to buyers looking to step outside the square, he says.
“So they’re [SAIC] looking at MG as: we, we want to produce a quality product. So that’s where we need to get as many people behind the wheel, as fast as we can — so that they realise what true value there is in the car that they’re buying.
“It’s not a cheap Chinese car, but it’s a very affordable car that happens to be made by a Chinese owner — one that was designed and engineered by a team of 300-plus designers and engineers out at Longbridge; the original home of MG in the UK,” Shaw opined.
MG Motor’s UK website states the Longbridge operation is “responsible for developing the initial concepts for all new MG vehicles.
“The department also ensures that each model meets the latest in European legislation and customer requirements… Under the leadership of David Lindley, the engineers here work on all MG products for Europe, and support product development in China and other world markets.”
UK market MG 6s undergo “final assembly” at the Longbridge facility. Australian market cars are fully assembled at MG/SAIC’s production facility in Lingang, China.
Shaw says MG’s UK development team is already in regular touch with the fledgling Aussie operation.
“I interact with them on a weekly basis… So [they are interested in] nuances about the car… You want something special for Australia? What do we need? Is there anything that would be required here? [Also] Marketing promotions and ideas that they’ve had that have worked,” Shaw stated.
SAIC has built around 300,000 MGs in the last two years. The brand currently exports to over 20 markets including Latin America and the Middle East. In the UK the company sells a number of MG 6 variants including one that pays homage to the company’s entry into the British Touring car Championship.