The American MGB Association’s 41st Annual Meet – AMGBA MEET 2018 – for the MGB, MGB-GT & Midget –
in participation with the Philadelphia MG Club’s Brits at the Village Show in Lahaska, Pennsylvania – October 13, 2018
We became the unplanned owners of Tiffany, our first MG, the 72 B, in 2014. Our love affair started when I spotted an article titled “5 Classic Cars you can buy for under $5000.” Well as a car guy, I couldn’t resist reading the article. I spent 23 years of my career working in the auto industry both with GM and Delphi and have always kept my eye on the industry. Now I have to admit it had been a long time since I had considered buying a classic car and had sort of lost track of pricing, but under $5000 how could I not take a peek. To my surprise on the list was the MGB. I found it hard to believe and was intrigued enough to go to eBay and check out the claim. Sure enough I found several rubber bumper MGB’s listed for under $5000. They were of all colors, yellow, red and white. The red one looked nice and I knew my wife, Kim, always liked red sports cars. So I hauled my iPad over to where she was sitting and showed her the car. She looked up and said “well that’s nice, but I really like that one,” pointing to a 1972 aqua blue MGB. Now for my second surprise of the morning, she didn’t say no. So not being someone to miss an opportunity I did some quick research to get an idea of what a reasonable price might be. I also contacted a friend of mine, who knew a bit about classic cars, having restored many. This is when I learned one of my first lessons of MGB ownership. Those chrome bumpers are worth about $7000. Once I made up my mind on what I wanted to pay, I set my max bid price and watched the auction over the next couple of days. To my surprise I was the high bidder, but to my disappointment, I was not above the reserve price. I thought the deal was done, as I was not going higher.
Then a day or so later I received an email through eBay, asking if I was still interested in the car? Well, of course I was. So I replied. The seller and I exchanged a few emails about the vehicle where I asked him all kinds of questions about its condition, drivability, history, etc. We also came to agreement on a price as long as the car was in the condition he described. Now came the next challenge, the vehicle was in Colorado, and we lived in Houston, TX. As a benefactor of being a frequent business traveler I have lots of airline points so it didn’t take me long to book two one way tickets to Denver on Friday. After all this I decided it would be a good idea to let Kim know what I was planning and that she would be flying to Denver with me to pick up a car. I think she was excited about getting the car, but not too thrilled with the early hour we were departing Houston.
We arrived in Denver without a hitch, rented a car and headed out to the home of the seller, approximately an hour North. We saw the car took it for a test drive, and yes, it was as good as he described. So we loaded her up with our luggage and headed south for the 1000 mile trip back home. Now all of you who are reading this are saying is he crazy, you drove a car you knew nothing about 1000 miles across open country? You didn’t have a mechanic check it out? Why didn’t you rent a truck or trailer to bring it home? You could have shipped it? My answer is, if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done those things, but I didn’t. I was blessedly naive. We made the trip, taking back roads the whole way and Tiffany ran flawlessly. We did stop at a hotel Friday night and I have to admit, I was up every hour or two looking out the window to see if it was still there. It also got a bit hot driving across central Texas on a late spring afternoon. On this trip I learned my next lesson of MG ownership, everywhere you stop people want to talk to you about the car. If you are getting gas or stopping at a restaurant, plan on it taking much longer than it should as you will be the most popular person in the parking lot. My favorites are those who either owned one or who’s dad owned one. I have come to believe that if everyone who said they owned an MG actually did, the company would still be in business.
Kim and I are not necessarily the adventurous types, but this trip, going from not even thinking about owning a MG to being happy owners in less than 6 days, has put us on an adventurous road filled with great cars, good friends, fun road trips and a tremendous amount of learning about cars. We have also learned the saying, you can’t own just one, is true This summer we bought a 59 MGA.
My ‘80 MGB was originally purchased in 1983. It was the black “Limited Edition” with the silver stripes, LE wheels, luggage rack etc. Back then, it was truly my dream car. It was my daily driver until 1994 and after failed attempts at performance modifications (and creeping rust issues), it was retired to my garage. I didn’t know what I would do with it.
I researched V8 conversions for MGs and learned that the later ones like mine had engine compartments that were better suited to accept one of the rover aluminum V8s. In 1997 I decided to take the plunge on the conversion. I found a fairly local shop that specialized in sourcing rover parts, rover engine rebuilding and creating some of the custom parts required for the job. Ordered was a rebuilt 4.2L rover engine, ECU and all the fuel (Including fuel tank) and electrical system bits. This was to be mated to a rover 5-speed transmission, custom drive shaft and a narrowed ford rear end. I paid for everything in advance and the waiting game began.
Many months passed by and limited progress was happening on the drive train. All that waiting had me searching the “almost new” internet for parts. I stumbled upon a British parts site called “The Proper MG”. Sadly, they went out of business many years ago. They were out of Maine (If I remember correctly). They got all their parts directly from England and that appealed to me. I had seen some poor Chinese parts from other British car parts sites. While the drive train was being cobbled together, I decided to get some body work done to stop the rust. I ordered brand new front fenders, rocker panel kits, rear wheel well kits etc. Parts were flowing in, however, I didn’t know who I would trust to do the work.
I had “ex” in-laws that lived up in Connecticut and I happened to notice a Hot Rod shop nearby. I asked the owner if he would take on my project. Initially, he said NO because “it’s just an MG”. When I mentioned the V8 conversion, he changed his mind. I stripped the car down to its shell and pulled it behind a neighbor’s pickup truck from Frederick Maryland up to CT. Years passed.
In very late Dec of 1999, I was up in CT again and I spoke to the body shop owner about the delay. He said if I paid him the balance due now, he’d make finishing it a priority (Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson from paying for the drive train in advance). On New Year’s Day 2000, the body shop owner passed away! I got a frantic call from the two guys that were assigned to my job. The IRS was coming to padlock the facility and claim all the assets. Before that happened, they heroically towed my car (and all of the parts) out of there and up to a friend’s house they knew that had a “sort of” car shop. This place was literally in the Connecticut woods. These (now 3) fine gentlemen finished the car on their own. They even created a paint booth out of a spare garage. They understood that I’d already paid for the finished job and they were going to see it through. Every time I think of it, I’m amazed and what great guys they were.
On top of that, I couldn’t believe the finished job! Meticulous attention to detail went into everything they did. In early summer of 2000, I picked up the now reassembled shell in CT. It was so “perfect” that I was afraid to touch it, let alone pull it unprotected back down to Frederick MD. I rented a truck and we secured it inside for a safe ride home.
The next couple months of the summer were a blur. I worked on it nonstop. The car itself was WAY too nice now to put ANY old parts back in it, so I basically bought EVERYTHING new (from the Proper MG). UPS, Fed-EX, and DHL pulled up to my house every day. And piece by piece I reassembled it. By this time, cost was not a factor. I found very rare TSW Hockenheim wheels that were made (In South Africa) specifically for the MGB and had the seats professionally rebuilt with leather covers. I also installed a brand new wiring harness before covering the floorboards with “Kool mat” insulation. A mohair top and top cover were next. I can tell you that I will never ever attempt to install a new windshield and/or a new dash face again. It’s no wonder I have so much grey hair. Seriously, have a pro do those jobs.
The car was home and rebuilt, but the drive train was still incomplete. I traveled (several times) to that shop and after some stressful conversations, the drive train was finally installed.
Since that time, I have rarely stopped working on it and have upgraded it as best I could. I lowered the suspension using an early cross member and installed fiberglass rear leaf springs. I had some overheating worries that were finally resolved with the addition of a hood scoop (to allow the engine compartment heat to escape) along with the addition of a Kawasaki motor cycle radiator and electric fan that I installed above the rear differential. I replaced all the black ’80 gauge bezels with chrome and added several aircraft gauges to keep an eye on things. I installed the radio in the glove box along with a lot of speakers and amps. To be honest, I listened to it once. I’d rather listen to the fantastic sounds the V8 makes. I don’t drive it near as often as I should. However, when I do, it’s a real joy.
An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’73 B roadster of Steve Perkins from Franklin, Tennessee. Here is the story:
Some of my Nashville British Car Club fellow members have a nice assortment of British Sports Cars in their garages which always include the MGBs. Not having the room or the funds I have only one BUT my 1973 MGB named Ruby goes from a 100% authentic vintage Roadster to a ” historic rendition” of a Street Legal Race Car depending on her frame of mind and the weather. I do attend our local Cars and Coffee Vintage Car Event most Saturdays. When Ruby is in her “pretty Barbie Doll like” convertible costume the young girls line up to sit behind the wheel with their girl friend passenger. When she shows up as the Rally Race Car with window protection nets, etc. the teenage boys take a lot of interest.
It only takes about 20 minutes to do the switch including the custom racing knockoffs.
Commuting from my hotel to our company office in Phnom Penh Cambodia, I saw this new MG 6 GT Saloon parked.
This is the first modern MG I’ve seen here, so it’s more interesting than if seen in China. It’s new, that itself being unusual as most cars are imported used (particularly from the States) and I have not seen an MG dealership yet. I didn’t see any engine markings, but this model is generally equipped with a 160hp 1.8L gas Turbo engine, good for 120mph.
Used Lexus RX model SUVs and older Toyota Camrys generally dominate the Cambodian landscape. Heavy trucks and buses are mainly Hyundais or Kias with light pick-ups dominated by the Ford Ranger/Mazda Max twins brought in new from Thailand (built and sold in-region for years, they’re similar to what we’ll see as a US Ranger in 2019), along with any manner of used Toyota and Nissan pick-ups and light trucks.
There’s a growing presence and investment in Cambodia by China. Several new Yutong Chinese buses were recently donated by the Chinese government to the city, so this MG is not necessarily surprising and may be a portent of things to come..
I’m glad to be back! I dropped out because I had my car up for sale for six months on consignment, but I have her home again. This was the second time I almost sold her and fortunately I have not.
I bought my 1977 MGB in October of 1977 brand new from the Arnold Brothers Ford/MG dealership which was located in Boulder, CO. I had my first job in Boulder out of college and I saw an ad in Playboy that fall for MG’s so I had to have one! It cost $5,770. The salesperson talked me out of getting overdrive as she said it would be problematic. She probably did not have one in stock! But, she was probably right about the reliability of overdrive. I kept it in Colorado until 1989 except for a couple of years in Kansas in a machine shed while I lived in Boston. I had it shipped to CA when I moved here in Aug of 1989. I had a minor accident in about 1979 which dented in the hood (my fault!). I had the overhead cam replaced in CO in about 1979,
I have about 92,000 miles on it. I had it repainted the original Tahiti Blue in 1999 for about the same price I paid for it!
Over the years, I’ve had the rear axle/differential and clutch replaced and a rollbar added. I have on my own replaced the exhaust system 4 times (finally got smart and did all stainless), the catalytic converter, the water pump, rebuilt the electric radiator fans, replaced the soft top, gone through about 10 batteries, the vacuum canister for the brakes, had 4 windshields replaced, on about my 4th set of tires (still whitewalls!), and about 4 different stereo systems–now with Bluetooth and a CD player. In the 70’s I put in a CB for driving to and from CO to Kansas (my original home)–I have since removed it. I’ve also rebuilt the electric fuel pump a couple of times.
About 20 years ago I replaced the original electronic ignition with an external Allison one which worked well. About 5 years ago, I replaced the Allison with an OEM that has the electronic ignition system built into the distributor just like my original one. I also replaced the spark coil. I just replaced the handbrake cable myself as it has stretched out too far to adjust any tighter This gave me the excuse to buy metal car ramps as I am not as flexible as I once was. Now I am replacing the left front wheel bearing as the inner bearing started to make grinding noises.
I had the entire under body steam-cleaned recently. It took about an hour and really cleaned up my bottom–you should see it! It’s not cheap, but I recommend everyone do it every 40 years as those oil leaks built up! My bottom looks great now–check it out!”
I had the occasion to take my 6 year old grandson for his first ride in my MG. He came with me to attend the NJ Triumph club sponsored Fallfest show held in Chester NJ 23 September 2017.
It reminded me that my B was celebrating a milestone birthday (45 years old – a 1973 model with a commission date of October 1972) and how long I have had the car (since April 1990, so now over 27 years).
The date and timing of the show was also significant in that I had taken my younger daughter to her first MG car show in this car back in September 1993, the Vanderbilt Concours D’Elegance, just a few weeks after getting the B registered and back on the road. We showed-up as intended spectators just to get some ideas on how to finish our still primer only, fun-fur seat covered, very dirty and incomplete rolling work-in-process.
The runners of the show said it would be cheaper than the 2 person admission to just enter the car in the show, adding that it included lunch. It sounded really twisted to me they would want my car mixed with the really beautiful cars there, but while there were some really nice MG’s there, values and levels of completion and correctness were not what it is today. In the end, it was the free lunch (a slice of Pizza and a soda) that did the trick
Once convinced to enter the car, we were implored by other MGB entrants to “Park it next to mine; it will make it look better!”.
Outside the MG crowd, the owners of pristine Jag’s, Rolls, Austin-Healy’s and Bentley’s were concerned for dirt getting on their car or themselves if we were too close (not to mention fearing tetanus if they touched it, not unjustifiably, I might add).
This didn’t stop my girl from asking to borrow rags, cleaners and chamois from startled concours level car owners to polish the chrome and get the best look we could to garner “Diamond in the Rough” honors for her efforts. I don’t think a cold pizza ever tasted so good. That plaque still hangs in my office.
So the attached pictures show then, as well as where we are now, many years later. Her son now sits beside me. Insisting on wearing a racing helmet, I, of course, the doting grandfather, donned a matching one, looking a bit like the “Blockhead Racing Team” from the old Gumby cartoons and enjoying every minute of it.
A lot changes in 24 years. The comparisons are many and not the least of which being how we all have grown up (OK, aged; the car more gracefully than I). As good as it looks, it was probably only the 4th or 5th best MGB Chrome Bumper at the show. The level of competition is that much greater. The first in class car from last year didn’t garner any awards this time around either. Even the winner of “Diamond in the Rough” in the rubber bumper class was a survivor car in better shape than ours was all those years ago. The other point is that all were still driven to the show, even if I suspect that’s all a few were driven. And while most of the drivers were my age or older, there were any number of younger drivers, active spouses and second and 3rd generations (I was not the only one with a child or grandchild there) with interest in these legacy cars. All very good and, in light of the article I wrote earlier, very reassuring to see that the interest continues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: More information at the 2018 Brits at the Village Show website at www.phillymgclub.com .
The American MGB Association’s 41st Annual Meet – AMGBA MEET 2018 – for the MGB, MGB-GT & Midget –
in participation with the Philadelphia MG Club’s Brits at the Village Show in Lahaska, Pennsylvania – October 13, 2018
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 2015 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 and in 2017 we made our initial trip to Alabama in Fairhope which is near Mobile and the Gulf Coast at the South Alabama British Car Festival. For 2018, we go to the Philadelphia area for the first time at the Brits in the Village Show in Lahaska, Pennsylvania.
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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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!