All posts by amgba

Modern MG in Cambodia

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..

Safety Fast!
Art Isaacs

’77 B of John Mein from Cupertino, California

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!”

About 30 years ago I replaced the triple wipers with a brand called Triple Edge which were guaranteed for life–and they are still working fine! Great brand.

Things Change Over 24 Years

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.

Safety Fast!
Art Isaacs

American MGB Association Meet 2018 in conjunction with Brits at the Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania

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 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.

’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